Life is throwing a lot of curve balls for Van Fanel right about now. He was born with Atlantean blood, which gave him wings like an angel. Flying is cool, but Atlanteans aren't thought of very fondly. Then, his brother, Folken, disappears after failing to slay a dragon and take over the throne of Fanelia. Things happen so quickly for this young man who has endured so much, with many more obstacles ahead. While on his quest to slay a dragon and prove his right to be crowned King of Fanelia, he accidentally pulls this innocent girl from the Phantom Moon (Earth) back to his kingdom. Very shortly, his entire kingdom is burnt to the ground, and Van later discovers that Folken is behind it all. Also, the secret of his Atlantean blood is no longer a secret, now that Allen, Hitomi, and the rest of the gang know the secret of the boy with the wings of an Atlantean.
So what's so special about this kid, anyway? Well, Van's wings are a sign of his Atlantean heritage, as previously mentioned. "Atlantean" may be a loose translation from the original Japanese words. I suspect that the Atlanteans are more like the angelic beings that they appear to be. After all, what is Van's role in the storyline? Van represents the opposition that the evil Zaibach forces face. Van and Escaflowne are the factors that Dornkirk cannot compensate for in his vision for the perfect world. My interpretation of Van's nature is that he is destined to prevent Dornkirk from manipulating the destiny of so many others. His pure white wings only strengthen this argument. Folken, the traitorous brother, has gray wings because he is a fallen angel, one who has strayed from the side of good.
So what role does Hitomi play in this whole issue of fate vs. free will? Her unusual abilities to predict the future are similar to Dornkirk's desires to control the future. Hitomi's powers are necessary to balance the precognitive abilities that Dornkirk's technology has granted him.
The ideas in this article are only my opinion, so feel free to disagree. Feel free to write a response article if you wish. In any case, colors are important in the series. Did you notice that Escaflowne turned completely black a while back? Escaflowne is normally white, and this reflects Van's nature. I wonder why Escaflowne doesn't turn pink when Van's around Hitomi.