In the Netflix show Shadow and Bone, the main protagonist Alina is often called "half Shu". I understand that there are two separate races in this show, human and Grisha. Grisha people have superpowers. Humans don't. But humans often called Alina "Shu" girl and meant lower race than them. I think I missed this part.

What is meant by "Shu"?

Was it meant like it’s a disgrace or bad? Humans also said that Alina, the sun summoner, also looked like a Shu. Is there any explanation what they meant by Shu and why is it bad?

1 Answer 1


Shu refers to the Shu Han, a nation and people to the south of Ravka, the country where most of the scenes in the show are set. In the books, Ravka and Shu Han have been at war for centuries.

Grisha are not 'a race' in the show but humans that have the ability to exercise the magic, called 'Small Science' in the books. Grisha are found in multiple nations/races. However Ravka is more noted for training and militarizing Grisha in the Second Army.

As we can see in the show there is prejudice between races, and distrust of Grisha. Alina is discriminated against because she has lived in Ravka all her life but looks Shu.

  • Note that Shu Han is vaguely parallel to East Asia, and Jessie Mei Li (who plays Alina) is half-Chinese.
    – Kitkat
    May 3, 2021 at 16:15

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