The Grishaverse In ‘Shadow And Bone,’ Explained: Things That You Must Know Before Watching Season 2

If you’re not a reader or haven’t had the time to catch up with season 1 of the beloved show, don’t fret; we’ve got you covered. Check out our recap article for a full rundown of everything that went down in Season 1 of “Shadow and Bone.” Fantasy is all about world-building, and Leigh Bardugo has created a very compelling world that fantasy fans are going to want to delve into. We’ll try to make things a little bit easier for you by giving you a 101 on the Grishaverse.


Spoilers Ahead

What Are The Grisha And Their Types?

The Grisha are basically people who have an affinity for certain elements that allows them to manipulate these elements. Their practice is called “small science”. The Grisha are found in Ravka because that is the safest country for them; most other countries hunt or experiment on the Grisha. They’re magical and powerful beings who can control elements such as metal, the wind, the sun, and even human organ function (Harry Potter, step aside). The Grisha are divided into three main categories which are termed as “the Materialki” “the Corporalki” and “”the Etherealki.” The Corporalki are considered the most powerful of the categories because their power targets the human body, hence making them the highest-ranked soldiers. The most feared Grisha are the Heartrenders. They have the ability to stop hearts, even crush them or suck out the air from their target’s lungs. Their weakness is that their target has to be visible to them.


Each category of Grisha wears a garment called the Kefta in specific colors to identify what kind of Grisha they are. The Heartrenders wear crimson Keftas which has a mesmerizing black embroidery on it. Nina Zenik and Fedyor Kaminsk are the Heartrenders seen in the show. Tailors are basically plastic surgeons, but cooler. They have the ability to alter the appearance of themselves and others. Depending on their ability, the alterations can be for small amounts of time or permanent. Their Keftas are crimson with blue embroidery. Genya Safin is the only Tailor we’ve come across; as she mentions, she’s almost as rare as Alina herself, but she wears a white Kefta as she works for the queen. Healers belong to the third category of the Corporalki order. They mend bones and heal wounds, as their name suggests. Their Keftas are crimson with gray embroidery, and the Black Heretic’s lover is the only known Healer in the show.

The  Etherealki include Squallers, Inferni, Tidemakers, Shadow Summoners, and the Sun Summoners. Squallers can manipulate wind, create storms, or work with air pressure. The Grisha of this order are dressed in blue Keftas with a distinctive silver embroidery on it, and Zoya Nazyalensky is a Squaller. As the name suggests, Inferni play with fire. Their Keftas are blue with red embroidery, and Inej’s favorite twins were Grisha of this kind. Tidemakers can control water through temperature and pressure. We haven’t met any in the show, but they wear blue Keftas with pale blue embroidery. As we already know, Alina is a Sun Summoner who can manipulate light and heat directly from the sun. There are more, but for now, Alina is the first of her kind to wear a blue Kefta with gold embroidery. The Darkling and Baghra are Shadow Summoners who get their power from darkness and shadows. They’re rare, extremely powerful, and wear black Keftas. 


The Materialki are the Grisha, who are best performing experiments in the science labs. Their power is misused by Fjerda, according to some Grisha, but this is not confirmed. They include the Durasts and Alkemi, who work closely together. The Durasts work with materials such as metals, glass, and textiles; they create special Keftas for the second army, and the Alkemi work on chemical matters. They can be spotted wearing a purple Keftas with grey and red embroidery, respectively.

Who Are The Crows? Why Are They Called So? 

Kaz Brekker owns a casino called the Crow Club, hence the name. He also has a walking stick with a Crow’s head. Kaz is a criminal mastermind who is popular among the people of Ketterdam. He has animosity with a man named Pekka Rollins, but nobody knows what it’s about (book readers, be quiet). He is also known as “Dirtyhands” because he’s never seen without gloves. Inej Ghafa is essentially his right-hand woman, who helps find him jobs so he can rise up the ranks in the barrel. She is a Suli girl who was kidnapped as a young girl and separated from her family to be sold off to a brothel. She’s a spy who is so silent that no one can know when she’s entered a room or exited it, except Kaz, of course. Her faith is important, and she has knife skills like no other. She keeps many knives and has named them after her saints. Like the one Alina gave her at the end of the show, any guesses about what she’ll be named? Jesper is the charming, off-beat sharpshooter of the lot. He has a gambling problem and gets distracted rather easily. His aim is unmatched, and although he loves to make jokes in difficult situations, he’s a big softie in a killer’s body. Nina is the rebellious Heartrender. She doesn’t just believe in free will for the Grisha but also befriends the enemy, Drüskelle. Matthias is bold, a little stupid, and mighty strong. He truly believes all Grisha are evil witches and need to be taken to trial. If you’re sensing enemies to lovers here, then good for you. Finally, it is known as the “Six of Crows,” so for show watchers, the 6th member is a new character we’ll be meeting in season 2. His name is Wylan Van Eck, and he’ll be joining the Crows soon on their next mission in season 2. They have a tagline, and all book fans screamed when it appeared on the show: “No mourners, no funerals.” 


The Darkling, The Shadow Fold, And The Volcra

The Darkling, or general Aleksander Kirigan, or *spoiler alert* the Black Heretic, was the man who created the Shadow Fold, which is a section of darkness that divides Ravka from end to end. The only way across it is via sandskiffs, as seen in season 1, especially now that the train is destroyed. The Darkling doesn’t want to destroy the Fold; it helps him be essentially evil. The Fold has creatures known as the Volcra, who happen to be all the people who were in the area of the Fold when it was created. For things to be normal in the Ravka, the Shadow Fold must be destroyed, and that is Alina’s task because she’s the only Grisha who is capable of doing it.

The Countries Of The Grishaverse

We have Ravka, where the Grisha live. They are divided into West Ravka and East Ravka because of the Fold. To the north, there is Fjerda, which is an icy cold region where the people are conservative, and they believe the Grisha are evil witches. The Drüskelle are their army and are specifically meant to hunt Grisha. They have an “Ice Court” where the military resides and looks after their country. They worship a lord called Djel and believe that everything is the way it is because it is the “will of Djel.” Ravka is bordered by Shu Han in the south, where a different race lives. Alina is half Shu in the show; hence, she’s hated as a “rice eater” in episode 1. The Shus also worry that the Grisha are something unnatural and try to capture them to experiment and see what exactly is the matter with them or possibly how their powers could be used. Kerch is a small island in the true sea, with the capital city of Ketterdam. Ketterdam is a trading hub of the world and is also a crime-ridden city where people like Kaz Brekker and Pekka Rollins thrive. Hellgate, the worst prison to be at, is also in Kerch (that’s where Matthias is being taken as a slaver). Finally, on the other side, we have Novyi Zem. Jesper grew up here, and here is where the dark-skinned people reside. They are mostly farmers and grow what is known as Jurda (which we learned about briefly when the conductor asked for some), which is used to make drugs such as Jurda Parem.


See more: ‘Shadow And Bone’ Season 1 Recap: What Is The Sun Summoner & More Questions Answered

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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika, or "Ru," is a fashion designer and stylist by day and a serial binge-watcher by night. She dabbles in writing when she has the chance and loves to entertain herself with reading, K-pop dancing, and the occasional hangout with friends.

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