Top 10 Reasons Why Why People Ship Darklina from Shadow and Bone Even Though It's Toxic

Tags: #Darklina ,   #ShadowAndBone ,   #NetflixSeries ,   #netflixandchill

Peony Hill

Peony Hill

Last updated:  2022-06-25 18:03:00

Even though Darklina is obviously a toxic ship, people still flock to it. Furthermore, it has left many stumped. Franky, it can be worrisome to see an objectively awful person like The Darkling glorified. After all, he has killed and tortured thousands. His relationship with Alina is manipulative at best and predatory at worst. Finally, we agree that fans defending his actions is exceptionally troublesome for its influence on the younger people in the fandom. But, things aren't so black and white (pun not intended) as we'll see on our top ten list.

10. Simple Appreciation for the Aesthetics

Black and gold is a beautiful color combo

There is something uniquely satisfying about putting together a character with a black aesthetic next to a character with a white aesthetic. The dichotomy of Dark and Light is a concept as old as time itself. How many myths can you name centered around the sun and the moon? How many folk stories, songs, and poems speak about their relationship? Ancient humans looked at the sky and noticed the sun and the moon chasing after each other. Thus, it's expected for this concept to resonate.

Seeing this reflected in fans of the show and books is no surprise. You have someone representing the ancient, primordial dark, put next to someone who symbolizes the new dawn and life that it brings. Hence, it's genuinely no surprise to see people rave about it. The amount of beautiful fanart that can be seen with the simple-yet-effective black-and-white color palette? Indeed, a beauty like no other.

9. People's Need for Duality

There are a lot more than two types of people, but we all love the simplicity

Here is another simple concept. If you give people two categories and put them next to each other, they will obsess over it. Just look at the number of memes where individuals say "there are two types of people" or "get yourself a girl that can do both." Not to mention the amount of classic literature, like "The Curious Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," written to explore man's duality.

This concept goes hand in hand with the abovementioned appreciation for aesthetics. You have a fictional stand-in for everything that's wrong with the world, your Mr. Hyde on one side. And you have Alina representing every way the world can improve, someone not unlike Dr. Jekyll on the other end. It's truly no wonder that people are exploring every way in which these two might be able to interact with each other.

8. Wanting to See a Powerful Man Turn into an Absolute Simp

You and us both, Aleksander, you and us both

As a society, "The Addams Family" did a number on us, and rightfully so. Seeing Gomez Addams willing to bend heavens or raise hell for his wife gave us standards like no other when it comes to men, fictional or otherwise. The Darkling may canonically be way too much of an awful person to be a Gomez, but is it such a sin hoping to see him in that light?

After all, the allure of witnessing this terrible, awful, no good, very bad person turn into a softie around his love interest is just way too big. At this point, we don't care about his canon personality. Sure, he may have lied, manipulated, and killed Alina's loved ones all throughout the trilogy. But the urge of wanting to see Alina do the same thing to him and thus turn him into an Alina simp is overwhelming.

7. The Fun of a Corruption Arc

Aren't you tired? Don't you just want to go feral?

Sometimes, you are sick and tired of seeing an indecisive, insecure, goody-two-shoes heroine turn into a confident, risk-taking, but still goody-two-shoes heroine. Of course, there's nothing wrong with that arc, especially in the books meant for a younger audience, but sometimes, you just want variety. You want to see the main protagonist go absolutely feral. 

While we are Alina stans, we have to admit, the girl has two brain cells. And over here, we firmly believe that evil people are stupid: how can someone be smart while being awful to their fellow person? This makes her a number one candidate for a corruption arc. It would be immensely satisfying to see the brain cell that's constantly pining over Mal just stop caring. The brain cell in panic mode could turn its mind towards revenge on The Darkling.

6. Two Immortals Falling In Love over the Centuries

Slowburn fans rise up!

Talk about a slow burn, huh? These two could only rival "Good Omens" Aziraphale and Crowley if given a chance. Naturally, they wouldn't just run into each other's arms after all the betrayal that transpired (and could transpire, if we ever see Alina's corruption arc in the show). They would probably avoid each other like the plague.

But, if they were the only immortals around, they would have no other option than to keep running into each other. Doesn't matter that the run-ins would be few and far between. If nothing else, eventually, one of them would cave and start complaining about kids these days to the other. 

