The Cruel Prince Characters We Can’t Get Enough Of

By #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black, the first book in a stunning new series about a mortal girl who finds herself caught in a web of royal faerie intrigue.

It’s no secret that a part of what makes this book so great is the compelling and addicting characters! Luckily for you, we’ve compiled all our personal favourites and bundled together all the information you could need for a quick introduction to each character!

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About The Cruel Prince

The Cruel Prince Series: the cruel prince
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The Cruel Prince – Book 1

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever. And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

One terrible morning, Jude and her sisters see their parents murdered in front of them. The terrifying assassin abducts all three girls to the world of Faerie, where Jude is installed in the royal court.

As she grows older, she realises that she will need to take part in the dangerous deceptions of the fey to ever truly belong. But the stairway to power is fraught with shadows and betrayal. And looming over it all is the charismatic and arrogant Prince Cardan.

Characters (Spoilers for The Wicked King & The Queen of Nothing ahead!)

Jude Duarte

“If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse.”

Jude Duarte, The Cruel Prince

Jude is a human and the High Queen of Elfame. Twin sister of Taryn, and wife of Cardan Greenbriar, Jude is our fearless protagonist of The Folk and Air series.

Described as having softer features to the fae, Jude is a brunette and brown-eyed mortal beauty unlike which the fae have encountered. The top of her ring finger is missing where it was bitten off as a child. This seems fitting for such a stubborn and adventurous mortal, traversing the difficult world despite her being human. She is cunning, clever and tries to bury her vulnerable side to remain cold.

Jude is hard working and has perfected her fighting skills in various areas, especially sword fighting. She has a thirst for blood and will not stop until she has fully proved herself and protected her loved ones, no matter the cost.

Jude is the younger twin between her and Taryn.

According to Holly Black, she has some Latin ancestry.

The author confirmed on Twitter, in a since-deleted tweet, that Jude kept her maiden name after marriage, as name changing was not faerie custom. Furthermore, in The Queen of Nothing, Baphen calls her Jude Duarte during her coronation.

Taryn Duarte

“Nice things don’t happen in storybooks… Or when they do happen, something bad happens next. Because otherwise the story would be boring, and no one would read it.”

Taryn Duarte, The Cruel Prince

Identical twin sister of Jude, Taryn too was bullied and faced adversities for being human in the magic realm. Her and her sister are fairly different in terms of their approach to the fae. Taryn wishes not to challenge the folk and believes they will ignore her if she ignores them. She wishes to fall in love with a fae and marry into the Court.

A little meek and submissive, Taryn can turn wicked and ruthless when her place in Faerie is threatened.

Her wickedness and opposing nature with her sister lead them both into butting heads numerous times, but ultimately family will always run deep in their veins.

According to Holly Black, she has some Latin ancestry.

Taryn is the older twin between her and Jude.

Cardan Greenbriar

“You don’t think monster girls and wicked boys deserve love?”

Cardan Greenbriar, How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories

Also known as High King Cardan (previously Prince Cardan) , he is the current High King of Elfame.

With iridescent black hair and black gilded eyes, his beauty is that of the otherworldish fae. Lean and thin, Cardan is said to have a number of scars on his back from his abusive older brother Prince Balekin. His slim tail is tucked away in the back of his shirt.

Cardan struggles to understand his emotions and as a result, comes across as cruel, prideful and sarcastic. He’s especially manipulative and can slyly escape danger with charm and wit – his attractiveness helping a lot too.

He initially was repulsed at himself for falling for a human, but he allows himself to fall for Jude. He shows Jude a tender side to him, in which he reveals he has no real interest in the crown.

Dain Greenbriar

“I forbid you from speaking aloud about your service to me. I forbid you from putting it into writing or into song. You will never tell anyone of the Roach. You will never tell anyone of any of my spies. ...So long as I live, you will obey this.”

Dain Greenbriar, The Cruel Prince

Also known as Prince Dain, he is a faerie and the brother to Cardan.

Polar opposite to his brother, Dain is described as having golden curls and silver-grey eyes. From his torso down he bears the hind legs of a deer and boasts small horns atop his head.

Initially, Dain appeared to be kind and generous, especially toward Jude. He was later revealed to be horribly manipulative and violent, prioritizing power over all else. When an affair became pregnant, Dain was worried the unborn child’s prophecy would become true, such that he tried to kill both mother and child. The child was unharmed and is known as Oak, who we see in the series.

Dain also lead what was known as the Circle of Falcons, alongside the undercover Court of Shadows.


“Because you’re like a story that hasn’t happened yet. Because I want to see what you will do. I want to be part of the unfolding of the tale.”

Locke, The Cruel Prince

Son of Liriope, Locke is the half brother of Oak and husband of Taryn. He is described as having red hair and feline-like eyes. His fox-like appearance matches his slyness. He shows a caring side, but much like other characters in the story, Locke can be very manipulative and loved drama. He has an incurable appetite for stories and would not be ashamed to create some drama if he was feeling a hunger for it.

