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Fourth Wing Theory: Xaden is Inntinnsic

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Written by: Cory

Fourth Wing Theory: is Xaden Riorson a mind reader

One theory is that Xaden Riorson is Inntinnsic. This theory was developed entirely by me (after reading the books 4 times now).

The theory came to me after reading several passages in the book which relate to how Xaden can read Violet’s mind and replies to her out loud. While many others suggest that this is just because of the connection between their dragons being mates, I believe this goes beyond.

So much so, that this is made evident when Tairn, Violet’s dragon, becomes angry at Xaden for seemingly trying to read him.

Here are the passages that make this obvious to me:

Chapter 4, Page 52 – Violet can sense when Xaden is around, even though he is not in his line of sight. I believe this happens when he reads her mind.

“The hairs on the back of my neck stand up and a chill races down my spine as I cross the centre of the rotunda, then my steps halt. Cadets move around me, but my eyes are drawn upward, towards the top of the steps that leads to the gathering hall.”

Chapter 7, Page 87 – When Violet says that Xaden can see through her, and she gets that ice prickly sensation which, again, reiterates it’s when she can feel Xaden. I think this is what she feels when he reads her mind.

“He looks at me like he’s trying to see through me, and ice prickles my scalp.”

Chapter 8: Page 100 – Again, Violet realises that prickling sensation

“There’s no ignoring the prickle at my scalp, and I let my gaze shift to meet Xaden’s.”

Chapter 8, Page 102 – Violet telling us AGAIN about her prickling ice sensation

“I’m happy to step in.” That voice. That tone. That prickle of ice along my scalp.

Chapter 9, Page 110 – Violet and Xaden on the sparring mat, when Xaden reveals that he knows about the poisons

“Because you can’t poison every enemy you come across”

“How did you know?”

“Oh, Violence, you’re good, but I’ve known better poison masters. The trick is to not make it quote so obvious.”

Comment: Of course, you could argue that Xaden does indeed pay close attention to Violet and he noticed that all her opponents were weakened just before her match. But I find it interesting that, as pointed out above, she can feel that ice prickle just as he steps onto the mat because he just read her mind about her feeling afraid. That would also explain him knowing about the poisons, as evidently, he just read her mind before stepping onto the mat.
At the same time, of course, it could be just Xaden’s excellent observation skills. Who knows…

Chapter 10, Page 125 – Violet can feel that prickle on her scalp despite that she’s hiding and Xaden does not have a direct line of sight to her

“May scalp prickles and Xaden stops mid-step ten feet away, the set of his shoulders rigid.”

Comments: It’s so clear that she can really feel the moment Xaden reads her. And she was hidden, there was no reason for him to see her beyond the fact that Xaden always scans the room to read other people. And that’s when he realised she was there, thus stopping mid-step and her having that same prickling sensation. I know many people argue that they can feel each other once their dragons are bonded, but this is not yet the case. She can just…feel him. And sure, there’s a lot of attraction there, but surely not enough for her to feel this sensation over and over. In the following paragraphs, Garrick also pauses, sensing something amiss. His gaze specifically lands on the couple in the corner, as if he knows that the only potential issue could be Xaden reading others’ thoughts…

Chapter 10, Page 130 – Xaden tells Violet he knows about her plans for the Scribe Quadrant

“Ah. And then you lose a squadmate, and you can’t quite get up the chimney, and you give up. I’m starting to see. It’s not a flattering picture, but if you want to run off to the Scribe Quadrant.”

Comments: In no point in the book was Xaden at the Gauntlet practice to know that Violet can’t quite make it to the Gauntlet. Besides, at the practice, only the squadmates are there nobody else, which means nobody would have told Xaden about this. During the practice, Violet didn’t feel any of the usual prickle either to just say that he might be around. So how else would he know that practice detail, if he were not in her head then and there? Of course, his explanations is plausible and can easily stir us in a different direction…

Chapter 10, Page 130 – Xaden mentions his shadows see everything.

“I know everything that goes on here. Shadows, remember? They hear everything, see everything, conceal everything.”

Comments: This is a very plausible explanation for how he always knows what’s going on with Violet (the poisons, her hiding in that tree, her hiding in the alcove, the discussions with Dain etc). But let’s back to the first time I mention that he really tries to see through Violet to see if she’s telling the truth. Hmm….

Chapter 13, Page 162 – Another prickling sensation

“My scalp prickles as each of our heads swivel in his direction”

Chapter 16, Page 190 – Whop whop, you guessed it, another prickling sensation

“My scalp prickles, and I glance across the field at him. As if sensing my gaze, he looks over and holds up a single finger. Target number one.”

Chapter 17, Page 199 – Oh look, another head tingling sensation

“My whole head tingles.”

Comments: Yes, the above is in relation to Xaden, even though out of context it doesn’t make much sense.

Chapter 18, Page 213 – Our girl Violet is now getting used to the sensation too

“I feel a tingle in my scalp and know that if I turn, I’ll find Xaden watching us. Watching me.”

