True, despite his warrior persona he does seem devoid of any noticeable passion or ambition and might be susceptible to becoming a clueless puppet when it comes to politics and internal affairs. Socially his demeanor is quite solitary and his personal communication skills leave much to be desired, which does raise the question as to how he’s able to relay orders and strategies to fellow soldiers, presuming that he’s even participated in an actual battlefield in the past.
Ideally he should have compensated for his weakness - translating his military attributes in the court to be shrewd and decisive but perhaps due to lacking a maternal figure and his father’s domineering attitude he is left emotionally stunted and as a result centers his entire existence towards combat and emulating his father’s image, the only purpose that may be driving him being to please Andus.
This doesn’t bode well for him when Andus inevitably dies and Marxus having no vision for who he wants to be, unless he does form a conviction of his own. Its possible this comes in the form of him continuing to emulate Andus by seeking the throne but not knowing what to do next once he gains it. More optimistically it might free him from his father’s control and seek a path that personally resonates with him.
Still we do know that in terms of swordsmanship Marxus is second only to Andus (I remember that list the author made: Javier (4), Clithus (3), Marxus (2), Andus (1) therefore he has the potential to one day reach or even surpass his father’s level and I do believe a great warrior possess more than just brawn but also a tactical mindset and an iron will. If Marxus is indeed special then he could have a latent greatness within him waiting to be realized - if properly assisted. More pessimistically he may just be a one-trick pony whose only good at fighting and an idiot at everything else.
If he doesn’t become king but a successful commander no doubt he would be popular and hailed as a hero in wartime, a faction would form vying for him to rule Darvis. Only in peace time when his skills are less needed would be he considered deficient for the throne. It could be that the concept of an ‘ideal king’ itself is relative to the kind of threat a realm faces and the kind of leadership it needs.
Technically there is peace with Lucarex with the marriage and in theory Princess Sophia holds more value than Melissa in halting a three hundred year war. But she is just one in a line of many previous such brides, all of whom failed in their purpose, hence there’s no reason to regard her as special.
Three centuries of tension, conflict and bloodshed guarantees a mutual enmity that would have been fundamentally ingrained into the populace’s accepted sense of norm. The Princess herself antagonized the Darvisian nobles during the wedding so isn’t helping with cementing the peace and may possibly encourage a faction against the Second Prince for being married to the enemy, while Melissa helps to win over a powerful noble faction.
Princess Sophia is unlikely to be adored by the commoners either, who probably regard her similarly to how the real life French revolutionaries disdained the foreign Marie Antoinette. Doesn’t help that she apparently knows magic and may be seen as a witch. Unlike Melissa she provides a more external stability whilst leaving internal affairs more precarious, so I suppose there’s an even trade off between them rather than the previous notion of the Princess’s inherent superiority over Duke Clarent’s daughter.
(Quite nice - Princess Sophia and Melissa are ice and fire, opposites in personality and specialty. Don’t know how Clithus and Kris can hope to compete…)
Its unclear whether a bad relationship with Princess Sophia will result in her death or resume the war but if the Second Prince is to be king then ideally she would need to prepare for the role of a future queen, if not for Darvis then for her own self-preservation.
The nobles hate her and her own antics are partially to blame for that. No doubt the commoners probably despise having a Lucrasian princess in the royal court. For Princess Sophia not to remain a liability (sole support of Lucarex and the exclusion of Darvisian nobles and commoners is not helpful as the Second Prince would be considered more closely allied with the enemy than his own nation) she needs to endear herself to some aspect of Darvis otherwise she (and by extension the second prince) will be hated by everyone who matters.
Easier said than done of course, she has no friends or allies outside of her bodyguard and her only trump card is her alleged magic, so far she seems set up to fail while Marxus has a wife the realm can support, therefore it would be safer for him to become king (because Andus just had to ruin Victoria’s plan to ensure his legitimate son gets the politically beneficial marriage, because that’s totally for the good of the realm) while the second prince keeps Lucrasian relations stable.
Should the Princess fail her purpose then its back to the norm - the war and martial Marxus dealing with the same conflict every king before him had to contend with.
Therefore can the Second Prince somehow become King and keep the peace with Lucarex and maintain support from the nobles who hate his wife? He would need both advantages but they’ve currently been split between him and Marxus and its not like he can go Team Heretic and commit polygamy.