Do Mal and Alina End Up Together in Shadow and Bone?

shadow and bone l to r jessie mei li as alina starkov, archie renaux as malyen oretsev in episode 208 of shadow and bone cr dávid lukácsnetflix © 2023
In Shadow & Bone, Do Mal & Alina End Up Together?Dávid Lukács/Netflix

Spoilers ahead for Shadow and Bone season two on Netflix. If you haven't watched, turn back now!

In the final episode of Shadow and Bone, a lot goes down—the Darkling dies, Alina uses shadow power, Mal becomes Sturmhond, Nikolai is crowned King of Ravka, and jurda parem is introduced into the plot.

But the biggest question on viewers minds after watching: Are Mal and Alina endgame? The books and shows diverge after Alina has to kill Mal to use him as an amplifier.

shadow and bone l to r jessie mei li as alina starkov, archie renaux as malyen oretsev in episode 201 of shadow and bone cr courtesy of netflix © 2023
Jessie Mei Li as Alina Starkov and Archie Renaux as Malyen Oretsev in Shadow and Bone.Courtesy of Netflix

In Leigh Bardugo's books, the answer is yes, they end up together. At the end of Ruin and Rising, Tolya and Tamar Kir-Bataar bring Mal back to life and Alina loses her power. From there, Alina again refuses to marry Nikolai. She fakes her death, letting the legacy of Santka Alina stand on its own. She and Mal return to their hometown under aliases and rebuild the orphanage at Keramzin where they grew up—and live happily ever after.

In the show, however, it's way more up in the air. It is Alina who brings Mal back to life, and then she gets access to shadow magic. After he's revived, he questions whether or not he should stay by her side—and Nikolai says he should take on the mantle of Sturmhond as he finds himself.

"Mal, at that point, feels like he's kind of been living for Alina for the longest time and that's what he wanted to do. But after it's all over, and they've taken down the Fold, he's like, who am I now? Can I hang around here? He has to go off and find out who he is without her, in order to maybe come back and be together," actor Paddy Gibson, who plays Nikolai, tells Town & Country.

Whether or not Alina and Mal will end up together in future seasons is unclear. "One of the things that my writers love so much about the Mal and Alina relationship is how they learned to be honest with each other, how they learned to be transparent about their hopes and fears," showrunner Eric Heisserer said. "We felt that what was giving the relationship the most respect, and the most love for each other, was for Mal to have time to figure out who he is and for Alina to see if this path that she's on is still the direction she wants to go."

While we wait for news of a season three renewal, read all of Leigh Bardugo's Grishaverse novels:

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