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Things You Need to Know Before Watching Netflix’s ‘Shadow and Bone’

In about a month on April 23, Netflix will premiere Shadow and Bone to the world. Based on Leigh Bardugo’s worldwide bestselling Grishaverse novels, Shadow and Bone have not released much information about the series, but for those who have not read the books, don’t fret. We have some information you should know before watching the series. 

  1. You do NOT need to read the books to enjoy the series.

Although the show is based on the books, the series does a great job explaining everything. It may actually be better if you never read the books so it could be a surprise for you. 

  1. Shadow and Bone centers around a map-maker, Alina Starkov

In a war-torn world, lowly map-maker and orphan Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) has unleashed an extraordinary power that could be the key to setting her country free. In order to hone her powers, she must train with the elite army of magical soldiers called the Grisha. 

SHADOW AND BONE (L to R) JESSIE MEI LI as ALINA STARKOV of SHADOW AND BONE Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2021
  1. Shadow and Bone combines the Grisha trilogy with the Six of Crows duology

The new Netflix series will combine both Shadow and Bone with the Six of Crows together. Although Six of Crows happens way after the Grisha trilogy, the Netflix series has taken creative twists to blend the two novels together. So fans of the books have something to look forward to when watching Shadow and Bone

  1. There are humans and there are Grisha.

Grishas are humans with special abilities to manipulate matter around them, which they call small science. There are three categories of Grisha that have specialized types underneath their umbrella. 

Corporalki have the ability to manipulate the human body.

  • Heartrenders are one of the most dangerous kinds who have the power to control others’ human organs. They can stop a person’s heart or make it beat faster or slower; influence human emotions by releasing certain human chemicals in the body; and, stop a person from breathing or help continue their breathing. Heartrenders wear red with black embroidery. 
  • Healers have the ability to heal others — mending bones, tissues, and ligaments. Healers wear red with grey embroidery.
  • Tailors have the ability to change a person’s appearance. They wear red with blue embroidery. 

Materialki or Fabrikators have the ability to manipulate composite materials such as wood, metal, glass, etc.

  • Durasts can control solid materials. They wear grey and purple. 
  • Alkemi works with poisons and blasting powders. They wear purple and red.

Etherealki or Summoners have the ability to manipulate natural elements.

  • Squallers can control air elements – create storms and gusts of wind. Squallers wear blue with silver embroidery.
  • Inferni can control fire elements by absorbing the gases around them. Inferni can be seen wearing blue with red embroidery.
  • Tidemakers can control water elements. 
  • Shadow summoner can manipulate darkness and there is only one that we know of — General Kirigan (Ben Barnes)
  • There is a legend of the Sun summoner, who has the ability to manipulate light and heat from the sun. The series implies this could be Alina Starkov.
Keith Thompson’s Map of Ravka from Leigh Bardugo’s website
  1. The world of Shadow and Bone is comprised of Ravka (and West Ravka), Ketch, Fjerda, and Shu Han. 

For the purposes of Shadow and Bone, these are the countries that are shown in the series. 

  • Ravka is ruled by the king, but the mysterious and dangerous Shadow Fold had split the country in half to create West Ravka. The King still rules both Ravka and West Ravka, but there are growing talks of rebellion on West Ravka. The series mainly takes place in this country. The country of Ravka is similar to Tsarist Russia. 
  • Ketch is a small island that is neutral to other countries but operates by its own rules. Their main city is Ketterdam where organized crime rules and indentured slavery exists. Ketterdam is where the Crows are from.
  • Fjerda is north of Ravka and their people are similar to Vikings where they wear their beards and believe Grisha are witches. 
  • Shu Han is south of Ravkaa and their people have East Asian features. Not much is known about them other than they are at odds with the Ravkans. There is discrimination towards the Shu people in Ravka. 
  1. The Shadow Fold is a large dark path of darkness that split Ravka into two. 

Inside the fold, there is only darkness and scary winged creatures called the Volcra. No one knows where the Shadow Fold came from or how to get rid of it. Very few voyages through the Fold have made it out alive. 

SHADOW AND BONE (L to R) KIT YOUNG as JESPER FAHEY, AMITA SUMAN as INEJ GHAFA and FREDDY CARTER as KAZ BREKKER of SHADOW AND BONE Cr. DAVID APPLEBY/NETFLIX © 2021
  1. The Crows are a group of lovable con-artists

The Crows are not part of the Shadow and Bone series but were added into the story. Led by Kaz Brekker (Freddy Carter), the Crows are highly skilled fighters and thieves. They are survivors who are willing to do the toughest challenges for the biggest reward. 

  1. Netflix is dropping all eight episodes at once. 

Be prepared to binge all eight episodes that drop globally on April 23 only on Netflix. 

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