Ambadassador By Magic's Price, Vanyel has become much in demand as a diplomat, probably because of the massive respect engendered by his magical powers and battlefield heroics.
Abusive Family: Verbally abused and shunned by his father Withen. Coddled and embarrassingly treated by his mother Tressa. Physically abused by the arm-master Jervis, to the point that the man broke his arm when Vanyel outwitted him in a training exercise. Made to feel inferior and less than nothing by the family priest, who would then make regular reports to Withen about how worthless and foolish Vanyel was. And completely and utterly shunned by his own siblings and cousins because of his status as heir and because of his perceived superiority complex. And even the cousins who actually treated him like a person were too frightened to stand up for him. The only person who treated him decently was his older sister Lissa, but after she's shipped away he's left at home with nobody to defend him.
All Gays Are Promiscuous: Subverted; Vanyel could possibly count his number of lifetime lovers on one hand (no more than two hands) and is basically celibate by the time he reaches his thirties.
All Gays Are Pedophiles: Explicitly averted. People (at least Withen and anyone influenced by him) seem convinced that he's after underage and barely-legal males and view the amount of time he spends with them as suspicious. His detractors are wrong: he just has a soft spot for troubled youth (possibly due to his own miserable childhood and adolescence).
Badass Gay: He saves his country several times over, sometimes by diplomacy, sometimes with magic, and sometimes with sheer physical skill. In fact, this is the reason why homophobia isn't an issue in Valdemar as a whole: How do you condemn gays when your nation's greatest hero is openly homosexual?
Bi the Way: Considers the possibility for a while before dismissing it in Magic's Promise. May be slightly true considering the existence of his children, the twins being concieved by him precisely because both Starwind and Moondance were unable to take care of that part themselves.
Blessed with Suck: How he feels about his gifts in between getting them and being trained in them. He still sometimes feels this way, but his sense of duty keeps him from too much despair.
Honorary Uncle: Tries to get Stefen to consider him that early in Magic's Price, due to him being good friends with (and actually slightly younger than) his actual nephew. This is also his official status to Jisa, but it slips towards actual fatherly support due to both Randale and Shavri having other issues on their plate by the time she's six and also because, due to Randale's infertility, Vanyel is Jisa's biological father.
Ice Queen: During a large chunk of the first part of Magic's Pawn, with the appropriate metaphors and everything.
Lover and Beloved: He's twice Stefen's age, and for this reason among others tries very hard to stick strictly to a mentorship role for quite a while, only Stefen isn't having it. Van himself was a Beloved to Tylendel, which meant he depended on his lover for everything. Their closest associates quickly pointed out how unhealthy it was.
My God, What Have I Done?: He has this reaction after seeing the results of giving Tylendel Savil's spellbook, and again after killing semi-innocent people in a rage against their brutal associates.
Phrase Catcher: At the beginning of Magic's Promise, he is repeatedly told "You look like hell". Justified in that he does, having just gotten back from a year on the front lines filling in for five other Herald-Mages at once.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: He goes on a couple of these: first, after a magically-altered creature kills Savil, and second, after a group of thugs rapes and tortures him, both in Magic's Price.
Safety In Indifference: At the start of Magic's Pawn Vanyel finally decides to cut himself off from all emotion as a way of dealing with his emotionally abusive father exiling him to a strange city. This is reflected by his ice dream, and eventually leads to him opening up to Tylendel.
Secret Legacy: He is the ancestor of the Valdemaran royal line and a line of mages in Clan k'Treva.
Shrouded in Myth: To the later generations. The song Demonsbane (about the battle of Stony Tor) is a good example of his folk hero status. In it he takes on a nobleman backed by a wizard, demons, and thirteen armed men single-handed and wipes the floor with them just to make a point.
So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Savil thinks Van would be better off he were a little less pretty. He doesn't share this perception, although it's arguably validated when a group of thugs takes turns raping him because they think he's the next best thing to a woman.
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: Even though the stress of the job seems to be nearly killing him (and it's only a matter of time before an enemy does him in for real), he can't quit protecting Valdemar through his work as a herald.
What Beautiful Eyes: Silver ones, which he gets from his mother, along with the rest of his good looks.
My God, What Have I Done??: After narrowly adverting Vanyel's suicide attempt in Magic's Pawn, Savil grimly realizes that all of this could've been avoided had she realized Vanyel's deeply rooted problems as opposed to treating the boy like a nuisance, and she vows to treat him much better.
Resentful Guardian: How she treats Vanyel at first in Magic's Pawn. To Savil, she has more important things to do with her time than babysit and chaperone her "spoiled little nephew" and doesn't hide to Vanyel how much she hates having him around and how inconvenient his being there is. Unsurprisingly, when life takes a tragic turn for Vanyel, he's very reluctant to accept Savil's help.
Secret Keeper: Vanyel had to tell her about his children at the end of Magic's Promiseafter finding out that a spell that can kill anyone in a given bloodline with mage-potential had been set as a trap in the Lineas palace.
Cure Your Gays: He actually hires a (female) prostitute for his fifteen-year-old son in order to "cure" him. It doesn't work.
My God, What Have I Done?: Angrily arrives at Haven to give Savil a verbal beatdown for allowing Vanyel to carry on a relationship with another boy, but his attitude does a complete one-eighty upon seeing that Tylendel's suicide, the forcible awakening of his Mage abilities, and Vanyel's own suicide attempt had turned Vanyel into a broken, sickly mess.
Absurdly Youthful Father: He's thirteen or fourteen when he gets Melenna pregant with Medren. In addition, he had six children with his wife during the twelve-year Time Skip between the two first books, so his oldest true-born child may not be that much younger than Medren.
Settled for Gay: Offers that to Vanyel after admitting to her Hopeless Suitor status so his parents will get off his back. Vanyel refuses as he has met people who had done it and told him it was a bad idea.
Out of Focus: Once Vanyel and Stefen get together, he all but drops out of the story.
Shipper on Deck: For Vanyel and Stefen. He just forgot to mention to Vanyel, who's slightly paranoid about younger fanboys making advances to him despite Incompatible Orientation, that Stefen was shaych also before they had the opportunity to meet (while Stefen knew about Vanyel).
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He terrorizes Vanyel in the early parts of the first book, but proves to be a surprisingly decent guy in the subsequent novels.
The Mistress: Officially insofar as those outside of court and the circle are concerned for two reasons. An outside Marriage Alliance was both possible and potentially needed, and the prospect of being co-ruler terrified Shavri.
Hourglass Plot: He's a reincarnated Tylendel. In addition to now being the "weak but mentally stable" half of the lifebond, the end of Magic's Price has him follow Vanyel on a revenge quest, loose him soon after, and have to live most of his life without him by his side.
I Just Want to Be Badass: Thanks mainly to sheer determination, he manages to keep up with Vanyel on a mission and actually winds up saving it from disaster.
Lover and Beloved: With Vanyel. In regards to sex, though, this is flipped, as he has more experience than Vanyel, who's sometimes celibate for years at a time.
May-December Romance: With Vanyel. The age difference is such that he's a little younger than Medren (fathered by Vanyel's younger brother) and less than five years older than Brightstar, his twin sister and Jisa.