BUILDING THE WORLD OF
SHADOW AND BONE
By Kayti Burt
From True Sea to shining Unsea, Shadow and Bone’s worldbuilding is impressive.
Shadow and Bone is set in a fictional world where some people, known as Grisha, have magical powers.
Most of the main action in the first season of the show is set in Ravka, a kingdom that is fighting a war on two fronts: Fjerda, its neighbor to the north, and Shu Han, its neighbor to the south.
Ravka is torn in two by a literal, monster-hiding swath of darkness called the Shadow Fold.
West Ravka is the part of Ravka to the west of the Shadow Fold, along the coast of the True Sea. Cut off from the kingdom's rulers for hundreds of years, the region has its eye on secession.
Fjerda is located to the north of Ravka. It is home to the drüskelle, an order of warriors who hunt and murder Grisha because they believe they are evil witches. Matthias is from Fjerda.
An island country in the True Sea, Kerch is where Kaz, Inej, and Jesper live. Ketterdam, known for gambling and other commerce, is the capital city of Kerch.
Shu Han is to the south of Ravka. Alina is part Shu, and often has to deal with the racism that comes along with this visible minority, as Ravka is at war with Shu Han.
The world of Shadow and Bone is fictional, but author Leigh Bardugo drew inspiration from Tsarist Russia for Ravka, Scandinavia for Fjerda, and China and Mongolia for Shu Han.
Kerch is inspired by the Dutch Republic of the 18th century, which is why its capital city is called Ketterdam, after Amsterdam. We’ll learn more about the Grishaverse as the show carries on!