Warning: This article contains spoilers for Shadow and Bone season 2 and the book series.

Mal's 5 reveals and twists in Shadow and Bone season 2 are sure to have surprised audiences throughout the show - including those who read the books. Shadow and Bone season 2 has been received well, but not without comments regarding its changes to the original source material. The show's plots have moved the timelines of the book around to its benefit, altering key moments and entire storylines to keep even book fans on their toes.

This is especially true for the storyline of Malyan Oretsev, whose Shadow and Bone season 2 storyline is very different to the books. Season 2 contains not only some major key events being moved around in time, but also provides Mal a role he didn't have in the books. The show also drastically changes his romance with Alina - though potentially not how this romance ends, as Shadow and Bone season 3 is likely to switch things up between the pair further, if only to provide Mal more reveals and twists in his arc.

Related: Shadow & Bone Season 2 Ending Explained (In Detail)


5 How Mal Is The Firebird Amplifier

Archie Renaux as Mal in Shadow and Bone

Mal's first - and perhaps most important plot twist - comes in Shadow and Bone season 2, episode 6, wherein it's revealed the Firebird amplifier is, in fact, Mal himself. As Baghra explains, her sister was brought back to life with merzost, and served as the third amplifier. The trait was passed on through generations, in a bloodline that concluded with Mal himself. This explains why Mal was such an effective tracker, and how he was able to find not just the Stag and the Sea Whip, but also able to consistently find Alina herself - a detail that causes Mal a not inconsiderable amount of turmoil upon learning it.

4 Mal Is A Morozova: Family Tree Explained

Shadow and Bone Kaz Baghra

Mal is a descendant of Baghra's sister, making him a member of the Morozova family tree, and a distant relative to both Kirigan and Ilya Morozova. Luckily for Malyen, the lineage of the Morozova family goes back far enough that Kirigan himself seemingly didn't know the two were related, preventing him from having further reason to go after Mal. However, this didn't protect him from Shadow and Bone's Darkling learning he was the Firebird amplifier, as Kirigan accessing Baghra's memories after her death provided him the moment she explained as much to Mal.

3 Mal's Death & Keramzin Dream Explained

Shadow and Bone season 2 Mal

Once Mal learns he is the Firebird amplifier in Shadow and Bone season 2, his arc then revolves around whether Alina will kill him in order to close the Fold. In the finale, she does both - telling Mal she loves him and then stabbing him to finally end the Shadow Fold. After Nina fails to bring him back, Alina returns him to the land of the living - a departure from the books, wherein Tolya and Tamar are able to bring Mal back because he has two lives from being an amplifier. However, both the book and show make it clear that Mal is no longer an amplifier after he is revived.

This is exemplified in Shadow and Bone season 2 by Mal's Keramzin dream, which repeats a previously shown scene of a young Alina and Mal lying in the grass together. The scene then cuts in the episode 8 version to an adult Mal being pulled away from Alina through the grass, symbolizing how their connection has been severed due to his death. This also foreshadows the changes that Mal goes through after his death and revival, and how they affect the character going forward.

Related: Yes, That's How Jesper Is So Good At Shooting In Shadow & Bone

2 How Alina Revives Mal & How He's Different Now

Shadow and Bone season 2 Mal revived

Alina uses merzost to revive Mal when it appears there is no other way to save him - something Nina notes with some concern, but that otherwise falls to the wayside in lieu of the other dramas of the Shadow and Bone season 2 finale. While this poses some dangers for Alina, perhaps the least expected one is that that Mal states his death as an amplifier has left him unsure of whether his feelings for Alina were just the product of their respective powers. As such, instead of staying with Alina, Mal takes on Nikolai's privateer identity and takes off on travels alongside Tolya, Tamar, Inej, and Nadia.

1 Mal's Journey As Sturmhond In Shadow & Bone Season 3

Shadow and Bone Mal Sturmhond

Malyen does not become Sturmhond in the books - as the timeline in the books is different, where after Mal's revival he then takes over the orphanage he and Alina grew up in alongside her. However, it seems that Mal's journey as Sturmhond in Shadow and Bone season 3 will still follow alongside the Shadow and Bone books in some form - but with him taking over Nikolai's storyline in the Crooked Kingdom plot involving the jurda parem drug. This makes sense, given Lantsov's own story is now covering his time infected by the Darkling and being king, providing two reasons as to why Mal takes over his role.

In Crooked Kingdom, Sturmhond arrives to negotiate for the indenture of Kuwei Yul-Bo, the son of the man who created jurda parem, in the hopes of creating a cure. As such, it would make sense for this to be the same for Shadow and Bone season 3, only with Malyen instead taking on the role of Sturmhond in Nikolai's absence. This is further supported by the fact that Mal's ship also has Inej on it, and Inej is a part of the Crooked Kingdom book storyline.

While the impending Six of Crows spinoff could instead adapt this plot line, the focus on jurda parem in the final scene of Shadow and Bone season 2 hints the main resolution for this will remain in the show, given the focus on it in the finale's closing moments. Similarly, as this storyline has potential to tie up so many currently loose ends - Matthias' imprisonment, Mal's lack of purpose, and Nikolai and Alina's disrupted coronation being but a few - it makes most sense for Shadow and Bone season 3 to contain these stories. Continuing Mal's plot in this way is surprising, but sets up an exciting future for the character.

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