Leigh Bardugo's bestselling fantasy series, Shadow and Bone, has been adapted for the small screen thanks to Netflix, with the show's first season already available.
Grishaverse fans have a long list of relationships to ship in this show, and Helnik (Nina Zenik and Matthias Helvar) is a fan favorite. Ahead of the show's premiere, Danielle Galligan and Calahan Skogman spoke exclusively with Distractify about their characters and what's in store for them this season.
Who are Nina Zenik and Matthias Helvar? Fans will love the Helnik relationship moments.
If you haven't read all of the books in Leigh's Grishaverse, then you may be unfamiliar with Nina and Matthias. The two lovebirds are introduced in Six of Crows, the duology that follows the original Grisha trilogy, which includes Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising. Nina is a Ravkan Grisha who trained in the Second Army before being captured by the Drüskelle, Fjerdan Grisha hunters.
The Fjerdans (who live in Fjerda, the country north of Ravka) fear Grisha and think of them as witches who they persecute for "crimes against humanity."
Matthias, on the other hand, is a Drüskelle. You can already see where the conflict in their love story lies.
The first season of Shadow and Bone follows Nina and Matthias' meeting, playing out some of the flashbacks depicted in the Six of Crows duology. But will it be enough Helvik content to satisfy fans?
"You can never have enough of Helnik," Danielle said, while promising the first season would feature enough of the couple to satisfy viewers... for now.
"There's definitely enough there for the fans who enjoy the two of them and I think there's a lot of room to grow as well," Calahan explained. "But we get a solid introduction, you see what these two are about, how they feel about each other, [and] an introduction to the craziness that will continue to follow them as long as they're linked together."
Both Danielle and Calahan said they relate to aspects of their characters.
In the novels, Nina is depicted as a flirty woman who is often referred to as "shameless" (usually by Matthias), while Matthias is a stoic, morals-driven soldier who had honor and faith drilled into him from a young age. And both Danielle and Calahan agreed that these characters resonated well with them, making it easier to portray them.
"I'm actually a witch," Danielle joked, before elaborating. "I think that I am a bit of a hedonist as well and I do love an indulgence in the way that Nina does. And I definitely know that I'd flirt with anything. I would flirt with my own family members sometimes just by accident! I don't mean to, it just happens."
Calahan, on the other hand, was able to connect best with Matthias's heritage, citing his own ancestry.
"I think Matthias's openness to understanding the world around him, despite so many things getting in the way, is [why] I resonate with him," he said. "And also the Scandinavian warrior thing, I really vibe with."
You can stream Season 1 Shadow and Bone on Netflix.