May contain plot details
|“||If you are the sickness, I suppose you can't also be the cure.||”|
– Cardan Greenbriar, The Wicked King
Cardan Greenbriar, also known as High King Cardan or King Cardan and previously Prince Cardan, is a faerie and the current High King of Elfhame. He is the son of Lady Asha and youngest child of Eldred Greenbriar, great-grandson of Mab Greenbriar, brother to Balekin, Elowyn, Dain, Rhyia and Caelia Greenbriar, husband of Jude Duarte and uncle of Oak. He was also the ringleader of his inner circle of friends.
Cardan has curly, iridescent midnight hair and sharp cheekbones. He has long, black eyelashes and soft lips. His eyes are described as black with a golden ring around the pupils. He usually wears kohl under his eyes. Cardan is said to be lean and tall, with very pale skin. He has a number of scars on his back from his abusive eldest brother, Prince Balekin. Cardan possesses a slim, nearly hairless tail with a tuft of black fur at the tip which is often kept tucked away in the back of his shirt. He is described as more beautiful than the rest of the Folk by Jude.
He is almost always seen wearing extravagant clothes made of opulent fabrics, studded with shiny gemstones and exotic feathers and patterns. He wears a circlet of gold on his head. The official art of How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories, depicts Cardan as a tall figure with very pale skin, long black hair, and black eyes.
King Cardan is cruel, sarcastic, prideful, and manipulative. He is described as not being any good with a sword and doesn't show any interest in the crown.
According to him, his redeeming quality is that he is no murderer. Often, he struggles to understand his emotions and tries to mask them with sneers and sarcasm. He's admitted that he's so good at guarding his heart, he can act as though he doesn't have one. Even so, Cardan occasionally shows a softer side, along with fear, shame, desire, and even care. When he's nervous, he smiles. Cardan is known for his charm and wit, which allow him to slyly escape danger. However, Cardan has shown that he does feel love, just never truly learned how to do so. He is also a sweet talker and can talk almost anyone into anything. He knows how to entertain.
Jude mentions that his glamour is more powerful and seductive than other Folk. As a prince of Faerie, no matter what he wants, he knows what's expected of him. Cardan is very good at playing the fool to disguise his own cleverness.
When he was born, Prince Cardan was deemed to be a harbinger of ill-luck after his birth by the Royal Astrologer, Baphen. His father, the former High King Eldred had disregarded Cardan when he was born.
Prince Cardan's mother, Lady Asha, found having a child to be boring and irritating, so Cardan was heavily neglected in childhood. In an enchanted globe Jude found on former High King Eldred's desk, she sees Cardan as a very small child. He's dressed in a shirt that's too large and hangs down like a gown, barefoot and streaked with mud. He wears dangling hoops in his ears, as though an adult gave him their earrings. Jude sees him try to get his mother's attention only to be pushed to the ground. Young Cardan then ran off and picks a fight with an older boy, which finally gets Lady Asha's attention and makes her laugh. At that, Cardan smiled.
When Cardan was young, Lady Asha left him to be suckled by a little black cat whose kittens came stillborn so that Asha could participate in revels at the High Court without needing to worry about her son. At one point it is said that Cardan was adored, but then forgotten. Given fine cuts of meat, but then forgotten about the next few meals. He was often dressed in fur clocks that were left till they became rags, looking to his mother for approval, which came only when he was awful. He was abandoned for long periods of time, weaned on cat milk and cruelty, left to roam the Palace of Elfhame like a little ghost. His other siblings often picked on him and treated him like a dog, throwing him scraps and things from the tables.
One of Cardan's brothers, Prince Dain, played a trick on Cardan that resulted in the High Court thinking Cardan had killed the beloved mortal lover of Val Moren, who was the seneschal of High King Eldred. Prince Dain saw to it that though Cardan protested, no one would hear his side of events by telling the story of the youngest prince's recklessness and arrogance. Their father would not even allow Cardan an audience, "and so Prince Cardan's reputation was made, he had little to do but further it." As Lady Asha had been sentenced to the Tower of Forgetting, Prince Cardan was then sent to reside with his eldest brother, Prince Balekin, in Hollow Hall, enduring Balekin’s harsh punishments and cruelty, which included physical, verbal and emotional abuse.
