Shadow and Bone

by

Leigh Bardugo

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Shadow and Bone: Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Alina doesn’t think things can get worse, but they do, on the day that the black-haired Grisha who seemed interested in Mal arrives. Marie groans and mutters that her name is Zoya; she’s a year older and “horrible,” as she’s extremely snobby. Alina rolls her eyes and wonders if Zoya might know where Mal is, but it makes her sick to consider asking. Just then, Zoya comes over and hugs Marie and Nadia. They all smile fake smiles. Marie introduces Alina and Zoya pulls Alina into a hug—and whispers in Alina’s ear that she “stink[s] of Keramzin.” Alina is shocked, and she dwells on Zoya’s insult all day.
Though Marie and Nadia are clear to Alina that they detest Zoya, part of being at court is pretending that they like her. This is why they all hug and share fake smiles. But Zoya ultimately shows how one can weaponize this kind of a social structure when she quietly and privately insults Alina while hugging her. The goal is to make Alina feel out of place and unwelcome while not looking like a jerk—and it seems to work.
Themes
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
Zoya joins the Grisha at their combat lesson, and Botkin kisses her on the cheek. Alina isn’t surprised when Botkin has her spar with Zoya. She is surprised, though, when she evades Zoya’s first jab—and after a minute, manages to trip Zoya. Furious, Zoya slashes the air with her arm, sending Alina flying backward and into the wall. Botkin yells at Zoya and Alina faints as servants lift her onto a stretcher. Later, in the infirmary, Marie and Nadia tell Alina she broke a rib and that Zoya is in huge trouble with the Darkling. But when Alina asks why Zoya is so mean, they explain that she’s wildly jealous. After all, she’s just a Squaller, while Alina is the Sun Summoner: Alina is the Darkling’s favorite. Alina can tell Nadia is jealous too, and she wonders how Marie and Nadia talk about her when she’s not around.
Though Alina is far more focused on evading Zoya than on her broken ribs, the fact that she trips Zoya at all suggests she’s getting better—she’s not as incompetent as she thinks she is. However, chatting with Marie and Nadia later makes Alina feel like perhaps these two aren’t actually friends. They’re also jealous of the attention Alina gets from the Darkling. Generally speaking, this suggests that a lot of the Grisha hierarchy is based on how close a person is to the Darkling. Getting close to him is an honor—and it doesn’t seem to matter how powerful and frightening it is to actually be close to the Darkling. 
Themes
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Alina falls asleep after a Healer ushers Marie and Nadia out. She wakes up again when it’s dark, pours herself water, and opens the window. The Apparat startles her when he appears out of the shadows. He asks if she’s well and says it’s essential she stay healthy. Alina’s panic rises. The Apparat continues that in border villages, people are making altars to Alina—they think she’s a saint. She’s becoming a threat to something powerful enough to topple kings and the Darkling: faith. As the Apparat reaches for Alina, Alina knocks her water glass to the floor, where it shatters. A Healer enters and the Apparat silently slips away before he’s noticed. The Healer ushers Alina back into bed. Once she’s alone again, Alina turns on her lamp. If people are praying for her to save them, she’s letting down all of Ravka by continuing to fail.
What’s particularly disturbing about the Apparat is that he tends to approach Alina when she’s alone and has her guard down—that is, when she’s vulnerable. In this sense, he seems predatory and dangerous. What he has to say, though, suggests that Alina might have more power than she thinks. Unlike the other Grisha, Alina has the people’s love—she can make them hope for a better future, and she seems relatable. But this just puts an even heavier weight on Alina, as she realizes there are thousands of people who would probably be really upset if they knew how poorly all her lessons were going. 
Themes
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
Genya visits in the morning and is unconcerned about the Apparat—though she agrees that Alina should move back to her room. She asks to fix Alina’s dark circles, but Alina refuses and asks if Genya could try to track down Mal with her Grand Palace connections (he’s not dead, since he’s not on the casualty lists). Genya refuses to look for Mal unless Alina lets her fix the dark circles, so Alina complies. Later, she moves back to her room and tries to read. She’s certain people will be gossiping about her after the altercation with Zoya. As Alina gets up, she notices her reflection in the mirror. She looks ill and scrawny, not like a Grisha. Why can’t she access her power? Zoya is awful, but she’s right: Alina doesn’t belong here.
Mal is the only person who’s ever made Alina feel fully welcome and at home, so it’s extremely difficult not knowing if he’s okay—or if he’s mad at her somehow. That Genya doesn’t tease Alina about him, though, suggests that Genya might be stepping up and becoming a closer friend. Despite that, though, Alina still feels wholly out of place. This adds to Alina’s growing depression and to her sense of failure.
Themes
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
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