Fourth Wing Theory: Lilith Sorrengail is not evil

Fourth Wing Theory Lilith Sorrengail might not be evil

Chapter 5, page 55 -Violet’s mother officially objected that children of the rebellion’s leaders should be forced to watch.

“Knowing that I am in direct disagreement with General Malgren’s orders, I am officially objecting to the plan set forth in today’s briefing. It is not this general’s opinion that the children of the rebellion’s leaders should be forced to witness their parents’ execution. No child should watch their parents put to death. “

Chapter 18, Page 220 – Violet’s dream gives us an incredible clue about the fact that Lilith wanted Violet to be Scribe

“You are not like them, Violet. That’s not your path.Dad gives me an apologetic smile, the usual kind that says he sympathizes, but there’s nothing he can do, the kind he gives me when Mom makes a choice he doesn’t agree with.”

Chapter 20, Page 253 – Liam tells Violet his theory about the Riders Quadrant

“I, personally, think the quadrant was chosen to give us the best chance of rising in rank, but others…”

Comments: My theory here is that Liam is actually right. I believe that when (as we’ll learn later) Xaden made a deal with Lilith Sorrengail, there’s a lot more to the story. These kids were conscripted, but to indeed get higher up in rank and be able to overturn the leadership again, rather than just rid of them.

Chapter 27, Page 333 – Lilith Sorrengail not giving her daughter Mira Sorrengail the right military award

“I recommend Mira Sorrengail receive the Star of Navarre. But if the criterion is not met, which I assure you it has been, downgrading to the Order of the Talon would be a shame, but sufficient.”

Comment: As we’ve learned from the book, Mira Sorrengail was awarded the Order of the Talon. However, it’s only now that we’ve discovered she was actually in line for an even more prestigious honour (Star of Navarre). The implications of receiving the Star of Navarre are not entirely clear yet. Could it have put Mira more prominently on the radar, leading her into more dangerous battles? Who knows the motive behind Lilith not warding her own daughter this award. But I just don’t think it’s a bad thing…

We know from Lilith’s profile that she is a shrewd woman with a strict adherence to her career path. This much is abundantly clear. Given this, one would expect her to seize the opportunity to bestow such an honor on her own daughter and bask in the reflected glory. Yet, she didn’t. The reasons behind it remain a mystery. Just a hunch I have that it was for Mira’s own good.

Chaopter 36, Page 455 – When Violet realises Lilith knows about venin

“The dagger on her desk means she knows and has done nothing to stop it”

Comments: Well, you see, I think Lilith is actively doing stuff to stop it. And I think she tried keeping Violet safe with the Scribes while her dad was alive, and now she pushed her to become a rider. We don’t know more, again it’s just how I see the story.

UPDATE: With Iron Flame out, I now have the verdict on this theory: Is Lilith Sorrengail evil? Please only proceed with caution as the article will contain spoilers.

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21 responses to “Fourth Wing Theory: Lilith Sorrengail is not evil”

  1. I’ve thought the opposite, that Lilith purposely forced Violet into the Riders because she knew if Violet became a scribe she would discover the truth about the Venin and the rebellion, like her dad did. My theory is that mom killed dad because he was figuring it out as well. Violet said her dad changed after Brennan’s “death” and buried himself in his studies. He and Brennan both found out the truth. If she put Violet into the Riders, she wouldn’t have to kill her herself.

    1. Ooooh triple snap. You are team Lilith is a cruel one. I like it! I guess the softie in me still hopes that mum has a marshmallow core. But then, at least it wouldn’t shock me if she were a terrible person thru and thru.

