Who Does Alina End Up With in Shadow and Bone?

Alina Starkov from Shadow and Bone
Credit: Netflix

Alina Starkov from Shadow and Bone
Credit: Netflix

While Netflix's Shadow and Bone is about much more than romance but, being based on a popular YA book series from the early 2010s, the heroine's love life is still a matter of speculation. The Sun Summoner might feel a little lackluster compared to the rest of the cast, especially in the books, but many characters fight for her affections for different reasons. So, who does Alina end up with, in Shadow and Bone?

About Shadow and Bone

Who Does Alina End Up With in Shadow and Bone
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Credit: Netflix

Based on a YA trilogy by Leigh Bardugo and its spinoff duology, Netflix's Shadow and Bone is a gifted girl's journey from darkness to the light of her own making; Alina Starkov, who starts off as a simple army map maker, discovers she has unseen-before powers which might be her country's only hope.

Identified as the only person capable of destroying the Shadow Fold, the swath of darkness that cuts her country in half, Alina is taken to the royal palace where the Darkling, ruler of the setting's empowered individuals known as the Grisha takes an interest in her. But as her power becomes more widely known, sinister forces plot against her.

Who Does Alina End Up With In Shadow and Bone?

Major Book Spoilers Below!

Throughout the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, Alina is pursued by three love interests, each of whom wants to be with her for a different reason: Mal, the Darkling, and Nikolai.

Alina first meets the Darkling, also known as General Kirigan in the tv series, when she displays Sun Summoning abilities. The charming and intimidating Grisha leader seems supportive of Alina at first, and his influence is hard to resist. However, Alina soon finds out that his motivations are not so honorable after all.

The Darkling's attraction to Alina is associated with his own narcissism, as Alina is his only equal in power. In romancing her, he tries to control her sun summoning abilities, which causes her to run from him as soon as she finds out the truth.

In the second book, Alina meets Nikolai Lantsov, the second prince of Ravka and a privateer trying to claim the Ravkan throne. The two become allies, and he eventually attempts to begin a romantic relationship with her. While the two obviously think highly of each other, such a much would be politically beneficial for both of them, and Alina refuses to settle for a marriage of convenience. Thankfully, Nikolai - a more interesting characters according to most of the fandom - gets to have his own duology and his own romantic journey later on.

Eventually, Alina ends up with Mal, her best friend, who has been by her side from the beginning. Their relationship is a bit rocky throughout the trilogy, as they're both in denial about their feelings, often miscommunicating, and they both explore other romantic options, thinking they can never be together. By the end of the series, they realize that they want nothing more than be together in peace, so they get married, retire away from the political intrigue of Ravka, and take care of war orphans.

Related: Why Is the Darkling Immortal in Shadow and Bone?

Many fans of the series are dissatisfied with this conclusion, as they didn't like Mal and Alina's angsty behavior, nor did they find their romance all that gripping. The Darkling could have been a more intriguing love interest if his and Alina's power dynamic was a bit less unequal, but, eventually, no ending can please everyone, and - while book Mal is not the best character either - Alina eventually went for an egalitarian relationship with the person she loved all along.

For all the differences between the Shadow and Book tv show and book series, the former is quite faithful to the original story's spirit, suggesting that Alina might end up with Mal in the show too. To be sure, however, we have to keep watching!

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