Shadow and Bone is full of Easter eggs and subtle fan service for those who read the source material novels by Leigh Bardugo, but one was so blunt it nearly knocked Jesper out. In Season 1, Episode 6 of the new Netflix fantasy series, "The Heart is an Arrow," things got really meta. Warning, there are spoilers for Shadow and Bone Season 1 ahead!
Season 1, Episode 6 finds "the Crows" — Kaz (Freddy Carter), Inej (Amita Suman) and Jesper (Kit Young) — up against The Darkling (Ben Barnes) and some of his Grisha, with little hope of escape. They only get away safely by hijacking the Grishas' carriage, which was left guarded only by the Materialki, David (Luke Pasqualino). Jesper's tussle with David happens inside the carriage, off-screen, but when Jesper hops out of the carriage alone, he is holding a book. If you zoom in close, that book is actually a copy of the novel Shadow and Bone.
"He threw a book at me!" Jesper says indignantly to Kaz in the scene. The book was printed in the fictional Ravkan language, but its cover design was definitely recognizable to anyone who's held the volume in their hand before. The cast and creators discussed this hidden gem in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, where Bardugo identified it as her personal favorite Easter egg in the whole show.
"That is my favorite scene in the whole series," she said. "I do in fact have that book. They asked me, 'Would you like something?' And I was like, 'I know exactly what I want.' And in fact, I had suggested that be the book. So I absolutely adore it. I love the moment."
"Apparently Leigh Bardugo said that was her favorite moment because we did a read-through and she laughed out loud just at the reading of the scene because the only line in the scene is 'Hello,' and then he hit me with a book," Young laughed. "But she loves the idea of these two characters meeting who don't meet beforehand. And that book was a copy of Shadow and Bone, the first book, in Ravkan and every page was the whole book in Ravkan. So it was this kind of legend prop, so it's probably worth quite a lot I imagine."
David does not get much screen time in Shadow and Bone Season 1, but fans of the books are chuckling because it seems perfectly in-character for him to throw a book at Jesper, were they ever to meet. Jesper is also the perfect character to deliver this kind of meta-joke, though it is not the only one.
Shadow and Bone is taking Netflix by storm. It has been at the top of Netflix's hit list since its premiere on Friday, April 23. All eight episodes of the series are streaming now on Netflix, and the books it is based on are available in print, digital and audiobook formats wherever books are sold.