Alina Starkov with Morozova's stag in Shadow and Bone Season 1

About Those Amplifiers in ‘Shadow and Bone’

Shadow and Bone season 2 picks up where season 1 left off, as Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) and Malyen Oretsev (Archie Renaux) race to save Ravka from General Kirigan, a.k.a. the Darkling (Ben Barnes). At the end of season 1, the Darkling killed one of his grandfather’s amplifiers, a stag, to heighten Alina’s powers and manipulate her into growing the Fold with him.

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In season 2, Alina and Mal are determined to find the remaining two amplifiers so she can defeat the Darkling once and for all. This quest takes them all over the country and forces them to make difficult, life-altering choices.

Shadow and Bone is based on author Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse, which includes the original trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, and the King of Scars Duology. Bardugo has also written supplemental books explaining some of the world’s lore, including the history and creation of the amplifiers. Here’s what you need to know.

What are Morozova’s amplifiers?

Morozova's sea whip in Shadow and Bone Season 2

In Bardugo’s Grishaverse lore, Ilya Morozova, the first known Grisha, was the father of Baghra and the grandfather of the Darkling. He was technically a Fabrikator and worked primarily with composite materials like other Materialki, but in the books, Baghra said her father also possessed powers more typically associated with Healers. In the present day, he is still considered one of the most powerful Grisha of all time.

Morozova was known by many names, including the Bonesmith. This is because of how he went about creating the amplifiers in order to make Grisha even more powerful. Morozova used dark magic known as merzost and his own finger bones to create powerful animals that could be killed and merged into a Grisha’s body to boost their powers. Upon merging, the Grisha in question sees the animal’s last memories, which effectively means they get a first-person look at how they died.

In both the Grishaverse Trilogy and Shadow and Bone, there are three amplifiers sought by the Darkling, Alina, and Mal. The first is the stag, which the Darkling kills to amplify Alina’s Sun Summoner powers. In addition to fusing the antlers into her skin, the Darkling also takes a piece of the amplifier into his own body, creating a tie between him and Alina that allows him to control her. In season 2 of the Netflix series, we also see the pair communicating telepathically through this link, regardless of the miles between them.

After fusing with the stag and discovering the Darkling’s plan to overtake Ravka, rather than destroy the Fold as he told Alina, she and Mal go on a hunt for Morozova’s two remaining amplifiers. First, they track Rusalye the ice dragon, a sea whip found in the True Sea. In the books, its scales form a fetter that Alina wears as a bracelet; in the Netflix series, the scales are infused into her hands and wrists.

Once Alina has both the stag and sea whip amplifiers, she and Mal lead another quest to find the third and final amplifier, the firebird. This is basically a phoenix with incredible powers, and in the books, Alina and Mal do find an actual bird, but it turns out to be a red herring. The firebird has been several people throughout time, and now, it’s Mal. To gain its power, Alina has to kill her best friend and true love.

Why amplifiers matter in Shadow and Bone

Although Alina is a legendary and unique Grisha, she doesn’t possess the power or control to tear down the Fold and defeat the Darkling on her own. To save Ravka, she must use the amplifiers, which forces her to seek power that she really doesn’t want. When she’s faced with the heartbreaking decision to kill Mal, the firebird, it nearly breaks her—but saving Ravka is imperative, no matter the cost.

If Alina doesn’t find and take control of the amplifiers, the Darkling will, which would be devastating for the entire country and its future. Although he has lived several lives over the centuries, he had to wait for the Sun Summoner to arrive before tracking down the amplifiers to enact his ultimate plan for Ravka. When Alina is found, the Darkling hopes they can rule the kingdom he seeks to claim, but she has no interest in that. This makes the hunt for the amplifiers into a race with incredibly high stakes.

(featured image: Netflix)

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Samantha Puc
Samantha Puc (she/they) is a fat, disabled, lesbian writer and editor who has been working in digital and print media since 2010. Their work focuses primarily on LGBTQ+ and fat representation in pop culture and their writing has been featured on Refinery29, Bitch Media, them., and elsewhere. Samantha is the co-creator of Fatventure Mag and she contributed to the award-winning Fat and Queer: An Anthology of Queer and Trans Bodies and Lives. They are an original cast member of Death2Divinity, and they are currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative nonfiction at The New School. When Samantha is not working or writing, she loves spending time with her cats, reading, and perfecting her grilled cheese recipe.