Vasily Lantsov was the eldest of the princes of Ravka and older brother of Nikolai Lantsov. He was the only biological son of Alexander III, King of Ravka, as his younger brother Nikolai was the bastard of the Queen. He was the heir to the throne of Ravka before the attack on Nikolai's birthday party, where he was slain by the Darkling's nichevo'ya.
He was first mentioned in the first book of the trilogy, Shadow and Bone.
He is described by Alina as almost handsome, if it were not for the weak chin that he inherited from his father, and his eyes so heavy-lidded that it is hard to tell if he is bored or drunk.
Vasily never introduces himself to Alina. The most she knows of him is from Genya Safin, who says he enjoys buying up horses and getting drunk. Genya adds that it drives the Queen mad because he won't look for a wife. Alina sees Vasily a few times on the palace grounds but, is never approached by him.
When word of Nikolai's return to Os Alta traveled to Caryeva, the epicenter of summer horse auctions and races, Vasily packed up and made it home to the Grand Palace where he met Alina Starkov and Nikolai as their procession made it to the upper town. When he caught sight of Nikolai in the parade, they both dismounted their horses and briefly embraced. Throughout the rest of his time at court, he attended the council meetings despite being hungover or sleeping during the majority of them. When he wasn't ignoring his duties, he made sure to input on every issue, insuring the meetings ran twice as long. Vasily approached Alina after a meeting to propose an alliance as future King and Queen to which she promptly and respectfully denied.
At one of the meetings Vasily attends, the council discusses the draft age and the many deserters of the First Army. Vasily's view is to lower the age to around thirteen and make some examples of the deserters to scare the soldiers into submission. Alina begins to snap at Vasily as the draft age is already sixteen years old, and many soldiers are drafted into the army at lower ages. Nikolai presses that the people will not desert with full bellies and clear instruction: not fear and starving. The conversation shifts to nichevo'ya, to which Vasily dismisses their existence entirely. Nikolai loses his composure and insults Vasily, calling him an idiot and an idiot. Vasily, now purple faced, snaps back saying that what is best for Ravka is a Lantsov on the throne. The meeting ends with his pride disheveled.
At some point in during his time at the capital, the King of Ravka sanctioned a trip to Fjerda to form an alliance with the country historically known as Ravka's enemy. To cover up the journey, he was said to have gone to the summer auctions in Caryeva. He packed up in the middle of the night and traveled to Fjerda where he agreed to allow access to West Ravkan ports, help police the seas against Zemeni pirates, reopen logging routes specifically south of Halmhend, west of the permafrost, and cooperation with the Sun Summoner, to push back the Fold. He then travels back to the capital in time to break the news on Nikolai's Birthday.
When the time for Nikolai's birthday dinner arrives, Vasily toasts to Nikolai when flavored ices are being served. He wishes him good health and reminds him once, after many a time, of his second born status. The nobles say cheers but are interrupted when Vasily clinks his glass three times. It is at this moment when Vasily announces the terms of the alliance. Nikolai, alarmingly upset at the new ally, insists on evacuating the palace. The brothers then begin arguing over the panic being set in, and on the other hand, the panic being cast aside for an 'accomplishment'. The extended Lantsov family attempts to chime in to calm the matter. Vasily, having no interest in being soothed, unsheathed his saber; livid and red faced. The windows of the Eagle's Den, the dining room where the dinner is being held, explode and the Darkling's nichevo'ya crawl into the room, killing a Lantsov cousin across from Alina. The guests rise in a gabble of panic and fear, attempting to escape. Nikolai runs to his parents with Alina and Mal beside him. Vasily runs toward Alina and Mal, saber high, blaming the Darkling's arrival on the 'witch'. Before he can attack anyone, a nichevo'ya swoops down and rips his sword arm from its socket. He is left swaying and shocked for a moment, then collapses on the parquet flooring bleeding out.
Once the attack is over, Nikolai flies in the kingfisher over the Grand Palace with the intent to collect his body but, is unable to find it.
- There were several Russian rulers named Vasily from the 14th to 16th centuries, which may have been the inspiration for Vasily Lantsov's name.