If you’re a fan of Leigh Bardugo’s novels—as well as the Netflix series—and still a little confused as to what a Durast is in Shadow and Bone and the three orders of the Grisha, consider this your guide.
Into its second season, the acclaimed fantasy series Shadow and Bone debuted in 2021. It’s based on Bardugo’s “Grishaverse” books and tells the story of Alina Starkov, a soldier and orphan who possesses extraordinary power that could change the course of the war, and indeed the world. Season one followed her journey as she uncovered and honed her power, while season two will explore “new friendships, new romance, bigger battles, epic adventures — and a shocking family secret that could shatter everything,” per the official synopsis.
Ben Barnes, who plays General Kirigan, explained to TV Insider that his character is still redeemable after everything that happens in season one. “We have to believe he’s redeemable or he becomes not interesting to watch,” he said. “I think the use of power he shows and manipulation is not forgivable, so he certainly shouldn’t be rewarded for it, but if he can find a way to explain and apologize essentially, and understand where he went wrong, then, we have to believe everyone’s redeemable, don’t we?”
What is a Durast in ‘Shadow and Bone’?
What is a Durast in ‘Shadow and Bone’? We could just dive in and explain Durasts are Grisha of the Materialki order, but if you don’t know what a Grisha is first and foremost, that’s not going to make a whole lot of sense.
The Grisha are humans who practice the Small Science. All matter in the universe can be broken down into the same essential parts and Grisha have the ability to manipulate it at its most fundamental level. It might look like magic, but it’s actually the practice of precise science that abides by physical laws. Grisha are divided into three orders and each comes with unique abilities: Corporalki, Etherealki and Materialki.
Corporalki are also known as the Order of the Living and the Dead; their power focuses on the human body. There are three subtypes of Corporalki. The Heartrenders, can manipulate and, if they so choose, damage the organs of others. Healers, as the name would suggest, can mend injuries. Tailors, meanwhile, can change superficial things like hair color or the shape of someone’s face.
Etherealki are also known as the Order of Summoners whose power lies in manipulating different natural elements like fire, wind and water. Squallers can control air and wind; Inferni can manipulate fire and other gases, while Tidemakers, as you might guess, can control and manipulate water.
For the Materialki, aka the Order of the Fabrikators, their power focuses on composite materials like metal, glass, textiles and chemicals. Within the Materialki are two groups: the Durasts, who can manipulate glass, steel, wood, plants, stone, or anything solid on a molecular level; and Alkemi, who work with chemicals, poisons and other substances. Spoiler alert incoming for season one: Jesper is a Grisha, specifically a Durast.
Barnes’ character is a rare type of Etherealki known as a Shadow Summoner while his nemesis in the show, Alina Starkov, is a Sun Summoner who is also technically considered to be Etherealki. In an interview with TV Insider, Jessie Mei Li, who plays Starkov, explained what she thinks being a Sun Summoner means to her character. “The way I kind of imagine it is, Alina has always felt different. That’s in the text. She’s looked different and she’s been different. And more people, I think, experience this feeling than admit it, so I’m just going to say it,” she said.
“I think people often feel like, ‘I’m special and there’s something important about me, and I just don’t know what it is.’ Everyone has that feeling, and they know that there’s something that they have to offer. And Alina hasn’t found out what that is yet. So, when she finds out she’s the sun summoner, it’s kind of like she knew the whole time. It’s almost that feeling of vindication. But also terror, because it’s like so much more than she was expecting and she has to come to terms with the responsibilities involved.”
Here’s what to expect in season two, per Netflix’s official synopsis: “Alina Starkov is on the run. A beacon of hope to some and a suspected traitor to others, she’s determined to bring down the Shadow Fold and save Ravka from ruin. But General Kirigan has returned to finish what he started. Backed by a terrifying new army of seemingly indestructible shadow monsters and fearsome new Grisha recruits, Kirigan is more dangerous than ever.
It continues: “To stand a fighting chance against him, Alina and Mal rally their own powerful new allies and begin a continent-spanning journey to find two mythical creatures that will amplify her powers. Back in Ketterdam, the Crows must forge new alliances as they contend with old rivals and even older grudges that threaten not only their place in the Barrel, but their very lives. When a chance at a deadly heist comes their way, the Crows will once again find themselves on a collision course with the legendary Sun Summoner.”
Shadow and Bone is available to stream on Netflix.
All three books in Leigh Bardugo’s New York Times-bestselling Shadow and Bone trilogy are now available together in a beautiful paperback boxed set. Soldier. Summoner. Saint. Follow Alina Starkov through Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising as she discovers her dormant powers and is swept up in a world of luxury and illusion. As Alina struggles to fit into her new life, a threat to the kingdom of Ravka grows―one that will test old alliances and challenge the very limits of magic, one that will forge a leader from a frightened girl.
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