As so many of you have already devoured the epic King of Scars since publication last month, we thought it was only fair to share with you an exclusive Q&A with Leigh Bardugo.
Here Leigh answers some Grishaverse-related questions, especially ones you may have had whilst reading King of Scars.
Note: if you haven’t read King of Scars yet then you REALLY should because it’s epic and amazing and unputdownable. You can find out more here.
How did you go about deciding which characters from previous books would feature big in King of Scars?
If I wrote about Nikolai, I knew I’d be writing about Tolya and Tamar, and the Triumvirate—Genya, David, and Zoya, since they’ve all been helping run Ravka since the civil war. Then there’s a character like Leoni who only appeared in flashback in Six of Crows but who I knew would have her own story. Some characters get their teeth in you and won’t let go.
How did the idea of the Small Science come to you? And how did that lead into the creation of the various Grisha orders?
There were two big questions that drove the creation of the Small Science: First, what happens when you bring a gun to a magic fight? Well, if there are no rules that govern your magical system, that stops being an interesting proposition at all. So I knew I wanted a clearly delineated magic system that had consequences when those rules were broken. The second question was what actually happens, on a physical level, on an atomic level when you wave a wand or mutter a curse. That was where the idea for the Small Science began, the manipulation of matter at its smallest levels, a magical system largely guided by the rules of molecular chemistry.
If you could choose one, which Grisha order would you like to belong to?
I used to think I’d be a Heartrender because I’m very bloodthirsty. But now I think I’d like to be a Fabrikator and just spend my time making incredible cakes and gorgeous textiles. It’s possible I need to spend less time on Instagram.
Nina discovered a very dark side to her powers at the end of Crooked Kingdom. How will that affect her character and story arc in King of Scars?
Nina is dealing with deep grief through much of King of Scars, but she is also driven by a new purpose and a desire to use her power to help her people. The changes to her Grisha ability certainly affect her, but I think her time in Kerch and the people she met there have had a big impact on her too. Nina isn’t just a soldier anymore. She’s a little bit crook and a little bit con. She’s got Ketterdam in her blood now.