Welcome to this week’s installment of Geek Girl Authority Crush of the Week, wherein we shine a spotlight on strong women who inspire us. Now, this not only includes fictional female characters in geeky media but creators as well. These ladies are a prime example of female empowerment and how crucial it is for youth to have said example to follow.

DISCLAIMER: This post has spoilers for Netflix’s fantasy series Shadow and Bone. Tread forward carefully. And if you haven’t watched it yet – binge it here!

Alina Starkov

Fast Facts:

Alina being taken into General Kirigan's tent after the incident.


Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) is a mapmaker in Ravka’s first army from Keramzin and the Sun Summoner. She lost both of her parents due to the Shadow Fold and was raised alongside other orphans. This is where she became extremely close to Mal Oretsev (Archie Renaux). Even though she was constantly being bullied for being half-Shu, she always tried to protect Mal from the others. When the Grisha testers visited the orphanage, she cheated the test by inflicting pain on herself with a broken cup so she wouldn’t be separated from Mal.

When the first season of Shadow and Bone starts, her company is joining Mal’s on the outskirts of the Shadow Fold. She was originally meant to be heading south, but when Mal is chosen for a special mission to cross the Fold, she burned all of the maps and offered to join them. However, things go badly and the skiff is attacked by Volkra within the Fold and just as Alina is about to be pulled away she unleashes a bright light that burns through all of the Volkra and the skiff is able to return.

After witnessing Alina’s true power as the Sun Summoner, General Kirigan (Ben Barnes) whisks her away to the Little Palace, where she undergoes intense training in what she believes will be to tear down the Shadow Fold for good. However, Alina eventually learns that Kirigan is actually the Black Heretic who created the Fold and used her to find a way to control it. She manages to escape the Little Palace and eventually is able to reconnect with Mal. The two seek out Morozona’s Stag, but Kirigan uses it to bind her to him.

Alina is forced to head back into the Fold, where Kirigan uses both her and his power to completely destroy Novo Bribirsk. With some help from The Crows, Kaz (Freddy Carter), Jesper (Kit Young), Inej (Amita Suman) and Mal, Alina breaks her connection from Kirigan and guides the skiff safely out of the Fold. With Kirigan dead (supposedly), Alina vows to return and tear down the Shadow Fold when she is strong enough. The last we see her, she and Mal are on a ship heading towards Ketterdam.

The Real Deal:

Alina is definitely the real deal. Aside from being the long-awaitted Sun Summoner, Alina is a strong-willed and determined individual. As a child, she repeatedly stood up to the bullies at Keramzin. Throughout her life, she has been repeatedly looked down on for her differences, but she continues to push forward. When Alina’s true power was awakened, she was scared and didn’t know how she was supposed to help everyone.

She eventually learns how to control her power and even though she has spent her life being bullied by many people within Ravka, she still wants to help save them. Alina pushes forward even when she is told that she can’t do something or isn’t worthy. And in the face of someone stronger and who can control her, she still stands up and fights for her freedom and the freedom of others.

Why She Matters:

Alina trying to protect the Stag in Shadow and Bone.


So why does Alina matter? It isn’t just because she is the Sun Summoner or Santka Alina. It is because she is strong and stands her ground in the face of adversity. She is constantly being judged for her appearance and how different she is, but she continues to push forward. Alina wants nothing more than to protect her found family and is willing to do anything to achieve that. She constantly works hard to control her power and even when she is given a chance to run away, she decides to face her fears and seek out the Stag so Kirigan cannot get to it.

So be like Alina, be strong-willed, protect those closest to you and when given a chance to make a difference – take it.

RELATED: Looking for another strong female crush? Check out our Geek Girl Authority Crushes of the Week here!

RELATED: Catch up on Shadow and Bone with our recaps!

5 Questions We Need Answered in Season 2 of SHADOW AND BONE



Catch Me