I know how Harshaw was described in the book, and everyone has a different idea about which actor should portray him, but when I was reading the book for some strange reason I had Ed Skrein in my mind, this is a very controversial Fan-cast and It won't make sense to people. I know it won't happen and they'll probably cast an unknown actor, i just love Ed and i think he's a wonderful actor that's all. 😍
My completely unrequested thoughts after finishing the Grisha trilogy
here we go
Mal had big Gale energy in Siege and Storm and I wanted to throttle him but he slightly redeemed himself in Ruin and Rising in my eyes. I say slightly bc he was waaaay too intense.
I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t read YA in a long time but I was desperately waiting for Mal and Alina (or Alina and anyone really) to just...fuck? Like at some point I was really convinced this bitch was gonna die a virgin
The constant infantilization of the Darkling is probably one of my biggest pet peeves? Like if I had to read a 500+ years or however how old the Darkling is being called “a boy, just a boy” one more time I would’ve to gouge my eyes out
Misha = 👼🏻
The crew (the fellowship of the sun? the Grisha + Mal? whatever, them) had a great dynamic. Each character was great and entertaining so I’m really excited to read SoC
The beginning of Siege and Storm felt so rushed to me 😬
I haven't read the Tailor but I 100% believe that the Darkling could've help Genya but she was more useful to him in the Little palace and alienated from the other Grisha the bastard
Alina could be so dumb sometimes I swear I wanted to shake her. I guess it’s another common trait in YA and she’s young and in difficult situations but still.
Mal being the 3rd amplifier...what a plot twist. idk if I’m dumb but I did not see it coming AT ALL
WHY DID THEY GET MARRIED WITHOUT THEIR FRIENDS
I was actively rooting for Alina to die since the end of Shadow and Bone. I really don’t hate her but I just feel like she had to die and go full martyrdom so I was just pissed when Mal kept saving her lol.
When Nikolai got transformed into a gargoyle or whatever...what was the reason? I guess that’s the plot of King of Scars but still
I can see the chemistry between the Darkling and Alina but I couldn't get over the grooming vibes I'm sorry 💀
Wished we could have learned more about the twins
I was actually annoyed that the Darkling survived the second book. Like he wasn’t that great of a villain to me and I would like for a new challenge in Ruin and Rising
On that note, I couldn’t really empathize with the Darkling? like I get that he wanted a world where he would be accepted but the message didn’t really get across in my opinion. Leigh Bardugo could've done more to show the legitimacy of his goal if she wanted a grey character? Idk EDIT: I just finished Six of Crows and the Grisha discrimination is so much clearer she could've done that more in the Trilogy
I don’t really care for Nikolai on the throne tbh? I’d be far more interested in a book series about Sturmhond even though there’s probably flashbacks in King of Scars
the fact that Alina still cared/thirsted for the Darkling after everything he did despite the fact she honestly barely knew him even in Shadow and Bone is hilarious to me idk. I know they had this “bond” or whatever but sis he was constantly trying to kill you and your friends like go to therapy, please
When Mal just left after Alina confessed that she was seeing the Darkling in Siege and Storm...I was ready to hunt down this bitch
I really like how she wrote the Darkling’s death, his devastation was really vivid
How did no one recognize Alina after Sankta Alina died? She literally has white hair she's rebuilding her childhood home??
Genya supremacy period
Thinking back about it I don't think there is a single main character in the series who hasn't hurt Alina in some way? They all lied to her and manipulate her and hurt her in some way like it's wild
team Alina should be single but Mal is the less worst option? Or like Genya but davidgenya is everything
ok i just need to get this out bc i love the grishaverse so much; here we go
disclaimer: these are my opinions, no one has to believe them or think the same
why i love the books:
- the books were amazing
- i had been wanting to read them for a while and when i finally did, i was so excited but also worried that the hype might ruin it for me. IT DIDN’T AT ALL
- the imagery was so beautiful and the WORLDBUILDING MY GOD, i was a little confused but getting to know the world was one of the best parts
- the writing was so fun to read, it just kept you hooked from one page to the next and i never wanted to stop
- leigh bardugo has done a phenomenal job of building the relationships between every character and they felt so real even if they werent super close and when they were and they had issues like PTSD and stuff she wrote that so beautifully
- building off of that; the way she dealt with PTSD and slavery was really cool and interesting in a way i’ve never read about it before
- INEJ: as an indian girl i really struggle with finding any good indian characters that have more to a role then being the doctor or the grocery shop owner or the token, indian person and so reading about inej was honestly one of the most amazing things i’ve ever experienced. it made me realize, YEAH i am indian and I AM OKAY WITH THAT. to read about her getting a love interest, fighting, being the most badass person ever was so so so touching that i cried, because she was amazing and normal (to the point where she could think of something other then her AP classes and an arranged marriage) and she was acctually really cool
- just reading something so inspiring and beautiful was the final push into looking into my own writing which i now love and hope to foster as i grow
why i love the show and the cast:
- i’ve been in love with ben barnes for literally forever (ok just had to say that)
- the casting was spot on, just absolutely perfect
- i am now so inspired by the diversity in the cast because wow, amita suman is like my hero. shes indian and shes in a show and shes famous and shes beautiful. i’ve never seen someone portray an brown women that way and in a way where i felt proud to say, yeah im indian just like amita suman
- jessie mei li has my heart because they are the sweetest, kindest human being ever and did i mention GORGEOUS?!
