The Grishaverse

A Searing Burst of Light is the first episode of Netflix's Shadow and Bone.[1]


Unwilling to be separated from Mal, Alina hatches a plan to join him on a perilous expedition through the Fold. Kaz chases a lead on a lucrative job.

Plot summary[]

Alina Starkov is a cartographer in the First Army in the Kingdom of Ravka. She is working with her friend Mal, with whom she grew up in an orphanage after their parents were killed trying to cross the mysterious, deadly Fold. Ravka is at war withFjerda and Shu Han, who border them to the north and south. Through the Fold is the only way out of eastern Ravka, and it is a dark wasteland, full of flying murderous monsters. Most who pass through the Fold end up dying.

Alina and Mal are thrilled when their companies are merged because it means they can spend more time together. However, Mal is assigned a position on a mission through the Fold to retrieve supplies from West Ravka. Both Mal and Alina know this likely means certain death, but he promises to return. Alina is furious and desperate at the thought of losing her best friend. In order to join the passage with him, she burns several maps depicting the opposite side of the Fold, and when her commanding officer asks who did it, she says she doesn’t know, but she volunteers to go on the mission to help redraw them. They send Alina on the mission—along with the rest of her cartographer group.

The First Army members, including Alina and Mal, board the sandskiff along with a few Grisha from the Second Army. They begin the voyage in the dark, but suddenly the one light they keep on the boat goes out. One soldier lights a different lantern, which grabs the attention of the volcra, who swoop in to attack. They kill most of the soldiers on board. Alexei jumps overboard to try to escape. A volcra grabs Mal and Alina shoots it to save him, but Mal is wounded and, expecting to die, whispers, “I’ll meet you in the meadow.” Another volcra picks up Alina, and a burst of light shines from her and through the Fold. Meanwhile, Alexei makes his way through the Fold to Novokribirsk and collapses at the docks.

Meanwhile in Ketterdam, a seaport city on the island of Kerch, gambler and gunman Jesper Fahey calls another player out for using counterfeit coins. Jesper shoots a hole through one of the coins but is reprimanded by his boss, Kaz Brekker. Inej Ghafa tells Kaz about a job from a wealthy merchant named Dreesen, who is looking for a crew to cross through the Fold and bring back something from the other side for a million kruge. Inej tells him Dreesen is taking meetings about the job starting at midnight that night, and she watched as the merchant took someone mysterious back to his home. They learn that Dreesen is looking for a Heartrender, but they must hurry to get one before Pekka Rollins, a rival crime lord in the Barrel.

Kaz and his group successfully deliver Dreesen a Heartrender, Milana, before anyone else. The prisoner Dreesen has taken is Alexei, the cartographer and Alina’s friend. Milana is able to help Alexei overcome his trauma and talk about what he saw when the sandskiff was attacked: a Sun Summoner destroyed the monsters and emitted the light. A Sun Summoner is rumored to be capable of destroying the Fold. Dreesen kills Alexei, wanting to keep the knowledge about Alina to himself. He tells Kaz, Inej, and Jesper that they have the job if they can figure out a way to cross the Fold by sunrise. If they don’t, he will give the job to Pekka Rollins. Meanwhile, the ruined sandskiff carrying Alina and Mal has run ashore back at their camp.



Guest starring[]



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  • The episode was titled "Hope Is A Lantern At Night" in an earlier draft.[2]


  1. Shadow & Bone - Writers Guild of America West. Accessed 29 October 2020.
  2. Pilot script cover