His mother once took him to the human world. She told him that they needed both the fae and the human realm in order to live well. His mother died at age 10 and Locke had been living in his family’s estate on his own ever since.


7 years old, young Oak is technically a Prince of Elfhame as he is the son of Dain Greenbriar and Liriope. He has deer legs like his father and horns growing from his skull.

He is a normal faerie child. A little spoilt due to over-coddling by Oriana, he gets very upset when things don’t go his way.

Oak will take his place of High King once he becomes of age. His uncle Cardan will rule in the mean time. He is taken to the human world to live with Vivienne and her girlfriend Heather.

He is seen as much more forgiving and caring than his cohorts and has repeatedly expressed his disenchantment with becoming High King.


“There’s always something left to lose.”

Vivienne, The Cruel Prince

The daughter of half-faerie and half-human, she is the daughter of Madoc and Eva Duarte making her the half-sister of twins Taryn and Jude and foster sister to Oak.

Vivi has a cat-like features, with golden slit-eyed pupils and pointed furry ears.

After Madoc murdered her mother and step-father, Vivienne become deadset on hatred and making Madoc’s life as difficult as possible. Often this is shown with Vivi misbehaving: screaming, raging, hurting her sisters, and sneaking out of Faerie to see her girlfriend.

Her anger has pointed her away from the fae and she holds a grudge against the fae. The only thing keeping her in Faerie is the twins; she loves them dearly and she worries for their safety.

She is described as fun to be around, although the fun is rooted in her cheerfully selfish nature.


Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.

Madoc, The Cruel Prince

Madoc is a faerie and former Grand General of Elfhame. He is the father of Vivienne, foster father to Taryn, Jude, and Oak, and husband to Oriana.

Described as having greenish skin, catlike eyes and being tall and burly, it comes as no surprise that this tank of a fae is very protective of his family. Undercurrinting that is a side which is ambitious, ruthless and he has a thirst for bloodshed. War is a part of his nature. His love is violent in nature – he takes Jude and Taryn despite the conflict it may cause.

Madoc was born in a battlefield. His bother sliced the umbilical cord with her blade. He was born and bred in bloodshed. Madoc’s first human love ran away while pregnant. She staged her and her unborn baby’s death to cover her escape.

Madoc trains Jude in sword fighting, and it is no wonder how Jude became so skilled.


Faerie Oriana is the stepmother to Vivienne and foster mother of Taryn, Jude, and Oak.

Described as beautifully unnerving to look at, Oriana lives a cautious life. Once a consort to the High King, Oriana was a loyal friend to the late Liriope and was entrusted with her son Oak. She takes great pride in good etiquette and image and is talented at moving unpleasant situations into a kinder, softer topic.

She married Madoc as she knew the man could bring protection to both her and Oak – and Oak is her priority.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cruel Prince Characters Personality Types?

The Cruel Prince MBTI types are thought to be as follows.

  • Jude Duarte ENTJ
  • Taryn Duarte ISFJ
  • Cardan Greenbriar ENTP
  • Locke ENTP
  • Madoc ENTJ
  • Oak ENFP
  • Oriana ISTJ
  • Vivienne Duarte ESFP
  • Dain Greenbriar INFJ

Is The Cruel Prince a Series?

Yes. The Cruel Prince is the first book in The Folk of Air series. The series includes:

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  • The Cruel Prince
  • The Wicked King
  • The Queen of Nothing

Although, there are some sister books which are not a part of the core trilogy, but perfect for people who need a little bit more of their Holly Black fix! These are The Lost Sisters and How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories.

The Cruel Prince characters zodiac signs?

Although there is no official information about the characters’ zodiac signs, many believe the following to be a good representation of the signs:

  • Taurus – The Roach – Strong, practical, stubborn
  • Aries – Cardan – Dynamic, feisty, impulsive
  • Gemini – The Bomb – Agile, connected, curious, cunning
  • Scorpio – Jude – Driven, smart, obsessive, paranoid
  • Leo – Locke – Dramatic, proud, charismatic
  • Pisces – Taryn – Romantic, sensitive, unrealistic
  • Cancer – Oriana – Nuturing, Supportive, Moody
  • Libra – Oak – King, balanced, naive
  • Sagittarius – Nicassia – Outgoing, enthusiastic, impatient
  • Virgo – Madoc – Altruistic, analytical, rigid
  • Aquarius – Vivienne – Friendly, inventive, irresponsible
  • Capricorn – The Ghost – Strategic, patient, ambitious

What are The Cruel Prince characters’ heights?

It is difficult to know the exact heights of the characters, but Jude is described as average height so many believe she is around 5’5. In some canonical artwork, Cardan is at least a head taller than her so many believe he is around 6′.

Who is your favorite character? Let us know!

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