Season 2 of Shadow and Bone is here, and it’s hard to say the Crows aren’t a highlight of the Season because the Crows are always a highlight. Fangirlish had a chance to participate in a roundtable interview with Freddy Carter, Amita Suman, Danielle Galligan, Calahan Skogman, Kit Young and Jack Wolfe, and with the Season now available to stream, we can dive deep into what each of their characters is going through during Season 2 – and how all their storylines, and pairings, serve a much bigger picture.
Galligan, for example, is now a full-fledged Crow, after a season that saw her basically share scenes only with Skogman’s Matthias. And the actress admitted it felt great to get to this point. “First day on set was really magic,” she shared. “I was very nervous because there was very much an established chemistry and rhythm within the Crows that I loved from season one, and you kind of just hope that you can find your place within that and enhance it and not disrupt what they had built too much.”
But Nina was always meant to be a Crow.
“It was wonderful.” In general, and “seeing like the different sides of Nina as well, because I think each Crow is so individual, it brings out a different side to her, which is really, really fun to play.”
This isn’t to say she didn’t miss all the one-on-one time with Skogman, there might have been some joking/flirting about that.
Skogman’s Matthias is in a very weird spot this season, “very much separated from the story at large, in many ways.” But Skogman was glad that “the season does find a few ways to kind of connect it to the greater picture, whether that’s through Danielle (Nina) or Dean (Pekka Rollins). So those worlds do collaborate.”
“But for the majority of the season, he’s kind of trying to figure out his life in this absolutely hellish prison where he is suffering emotionally from the decisions he’s made. And obviously, the place is quite dangerous as well, so he’s really locked in survival mode while trying to you conquer what are now a growing number of demons,” plus he’s “trying to navigate that whilst being heartbroken, and also having betrayed his country and not knowing if he’s ever going to see the light of day.”
All normal stuff, right?
“I think what’s great about the show is that when we do touch base with him, and Hellgate, it does feel connected and does feel like a part of the greater story, and certainly where the group of Crows are going.” He shared. “So, I think when I was doing those scenes, I was really trying to focus on that, I was very aware of what these guys were doing and where they were going. And I know at some point, like that collision course is going to happen, right? So how can I serve that larger story, whilst not actually being in constant dialogue with them was the challenge of the season, but I’m proud of what I did and what they did as well.”
The main Crows storyline sees them come back to Ketterdam and immediately go into battle with Kaz’s biggest enemy, Pekka Rollins. For Carter, that meant examining who Kaz is as a leader, because “he’s a great leader in lots of ways in that he pulls together the very best people for the job. You know, they may look like a ragtag bunch, but they’re sort of perfect for what he needs them for.” However, this season, Kaz gets “blindsided by his own sort of personal vendettas, and he puts everyone at risk, which is obviously not a great thing to do as a leader.”
And then there’s the Inej of it all. Kanej had enough moments during the season that it was hard to pick just one for Freddy and Amita to dissect, but in the end, we went with their final one, the line-for-line conversation pulled straight from the books where Inej tells Kaz: “I will have you without armor, or I will not have you at all.” It was a big moment for both fans of the books, and the actors themselves.
As Carter shared, by the time they filmed that scene, they’d “been filming for probably five, five or six months.” That meant that “by the time we got to shoot it, we were so sort of in that world,” so they could kind of ignore “the outside pressure of doing the adaptation and thinking about the fan response. And all of that stuff kind of seemed to work because we were just in the every day, getting on with it.”
However, Carter admitted that “when you read that script, and wake up that morning, realize you’re going to have to say those words that are so important to people, it’s really hard not to sort of get those butterflies that I felt when we started with Season One. So, it felt like a big responsibility to do it justice,” he admitted but added that “the context is different from the books, different things have happened. And so, I think we both just tried to sort of stay true to what the TV show is trying to do with those lines rather than do full fan service of the book moment because they’re different things.”
Suman agreed with Carter, adding that since a few things had been changed for the show, that means “certain events had happened in the books to lead up to that moment, and in the show they haven’t.” The characters have been through different things. “So, for me in terms of the character, the material of the book as a point of reference was always there. But then another thing to factor in was what was actually happening in the show as well. So obviously, when I read that moment in the script, as a fangirl myself, I was like oh my god, I finally get to say these lines. But it was so unique and interesting and very much a collaborative experience of bringing something new to the lines as well as having their true and honest characters and relationship from the books as well.”
Which means, yes, there were nerves. On that, she and Carter were on the very same page. But we happen to think they nailed it. In fact, we might just go rewatch that scene once again, for quality assurance purposes.
Just as Carter and Suman give us one type of ship, there is a lot of diversity in that regard within the Crows itself, something Wolfe was very pleased about. “Within those six characters, there are so many different types of romance, and of love, quick burn slow burns, chaos, real star-crossed romance, and stuff. And in the season, it’s exciting, I think, because we get to explore each of those, and what those things can bring.”
Something for everyone, but also, validation for whatever you have experienced, whatever you like. “It’s really important because a relationship that might be quicker, more chaotic, playful, and joyful is important,” but there are also relationships that are “a bit slower,” and the show “highlights that as well.” And it does that while allowing “the Crow characters to also form a character in and of itself, a sort of found family.”
We don’t have feelings, we’re absolutely fine. All is good here. These are not tears.
Young added that “in the context of a book, the relationships just are what they are, right? It’s part of what you’re soaking up. So, it works very naturally.” And “when you get to a show… because it’s relatively rare that you have a show where basically everybody has someone, or everybody has a big romantic moment. And especially in this group setup, everyone’s paired off with someone, how unlikely is that? Very unlikely, and in different hands that could come across as really, really forced.”
Here it works, and Young has an idea why.
“I think the trick is to make each one of those relationships, independent, and different from one another, but also make sure that you get enough focus. One of the great relationships that I think we get to see more of this season is David and Genya,” he mentioned, adding that since he wasn’t seeing it, he sometimes forgot about it, “but still has a huge impact given that those characters haven’t had as much stage time screentime as like an Alina and Mal.”
Ultimately, for Young, “it’s all about execution. And it’s executed really, really well,” which is “part of what makes the show memorable. Because it’s all about those interpersonal relationships, whether they be romantic or platonic.”
Put characters first and you will succeed, they say. Even if the plot has some issues, fans will forgive them as long as the characters work.