Shadow and Bone

by

Leigh Bardugo

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Genya Character Analysis

Genya comes to be one of Alina’s closest friends at the Little Palace. Though Genya is technically a Corporalnik Grisha, when the Darkling discovered her “special talent”—she’s a Tailor, a Grisha who can essentially do magical makeup—he gave her to the Queen as a “gift.” Therefore, Genya is technically a servant, so the Grisha look down on her (in part because, like most female servants, Genya was forced to sleep with the King) while the other servants never fully accept her. Grisha also hate her because Genya is shockingly beautiful, with red hair and perfect, porcelain skin. But she and Alina bond over their outsider status, and Genya is instrumental in making Alina feel at home and showing her around the Little Palace. While Genya cryptically warns Alina about the Darkling by warning her to beware “powerful men,” it’s implied that Genya nevertheless supports the Darkling and, on some level, supports what he plans to do. The implication is that Genya caused the King to fall ill on the Darkling’s orders to earn her place among the Corporalki. Despite Genya’s companionship and support during her months at the Little Palace, Alina ends the novel still unsure if Genya was ever genuinely her friend.

Genya Quotes in Shadow and Bone

The Shadow and Bone quotes below are all either spoken by Genya or refer to Genya. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
).
Chapter 7 Quotes

“I…If it would be alright, I’d prefer to have blue robes, Summoners’ blue.”

“Alina!” exclaimed Genya, clearly horrified.

But the Darkling held up a hand to silence her. “Why?” he asked, his expression unreadable.

“I already feel like I don’t belong here. I think it might be easier if I weren’t…singled out.”

“Are you so anxious to be like everyone else?”

My chin lifted. “I just don’t want to be more conspicuous than I already am.”

The Darkling looked at me for a long moment. I wasn’t sure if he was thinking over what I’d said or trying to intimidate me, but I gritted my teeth and returned his gaze.

Abruptly, he nodded. “As you wish,” he said. “Your kefta will be blue.”

Related Characters: Alina Starkov (speaker), Genya (speaker), The Darkling (speaker)
Related Symbols: Alina’s Kefta
Page Number: 110-11
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

“The Darkling is very keen on the idea that we all eat hearty peasant fare. Saints forbid we forget we’re real Ravkans.”

I restrained a snort. The Little Palace was a storybook version of serf life, no more like the real Ravka than the glitter and gilt of the royal court. The Grisha seemed obsessed with emulating serf ways, right down to the clothes we wore beneath our kefta. But there was something a little silly about eating “hearty peasant fare” off porcelain plates, beneath a dome inlaid with real gold. And what peasant wouldn’t pick pastry over pickled fish?

Related Characters: Genya (speaker), Alina Starkov (speaker), The Darkling
Page Number: 124
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

“Black,” Genya whispered.

His color. What did it mean?

“Look!” she gasped.

The neckline of the gown was laced with a black velvet ribbon, and from it hung a small golden charm: the sun in eclipse, the Darkling’s symbol.

I bit my lip. This time, the Darkling had chosen to set me apart, and there was nothing I could do about it. I felt a little jab of resentment, but it was drowned by excitement. Had he chosen these colors for me before or after the night by the lake? Would he regret seeing me in them tonight?

I couldn’t think about that now. Unless I wanted to go to the ball naked, I didn’t have a lot of options.

Related Characters: Genya (speaker), Alina Starkov (speaker), The Darkling
Related Symbols: Alina’s Kefta
Page Number: 206
Explanation and Analysis:

“Alina, the Darkling doesn’t notice most of us. We’re moments he’ll forget in his long life. And I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing. Just…be careful.”

I stared at her, baffled. “Of what?”

“Of powerful men.”

“Genya,” I asked before I could lose my nerve, “what happened between you and the King?”

She examined the toes of her satin slippers. “The King has his way with lots of servants,” she said.

Related Characters: Genya (speaker), Alina Starkov (speaker), The Darkling, The King
Related Symbols: Alina’s Kefta
Page Number: 209
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Shadow and Bone LitChart as a printable PDF.
Shadow and Bone PDF

