Shadow and Bone

by

Leigh Bardugo

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The Shadow Fold/The Unsea Term Analysis

The Shadow Fold, or the Unsea, is a desolate, sandy area that divides Ravka in two. It’s entirely dark and was created centuries ago by a Grisha known as the Black Heretic. In the novel’s present, it’s inhabited by bloodthirsty monsters called volcra, and the Darkling insists he wants to do away with it—but in reality, he’s not only the Black Heretic, he also wants to expand and control the Fold so he can gain power and intimidate his enemies.

The Shadow Fold/The Unsea Quotes in Shadow and Bone

The Shadow and Bone quotes below are all either spoken by The Shadow Fold/The Unsea or refer to The Shadow Fold/The Unsea. For each quote, you can also see the other terms 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 1 Quotes

“He’s not natural,” said Eva, another assistant; […] “None of them are.”

Alexei sniffed. “Please spare us your superstition, Eva.”

“It was the Darkling who made the Shadow Fold to begin with.”

“That was hundreds of years ago!” protested Alexei. “And that Darkling was completely mad.”

“This one is just as bad.”

“Peasant,” Alexei said, and dismissed her with a wave. […]

I stayed silent. I was more a peasant than Eva, despite her superstitions.

Related Characters: Eva (speaker), Alexei (speaker), Alina Starkov (speaker), The Darkling
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

The side of the Darkling’s mouth twitched, as if he were repressing a smile. His eyes slid over me from head to toe and back again. I felt like something strange and shiny, a curiosity that had washed up on a lake shore, that he might kick aside with his boot.

Related Characters: Alina Starkov (speaker), The Darkling, Malyen “Mal” Oretsov
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

The kefta was far too large. It felt soft and unfamiliar, the fur lining warm against my skin. I chewed my lip. It didn’t seem fair that oprichniki and Grisha wore corecloth while ordinary soldiers went without. Did our officers wear it, too?

Related Characters: Alina Starkov (speaker), Ivan
Related Symbols: Alina’s Kefta
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

“My great-great-great-grandfather was the Black Heretic, the Darkling who created the Shadow Fold. It was a mistake, an experiment born of his greed, maybe his evil. I don’t know. But every Darkling since has tried to undo the damage he did to our country, and I’m no different.” He turned to me then, his expression serious, the firelight playing over the perfect planes of his features. “I’ve spent my life searching for a way to make things right. You’re the first glimmer of hope I’ve had in a long time.”

“Me?”

Related Characters: The Darkling (speaker), Alina Starkov (speaker), Baghra
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

Everywhere I looked, I saw marble and gold, soaring walls of white and palest blue, gleaming chandeliers, liveried footmen, polished parquet floors laid out in elaborate geometric designs. It wasn’t without beauty, but there was something exhausting about the extravagance of it all. I’d always assumed that Ravka’s hungry peasants and poorly supplied soldiers were the result of the Shadow Fold. But as we walked by a tree of jade embellished with diamond leaves, I wasn’t so sure.

Related Characters: Alina Starkov (speaker), The King
Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

“The Fold was no mistake.” Baghra dropped her hands and the swirling darkness around her melted away. “The only mistake was the volcra. He did not anticipate them, did not think to wonder what power of that magnitude might do to mere men.”

My stomach turned. “The volcra were men?”

“Oh yes. Generations ago. Farmers and their wives, their children. I warned him that there would be a price, but he didn’t listen. He was blinded by his hunger for power. Just as he is blinded now.”

Related Characters: Baghra (speaker), Alina Starkov (speaker), The Darkling
Page Number: 237
Explanation and Analysis:

I’d wanted so badly to belong somewhere, anywhere. I’d been so eager to please him, so proud to keep his secrets. But I’d never bothered to question what he might really want, what his true motives might be. I’d been too busy imagining myself by his side, the savior of Ravka, most treasured, most desired, like some kind of queen. I’d made it so easy for him.

Related Characters: Alina Starkov (speaker), Baghra, The Darkling
Page Number: 240
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 21 Quotes

Dimly, I’d been aware that I still had a shard of the blue cup in my hand, that it was digging into my palm, but I didn’t want to let go.

When he finally set me down and ambled off to the kitchen to find his lunch, I had stood there, my palm dripping blood, my head still spinning, knowing that everything had changed.

Ana Kuya had scolded me for getting blood on the clean kitchen floor. She’d bandaged my hand and told me it would heal. But I knew it would just go on hurting.

