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Is Xaden black?

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Written by: Cory

IS Xaden Riorson Black in the Empyrean Series

This question pops up all the time, and it’s natural to wonder if Xaden is black. After all, he is the main character, and our favorite shadow character in Fourth Wing.

Did Rebecca Yarros create Xaden as being black or a different skin color? In this article, I will answer your question with quotes from the book as well as quotes from the author directly.

What is Xaden’s skin color?

The moment Violet first sees Xaden, she describes him as having “warm tawny skin and dark stubble“.

Later on, Violet describes him as He’s handsome, with tawny brown skin crowned by a cloud of black curls”.

From these two examples alone, we can understand that Xaden is not white. Xaden is a person of color, a man with warm tawny brown skin.

What exactly is tawny brown?

Tawny brown is a warm, medium brown color that typically has an orange or amber undertone, resembling the color of tanned leather or an autumnal leaf. It gets its name from the coloration of tawny owls, which have a similar hue in their feathers.

Below, you’ll see a picture of the owl to understand the color a bit better.

Tawny owl with its colors
Tawny owl with its colors – Picture Credit to Peter Trimming

Is Xaden black?

One fan asked: “May I ask if Xaden is a POC?

Rebecca Yarros replied, “Oh he definitely is. Every time I see him whitewashed in fancasting I always hear that Schmidt scene, “a white man? No!” play in my head[…]”

Furthermore, you can see the fan art Rebecca Yarros shared with the world Instagram pictures from other talented artists. You will see in more detail what sort of skin color we can expect Xaden to have.

The answer to your question is Xaden black requires a more complex answer. Tawny brown skin can apply to individuals of various racial and ethnic backgrounds, including those who are Black, mixed race, or any other identity. The term itself focuses more on the specific shade of the skin rather than the racial or ethnic classification. People from many different backgrounds can have skin tones that might be described as tawny brown.

Xaden is a person of color, but not necessarily black, as the term is used to refer to both a racial and an ethnic identifier. Tawny skin, as a medium brown color with warm undertones, can be seen in individuals from various ethnic groups, not just those who are Black.

Xaden Riorson fan art

Xaden Riorson exclusive members art

This is my favorite Xaden Riorson fan art, as he looks gloriously beautiful. His skin is tawny brown here and you can see his dark stubble, his onyx eyes, his scar and of course, his neck tattoo. I pot a lot more fan art in the exclusive members area and I encourage you to go check it out.

Xaden Riorson - Empyrean Series - Is he a good guy?

This is a more youthful version of Xaden but as you can see, his skin is not white. He is definitely a beautiful man, though.

Over to you now, what do you think about Xaden and his skin color? Who would you like to see in the fan casting?

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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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