School and Bullying
Prince Cardan and his inner circle, Nicasia, Locke and Valerian, often made sport of bullying Taryn and Jude Duarte at school. One time, Prince Cardan dirt into Taryn and Jude's food and threatened to ensorcell Jude into eating the dirt. He told Jude she doesn't belong in the Summer Tournament because it's not for mortals and if she didn't withdraw, she would wish she had. In retaliation, Jude secretly put salt in Prince Cardan, Nicasia, Locke, and Valerian's food, so they attacked Taryn and Jude after classes by throwing them into the river. Cardan tells Jude that they will break her because she is mortal and fragile and that she should give up, to which she responds that she will never break.
The next day, when Prince Cardan was talking to Taryn Duarte and making her cry, Taryn's twin sister, Jude, slams Prince Cardan against a tree and warns him to stay away from her sister. Later, at the Summer Tournamentʻs mock war, Prince Cardan mocks and provokes Jude and she begins to viciously fight him. She beat Prince Cardan and ended up winning the competition for her entire team. Afterward, Prince Cardan demands her submission, but Jude tells him that she will shame him with her defiance and that while he might win in the end, she will make sure to take everything she can away from him on the way down, which leaves Cardan speechless.
Later, Valerian forces Jude to eat faerie fruit and begins to choke her with it, so Prince Cardan shoves Valerian off her saying that if she dies, his prank will be over before it begins. While she is high on the fruit, Cardan and his friends mock her. Prince Cardan tells her to kiss his foot and tell him how much she admires him, but stops Jude and takes her home. Before she can leave, Cardan stabs her finger and makes her bleed so that she will suck on her finger and the salt in her blood will reverse the effects of the fruit.
Life Outside of School
At Hollow Hall, Prince Balekin forces Cardan to demonstrate his skills with a sword and when Balekin easily overpowered Prince Cardan, Balekin tells him he is weak and instructs a human servant to beat Cardan with a belt. Prince Cardan grabs the sword and Balekin tells him to go ahead and kill the human, but Prince Cardan replies that he is not a murderer.
While Prince Cardan was at a party at Locke's estate, Jude was there with Cardan's friend Locke as his lover. Despite being drunk and having two faerie girls all over him, he couldn't stop staring at Jude.
The Coronation Ceremony
At Prince Dain's ceremony, Prince Cardan teases Locke by messing around with Taryn and Jude by stepping between Locke and Jude when they were dancing and chiding Locke.
When the crowning began, Prince Cardan was missing. He wasn't there when Prince Balekin slaughtered the royal family, but Jude Duarte found him drunk under a table after the revel continued as if the killings never happened. Prince Cardan tells her that his father, High King Eldred, hated him and then leads Jude up to the palace floors. When they get there, Jude threatens him with a knife and takes him to the Court of Shadows, a secret organization of spies that used to work for Prince Dain. Jude ties Cardan to a chair and waits for other members of the Court to show up.
The Court of Shadows
Two more members of the Court of Shadows, the Roach and the Ghost, arrive and with a prompt from Cardan, the Ghost admits that he was the one who poisoned Liriope with orders from Dain. Jude then leaves Prince Cardan in the Ghost and the Roach's care while she returns to Madoc's Stronghold.
The next day, Jude returns to the Court of Shadows to interrogate Prince Cardan. When she asks him why he hates her so much he avoids the question until Jude threatens to shoot him with a crossbow. Cardan then admits that he envies her because Madoc loves her despite her being his foster daughter when Prince Cardan’s own father despised him. He also envies her because she doesn’t have an abusive older brother and because he believed that she stole Locke from Nicasia, making Nicasia cry. Jude then reveals that when spying in Hollow Hall, she had found a paper on which he wrote her name over and over again with intense hatred, but when she asks him about it he hesitates. After more threats, Cardan admits that he is attracted to Jude and thinks about her often, and hates himself for wanting a mortal. Jude then kisses him and he kisses her back.
Cardan proposes a bargain where Jude will tell Balekin that Cardan will crown him in exchange for lands and gold for Prince Cardan and Jude be given whatever she wants, but Cardan tells her that he does not want to be High King. Jude then tells Prince Cardan and the rest of the Court of Shadows about how her foster brother, Oak, is of the house of Greenbriar and implies that Prince Cardan will crown her brother. Her plan is to then send Oak to the mortal world until he is old enough to be the High King. She persuades Cardan to swear himself into her service because she tells him she cannot trust him with the crown of Elfhame in his hands. Prince Cardan helps Jude recruit allies from other Courts to back up their plan.
