The Children of Men

Theo’s cousin and the self-appointed Warden of England, Xan is a dictatorial man whose childhood tendencies toward “obsessive self-sufficiency” have made him into a cruel, thoughtless leader. Snakelike, shadowy, and incapable of true intimacy or friendship with anyone, Xan rules Britain with the support of his sycophantic Council. He wears an enormously valuable ring—the Coronation Ring, “the wedding ring of England,” on his finger as a symbol of his unquestioned power. Xan is both vain and shifty, self-obsessed and seemingly without a true inner self to speak of. When he finally learns of Julian’s pregnancy, he and the Council hunt her and Theo to their safehouse. Xan plans to marry Julian (whom Theo has come to love), because he knows that by marrying the first woman to give birth in years he will cement his power. At the same time, Xan also describes a plan to perhaps “breed” Julian with her own son in order to create new life on Earth. In the ensuing confrontation, Theo shoots and kills Xan. While Xan is the singular villain of the novel, when Theo puts on the Coronation Ring after killing Xan, it suggests that Xan is also not particularly special, in the sense that his lust for power is something shared by all people, and so that once he falls someone else will just take his role.

Xan Lyppiatt Quotes in The Children of Men

The The Children of Men quotes below are all either spoken by Xan Lyppiatt or refer to Xan Lyppiatt. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Children of Men published in 2006.
Chapter 2 Quotes

I know now, of course, why [Xan] liked having me at Woolcombe. I think I guessed almost from the beginning. He had absolutely no commitment to me, no responsibility for me, not even the commitment of friendship or the responsibility of personal choice. He hadn’t chosen me. I was his cousin, I was wished on him, I was there. I lifted from him, an only child, the burden of parental concern. From his boyhood he couldn’t tolerate questions, curiosity, interference in his life. I sympathized with that; I was very much the same.

Related Characters: Theodore “Theo” Faron (speaker), Xan Lyppiatt
Related Symbols: Woolcombe
Page Number: 16
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Chapter 33 Quotes

Carl looked down at the child with his dying eyes. “So it begins again.”
Theo thought: It begins again, with jealousy, with treachery, with violence, with murder, with this ring on my finger. He looked down at the great sapphire in its glitter of diamonds, aware of its weight. Placing it on his hand had been a gesture to assert authority and ensure protection. For a time at least he must take Xan’s place. There were evils to be remedied; but they must take their turn. He couldn’t do everything at once, there had to be priorities. Was that what Xan had found? And was this sudden intoxication of power what Xan had known every day of his life?

Related Characters: Theodore “Theo” Faron (speaker), Carl Inglebach (speaker), Xan Lyppiatt
Related Symbols: The Coronation Ring
Page Number: 240
Explanation and Analysis:
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Julian looked up at him. For the first time she noticed the ring. She said: “That wasn’t made for your finger.”
For a second, no more, he felt something close to irritation. It must be for him to decide when he would take it off. He said: “It’s useful for the present. I shall take it off in time.”
She seemed for the moment content, and it might have been his imagination that there was a shadow in her eyes.

Related Characters: Theodore “Theo” Faron (speaker), Julian (speaker), Xan Lyppiatt
Related Symbols: The Coronation Ring
Page Number: 241
Explanation and Analysis:
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Xan Lyppiatt Character Timeline in The Children of Men

