Iron Flame Theory: Bodhi is Xaden’s brother

Iron Flame Theory: Xaden and Bodhi are siblings

Wait, waaaait, isn’t Bodhi Xaden’s cousin? Yes, according to Violet. But are they really? What do we actually know about them? And how did I get to this crazy conclusion?

I’m reading Iron Flame, again, looking for all those cute Easter Eggs we all love so much. And I’m finding some and yes, I will be sharing them with you, don’t worry! But for now, let’s focus on the relation between Bodhi and Xaden. I think Bodhi is Xaden’s brother, and I don’t think either of them know it (yet).

Before we begin, the usual things…this is just my theory. Spoilers from Fourth Wing and Iron Flame ahead.

What do we know so far?

I’m here to gather the evidence first. So stay with me…

He’s handsome, with tawny brown skin crowned by a cloud of black curls and a litany of patches on what I can see of his uniform under his cloak. His features are close enough to Xaden’s that they might be related. Cousins, maybe? Fen Riorson had a sister, if I remember correctly.”

This is all Violet – what Violet thinks. Not saying she doesn’t know it all…but it’s subjective POV for a reason.

That was a little harsh, cousin,” the second-year who looks a little like Xaden says, lifting his eyebrows.

So it’s clear that the boys don’t know it themselves.

The similarity between the cousins still gives me pause. Bodhi has the same bronzed skin and strong brow line, but his features aren’t as angular as Xaden’s, and his eyes are a lighter shade of brown. He looks like a softer, more approachable version of his older cousin.

I’m not saying cousins can’t look similar, but this similar? To give you pause?

And now….we’re moving to Iron Flame.

“The younger woman walking on Syrena’s right is dressed in a paler shade of brown than the others. She looks to be my age and shares enough of Syrena’s features that they could be related—cousins, maybe…or even sisters. They have the same straight noses, full mouths, lithe builds, and glossy black hair that contrasts their fair skin, though the younger one’s is plaited in a simple braid over her shoulder. Her eyes are slightly larger, and her cheekbones are a little higher than Syrena’s.”

The cousins, maybe, had me pause here. Interesting choice of words here. But they look so similar, yet they are not cousins, they are siblings. Which made me think of Bodhi and Xaden. They look so similar, they must be siblings…

“After Liam, Bodhi was and still is the closest thing I have to a brother, perpetually tagging along a step behind.

Well, Liam was a foster brother. I think Bodhi might just about be the real thing.

“Bodhi’s farther back and starts our way. His walk is so similar to Xaden’s stride that I almost do a double take.”

Of course it is…

AND…Final Clue (for now)

“By our best calculations,” Brennan says, rubbing his hands together to keep warm, “the six most powerful riders currently in Aretia are Xaden, Felix, Suri, Bodhi, Violet, and me.”
“Looks like there’s something to be said for family lines,” Suri notes.

Violet and Brennan are siblings. Felix and Suri are apparently related too. Could they be siblings? We know that Xaden and Bodhi are related. But hear me out…

In Book 3 of the Empyrean Series we will probably discuss the relation between Felix and Suri. If Felix and Suri are siblings, then remember to come back to this theory and read the paragraph again. Because I think this is a clue explaining that Xaden and Bodhi are indeed siblings.

The Basis of the Theory

  • Physical Similarities: The descriptions you’ve highlighted emphasize the striking physical resemblance between Bodhi and Xaden. While cousins can indeed look alike, the degree of similarity between them seems to be unusually pronounced, enough to give characters and readers alike pause.
  • Character Observations: Violet’s observations, while subjective, are crucial since they come from a character who is known to be perceptive. Her noting the resemblance and questioning their possible relation as cousins opens the door to speculation about the true nature of their relationship.
  • Narrative Hints: The comparison with another set of characters who were thought to be cousins but turned out to be siblings is a significant narrative device. This parallel could be a subtle hint from the author, suggesting that Bodhi and Xaden’s relationship might be more than what it appears.
  • Emotional Connection: The emotional bond between Bodhi and Xaden, as you’ve noted, mirrors that of siblings. Bodhi being the “closest thing I have to a brother” for Xaden, and their similar mannerisms, further fuel the speculation that their bond might be biological as well as emotional.

Expanding the Theory

Unknown Family Secrets: It’s possible that there are hidden family secrets that neither Bodhi nor Xaden are aware of. Their families, particularly their parents or guardians, might have reasons for concealing the truth about their relationship. Xaden is older. His mother only stayed until he was 10. And that’s because I think she is Dunne. It could mean that Bodhi is Xaden’s half brother. Or full brother…we just don’t know.

Narrative Foreshadowing: The author may have intentionally planted these clues to foreshadow a significant plot twist regarding Bodhi and Xaden’s relationship. This twist could have profound implications for their character development and the story’s trajectory. Let’s face it, Rebecca Yarros rarely says things like this for no reason.

