A sermon on Shadow and Bone’s Alina Starkov and the Shadow Fold

Netflix released on 23 April 2021 a new TV series “Shadow and Bone”, based on Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy, the first part of which was completed in 2012.

Leigh Bardugo is an American Jew. She was born in Jerusalem, Israel, but grew up in Los Angeles, USA.

According to Wikipedia, Leigh Bardugo read English at Yale, and was a member of “Wolf’s Head”, a senior and secret society at Yale. Furthermore, she appears to be a gothic type, wearing black lipstick and an amulet necklace in the shape of Islam’s crescent. To add to that, apparently, she suffers from a degenerative bone disease (ref. 1), which suggests she has taken or continues to take a painkiller such as an opioid. Her bone problem also explains the title of her first novel, “Shadow and Bone”, a connection between darkness and pain.

Leigh Bardugo on her bone disability

All that to say this: Shadow and Bone was undoubtedly inspired by what the ancient Greeks called a daemon, what the ancient Romans called a genius (ref. 2).

When the idea behind “Shadow and Bone” came to her, despite her previous bad starts, she felt compelled to complete the novel (ref. 3).

Leigh Bardugo on the idea of Shadow and Bone

“Shadow and Bone” is a story about a darkness that appears in a nation called Ravka (ref. 4). Ravka is loosely based on Tsarist Russia. Within Ravka are supernatural forces.

Concerning the supernatural in reality, witches wield the power of devils, but all with the Holy Spirit wield the power of God (ref. Luke 11:14-20). In addition to that, there is the power of angels who are loyal to God such as the archangel Michael.

Anyway, in the story, bordering Ravka in the south is a scientifically advanced place called Shu Han, which represents China. The protagonist Alina Starkov has Shu lineage.

Teaser trailer of Shadow and Bone (2021)

For those unfamiliar with Christianity, Jesus Christ is “the light of the world” (ref. John 12:46, John 9:5, John 1:8, etc), and those who do not believe in him abide in darkness. It is “the god of this world”, namely the adversary or Satan, that has blinded the minds of them that believe not (ref. 2 Corinthians 4:4). All Christians are the “children of light” (ref. 1 Thessalonians 5:5, Ephesians 5:8), and all Christians are to let the light shine so that the world may see “good works” and “glorify the Father” in heaven (ref. Matthew 5:14-16).

Of course, both sides – both good and evil – know about light and darkness.

Next, I should explain, the expression to bring someone “into the fold” is to bring someone into the body of Christian believers. For this reason, the “Shadow Fold” is actually a darkness caused by heretical or false teachings, the work of false prophets (ref. Matthew 7:15), or wolves in sheep’s clothing. In the story, the Shadow Fold was created by the “Black Heretic”.

Again, here, the theology of the story is spot on.

Now, according to the one that inspired Shadow and Bone, the “Shadow Fold” lies in Russia, in the story, Ravka. In reality, the darkness that is now spreading throughout the world, in these last days, is coming from Mystery Babylon, the habitation of devils (ref. Revelation 18:2), and dragons, and satyrs, and owls, and vultures (ref. Isaiah 34:13-15).

And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

Revelation 18:2-3

Mystery Babylon is the way it is because it is Satan’s kingdom (ref. Revelation 17:11).

The second bit of wishful thinking is that in the Grishaverse, Ravka and Shu Han are at odds, meaning Russia and China are against each other. In reality, especially since the 2018 military exercise “Vostok”, which is Russian for “East”, Russia and China have been moving ever closer together. Today, geopolitical relations between Russia and China are “at the highest level in history” (ref. 5, 6). This is happening because China and Russia are the prophesied “kings of the east”, the armies of the sixth trumpet or vial of Revelation (ref. Revelation 16:12). Russia’s possession of the Kuril Islands in the far east means Russia is not only in the north near the Arctic, but also in the east at the rising of the sun. I was the first to identify the kings of the east: I wrote about it in my 2017 book!

The third thing to notice about Shadow and Bone is the name of the protagonist, “Alina Starkov”.

It strikes me that “Alina” is an anagram. Besides that, the character Alina is a “great light”.

As for “Starkov”, in Russian, apparently, the suffix “ov” and the feminine equivalent “ova” mean “belongs to”. So, “Starkov” can be read to mean belongs to the star, presumably the star out of Jacob (ref. Numbers 24:17).

I shall see him but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

Numbers 24:17

To put it another way, Alina Starkov is a part of the bride of Christ, “the Lamb’s wife” (ref. Revelation 21:2, Revelation 21:9).

Now, notice, Netflix decided to cast Jessie Mei Li, an English actress of Chinese lineage, to play the part-Shu protagonist Alina Starkov. For the antagonist, Netflix decided to cast the English actor Ben Barnes, who played Samuel Adams in the History Channel’s 2015 mini-series “Sons of Liberty”, which is about a secret society and the American Revolution of 1776.

Thus, on one side, there is a Chinese; on the other, as it were, an American. On one side, good; on the other, evil.

In the story, predictably, the side that is evil attempts to deceive the side that is good (ref. 1 Peter 5:8).

Needless to say, every one of the bride of Christ is always faithful to Jesus Christ, obeying the first and most important commandment.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me… Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God…

Exodus 20:3-5

… what communion hath light with darkness?

2 Corinthians 6:14

Once the whole armour of God (ref. Ephesians 6:11-18) is put on, a Christian cannot be duped, and so cannot be defeated, by the devil.

While the storyline, the many twists and turns, is fiction for the purpose of entertainment, the metaphors of light and darkness, and the cryptic messaging behind the characters and the casting, are unmistakable.

Who is this Alina Starkov that challenges the darkness? (ref. 7) Think about it.

Trailer of Shadow and Bone (2021)

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Ephesians 6:12

As for summoning the sun, that will be a thing of the two witnesses, Elijah and John. They will have the power of God, including the power of fire.

And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

Revelation 11:5

The two witnesses will be the two olive trees and the two candlesticks (ref. Revelation 11:4). Or put another way, the two witnesses will be the two olive trees on the right and on the left of the candlestick with seven lamps (ref. Zechariah 4).

They will be “the two anointed ones” (ref. Zechariah 4:14, Revelation 11:3). They will speak by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Until the day of the LORD, their light will be like none other.


1. Reading Rockets, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5Wq75ms_8o, youtube.com

2. TED Elizabeth Gilbert, “Your elusive creative genius”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86x-u-tz0MA, youtube.com

3. Reading Rockets, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rXz_Wu45Es, youtube.com

4. Netflix, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHJYYd_RnJc, youtube.com

5. ABC (20 May 2021), “Vladimir Putin says Russia-China ties at ‘highest level in history’ during launch of nuclear projects”, abc.net.au

6. Global Times (26 May 2021), “No plot from any force can weaken today’s China-Russia relations”, globaltimes.cn

7. Netflix, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1WHQTbJ7vE, youtube.com