At the feast at Hollow Hall, Prince Cardan walks in with Jude on his arm, shocking everyone. Balekin does not immediately seize Cardan as he now knows the importance of a willing participant in a coronation
As planned, the Bomb, another member of the Court of Shadows, sets off an explosion and the Roach shoots bolts at Balekin to distract his guards while the Ghost steals the blood crown amidst the chaos. When Jude finally gets ahold of the crown and gives it to Oak, she tells Prince Cardan to show Oak what he should do as the one being crowned and Cardan kneels, beckoning for Oak to do the same. However, Jude commands Prince Cardan to stay completely still in his kneeling position while Oak performs the coronation ceremony and places the crown on Cardan’s head, as he practiced with Vivi, and Prince Cardan becomes the new High King.
King Cardan is furious at her betrayal, as he does not want to be High King, but still appoints Jude as his seneschal while also telling her that he has not yet forgiven her.
It has been five months since Cardan was crowned High King. Cardan does not take his obligations seriously, leaving Jude to do all the work as his seneschal. All he does is drink, party, and pretend to be High King. He also refuses to attend meetings with the Living Council. His subjects come up to him and ask him questions, one of them being Grimsen, who is in exile. He comes to Cardan to ask to have his exile lifted. Cardan grants him that on the condition that he will show Cardan his loyalty in his deeds, rather than with his words.
Then Mother Marrow comes forward, and gifts Cardan a piece of fabric woven of spidersilk and nightmares. She tries to trick Cardan into a geas but is stopped by Jude. Jude is informed that Balekin wishes to speak with Cardan and goes to meet him herself. She meets Cardan’s mother Lady Asha in the Tower of Forgetting.
She comes back to find that an attempt was made on Cardan’s life by a crossbow while he was drunk and in bed with another faerie. He got away safely but has a wound. Jude moves him to her bedroom while she inspects his room and in his drunken state, he tells her to kiss him over and over again until he is sick of it. He falls asleep before Jude can reply. Jude finds out there is a secret passage in his room and after exploring it, finds Nicasia crying. Nicasia says that she didn’t mean to shoot at Cardan, but the faerie next to him out of jealousy.
Jude tells Cardan about Balekin’s wish to meet with him but Cardan refuses his demands. They find out that Balekin is working with Queen Orlagh of the Undersea. Jude tells Cardan to seduce Nicasia to find out more about Queen Orlagh’s plan. Cardan uses his seductive talents on Jude instead and they start kissing. They end up in bed together. Jude later reveals they did not go all the way. Cardan finds out from Nicasia that Queen Orlagh is planning to rebel against him and they soon receive a warning. They think that the Undersea plans to hurt Oak, who is coming to Elfhame for Taryn and Locke’s wedding, and take appropriate precautions. But the Undersea abducts Jude instead.
Cardan does everything he can to get Jude back. He agrees to all of the Undersea’s terms, even letting them attack his kingdom without retaliating. After Jude returns, she finds out that Cardan and Madoc blamed each other for her abduction.
Later, when she goes to the palace to tell Cardan that Balekin and Orlagh plan Cardan's murder. Cardan confesses some of his feelings, making Jude speechless.
On the night of the masquerade party, Cardan seems like he's drunk and was poisoned by Balekin with wraithberry. When Jude takes him to her room, the Bomb comes and gives him clay. Saying that it will draw out and contain the toxins. Balekin offered to give Jude the antidote for the crown. When Jude comes back, Cardan realizes that it was Taryn who posed as Jude to get Cardan to free Madoc from his vows to the crown and allow him to take half the army. Cardan offers for Jude to be the High Queen which she accepts. He then requests that she frees him from his vow of obedience. Jude frees him and they are married.
When Cardan finds out Jude killed Balekin, he exiles Jude from Elfhame to the mortal world until the crown pardons her.
Cardan is first seen when Jude comes into the court as Taryn. Cardan asks questions and then tells her to come to his room. There, he tells her that he knows she is Jude and asks why she has not answered any of the letters he sent her. He tells her the exile was a trick.
Madoc attacks and takes Jude. While she is planning her escape, Cardan comes to save her with the Roach. When Jude tells them that the Ghost is there, they agree to go with her to get the key from Grimsen. While there, they set off a trap of poisoned needles. Cardan, wearing Mother Marrow's invincible clock, steps in front of Jude, leaving the Roach to be hurt. Jude then urges Cardan to take the Roach back to the Bomb for treatment. Cardan gives Jude his clock for safety.