    2. “If she put Violet into the Riders, she wouldn’t have to kill her herself.” Wait so you think that nasty ass storm at the beginning was actually to try and KILL Violet? But then she was so soft towards her, telling her that if anyone can survive the Quadrant, that would be Violet. I don’t know… I don’t know. I think what Liam said to Violet in the archives also resonates a bit. “Some think we were put here (Riders Quadrant) to raise in ranks”. And I do too. No, I think, Lilith has a nasty agenda to overthrown Melgren and stage a coup from the inside. 😛

      1. YES YES exactly my thoughts. I think Lilith has the potential to be one of the most complicated characters. For example the storm at the start COULD’VE been a test to see if Violet has it in her (as Lilith had suspected she is and she probably could’ve saved her by controlling the wind if Violet had fallen) but that would’ve been reasonable. Then the whole “I do not approve of children watching their parents die” is her real self, the just and compassionate one. I agree with you about the deal with Xaden (it is a really good deal + him getting only the good end would’ve been suspicious so they agreed he should be “punished” even more). I also believe she knows about Brennan and possibly helped the whole scheme. It could’ve been anonymously, for example just hiding things from Melgren and covering for Xaden, Brennan and others. Being her usual cold, strict self in Basgiath so everything seems normal + adding some cruelty to make the whole thing even more believable. And I also think Violet inherited her intelligence from her mother. Like sure, her father was a scribe, was smart and a bookworm but it feels like her mother is a very cunning woman as well. What I think happened is:
        1) She suspects something during the rebellion + maybe has a convo with Fen Riorson that leaves her confused
        2) She expresses her disagreement on the whole “punishment” topic but is later forced to follow the order and kill Riorson and the rest in front of their kids + punish the kids
        3) She loses faith in humanity 😭
        4) Xaden makes the deal with her. At first she is skeptical because she doesn’t want to torture him like that (to him it seems as though she just doesn’t want to help him. Note that if my theory is true then she never revealed her real intentions to him). Then she realizes it is the best decision to give the kids a shot at survival + a chance to maybe change the system
        6) A plan formes in her head. Regardless if at that point she alone or with her husband knew about Brennan’s survival or learned about it a little later, she decides to act. Violet’s father is a scribe. He starts a research on the venin and the wyverns. Lilith continues to put an act for the leadership. As Violet says, her father “changes” after her brother’s death but that’s because he comes upon his great discovery. He and his wife work together and somehow get Brennan to help (he might have suspected something during the rebellion, perhaps he had some interesting interactions).
        A nice detail is the fact that Lillith didn’t really mourn Brennan. She just burned his stuff maybe so that no one questioned anything.
        7) Talking about the burning of his possessions, one could argue that perhaps she found a little book upon them. Maybe Mira returned the book to her brother at some point. Maybe Lilith decided to keep it just in case. Maybe she was the one who bribed someone to put it under her daughter’s pillow, faking Mira’s handwriting. Maybe Mira couldn’t have been the one to send it because she was already on dragonback and the note is lying that she is yet preparingto leave. This would mean that Lilith GENUINELY wants her daughter to survive and does what she thinks is best to secretly guide her. That however, is a tinfoil theory. Let’s continue the main one.
        8) After his great discovery, Violet’s dad is somehow killed, likely poisoned, by the scribes themselves.
        9) Lilith figures it out and immediately decides to force Violet into the Riders Quadrant because this way she can watch over her better and also there isn’t any danger for Violet if her own intelligence gets her killed by the scribes. Lilith believes Violet can absolutely survive everything because she has trust in her daughters thinking abilities.
        10) Her beliefs are confirmed once Violet crosses successfully the parapet, regardless if the storm was her doing (in order to put her through a test) or not. Maybe she was even impressed/proud if she heard about how Violet humiliated Jack but she never showed it. As I stated at the start, I really think she is a VERY complicated woman who HOWEVER has good motivates.
        11) She acted so cold towards Xaden when they met and implied he needed to constantly prove his loyalty only because Dain’s father was there. The whole scene is either Lilith counting on the fact that her daughter is too smart and therefore using normal manipulation tactics, hoping Violet will see right trough them and NOT reveal anything therefore actually manipulating her to hide whatever she knows (a direct warning would make Violet suspect something and potentially get herself in danger) OR perhaps Violet just can’t understand or read her mother that well.
        11) The dagger she has and the letters she has received are proof she is preparing for something. The letters can be used in a lot of contexts. Maybe she hides the information from them and acts on her own. Maybe she tried to stand for the ones asking for help but she was denied. Maybe she is using the letters to get information about what’s going on. Doesn’t matter. She is up to something and I believe her plan helps the right side.

