Shadow and Bone reveal that Ravka is at war with Fjerda and Shu Han. We delve into what exactly they are fighting and how the Fold makes it worse.

Warning! Spoilers ahead for Shadow and bone season 1.

On Shadow and bone Season 1, Ravka, the country at the center of the action, is perpetually at war with neighboring nations Shu Han and Fjerda. The conflicts between the countries date back hundreds of years, even further back than when Darkling created the Fold, a deadly shadow barrier that separates the western part of Ravka from its eastern regions. So what happened that led to war with each other?

Shadow and bone It first introduces Ravka, who is the hotspot for everything that is happening in the series and the country where most of the main characters live, including Alina Starkov and her best friend Mal Oretsev. Before being drafted into the army, Alina and Mal grew up in an orphanage in Keramzin, a southern city closer to Shu Han’s borders, which is separated from the country by mountains and influenced by real-world East Asia ( Japan, Korea, but especially China). North of Ravka is Fjerda, which is inspired by the Scandinavian region (Norway, Denmark, Sweden). Alina is quick to point out that she never felt at home in Ravka because she is part of Shu, and her treatment by various characters is a reminder of which nation Ravka views as the enemy.

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Conflicts with Fjerda and Shu Han are presented indirectly through Alina and Nina Zenik, a Grisha who can manipulate organs such as the heart. Alina is constantly reminded that Shu Han is inferior and experiences racism because of it. This hatred is embedded in the Ravkan culture and the image of Shu Han as angry antagonists is heavy, but limited. Meanwhile, Nina (and Mal, to some extent), have run-ins with the Fjerdans, Ravka’s enemies in the north who enjoy hunting down and kidnapping (or killing) Grisha. Why exactly the three nations have so much tension with each other is briefly addressed in Shadow and bone season 1, but there is more to the story than can be gleaned from the books.

Explanation of Ravka’s war with Fjerda and Shu Han

Map of Shadows and Bones

Ravka has been at war with Fjerda and Shu Han for centuries. The citizens of Ravkan are recruited into the First Army to fight and the conflict is so extensive that the king has a Second Army, consisting of Grisha, as a backup. Shadow and bone suggests that wars are something that even the Grisha, who are powerful in their manipulations of physical and chemical elements, cannot win on their own. When the Black Heretic created the Fold, Ravka was already at war with neighboring nations. One of the common points of Fjerda and Shu Han is the hatred of the nations towards Grisha and they are increasingly hunted on both sides.

However, bloody wars go far beyond that, that is, they have to do with territorial and border disputes. More land means more resources, control over the region, and power. In this sense, wars reflect real world conflicts that have historically been about the same. The expansion into Ravkan’s territory provides the opportunity for Fjerda and Shu Han to take control of the region, which is more than likely what they want. Ravka would give them better access to the True Sea and the island nation of Kerch, where Kaz Brekker, Inej Ghafa, and Jesper Fahey reside, as well as strength in political affairs. Aside from border and territorial disputes, author Leigh Bardugo doesn’t go into much detail about the war in the Shadow and bone books. It is unclear when the conflicts began to occur, only that they have been ongoing with no signs of ending anytime soon.

Of course, there are hints that Darkling is manipulating the king, whispering in his ear to continue the war. You may want to continue the fight to maintain the status of Grisha and the Second Army. This could be fueled by the fear that if there is no war to fight, the Grisha will once again be hunted on Ravka as they were centuries before. Similarly, the Darkling wanting to expand the Fold rather than destroy it would also maintain the power it has over Ravka and, by extension, the war. However, Darkling’s involvement with the king’s decisions in the book is merely hinted at and is never really confirmed.

How The Shadow Fold Affects Fjerda And Shu Han’s Conflict

The creation of Shadow Fold may not have extinguished the ongoing battles with Shu Han and Fjerda, but it created a host of new problems that have affected not only Ravka, but also the state of the country at war. Suffice it to say that Ravka is an incredibly fragile country today. Fold’s appearance has devastated the nation and things have only gotten worse over the centuries, with the east (where the king and queen reside) being forced to seek food and other resources from the west for the war effort. .

What’s more, the physical barrier has also created tensions between the two sides of the nation that are on full display in Shadow and bone. An uprising seems imminent, with Ravka on the brink of civil war and the west, led by the ambitious General Zlatan, wanting to separate from the east to become his own sovereign nation. This division inherently weakens Ravka as a unified nation, making it easier for the other kingdoms to pounce and take advantage of the situation. Shu Han and Fjerda have likely been watching Ravka unravel from within; they are probably aware of the tensions between the two sides and are probably biding their time to strike when Ravka is at her most vulnerable.

The Fold is effectively deteriorating Ravka on the inside, with much of the focus centered on tempering the rising tide of rebellion, destroying the pesky swath of darkness, and funding the war effort. In short, the nation is under a lot of pressure and has been overextended. With the Darkling having expanded the Fold in Novokribirsk and killing a Kerch dignitary at the end of Shadow and bone Season 1, Ravka faces an existential crisis and even more potential conflict with Shu Han, Fjerda, and other neighboring nations. While Shu Han and Fjerda remain relatively elusive for the time being, it is possible Shadow and bone season 2 could expand its inner workings. The story may not focus on any of the nations, but it would certainly help solidify and develop the nature of war and where it is progressing.

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