- now the show itself was such a great representation of the story but it was so unique in a way that i wasn’t expecting. and i loved it
- the way racism was incorporated in the story and the chemistry between everyone was really great
- seeing the cast pictures and hearing them in the interviews is something i do when im sad because it makes me remember that there is happy, good people in the world
- leigh bardugo, you saint, these books and tv shows were a ledge for me when i was struggling and kept me sane in a time where i wasn’t sure i wanted to be. for a long time those books were the harry potter books but now as i am reading these books with characters like inej and the darkling, i really have never felt more attached to a cast of a show or characters of a book. again, INEJ IS INDIAN AND I THANK YOU FOR THAT, the amount of self worth that gave me was amazing, your books were a light when i was in the dark and im so grateful for them
OK YALL WOW I REALLY HAD TO GET THAT OUT OF ME BEFORE I EXPLODED PHEW and if you are reading this, thank you, i commend you for staying this long with my crazy and nonsense. if you are reading this but you just scrolled through this entire thing, hi! this is the end, thanks for being here.
also @lbardugo this IS a thank you letter
not me tagging leigh bardugo knowing very well she wont see this but doing it JUST in case she does and decides she loves me just as much as i love her
Alina spent the entire trilogy longing for a normal life. All she wanted was to be normal, to disappear and live a simple life with Mal. Sure, she loved being a Sun Summoner. She loved how it made her feel, loved the power of it. But she also hated it. She hated how it started to corrupt her, hated the dark pull of it. She hated the responsibility that came with it. Become a saint. Become a queen. She never wanted any of that, she just thought that she had to, because that's what everyone told her. The Darkling telling her she was meant to be more, The Apparat telling her she was meant to be a saint, Nikolai telling her she was meant to be a queen. She just went along with it. And maybe she wouldn't like it at first, but she thought she could grow to like it, grow to like being worshipped like a saint, grow to like being queen, grow to love Nikolai.
It's only when she has Mal's blood on her hands, when she loses her powers by destroying the fold in some sick joke (because that's what happens when you use merzost, the world plays a sick joke on you), fate presents her with a choice. The choice to not become queen as Nikolai offers her at the end of the story, but to have that simple life she desires so much while the world thinks she's dead and to live it with the boy she never stopped loving. And in the end, she got to choose the life she wanted.
People have been arguing for ages about the ending of Ruin & Rising. One faction says Alina losing her powers was misogynistic and needlessly cruel while the other says the ending is fitting because Alina always wanted to live an ordinary life with Mal.
I would argue the problem lies with Alina's mess of a character arc.
For the majority of S&B and the first half of S&S, Alina is a very passive character who wants nothing more than to be with her comfort character, Mal. Though they changed it in the show, it was originally Mal who wanted to go after the stag and who wanted Alina to have the stag's amplifier because he thought it would give them a fighting chance against the Darkling. In S&S, Alina is terrified of taking a second amplifier because it goes against all the Grisha theory she knows, echoing the arc words of the trilogy: What is infinite? The universe and the greed of men.
It is only when Alina takes the second amplifier that she's allowed to grow a backbone. This is truly a bizarre writing choice because it all but forces the narrative to frame every active step Alina takes to forward the plot and her own character arc---whether that's deciding to rebuild the Second Army, or form a political alliance with Nikolai, or search for the third amplifier, or simply stand up for herself against bullies---as being manifestations of her creeping villainy.
Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the spectrum, there is her Muggle boyfriend who is there to remind us that this is not who she is, that Morozova's amplifiers are corrupting her, that he wants her to go back to the girl she was when she was more passive, vulnerable, and dependent on him.
Surely, there is a line between the heroine learning to trust herself and gaining confidence in her abilities versus the heroine giving in to corruption and becoming more power-hungry and evil? However, the narrative does not distinguish between these two very different arcs. Consequently, the reader is left in a bizarre place where we cannot watch Alina's character arc grow from passivity to maturity without being reminded of how ~evil~ she is becoming, despite there being very little textual evidence to back this up. We also grow to resent Mal because instead of him being a supportive boyfriend who is trying to help Alina navigate her own character arc, he is holding her back from her potential---not just in her powers but also in her personal autonomy.
