Onyx Storm Book 3 Empyrean Series Pre-Order Banner

Xaden Riorson

Last updated:

Written by: Cory

Xaden Riorson exclusive members art

Xaden Riorson from Fourth Wing and Iron Flame

NameXaden Riorson
RankRider, Wingleader, Fourth Wing (Fourth Wing)
Lieutenant (Iron Flame)
First assignment locationSamara, his room is on the third floor, south wing, second door on the right
QuadrantRiders Quadrant (Fourth Wing)
Graduate (Iron Flame)
DOB: March – DOD: n/a
HeightOver 6″4′
Place of BirthAretia, Tyrrendor Province, Navarre
FamilyFen Riorson (father)
Duke Lindell (foster father)
Liam Mairi (foster brother)
Bodhi (cousin)
RelationshipsViolet Sorrengail (lover)
Garrick (Most Trusted Friend)
Catriona (ex-fiance)
DragonSgaeyl – bonded
Tairn – linked via Sgaeyl
SignetShadow Wielder and Inntinnsic
Favourite foodChocolate Cake
Political SeatThe Assembly
Family HouseRiorson House
Image GalleryXaden Riorson Gallery


Xaden grew up in Aretia, the capital of Tyrrendor Province in the Kingdom of Navarre. He grew up with both his parents. His father, Fen Riorson was a nobleman in Aretia and is considered by many to be the Great Betrayer as he was one of the leaders of the Tyrrish uprising.

After the capture and execution of his father, Xaden was sent to a foster home in Tirvainne. He met his foster brother there, Liam Mairi. Both children were fostered by Duke Lindell.

In terms of his emotional past, Xaden mentioned that he hasn’t slept well since his father left Aretia to declare the secession.

Physical Appearance

Xaden Riorson exclusive members art
Xaden Riorson exclusive members art

Fourth Wing

Xaden is a tall man with black hair and dark eyebrows. His facial features are marked by a strong jawline, and his skin is brown tawny in colour. He often has dark stubble on his face and his body is muscular. There is a lethal grace to him.

His eyes are distinctive, characterized by a shade of onyx speckled with flecks of gold. Xaden has a diagonal scar that bisects his left eyebrow and marks the top corner of his cheek.

Xaden has a rebellion relic which starts at his left wrist and stretches all the way up his neck, stopping at his jawline.

Violet Sorrengail describes Xaden’s voice as having a rough pitch, but sounding like velvet along her skin. She refers to Xaden lips as being perfect.

Xaden’s chest is massive, with wide shoulders and heavily muscled arms alongside. Every edge of his body is honed like a weapon.

He smells of mint and leather and something that borders between citrus and floral.

Iron Flame

Xaden Riorson, Iron Flame Quote
Xaden Riorson, Iron Flame Quote

Violet notes that Xaden still looks appealing, even though his tawny-brown skin shows bruises and signs of sleep deprivation. She observes the distinct features of his face: the high slopes of his cheeks, his usually soft dark eyes that change when they meet hers, and the scar that cuts across his brow and ends below his eye. There’s also the intricate, simmering relic mark that extends to his jaw, and the well-defined lines of his mouth. These characteristics together contribute to his unique and striking appearance.


Despite his fierce appearance, Xaden is compassionate and caring, traits shown the moment we find out that he wears 107 scars on his back for all children of rebellion.

He is a secretive individual, closely guarding his own secrets, he is a master of containing his own emotions. He places his trust in very few, with his closest friends being Garrick and his cousin Bodhi. Unlike Dain Aetos, he doesn’t hold as much faith in the rules and the Codex. His disregard for these regulations is evident when he steps in to (almost) assist Violet during the Threshing, an act that’s strictly forbidden. Furthermore, he defies the law by meeting with more than three other children marked for rebellion.

He acknowledges Violet as merciful, then comments that this is not a “flaw” he possesses.

His presence fills an entire stage, and he seems to possess the same magnetism as his father, captivating crowds with nothing but his words.


His past. The fact that he needs to take personal responsibility for the loyalty of 107 kids the rebellion leaders left behind.


