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Did Shadow and Bone on Netflix turn you into a Mal stan too?

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If you’re a fan of the Shadow and Bone books, you possibly didn’t really like Mal. That all changed with the Netflix series for many.

Even if you haven’t read the books ($), you may have seen a lot of comments on Twitter about how Mal wasn’t really liked in the books. Some readers absolutely hated him, while others like me just didn’t like him. That’s changed with the show, as Archie Renaux brought a side to Mal that we didn’t get to see too much in the books.

In the novels, Mal is immature. Yes, he grows during the book series but by that point, the damage is done. It’s hard to view Mal as this person Alina would choose to turn to for support. He’s too arrogant and has too much hate for the Grisha. When he finds out Alina is a Grisha, he turns against her for a while because of it.

It’s hard not to dislike him at first. And it doesn’t help that he character doesn’t seem to be fleshed out all that well in the beginning.

The Shadow and Bone Trilogy Boxed Set: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising ($)

Why is Mal loved in the Shadow and Bone series?

So, if he’s not liked in the books, why are so many people loving him in the series? How has Renaux made us Mal stans?

The flaws don’t go on for as long in the series. Mal is initially angry that Alina didn’t write to him (she did, but the letters weren’t sent) and that she kept her abilities from him (she didn’t know and he believed her when she told him that), but he quickly changes his tune. He quickly goes back to this best friend who will do anything to protect the woman he harbors feelings for.

We get to see different sides to Mal. There’s a chance to see his character developed early on, especially when it comes to the deaths of his friends. We also see that protective side of him, even when he’s sure that Alina has abandoned him.

His development is faster, and he doesn’t start off as immature as he does in the books. Sure, he still has his moments, but they’re understandable moments. His flaws make him who he is, but he tries to be a better guy. I can’t wait to see what more he has to offer when (yes, when, I refuse to believe otherwise!) Shadow and Bone Season 2 comes to us.

I think part of it is also bringing the character to life on the screen. Sometimes, it’s about the work put into the portrayal and the line delivery, something that can be missed in the writing based on how the words on the page are read.

MORE: Is Shadow and Bone suitable for kids?

What did you think of Mal in the books? What are your thoughts of him in the Shadow and Bone series? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Shadow and Bone is now available to stream on Netflix.