The Grishaverse

The Soldier Prince is a companion folk story published in the collection The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. The tale comes from the island nation of Kerch.




  • Droessen: the clocksmith who creates the nutcracker for Clara.
  • The nutcracker: a present that Droessen uses to spy on Clara; he later strives to become his own real person.
  • Clara Zelverhaus: a merchant's daughter, who Droessen plans to use to become rich.
  • The Rat King: a sugar mouse who became real. Though Clara used him as an enemy for the nutcracker, the Rat King guides him towards becoming real.
  • Frederik Zelverhaus: Clara's older brother.
  • Althea Zelverhaus: Clara and Frederik's mother.


  • The story is inspired by The Nutcracker and Leigh Bardugo's experiences as a child. After reading The Velveteen Rabbit, she was distressed by the idea that "only love can make you real."[1]


  1. The Language of Thorns, Author's Note