The first season of Netflix’s Shadow and Bone was a fun and well-received hit. An adaptation of several popular young adult novels, one of the many twisting plotlines clearly captured the hearts of its viewers and left fans with many questions around the enigmatic criminal band known as the Crows.
Shadow and Bone primarily adapts the 2012 Leigh Bardugo novel that shares its name, but it also interweaves her 2015 novel Six of Crows. Though the two works definitely take place within the same universe, the two storylines do not interact very much in the source material, but combining the two allowed audiences to be introduced to the trio they fell in love with.
The fan-favorite trio are members of The Dregs, a criminal gang located in an industrious trading hub city called Ketterdam. In the city, many illicit operations struggle for territory and cash, and the Dregs are up and coming. Their headquarters is called the Crow Club, a gambling house, bar, and dance hall which the gang owns and operates with substantial success. Despite their questionable activity and penchant for danger, most of the Dregs’ ranks are less than 20 years old. The group has a significant membership with a wide variety of roles, from bar service to street advertisement to armed enforcer. When the gang is hired to pull off an impossible job, they assemble a team from both in and outside of their ranks, which takes the name The Crows. The members of the Dregs who make it into the Netflix series are three of those elite Crows: Kaz Brekker, Inej Ghafa, and Jesper Fahey.
Kaz Brekker is the leader of The Dregs, a gang he personally dragged from small-time pickpockets and cons to one of the most competitive operations in the city. Brekker began a life of crime early, becoming a thug at the age of 12 and swiftly working his way to a leading position. He earned the nickname Dirtyhands for his cruel actions and for his distinctive black gloves which he is rarely depicted without. Kaz walks with a limp after a broken leg that never healed properly, forcing him to rely upon an elegant cane, which he also uses impressively as a weapon. Kaz is ruthless, intelligent, cruel, and resourceful. He seeks vengeance against a rival gang leader that once robbed him blind and left him for dead, resulting in the death of his brother. The Netflix series does great work, portraying him less as an omniscient crafter of intricate schemes and more of a natural improviser constantly adapting to win against impossible odds.
Inej Ghafa is Kaz’s most trusted associate, an assassin, spy, and bodyguard nicknamed The Wraith. Inej comes from a faraway country called Suli and was brought to Ketterdam against her will as a child and forced to work as an indentured slave. Kaz pays off her captor, freeing her from slavery and enlisting her to his gang. Inej is a capable acrobat, infiltrator, and combatant with an extensive collection of knives. She is strong-willed and wise, but also uniquely compassionate and caring. She is the only member of The Dregs strongly devoted to religion, naming her knives after the saints she worships. She feels camaraderie with The Dregs but is often conflicted between serving the gang and finding her own purpose.
Finally, Jesper Fahey was once just a simple farmer’s son, but while away at university, he discovered something that would change his life forever, gambling. Jesper cannot resist a bet and is subsequently perpetually drowning in debt. Luckily, he is also one of the best sharpshooters in the city, making him Kaz’s right hand in a fight. He has trouble taking things seriously, the easily distracted fun-lover in contrast to his very intense cohorts. Jesper is actually a Grisha, specifically a Fabrikator, but he was taught as a boy never to use his superhuman powers. The Netflix adaptation makes him both funnier and more effective, using his charisma to tie the trio together.
These characters emerged in the novel Six of Crows, which also lays the basic framework for their plotline in Shadow and Bone. In the novel, Kaz and the Dregs are recruited by a local aristocrat to infiltrate a foreign nation and kidnap an individual of international importance. This is broadly similar to their plot in the show, but the source material sees them kidnapping a dangerous scientist from a maximum-security prison. Their team consists of the trio, the local aristocrat’s teenage son, Nina Zenik and Matthias Helvar. Fans of the show will recognize Nina and Matthias as the Grisha woman and her captor who find themselves shipwrecked and forge a relationship despite their conflicting cultures. At the end of the season, Nina has Matthias jailed and meets the Crows on the boat back to Ketterdam.
The next season of Shadow and Bone is confirmed to feature The Dregs, meaning their future storyline could go many interesting new ways. They’re way off track from the source, but now that Nina has joined the team and Matthias is in prison, they actually find themselves near the start of their first novel. With that in mind, the next season could reintroduce their original target and send them traversing the sea on another kidnapping heist.
The Crows may not be the main storyline of the series, but they are clearly the fan favorites. Whatever the showrunners have in mind for next season, fans will undoubtedly be thrilled to rejoin Kaz, Inej, Jesper, and Nina when season 2 of Shadow and Bone drops.