From Nina’s capture and imprisonment aboard what is essentially a Grisha slave ship bound for Fjerda to Matthias over the top hatred of her “kind,” there’s just so much goodness for those fans— like me, lol—who love a good enemies to frenemies to OTP forever style romance. They’re both so good for each other, and I love how thoughtful the show is about showing us how they’re each expanding one another’s experiences and worldview. Also, waffles!!!
Kayti: From the get-go, I was pretty much all in on Alina and Mal (aka Malina), which surprised me because they are… fine in the book. The decision to play this romantic connection as so obviously reciprocal from the beginning, even if Alina cannot see how Mal feels about her (and maybe vice versa), was so smart. In the first half of the season, which was the weaker part of this story for me, the yearning between these two is the narrative aspect that kept me emotionally engaged, even when the Little Palace stuff wasn’t as interesting.
Lacy: I love how hard Alina fights to go with Mal into the Shadow Fold in the first episode. That isn’t the way that happens in the books (they’re both basically just ordered to go) and that choice sort of crystallizes for me all the right things that this series does with their relationship. They’re both really active about how much they mean to one another and are constantly fighting to either stay together or get back to each other, I find that so romantic.
Question: What was your least favorite ship in Shadow and Bone Season 1?
Lacy: I find the idea of Alina and the Darkling (aka Darklina) really off putting for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that his desire for her is almost completely and utterly self-serving. I know there are a lot of Shadow and Bone fans who love it for whatever reason and I support anyone shipping whatever they need to ship. (Also, Ben Barnes is certainly a looker.) But, for me Alina deserves better than a man who seems to think he has some kind of right to her simply because their powers are similarly spectacular and rare. It is fully not Alina’s job or responsibility to save this man from his own darkness or loneliness or however he would describe the many moral failings that he expects her to somehow magically cure.
Plus, well, he’s a remorseless murderer who is basically trying to take over the world. But even if he wasn’t, the Darkling is still someone who lied to and manipulated Alina for his own selfish ends, and then forced her into compliance with his desires against her will. There is truly no aspect of that story that’s romantic for me, and I think trying to pretend that he’s in some way good for her is downright dangerous at points.