The timeline below shows where the character Xan Lyppiatt appears in The Children of Men. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1 
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...and his only “claim to notice” is the fact that he is the cousin of Xan Lyppiatt, the dictator and Warden of England. (full context)
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...that not one of them was fertile, Theo says, suicide increased on a global scale. Xan was already the Warden at that point, and attempted to discourage the spread of the... (full context)
Chapter 2
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...He describes the years during which he served as an adviser to his dictatorial cousin Xan, and sat on the Council of England. Journalists at that time described the relationship between... (full context)
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To this day, Theo says, he is unable to “understand what [he] felt for Xan then.” Each summer Xan welcomed Theo to his home “as if he were receiving back... (full context)
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...Council that governs England, as well as those individuals’ family members. Both Theo’s mother and Xan’s mother, who had been sisters, died there themselves. While Theo’s aunt married well, his mother... (full context)
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Xan, Theo observes, never had any friends come to Woolcombe over the summer, and anytime Theo... (full context)
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...older, they drove around picking up girls, which “terrified” Theo. In all their summers together Xan never treated Theo as if he were poor, and allowed him to be alone and... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...at Woolcombe. Theo was afraid that he’d be staying in the “servants’ quarters,” but instead Xan led him to an opulent room adjacent to his own. Even now Theo can remember... (full context)
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Flashing back to that first day in his room at Woolcombe, Theo recalls how Xan tried to put him at ease by belittling the size and grandeur of his own... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...of the wrongs happening in England, hope to right things. Julian knows that Theo is Xan’s cousin and a former Council member, and that two members of her group—Luke, a priest,... (full context)
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Theo tells Julian that he has no relationship or influence with Xan any longer, but Julian begs him to meet with her group anyway. Theo can suddenly... (full context)
Chapter 8
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Theo reiterates to the group that he has “no influence” where Xan is concerned—he tells them that that is part of the reason why he left the... (full context)
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...and the Council themselves. Rolf replies that while the government wouldn’t listen to their group, Xan might listen to Theo. Theo asks what the group “would want [him] to say” if... (full context)
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...of helping. Theo tells all of them that he hasn’t yet said he won’t approach Xan, but before he makes a decision, he wants to see a Quietus—he wants to bring... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...folds it, thinking that the word indicates “a commitment to more than his visit to Xan.” He heads to the Cast Museum, where he told Julian’s group he’d leave the note,... (full context)
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...faced with the reality of several “abominations,” Theo feels he has a duty to see Xan. However, he is motivated less by the horror of the Quietus than by “the memory... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Theo, writing in his diary, describes the events of his first time seeing Xan in three years. He had no trouble securing an appointment with Xan, though he had... (full context)
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Xan sends a car and a driver to fetch Theo on the day of the appointment.... (full context)
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Though Theo and Xan did not part on bad terms, Theo knows that Xan views his having left the... (full context)
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...of England, due to be crowned when Theo sat upon the council, still hasn’t been. Xan told Theo that the people of Britain would “resent the expense of a meaningless ceremony.”  (full context)
Chapter 12
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Xan’s office is not at Ten Downing Street, historically the seat of British government. Instead, he... (full context)
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A Grenadier shows Theo into Xan’s office, where the full Council is assembled. They sit together on one side of the... (full context)
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Xan has his hands folded on the table. He wears the Coronation Ring, the ornate and... (full context)
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...designated for him and tells the group that he asked for a “personal” meeting with Xan alone. Xan retorts that since it’s been three years since he and Theo last met,... (full context)
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Xan asks Theo if he is finished. Theo presses on, asking about the Isle of Man... (full context)
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...hordes” which damage society. Theo notes that “whoever speaks, [their] voice is the voice of Xan. Xan cuts in to say that “generosity is a virtue for individuals, not governments.” (full context)
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...aloud why some “reforms” can’t be made—the Council could make positive change happen so easily. Xan tells Theo that he is asking too much, and that Theo desires the “ends” that... (full context)
Chapter 13
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Theo goes back out to the car, where Hedges is waiting for him. Xan is “suddenly” at Theo’s side, though, and instructs Hedges to drive to a nearby statue... (full context)
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As they enter the park, Xan tells Theo that it was “unwise” of him to come before the Council—“there’s a limit,”... (full context)
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Theo asks Xan why he would possibly want the job of Warden; Xan replies that he wanted it... (full context)
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Xan asks Theo who he’s been speaking to about all of the grievances he brought before... (full context)