Xaden can wield shadows, which is an incredibly rare signet and highly coveted in battle. This particular signet can disorient and even take down the enemy.

In Iron Flame we learn that Xaden is an inntinnsic.


Violet Sorrengail

For the majority of the first book we see Xaden’s development through the eyes and mind of Violet, until the very last chapter when we get to enter Xaden’s mind and see it all from his perspective too.

Xaden has a clear affinity towards Violet from the moment he sees her. Despite his harsh gazes towards Violet, he does give her advice and offers ideas on how to better survive the challenges and keep people like Jack Barlowe at bay.

In Chapter 10, he mentions that keeping Violet alive is causing him the majority of his problems, as if he’s yearning for her.

In the aftermath of the Threshing, the bond between Xaden and Violet takes on a new dimension. With their lives now inextricably linked, Xaden commits to safeguarding Violet, understanding that her death could inadvertently cause his own.During a tense dispute with Dain, Xaden commends Violet for her courage, despite considering her actions reckless. Witnessing Violet put herself in harm’s way prompts Xaden to lose his temper for the first time, allowing his usually controlled emotions to surface.

Xaden shares his first kiss with Violet on the night when Tairn begins to channel his power through her. A month or so later, he brings Violet to the mat and gives her the opportunity to disarm him, thereby rightfully earning the new daggers he had specially crafted for her. This gesture not only demonstrates Xaden’s respect for Violet’s abilities, but also his willingness to support her growth as a warrior.

At Montserrat, Xaden kisses Violet again. Upon their return back to Basgiath, Xaden confesses to Violet that he can’t stop thinking about her. He admits that his thoughts of her extend beyond just wanting to kiss her.

Xaden increasingly finds himself drawn towards Violet, going as far as to assist her in maintaining her position on Tairn. To facilitate this, he designs a custom saddle specifically tailored to her needs.

After Violet discovers her Signet, he goes to her room to comfort her, and their relationship turns intimate. During their intimacy, Xaden admits that he always wants Violet and he can barely think when she is around.

Xaden tells Violet her mind is sexy as hell, and she is the only one he’s thinking about.

On July 1th, he admits to Violet that he wanted her from the second he saw her.

After Athebyne, Xaden admits to himself that he should have never fought his feelings for Violet. He tells himself that Violet is cunning and has such a sense of honour. He realises that he fell for her a long time before they even kissed for the first time. Xaden admits to himself that her hazel eyes have haunted him since Parapet. In his own words, Violet is the only woman he’s ever fallen for.

Liam Mairi

Xaden grew up with Liam in foster care. Xaden trusts Liam with his life and he puts him in charge of looking after Violet and protecting her with his life. He admits to Violet that Liam is important to him.


Garrick has always been Xaden’s best friend. His father was Fen Riorson’s aide. After Liam, Bodhi was and still is the closest thing Xaden has to a brother, perpetually tagging along a step behind.

Dain Aetos

The rivalry between Xaden and Dain is palpable. Xaden often adopts a condescending attitude around Dain, responding with quick, snide remarks. He makes it clear to Violet that he believes Dain is coddling her, rather than helping her progress.

Xaden admits to Violet that he was jealous when Dain kissed her at Threshing. Dain uses his ability to read Violet’s mind to uncover crucial information that he can use against Xaden. He then shares this information with Colonel Aetos, leading to Xaden being sent to Athebyne.

The moment Dain begins to coddle Violet, suggesting she should refrain from using her powers, Xaden intervenes. He firmly pushes Dain away from Violet, indicating his disagreement with Dain’s approach.

The final straw comes during the last challenge of the War Games. Xaden gives Dain the order to release a few people, including Violet and Liam, from his formation and bring them with him to Athebyne. Dain protests and accuses Xaden of being driven by revenge in his relationship with Violet.

Theories about Xaden Riorson

Fourth Wing Theory: Xaden is Inntinnsic

Bodhi and Xaden are siblings

Xaden is a God

Xaden is a morally grey character

Xaden Riorson Quotes

“You look all frail and breakable, but you’re really a violent little thing, aren’t you?”