Jude assumes that there is going to be an attempt on Cardan's life and rushes back to the palace. She sends Cardan a note, which he seems to set aside to play as bait. The Bomb mistakes Jude as the assassin and shoots at Jude. She falls and lands on the banquet table. Later, Cardan admits that he had been scared for her when he watched her fall. Cardan stalks towards her and calls her a dirty mortal liar. However, when the guards come to chain her, Cardan commands them not to touch her, and then announces that Jude is his wife and the High Queen of Faerie.
After Jude wakes up from being healed, he takes her to the garden and reveals that she could have come back to Elfhame at any time she pleased since she is a part of the crown. Cardan mentions that he had thought she would figure out the riddle and by the time she had, he would have created a treaty with the Undersea. Cardan states that he thought Jude would have admired him for being able to trick her.
During a meeting with the Living Court, in which they question Cardan about why Jude was back and why he had not gone to them before marrying. Cardan sends them off and the Bomb enters. Telling Cardan he should leave while she takes out Jude's stitches. Cardan does go, reluctantly.
He then meets with Nicasia, who tells him that someone shot her mother through the heart and the arrow won't move. After the Seafolk leaves, the Living Council meets once again to try and figure a plan to stop Madoc. Jude gets a letter from Taryn to meet her Hollow Hall, she excuses herself, however, Cardan insists on going with her. There they find the Ghost and Taryn. Taryn uses the Ghost's true name to make him forget Madoc's commands.
Cardan asks the Ghost if killing him was the order, and the Ghost confirms it. Upon Taryn's accusations, Cardan tells her that he doesn't think love is a game, unlike Locke. On the way back, Cardan manages to get Taryn to tell him about mortal food. Taryn later tells Jude that he was trying to impress her.
Later, Cardan comes back to his and Jude's chambers to find the counselor, Randalin verbally attacking Jude about how no one wants her. He asks Jude to leave the room so he can have a talk with Randalin, when she refuses, he takes the counselor out and then has their talk. Afterward, Tatterfell and Heather arrive. He invites Heather and Vivi to come to the ball in the evening.
As Jude is getting ready, Cardan advises Jude to lie to the Lowe Courts to make them believe that the High King will triumph over Madoc. At the ball, Cardan and Jude make their way to the great hall and are greeted with many kisses. Cardan then welcomes all the Lower Courts, saying that the loyal ones are welcome and has his hospitality. But the oath breaks has Jude's hospitality of knives.
Cardan and Jude head back to their chambers. Cardan compliments Jude on looking intimidating. Jude replies that after his speech, it wasn't too hard. They then began to kiss, Cardan telling Jude she looks like a knight from a story, possibly filthy. When Jude freezes, Cardan immediately lets go and tells Jude they don't have to, though Jude stops him and tells him she needs a few minutes. She goes into the wardrobe and comes back undressed. Jude then begins to tease Cardan with begging as he had imagined in Hollow Hall. He tells her he is forever undone by her and they then make love.
The next few days are spent planning and trying to figure out how they'll stop Madoc and try to convince the Lower Courts to join Cardan's army. Cardan and Jude try to also convince Grima Mog to join his generals. During the planning, Grima Mog and Fala offer that they go out and fight Madoc. Cardan points out that Madoc will call a truce and they need to hear him out. Jude points out that Madoc wants a duel, and it would be very hard to say no. The Bomb adds that they could just tell Madoc to surrender his weapons. Cardan detests the idea, as he is too prideful and that would make him look like a coward.
Madoc comes before the Courts and tells Cardan that he is unfit to rule, demanding that Cardan gives him the crown to be the ruler. Defiantly, Cardan takes the Blood Crown and cracks it in half. Due to Grimsen cursing everything he made to preserve it, the curse turns Cardan into a large serpent. After everyone is evacuated, it begins to snow in the brugh, something that's never happened. The earth also cracks underneath serpent Cardan. Following this, Cardan recalls that being a serpent was like being in the dark, he couldn't reason and his only feelings were hatred and the desire to destroy. As a serpent, Cardan seems to be poisonous to the land, leaving behind black trails. The Court of Teeth attempts to bridling the serpent but don't succeed. They then bargain with Jude and give her the bridle instead.
