The Grisha start the trek to the Grand Palace with Alina and the Darkling at the very back of the group. Alina asks why Genya doesn’t walk with the rest of the Grisha. The Darkling explains that he nurtured her unique abilities rather than training her to become a Fabrikator or Corporalki so that he could “gift” her to the Queen.  

Once in the throne room, the Darkling introduces Alina to the gathered nobility. Alina makes note of a strange man at the King’s side, who she later learns is the Apparat. The King remarks that Alina is very plain and she feels a wave of embarrassment before the Darkling initiates a demonstration of her power to the court. This time, when the Darkling calls her power forth, Alina knows what to expect. Light fills the throne room and the nobility of Ravka applaud. The King calls Alina a “miracle” before he whisks the Darkling away to make plans for the Fold.  

Genya arrives to bring her for an audience with the Queen. The Queen’s appraisal is detached. She says that it’s “marvelous” when Alina confesses that she’s an orphan, and makes commentary on the Ravkan peasantry. She warns Alina not to let the court corrupt her before dismissing them.  

Genya and Alina speak briefly to the Darkling outside of the throne room. The Darkling directs Genya to have a black kefta made for Alina. Hesitant to be singled out from the other Grisha, however, Alina asks that her kefta be blue like the other Etherealki. The Darkling agrees to let her have a blue kefta instead.  

Genya takes Alina back to her room where they share dinner. Genya explains that the other Grisha might be judgmental about Alina spending time with her because they don’t consider what Genya does valuable. Alina goes to bed and tries to sleep but wishes she was with Mal.  

Alina’s new kefta is delivered the following morning. She puts it on and admires the gold embroidery on the cuffs that designates her as the Sun Summoner. Genya escorts Alina to the dining room. She’s invited to eat with two Etherealki, Marie and Nadia, who claim that Alina belongs with them at the table. Alina is unimpressed by their conversation and doesn’t like the food that she’s served. She’s thankful when Genya arrives to take her on a tour of the Little Palace.  

Genya shows her the areas that the various orders of Grisha learn and work: the workshops of the Materialki, the secretive corridors of the Corporalki, and the grand library where she can go to study. Genya introduces Alina to David, a Fabrikator who gives her a set of tiny mirrors.  

Alina’s tour ends with Genya leaving her at Baghra’s hut, where she will learn to use her powers. When Alina enters, she’s greeted by a wiry, ancient woman whose appearance defies her true age. Baghra interrogates Alina about why she wasn’t tested for powers as a child. She seems dissatisfied when Alina tells her that she was tested. Baghra challenges her to show her what she can do.  


Appearance is everything in the Grand Palace. In both the aesthetics of the building itself and the people who populate it, a great deal is invested into giving off the appearance of beauty and wealth. Alina is overwhelmed by the ostentatiousness of the building, describing it as “exhausting” in its over-the-top décor. On meeting the King and Queen, it becomes clear to Alina that appearances bear a great deal more importance than substance to the royalty. The King’s statement on the plainness of her appearance insinuates that she is not what he’s used to seeing. The women in the Grand Palace are practically dripping with finery, so it’s unsurprising that the sight of a commoner would fall short of his expectations. Even more telling is Alina’s encounter with the tittering Queen, whose appearance is striking for how it tips just over the line of what might be considered naturally beautiful and into oddness. Where her appearance is overly invested in, she is lacking in substance. The conversation she holds with Alina is insipid, illustrating that the appearances at the Grand Palace are artificial and shallow.  

Color defines a person’s standing in Ravka, especially among the Grisha. Where the other Grisha have been depicted in the various colors of their orders, Genya is forced to wear a white and gold kefta, which are the same colors the servants of the Grand Palace wear. Because the color of her uniform hints at the lowly position the Queen has assigned her, it’s unsurprising that Genya is treated as little more than a servant to the other Grisha in the Little Palace. When Alina decides to wear a blue kefta, she does so knowing that it will help her blend in with the other Grisha and reduce her chances of being singled out. Alina’s desire to blend in overrides any desire she might have for special treatment. All throughout this section, the divisions between the different Grisha orders are reinforced by the coloration of not only their clothing but the very areas of the building that they utilize. That the ancient Grisha woman Baghra wears a kefta of “indeterminate color” serves to show her as someone who stands outside of the system. 

Alina Starkov is the miracle that the Ravkan people have been waiting to appear to invest their faith in. When Alina showcases her powers with the Darkling, the anticipation is palpable. After the showcase, so too is the joy as the people in the throne room explode into emotional reverie. The King calls Alina a “miracle” three times and is echoed, though much more quietly, by the Apparat. It’s clear that the Apparat is a high-ranking religious representative in Ravka which makes his statement of Alina’s “miraculous” nature much more serious than the exuberant exclamation of the King. Much different than the suspicious and fearful reactions that Alina has gotten previously in the novel, this is a great moment of catharsis for the Ravkan court who see Alina as someone who may be able to free them from the Shadow Fold. More than any other moment up until this point, the reactions the members of the court have to seeing Alina’s power make it clear what the Sun Summoner could mean to the people of Ravka.    

Grisha tongues drip with disdain for the royal court and hint at sedition. While Genya has made some commentary about the royalty before this point in the book, Chapter 7 brings the issue of what the Grisha think of the court of the Grand Palace even closer to the forefront. Genya calls the Queen an “old cow” and the Darkling refers to the King as a child. That their conversation is so casual comes as a shock to Alina, whose instinct is to label what she hears them say as treasonous. But it’s not the words themselves that are most telling, but their casual delivery. Neither Grisha seems even so much as amused by what they say, let alone disturbed, suggesting that the contempt they show for the King and Queen has reached the point of mundanity. That neither Genya nor the Darkling think twice about saying these things in front of Alina suggests that a casual disregard of the royal family is commonplace among the Grisha. This begins to set the groundwork for how the Darkling will turn against the royal family later in the book.