At the same time, there are sprinklings of Alina's call to her dark side through the Darkling's offer of a throne. Ignoring how sincere his words may or may not be, Alina still feels tempted to join him and frequently thinks about the truth of his words---that she is no ordinary Grisha, that is useless to fight what she is, that she is capable of more than an ordinary mortal life, that he is the only one who can understand the eternity before her. Because readers expect to see a character arc where Alina grows from a scared passive girl to a strong independent woman, we grow to associate her longing for power as a natural evolution of her character development. However, the narrative wants you to believe Alina's development is not a natural progression of her character but rather a corruption due to her greed from the influence of Morozova's amplifiers.
Bardugo completely fails to set up an alternate character arc for Alina where she may grow in power and strength as a character, but does not become evil along the way. Her heroine's arc is completely strangled by the moral panic of the narrative. This is doubly emphasized by the plot: in order for Alina to defeat the Darkling, she must seek out the amplifiers out of necessity. This is framed as greed. In order for Alina to triumph, she must use all three amplifiers, but when she does, she is punished by the plot. But what other choice did the heroine have? It is not like there was some non-evil alternative for Alina to embrace and she deliberately chose the path of most greed. She is not punished for her actions like her male counterparts who seek power. In fact, you could argue, she can't be punished for her actions because her actions are not coming from a place of choice.
At the end of R&R, Alina is stripped of her powers and lives an ordinary life with Mal. As this is the epilogue, one must assume Bardugo meant for Alina's character arc to end in this way. Her character arc is meant to be a cautionary tale against the evils of seeking too much power. This moral aesop falls flat for a number of reasons:
"Power corrupts" is a pretty popular moral message that it's gotten fairly cliche at this point
It's also so heavy-handed, I don't blame readers for expecting it to be subverted because of how much we were hit over the head with it
The strangely gendered way this moral lesson is delivered raises some eyebrows. Are male characters who are actually power-hungry such as Nikolai, the Apparat, and the Darkling not subject to the same punishments the narrative deals out to Alina?
Most importantly, this aesop clashes with Alina's character
In order for this greed corruption arc to make sense, the heroine really should have been an entirely different character who starts off the series with ambition and a need for power. We needed a heroine like Jude Duarte, Kestrel Trajan, or Aelin Galathynius. Someone who is already established as being capable, ambitious, and ruthless. Granted, I still think this would be a shit character arc because of the long history in which female power is demonized, but at least the arc would make sense for the character in the tradition of tragedies.
However, because Alina starts off the series as being insecure and not yet accepting of herself, we expect to see a character arc where she becomes more confident, emotionally mature, and maybe even a little ruthless. We don't expect her to suddenly become corrupted by greed (a character trait she never had to begin with, especially when she would rather run away and hide with Mal than deal with a geopolitical situation) and get punished for being "too ambitious".
To add to this confusing mess of an arc, Alina suppressing her powers leads to her being weak, fatigued, and malnourished. So she must use her powers in order to be healthy, but using her powers is what directly contributes to the rest of her character arc. The heroine cannot win.
In conclusion, Bardugo wrote a book where a naive scared girl gets manipulated into wearing an evil MacGuffin that turns her "greedy" and then gets punished for it, even though the plot offered her no alternative. Alina never wanted power but because a positive character arc meant a complete descent into villainy, we are left with a regressed version of the character by the end of R&R and a whole bunch of readers left scratching their heads about what the hell we are supposed to take away from this mess of a story.
I led them down the hallway to my room, and threw open the door.
Genya dove into the pile of gowns laid out on my bed. “Silk!” she moaned. “Velvet!”
Zoya picked up a kefta hanging over the back of my chair. It was gold brocade, the sleeves and hem embroidered lavishly in blue, the cuffs marked with jeweled sunbursts. “Sable,” she said to me, stroking the lining. “I have never loathed you more.”
Talán a szerelem csak egy babona, egy ima, amit azért mondtunk, hogy a magányosság valóságát kordában tartsuk. A csillagok úgy festettek, mintha közel volnának egymáshoz, pedig igazából több millió mérföld választotta el őket. A végén talán a szerelem nem jelentett mást, csak vágyódást valami lehetetlenül fényes és mindörökké elérhetetlen után.
Leigh Bardugo: Ruin and Rising – Pusztulás és felemelkedés
The girl, who didn't have anything ended up living probably the only life she could have imagined in her wildest dreams, back when she "was nothing". The power and personality development she gained on her way, she also lost.
The fuckboy, who went through long dickhead stage, ended up awfully self-aware, having everything his adult self wanted. His special power disappeared too, but he still can practice the thing he was so good in before.
The lonely evil ended up more lonely than before, then died.