- Shadow and Bone -A 'Shadow And Bone' Glossary, So You Don't Confuse The Barrel With Ravka
Welcome to Shadow and Bone, the latest show based on a book series with enough magical jargon to make you feel like you're on the Tea Cups ride at Disney after just one conversation.
Shadow and Bone is based on the trilogy of the same name by author Leigh Bardugo, but the trilogy itself is part of a much larger universe — the Grishaverse, which encompasses not only the original trilogy, but also the Six of Crows duology, the King of Scars duology, and a couple of short story collections. It's a lot, which is why I made a Shadow and Bone glossary to help you avoid walking away from the first episode feeling like you've just sat through an extremely confusing magical history lesson.
I'm going to be straight with you: Shadow and Bone isn't going to ease you into its world. It prefers the language immersion approach to learning, so expect to hear the characters say things like "Inferni," "Kerch," and "Volcra" with little to know explanation. By the end of the season, the Grishaverse lingo begins to make sense, but it's all a bit overwhelming at the start. So consider this your cheat sheet, because this fantasy series is too good to bail on just because it won't slow down and tell you what the hell a kefta is.
Ravka: The country of Ravka is Season 1's primary location. It's led by the royal family of Lantsov, but they're little more than figureheads. The most important thing you need to know about Ravka is that it's a safe haven for Grisha and it's engaged in a war with its bordering countries Fjerda and Shu Han. It's also dealing with a potential internal uprising as West Ravka attempts to gain independence from East Ravka due to The Shadow Fold (more on that in a minute) splitting the country right down the middle.
The Shadow Fold: Sometimes called The Unsea, The Shadow Fold is a dark and treacherous void full of monsters that cuts Ravka off from the rest of the world.
Os Alta: The capital of Ravka, and home to The Little Palace and The Grand Palace. You'll notice it has a major Russian influence.
The Little Palace: A training ground for Grisha that was built by General Kirigan, A.K.A. The Darkling (Ben Barnes).
Kerch: In a world full of warring countries, Kerch is Switzerland. The small island remains neutral and welcoming to people from all parts of the map in order to preserve its reputation as a trade hub.
Ketterdam: If Amsterdam and Las Vegas had a steampunk baby, it would be Ketterdam. The capital of Kerch is a haven of debauchery and the home of the Crows — Kaz (Freddy Carter), Inej (Amita Suman), and Jesper (Kit Young).
The Barrel: If you're looking for gambling, brothels, or simply to disappear, then the Barrel is the place to do it. This is the area of Ketterdam where the Crow Club is located, and it's ruled by a number of gangs. To give you an idea of what kind of reputation Kaz has, he's also known as "The Bastard of the Barrel."
The Menagerie: A brothel run by Tante Heleen, a known human trafficker. Inej is indentured to her, and willing to do anything to gain her freedom.
Crow Club: Run by Kaz and his gang the Dregs, the Crow Club is a gambling house frequented by merchants and visitors to Ketterdam.
Hellgate: A soul-crushing prison located on a small island just beyond Kerch.
Fjerda: Ravka's neighbor to the south, Fjerdans believe all Grisha are witches and should be eradicated.
Shu Han: Shu Han is modeled after China, and it's where Alina's (Jessie Mei Li) mother was from. It's a scientifically advanced country, but its advancements come at the cost of its Grisha, who are subjected to nightmarish experimentation.
Novyi Zem: The homeland of Jesper, Novyi Zem is known for its farmland and its chief export, a highly sought after plant called Jurda.
Organizations You Should Know
Grisha: At the heart of the show are Grisha, people with special abilities that connect them to natural elements like fire, metal, and air. They don't like their gifts to be referred to as magic. Instead, they dub their abilities "the small science," because they can't conjure things out of thin air. They also must be able to touch their hands together in order to use their powers.
Drüskelle: A group of Fjerdan soldiers who hunt and kill Grisha. Nina's (Danielle Galligan) captor Matthais (Calahan Skogman) is a member of this army.
First Army: Ravka's non-Grisha army. Mal (Archie Renaux) and Alina are both soldiers in the First Army at the start of the series.
Second Army: This is Ravka's Grisha army, which is far more highly regarded than the First Army.
Merchant Council: Kerch's governing body, which is made up of the country's most wealthy and influential people.
Stadwatch: The name for Kerch's police force.
Dime Lions: A gang run by Kaz's sworn enemy, Pekka Rollins.
The Dregs: A gang of thieves run by Kaz. Jesper and Inej are also members.
Corporalki: Grishas who can manipulate the body. This order includes Healers, Heartrenders, and Tailors like Nina and Genya (Daisy Head). They usually wear the color red.
Healers: Any Grisha who can heal wounds and injuries — they're especially useful in military settings.
Heartrenders: Their powers give them the ability to control people's internal organs, making them extremely dangerous.
Tailors: Grisha who can manipulate people's features (changing faces, erasing scars, etc.).
Etherealki: The order of the Grisha with powers relating to fire, wind, and the sea. You can spot them wearing blue.
Squallers: Grisha's who control the wind and air.
Inferni: These Grisha control fire.
Tidemakers: And these can control water, including the ocean tides.
Shadow Summoner: An extremely rare Grisha talent, a Shadow Summoner can control shadows and the dark. The Darkling is one.
Sun Summoner: Even rarer than the Shadow Summoner, the Sun Summoner can control the light. This ability is thought to be mythical until Alina discovers her powers.
Materialki: Grishas who can manipulate metal, chemicals, glass, and textiles. They wear the color purple.
Fabrikators: The term for Alkemi and Durasts, Grishas who fall under the Materialki order.
Miscellaneous Grishaverse Terms
Amplifier: Objects or humans who increase a Grisha's power. Usually, a Grisha must kill an animal in order to use its bones to amplify their powers, and most Grisha only get one amplifier in their lifetime. Human amplifiers are even rarer than the animal ones, and The Darkling is one.
Kefta: The colorful robes worn by Grishas. They're made by Fabrikators, and as a result, they're bulletproof.
Kruge: The money of Kerch.
Merzost: Dark magic used to create something out of nothing. It's frowned upon by most Grishas, and is considered extremely dangerous because it always comes at a cost (The Shadow Fold is an excellent example).
Morozova's Stag: Like the Sun Summoner, Morozova's Stag is considered to be mythical until it is discovered by Mal. The stag is a powerful amplifier.
The Small Science: Grisha powers.
Volcra: The winged monsters that live within the fold.
Truthfully, this is just a few of the terms you'll encounter on your Shadow & Bone journey, but these are the key words you need to know in order to jump into the Grishaverse action.
Images: Attila Szvacsek/Netflix; David Appleby/Netflix; Netflix