Wylan Van Eck is the son of Jan Van Eck and is one of the protagonists of the Six of Crows duology. He joins the team rescuing Bo Yul-Bayur from the Ice Court because of his knowledge of demolitions and his use as a hostage in negotiating the reward.
Although a gifted artist and musician, Wylan cannot read because he has severe dyslexia. When Wylan was around eight, his father realized Wylan couldn't read or write. At that time, Van Eck told Wylan his mother grew ill and died, then refused to let Wylan go to her funeral. Van Eck began to verbally abuse Wylan and estrange him from the household.
After Wylan's stepmother, Alys, became pregnant, Van Eck attempted to have Wylan killed in order to protect the repute of the Van Eck name and erase Wylan from public memory. His father told Wylan he was going to study music in Belendt, but instructed two of his guards to kill Wylan on the browboat as they left Ketterdam. After nearly being strangled, Wylan jumped out of the boat into the canal and eventually swam to shore.
Wylan ended up in the Barrel, where he rented a room at a boarding house and hid for several days before venturing out to find work at a tannery, barely able to make enough money to scrape by. He began going by Wylan Hendriks, his mother's surname. A few weeks later, Jesper Fahey visited him at work to introduce him to the Dregs; Kaz Brekker and Inej Ghafa asked him to make bombs for them, but Wylan refused. However, he returned to the boarding house to discover that his father had sent a letter, and decided to do demo work for the Dregs. Van Eck continued to send letters to Wylan to taunt him, knowing Wylan could not read them. Wylan never opened the letters.
Six of Crows
Wylan joins the crew for the Ice Court job as the demolitions expert, despite Inej and Jesper's reservations about his skill and experience. At the Crow Club, Kaz reveals Wylan's identity as the son of Jan Van Eck and his role as insurance that his father would hold up his end of the bargain. Wylan creates maps and sketches of the Ice Court based on Matthias Helvar's descriptions and his own recollections from his trips to the Court with his father.
When the Dregs are ambushed trying to leave the Ketterdam harbor, Wylan is terrified in the shootout. Jesper rescues him and gives him his rifle, then the two run to the real Ferolind. Wylan sets off a flash bomb that blinds everyone but Jesper, allowing the sharpshooter to easily pick off their enemies. Aboard the ship, Wylan watches Kaz torture and kill Oomen. Frightened and furious, Wylan initially stands up to Kaz, but Jesper encourages him to stand down.
Kaz, Jesper, Matthias, and Wylan continue to create plans for the Ice Court. Inquisitive Wylan spends time reconstructing the mechanisms of everything in the Court and questioning Jesper's role in the heist. The crew arrives in Fjerda and they cross the northern wilderness. When they are ambushed by two Grisha using jurda parem, Wylan sets off an explosion to allow Jesper to shoot down the Squaller. Another explosive frees the Crows from the Fabrikator's ice prison, though Wylan was not confident the bomb would work.
The Crows arrive in Djerholm and scope out the prison wagon's path. Wylan uses a salt concentrate to uproot a tree to block the path of the wagon as a distraction while the six thieves take the place of some of the prisoners. In the Ice Court's prison, Wylan panics when the guards find Kaz's lockpicks, since he believes this ruins their plan to escape. Wylan expresses his fears to Jesper, and the two bicker nervously. Jesper knocks out the other prisoners with what Wylan recognizes as a pellet of chloro gas. Wylan is shocked and intrigued by Jesper's revelation of his Fabrikator power.
Wylan accompanies Kaz to unlock the cells of Inej and Nina Zenik, then meets the rest of the crew in the laundry room. The incinerator seems impossible to climb, but Wylan finds Inej's Fabrikator-made slippers and Kaz's gloves in the laundry, allowing her to withstand the heat. When Inej reaches the roof, she sends a rope down for the others, and Wylan climbs to the top with Matthias. Kaz and Nina accidentally set off Yellow Protocol, so Wylan agrees with Jesper's suggestion to abandon the mission and leave while they still can. However, Inej and Kaz create a new plan that involves Wylan taking apart a ringwall gate and triggering Black Protocol, and the group splits up again.
Wylan and Jesper run across the roof of the drüskelle sector. Jesper is almost caught by the guards, but Wylan distracts them by singing the Fjerdan national anthem. The two dress in the guards' uniforms and prepare to break the ringwall gate, but Wylan realizes the mechanism is not what he expected. Jesper weakens the links of the steel chain with his Fabrikator power and Wylan cuts at the metal with shears. The boys discuss their likes and dislikes, then raise the gate, triggering Black Protocol. They run across the courtyard but are attacked by two Tidemakers using parem. The Tidemakers begin drawing the blood from their bodies and Wylan tells Jesper to Fabrikate the shards of metal on his clothes and Jesper kills the drugged Grisha allowing him and Wylan to escape.
