Leigh Bardugo, author of Shadow and Bone and the upcoming Siege and Storm, is now on a blog tour every day until the release of said book, and on this third stop, Leigh gives us insight on three characters that were introduced in the first book.
True name: Unknown. For now.
Most frequently found wearing: Black and only black
Occupation: Leader of the Second Army
Skills: Summoning darkness to blind his enemies, using darkness to slice his enemies in half (the Cut), generally doing bad things to his enemies. He’s also a living amplifier—his power can be used to strengthen the power of other Grisha.
Likes: Giving orders.
Dislikes: Taking orders.
Inspired by Flagg, Raistlin, Jareth the Goblin King
Frequent fancasts: Sean O’Pry, Ezra Miller, Ian Somerhalder, Shiloh Fernandez
Comment from Leigh: The biggest challenge in writing the Darkling is that he reveals so little of himself. I have to walk a line between the information he chooses to disclose, and the secrets people like Alina guess at based on his behavior. But I also love writing him for the very same reasons: He’s a creature of extraordinary power and nearly perfect control. I like trying to make the reader wonder which cracks in that control are real and which are feigned.
Name: Zoya Nazyalensky
Most frequently found wearing: Blue and silver
Line of Work: Squaller (Etherealnik)
Skills: The ability to raise or lower the pressure in the air to create and direct currents and storms
Likes: Being the best
Dislikes: Upstart peasants
Frequent Fancasts: Katie McGrath, Megan Fox, Phoebe Tonkin
Comment from Leigh: It would be easy to hate Zoya. She’s snide and snobby and too hung up on status. But I like her because she doesn’t play nice. She isn’t interested in accommodating people or putting herself out for anyone. Also, her loyalties are based on power and principle, not affection. Zoya starts out as a typical mean girl, but nothing in Ravka is ever quite what it seems.
Most Frequently found wearing: a kefta of indeterminate color
Line of Work: Teacher at the Little Palace
Skills: Baghra is an amplifier of extraordinary power, the nature of her specific Grisha gift has long been forgotten
Likes: A warm stove, whacking students with her stick
Dislikes: The cold, whiners
Frequent Fancasts: Helena Bonham Carter, Judi Dench, Meryl Streep
Comment from Leigh: I always imagined Baghra as a particularly vicious ballet teacher. Better than anyone, she knows what the stakes are when it comes to war and she drives the Grisha relentlessly in their training. She can be a challenge to write because I’m always tempted to soften her, but I believe her moments of kindness or even seeming kindness should be hard won.