Implications for Character Dynamics: If Bodhi and Xaden are indeed brothers, this revelation could dramatically change their interactions and their understanding of their identities. It could also change how we see the alliances between Poromiel and Aretia. Maybe it will be Bodhi and Catriona? Or maybe Bodhi will become the heir apparent once Xaden is full venin?

Share that Venin and Wyvern are real!

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16 responses to “Iron Flame Theory: Bodhi is Xaden’s brother”

  1. Yes! I always thought this! I don’t know exactly why Rebecca Yarros would do it but there is too many references to their similarity for ir to be coincidence! I’m glad I’m not the only one thinking this

    1. And I’m glad I’m not the only one thinking this! <3

  2. I think there’s a clue in this quote:

    “And when my ability to control shadows seemed stronger than they’d expected, they had no reason to dig deeper.” A corner of his mouth tilts upward. “It helps that rider of record was thought to be a great uncle, not my grandfather.” “She’s really the only one who knows?””

    I think the rider of record *was* correct, and being that much farther apart in lineage is a reason that Xaden didn’t go mad when his second power emerged. I also think Sgaeyl knows who his true parent is.

    1. Wait, really? Do you think it wasn’t his grandparent? Hmmm… But wait, wait. Then he wouldn’t get his second signet. They only get a second signet if the dragon bonds in direct family line. That’s what Sloane explained.

  3. I do think there’s a reason for the similarity, but it’s a different one. I think Yarros will at some point have Bodhi be mistaken for Xaden, so that either we the readers or some other characters will think Xaden is dead/injured/kidnapped/followed/trapped/etc, but it will really be Bodhi who was (fill in the blank). This could be done intentionally by the protagonists as a strategy to defeat their opposition.

    1. I freaking love this, to be honest with you. I think it’s a genius theory, Elise!

  4. I have thought about this several times. I find the conversation regarding the tuned stone that sits next to’s bed oddly worded… being that it was made to protect someone of his father’s bloodline… to which Violet states (him- Xaden) because he has no siblings. Right! Something about this conversation has never “sat right” with me. It always made me wonder if Xaden knows he has a sibling and is protecting him/her from being identified in order to maintain the family line if he is found out. The other thing that I have found interesting is Xaden’s jealousy when Isley shows up in Bodhi’s flight jacket. The only reason I could rationalize is that if Xaden himself finds Violet so irresistible, then given the “family connection”, her answer may not have quelled his jealousy because he would believe that Bodhi would as well. I have often wondered if (given how protective Bodhi has become of Violet) he will develop “feelings/relationship” with Violet as Xaden becomes more venin. Just two other things that have made me wonder.

    1. Shae, I’m loving this! You are right. I feel there are so many clues in Fourth Wing about Bodhi being his sibling and not his cousin. The amount of time Violet points this out is insane. And I do love it that he is so jealous, even of Bodhi. Bodhi is very protective of Violet indeed. It would be a cute little love triangle (and an unordinary one at that).

      1. You know Cory… thinking even more on Xaden’s jealousy; being that not even Bodhi knows if Xaden’s second signet, could there be a possibility that his (Bodhi’s) “intentions” toward Violet are not necessarily pure or (for a lack of other explanation) completely loyal or in conflict to that loyalty to Xaden? Xaden’s lack of action, if so, would be an even stronger indication of the sibling theory.

        1. Honestly, right, I normally don’t want a love triangle. I hate love triangles because they are getting me so confused. But Xaden + Bodhi + Violet would be a fun one. Having said that, remember that Violet did say right away she is not interested in Bodhi. Her body doesn’t heat at the sight of him. BUT, that doesn’t mean Bodhi is not interested in her, which would create a looot of tension.

          1. Agreed! I am not a love triangle fan either. And honestly, IF Bodhi were even interested, I believe the bond Violet has to Xaden would be sufficient and strong enough to negate any such nonsense. However… that doesn’t mean (as with Dain, Xaden wouldn’t have a reaction to a one sided situation; especially as he becomes more venin. This would be an interesting “conflict” for Violet and Xaden to overcome.

          2. We have three more books worth of conflict. If they are fine in their relationship, then we do need to include other type of drama.

    2. “Sitting back against the wall, I let the darkness conceal me as Xaden, Garrick, and Bodhi—Xaden’s cousin—pass under a mage light, headed in my direction.”

      “The similarity between the cousins still gives me pause. Bodhi has the same bronzed skin and strong brow line, but his features aren’t as angular as Xaden’s, and his eyes are a lighter shade of brown. He looks like a softer, more approachable version of his older cousin, but my body doesn’t heat at the sight of him the way it does around Xaden.”

  5. I think that they are not full brothers, but probably half brothers. Maybe from the mother’s side, since not much is known about her.

    1. Indeed! It’s very possible that they are half siblings. But they are not just cousins for sure.

    2. Indeed! It’s very possible that they are half siblings. But they are not just cousins, for sure.

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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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