At first, Jude plans to use the bridle, but then she realizes that Cardan would hate to be trapped and that it was unfair for Jude to call it love. She then lobs serpent Cardan's head off and he comes out of the serpent naked and covered in blood. Jude runs to him, and Cardan embraces her before pulling away as knights approach him with a clock. This Cardan doesn't take, instead choosing to joke about not wanting to start wearing clothes again. Grima Mog comes up to Jude and asks if Madoc should be chained up. Cardan answers for Jude that Madoc should be chained. Hustled into a carriage, Cardan asks Jude how long he'd been a serpent. Jude replies that it had been three days. Upon arriving at the palace, Cardan insists on seeing the throne room. Which was destroyed when Cardan turned. Using his powers over the earth, Cardan calls a throne and splits it in half. Making one for Jude.
In the epilogue, the courts accept Cardan as their High King and Jude as their High Queen. Cardan then gives the Ghost, the Roach, and the Bomb masks that conceal their identity. Later, he and Jude go to the mortal world and there Taryn, Vivi, Heather, and Oak buy pizza as a celebration.
For the first nine years of his life, Carden frequently slept in the hay of the stables when his mother wanted him out of their rooms. He would pretend that he was playing hide-and-seek, and no one found him because he had picked such a clever hiding place. It is on one of these nights in the stables that Carden meets Aslog. Aslog asks Cardan if he is one of King Eldred's offspring. Cardan tells Aslog to go away, which she simply laughs. Telling him he has bad manners. Cardan imperially tells Aslog that he'd tell his father, though knowing that his father wanted nothing to do with him. Neither did his siblings unless it amused them. Aslog then decides to tell Cardan a story. She tells him that she'll ask him what he thinks the meaning of the tale is.
The tale goes that there was a boy who said awful things to everyone. Voicing whatever terrible thought he had. Telling the baker her bread was bad, the butcher that he was ugly, and his siblings that they were useless. He scorned the maidens of his village, calling them dull. He soon annoyed the town witch and she cursed him with the stone heart he acted like he had. He could not feel love, hate, or fear. The boy then had no reason to do anything. No reason to scorn the town, no reason to get up in the morning. Eventually, his mother made him go out into the world to find his fortune.
The boy found a tavernkeeper who he could work for and in exchange get soup, a place to sleep, and some money. After three days, the boy asks if there are any other places to work. The tavernkeeper tells the boy that there is a baron who wants to marry off his daughter. She is said to be fearsome and no man can stay three nights in her chamber. But if a man succeeds in doing so, he gets the daughter's hand and dowry.
The boy was bathed and readied to meet the baron's daughter. And then something entered the room. A monster with fur and sharp teeth. All of her previous suitors had ran away in terror and fear, but the boy did not. His heart of stone stopping him. The monster snapped her teeth at him, and when he didn't show fear, she curled up on the end of the bed. It went on like this for the second night. The boy not being frightened of the monster girl. On the third night, the monster girl came closer and nuzzled the boy. When the boy didn't move away, she batted at him with her head, slamming his back into the wall. Breaking his stone heart. The boy felt a strange love for his bride and with tears he told the monster girl that she cured him. Only the monster took the tears as a sign of fear and sprang on the boy. Tearing him in pieces.
Cardan exclaims that it is a terrible story. That the boy would have been better off staying at him. Aslog, however, tells Cardan that the moral of the story is that a sharp tongue is no match for a sharp tooth.
A few years later, Cardan is forced to live with his elder brother Balekin. Balekin informs Cardan that he is supposed to make him a proper Prince of Elfhame. Cardan hoped to be the kind of little brother that Balekin might take under his wing. Balekin reminds Cardan that he is lucky Balekin took him in, or he might have been sent to one of the Lower Courts. Balekin instructs Cardan what he will do, choose clean clothes, stop scavenging for his food and use cutlery, learn swordplay, and go to palace school. Balekin then motions for a mortal slave, Margaret, to come.
|“||“I wasn't kind, Jude. Not to many people. Not to you. I wasn't sure if I wanted you or if I wanted you gone from my sight so that I would stop feeling as I did, which made me even more unkind. But when you were gone—truly gone beneath the waves—I hated myself as I never have before.”||”|
–Cardan to Jude, in The Wicked King
|“||“It’s you I love,” he says. “I spent much of my life guarding my heart. I guarded it so well that I could behave as though I didn’t have one at all. Even now, it is a shabby, worm-eaten, and scabrous thing. But it is yours.”||”|
–Cardan to Jude, the Queen of Nothing
Jude Duarte and Cardan Greenbriar are husband and wife, as well as the High King and High Queen of Elfhame. Their relationship is very turbulent, with romance, betrayal, and backstabbing.
