Shadow & Bone: Matthias’ Season 2 Story Risks Creating A Big Book Problem

Matthias’ imprisonment at Hellgate during the finale of Shadow and Bone season 1 might pose some major story issues for the second season.

The Shadow and Bone season 1 finale found most of the main characters surviving their ordeal with the Darkling; however, Matthias’ story might create an issue for season 2. Last seen in the season finale, the Fjerdan was falsely accused of being a slaver by Nina Zenik, who made the accusation in order to spare him from a worse fate, and promptly imprisoned for it. From one of the lines said by a fellow prisoner, it’s indicated that Matthias will be sent to Hellgate prison next, where he would have to wait for at least a year to face trial for slavery, setting up a potentially tricky story problem for Shadow and Bone season 2.

A unique aspect of the Shadow and Bone adaptation is that it incorporated the characters from its largely standalone sequel series, Six of Crows, including Matthias Helvar. Rather than adapting the story of Six of Crows, a brand-new prequel story was written for the Dregs for Shadow and Bone season 1. Showrunner Eric Heisserer’s decision to combine Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows paid off, with the stories mostly merging seamlessly. However, the storyline featuring Nina Zenik and Matthias suffered, as it was virtually impossible to incorporate them into the main storyline that the rest of the Crows joined. It’s an indication that there could be larger problems with Shadow and Bone season 2. The second season of the series will almost certainly follow the story laid out by Leigh Bardugo in Siege and Storm, and it’s uncertain what role Matthias will play since his storyline from Six of Crows is very detached from the series’ main conflict.

The first issue that Shadow and Bone season 2 will run into if it stays completely faithful to the books with Matthias’ storyline is the location. The majority of the Shadow and Bone trilogy is based in Ravka, while the Crows stay in Kerch and later head to Fjerda. Hence, even if the show managed to either juggle two diverging plotlines in separate locations or if the showrunners decide to bring the Crows back together in Ravka, they would have to struggle with the complications of Matthias being stuck in Hellgate. Either they will have to spend time on fleshing out Matthias’ character by giving him his own plotline inside Hellgate during Shadow and Bone season 2 or they will have to break him out of Hellgate to join the rest of the Crows, just as it happens in the books.

This latter option seems like the most reasonable and easy way to solve the problem of what to do with Matthias. Breaking Matthias out of Hellgate, however, has even more complications as his prison breakout is heavily tied into events that occur during the Six of Crows book. The Shadow and Bone season 2 cast announcements have revealed that all the Crows from the books will be present for the second season of the show. However, if the Netflix series tries incorporating the Six of Crows storyline alongside the main Shadow and Bone storyline, it might rush two major stories that aren’t related to each other at all.

The final issue that the show would have to address would simply be the repercussions that any of these changes would have on vital character relationships, namely Matthias and Nina. Any plotline involving Matthias will also have to involve Nina by necessity. The story will have to deal with him coming to terms with Nina’s supposed betrayal in Shadow and Bone season 2. The issue is that it’s a delicate bridge to cross since that character development might be best if saved for a standalone Six of Crows series if season 2 can’t devote far more attention to Matthias and Nina than it did in season 1. But considering the phenomenal work Shadow and Bone season 1 did with not only incorporating the Crows, but also fully fleshing out their characters, it should be a worthwhile wait to see what season 2 holds.

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