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‘Shadow and Bone’: Why does Alina’s hair color change from season 1 to season 2?

There's some surprises in store for the Grishaverse.

Warning: This post contains some light spoilers from the Shadow and Bone books.

Shadow and Bone star Jesse Mei Li recently turned heads when they posted a picture of their new hair on their Instagram page.

The actor plays Alina Starkov in the Netflix series, an adaptation of the Shadow and Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology by fantasy author Leigh Bardugo. The series tells the story of Alina, who after discovering she has magical powers becomes a member of the Grisha, a community of magic users.

It quickly becomes apparent that Alina’s powers are quite strong and others around her covet that power. The show’s first season deals with her coming to terms with her abilities and the potential they bring, as well as conflict with people who want to control her power.

The show has had positive reviews and viewers are excited for a second season. Viewers who are familiar with the books were excited to see Li’s new hair reveal. The actor captioned her post, “uh ohhhh” and caused fans to speculate if the change was for the second season of Shadow and Bone.

In the books, Alina’s hair eventually does turn white. Essentially, Alina becomes VERY powerful and uses her abilities in a fight that almost drains her completely of her power. As a lasting effect of this battle, Alina’s hair turns white. We’re unsure if that change will happen in season two but it seems likely after Li’s post. In an interview with Elle, Li mentioned some of her own feelings about the inevitable hair change: “Alina’s hair is meant to turn white. I’d be interested to see how gruesome that is. Maybe it will take much more of a darker tone — that’d be quite cool to explore. In my head when I read the books, I imagined Alina’s hair to turn gray, actually — not in a beautiful, flowing way, like in an ill way. I’d be really interested to see how that would turn out.”

Season 2 will drop in 2023 and will consist of eight one-hour episodes. The teaser reveals the season will be action-packed and full of romance. Li will be reprising her role as Alina and we will see the return Ben Barnes as the Darkling, Archie Renaux as Mal, and Freddy Carter as Kaz. The show also bumped some recurring cast members to regular status, notable Daisy Head as Genya, Danielle Gallagan as Nina, and Calahan Skogman as Matthias. There are also four new actors joining the set: season 2 will see The Witcher‘s Jack Wolfe, Mortal Kombat‘s Lewis Tan, Back‘s Anna Leong Brophy, and The OA‘s Patrick Gibson in new roles.

Staci White
About the author

Staci White

Since the moment she listened to her first Britney Spears CD at the tender age of six, Staci has been a lover of all things pop culture. She graduated from UCLA with a Bachelors in Linguistics and somehow turned her love of music, movies, and media into a career as a freelance writer. When she’s not writing for WGTC, she’s busy fulfilling her own pop star dreams as a singer/songwriter or hanging out at her local coffee shops.