Courtesy of Netflix

 Edited by Nick Romano

Here's a crash course into your next fantasy TV obsession.

A Beginner's
Guide to Netflix's
Shadow and Bone

David Appleby/Netflix

Shadow and Bone, based on author Leigh Bardugo's massively popular fantasy series of young-adult novels, streams on Netflix starting April 23.

David Appleby/Netflix

For those just now hopping aboard the Grishaverse bandwagon, here is a crash course in everything Ravka, the Small Science, and Sun Summoners.

Attila Szvacsek/Netflix

The Grishaverse refers to all of Bardugo's books, set in a world she describes as more "Imperial Russia, not Medieval England."

What the heck is the Grishaverse?

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"Grisha" is how people of this world refer to magic users. They call it the "Small Science." Grisha can manipulate matter at its most fundamental level.

What are Grisha?

David Appleby/Netflix

The Etherealki are the summoners. Squallers can call upon wind, Inferni can manipulate fire, and Tidemakers can control water. 

David Appleby/Netflix

Shadow Summoners can manipulate darkness, which is a lot more powerful than it sounds. General Kirigan is the only one in the king's army of Grisha, which he leads.

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The most coveted of the Grisha is the elusive Sun Summoner, who can conjure light.

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According to legend, a Shadow Summoner, who was chosen as the king’s military advisor, used a forbidden form of Small Science to form his own army. 

WHY ARE SUN SUMMONERS SO COVETED?

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The Shadow Summoner became known as the Black Heretic when he lost control of the power and inadvertently created The Shadow Fold. It’s believed a Sun Summoner can bring it down. 

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The Shadow Fold is a large expanse of impenetrable darkness that divides Ravka, full of hideous winged monstrosities that will attack anything that enters.

WHAT IS THE SHADOW FOLD?

David Appleby/Netflix

The creation of The Fold also created a stigma around Grisha for some time, especially Shadow Summoners. 

David Appleby/Netflix

That's what the legend says. Alina Starkov is revealed to be a Sun Summoner, which kicks off this whole saga. 

A SUN SUMMONER COULD DISPERSE THE FOLD?

David Appleby/Netflix

 She inadvertently releases her untapped Sun Summoner powers and that puts her on the Grisha's radar. That's the starting point for season 1.

David Appleby/Netflix

The show's first eight episodes are actually a mix of two books in the Grishaverse: Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows. Six of Crows is more like a fantasy heist story.

IS SEASON 1 STRICTLY ADAPTING THE FIRST BOOK?

Attila Szvacsek/Netflix

"It was a question of figuring out how to really Frankenstein these stories together,” author Leigh Bardugo explains. 

Attila Szvacsek/Netflix

 “As soon as we understood what the mechanism of that was, we understood how this was all gonna work."

Courtesy of Netflix

This change will allow the show to introduce characters including Inej Ghafa, Matthias Helvar, Nina Zenik, and more.

Courtesy of Netflix

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