“[E]very horror came back to her, and she truly was a wraith, a ghost taking flight from a body that had given her only pain. No. A body that had given her strength. A body that had carried her over the rooftops of Ketterdam, that had served her in battle, that had brought her up six stories in the dark of a soot-stained chimney.”

Inej narrates these words in Chapter 33 when Tante Heleen exposes her as an impostor in the Ice Court. The last time Inej met Heleen on the streets of Ketterdam, she shrank from the gaze of her captor, paralyzed with the fear of being forced back into sexual slavery. This time, she only briefly allows Heleen to trigger her feelings of self-doubt. Instead, she reminds herself of all the physical exploits she has accomplished, including her recent scaling of the incinerator shaft, and she realizes she’s stronger than Heleen. When Heleen attempts to collar her, Inej quickly twists Heleen’s wrist and brings the larger woman to the ground. This moment illustrates Inej’s newfound ability to overcome the self-doubt and fear caused by her traumatic experience at The Menagerie. Tapping into her inner strength, she not only overpowers Heleen, but steals her diamond in the process.

“There was no part of him that was not broken, that had not healed wrong, and there was no part of him that was not stronger for having been broken. The cane became a part of the myth he built.”

Kaz narrates these words in Chapter 38 as he tumbles through the underground river, holding his breath and reflecting on his life. Here he is remembering how he broke his leg during a bank robbery when he was fourteen. The bone did not heal properly, so he hired a Grisha Fabrikator to make him his crow-headed cane. Instead of allowing himself to be labeled a cripple, he transforms his injury into a source of strength. His cane becomes part of the myth of Kaz Brekker, not a symbol of weakness but a weapon he uses to cudgel his enemies into submission. Although Kaz privately acknowledges his brokenness, he emerges from his traumas much stronger than before.

“I want to use my money to hire a crew and outfit a ship.” Saying the words wrapped her breath up in an anxious spool. [Inej’s] dream still felt fragile. She didn’t want to care what Kaz thought, but she did. “I’m going to hunt slavers.”  

“Purpose,” [Kaz] said thoughtfully.”

This conversation takes place in Chapter 42 as Inej and Kaz discuss their plans for the future. Inej tells Kaz that she plans to leave Ketterdam—and Kaz—to hunt slavers, and Kaz correctly observes that Inej has found a new purpose in life. This newfound purpose stems directly from her personal trauma of having been captured and sold into slavery. By bringing slavers to justice, she hopes to prevent others from suffering her own experiences, even though these experiences are the source of her strength. Later, when Kaz asks her to stay with him in Ketterdam, Inej declines, illustrating that her own dreams are more important to her than what Kaz wants. Having overcome her trauma, Inej is ready to build a new life on her own terms.