        In conclusion I will say that maybe I am wrong about half of this, maybe even all of this. Theorizing is fun tho 🩷

        1. I love it when I see other Fourth Wing fans paying close attention to so many details. Oh your comment here was such a delight to read. I’m HERE for it.
          Honest to Gods I feel the same way. I think she is very complicated and not very black and white. I’ve been reading a lot of fantasy recently, and this could literally go two ways:
          1) Lilith is hiding the truth gracefully but she really is an ally. She wants Violet and Xaden to succeed. She is cold because maybe Melgreen can see outcomes and she is basically cleverly withdraws herself in everything to ensure he does not see sh*t.
          2) Lilith is terribly evil and she wants to keep it all a secret but she cares deeply for her children in a weird twisted way. But honestly…it just doesn’t come across this way. I feel she is a good woman with many complications, as you mentioned yourself.

          Also, Liam did mention himself, no? That many believe they were put in that dead sentence of a college to die, but he believes it was for an opportunity to up themselves in ranking. And I don’t think he was just polite when he said that.

    3. Yes, I agree. I think she killed Dad after he threatened to tell everyone because he couldn’t handle Brennan’s “death”.

    4. I agree with this 100 %. I think Violet’s dad wanted to come forward and let people know but was executed. From how Violet is (personality-wise), how she talks about her dad and the little note hidden in the book, he seemed like he was not only a good guy but also wanted the truth to come out. Even if it was just to warn his daughter. I would assume he would have probably urged his wife to do the right thing and either tell people or at bare minimum to talk to her superiors.

      If you think about it, it would make a lot of sense. Violet would have the ability and the drive to continue her dad’s research as a scribe. Lilith making Violet join the riders could be her way of potentially saving Violet. Both paths would have risks but as a rider she could at least defend herself and be away from the temptation of looking into what he was researching.

      Could it be possible that Lilith found out that Brennan wasn’t dead but maybe dead to her if he “joined the other side”? She’s extremely cold toward her children, doesn’t say anything about her husband and is obviously all about the military. I’m not saying she doesn’t love her kids or her husband but some people are just built different.

  2. Ok so I have a thought with Lilith helping the marked ones. IF her ultimate goal is to help them move up in ranks with the riders quadrant and to help overthrow the corrupt regime from within it makes sense as they are the only ones Melgren has a blind spot to. So by avoiding her daughter, keeping a distance from direct activities and placing those she know have strong morals (like Violet) in the mix she is setting the chess board without looking like she is…. Now if her motives are purely good on the other hand waits to be seen. It would be quite the twist to make her look bad but then turn to a mastermind of the rebellion only to really want to be the one in charge to further her own career.

    1. I agree with this. That’s what I’m thinking, too! I do think she’s ultimately a grey area character but not evil.

  3. These are GREAT theories and I agree. Lilith is a complex character. I believe the scribes killed him on someone’s orders. Obvious candidate is Melgren, but I have deep theory that maybe the big bad is Colonel Aetos (long shot).

    But I agree Lilith got her out of the scribes to protect her (and love the weather control is brilliant insight!). Although why she thought her daughter could survive there is beyond me… UNLESS there is someone with precognition who helped her there. If Melgren is actually a hidden guy, he may have helped in some way.

    1. The more you’re telling me this Melgren guy is good, the more I’m tempted to see your point here. But I secretly hope he’s not good?I love the idea that his dragon Codagh is doing all sorts of shady stuff behind Codagh’s back hehe. I don’t know, I just want to have a seriously bad baddy and get that satisfactory moment when they get punished.