Chapter 18, Page 219 – Xaden knows how to mask thoughts from others

“Start mentally reciting whatever bookish shit you’ve learned”

Chapter 18, Page 222 – When she feels Andarna’s power rather than her own.

“Skin-prickling energy zings down my spine, then rushes to my fingertips and toes, and the next breath I take is in total, complete silence.”

Comments: Maybe a little far-fetched but notice how when she feels Andarna’s magic, her skin prickles down with energy, the same way as she can feel Xaden’s magic having an effect on her. I know, this begs the question…how come that she doesn’t feel Dain’s magic on her. And my only speculation is that he can hone his skills with leadership to be able to “hide” it from others. Or maybe, he’s not as powerful. As I said, a bit far-fetched but wanted to include it here too.

Chapter 19, Page 225 – When Violet thought something and yet Xaden replies to her as if she’d said it out loud

“I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m alive. I repeat the mantra in my head […]
Yes. You’re alive.”

Chapter 19, Page 226 – When Xaden magically knows Violet’s lying

“I’m fine”. I’m not.
His focus snaps back to my eyes. “Never lie to me”

Comments: Like, how would he know? Unless he’s reading her right then and there. It’s obvious she said something out loud and thought something else. And yet, he knew!

Chapter 19, Page 229 – Xaden can read that she’s afraid of the dark

“Hope you are not afraid of the dark.”
This is fine. This is absolutely fine.
“But just in case you are.”

Chapter 19, Page 229 – Xaden admits that he reads her

“Or did I read that wrong?”

Chapter 19, Page 230 – He would know if she tells his secrets

“Let me guess, and you’ll know if I tell?”

Chapter 19, Page 232 – Conversation between Xaden and Tairn when Xaden is trying to figure out what happened in Violet’s room, during the night of her attack.

“We need to know what happened in that room.” Xaden’s dark gaze cuts through me like a knife for a millisecond before he glares back at Tairn.
“Do not dare try and read me, human, or you’ll regret it.”

Comments: I mean, Tairn clearly knows…

Chapter 19, Page 236 – Reiterating that rare abilities are so important…and Xaden mentioning that reading minds is a capital offence..

“A mind reader is a capital offence. You know that.” […]
“Rare abilities, when kept secret, are the most valuable form of currency we possess.”

Comments: Please mention that he used plural “we possess”. He has one, and yeah, I hold it, he can read minds. He knows others have rare ones too…which they must be kept secret.

Chapter 21, Page 257 – Oh look, her scalp prickles (again!)

“My scalp prickles, but I fight the urge to turn around.”

Comments: The fact that she just “figured” he arrived without even seeing him.

Chapter 22, Page 271 – He can “hear” her thoughts

“His back. My quiet gasp is uncontrollable, and Xaden tenses for a second before […].”

Comments: Why would he tense if he can’t hear her thoughts?

Chapter 22, Page 279 – As if he can hear her thoughts, oh wait.

“Closer. I need him closer. As though he can hear my thoughts”

Chapter 30, Page 378 – Lucky guess? Or can he read her thoughts?

“F*cking desk. My thoughts exactly.”

Comments: Ok, this is the only paragraph which, I think, might be coincidental.

Chapter 31, Page 397 – Familiar prickle and Violet knows he’s in the room

“I feel a familiar prickle along my scalp, and I know Xaden has filed into the Battle Brief room […].”

Chapter 31, Page 398 – Violet is thinking and Xaden calls her out on it

“Of course he would. Xaden is a master of containing his own emotions,[…] responsibility for every marked one in here.

Whatever you’re thinking can wait until there’s not a room of people between us, he says.”

Comments: I just find it interesting that he mentions to her whatever you’re thinking and not whatever you’re saying, as they also communicate via their mind connection.

Chapter 32, Page 419 – Xaden and Violet having their intimate moments when Xaden replies to her inner thoughts.

“I’m not going to survive this. I’m going to die right here in this bed.

Then I’m going to die with you, he promises, kissing me. I’m so far gone, I didn’t even realise I said the world out loud, and then I remembered I don’t have to.”

Comments: She didn’t say out loud, and she didn’t say it to him. Come on, you know it, I know, Rebecca Yarros knows it. 🙂

Chapter 34, Page 438 – When Xaden is searching for her thoughts

“His eyes search mine for an answer to a question I haven’t asked”.

Chapter 35, Page 443 – When he flat out tells her he knows what she’s thinking

“I know what you are thinking.
You have no idea what I’m thinking. You’re thinking I’ve betrayed my kingdom.
Logical guess, good for you.”

Comments: I also love the sass here.

Chapter 35, Page 450 – Xaden says Violet wouldn’t know if someone read her mind

“I would know if someone read my memories.
Xaden’s face falls and his hand slips downwards, cradling the back of my neck.
No, Violence, trust me you wouldn’t”.

Comments: Oh Xaden, don’t worry man, we trust you. We know that you know that Violent wouldn’t know. Because, you’ve been doing it. Wait until she finds out (read my Iron Flame theory).

Chapter 39, Page 492 – Omg he keeps his shields up to respect her privacy

I keep my shields up, trying to respect her privacy as I walk to her side, but gods, I need to know what she’s thinking.

