Netflix’s ‘Shadow and Bone’ Has a Connection to ‘Harry Potter’

Shadow and Bone is garnering rave reviews from Netflix viewers for its narrative and because it has a heroic young woman at the center of the storyline. In addition to its masterful blend of fantasy, drama, and science-fiction, the series isn’t weighed down by any unnecessary romances.

Instead, the series is thoughtful, suspenseful and it already has fans begging for a second season of the series. While fans have already discovered the connection that Shadow and Bone has with Game of Thrones, they also discover a major link between the new show and Harry Potter.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains MAJOR spoilers from Netflix’s Shadow and Bone Season 1. Read at your own risk.]

The Stag in 'Shadow and Bone
The Stag in ‘Shadow and Bone’ | Netflix

Inside Netflix’s ‘Shadow and Bone’

Based on Leigh Bardugo’s beloved Grishaverse novels, Netflix’s Shadow and Bone centers on a lowly soldier and orphan, Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li), who is thrust into the spotlight after she inadvertently unleashes an extraordinary power that could free her country from the menacing fold that has split the country in half for centuries. The official Netflix synopsis reads,

With the monstrous threat of the Shadow Fold looming, Alina is torn from everything she knows to train as part of an elite army of magical soldiers known as Grisha. But as she struggles to hone her power, she finds that allies and enemies can be one and the same and that nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. There are dangerous forces at play, including a crew of charismatic criminals, and it will take more than magic to survive.

What are the biggest differences between the ‘Shadow and Bone’ books and the TV show?

While showrunner Eric Heisserer used Bardugo’s novels as a blueprint for his Shadow and Bone series, there are some major differences between the books and the TV Show.

For one, Shadow and Bone uses a mix of Bardugo’s first Grisha series, Shadow and Bone (2012), Siege and Storm (2013), and Ruin and Rising (2014), and several other books, Six of Crows (2015), Crooked Kingdom (2016), King of Scars (2019), and  Rule of Wolves (2021) that exist in the same universe.

However, in the books, the Crows, Kaz, Jesper, Inej, Nina, and Matthias never plot to kidnap Alina. The Sunbringer’s heritage also gets a major update. She is now half Shu instead of being full Ravkan.

Also, in the show, Jesper, who seems to have some magical qualities, isn’t Grisha, but in the books, he is.

‘Shadow and Bone’ has a ‘Harry Potter’ connection

Now fans have also uncovered a Harry Potter connection. Ben Barnes, who stars as General Kirigan on the series, hinted at it before Shadow and Bone even premiered.

“It’s like a really cool – it’s a really cool steampunk-y universe of magic,” he told Digital Spy. “And it’s got a lot of – you know, what I loved about… what I love about His Dark Materials and the Harry Potter novels and all those stories are the details.”

Aside from the magic, the central connection Shadow and Bone has to Harry Potter is the importance of the stag. Potter fans will recognize it as Harry’s Patronus.

In Shadow and Bone, the Morozova’s Stag serves as an amplifier to Alina’s magic. The Morozova creatures are animals imbued with great power by the legendary Grisha Ilya Morozova. They are a Stag, a Rusalye (aka an Ice Dragon), and a Firebird (aka a Phoenix). Grisha would take down these animals and possesses their bones, giving them otherworldly powers.

Now, Alina unwillingly possesses the Stag’s bones as a necklace, but she learns that this amplification of her powers was not enough to destroy The Fold.

Also, Zoë Wanamaker who plays Baghra on Shadow and Bone starred as  Quidditch teacher Madam Hooch in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.