Chapter 39: Inej 

Things look bleak for Inej, who is being hauled back to the prison for interrogation by two guards. Although she is handcuffed, she decides she can overpower the guards, even without her knives. In one swift move, she trips up one guard and breaks his nose. The other guard threatens to shoot her, but he suddenly falls down dead. Jesper and Wylan, disguised as Fjerdan guards, have stabbed him in the back with a pair of shears.  

Inej reveals that she stole Tante Heleen’s prized diamond during their previous scuffle. Inej wishes she could see the look on Heleen’s face when she realizes that it’s missing. Jesper uses the diamond and the winch from the gate to fabricate a drill. As more guards try to ram their way through the door, Wylan and Jesper drill a hole through the bulletproof glass on one side of the cell. Just as the guards gain entry, Inej jumps through the hole. She swings on a lamp as a bullet whizzes by her. She uses her acrobatic skills to launch herself onto a tank. She then gets in the tank and shoots through the glass, thinking to herself that the shattered glass is prettier than diamonds. Wylan and Jesper join Inej in the tank, and they drive the tank right out of the Ice Court. Much to their amusement, they notice a banner dragging in the mud behind them. The banner reads “Fjerdan Might.”  

Chapter 40: Nina 

Nina, Matthias, and Kuwei emerge from a frigid river. They pull out Kaz, who is unconscious. Matthias starts CPR and then Nina takes over, using her Grisha powers to restart his heart. Kaz revives and recoils from Nina’s touch. Matthias berates Kaz for blowing up the sacred ash tree, but Kaz responds defiantly. The tank approaches, and the group rejoices to be reunited with the rest of the gang. Their celebration is cut short when they realize they are being pursued by an army of tanks. Jesper blows up the bridge behind them so the other tanks can’t follow them. 

They all ride the tank into town. They can smell the sea as their escape ship comes into view. Then they see an entire army positioned between them and the ship. The army is led by Jarl Brum, and he has with him several Grisha on jurda parem, ready to attack. Brum demands that they release Kuwei. Kaz tells the group he is out of tricks. Vastly outnumbered, they resolve to go down fighting.  

Nina realizes the only way out is for her to take jurda parem. Kuwei produces a small pouch from his pocket. Matthias tries to stop her, having witnessed the terrible effects of the drug, but Nina swallows the dose. Immediately, she feels the power of the drug take hold.  

Chapter 41: Matthias 

Her powers heightened, Nina immediately kills the army’s Heartrender and then commands the soldiers to sleep. The crew walks over and through the sleeping soldiers toward their ship until they encounter a troop of drüskelle wearing special Grisha-proof armor. Jarl Brum is among them. At Brum’s command, the drüskelle open fire, and Matthias is shot in the chest. Nina removes the bullet and heals him instantly. Next, they shoot Nina, but she quickly heals herself. Brum taunts Nina, saying that she can’t touch them because of their armor. So instead, she instructs the sleeping soldiers to attack the drüskelle and remove their armor. Once their armor is off, she tortures the helpless drüskelle with her powers. Matthias recognizes his former friends among the drüskelle and begs Nina to show them mercy, and she spares their lives. The crew boards the ship and sails away. 


These chapters represent the climax of the novel, with several members of the crew overcoming their personal struggles in order to successfully complete the heist. Inej’s acrobatic escape from the Ice Court represents a return to her true self and a reclamation of the power her captors took from her. After being outed by Tante Heleen and arrested, it seems momentarily that Inej will be bested by her nemesis, with Heleen taunting that Inej will be hanged in the costume of the Menagerie girl she never wanted to be. But instead of giving up, Inej realizes that her disguise works in her favor by making the guards underestimate her. Though she’s handcuffed, she boldly attacks the guards, displaying her physical strength and self-confidence and illustrating that she has overcome the scars of her captivity. Moreover, after Jesper and Wylan help save the day, Inej reveals that she actually got the better of Tante Heleen by stealing the massive diamond from her necklace. The theft of the diamond represents Inej’s triumph over Tante Heleen. Although no physical object could counterbalance the harm Heleen caused Inej, she feels some amount of justice in taking a part of Heleen away from her. In addition, Inej’s use of the diamond to break free from the Ice Court represents a powerful reclamation of her freedom. Inej’s statement that the shattering glass of the Ice Court is “prettier than diamonds” emphasizes that freedom is more valuable to her than riches.   

Like Inej, Kaz’s brush with death symbolizes his own struggle to overcome his personal trauma, namely his experience with Jordie on the sick boat. However, unlike Inej, Kaz’s deliverance occurs not by his own hand but only with the help of his fellow Crows. Kaz’s near-drowning in the underground river parallels his ordeal on the sick boat in many ways. In both instances, he is utterly alone, submerged in darkness and in water, and floating in limbo between life and death. Just as he clings to Jordie’s body in the harbor, he clings to his desire for Inej in the underground river, suggesting that his longing for her provides his will to live. However, this longing is not enough. Unlike the others who survive the river, Kaz loses consciousness and nearly drowns, only surviving when Nina uses her Grisha powers to revive him. Tellingly, when he regains consciousness, he recoils from Nina’s touch, suggesting that he may never overcome the repulsion to human touch that has resulted from his trauma on the sick boat. Shortly afterward, Nina must rescue Kaz yet again when he fails to anticipate the Fjerdan army waiting for them in the harbor. Throughout the novel, Kaz has saved his crew countless times by anticipating the opponent’s next move and always having an ace up his sleeve. But this time, he admits that he is “out of tricks” and ready to concede defeat, only to have Nina save the day by dosing herself with jurda parem. This second rescue suggests that Kaz, for all of his self-reliance and scheming, cannot succeed without the help of others and very much needs the human contact from which he recoils.  

Given that Kaz has been the unquestioned leader of the heist, Nina would seem to be a somewhat unlikely hero except that she has more at stake in the outcome of the heist than the rest of the crew. Whereas each of the other characters has motives that are deeply personal and largely decoupled from the nominal goal of the heist, Nina understands that allowing jurda parem to continue to exist would put the existence of all Grisha at risk. Far from empowering Grisha like herself, it would subject them to the demands of non-Grisha who would use the drug’s addictive nature to exploit their heightened powers for their own ends. Nina’s decision to take the drug to defeat Jarl Brum’s army represents a powerful act of self-sacrifice. When all hope seems lost, she risks her own life by taking jurda parem herself to save her friends and her people from its devastating consequences. The ease with which Nina single-handedly dispatches Brum and his entire army demonstrates the immense power of this sacrificial act.