Extras which may support this theory

He does say that keeping the rarest of abilities a secret is the best currency they have.

My conclusions

I understand that there is a deep connection between Xaden and Violet because of their dragons being mated, but they can only talk to each other, and not actually read other’s mind. They might be able to feel each other and sense other’s moods but nowhere in the book does Yarros mention being able to actually read. But in the examples above, it’s clear to me that he reads her thoughts and replies specifically not just to her mood but to her thoughts exactly.

UPDATE: Was I right about it? Please note that spoilers will follow and you should read Iron Flame first! Iron Flame Verdict: Was the Xaden is Inntinnsic Theory Proven or Disproven

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56 responses to “Fourth Wing Theory: Xaden is Inntinnsic”

  1. I also wondered during the conversation in Ch 35 about Dain reading Violet, how Xaden knows Dain’s signet. Could just be that Dain told someone and it spread around. But Dain tells Violet in the beginning of the book that his signet is classified, so I think it’s interesting that Xaden knows what it is. (Also surprised Dain “broke the rules” and told Violet his signet in the first place, but that’s unrelated to this topic)

    1. Ooooh, I see what you mean. I honestly just thought he knows because he is higher in rank or word would have got out for the wingleaders and co. But now that you’ve said it…hmmm, good point, good point.
      You know, I am super surprised that Dain told Violet about it. I wonder if he honestly thought Vi won’t make it and he will be able to just send her to the Scribes, but as she got more and more powerful, he also got a little…weirder? I honestly don’t get Dain.Just classic toxic dude, bleah.

    2. This theory has merit, but at the same time a lot of what you said could be written of as the connection they have via Tairn and Sgaeyl, or attraction. Plus Xaden spends a lot of time watching/observing violet so I don’t know. It could go wither way.
      Also, Xaden only has one dragon and his signet is shadow wheilder. How would he have a second signet?

      1. The talk of the power in the relics. Could the marked ones got some power from codagh?

        Crazy, but all marked have two relics.

      2. I believe I read that since his dragon had bonded with someone in his bloodline previously Xaden could develop a second signet or go mad. That is why dragons aren’t supposed or it’s frowned upon, but Xadens dragon of course doesn’t really go by the rules.

  2. Great theory! I’m gonna have to read again with this in mind.

    1. Thank you. I’m having a lot of fun reading it again and underlying the relevant paragraphs 😀

  3. The rebellion relic? Dragons usually only mark their riders and general Melgrens dragon marked all of the children of the rebellion. Did his frog on transfer some of his power to each of them? And Xaden has the largest rebellion relic of all the children and would presumably been marked first.
    It may have given them more than just an ability to “hide” when three or more of them are together.

    1. That’s what I think as well. I’m pretty certain each single one of them has a secondary power. Just not too sure…what and how.

  4. Three things to add:
    1. The whole conversation in Ch 10. How did Xaden know she was debating going to the scribes?
    How did he know that she really did not care where he was/went to that night?
    How did he know she was losing hope bc she can’t get up the chimney and lost a squadmate. Yes this last can it can be argued that he is Wingleader and aware of what is going on in his wing, but IMO he has to many other things to worry about

    2. When they talk on the parapet he says ““As I remember, you’ve even thrown daggers at my head, which I greatly prefer over watching you get tangled up in your thoughts.”
    The statement seemed strange to me, why “thoughts” and not insecurities for example. I think he was privy to everything she was thinking in class that morning. He even mentally said to her “Whatever you’re thinking can wait until there’s not a room of people between us,” which to me sounded more like he was listening to her spiraling thoughts and was trying to stop it, instead of a response to her previous question of whether he was going to leave without…

    3. In chapter 36 after she tells them about wyvern and that venin channels magic into them. Verbally she just says what they are, then she thinks “Let’s hope there’s something in that book that isn’t true.” Xadens verbal response was “Yeah, let’s not borrow trouble.” which again sounded to mr more like a response to what she was thinking rather than what she verbally said to everyone.

  5. Have we considered they could be mates as well? I still believe both things could be true, but also, that it is a characteristic so rare, it is not talked about commonly. Or that maybe is something that went forgotten/not diffused as it pertains to dragons mostly. Or also, that is something that went lost into the rewriting of history for some other kind of convenience? I kind of like this opportunity for them to be “fated” beyond their dragons, like they have some sort of connection from their ancestry; I am mostly thinking about her silver hair and his family connection with a former Sgaeyl’s rider. They don’t really explain much about why the hair is such a thing, but keep mentioning how much Xaden likes them, or that is sign she is “weak”. What if the hair is a sign she is something else, as in not fully human? The family connection between riders could just be a sentimental thing of dragons, of course, but I also feel like there could be much more there. I have this unhinged idea that both of them are descendants from dragons, but I know this is super far fetched. But if they were, it would explain why they could be mates and also both of them having a better insight into each other, and their dagons (Obvi, Vi is not as good as he is yet, because he had more time to train his powers overall). If they descend from dragons, we could of course say “Why wasn’t there something with her siter too?” but it could be easily explained with one of those “It skipped a generation” kind of things… I don’t know. Still, they are all so exeptional, mother and siblings included, there might be something in this bloodline. Xaden’s father too, with the remark he could command a room on his own and such… charisma is a classic characteristic for good dragons, in many traditional fantasy worlds and folklore. Apologies if this not new, but I have yet to come across someone saying something along this lines (not the mates part, but the dragon descendants part)

