Who is Inej in ‘Shadow and Bone’ and where is she from? Inej Ghafa, explained

Inej Ghafa
Photo via Netflix

The second season of Shadow and Bone is officially here. 

Fans are headed into the season with high hopes for what is to come, as they dissect each and every fresh element and hype up new character appearances. Several new additions are joining the cast for season two, including a new Crow named Wylan. It isn’t Wylan on some fans’ minds, however — as they dive back into the action — but Inej. The nimble thief was an early crowd favorite among both readers and viewers, and fans are looking forward to a more fleshed-out look at the character’s background in season two.

Who is Inej Ghafa?

Photo via Netflix

Inej enters the story, on Netflix at least, as an indenture with a debt to Tante Heleen, or Heleen Van Houden. The vicious madame owns the Menagerie where Inej worked before Kaz bought off her contract. One of the Barrel’s more unique brothels, the Menagerie collects “exotic” girls and offers them up to Ketterdam’s masses. 

Inej ended up in Heleen’s “employ” immediately after arriving in Kerch. She was captured — several years back — by slavers, and transported across the ocean to the mercantile country. Upon arriving in Ketterdam, she was manipulated into signing her rights away, and became an indenture to Heleen. Her youth, paired with an initial language barrier, pushed Inej to sign a contract she did not understand, and the young Suli girl soon found herself trapped in a life of prostitution.

The skills she honed as a child, working with her family as a performer and acrobat, are what ultimately saved Inej from her life in the brothel. In an act of desperation, she sought out Kaz Brekker — the young Crow lieutenant — and asked him for help. Kaz saw an opportunity in Inej, and bought her contract from Heleen. Soon he was teaching her how to use her skills to spy for him, allowing Inej to make the transition from Heleen’s caramel-skinned Suli girl to the Wraith.

As the Wraith, Inej is one of Kaz’s most capable soldiers. She moves silently across the rooftops of Ketterdam’s many districts and collects information for Kaz to use in his scheming. In the series, she is also seeking information about her brother — a Netflix addition that was absent from the books. Based on the bare information laid out so far, it seems Inej’s younger brother was also snatched when the slavers grabbed Inej, and she’s now on the hunt for where he ended up. 

Where is she from? 

Inej originally hails from Ravka. She spent her childhood traveling over most every inch of the country, thanks to her roots among the nomadic Suli people. Everywhere in Ravka is home to Inej, who traveled its lengths in her family’s Caravan, entertaining the masses as an acrobat.

It is her background as an acrobat that alerts Kaz to Inej’s capabilities, and ultimately earns her freedom from Tante Heleen’s clutches. She showcases her talent as an athlete and acrobat on several occasions, leaning on the skills she developed as a child to pull off a range of otherwise-impossible stunts. 

Despite her roots in Ravka, Inej doesn’t look much like many of the other Ravkan characters fans know from the show. While she does hail from the same country as people like Nina and Alina, her place among the Suli separates Inej from her countryfolk. She and her people are often stigmatized and ostracized from communities in their own home country. They are also highly valuable to slavers, a lesson Inej learned the hard way.

During most of the events of Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, Inej has no idea if her parents are still alive. She hopes desperately to find them one day, and reunite with her long-lost family, but the lithe little thief has no idea where her wandering parents may have ended up. Thankfully, Kaz — showing his love in the only way he knows how — pulls off what Inej cannot, and locates her family. He even brings them back to Inej, all on a ship he purchased — with the money their incredible heist earned — and named for his beloved Wraith.