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"They didn't really want to know. They thought they did, but knowing only made them miserable."
This article contains plot details and potential spoilers for the Shades of Magic series. If you have not begun reading the books or are not too far into the story, please do refrain from reading.

I am Rhy Maresh. I am the king of Arnes. And I am unbreakable.

—Rhy Maresh, A Conjuring of Light, XIII: A King's Place, VII

King Rhy Maresh is the biological son of King Maxim and Queen Emira and current reigning King of Arnes.

Physical description[]

Rhy has curly black hair, honey-colored eyes, and tanned skin like his parents and the citizens of Arnes. Despite being a year younger than Kell, Rhy is "built like a statue" and is, therefore, physically stronger than his Antari brother.

Rhy often wears a ring of gold as a crown and enjoys to wear showy and, in Kell's eyes, gaudy accessories.


Rhy can be quick-tempered and frustrated easily, but at heart, he is fun-loving and endlessly kind and generous to those around him which is why he is well-loved by most citizens of Arnes. Furthermore, Rhy is rather reckless as his antics have often gotten him and Kell in trouble in the past, resulting in Kell having had to save him.

Rhy struggles with feelings of inadequacy to reign over Arnes due to his lack of magical prowess—something some Arnesians excoriate him for. Though he has some ability with fire magic, his restless nature and lack of focus, not to mention a lack of natural-born talent, prevent him from mastering the dedicated art of magic as Kell does. His frustration with his inability to use magic and the feeling of powerlessness is the reason why Rhy carelessly accepted a necklace from Holland Vosijk which was said to give him the strength he desired but, in reality, only allowed Astrid Dane to take over his mind and body. Rhy hates to be the source of someone else's suffering, often blaming himself and feeling immense guilt for the sacrifices that others make for him.

Despite his shortcomings in magic and his personal fears, Rhy shows himself time and time again to be a good king and leader. He cares deeply for his people, just as his father did before him, and took command quickly after his death, proving his devotion by wandering the streets of a fallen London and gathering those who he could save.

Additionally, in his private life, Rhy tended to enjoy a variety of sexual partners; at least, up until he began a relationship with an old flame again.


Early life[]

A Darker Shade of Magic[]

A Gathering of Shadows[]

A Conjuring of Light[]



It was not a question, but there was a confession in it, because everything about Alucard—the tension in his back, the ways his hips pressed into Rhy's, the race of his heart and the tremor in his voice—said that the missing had been mutual.

—Rhy, A Gathering of Shadows, VII: Intersections, II

Alucard and Rhy have a long and rather complicated history. Rhy fell for Alucard when he was a young seventeen, and they appeared to have a period of steady courtship and romantic and sexual interactions before Alucard "left" for the high seas. Rhy was allegedly devastated, Kell describing the action as "breaking his heart." Kell himself banished Emery from London.

However, when Alucard returned for the Elemental Games, Rhy seemingly forgave him, at least at first. He later showed mistrust and asked that he complete his quest before pursuing a relationship again. Despite that, Rhy has a great deal of love for him; he even endangered himself looking for Alucard when the city was under attack. The two are currently lovers.



Skills and abilities[]

  • Magic: Rhy possesses almost no talent for magic and is only able to summon fire to a small extent.
  • Polyglotism: Rhy is fluent in eleven languages,[3] including English, Arnesian, Faroan, and Veskan.




See more here

Titles and styles[]

  • November 4, 1799 – March 1820: His Royal Highness Prince Rhy of Arnes
  • Since March 1820: His Majesty The King


Out of Universe[]

  • Despite his birthday officially being November 4, A Darker Shade of Magic implies that it is on October 17.[note 1] A Gathering of Shadows also states that the Black Night happened in October.[7]
  • Rhy is one of the characters V. E. Schwab relates to the most as he shapes himself to other people's expectations but feels "lost inside his own skin."[8] Also, if she could have lunch with any of the characters she has created, she would choose Rhy.[9]
  • Schwab's short story—"A Royal Affair"—in the 2021 anthology Fantastic Worlds: Impossible Places tells the story about Alucard's courtship with Rhy.[10]
  • Schwab once described Rhy as "equal parts Prince Harry and Jack Harkness."[11]
  • Rhy's favorite tea would be spiced chai.[12]
    • Rhy's Starbucks order would be iced caramel macchiato.[13] Apart from that, he would also order fancy drinks with overly long names.[14]
  • If Rhy had to live through lockdown, he would work on a puzzle with Alucard.[15]

  • Rhy's name is pronounced "Rhy" as in "why" or like "rye," not "Rhy" as in "Ree."[16][17][18][19]

  • References and notes[]

    1. "Nov 4/Scorpio"
      (V. E. Schwab on Twitter)
    2. "How tall are the characters?" — "Rhy: 5′10″"
      (V. E. Schwab on Tumblr)
    3. A Darker Shade of Magic, IV: White Throne, I
    4. "The whole cast of ACOL will be in it."
      (V. E. Schwab Twitter)
    5. "Prince Rhy is canonically bi"
      (V. E. Schwab on Tumblr)
    6. "Rhy is canon Bi"
      (V. E. Schwab on Twitter)
    7. A Gathering of Shadows, II: Prince at Large, III
    8. A Darker Shade of Magic (Collector's Edition) — Interview between author and editor
    9. "if you can have lunch with any one of your characters who would it be??" — "Rhy Maresh"
      (V. E. Schwab on Twitter)
    10. "I wrote a story called "A Royal Affair" for this anthology. It's Alucard's story, from his courtship with Rhy, to the events that led to him becoming captain of the Night Spire."
      (V. E. Schwab on Goodreads)
    11. "A royal who is equal parts Prince Harry and Jack Harkness"
      (V. E. Schwab on Wordpress)
    12. "What kinds of tea would the characters of ADSOM like?" — "Rhy: Spiced chai."
      (V. E. Schwab on Tumblr)
    13. "Rhy would want an iced caramel macchiato [from Starbucks]."
      (V. E. Schwab on Twitter)
    14. "Rhy: Orders fancy drinks with long names"
      (V. E. Schwab on Twitter)
    15. "I've found myself wondering how my characters would handle [lockdown]. [...] Authors, what you got?" — "Rhy and Alucard would work on a puzzle"
      (V. E. Schwab on Twitter)
    16. File:Rhy's name.png
    17. "Rhy is pronounced RYE"
      (V. E. Schwab on Twitter)
    18. "Rhy = rye, like why or sky"
      (V. E. Schwab on Tumblr)
    19. "Rhy is pronounced RYE."
      (V. E. Schwab on Tumblr)

      • Kell visits George III and George IV on October 15; Holland visits Rhy on the same day to give him a present.
        (I: The Traveler, I-II; II: Red Royal, I)
      • Kell delivers a letter to White London the day afterward, on October 16. Kell visits Olivar on the same day
        (IV: White Throne, I; V: Black Stone, II)
      • Kell meets Lila and fights against Holland in the night from October 16 to 17.
        (VI: Thieves Meet, II-IV; VII: The Follower, I-II; VIII: An Arrangement, I)
      • On October 17, Lila and Kell travel to Red London, and Lila watches Rhy's birthday procession.
        (IX: Festival & Fire, I)


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    House of Maresh