    1. So that is my next thing. If you read a lot of fantasy and I can tell you do, then the “mates” idea is the next best option here. However, I think maybe she could read his mind too? Do you reckon it’s a matter of she didn’t figure out that she can yet?
      Isa, please never apologise for throwing in theories and engaging with other fans. This is a safe space to discuss anything. I do think the dragons idea can work as well. So far Yarros managed to bring in a new spin for many of the “traditional” fantasy ideas, so the idea that he can read her mind might be too…classical? So it could be that she will amaze us all with something truly unique. Indeed, to do with Sgaeyl or something like that.

      My theory as to why he can read minds? Is because I think he has a secondary gift, like every other kid with the rebellion relic. Imogen has too: she’s really fast and can wipe up recent memories. Liam has farsight but damn good hearing too. Xaden? Shadows and…mind reading 😛

      1. Yes, I do think that Vi will find out she can do more later on. In fact, she did not even know she could mentally talk with him, until she found his “cloud” in her “mindpalace” – or should I say “mindlibrary” *sarcasticLOL* I do believe she will come to the point where they will be so in sync, they will battle like a couple with the dragons. Something like special moves and acrobatics, being so intertwined with themselves, that their battle power will become stuff of legends, or something like that. It feels like a natural progression, somewhat. If Rebecca doesn’t go there, with all the mindtalks and such, it would be a wasted opportunity, I think.

        Yes, I come from traditional fantasy, I play D&D too, the whole nine yards. 😂 I have read, written, and improvised fantasy stories since I was about 12, so I am committed to the genre, let’s say.
        The dragon descendants theory is really linked with traditional basically, so again it might just be me going to a place I know already.

        I get that all the marked children seem to be able to do multiple things, it fits with the narration. But then I would also guess that being that she is able to do multiple things, being bonded with 2 dragons, her double powers will be less special (IMO) because if all it takes to have more than one gift is “being marked”, then all riders would ask for a second mark, Leadership would make sure to make it happen… Hell, they literally rewrote history to pass as the “good ones”, this feels very minor as a thing to do to get a leg up the other territories… They fully know they are resisting Venins outside their borders, and that the wards are failing. They could be blind to the risks, acting cocky because they have been in the superior position for so long, but it just seems daft to act like that. Of course, there’s the chance they might not have realised it yet… as Xaden was saying, hidden abilities can be a currency.

        Is Xaden communicating with the other marked children? Like, mentally I mean… do we think he is? I cannot think right now on the spot if there are parts of the book that might make us think he does. Also, all the times Vi says she did not realise she said the things out loud (because she was tired, adrelinaline, or in the moment…), it could also be her broadcasting into his mind, rather than him reading her. I don’t know, I am looking at alternatives, playing the devil’s advocate here. The bit where Tairn tells him not to read him is something though. Like, it could be just him telling Xaden to not be so full of himself, to think he can interpret what a dragon can think, but yeah, the way it is put makes it look like it means more than just that.

        Thank you for your reply, I appreaciate having a space where someone is as into this as me, and by this I don’t mean just the book, but the conjectures too! Ahahah! 💗

  6. Hi! So I agree with thinking Xaden is inntinnsic and I have a theory that the rebellion relic on his wrist/ arm has something to do with it. In the beginning of the book I remember Violet talking with Mira about how she has never seen/ heard of a relic given to someone besides a dragons’ bonded rider and how the relic is used to channel a dragons power to a human. So I’m thinking that since the dragons whole purpose for bonding riders is to protect the Vale and their young from intruders, they don’t want the wyvern and venim coming into their home and since Melgren’s dragon Codagh gave all Marked Ones their relic, he might be channeling something to the kids once they bond their own dragons (I know this is a REALLY long shot) I think this because Xaden already has shadow wielding but he also obviously is inntinnsic, this just shows that he might be getting power from both Sgaeyl and Codagh. And I think it’s the same for all Marked Ones, like Imogen who said when she and Violet were sparring she has incredible speed, her signet, but we discover later that she can also erase recent memories, which is crucial to keeping things a secret, like smuggling weapon to the gryphon drifts later on and Xaden can read the minds of officials, allowing him to know top secret information to help Poromiel civilians. I also have the theory that all marked ones have an additional power in addition to their signet power and it most likely has to do with gaining information or keeping said information a secret. And it’s not that far a stretch to think about since all Marked Ones have an extra relic on their arm along with Violet bonding 2 dragons thus having 2 signets along with the fact that dragons want to protect the Vale and Navarre and they can’t do that of officials or keeping very real threats a secret from everyone. I have no idea if this makes since but it’s just a really crazy theory I had to get out

    1. Hi Ella, I don’t think it’s a long shot at all. I actually agree with you. I’ve been talking to another Fourth Wing fan here in the comments about the same theory. We also think that Codagh gave them a new signet somehow. Basically, he can’t cross his own Rider (the General) as that would be a violation, but nothing says he can’t channel a new signet basically 🙂 It also feels like all the marked ones have two signets, right?
      Xaden is a shadow wielder AND Inntinnsic (well, at least we assume so). Imogen is very fast, but also can wipe up recent memories. Liam has the far sight, but apparently he also has a “damn good hearing”. So you see, I think you are def onto something here.