In the beginning, the pair did not get along at all. Jude hated Cardan for being spoiled, for threatening her and her sister, and for being so self-centered. She knew Cardan's hatred for her was almost equal to her hatred for him and their feud lead to constant skirmishes against each other.In her mission infiltrating Hollow Hall on behalf of Prince Dain, Jude witnessed Cardan being tortured and beaten by his brother Balekin and Jude began to pity him a little. Sometimes, Jude grudgingly remarked upon Cardan's beauty and every once in a blue moon he shows a softer side for her. After the coronation in which Jude gained full control of Cardan and his future, he admitted that his hatred for her was caused by jealousy and envy of the way Madoc tried for her to fit in even though she didn’t belong there. With a little more pushing from Jude, Cardan also admitted he desired her and how he loathed feeling that way. Cardan was also jealous of Jude because she doesn't have a brother who beat her and because Locke used Jude and her sister to make Nicasia cry after he stole her from Cardan. She was constantly thrown in his face by his brother, Balekin, as the mortal who bested him.The two shared a kiss and after that, their relationship changed. They were obviously involved with each other, but neither of them admitted anything other than a passing desire for each other. At the end of The Cruel Prince, Jude betrayed Cardan by using his oath of allegiance against him and in the epilogue, it is revealed he had yet to forgive her. ]
In The Wicked King, Jude and Cardan had a strained relationship. Jude struggled with her feelings towards Cardan, even going so far as to think of killing Cardan before he could make her love him. Cardan also struggled with his feelings towards Jude and hated himself for it. However, he does try to help her out whenever he can.
Cardan publicly said how Jude's face often plagued his dreams and how she was often featured in his nightmares. He then said that he found Jude’s mortal beauty unique, meaning that even though she's a mortal, she was still very beautiful, which alarmed and "shocks" him due to the fact that in faerie, humans are regarded as low creatures in comparison to the fae. Jude later sees that Cardan secretly took her ruby ring and he now wears it on his pinkie finger.
Later, Jude asked Cardan to seduce Nicasia so they could find out what her mother is planning. Cardan used his seductive talents on Jude instead, asking her if that was how he should seduce Nicasia and they end up in bed together, though what happened after that is unclear, however, Jude said that they didn’t go all the way. Later, when Cardan flirted with Nicasia, Jude hated seeing him with her even though it was her who suggested he do so.
When Jude was captured by the Undersea, Cardan did everything in his power to get her back. During this time, Jude also thought about Cardan often. When she was finally brought back, Jude was in terrible condition and needed Nicasia‘s help to walk to Cardan. He said that she ought to need no help and that the Undersea should have looked after her better. Queen Orlagh then asked Cardan if he did not want Jude any longer, to which Cardan replied possessive and contemptuous, that he will have Jude.
Once Jude could walk on her own again, she snuck into Cardan’s room in the place because Madoc had barred her from entering. When Jude made it to Cardan’s room, he pulled her into bed beside him and apologized for how he treated her. He also told her that since he hated himself for wanting her, he wanted her to get out of his sight, but when she was actually gone under the waves in the Undersea, he hated himself more than ever for wishing her gone. He also said one of the only things he had done right was imagining Jude by his side while she was gone.
Later on, Balekin poisoned Cardan and in his drugged state, Cardan kissed Jude on the mouth in front of the whole High Court. Jude was very worried about him and dueled with Balekin to get the antidote.
Later on, Cardan asked for Jude to release him from his year and a day promise so that he could rule for longer, giving more time for Oak to mature. This would also allow for Cardan to be accepted by the land. He then asked Jude to marry him and for her to become Queen of Faerie until Oak came of age, proposing with the ring he stole from her. Jude accepted and the two get married.
The next day, Orlagh asked for an audience with Cardan because of Balekin's death, as he was her ambassador to Elfhame. Jude admitted to killing Balekin and as punishment, Cardan banished Jude from Faerie.
Jude is left to plot her revenge feeling humiliated, betrayed, and angry. She worked for a fae called Bryern doing odd jobs. Jude was left in the mortal world and spent most of her time longing for and grudging against Cardan. She considered ways to take over the crown and to get back at Cardan.