5. The Inherent Romanticism of an Enemies-to-Lovers Arc

Enemies to lovers isn't nearly as big of a trope as we want it to be

Look, who doesn't love a good enemies-to-lovers story? There's something unequivocally appealing in someone seeing your worst sides and falling for you nonetheless. Sometimes, there's a sad, little, abandoned child in the back of our minds, and it cries out for attention. Things like enemies-to-lovers arcs, if done right, can ease that child's suffering.

And, a Darklina timeline where they are both immortals is a great way to do an ETL arc correctly. Like we said, one of them caves and starts complaining about kids these days. Then, a couple of decades later, they meet up over coffee to spit insults at each other. Over the centuries, insults could be replaced with mutual respect. They even start not hating each other in about five centuries. Then, slowly falling in love? Perfection.

4. Wanting to See a Power Couple In Action

Even more Addams Family influences around us

With the aesthetics, Alina's potential corruption arc, Darklina can be one of the best power couples to ever grace Young Adult fiction. Now, the books are finished (and we won't spoil the ending!), but this possibility is still in the show. While we doubt Darklina will ever be endgame... think of the fanfiction.

Indeed, they could be the gaslight-gatekeep-girlboss and mansplain-manipulate-malewife combo we deserve. After all, throughout the trilogy, all Darkling ever did was gaslight, gatekeep, and girlboss (grishaboss?) his way into power. Plus, he mansplained and manipulated his way into a relationship with Alina. All he needs to learn is how to be a malewife, but Alina's task is more challenging. While she has girlboss capabilities, she needs to be more ruthless and work on her gatekeeping and gaslighting.

3. Villains Hot, Ben Barnes Hotter

Being this good-looking should be illegal

We're simple people. We see a gorgeous man play a fictional villain, we simp. We see Ben-freaking-Barnes play a fictional villain, and we fall to the floor. There should be poems dedicated to that man's cheekbones. Sure, he may have murdered more people than anyone can count, but have you seen his eyes? He may have created The Fold, but the actual danger in darkness is getting lost in that pair of eyes.

All a villain needs for people to simp for them is confidence. We're sure you've noticed Barnes' strut. Darkling has been repeatedly described as looking like he's sitting on a throne, even in a rickety chair. Ben Barnes brings that quality forward. Therefore, he looks like he owns the place every time he shows up on the screen. Who cares about morals? We stan.

2. Being Entertaining Is More Important Than Being Morally Correct

Ready, set, drama!

Let's be honest here: if the Darkling existed in the real world, we would hate him with our whole being. Luckily for us, he doesn't. He's fictional. And since fiction can influence reality, we agree that it's good that Darklina isn't endgame in books targeted towards a younger audience. But the fact remains that grown fans of the trilogy can decide what they find most entertaining for themselves.

And Darklina is far more entertaining than any other pairings. These characters' feelings are fictional, but our boredom and annoyance still exist. Ideologically, we hate the very notion of the Darkling. But the fact remains he is simply so much more fun than Mal. It's a close call between him and Nikolai, though. Nikolai is… well, Nikolai, but the drama is more entertaining to read.

1. The Universal Allure of Villains 

Shoutout to all the costuming departments that gave us fabulous villains ensembles

What is it exactly that draws us to villains so much? They all have some inexplicable je ne sais quoi. Is it the costuming? Indeed, it can't be as simple as them being dressed in all black and their capes being swooshy. But maybe it is as simple as that. Whether they bank on the religious guilt of our sexualities… well, existing, or something else entirely, the allure is there. 

But, to give us some benefit of the doubt, it may go a bit deeper than that. Villains are given the luxury a lot of heroes can't afford: a fallacy. They are allowed to be in the wrong - it is expected of them. In a digital world where every mistake is recorded and a culture that requires us to be perfect saints, this puts excessive weight on our shoulders. While we don't look at villains for guidance, we can picture our flawed selves more clearly in them than in the heroes.

Hopefully, you agree with our top ten reasons for shipping Darklina. Of course, knowing that Leigh wrote the books intending to explore a toxic relationship similar to the one she left behind, we know that Darklina will never be canon. And, as we said before, given that these books' primary audience consists of teenagers, we're all too happy to give up on canonical Darklina and stick to fanfiction.

Do you ship Darklina? What other ships would you like to see us cover? Let us know in the comments!

Sources: Netflix, Youtube


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