    2. I am currently listening to Fourth Wing and something that Xaden just said seems to support your theory with the rebellion relic given the marked a second gift. Right before the battle with the Vernins Xaden talks with Violet. She believes that General Malgren will already know the outcome of their upcoming battle, because of his signet. Xaden, however, refers to sth. he said earlier in the book (“I realized the rebellion relic is a present/ gift and not a curse”) and states that Malgren cannot see the outcome of the battle because of the rebellion relic. This also show that the relic has a power of its own or at least an influence.

      1. I do think they are aware those relics are not a curse, for sure. I reckon it’s because they offer secondary signets and also because when 3+ put together, they basically block Melgren’s signet which is pretty damn cool.

  7. Question: If Xaden is inntinnsic, why didn’t he know about Colonel Aetos’ plan at Athebyne? Being inntinnsic allows someone to read minds, correct? I’m not sure if I understand the power completely, but the scene in the courtyard with Jeremiah made me believe an inntinnsic can read anyone that is near them at that time? Would love to hear thoughts!

    1. I think this is because experienced riders who know and understand magic would be fully able to tell that Xaden is reading them. Do you remember that chapter when Tairn shouts at Xaden? “Don’t you dare read me human or you’ll regret it?”
      Or the fact that Violet feels those prickles? I think maybe everyone could, she is just inexperienced and unaware of what that actually means. I reckon Xaden can read some…but def would not risk jeopardise his secret ability by trying to read high ranking people.

      1. That makes sense, thanks! I didn’t understand how and an inntinnsic signet worked. I wasn’t sure if others could sense they were being read or if Xaden automatically heard everyone’s thoughts-similar to Jeremiah who was clearly overwhelmed and couldn’t control his ability.

  8. Xaden as an intinnsic makes a ton of sense. He tells Vi over and over that he knows all that is going on at the school. That’s not shadow wielding.

    Note how he did NOT know that Dain had read Violet’s mind… and had to push her to tell him if had touched her face. (An aside, why the HECK did someone so “brilliant” as Violet let him do that all the time even after he told her about it. Duh.). So…. why didn’t Xaden know about Dain Reading Vi? Because he can’t. If he tries to read Dain, he risks being outed as an intinnsic.

    Regarding the buzz when they sense each other… that started before Vi bonds with Tairn, so can’t just be the bond. Seems like more than sexual tension. A bigger question is why Violet feels it. I bet you that Xaden doesn’t cause that buzz with anyone (except Dain would feel it). Violet has some additional sense… maybe something akin to her also being an intinnsic? That could explain why it was so easy for her to ground too.

    @Cory… wow that was a LOT of quotes from the book! Thanks for all your hard work, love this blog!

    1. Thank you! Between us, this is my favourite theory of mine and I’m keeping my fingers crossed I’m somehow right. Because I would literally do a little dance in my living room.

      “A bigger question is why Violet feels it.”
      Ok, so very interesting question. Did you read other fantasy before/after Fourth Wing? I recently read From Blood and Ash and the Flesh and Fire. And I realised that when people are being “read” whether emotions or mind or anything of the sort, the authors seem to love to add this “buzz”. Almost as a nature likes all things in balance. They are being read but they can somehow feel it? Not sure if this makes sense what I’m trying to say.

  9. Yeah this one of my fave theories; furthermore I think you’re right. Well done!

    It seems like nobody else is feeling the buzz… only Violet. She may have a counterpart sense that will be revealed? I doubt it’s just sexual tension.

    1. The author might reveal it when she opens up the book more…or just keep it as a novelty between Vi and Xaden.

  10. I thought this as well while reading the book, but I TRULY hope this isn’t the case. Think of how hurt and betrayed she was when she found out that Dain was looking at her memories. If Xaden was really reading her mind every time there was a “prickle” and other times, then he violated her way more than Dain ever did. There’s already been so much betrayal in their relationship that I truly don’t think Xaden and Vi could recover from that. If Xaden is inntinnsic then one of the first things he should have taught her was how to block her mind if he truly respected and cared about her. We know it’s possible because he mentions that he’ll teach her how to block out Dain.

  11. Thanks for posting and pulling out all the quotes. I’m convinced!

    Slightly related topic to some of the comments and further theories here but during the battle Violet and Xaden aren’t just talking mind to mind, she’s also starting to get his emotions through the bond. This is a development we didn’t see earlier in their bond so the bond is still ‘growing’.

    When Soleil falls: ‘the only acknowledgement is a wave of sorrow and I know it’s his.’