At her sisters' request, Jude broke her exile and disguised herself as Taryn to take her place to be questioned on Locke's death. Cardan, privately, told her he recognized her the moment he saw her. He told an angry Jude that her exile was only a trick. Before he could elaborate, Jude was taken by Madoc. Madoc later told her that Cardan fought hard to keep her. Cardan later came to Madoc’s camp to rescue Jude. After she is recused from her adoptive father, Vivienne told Jude that Cardan came to the mortal world to find her.
Jude is severely injured from a fight with Madoc but still goes to warn Cardan after she realized his life might be in danger. However, it turned out to be a ploy and Jude suffered a fall, hurting herself more. It is then that Cardan came to her and declared to all of Elfhame that she was his wife and the rightful High Queen, no longer in exile. Jude fell unconscious but woke in Cardan’s bed with him seated by her and washing the blood from her hands. They talked and he told her about the loophole in the phrasing of the exile. She then realized her error in overlooking the exile's wording.
Jude remembered that Cardan mentioned that he had sent her messages and so she asked what he had said to her. Cardan replied, "Pleading, mostly. Beseeching you to come back. Several indiscreet promises". Although the two didn't make peace with each other immediately, they both showed mutual affection and longing towards each other.
When Taryn, Jude, and Cardan were all in a carriage, Cardan was asking Taryn about human candies. Taryn later told Jude that the only reason he was so interested was because he wanted to impress her [Jude].
Later, Cardan revealed that he has had fantasies about Jude and they have sex. Jude admitted to Cardan that she missed him in the mortal world, even though he was her enemy. Cardan admitted to Jude he loved her and that his heart was hers but walks out of the room before Jude could respond.
When Cardan became a serpent after incurring an ancient curse, she spent most of her time feeling extremely regretful because she didn't tell Cardan that she loved him too. The Court of the Teeth gave her a bridle that would bind the serpent to her so she would have Cardan forever in exchange for being given positions of power. When Jude is faced with the serpent, it became obvious to her that she couldn't bind Cardan to herself forever, so she cut her sword through the serpent's neck and went on to fight Madoc. While she was fighting Madoc, Cardan stepped out from the serpent's corpse and is reunited with his queen. She told him that she loved him as well but he thought she is saying it out of pity. However, after she explained why she loved him, he realized that her feelings were genuine and they kissed.They both end up ruling Elfhame as the High King and High Queen and Cardan accompanied Jude on her visit to the mortal world to see Oak, where Vivienne threw them both a newlyweds party.
Cardan was Nicasia's first friend in Faerie. Spending their early youth together, reading poetry to one another, they became lovers. Due to Nicasia's nature, she slowly became bored of Cardan, so she lets Locke seduce her away from him. Eventually, Locke leaves her to court Taryn. Upset by the events taking place she desires Cardan again, asking him to take her back, but, Cardan doesn't love her anymore and decides to leave her once and for all. Throughout the books, she feels jealousy towards all those who have Cardan's attention, as shown when she tried to shoot bolts at a girl in Cardan's bedroom. Cardan is asked by Jude to seduce her in order to get information, he fiercely objects and is offended by her request. He does not understand why Jude would ask him such a thing. Cardan is unable to forgive Nicasia for her betrayal, treatment, and kidnapping of Jude, but feels sorry for her towards the end of the books. Nicasia, however, says that they were still friends throughout everything.
Friends and Allies
Locke was part of Cardan's inner circle. However, their friendship hit a rough patch when Locke stole Nicasia from Cardan. Their relationship remains rocky while Locke is involved with Jude because of Cardan’s suppressed feelings for her.
Valerian was part of Cardan's inner circle and Valerian would often be violent towards Jude and Taryn in attempts to impress the prince. However, Cardan disliked this and stopped Valerian from killing Jude.
Nicasia was Cardan's former lover and a member of Cardan's original group. Cardan was harsh with her when he found out Nicasia slept with Locke. It is evident that Nicasia still loves Cardan, though he has moved on.
The Roach and Cardan are friends, he taught Cardan many tricks and Cardan assisted him when going to get Jude.
Grima Mog was with Cardan when they found Randalin in the room yelling at Jude.