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Theo asks Xan to stop the compulsory testing of sperm and to shut down the pornography centers, but... (full context)
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The two arrive at the statue, where Hedges is waiting. Xan tells Theo to “tell [his] friends, whoever they are, to be sensible [and] prudent.” He... (full context)
Chapter 14
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Julian arrives and, without even greeting Theo, asks if he’s met with Xan yet. Theo explains that he saw the Council, then spoke with Xan alone, but has... (full context)
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Theo worries that, if Julian is caught, Xan will take action against her. He worries, too, that he has misjudged his “intelligent, charming”... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...right these wrongs. However, no one is prepared to stand up against the “evils” of Xan’s regime because there is no hope for a future. Frustrated and “drain[ed] of his sympathy”... (full context)
Chapter 17
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Theo tells the officers that, since he is Xan’s cousin, any information he acquires regarding a potential threat against Xan’s seat of power will... (full context)
Chapter 18
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...He reminds himself that he did warn Julian and the group, after his visit with Xan, that the Council would soon be onto them, and wonders how he might be able... (full context)
Chapter 20
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...and is afraid that he is being surveilled, though he has received no communication from Xan or the Council. Theo is afraid Julian has been captured by the police, and longs... (full context)
Chapter 21
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Theo tells Miriam that the Fishes have only lasted so long because Xan “wanted” them to—the presence of an “internal threat”, Theo says, is something that all tyrants... (full context)
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...Miriam approach the church in a village called Swinbrook, Theo remembers having visited it with Xan during their first year at Oxford. Miriam explains that this church is a “fall-back” meeting... (full context)
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Theo suggests that the Fishes contact Xan, and tell him of the pregnancy. Xan will, Theo knows, make sure that Julian is... (full context)
Chapter 22
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As Theo and the Fishes leave the church, Theo considers getting away, calling Xan, and “putting an end” to the “frail” group’s twisted “adventure.” But realizing that he has... (full context)
Chapter 23
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...the first child born in over twenty years, inevitably takes the power to rule from Xan. Theo points out that Rolf will just be replacing one dictator with another one. Theo... (full context)
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Theo restrains himself from lashing out and telling Rolf that once Xan sees Rolf as a threat, the government will extract his sperm to get what they... (full context)
Chapter 25
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...upbringing, but says he has since rejected religion and believes that the Warden of England (Xan) is the only devil. (full context)
Chapter 29
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...not to—she betrayed Rolf herself. Theo then decides that Rolf will likely go straight to Xan to deliver the news of Julian’s pregnancy in person. Theo is momentarily “physically weakened” by... (full context)
Chapter 30
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...where the three of them should go, and how they might be able to outrun Xan and his forces. Theo fantasizes about finding a deserted cottage near a spring, where he,... (full context)
Chapter 31
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...labor is a false alarm, and that the three of them will have to outrun Xan for days or weeks more. By morning, Julian’s contractions have resumed. (full context)
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...switches off the radio, unable to bear his guilt. Miriam deduces that Rolf has reached Xan, but states that their group’s “one comfort” is that he has no way of knowing... (full context)
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...they head for the woodshed. They hear a helicopter overhead, and Theo realizes that once Xan knew about the stolen car, he could have easily determined a searchable radius and begun... (full context)
Chapter 32
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...It is larger than Theo remembered it, but less private, and Theo worries that if Xan comes looking for them in Wychwood they will be found quickly. Theo and Miriam decide... (full context)
Chapter 33
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...He doesn’t want to leave Julian—he wants to be with her and the child when Xan inevitably arrives—but Julian insists. (full context)
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Theo knows that Xan and the police are nearby, and that more than likely they are watching him. He... (full context)
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...and the two sit in silence until Julian says she’s heard something. She thinks that Xan has arrived. (full context)
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Theo places Jasper’s last remaining bullet into the revolver and exits the shed. Xan is standing outside, alone. Theo can see that he is wearing a holster beneath his... (full context)
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Theo accuses Xan of murdering every member of The Five Fishes, and Xan admits to it. He tells... (full context)
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Xan implores Theo to remember their happy times at Woolcombe, and tells Theo that he has... (full context)
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Xan reaches for his gun and fires at Theo, but misses. Theo fires and shoots Xan... (full context)
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Julian is grateful to see Theo alive. The two embrace, and Theo tells her that Xan is dead and the Council has arrived. He asks if she will show the child... (full context)
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Theo invites the Council members in and orders the Grenadiers to take Xan’s body away. Once inside, Harriet and Felicia approach Julian and the child. Harriet reaches out... (full context)
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...protection.” He wonders if he needs to wear the ring. He realizes that all of Xan’s “power [is] within his grasp” with or without it. He believes that he must take... (full context)