Why Mal from Netflix’s Shadow and Bone is now a Likeable Character

Shadow and Bone book lovers agreed that Mal Oretsev was one of the most disliked characters in the whole Grishaverse. Mal’s character was poorly written and made out to almost be a villain. In the three main Grishaverse books Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising Mal seemed to not help his love interest/best friend Alina in any way. While reading the books, Mal is constantly complaining and arguing with her.  Making him out to seem like an insecure man who seemed to blame most of his problems on Alina. Throughout the three novels Mal is written as insensitive and inattentive to his childhood best friend, Alina as she is being hunted by the Darkling and learning what it means to be a Grisha and a saint. In the first book Shadow and Bone, he doesn’t seem to really take notice of her until Alina is revealed to be the Sun Summoner. In addition, he seems to come across as jealous when the Darkling takes interest in Alina. This makes Mal an unlikeable character.

When the show arrived in May 2021, book lovers were shocked to see how much Mal Oretsev had changed. Yes, it was for the better. First time viewers see Mal greeting Alina and making sure she is okay. Throughout the series Mal is constantly thinking about her and goes through great lengths to make sure Alina is free from the Darkling. He risks his life for her.

Mal Oretsev is played by newcomer actor Archie Renaux. The actor spoke about being aware that he knew that fans disliked the character Mal in the books.

Archie brought Mal to life and made his character charming, funny, lovable and gives off a little prince charming vibe. In one particular seen, Mal is seen running after Alina after the Darkling orders her to be taken to the little palace. Mal franticly wants to make sure Alina is okay after they were attacked and as the Volcra runs and screams for Alina. This shows how much he cares about her as compared to the books; where during this scene he does nothing but just allows the Darkling take her away and doesn’t run after her.

Fans of Shadow and Bone will have to wait and see what other differences from the books and the show are made with the character Mal and other Grishaverse characters as Netflix recently announced their Season 2 is coming.

Mal’s journay is just beginning and fans can’t wait to see what comes next with this character is the future seasons of the show.

Who is Your Favorite Grishaverse Character?

Message me on Social media (@headphonesthoughts) (@headphonesTblog) and/or email me @ contact@headphonesthoughts.com

Whatever life takes you, just enjoy your life. Think positive and be positive.

–Always look to the rising sky

Follow me on Social Media:

Instagram @headphonesthoughts

Twitter @headphonesTblog

Facebook www.facebook.com/headphonesthoughts

Pinterest @headphonesthoughts

@10thoughshtTikTok @headphonesthoughts

Read Injustice 2: Gods Among Us My Thoughts

About the author

I hope you enjoy reading my blog and this journey through my headphonesthoughts each day.


  1. I watched the show, but haven’t read the books yet. I’ve heard that there are a lot of differences between the book and show when it comes to the characters. From everything I’ve heard I’m almost hesitant to read the books. I really like the characters in the show. Thanks for sharing your perspective!

  2. I will admit I have never heard of this show, but you draw a really good picture of this particular character. It sounds like something really interesting to watch so I will be looking it up. I currently am finishing up another show on Amazon Prime and will be checking this out after that! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. It sounds like from what you’ve said that Mal in the books was written one way, while in the show he’s been rebooted as a charming character to pander to the viewing audience, but is it really a good thing to rewrite the character like that?

  4. Well, I haven’t read the book or watched the show either.
    I have read really good things about both of them. I will probably read the book first and then watch the series.
    I find adaptations in general a really interesting part of the creative process. It is another point of view to the basics of a known story but the film creator creates something totally different.
    Thank you for sharing this.

  5. I must admit, I’ve never heard of this show before but it does sound really interesting! I think this will defiantly be going on my list of shows to watch. Thank you for sharing Xo

    Elle – ellegracedeveson.com

  6. I hesitate to get too invested in Netflix shoes, as they always cancel them after a few seasons. BUT, you have absolutely made me curious about this character, and I’m putting Shadow and Bone on my watch now list!

  7. He sounds like a good actor! In my experience, most people tend to prefer the book over the show/movie, so this is interesting. Maybe his character in the book should have been this way!

  8. Hnmmm, this really sounds like a nice movie. I haven’t watched or read the book but after reading this, I would check it out on Netflix

  9. I haven’t watched this but it sounds exciting! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on both the show and books.

  10. I haven’t watched the Netflix series or read any of the books but it’s interesting that the TV character is so very different from the book character – sounds like it’s for the better though 🙂

  11. Honestly, never heard about this book nor the show 🙁 but after your review and especially the way you have mentioned the character I am adding this to my list. Will check out soon!

  12. Every time I chat with someone who has watched the show but hasn’t read the books and they tell me about their love for Mal, I have to laugh. I think from here on out, we all have to differentiate between “show Mal” and “book Mal” because they are VERY different characters. I abhor book Mal with my whole heart and think show Mal is precious!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.