‘Shadow & Bone’ Star Ben Barnes Reveals the One Detail He Helped Change From the Book

SPOILER ALERT – This post contains Shadow & Bone spoilers so continue reading at your own risk!

Ben Barnes is opening up about his character from his new Netflix series, Shadow & Bone!

The 39-year-old actor revealed that he actually had a hand in changing a small detail from the book about the relationship between Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) and his character General “The Darkling” Kirigan, per THR.

In Leigh Bardugo‘s novel, Kirigan makes the first move and unexpectedly kisses Alina. After they show Alina’s abilities to the royal court, the pair kiss again and the book suggests that they come very close to having sex but are interrupted.

Find out how this scene changed in the show…

However in the show, Alina kisses Kirigan first in episode five and once it seems like things might go further, Kirigan stops them and asks, “Are you sure…?”

Jessie Mei Li said in an earlier interview this change was an intentional decision between the writers, directors and even the cast and Ben added, “There was definitely discussion about that — that if she kisses him, it gives Alina more agency. And I said, ‘But does it?’”

“Because we’ve been paying attention the last couple of years and it gives her the semblance of agency, but she’s still an orphan who doesn’t really understand the rules with this man who is willing to burn things to the ground and is manipulating his power,” he continued.

The actor also revealed that he had pushed for the “Are you sure…?” line to be added to the script.

“My contribution was during the steamiest moment in the book and in the show where I throw Alina on the table,” he said. “I wanted to add something, which ended up being, ‘Are you sure?’ It doesn’t solve anything. He’s a problematic character no matter which angle you look at him from. He’s unforgivable and uncondonable in his abuses of power. But I wanted to flag that as a theme worth exploring for them because it makes it relevant. It’s a catalyst for discussion about whether she does have agency in this moment and whether we’re making our own choices and whether there’s any room for understanding between them given that he might really have feelings for her. And it was very important to me to bring something of myself to the moment before it’s revealed that he’s as manipulative as he is. As an actor, I have to come up with ways to forgive him and motivate his choices. But we’re not pretending this man is any kind of anti-hero, really.”

Ben recently shared that he was aware fans wanted him to be cast in the role.

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