Related Characters: Alina Starkov (speaker), Malyen “Mal” Oretsov, Ana Kuya, The Darkling
Page Number: 332
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 22 Quotes

This is the truth of him, I thought as I squinted in the dazzling light. Like calls to like. This was his soul made flesh, the truth of him laid bare in the blazing sun, shorn of mystery and shadow. This was the truth behind the handsome face and the miraculous powers, the truth that was the dead and empty space between the stars, a wasteland peopled by frightened monsters.

Related Characters: Alina Starkov (speaker), The Darkling
Page Number: 338
Explanation and Analysis:

They’re hungry for this, I realized. Even after they’ve seen what he can do, even after watching their own people die. The Darkling wasn’t just offering them an end to war, but an end to weakness. After all these long years of terror and suffering, he would give them something that had seemed permanently beyond their grasp: victory. And despite their fear, they loved him for it.

Related Characters: Alina Starkov (speaker), The Darkling, The King
Page Number: 342
Explanation and Analysis:

I’d thought the stag was haunting me, a reminder of my failure and the price my weakness would exact. But I was wrong.

The stag had been showing me my strength—not just the price of mercy but the power it bestowed. And mercy was something the Darkling would never understand.

I had spared the stag’s life. The power of that life belonged to me as surely as it belonged to the man who had taken it.

Related Characters: Alina Starkov (speaker), The Darkling, Malyen “Mal” Oretsov
Page Number: 338
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Shadow Fold/The Unsea Term Timeline in Shadow and Bone

