The Grishaverse

Tolya Yul-Bataar is the twin brother of Tamar Kir-Bataar. Formerly a mercenary, member of Sturmhond's crew, and member of the Soldat Sol, Tolya is a Grisha Heartrender who fought with Alina Starkov during the course of the Shadow and Bone trilogy. Despite being Grisha, Tolya usually fights with a variety of weapons.

After the Ravkan civil war, Tolya becomes a member of Nikolai Lantsov's personal guard.


Tolya's mother was a Grisha stationed near the Shu Han border and his father a Shu Han mercenary. After their mother's death, the twins left for Novyi Zem with their father so that they would not get drafted into the Second Army.

Siege and Storm[]


Ruin and Rising[]


King of Scars[]


Rule of Wolves[]


Personality and traits[]

Tolya is more stoic than Tamar is, yet he is courageous, honorable, and intensely loyal to Alina and Nikolai. He is shown to have an avid interest in and excellent memory for epic poetry in both Shu and Ravkan.

Like Tamar, Tolya believes that Grisha power originates from divine gifts; however, he seems to adhere to these beliefs more staunchly than Tamar does.

Due to the events of Ruin and Rising and potentially his extended time in the White Cathedral, Tolya has Speluncaphobia, or a fear of caves and underground places. This is seen when he and Nikolai have to use the underground passageways that lead to and from Lazlayon. To cope with his fear, he recites epic poetry.

Tolya states that he is not interested in romantic relationships, because his books and his faith have always been enough.[1]

Physical description[]

Like his twin sister, Tolya has dark hair, bronze skin and golden eyes, although Tolya has long hair that he keeps tied at the base of his neck. He is described as very tall and extremely strong. He has huge arms that he keeps exposed, even in winter. Due to his Shu heritage, he has monolids. Both he and his twin sister have tattoos on their arms dedicated to the Sun Saint.

Despite being Grisha, he and his sister do not wear kefta, instead opting for the olive green uniform worm by the First Army. During their time as members of Alina's personal guard in Siege and Storm, they wear peasant roughspun and golden sunburst pins.

Powers and abilities[]

Like Tamar, Tolya also wears a shark tooth as an amplifier.[2]




Tamar Kir-Bataar[]


Alina Starkov[]

Tolya is a good friend of Alina and helps her until the end to defeat the Darkling and destroy the Shadow Fold. At the end of Ruin and Rising, Tolya states that Alina is like a sister to himself and Tamar.



  • Tolya is one of few characters in the Grishaverse who can read liturgical Ravkan.
  • Nina Zenik mentions "a Heartrender at the Little Palace who can recite epic poetry for hours" in Six of Crows;[3] she may be referencing Tolya.


  1. Rule of Wolves, chapter 18
  2. King of Scars, chapter 6
  3. Six of Crows, chapter 16