Cardan and Balekin have a bad relationship because Balekin is abusive toward Cardan, both physically and emotionally. Balekin believes Cardan is too weak. Balekin forces Cardan to spar with him, taunting and mocking him the entire time. Afterward, Balekin has a human servant beat Cardan with a belt and tells him that he is "punishing him because he loves him." However, Balekin was the only sibling of Cardan's who took him in when Dain got him kicked out of the palace.
Though Lady Asha was his mother, she ignored Cardan as a child but enjoyed the higher status he gave her. She only paid him attention when he got into fights as it amused her. When she is released from the Tower of Forgetting, Cardan allows her to return to the High Court, saying that he supposes he has some fondness for her yet.
Cardan had a better relationship with Dain than he did with Balekin. Though Dain didn't much help Cardan.
Cardan is fond of Oak.
Cardan once told Jude that he liked being High King to spite his father. King Eldred was very neglectful. He didn't see to raise Cardan after his prophecy was told.
Taryn is Cardan's sister-in-law, as he is married to Jude. In an attempt to get Jude to like him, Cardan will make conversation with Taryn to show he is making an effort to get along with Jude's family.
Madoc had planned on putting Balekin on the throne or Oak, and was very angry when Jude placed Cardan. He then believed that Cardan wasn't the rightful ruler and challenged Cardan for the throne.
Balekin was the only of his siblings to actually do anything with Cardan. Balekin moved Cardan in with him in Hollow Hall, thinking that he could change Cardan. All he did was beat Cardan when he wasn't behaving. This making Cardan resent Balekin.
Cardan has an ok relationship with Queen Orlagh while courting her daughter. Though after Jude killed Balekin, Cardan had to hurry to create another treaty with the Undersea.
to be expanded
- Cardan is about a year and a half older than Jude. 
- The beautiful dress Jude received for the coronation, which she thought was from Prince Dain, was actually from Cardan. 
- While living at Hollow Hall, Cardan used to help slaves mortals escape back into the mortal world.
- The prophecy from his birth stated, "He will be the destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne. Only out of his spilled blood can a great ruler rise." 
- Jude remarks that Cardan smells like moss, oakwood, and leather.
- Cardan has been learning how to pickpocket from the Roach.
- "Time to change partners. Oh, did I steal your line?" (The Cruel Prince, 193)
- "I think about you. Often. It's disgusting, and I can't stop." (The Cruel Prince 254)
- "I am no murderer." (The Cruel Prince)
- "How has the night been going for you? Mine has been full of dull conversations about how my head is going to find itself on a spike." (The Cruel Prince)
- "Have I told you how hideous you look tonight?" "I can't." (The Cruel Prince)
- "Locke hasn't gotten around to seducing me yet, if that's what you're asking. I suppose I should be insulted."
- "Look at them all, your subjects. A shame no one knows who their true ruler is." (The Cruel Prince, 31-32)
- "Ah. This must be a grave concern, to bring it before the High King." (The Wicked King, 33-34)
- "I suppose I shall. It amuses her to keep me out of trouble." (The Wicked King, 37-38)
- "“The three of you have one solution to every problem. Murder. No key fits every lock.” Cardan gives us all a stern look, holding up a long-fingered hand with my stolen ruby ring still on one finger. “Someone tries to betray the High King, murder. Someone gives you a harsh look, murder..." (The Wicked King, 218)
- "Be welcome on the Isle of Insmire. Seelie and Unseelie, Wild Folk and Shy Folk, I am glad to have you march under my banner, glad of your loyalty, grateful for your honor. To you, I offer honey wine and the hospitality of my table. But to traitors and oath breakers, I offer my queen's hospitality instead. The hospitality of knives." (Queen of Nothing, 166)
- "You looked like a knight in a story tonight. Possibly a filthy story." (Queen of Nothing, 167)
- "We have lived in our armor for so long, you and I. And now I am not sure if either of us knows how to remove it." (Queen of Nothing, 169)
- "My sweet nemesis, how glad I am you returned." (Queen of Nothing, 170)
- "It's you I love. I spent much of my life guarding my heart. I guarded it so well that I could behave as though I don't have one at all. Even now, it is a shabby, worm-eaten, and scabrous thing. But it's yours. You probably guessed as much. But just in case you didn't." (Queen of Nothing, 174)
- "You don't know how long I've waited to hear those words. You don't want me dead." (Queen of Nothing, 236)
- "I have not made myself easy to love." (Queen of Nothing, 237)
- "And you. I knew little else, but I always knew you." (Queen of Nothing, 238)