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Literature / The Grishaverse

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The Grishaverse is a fictional literary universe by Leigh Bardugo that encompasses The Grisha Trilogy (the first series set in the 'verse), Six of Crows, The Nikolai Duology and The Language of Thorns. The series is set in a world that evokes 19th-century Earth, and the titular Grisha are mages with the ability to manipulate matter.

The books in this universe are:

In 2019 it was announced that Netflix would be adapting a series (titled Shadow and Bone) based on the books. The first season adapted Shadow and Bone and included prequel stories for the Six of Crows characters. It stars Jessie Mei as Alina Starkov, Archei Renaux as Mal Oretsev, Freddy Carter as Kaz Bekker, Amita Suman as Inej Ghafa and Ben Barnes as the Darkling. Initially scheduled for a late 2020 release, the COVID-19 pandemic slowed the work on post-production, and it was released in April 2021, running for two seasons before being canceled in 2023.

This franchise often provides examples of:

  • Color-Coded Wizardry: Grisha wear robes called kefta, which are color-coded depending on which class they belong to: Etherealki (blue), Corporalki (red), and Materialki (purple). Servants wear white and grey. The Darkling is technically an Etherealki, but only he can wear the color black.
  • Fantastic Rank System: Ravka has two armies: the First Army, comprised of otkazat'sya (non-Grisha humans, Ravkan word for "the abandoned") and the Second Army, comprised of Grisha. In the First Army, one can be a soldier, cartographer, or tracker. Within the Second Army, Corporalki are the highest ranking followed by Etherealki (with the exception of summoners who get special treatment) and then Materialki.
  • Fantastic Racism: Although some Grisha look down on the rest, there is a mistrust, fear, and jealousy of their power. Grisha are often used, discriminated against, oppressed, and even hunted. The Drüskelle are a violent anti-Grisha cult. The Darkling's raison-d'être is to free the Grisha from oppression and servitude. Bardugo, who is non-practicing Jewish, loosely based anti-Grisha sentiment on antisemitism. Which would make the Drüskelle...
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Most of the cultures in are based on real-life ones.
    • Ravka is Tsarist Russia of the early to mid 19th century. Even its history of having been scattered provinces that unified is reminiscent of the Kievan Rus' of the Middle Ages, which preceded a united Russia. The Lantsov family crest, a double eagle, closely resembles that of the Romanovs.
    • The Suli are more of a Culture Chop Suey, most closely resembling the Romani with Jewish, South Asian, and Persian influences thrown in.
    • Kerch is clearly Dutch, with the capital of Ketterdam a clear stand-in for Amsterdam.
    • Novyi Zem is loosely inspired by the American colonies and Australia with some African influences.
    • Fjerda is Scandinavia. The Hedjut are likely based on the Nordic Sámi people and other Arctic populations.
    • The Wandering Isle is Ireland.
    • Shu Han is China and Mongolia.
  • Fire, Water, Wind: The verse's category of mages with Elemental Powers, the Etherealki, is subdivided into Inferni, Tidemakers, and Squallers.
  • Gender Is No Object:
    • The Grisha make no distinctions between gender.
    • The Dregs, and presumable other gangs of Ketterdam, also seem to follow this principle. Most notable are Inej and Nina, handpicked by Kaz to be part of the Dreg's inner circle based on skill alone. A cursory look at names of minor Dregs features some women as well, and later on one of the snipers that ambushes the Crows at the docks is a young woman. It is mentioned Nina could have become a mercenary.
  • Magitek: Grisha talents aren't just for the battlefield—Fabrikators create new technology, while Squallers maintain breathable air in submarines and Heartrenders revolutionize medicine.
  • Medieval Stasis: Averted. While initially Ravka is stuck technologically due to having a giant monster-filled wall of darkness across the middle of the country while also fighting a war, other countries are undergoing industrial revolutions. As soon as the Fold is gone Ravka rapidly begins to catch up under Nikolai's guidance, using Magitek to create submarines, airships, and mortars, among other things.
  • The Show of the Books: Adapted by Netflix as Shadow and Bone