Wylan and Jesper return to the prison sector via the incinerator shaft, where they meet up with Inej. Using the diamond Inej stole from Heleen Van Houden, Wylan rigs together a makeshift drill that Jesper uses to cut a hole in the glass wall for Inej to jump through. Inej commandeers a tank, and Wylan and Jesper climb down into the tank. Wylan mans the guns, and the three crash through the glass and the ringwall of the Ice Court. They pick up Kaz, Nina, Matthias, and Kuwei Yul-Bo and drive for the Djerholm harbor.
Aboard the Ferolind, Wylan tells Kaz that he cannot read or write. He cannot be used as insurance that Jan Van Eck will hold up his end of the bargain because his father wants nothing to do with him due to his disability. Kaz has Nina, under the effects of jurda parem, tailor Wylan to look like Kuwei in case Van Eck tries to double cross them. Wylan agrees, despite knowing he may never look like himself again. Wylan, disguised as Kuwei, often stands with Jesper on the deck of the Ferolind, but cannot tell Jesper he is Wylan.
Jan Van Eck does indeed double cross the Crows. He reveals Wylan's disability and Van Eck's hatred of his son, then destroys the Ferolind, believing Wylan was on it, proving to Wylan that his father truly did want to kill him. Wylan reveals himself to his father, who is stunned. He also wins a bet with Kaz, who had not believed Van Eck would so callously end his son's life. Van Eck escapes with Inej and the money, and Jesper speaks with Wylan, angry that he was the only one left in the dark about Wylan's disguise. Wylan defends Jesper to Kaz. In the final chapter, Wylan accompanies Kaz, Jesper, Matthias, and Nina to Pekka Rollins to negotiate for the money needed for Kaz's plan to retrieve Inej.
Wylan spends most of Crooked Kingdom looking like Kuwei Yul-Bo. His life under the treatment of his father is revealed through flashbacks, showing in detail how his father planned to kill him to protect his legacy and how Wylan escaped.
Wylan also cultivates a stronger relationship with Jesper Fahey. In the beginning, he goes with Jesper to meet his father, something that he was especially scared about. Later, in return, Jesper agrees to go with Wylan to visit his mother's grave at Saint Hilde. However, upon reaching Saint Hilde, they discover that Wylan's mother was not dead at all, but locked in an asylum by Jan Van Eck due to the fact that she had birthed a child that could not read. Wylan cannot reveal himself to her as her own son, but he talks to her and finds out that she is suffering. On the way back, Wylan begins to cry and Jesper comforts him. The horrifying discovery about his mother motivates Wylan to go through with the job in order to get money from his father and free his mother, something they found out later that Kaz had planned all along.
Wylan accompanies Kaz to his father's house on Geldstraat to steal the seal. Kaz offers Wylan some good advice but is interrupted by Pekka Rollins. Rollins tries to get Kaz to surrender but Kaz uses the weevil Wylan made to burn a hole through Van Eck's floor and Wylan and Kaz escape and travel with Nina and Inej to the Geldrenner.
After a fight with his father leaves him upset, Jesper stumbles upon Kuwei in front of a piano, thinks he is Wylan and kisses him. Wylan walks in on them and is obviously hurt, but he pretends he doesn't care.
Later, Jesper tells him that it was just a mistake; he had actually thought he was kissing Wylan. Wylan is stunned and then indignant and says that the two are nothing alike and that Kuwei isn't even that good at science. He also reveals that half of Kuwei's notebooks are full of drawings of Jesper. Wylan also says that Jesper can kiss whomever he likes. Jesper says that he does, as regularly as possible and Wylan says "so what's the problem?" Jesper then gives Wylan a painting of Wylan as a child of about eight years that he took from Saint Hildes. Jespers claims he stole it to help Wylan return to his 'old merchling self'. He offers to accompany Wylan to the baths to meet the Grisha Triumvirate and he gratefully accepts.
Kaz, Wylan and Jesper meet with the Grisha Triumvirate in order to discuss the plan, and Wylan meets Genya Safin, the most talented Tailor in the world. She agrees to make him look like himself again, with the help of a painting of himself done by his mother that Jesper took from Saint Hilde. He reveals to her that he can't read, later confessing to Jesper that telling more people makes him feel better about himself. After several hours of tailoring, Wylan looks just as he did before, and he and Jesper spend some time alone. Wylan tries to get Jesper to embrace his power as a Fabrikator, something that he has always been taught to hate about himself. They've both had a similar experience. Wylan points out that maybe the reason why Jesper shoots so well is due to him using his powers, something that Jesper dismisses at first, saying that Wylan is cute but crazy, but it turns out to be important. Jesper is feeling mad and scattered and Wylan calms him down. He tells him to breathe and then leans forward and kisses Jesper, then Jesper says "Wylan, I really hope we don't die."
