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‘Shadow and Bone’ Has Only Scratched the Surface of Jesper’s Abilities

Kit Young as Jesper in 'Shadow and Bone'

Who is Jesper, you ask? Only the rootinest, tootinest, sharpshootin’-est man in the whole Grishaverse!

Well, maybe the Wraith rivals him for accuracy (at least with throwing knives at close range) but this man really knows his way around a gun. And unlike a certain Texas school superintendent, Jesper has never once accidentally left his gun in an elementary school bathroom for a child to find. In fact, he’s SO good with guns that people are starting to get suspicious. Maybe Jesper isn’t who he says he is after all.

What we know about Jesper from the Shadow and Bone series

Jesper is a member of the Crows, a criminal gang from Ketterdam that is led by Kaz Brekker. He was hired on a job to cross the Shadow Fold and abduct the Sun Summoner, an extremely powerful Grisha magic user. While traversing the Fold on a sandskiff, Jesper’s group runs afoul of the demonic volcra that haunt the shadowy wastes. He manages to use his pistols to land a series of anime-level trick shots against the creatures and fend off the attack. It’s uncanny. But is he really just that good? Or is there something magical at play here?

What the Grishaverse books tell us about Jesper

In the book Six of Crows, Jesper reveals his identity as a Grisha. He is a particular type of Grisha known as a Durast—a Materialki or Fabrikator. Basically, he has the ability to use the Small Science in order to control objects like glass, metal, and some particularly sharp rocks. What is the Small Science? It’s an actual science! It allows Grisha to manipulate the fundamental building blocks of matter and mold them into different forms. Unlike most fantasy magic which is explained by “bro, it’s magic don’t think about it too hard,” the magic of the Grishaverse actually follows the laws of physics (sort of)! Maybe not our Newtonian laws of physics, but it does have to abide by certain fundamental laws of nature present in the world of Shadow and Bone.

In the beginning of the story, Jesper is not able to use his Fabrikator powers consciously, but rather manifests them unknowingly in combat. He learned to repress his magical power at the behest of his father, who discouraged him from using the art due to the fact that Jesper’s mother died while using her own Grisha powers. Once Jesper realizes that he is using his Fabrikator powers to control his bullets, he learns to do things with them that even John Wick would be jealous of. He can curve bullets around corners!

Jesper’s long-term disuse of his powers had unintended consequences. Most Grisha become physically ill when they do not use their powers. Alina Starkov, the Sun Summoner herself, saw her health improve dramatically when she allowed her powers to manifest. While Jesper doesn’t feel physical effects from his magical repression, he is affected mentally. His magical repression manifests in a gambling addiction. However, once Jesper is aware of his magic and begins to use it more consciously, he is able to better manage his addiction.

The show hasn’t touched on any of this … yet. Stay tuned, gang. I think we’re in for a backstory episode very soon.

(featured image: Netflix)

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Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels in crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.