Ben Barnes of Shadow and Bone on That Alina and Kirigan Twist: “Obviously their relationship is problematic.”
Warning: This post contains spoilers from the first season of Shadow and Bone. Read at your own risk.
Shadow and Bone’s General Kirigan, also known as Darkling, may be known for conjuring up darkness, but he’s also a master of manipulation.
His lonely boy charm convinced everyone including Alina (Jessie Mei Li) that he was just a good guy looking for the Grisha. Later in the story, we learned that not only is he much older than he admitted, but he is also the one who created the crease in the first place.
The affable Greek leader took Alina under his wing to hone her powers so they could bring the fold together – at least he told her so. In fact, he only used her to gain access to her gift, to control the wrinkle, which would make him even more powerful and terrifying than he already is. Ben Barnes, who plays Kirigan, says that while the darkling sees Alina as a valuable asset and key component of his plan, she is also drawn to her because of her similarities.
“He sees something of himself in her,” Barnes tells TVLine. “He went through exactly what she went through, so he’s a version of her future.”
Through their intimate training, Kirigan and Alina quickly bonded over their perceived similarities. Kirigan put it thick on with gentle touches, encouraging words, and heartbreaking backstory, and it’s not surprising that Alina fell for his charms.
“Obviously, their relationship is problematic,” Barnes says of the couple. “He’s at the top of the food chain [in] the hierarchy of the world, and he manipulates and abuses his power to get them to essentially make his bidding. He tries to convince her of his ideologies along the way and tries to share with her as much as possible, but he is a suspicious person. “
Barnes notes that while Kirigan seduces Alina with his many lies, the series has also “worked hard to give her an agency in history – she’s stepping on him” and has also addressed the issue of consent.
“He asks at one point if she agrees with what is happening between the two of them, but apparently his actions are becoming somehow irreversible,” he explains.
One of those unforgivable acts includes getting Alina to surrender the stag on the pretext that he would free Mal (Archie Renaux) by using the stag’s horns to take away control of her powers so that he could at any time and having access to them for a moment, Barnes finds absolutely irredeemable.
“There’s a moment when he gives her a bouquet of flowers and that’s the most disgusting moment on the show for me. I can’t forgive him for that. Even though I play it, I can’t find a way to justify it, ”he says.
The season ended with Alina gaining the stag’s power and leading everyone out of the fold with her light, and Kirigan seemed to be being eaten alive by the monsters he had created. However, one final twist revealed that he was badly injured but still very much alive. He was last seen leading his army by Volcra outside the fold, suggesting this is just the beginning.
Netflix hasn’t yet renewed the series for season two, but Barnes hopes the story can continue.
“I have a lot of ideas about what could happen and I feel like there is a lot of room to spread your wings out of the books and really cross all of the characters in ways that they don’t necessarily have in the books. “
Barnes adds that he would also like to see what happens to the Darkling, “because it is a bit more representative and symbolic as the trilogy progresses. So it would be interesting to see what possibilities there are to humanize it in the future. “
Did Shadow and Bone live up to the hype? What do you think of the series that includes elements of Six of Crows? Rate the season below and let us know your thoughts in the comments!