Xaden Riorson, Chapter 7, Page 85

“Defenceless women have never been my type.”

Xaden Riorson, Chapter 9, Page 110

Killing you wouldn’t be any trouble, Violence. It’s leaving you alive that seems to cause the majority of my trouble”

Xaden Riorson, Chapter 10, Page 129

“Hope is a fickle, dangerous thing. It steals your focus and aims it towards the possibilities instead of keeping it where it belongs -on the probabilities.”

Xaden Riorson, Chapter 10, Page 130

“Every day I let you live, I get to convince myself that there’s still a part of me that’s a decent person.”

Xaden Riorson, Chapter 10, Page 131

“The right way isn’t the only way.”

Xaden Riorson, chapter 10, Page 131

View All Fourth Wing Quotes

View all Iron Flame Quotes

Is Xaden from Fourth Wing black?

Xaden’s facial features are marked by a strong jawline, and his skin is brown tawny in colour. Rebecca Yarros confirmed that Xaden Riorson is a person of colour.

How do you pronounce Xaden Riorson?

Based on typical English pronunciation rules, Xaden is pronounced as ZAY-den with the emphasis on the first syllable. Riorson could be pronounced as RYE-or-son or REE-or-son, with the emphasis likely on the first syllable as well. I pronounce him as “Zayden Reeorson“.

Is Xaden really a venin?

Yes, Xaden really does turn venin at the end of Iron Flame. He does so for love, to save Violet. He is near burn out and cannot hold the General Dark Wielder at bay anymore so in an attempt to save Violet he reaches for the ground, and thus he becomes venin himself. Violet discovers this after she raises the wards at Basgiath and can see the red rim around his eyes.

Does Xaden tell violet he loves her?

Xaden tells Violet he loves her when he comes for her in the torture chamber. He tells her: “You want to know something true? Something real? I love you. I’m in love with you. I have been since the night the snow fell in your hair and you kissed me for the first time. I’m grateful my life is tied to yours because it means I won’t have to face a day without you in it. My heart only beats as long as yours does, and when you die, I’ll meet Malek at your side.”

Share that Venin and Wyvern are real!

This page contains affiliate links.

12 responses to “Xaden Riorson”

  1. The link for Xaden is Inntinnsic takes one to a page to log in since it’s a link to the editing link not the actual page link

    1. Wow, fantastic catch, Becca! Thank you very much! Updated now. Many thanks again.

  2. Hi! Thanks so much for your site! Such a delightful discovery as I’m a brand new fan & this is basically taking over my life right now. I especially love the artist renderings of the characters based on all descriptions given.

    I just wondered if there’s a discussion somewhere regarding the idea that Xaden is implanting thoughts in Violet’s head in Fourth Wing, as that’s all I’ve read so far. I’ve read & reread it while waiting for the second book through my library or Libby app.

    I’m interested in why some of Violet’s thoughts are italicized while so many others aren’t. I wonder if it will be made clear—at some point—that these particular thoughts are either a) being overheard by Xaden, or b) anctually implanted thoughts by him.

    As the book progresses, this italicizing of thoughts is obviously used as a tool to illustrate shared thoughts between Violet & her dragons, then ultimately between her & Xaden. It just struck me as a little odd that it’s used early on, sporadically, as her inner dialogue when there are plenty of other inner thoughts not getting this treatment.

    Even on page 2, prior to Violet & Xaden’s first meeting, the thought “Because you need saving, you fool” seems like it could have come from Xaden as easily as from herself.

    Which brings me to my 2nd—and more burning—question: Did Xaden plan this bond with Violet from the very beginning? Since we find out at the end of Fourth Wing that he is actually in close contact with Brennan, are we all wondering the same thing? Was this whole thing was a set up? Unbeknownst only to Violet?

    Did Xaden ever actually hate her? It bothers me a little that he tells her he’s never lied to her but, upon rereading, the first half of the book he makes many claims that he’d like her dead or greatly dislikes her, even though he also later admits to having wanted her from first sight. (Perhaps I must overlook this incongruence on account of this type of banter being commonly used as a flirtation device.)