    When Violet is trying to get Xaden over to help Liam and Deigh: ‘the heartbeat of terror squeezing my chest like a vice isn’t mine, its’s Xaden’s.

    Then in Liam’s final moments:
    ‘I feel his terror, his sorrow, and his overpowering anger wrap around my mind, mixing with my own until it hurts to breathe.’

    ‘I feel Xaden racing towards us a torrent of emotions overwhelming my own…there’s no hiding the despair that pushes at our mental connection.’

    ‘His soul rendering scream fills my head with such force that my heart shatters like glass against a stone floor.’

    I don’t think Xaden would have deliberately broadcast any of his emotions given the way he has locked them up around her previously. If Xaden was aware I think he could have shared his emotions to manipulate her into trusting and believing him. I think he has a shield up usually which is down due to the battle – and maybe emotions from Violet break up – and therefore she gets further inside the bond.

    Towards the end of the battle Violet ‘slams her shield down’ so she can concentrate but is still aware of Xaden trying to scream through the bond.

    This bond is now closer to the bond she shares with her dragons as she can feel their emotions too, and isn’t that another kind of soul mate? Dragon and rider?

    So for Iron Flame I guess she can choose to keep her shield up? Or she can choose to let him in…

    1. I LOVE THIS. I think this is one of the coolest new theories about Vi and Xaden. I am convinced you are right. There is more to the bond than we initially thought. This comment got me so very excited and got me to see certain interactions in a brand new light.

  12. Here are my thoughts on this take!

    I never really thought to look at Xaden as an inntinnsic although that’s a really great theory after reading all of these separated parts. Definitely a little eye-opening!

    1. We all know that Xaden wields shadows and my theory is that the shadows are “alive” in a way that we don’t think about much. I think he can sort of experience an “out of body” experience via his shadows by pushing them to where he wants to go and then hearing what’s being discussed through them. Almost like his shadows are the eyes on the back of his head. His shadows can take on shape and bend to his will, even become physical enough to unalive the unbonded cadets that tried to unalive Violet in her sleep, so I don’t see why they can’t be alive and act as his ears around the war college.

    2. With #1, I think that’s how he found out what Dains gift was. He probably “heard it through the grapevine” via his shadows and that’s why he yelled at Dain saying you didn’t think I knew, etc. It’s also how he knew Violet was in that tree while she was picking berries when they had their secret “club” meeting. He rarely gets caught doing stuff because he can scan the area with his shadows and they report back to him about what’s out there. He was able to see Violet in the tree and still allowed her to listen in anyway, IMO it was to ‘test’ her to see if she was the Violet that’s General Sorrengail’s daughter or the Violet that’s Brennan’s sister. That makes a big difference because as someone who keeps a lot of secrets, he probably can tell when someone is easily lying.

    3. What I do think is interesting is that dragons that give you a relic are bound to channel something towards you, right? If Melgrens dragon gave them the rebellion relic, then maybe it came with the same magical qualities that bonded relics give without Melgren or any General’s knowledge. So maybe this did give him the ability to read minds without anyone knowing.

    4. What I also find interesting and don’t understand at all if he were inntinnsic is why didn’t he tell Violet about everything sooner. If he’s been in her mind countless times (judging by the prickling in the head sensation), he’s got to see how similar she is to her brother as opposed to her mother and sister. You can’t tell me that he can read her mind and see + understand who she is at her core and still not trust her enough to tell her everything. With insight into who she is at her core AND their need to use her power to win the war, there’s absolutely no reason why Xaden would keep that secret to himself. Sure, he doesn’t want to risk the 107 kids in the off-chance that he’s wrong but aren’t inntinnsics not supposed to be wrong since they can read minds? Surely he can’t doubt she’s good at hiding her thoughts when she’s really expressive around him.

    This theory is really interesting to dive into, for sure!

  13. X as a mind reader is a very cool theory. But… I’ve always thought the scalp prickles were about X putting his feelers out— meaning his shadows. I see his shadow wielding as being able to let them loose to spy and listen, and maybe touch a person. They creep along dark corners, for example.

    Multiple times she is “cloaked in shadows” like when she is in the tree above the club meeting. She is “hidden” in shadows in the courtyard, etc. Multiple times she swears she can feel the faintest stroke of a touch when she is surrounded by X’s shadows.

    Vi is in Battle Brief when she feels him by the familiar prickle of her scalp, then she drops her quill and the shadows lift it up to her “as an offering.” So, shadows are feeling her out, spying on her conversations. X “sees everything, hears everything and conceals everything”. Isn’t that what he tells her in the courtyard?
    Although I admit, the inntinnsic X is pretty compelling.

    V and X’s bond
    Their bond is growing stronger. And X can share his visual memories—when she needed inspiration for the first wielding lesson with Carr.
    They are feeling emotions, especially when they are under extreme stress. My theory is that they are (if not already) bonded so strongly that their lives are interdependent, just like the mated dragon bonds. Thus, making the I-die-you-die a reality. “There is no me without you,” Xaden.