The timeline below shows where the term The Shadow Fold/The Unsea appears in Shadow and Bone. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Desperation, Leadership, and Corruption Theme Icon
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
...road that once connected Ravka’s capital city, Os Alta, to the sea, before the Shadow Fold was created. The Fold looks like a smudge in the distance, but it cuts Ravka... (full context)
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
As Alina tries to tell herself crossing the Fold will be fine, Mal whispers in her ear that she can’t faint in the road.... (full context)
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
In truth, there’s more wrong with Alina than just fear of crossing the Fold. She used to be able to tell Mal anything, but she can’t anymore, so she... (full context)
Chapter 2
Desperation, Leadership, and Corruption Theme Icon
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
...other cartographers and boards a sandskiff, silent sleds that blow over the sands in the Fold. There are two Grisha Etherealki at the front; they control winds and will fill the... (full context)
Chapter 3
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Greed vs. Mercy Theme Icon
...wakes up on her back, staring up at the sky—the skiff is clearly leaving the Fold. Remembering the attack and afraid for Mal, she sits up and comes face to face... (full context)
Chapter 4
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Desperation, Leadership, and Corruption Theme Icon
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
...explains that it’s not safe to be traveling at night, but they must. The Shadow Fold, he explains, has been helping their enemies for years by weakening Ravka. But if Alina... (full context)
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
...in her sleep, Alina says Mal is the tracker who saved her on the Shadow Fold. Fedyor points out that Alina saved his life too, as well as many others’ lives.... (full context)
Chapter 5
Desperation, Leadership, and Corruption Theme Icon
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
...once said: that Darklings are evil and soulless, and that’s why one created the Shadow Fold. She feels bad even saying this, but she knows people like Eva, the serf, and... (full context)
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Desperation, Leadership, and Corruption Theme Icon
Greed vs. Mercy Theme Icon
...the Darkling says his great-great-great grandfather was the Black Heretic and accidentally created the Shadow Fold because he was greedy. All the Darklings since have been trying to fix it. Alina,... (full context)
Chapter 7
Desperation, Leadership, and Corruption Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...is entirely marble and gold, with trees made of jewels. Alina always thought the Shadow Fold was to blame for the poverty in Ravka—but now, she’s not sure. (full context)
Chapter 8
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
...are discovered. Alina wonders why the Grisha Examiners didn’t discover her talent years ago—the Shadow Fold might already be destroyed, and she and Mal probably would’ve forgotten each other. When the... (full context)
Chapter 10
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
...the Darkling thinks she has powers at all, let alone the ability to destroy the Fold. Both Baghra and Botkin work Alina hard and reprimand her, but Alina struggles to improve.... (full context)
Chapter 12
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Greed vs. Mercy Theme Icon
...most powerful amplifier ever. She needs the most powerful one if she’s to destroy the Fold. (full context)
Greed vs. Mercy Theme Icon
...Grisha power. Alina thinks of the Black Heretic and how his greed created the Shadow Fold. All of Ravka is suffering because of that man’s greed. (full context)
Chapter 14
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...worse and worse about herself, as she knows she’s not strong enough to destroy the Fold. To make things worse, the Apparat is everywhere. Alina struggles to avoid him. (full context)
Chapter 15
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Greed vs. Mercy Theme Icon
...as Baghra says the Darkling plans to use Morozova’s stag so he can use the Fold as a weapon and expand it. He’ll push it into Fjerda and Shu Han if... (full context)
Desperation, Leadership, and Corruption Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Greed vs. Mercy Theme Icon
Almost howling now, Baghra says the Darkling has no intention of destroying the Fold. In fact, he created it—the Darkling is the Black Heretic. Alina turns to go fetch... (full context)
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Desperation, Leadership, and Corruption Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Greed vs. Mercy Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
...be important anymore. The Darkling will just serve the King. But if he controls the Fold, he’s the one in charge. Then, Baghra explains that the Darkling will force Alina to... (full context)
Chapter 16
Desperation, Leadership, and Corruption Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Greed vs. Mercy Theme Icon
...where she’ll take a ship across the True Sea—Alina is powerful enough to cross the Fold, thanks to Baghra’s training. Alina remembers the Darkling telling Baghra to leave Alina alone, but... (full context)
Chapter 17
Greed vs. Mercy Theme Icon
...her to talk while they walk. Alina explains how the Darkling plans to weaponize the Fold, how amplifiers work, and the significance of Morozova’s stag. When Alina is done, Mal says... (full context)
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
...Mal says the Darkling is smart—and now he’ll know Alina didn’t head straight for the Fold. Alina pulls the squashed and linty roll out of her pocket—and Mal begins laughing uncontrollably.... (full context)
Chapter 18
Desperation, Leadership, and Corruption Theme Icon
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Greed vs. Mercy Theme Icon
...over the border? But Mal says he volunteered because Alina saved his life on the Fold. He didn’t do anything when the Grisha took Alina away, and that haunted him. He... (full context)
Desperation, Leadership, and Corruption Theme Icon
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Greed vs. Mercy Theme Icon
...by wondering how many people the stag’s power might save. Could the Darkling use the Fold to end the border wars that orphaned Alina and Mal in the first place? Would... (full context)
Chapter 19
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Greed vs. Mercy Theme Icon
...releases Alina and tells the oprichniki to put Mal in chains. They’ll leave for the Fold in the morning, where they’ll meet the Apparat. After warning Alina not to hurt herself... (full context)
Chapter 20
Desperation, Leadership, and Corruption Theme Icon
Greed vs. Mercy Theme Icon
...willing to take action. Alina tries to convince him that her power could destroy the Fold, and she points out that the Darkling will eventually subjugate them all. For this, he... (full context)
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Desperation, Leadership, and Corruption Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Greed vs. Mercy Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
...hours. Alina wonders who the Darkling is going to kill first when they reach the Fold. (full context)
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
...her that the other Grisha think Alina has been in seclusion, preparing to cross the Fold—nobody knows she ran away. He also asks what kind of a life Alina thinks she... (full context)
Chapter 21
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...go say goodbye to Mal. Tomorrow, he’ll feed Mal to the volcra in the Shadow Fold. Alina fights wildly, but the Darkling says she’ll be fighting for a long time. (full context)
Chapter 22
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Greed vs. Mercy Theme Icon
When the skiff is well into the Fold, the Darkling tells the Inferni to release fire; this will draw the volcra to the... (full context)
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
Greed vs. Mercy Theme Icon
...the West Ravkan village Novokribirsk ahead. People there are staring at the light in the Fold. But the skiff slows, and the Darkling raises his arms. He doesn’t listen to Alina’s... (full context)
Desperation, Leadership, and Corruption Theme Icon
Class and Privilege Theme Icon
...as he’s told. He says from now on, there are no individual countries. There’s the Fold and whatever land is outside of it. There will be peace. Alina knows he’s serious.... (full context)
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Greed vs. Mercy Theme Icon
...She knows he won’t kill her; he needs her to get back out of the Fold. Sure of herself, Alina performs the Cut, sending one of the sandskiff’s masts falling. The... (full context)
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Greed vs. Mercy Theme Icon
...Ravka in a dome of light. They hide in an orchard once they leave the Fold and begin traveling toward the coast that evening. They reach the True Sea before dawn... (full context)
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Greed vs. Mercy Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
...But she tries not to think about that, or about what she did in the Fold, as Mal leaves. Some part of Alina wants to feel as powerful as she did... (full context)
Identity and Self-Knowledge Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
...before summer, but Alina protests—it’s the only way they can get rid of the Shadow Fold. She doesn’t tell Mal how much it feels like the collar belongs to her. The... (full context)