    I imagine I’m overthinking things but I’m loving the deep connection between Violet & Xaden. And who among us (on this site, specifically) is not a sucker for the hot, unattainable guy being head-over-heels for our flawed heroine?

    I can’t get enough of this story! So glad to have found you!

    1. Wait what? Why do you think Xaden is implanting thoughts? I need to learn more about your theory.

      “Because you need saving, you fool” This is interesting. I think this to me seems like the Violet just being Violet. It’s the sort of inner monologue that she constantly has. Do you read it differently?

      Did Xaden plan this bond with Violet from the very beginning?
      I don’t think so. First of all, Rebecca Yarros herself said that Xaden did not observe or know about Violet since she was younger. That would have been creepy. But second, if you had a chance to read Xaden’s POV in Fourth Wing special edition, also suggests that it’s not the case. He wanted to stay away from her and not fall for her.

      Did Xaden ever actually hate her?
      I don’t think Xaden cared for her. He didn’t hate her. He hated her mother. I think it’s also the idea that theoretically, he’d prefer her dead because of well…many reasons (not sure if you’ve read Iron Flame so I won’t spoiler). It would just be easier for him without Violet. But at the same time he cannot deny that he’s attracted to her. It’s the same with Violet. She’d rather not have to deal with Xaden but she is also attracted to him.
      It’s not love absolute but it is beautifully done from perceived enemies (and to a somewhat extend actual enemies) to lovers.

      I too love the connection between Xaden and Violet but if you think there are many (MANY) red flags when it comes to Xaden, you are 100% right. At the same time, the fact that he would do anything for her is just beautiful! And that’s what makes this story so awesome. There are real human flaws in there and they are working through them.

  3. Hi! According to Rebecca Yarros, Xaden is a POC. I think it would be best to update the image to better reflect that! 🙂

    1. Hi Jay, this artwork was commissioned to reflect the fact that Xaden has tawny brown skin.
      The term “person of color” ( pl. : people of color or persons of color; abbreviated POC) is primarily used to describe any person who is not considered “white”.

      Here is an article of a lady called Minzi Wataoka that identifies herself as having tawny-brown skin -> https://theeyeopener.com/2018/02/through-my-eyes-this-tawny-brown-skin-thats-neither-completely-black-nor-yellow/

  4. Book #3 Theory: As a mated pair, Xaden becoming venin will put Violet as risk of also becoming “corrupted” through the bond.

    1. Beautiful! It’s a great theory to be fair

      1. That is, if Xaden’s bond with his dragon even survives what he’s done. At the end of book two he mentions that Sgaeyl was “eerily silent”.

        1. He’s still bonded, tho. We know that because he’s using his shadow powers. But for how long…who knows?

          1. During the standoff at the wardrobe, Blaine’s eyes were noted to be “milky white,” or similar.

            Is this a side effect of the mending process or Jack being venin, or, a type of possession (which was my first thought before it was clear that Jack was venin).

            If becoming a dark wielder corrupts dragon bonds (I know that’s a theory about Naolin and I’m on board), what will happen to Sgaeyl? (And by extension, Tairn and Violet?)

            Will she lose her sight (Blaide’s milky eyes may be cataracts) or become corrupted in another way?

            Did we see Blaide’s eyes earlier in the book?

            Related theory about shadows, Xaden and venin: In one of the chapter headnotes (I’ll need help here, since I borrowed the book from the library), there’s a quote about venin’s eyesight being better because the room where a king was murdered was so dark. However, the way it was written reminded me of how Xaden’s shadows are described, as if shadow-wielding leaned toward being a dark channeling skill. It could be just a misread, but it stuck with me.

          2. This is related to the fact that the power corrupts, yes. Are we talking about Baide yes? The orange dragon, Jack’s, correct?
            If so, I do have a theory about how power corrupts them and changes their eyes and their smell.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


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. 🐉
Read More

Pre order Onyx Storm by Rebecca Yarros today