In the end, Wylan inherits his father's entire fortune when Jan Van Eck is imprisoned. He lives with Jesper and Inej in the mansion until Inej later leaves and eventually brings his mother home as well.
Rule of Wolves
Wylan and his boyfriend Jesper, still living at the Van Eck estate, are approached by Kaz, Nikolai Lantsov, and Zoya Nazyalensky for a job. Wylan has kept up his music studies and Jesper has been practicing his Fabrikator abilities privately. Wylan wants Jesper to study with an actual Grisha, but Jesper is reluctant to do so. Wylan is still hesitant to commit any crimes, but upon learning the job would help Inej, all reluctance is gone.
Personality and traits
Wylan is considerate, nice, and innocent, despite the fact that he is a part of the Dregs. He is the kindest out of the Dregs, and is very caring but calculated. His privileged status makes him unused to violence; however, he is still willing to do damage—even saying at one point, after Jesper says he doesn't kill sleeping men, that they can wake up two men before killing them. Wylan is also reasonably shy, often speaking and commenting only if he is asked to, although his character development proves that this is due to his father's treatment of him with him becoming more confident as he becomes more assured of his worth.
Wylan also has a curious, contemplative mind, often questioning how things function such as on Jesper's pistols and the Ice Court's aqueduct system. He prefers music and numbers to words, as he cannot read or write because of his dyslexia. Wylan is insecure regarding his disability due to his father's rejection and hatred of him because of his inability to read or write.
He does not like being called a criminal yet takes pride in his knowledge of demolition. He is also a skilled chemist in addition to being very artistic and is skilled in playing musical instruments (specifically the flute and the piano) and drawing.
Wylan has ruddy gold curls, pale skin, and blue eyes. At sixteen, he is the youngest of the Crows, though he looks younger; Matthias Helvar believed his age to be twelve instead of sixteen. He resembles his father, Jan Van Eck, but has his mother's curls. Kaz Brekker said he "looked like a child—smooth-skinned, wide-eyed, like a silk-eared puppy in a room full of fighting dogs."
Due to Nina's tailoring abilities enhanced with the power of jurda parem, Wylan temporarily took on the appearance of Kuwei Yul-Bo. After a few weeks, Genya Safin tailored Wylan back to his original appearance.
Skills and abilities
In Six of Crows, Jesper endlessly teases Wylan and often makes him blush. Wylan appears to have a crush on Jesper and by the end of the Ice Court heist, asks Jesper if he likes boys, too. While disguised as Kuwei on the return trip to Ketterdam, Wylan liked to watch Jesper; however, he could not talk to him without revealing he was not Kuwei. Wylan repeatedly defends Jesper to Kaz when the two have a falling out. In Crooked Kingdom, Wylan and Jesper bond over similar experiences and try to teach each other to love themselves for who they are and despite their struggles. They became romantically involved after they kissed towards the end of the book. But before they kiss, Jesper accidentally kisses Kuwei, because at the time Wylan and Kuwei looked identical. Jesper ends up helping run the Van Eck business after Wylan's father gets sent to prison. Jesper reads papers for Wylan since Wylan is dyslexic. They live together in the Van Eck residence.
|Main Characters||Kaz Brekker • Inej Ghafa • Jesper Fahey • Nina Zenik • Matthias Helvar • Wylan Van Eck • Kuwei Yul-Bo • Jan Van Eck • Pekka Rollins|
|Minor Characters||Joost • Anya • Emil Retvenko • Councilman Hoede • Geels • Bo Yul-Bayur • Per Haskell • Tante Heleen • Jordie Rietveld • Specht • Rotty • Jarl Brum • Cornelis Smeet • Adem Bajan • Colm Fahey • Aditi Hilli • Alys Van Eck • Marya Hendriks • Zoya Nazyalensky • Sturmhond • Genya Safin • Dunyasha Lazareva • Anika • Pim • Keeg • Roeder • Karl Dryden • Jellen Radmakker|
|Locations||Ketterdam • The Barrel • Hellgate • Ice Court • Djerholm • Black Veil Island • Kerch • Fjerda • Ravka • Novyi Zem • Shu Han • Wandering Isle|
|Groups||The Dregs • Dime Lions • Black Tips • Stadwatch • Grisha • Drüskelle • The Menagerie • House of the White Rose • Merchant Council • Council of Tides • Khergud|
|Events||Hringkälla • Hellshow • Queen's Lady Plague • Komedie Brute|
|Miscellaneous||Jurda • Jurda parem • Kefta • Indenture • Djel • Ghezen|