All powers and terms in Netflix’s “Shadow and Bone” series explained

Alchemy of Souls | Teaser
Alchemy of Souls | Teaser

If you have seen Netflix “Shadow and Bone” Season 1 and not read the books, you will find the explanation of powers and terms in this article helpful. The first season was based on the “Shadow and Bone” trilogy and “Six of Crows” duology, novels in the ‘Grishaverse’ which Israeli-American fantasy author Leigh Bardugo created.

Other seasons, as Netflix has ordered for a second season already, will follow events in the “King of Scars” duology. Here is an explanation of all the recurring terms and powers in the “Shadow and Bone” series.

1. Etherealki

All the powers in Netflix's "Shadow and Bone" series explained
Zoya (played by Sujaya Dasgupta)

These are members of the Grisha order of summoners, and their name comes from the word “ethereal”, which means something otherworldly. While they cannot create matter, they can manipulate it. Summoners are considered the strongest of Grishas. In this order are the following:

  • Sun Summoner – A Grisha who can summon and control sunlight. They can call on its brightness and heat to various degrees and for different purposes. Alina Starkov is a sun summoner.
  • Shadow Summoner (Darkling) – They are the direct opposite of sun summoners, as they can summon and manipulate darkness. It allows them to fashion weapons out of nothing, and a skilful Grisha like General Kirigan / Aleksander can use it to create barriers and monsters.
  • Squallers – With mastery over wind pressure, squallers create storms to sail ships and enough force to knock enemies out cold. Zoya and Nadia are squallers in the Netflix series.
  • Tidemakers – As their name suggests, they can control the tides through temperature and pressure. They are just like ‘water benders’ in the Avatar franchise.
  • Inferni – Yes, their name comes from the word inferno. They can make fire by controlling flammable gases like methane or hydrogen out of thin air and with a spark. Their destructive tendencies and temper make them dangerous.

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2. Corporalki

Shadow and Bone: 5 things to expect in season 2 of Netflix's Fantasy adaptation
Nina Zenik is a heartrender (played by Danielle Galligan)

It is difficult to explain where the name comes from, but Grisha in this order have control over the living (and the dead). Likely, their order’s name comes from the high position they occupy in the Second Army (like corporal).

  • Heartrenders – They can read and control a person’s heart. This makes them into a feelings-detecting-machine as they can tell when a heart rate changes and interpret its meaning. Also, they can slow a person’s pulse to make them more susceptible, quicking it to make breathing difficult, or squeeze out the air to make them pass out or die.
  • Healers – The medical team of the Grisha order that can treat wounds unless it is fatal and too late.
  • Tailors – Their ability ranges from beautifying a person’s appearance to changing it completely. They are very rare, and the only Grisha tailor in the Netflix “Shadow and Bone” series is Genya Safin.

3. Materialki

All the powers and terms in Netflix's "Shadow and Bone" series explained
David Kostyk is a Durast (played by Luke Pasqualino)

These are Grisha who can manipulate material things, and their skill makes them fabricators (Fabrikators in the Grishaverse).

  • Durasts – They have control over solid materials like metal, glass, textiles, and they made the ‘corecloth’, which are bulletproof, to keep Grisha fighters safe.
  • Alkemi – Or chemists, if you prefer. They control chemicals and are experts in poison and explosives as well as potions.

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4. Wraith

All the powers and terms in Netflix's "Shadow and Bone" series explained
Inej Ghafa played by Amita Suman

Silent spies are called ‘wraith’ in the Grishaverse, and seeing Inej Ghafa’s ability to blend with her surroundings and appear (or disappear) at will gives it all the meaning that there is to know.

5. Saints

These are Grishas who did things beyond imagination. Some of them are saints for their miracles while others, for their martyrdom. Known saints from “Shadow and Bone” include Sankta Lizabeta of the Roses, Sankt Ilya in Chains, Sankta Ursula, Sankta Maradi, and the Starless Saint. Alina Starkov is also a saint because she had been prophesied long before her birth.

6. Fjerdan Drüskelle

These are witch hunters who believe that the world will be a better place without Grishas. They are sworn enemies determined to eradicate themselves.

You may also like to read our recent article, Who is the first Superman actor? – 10 facts about Kirk Alyn.

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About The Author


Obinna is a fiction writer from Lagos, Nigeria, and grew up loving comic book characters and superheroes. He watches lots of action films and writes entertainment and technology articles. He is also interested in science and how things work.

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