    Speaking of secondary signets… would Imogen be allowed to live with a signet of memory wiping? She would need to read memories in order to wipe them, no? So what is her “public” signet? What is Garrick’s signet? Bohdi’s?

    (I would quote it but I’m on my lunch break and my book isn’t handy. ). :/

    4 weeks until Iron Flame!

    1. I cannot believe that we only have 1 month!!!! I’m literally going crazy and I want to know just about everything RIGHT NOW. I think we will figure out the deal with Garrick and Bohdi very soon.
      It looks like many think Xaden can sense things because of the shadows but I still think he can read minds 😛

  14. I think it’s possible that Vi will have more than 2 signets. I think that she will need the combination of 2 signets from Tairn and Andarna in order for her to “command the skies”. With Andarna’s transformation and loss of the stopping time, maybe that will morph into a similar ability directly in Violet since feathertails “gift” their signets. Plus, it’s likely she’s got some “receiver” capability to feel an intinnsic hence the sensing of Xaden in the room. I bet we have at least one more and since nature wants things in balance it’s a result of her physical maladies.

    I think Andarna has something supremely special about her and she sensed something about Violet from the beginning…. not just that she is brave and true. Maybe she comes from 2 key dragons and is acknowledged by dragonkind as unique and important… so they allowed her to bond etc. as a feathertail. Maybe reincarnated (I think someone speculated that elsewhere…)

    My point: Vi will get powers from both. Unclear how many, but I’m thinking 4.

    1. More than 2? Do you think? That would be MAD!

  15. I just finished my second re-read **augh is so hard to put this book down** and came across this brilliant, beautiful, necessary website. Thank you, Cory. We made this stranger very very happy.

    While reading all the theories and comments, I have some comments of my own that I would love to develop further.

    1. I am not entirely convinced that Xaden can truly read minds, at least not at the same capacity we are used to. I feel it is more of an extra development because of his shadow powers, something like the ability to read emotions rather than thoughts. Or, as someone said above, his shadows may be a living thing, so it could be that the shadows whisper hints, secrets, emotions back to him… or even picture images into his mind based on the emotions reading.. almost like a hypersensitive intuition.

    2. Even though Cory made a compelling argument, and the strong one being the last chapter when he shields himself to respect her privacy, I have some counter arguments:
    – Violet’s ability to feel Xaden could be related to a connection they have, or simply the shadows going havoc around her. He himself said that he wanted her ever since he first laid eyes on her. So, it could be just his shadows going crazy. Or it could be Violet’s being super sensitive around him.
    – Knowing about the poison could be explained by his shadows reporting to him, same as her feelings about the Gauntlet.
    – When she keeps saying she is alive is the first time he actually responds to a thought she had. So, it could be explained by her sending her thoughts to him after she bonded with the dragons.

    3. The reason why I am not convinced could also be easily explained by the fact that if true, that would be the ultimate betrayal, as someone said in the comments above. So, maybe I am looking into clues that go against this theory. But I also have this:
    – If he can read minds, then yes, why hasn’t he read the thoughts of other people, like Dain or the Colonel. Someone mentioned that they may noticed if someone is reading their mind, but remember, Dain did not notice his mind was being read by Jeremiah until he heard his thoughts on Jeremiah’s mouth. So, that alone could easily give Xaden free rein to read Dain’s mind, and others in command. One may say that high in command shields themselves from mind reading, but if that’s the case then having an Inntinnsic around wouldn’t be a problem, in fact, it would be a hell of an asset. And mind shielding would be part of the training curriculum. Besides, if leadership is cruel enough, they would have tested the capacity of a Inntinnsic by, I don’t know, keeping them prisoner to test how far the power goes. But for now, the fact that they are so afraid of Inntinnsics that they are killed on site, tells us they know nothing about the power capacity, and are unable to defends themselves from it. Which, again would give Xaden a lot of war advantage.
    – Another point is how Xaden’s reacts when Violet finally tells him how much she wants him. He acts as if surprised, and we all know how she has been screaming lusty thoughts in her mind about him every time they are together, and yet, when she says it, he acts surprised somehow. When they first kissed, she was full blown fantasizing about him for weeks, so he would know that her desire towards him had nothing to do with Sgaeyl and Tairn’s owns emotions.

    That’s all I have for now. I loved your post about book 2 theories and November can’t arrive fast enough.

    1. There is nothing I love more than a happy Fourth Wing fan <3 I just know the feeling.

      It seems like there is a clear division between fans here. Those who think his shadows can sense things, and those who think he can read minds. I am really curious to see where this will go.
      You are right, it would be the ultimate betrayal, but I think that will cause more friction in their relationship.
      Are you going to re-read it just before November 7th? I’m going to read it on November 5th I think…and basically get ready to pounce when the book comes out. I’m literally finding the cosiest coffee shops where I can read for a whole day I cannot wait…

  16. I think one of the biggest tells that he is inntinnsic is on pg 109, when they are sparring, Violet says “I don’t think, I just act, going low and kicking out the backs of his knees.” It was the only hit she connected during their spar.

