Shadow and Bone: Jessie Mei Li Discusses Alina Starkov's Darker Direction in Season 2 (Exclusive)

Ravka has a Sun Summoner once more. Shadow and Bone Season 1 centered itself around Jessie Mei Li's Alina Starkov, an orphan turned cartographer that is unexpectedly roped into the world of Grisha after awakening her inner abilities in a sudden instance of fight or flight. Once caught up to speed on her newfound powers, Alina is bent on fighting for good, rejecting the Darkling's evil advances and pursuing amplifiers in an effort to bring down the Fold. Alina and company were able to win the battle in Season 1, but as evident by Kirigan's survival and the Fold remaining intact, the war rages on.

As shown in the sophomore season's trailer, Shadow and Bone Season 2 will feature Alina pursuing more amplifiers in order to defeat Kirigan and bring down the Fold once and for all. As Alina grows stronger, it begs the age-old ultimatum: all-good cannot be all-powerful, and all-powerful cannot be all-good.

Speaking to, Mei Li acknowledged that Alina's history has took its toll on her mentally.

"A big theme in season two for a lot of the characters is trauma," Mei Li said. "We see how the events of Season 1 have affected Alina. That's the thing because in real life as well, how much light and how much dark you present in your life, the good and bad choices that you make are so entrenched in our experiences."

Mei Li added that while Alina is determined to fight for good, she is not immune to allowing darkness to get her there.

"It was really interesting to be able to explore this character, who so very much wants to do the right thing and has such a goodness to her, but also, that she is not infallible," Mei Li continued. "She also is someone who's been very much affected by the terrible things that have happened to her."

Warning – The rest of this article contains spoilers from Shadow and Bone Season 2.

As showcased in the Shadow and Bone Season 2 finale, Alina uses the Cut to take out an adversary. While the Cut is nothing new to Alina's arsenal, this particular version has a notable change: it is made from shadows instead of light. This appears to be a side effect of Alina using Merzost, an alternate form of the Small Science that claims consequence to those who utilize it.

"It was really interesting to have a little flavor of that at the end of the season," Mei Li teased. "It was very exciting to read that in the script and think, 'Okay, how are we going to get there?' It was challenging to kind of give her that arc, and I hope it's exciting for people at home to see this new Alina."

Shadow and Bone Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix.