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Shadow and Bone season 1 ending explained: your biggest questions answered on the finale

Alina Starkov in Shadow and Bone
(Image credit: Netflix)

Warning: The following contains major spoilers for the Shadow and Bone season 1 ending! Turn back now if you haven't seen the Netflix series!

Shadow and Bone brought a whole new fantasy world to Netflix. The final episode is bursting with action and reveals, which might mean you got a bit lost in some of the twists and turns. We've gone through episode 8 to answer some of your biggest questions on the finale.

In that explosive last episode, Alina finally came into her own as the Sun Summoner, but the Darkling didn't quite meet his match in the Shadow Fold – and Matthias has been left in a sticky situation. The Crows also didn't manage to pull off their heist, so you might be wondering what's going to happen to them now – or still be puzzling over how Alina managed to unlock her power when General Kirigan seemed to have her under his control.

We've got all the answers you need, and you can check out everything there is to know about the Shadow and Bone season 1 ending below.

What happened to Alina's powers?

Shadow and Bone

(Image credit: Netflix)

After General Kirigan killed the mysterious, elusive Morozova's stag, it seemed Alina's powers as the legendary Sun Summoner would forever be under his sinister control. It doesn't quite work out that way for the Darkling, though. Alina manages to free herself from his influence, despite the stag bone lodged in his hand – and in her neck.

That might be a little bit confusing, considering we're told whoever kills the stag gets control of its massive amplifying abilities, and Kirigan was definitely the one to end the animal's life. But Alina realizes that, actually, the stag chooses who to give its boosting powers to – and it chose Alina after she spared it. As she tells the Darkling: "You cannot claim what was not given to you." 

Armed with that knowledge, Alina is able to regain control over her sunlight abilities by striking the stag bone from Kirigan's hand, and rescues everyone on the skiff from the encroaching shadows.

Where will Alina and Mal go next?

Alina and Mal in Shadow and Bone

(Image credit: Netflix)

"You will tear it down. Just not today," Mal tells Alina, referring to the Shadow Fold, and her sunshine power's ability to blast it away. But Alina has only just started learning about what it means to be the Sun Summoner, so she's not ready to tackle that swathe of shadow just yet. The Grisha Zoya also warns Alina that she can't stay in Ravka, since there will be people on her trail. Alina and Mal's fate is left wide open, so where could they be headed next?

In the final moments of episode 8, it's revealed that some people think the Sun Saint – that's Alina – is dead. Mal and Alina know that they need to be "ghosts" from then on, and the Sun Summoner is confident that, when she's ready, they'll return, and she'll destroy the Shadow Fold for good. The problem is, Alina believes the Darkling to be dead… Except we know he's very much alive. Spoilers for the second novel, Siege and Storm, ahead.

In the books, Alina and Mal essentially go into hiding, but they end up getting found pretty sharpish. It also turns out that there are another two of Morozova's special amplifiers in existence, which Alina needs if she's going to have a hope of defeating the Darkling. The story also leads her back to Ravka, but Kirigan is intent on tracking her down – so expect to see another epic showdown in a potential season 2.

What happened to General Kirigan?

Ben Barnes in Shadow and Bone

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Darkling's plan to use Alina's powers for his own gain went hugely wrong when the final episode saw him dragged away by the volcra, the gruesome winged creatures who haunt the Shadow Fold. It's no surprise Alina and Mal think he's dead, all things considered – but the last moments of episode 8 reveal that Kirigan is alive, and has a whole new shadow ability. Spoilers for Siege and Storm follow.

In the second book in the Shadow and Bone trilogy, Kirigan is focused on getting to Alina. That new power of his will likely turn out to be the one he has in the book: after surviving the Fold, he can manifest shadow creatures. That means trouble ahead for sure.

Kirigan was revealed to be the Black Heretic in the Netflix series, which means he's the one who created the Fold in the first place. It makes sense, then, that he was not only able to survive his encounter with the volcra, but also emerge from the darkness with a new, terrifying power. He's now got some grisly scars across his face to show for his tussle with the Shadow Fold's inhabitants, though.

What's next for the Crows?

Shadow and Bone

(Image credit: Netflix)

Early in the series, Kaz bargained with the Crow Club, exchanging Inej's freedom from the Menagerie for tagging along on their adventure to kidnap the Sun Summoner. Since they didn't manage to bring Alina back with them, is all hope for the Club – and Inej – lost? Not exactly.

Alina gave the trio a pretty impressive trinket in the final moments of episode 8 to buy their silence on her identity, which even Kaz seemed stunned by. It's clearly got a storied history, considering it was part of Ravka's royal jewelry box. "I swore you won't go back to the menagerie, and one of these gemstones covers it," Kaz tells Inej. The Crow Club will remain safely in Kaz's hands, then.

But what of Pekka Rollins, the brutish crime boss who threatens Kaz early in the season? It's not a stretch to assume he won't be happy with the Crows for trying to nab the reward for Alina, and he's most likely still got a big part to play in the future. In the books, he's a major antagonist – so expect to see him again, should a second season happen. 

Look away now if you don't want to see book spoilers, but the Crows have another big heist to keep them busy in their duology, and we could see that adapted in a potential season 2.

What happens to Nina and Matthias?

Nina and Matthias in Shadow and Bone

(Image credit: Netflix)

Nina the Grisha and Matthias the witch-hunter appeared to be getting very close throughout the events of Shadow and Bone… until Nina falsely accused him of being a slaver, and got him locked up. Of course, we know Nina did that to save Matthias from the Grisha who'd come to retrieve her, but he wasn't all that receptive to her reasoning when she tried to explain it to him through the bars of his cell. Book spoilers to follow.

The pair reunite in the first book in Bardugo's Six of Crows duology. Things aren't all rosy though – Matthias still has a lot of resentment toward Nina once the Crows spring him from Hellgate prison. Since Nina seems set to be joining the Crows at the end of Shadow and Bone, it looks like this storyline will be playing out soon – if a possible season 2 jumps ahead to the events of the first Crow book, that is. Otherwise, Matthias is probably stuck in jail for a little while longer.

Nina is most likely not working for Kirigan anymore, either, considering his downfall at the end of the series, which means she's free as a bird – or a Crow.

And that's the Shadow and Bone season 1 ending explained. While we wait for Netflix to make season 2, be sure to check out our list of the best Netflix shows streaming right now.

Molly Edwards
Molly Edwards

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for our Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after getting my BA in English.