Last week, I posted my review on Six of Crows. In it, I mentioned I had difficulties/thoughts with how Kaz became disabled and how he views it.
On page 401, there’s a paragraph in Six of Crows which talks about how Kaz came to limp:
When he was fourteen, Kaz had put together a crew to rob the bank that had helped Hertzoon prey upon him and Jordie. His crew got away with fifty thousand Kruge, but he’d broken his leg dropping down from the rooftop. The bone didn’t set right, and he’d limped ever after. So, he’d found himself a Fabrikator and had his cane made. It became a declaration. 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. No one knew who he was. No one knew where he came from. He’d become Kaz Brekker, cripple and confidence man, bastard of the Barrel.
At first, my mind said this is Kaz wanting to show the world he’s a broken man on the inside by becoming physically disabled, wanting people to know everything he’s been through. I didn’t like my initial impression of this tidbit in the novel. Visibly disabled people aren’t visibly disabled because they have troubled souls or sinful histories.
But, Kaz also wants the world to know he’s limped through hell and can still burn it all down if he chooses. He sees his limp as something to illustrate his strength and tenacity. He never uses his disability to play the victim and, if his enemies see weakness because of his limp, they are going to be in for an awful surprise.
He uses his limp also, it seems, to make him distinctive. It is his legend, the cripple who can still kick ass. It is a great thing, to see a disabled person strong and uncompromising.
There were healers, though, who could have healed him without permanent damage. Were they too expensive at the time of his injury? Did he break his leg and see it as an opportunity to reinvent himself? The paragraph merely says his leg never healed right, not that he did anything to alter it, for good or bad. Maybe, like most of us, he just uses any angle he has.
I would have liked to know if Kaz turned down the chance to properly heal, or if he was too low in the gang’s ranks to warrant a Grisha (magic-user) healer, or if he thought that his broken leg wasn’t that detrimental. It probably doesn’t matter, but part of the lore of his disability left me with an icky feeling, though Kaz is never portrayed as anything other than a strong, crafty, complex anti-hero.
Is it something he purposely chose? Something he didn’t think about until later? If Kaz let himself become physically disabled, does it change how I’d feel about his character?
I possibly read too much into a fictional character’s choices.
Have you read the book? What do you think about the explanation for Kaz’s limp?