Genya Character Timeline in Shadow and Bone

The timeline below shows where the character Genya appears in Shadow and Bone. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...know what’s going on. In a tone one might use with a child, the girl, Genya, explains that Alina is being presented to the King in an hour. (full context)
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Desperation, Leadership, and Corruption Theme Icon
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...her, they help her out, towel her off, give her a robe, and leave. Then, Genya tells Alina to sit at the dressing table. Genya peruses her box of jars full... (full context)
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
When Alina continues to argue, Genya says the Darkling sent her because the King loves beauty. Looks are everything here, and... (full context)
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
...rush back in and dress Alina in, to her surprise, a clean army cartographer’s uniform. Genya notices Alina’s expression. She says Alina needs to look like a soldier plucked from the... (full context)
Chapter 7
Desperation, Leadership, and Corruption Theme Icon
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...looks well rested. Alina asks if there are other Tailors, but the Darkling explains that Genya is special, and she’s not walking with them because she attends to the Queen. When... (full context)
Desperation, Leadership, and Corruption Theme Icon
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
...Then, the mass of beautiful people converges on Alina. Everyone wants to touch her, but Genya appears and pulls Alina away: the Queen wants to meet her. The Queen is in... (full context)
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
Alina realizes that Genya’s kefta is the same color as the servants’ uniforms—that explains why she thinks Alina is... (full context)
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
...it be made in blue. The food arrives after, and fortunately, it’s not too exotic. Genya gossips about people Alina doesn’t know over dinner and promises to come get Alina for... (full context)
Chapter 8
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
Genya arrives to take Alina to breakfast. As soon as they enter the lavish hall, two... (full context)
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Alina endures Summoners questioning her about her life until Genya appears to rescue her. Genya notes that pickled herring is “vile,” and confides in Alina... (full context)
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
Leading Alina through the Little Palace, Genya points out the doors leading to the Darkling’s chambers and the massive library. Its grandness... (full context)
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
Genya leads Alina out to a lake, where the Summoners’ pavilions are. When Alina notices small... (full context)
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Reaching a path leading into the woods, Genya points further along to a stone hut nestled in the trees. It’s Baghra’s hut, and... (full context)
Chapter 9
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
...go to dinner with the other Grisha. She joins Marie and Nadia and asks where Genya is. Snickering, Marie says Genya eats and sleeps at the Grand Palace so she’s always... (full context)
Chapter 11
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
Genya visits in the morning and is unconcerned about the Apparat—though she agrees that Alina should... (full context)
Chapter 12
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
...Baghra’s hut in the new kefta, a servant appears and gives her a note. It’s Genya’s update on Mal: he’s in Tsibeya and is fine, so Alina can write to his... (full context)
Chapter 13
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
...summons light for them. Suddenly, life is easy. Alina sleeps well and has an appetite. Genya shares the hilarious rumors circulating about why Alina changed—such as that the Darkling cured her... (full context)
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
...and Alina feels more comfortable with her fellow Summoners. However, she prefers spending time with Genya in her room, listening to Genya’s tales of the opulent parties taking place at the... (full context)
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
One afternoon, while the other Grisha are away, Genya convinces Alina to sneak over to the Grand Palace to try on the Queen’s clothes.... (full context)
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Greed vs. Mercy Theme Icon
...what happened. She calls for dinner in her room and wishes she could talk to Genya, but she’s too afraid to try and go find her at the Grand Palace. Instead,... (full context)
Chapter 14
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...at the Grand Palace. The Grisha Summoners are supposed to put on a demonstration, though Genya warns Alina to not call it “performing,” as the Darkling thinks the whole thing is... (full context)
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
...month ago. But she’s also worried, as her new silk kefta hasn’t arrived yet. Fortunately, Genya waltzes in, gorgeous as ever, and offers to do Alina’s hair. Genya explains that the... (full context)
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Greed vs. Mercy Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
Alina casually asks if the Darkling has arrived, and Genya says he arrived yesterday and is probably very busy. After a minute, Genya says they... (full context)
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
With a grin, Genya drags Alina down the hallway and into Zoya’s room. She announces that on the Darkling’s... (full context)
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Greed vs. Mercy Theme Icon
Alina asks Genya what happened with the King. Genya explains that the King “has his way” with many... (full context)
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
Downstairs, Alina clings to Genya—she’s going to take advantage of the Darkling’s color to keep her friend beside her. The... (full context)
Desperation, Leadership, and Corruption Theme Icon
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
...flute and leans against a pillar. She’s hot, upset, and misses Mal. People stare as Genya floats across the room to Alina to say that it’s time to get ready for... (full context)
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...doesn’t care. His touch still gives her that feeling of surety and power. She forgets Genya’s warnings and the Darkling’s confusing behavior; the Darkling was right about her and the stag. (full context)
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
...Mal and puts a hand on his face. She traces the scar and says that Genya could fix it, but he hisses that he’s fine. (full context)
Chapter 20
Desperation, Leadership, and Corruption Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
Alina paces in her tent for days. On the fourth night, Genya brings Alina her dinner. As the girls talk, Genya implies that she knows Alina ran—and... (full context)
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
Sadly, Genya says she tried to warn Alina. She says there are rumors about what the Darkling... (full context)
Chapter 21
Desperation, Leadership, and Corruption Theme Icon
Alina thinks of Genya. Genya has spent years living uncomfortably in between the Grisha and the court. The Darkling... (full context)
Chapter 22
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Greed vs. Mercy Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
Ivan leads Alina back to her tent and soon after, Genya arrives to help Alina get dressed. Alina puts on the black silk kefta she wore... (full context)
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Greed vs. Mercy Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
...hair; he’ll use it to buy clothes. Alina’s heart twists. She’s never going to see Genya again. But she tries not to think about that, or about what she did in... (full context)