After the release of Shadow and Bone season 1 on Netflix, one comparison has followed the show, Game of Thrones. It has a large immersive world akin to Thrones but the similarities end there. When we consider the adaptation to the screen, the story becomes even muddled as many people who watched the show are right now.
Game of Thrones season 1 aired slightly over a decade ago and the amazing thing about the first season was how the writers were able to turn a sprawling world into a concise 10 episode story. Westeros was in the West, Winterfell was in the North, The Wall was further North and there probably some zombie like creatures.
For the first season that was all you needed to know, sprinkled with a place called Essos across the ocean in the East. While the families were large we were made to focus on the Baratheons and the Starks and that made for a more smooth viewing. But that was not the case with Shadow and Bone as many things were explained all at once but none to a great effect.
Why is Shadow and Bone so Confusing?
Even with 8 episodes on Netflix, I could not help but feel like there was almost nothing concrete I have learned about the world inhabited by the characters of Shadow and Bone. The show tried to explain so many things at once without even doing a great job of introducing the main players of the show moving forward.
I get that Alina Starkov is going to be important, she is the lead of the show, but beyond her the jumbled cutting of different worlds was confusing. There was no way for me to figure out if the show was in East, West Ravka, or Keramzin or the other city inhabited by the Crows. It was all a mystery as the writers did not do a good job of explaining and putting unique landmarks to help the audience distinguish between the worlds.
Even the extent of The Fold was a mystery as there was talks of people going around the fold while the Ravka people insisting on going through it. Then there were the Fjord people and the ship journey that went nowhere and also the mention of the world beyond Ravka, across the sea. While the multi unrelated quests draw comparisons to Game of Thrones, I and thousands of other fans are confused why and who is even leading the quests.
If there ever was a need for Netflix to bring back the 13 episode format, this show was it. Without a narration and character monologues explaining the situations, the show could have taken some more time to explain the world at large. Giving everyone an idea of where they are would have been a great place to start.
But there are going to be multiple seasons of the show, the first season was a definite hit, it is number 1 in most places around the world. In the future seasons we will get to know the characters and he story a little better, still, season 1 could have done a way better job of explaining the show. And for those telling me to read the books to get the whole story, that should not be the case, a story teller needs to explain to their audience where the fabricated world is and Shadow and Bone on Netflix did a poor job of that.
Alina Starkov Actress Talks About the Game of Thrones Comparison
Since the final episode of Game of Thrones aired in 2019, there has been interest in what will be the next zeitgeist capturing TV show in the same vein of Thrones. The Witcher, Carnival Row, and multiple others were touted to take the place vacated by the beloved Westeros series, but none have been able to do so. Still, there is genuine belief that Shadow and Bone can be that show.
The stars of Shadow and Bone are flattered by the comparison but beyond a sprawling world of magic and wonder, there is little that ties the two shows together. Star of the Netflix show said a much when the comparison was brought to her attention. She wanted the audience of Thrones to come in but also cautioned against the superficial comparisons.
Jessie Mei Li told Digital Spy, “It’s interesting because that has been thrown around a little bit. I love Game of Thrones, but I feel it couldn’t be more different from Game of Thrones in terms of tone and what it’s saying. It isn’t set remotely in the same kind of time either. This is way more sort of 1800s steampunk industrial revolution stuff than it is swords and dragons.”
It is a flattering comparison as long as the final season is not taken into consideration. But the actress thinks Star Wars would be a more valid comp for Shadow and Bone. “If anything, the thing that comes to mind for me is Star Wars, because of the fact that it’s a genre film. It has fun adventure and romance and a bit of softer violence, but nothing that’s too… families can watch it as well. That’s more of the comparison that I would make,” she explained.
Whatever the case, Shadow and Bone season 1 was a better Netflix output this year. Though it is confusing, with all the mumbo jumbo world building stuff that could have been spread out over two seasons, the characters themselves are interesting enough to spend another season with. Maybe the writers will have a deeper and focused story to tell next time around.
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