Fantasy book adaptations face the serious challenge of translating the fictional map printed at the beginning of most books into the TV format. Netflix's Shadow and Bone found a great solution to this issue with an interactive map published online here. It can tell you everything you need to know about the "Grishaverse."
Shadow and Bone is set in a sprawling fictional world called the Grishaverse, created by author Leigh Bardugo and used for several books and series besides this one. While readers can flip to the beginning of the book for reference at any time, TV viewers may have a harder time keeping track of all the locations — especially since there are only 8 episodes of the show, and it is split across several nations. The interactive map goes above and beyond with descriptions, markers and bonus material to reward show-watchers who find their way there.
The interactive online map is quickly emerging as a popular way of translating fantasy books to TV. Game of Thrones famously used the title sequence to display its map, although, on Netflix, intros don't usually go that long. The Shadow and Bone map is more comparable to the one made for The Witcher — another Netflix original series.
Of course, you don't need to rely on this map exclusively. A similarly annotated Grishaverse map exists on author Leigh Bardugo's website. However, be warned that this one makes allusions to the whole story in her books, so if you're trying not to get spoilers you may want to avoid it for now.
Like most fantasy books, Bardugo also includes a map at the beginning of each Grishaverse novel, from Shadow and Bone through the Six of Crows duology and on to her newest duology, King of Scars and Rule of Wolves. Even if you don't intend to read Bardugo's entire collection, it might be worth picking up a copy of one of her books here on Amazon just to have the map handy while you're binge-watching.
The Grishaverse is based mostly on the culture and mythology of Russia and other parts of eastern Europe, and the map drives this home in many ways. The ocean is cleverly named "the True Sea," as opposed to "The Unsea" of the Shadow Fold. It separates the continent that hosts Ravka from the one that hosts Novyi Zem, with the island nature of Kerch in the middle. The Wandering Isle to the north seems to be roughly based on England or Ireland, and in the west there's a territory called the "southern colonies," though, at this point, show-watchers may not know which nation is colonizing.
Ravka rests in the middle of the eastern continent with the great powers of Shu Han to the south and Fjerda to the north. Fjerda is the home of Matthias Helvar (Calahan Skogman), where Grisha are persecuted as "witches." While it is not explicitly stated in the show yet, Grisha are similarly unwelcome in Shu Han, where they are typically dehumanized and experimented on by the government, at least in Bardugo's books.
Hopefully, the show will get time to explore all of these areas. In spite of its massive success, Netflix has not officially renewed Shadow and Bone yet, but there's still plenty of time. Until then, Season 1 is streaming on Netflix and Bardugo's books are available in print, digital and audiobook formats.