For Millennials. By Millennials.
Shadow and Bone season 1 is out on Netflix. While the series has been a hit, Netflix is taking its sweet time to officially renew it for season 2. We already know there is more than enough material available for the show-runners to turn it into a series of 5 or possibly 7 seasons. And we hope Netflix gives it a go like it did for Bridgerton. Anyways, after watching the first season, the question comes to mind whether Mal Oretsev (Archie Renaux) is a Grisha like Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li-Sun Summoner). If you are asking that question, then that means you have not read the books yet. That also means you need an answer without getting the spoilers for the coming seasons.
What is Mal Oretsev?
Malyen “Mal” Oretsev is not an ordinary tracker. In season 1 of Shadow and Bone, the show-runners have created a very strong character of Mal. The basics are taken from the original book. However, the TV show gives you a more-defined Mal, and his strong relationship with Alina Starkov. Mal and Alina grew up together in the Keramzin orphanage and they tried avoiding the Grisha test as they did not want to separate from each other. Mal Oretsev became the famous and unique tracker of the first army, while Alina Starkov joined Grisha army after her powers as Sun Summoner were discovered.
Throughout the whole season, we get hints of Mal Oretsev being more than meets the eye. First, the show keeps reminding us that Mal can track anything. He tracked Alina when she was on a run, and also tracked the Stag when she needed the amplifier before Darkling (Ben Barnes) found it. Second, Mal did not show his powers as a Grisha throughout the whole season. However, when they were attacked in the Fold, and Alina first discovered the power of Sun Summoner, she was holding Mal’s hand. At that point, she did not know how to summon the Sun, or that she was a Grisha.
The second time we see the tremendous show of power from Alina is when the Darkling holds her. Now, we know that Darkling is an amplifier, apart from being the Black heretic. That also makes Mal Oretsev an amplifier theoretically. However, no other powers are shown in the season 1 for Mal. And for the question of “is Mal an amplifier or a Grisha”, the answer is not a simple yes or no. It is very complicated and either you will have to read the books or wait for the coming seasons. The answer is in the books, of course. However, show-runners have modified the story of the first book. They will definitely make things more interesting in season 2.