    1. Oh that’s a very interesting take on it. I like it!

  17. I feel like this is a good theory and I definitely also thought that something was weird in the way Yaros wrote the “I’m Alive, I’m Alive….” thing in chapter 19 and the “I’ll die right with you…” thing in chapter 32. Him responding to her so specifically when she didn’t speak out loud really has no other explanation other than him being able to read her mind (at least to a degree).

    However, I think that a lot of your other quotes (especially the prickling in her scalp and reacting to her gasp when she saw his back, etc.) are kind of cliche things that just happen in these types of books. A lot of romance books include some kind of physical reaction to the presence of the romantic interest and I think Yaros just played that up a lot in this book.

    Also, I feel like if Xaden truly was an intinnsic, then he would have been able to read Dain’s mind before the marked ones and Violet were sent off for the “final war games”. Dain obviously knew that Xaden’s squad was going to be sent off to die because he said goodbye to Violet, so Xaden would have been able to read Dain’s mind and know about Athebyne if he was an intinnsic. But, as it was, Xaden was completely surprised by the letter to chose between continuing with the war games or saving the city. Additionally, Xaden already has a signet, so how would he have two?

    I feel like the only explanation then for Xaden being able to respond to Violet’s thoughts is probably some effect of the mated pair bond or maybe even them being mates/fated pairs themselves. I think it would be really cool though if Xaden did turn out to be intinnsic because that would open up so many possibilities. Great theory!

    1. Thank you! But I am curious if indeed the author is playing a cliche for us or really she will give us some extra abilities for Xaden. ARGH I cannot wait t find out!!!

  18. I love the idea of Xaden being intinnsic for so many reasons, but I’m not entirely sure how it would logistically work. My understanding of the whole signet thing was you only got one per dragon, so how could Xaden have both his control of shadows and a mind reading signet? Maybe I’m missing something, but I’m pretty confused about this right now.

    1. Oh, I see what you mean. So my theory is that when Codagh gave these riders the rebellion relic, he actually transferred some signet to them. So my theory is that every rebellion child has a secondary signet. For example, Imogen does seem to have two signets: she’s very fast but she can also wipe up recent memories.
      Wrote more about it here-> https://www.empyreanriders.com/articles/rebellion-relic/

  19. This is an interesting theory, however most of your examples are specifically to Violet, and reading her mind, which still brings it back to them being connected. In my opinion, its more about their energies, that she can feel. I think there are a lot of times that shadows are not mentioned, but could be there, and that’s how he knows everything. He even says so himself.
    I think if he was a true inntinsic, he would be able to read other people’s minds, and would know that their War battle was a setup? Dain obviously knew it was a setup and to test loyalties. Wouldnt he read his mind or someone elses to find out the true mission and potentially what would happen?

    sorry i didnt read all of the comments, maybe someone already mentioned something similar.

  20. Chapeau 🕵️
    Just finished Iron Flame….

  21. This aged fantastically!

    1. It sure did! I can’t wait to update this theory and add some content from Iron Flame at the bottom.

  22. UPDATE – I now posted the verdict on this theory. Please read Iron Flame first, as there will be spoilers. We can discuss it here -> https://www.empyreanriders.com/articles/iron-flame-verdict-was-the-xaden-is-inntinnsic-theory-proven-or-disproven/

  23. OMGG I just found this website and read Ur theory and oh god how true it is.. I’ve only read the book twice(once when it was released and second before reading iron flame) so I didn’t pay much attention to the hidden things but oh boi iron flame has left me restless and pounding on so many thoughts and theories

    1. Welcome to the club! We all dream theories here. <3

      1. Also…more theories here -> https://www.empyreanriders.com/articles/iron-flame-by-rebecca-yarros-book-review/ The comments are where the action is at. I will put them together soon.

  24. It’s a fascinating theory but in Xaden POV chapter 9, he says that it took him two weeks to realize what is she doing with her opponents in (FW) poisoning them. So that makes the point that in chapter 9 when Violet feels “this” is not because he is reading her thoughts. What do you think? Many thanks for this amazing theory 🙂

    1. Hey Monica, did you have a chance to read Iron Flame yet? <3
      Is the Xaden POV chapter 9 in the special edition Fourth Wing? I read it once from a friend but didn’t get the book in the post yet 🙁 Still waiting.
      But I remember that he does explain in the special chapter that he has his shields firmly in place because Aetos is around. So no, he is not reading her mind in those moments.
      We’ve had that confirmed. What do you think about the rest?

      1. Hey!!
        I didn’t have the chance to read it properly yet cause it’s not in Spanish yet. xD
        But I read it in English. And when he says that his an inntinsic i reread fourth wings to detect in which parts he is reading her mind and this theory helped me a lot. I’m trying to figure out when but I guess we will never know. 😉
        There were a lot of questions in my mind when I finished Iron flame that I’m trying to figure out 🙂
        Thank you for your answer!!

        1. You are most welcome. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts after you read it in Spanish too! I know my friend is waiting for the German version.

  25. Ah good for you!! You’ve earned bragging rights 🙂

    1. I’m loving this right now!

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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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