      1. I agree Melgren is the obvious baddie. And we need one! Plus whoever is the evil leader of the Venin (which could also be Melgren!)

        But what if the author wants a character who appears good, but is actually bad? Would be an interesting plot twist, and Colonel Aetos could have manipulated Dain to push so ridiculously hard to move Violet back to the Scribes (so she could find her fathers research). And now Dain has moved to the dark side by letting Vi die. Maybe he always was…

        (Aside: how could the Empyrean allow any dragon of a baddie aid the dark side? Could be a factor in favor of Melgren being secretly good! Although the Aetos’ have dragons too… maybe the dragons themselves are spies?)

        1. Ok, so I thought about the Empyrean and how they can’t actually work with baddies right?
          But I also figured it out (I think?!).
          Tairn did mention that dragons and riders do form a sacred bond. Sharing anything outside of the bond is considered a violation. So technically, even if Melgren is a baddie, Codagh can’t actually share what he sees in Melgren’s mind with other dragons.
          Of course, that shouldn’t stop him (Codagh) from aiding others (like creating awesome rebellion relics and channelling new powers or when in groups over three, nullifying Melgrens’ ability). That’s what I’m thinking…What do you think?

  4. I wonder if there is a deep story on why Violet really got the physical maladies she has. I wonder if there was some deal that allow “all nature in balance” to shift her to be strong with insight, not just intelligence. Although honestly I have no idea why everyone thinks she’s so brilliant. Seems pretty average to me lol… but maybe that’s Yarros creating a connection to her readers so we all think we’re So. Fucking. Brilliant. Too. Lol

  5. I like your theory on Codagh. Maybe Codagh is himself blocking the groups of 3?

    I wonder why we don’t hear of other bonded dragons. Like Codagh… why isn’t he bonded? Maybe he is, but that seems like an oversight. Anyway, that would way complicate the storyline. In fact, one of the five books could shift the POV to within the Empyrean, which is really a black box to us.

    1. Codagh is bonded with Gen Melgren. It’s his dragon. During class they mention that he is the only other black dragon and the biggest of them all, even bigger than Tairn.

  6. Ah I phrased that wrong. What I meant was: why aren’t more dragons mated? We only know of two (well, Andarna had parents, but I’m not sure that story will stick), but there have to be more. The complications of dragon mates shouldn’t only affect Xaden and Vi. And yet they still speculate on how long they can be parted, but they HAD to have experience with others.

    1. Oh got it. Hm…good question. Maybe too many know of venin somehow? Or sense dangers?

  7. What about the part where Violet talks about how her father read the Fables book to them every night, and how her mother took it away for a month after Violet thought she was turning into a venin? The mother knew the father was teaching the kids a banned book and presumably didn’t stop it since Violet still had the book on conscription day. That, coupled with her objection to the punishment of the rebels’ kids, makes me question whether she’s totally evil. I also don’t think sent Violet to die on the parapet because I just feel like that would have been super embarrassing for her as Basgiath’s general.

    1. All valid points. We’re going to really see what’s her game. But I do think Lilith is a morally grey character at this point.

  8. I think she’s good. And I think she’s working with Xaden and Brennan. I think she intended for Violet to join the scribes to help her father find and spread the true history. But when her father died, either naturally or murdered by someone trying to shut him down, she decided Violet had to join the fight on the front lines.

    And one point I’ve never seen anyone mention, is how Xaden knows that Melgren can’t see them in groups of 3+. How could he know that unless someone told him? It can’t be common knowledge so one of the only people who could know that and share it is Lilith.

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Hello! This site is dedicated to the Empyrean Series by Rebecca Yarros. I’ve made this place to explore the rich world of Empyrean, full of characters, theories, and places. Each post is carefully researched and updated with the newest details from the series. This site is also a great spot for discussing theories about the Empyrean Series. 🐉
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