In 'Shadow and Bone,' Amplifiers Are the Key to Ultimate Power (SPOILERS)

Amplifiers are important magical objects in Netflix's 'Shadow and Bone.' Here's what you need to know about how they work, explained.


Mar. 17 2023, Published 1:49 p.m. ET

Alina wears an amplifier in 'Shadow and Bone'
Source: Netflix

Spoiler alert! This article contains spoilers for the Shadow and Bone books and television series.

In the Netflix series Shadow and Bone, magic users called Grisha practice "Small Science," or matter manipulation. While Grisha are revered and feared in different parts of the fictional globe, their powers do have limits.

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As viewers quickly realize, Grisha often use "amplifiers" to magnify the strength and range of their magic for different purposes. What is an amplifier, how does it work, and how does one obtain an amplifier? Keep reading for everything you need to know about Shadow and Bone amplifiers, explained.

Zoya wears a tiger claw amplifier on her wrist in 'Shadow and Bone'
Source: Netflix
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Here's what an amplifier is in 'Shadow and Bone,' explained.

According to the Grishaverse wiki page, amplifiers are pieces of human or animal remains that are molded to the Grisha's body to amplify their power. The Grisha who wishes to wield the amplifier must be the one to kill the creature.

Most common amplifiers are animal claws, horns, scales, teeth, or bones, but more cunning Grisha can use human bones as well.

Grisha cannot wield more than one amplifier, with several notable exceptions. Sun Summoner Alina Starkov takes inspiration from an old Ravkan saint, Ilya Morozova.

Morozova was called "The Bonesmith" for binding three amplifiers to himself to become one of the most powerful Grisha in history. As such, Alina decides that the best way to defeat the Darkling/General Kirigan is to bind herself to the Morozova amplifiers and take down the Shadow Fold.

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Alina Starkov wears the bone collar created from the stag's antlers.
Source: Netflix

What is the sea whip in 'Shadow and Bone'?

During Season 1 of Shadow and Bone, Alina and the Darkling pursued Morozova's stag, which became a collar placed on Alina's neck. Part of the antler was attached to the Darkling, linking them in perpetuity so he could puppet Alina's powers. In Season 2 of the show, Alina decides to pursue the sea whip, the second magical creature whose scales could amplify her power (and this time, not give access to the Darkling).

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In the Shadow and Bone books, the sea whip had a name: Rusalye. The myth around the creature, which is essentially a water dragon, originated from Ravkan folk tales. Rusalye was believed to be a prince cursed in the form of a dragon, exiled to swim in the icy waters of the Bone Road.

In the show, the sea whip was an ordinary creature that lived in a cave. Alina finds and kills the beast, using two scales on her wrist as her second amplifier.

Alina and her allies hunt the Sea Whip in 'Shadow and Bone'
Source: Netflix
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What is the firebird in 'Shadow and Bone'?

Spoiler alert territory begins below!

The firebird is the third amplifier mentioned by Morozova, but there is a catch. As it turns out, the firebird is not the third amplifier as Alina and her friends previously thought.

In both the series and the show, the catch is that the third amplifier is related to Morozova's youngest daughter, a living amplifier he brings back from the dead. Therefore, the amplifier needed to complete Alina's powerful journey is a person, not a bird. And even worse, Alina realizes the most unfortunate truth: that Mal is the descendent of Morozova and therefore is the amplifier that needs to be sacrificed to achieve her goals.

Will Alina sacrifice all she holds dear if it means defeating the evil and erasing the Shadow Fold? Fans will have to tune in to find out in Shadow and Bone Seasons 1 and 2, now streaming on Netflix.

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