Arguably the most handsome of the Costello brothers, especially now that Benjamin is married, with black hair and dark green eyes, Phillip finds himself in the Society Pages for far too often, even before the disreputable courtship with Aidelle:
Once praised for his creative demeanour (it was thought that this promotes his lovely features), the press were on tiptoes wondering who he might marry and what qualities she would posses.
But Phillip would not be the protagonist if he easily obliged them. He is the archetypal bored-rich-boy, but with the addition of a caring heart worthy of considering others. He would be no fun if he had not been captivated by a feminine woman who is neither ditzy nor quiet. Phillip’s physical beauty is not his most important point, though it juxtaposes and contrasts the supposed lack of Aidelle’s beauty, turning the table on the idea of the handsome man going after the ‘ugly’ – innovative – woman.
Yet, as he must be, Phillip is not without flaws, and these stem from actually what it means to be a Costello, the self-supposed importance and inner arrogance. Throughout, there are hints of what might have occurred to make Rion despise Phillip; but, beneath even that, Phillip epitomises, not self-hate as Aidelle does, but self-doubt; he frequently says “If I had done this, it would have been better”. There are suggestions that Phillip is not, at times, being utterly straight with the readers and the other characters – and certainly not Aidelle. It is this that, ultimately, stands in the way of their relationship.
His past, too, is dubious: what has converted him to turn away from war? As the second youngest, by five years, he knows of the Millennium turn, but there is not enough pull from that to change him. It is suggested that he bears more of his mother’s genes than his father’s, but this would hardly convert him as much as Peter.
Phillip symbolises overcoming the darkness within all of us.