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When young Clarissa ("Clary") Fray sees three teenagers seemingly commit murder in a nightclub, she is immediately intrigued by them and their strange mannerisms - such as their talk about demons and Downworlders. She later shrugs it off, preferring to live life normally with her [[OverprotectiveDad overprotective mother]] Jocelyn and her {{Geek}} best friend Simon.

That is, until Clary meets Jace again, and she goes home to discover that her apartment's been trashed and her mother's gone missing.

When she unknowingly kills the demon that trashed her apartment, Jace brings Clary back to the Institute and she meets the other two teenagers at the nightclub - Isabelle and Alec Lightwood, both beautiful and dangerous. Their tutor Hodge Starkweather explains their world to her - that yes, mythical creatures such as vampires and werewolves do exist, known to them as Downworlders, and that Shadowhunters are a special "breed" of people that act like supernatural detectives, making sure that the {{Muggles}} of the world are safe and never find out about the demons that inhabit several dimensions.

But things aren't over for Clary just yet. There's a war on the horizon - the Shadowhunters against massive demon forces conjured by the BigBad of the series, Valentine. But other than that, Clary's personal life is not without its own drama - how will she cure her mother? What about her relationship with Simon, which is slowly getting more and more complicated? And what is she to do about the beautiful and elusive Jace, who seems ''very'' attracted to her?

This (former) urban fantasy trilogy by Creator/CassandraClare (otherwise known as [[Fanfic/TheDracoTrilogy Cassandra]] [[Fanfic/TheVerySecretDiaries Claire]]) consists of ''City of Bones'', ''City of Ashes'', and ''City of Glass''. [[TrilogyCreep The fourth book]], ''City of Fallen Angels'', was released April 2011, and the fifth, ''City of Lost Souls'', was released May 2012. [[TrilogyCreep The sixth and final book]], ''City of Heavenly Fire'', was released May 2014. Clare has also published a completed prequel trilogy, ''[[Literature/InfernalDevices The Infernal Devices]]'', with these books keeping up the [[IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming Idiosyncratic Naming]] by being entitled ''Clockwork Angel'', ''Clockwork Prince'', and ''Clockwork Princess''. A sequel series, ''The Dark Artifices'', set five years after the events of ''The Mortal Instruments'', is also planned. A spin-off about Simon Lewis, entitled ''Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy'' is in the works as well

A [[FilmOfTheBook film version]] was released August 2013, with Creator/LilyCollins and JamieCampbellBower having been cast as Clary and Jace; the sequel is scheduled to start filming in 2014.

This series has a [[Characters/MortalInstruments character sheet]]. Please put all character-related tropes there.

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!!Provides examples of:

* AdaptationInducedPlothole: In the book Simon was abducted by vampires because he'd been turned into a rat, and they mistook him for one of them. In the movie, they took him as a hostage because they wanted the Mortal Cup. The movie failed to give us any possible use Vampires could have for the Cup.
* AdultsAreUseless: Every single higher-up is at a Clave meeting. ''All of them.'' While Jace's group of inexperienced youths are pursuing the Mortal Instruments, the maniacal Valentine, and attempting to stop TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt. Anyone who isn't is either insane with power, revenge, or a spy.
** Subverted with Magnus Bane. Physically he looks to be about nineteen, slightly older than the protagonists. But he is actually centuries old and thus technically more of an "adult" than even the oldest Shadowhunters. He is also incredibly useful.
* TheAgeless: Warlocks [[ImmortalityBeginsAtTwenty cease to age upon reaching maturity]] and vampires do not age at all once they have been changed, meaning that [[NotGrowingUpSucks child vampires will never reach adulthood]].
* AllMythsAreTrue: Lampshaded explicitly several times.
* AlternateUniverse: [[spoiler: Edom is actually a parallel Earth, that even had its own Alicante and Shadowhunters, but which was laid waste to by the demons and is now part of the territory held by Asmodeus and Lilith, and basically rented out to Sebastian]].
* AlternativeForeignThemeSong: SCANDAL's [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIPWF1ZVuDg "Rainy"]] is the theme song for the Japanese release of the ''City of Bones'' film
* AltumVidetur: Gratuitous Latin is in widespread usage here. Partly justified in that Idris is located in Western Europe and has been around since the Middle Ages, when Latin was still the common language of the educated class in that region. Sometimes abused by Shadowhunters as part of their [[SmartPeopleKnowLatin smug routine]]. OminousLatinChanting is also popular.
* AmbiguousDisorder: Ty from CoHF. Or, Not So Ambiguous. He is compared to Sherlock Holmes frequently. Amusingly, he is described as having "curly black hair" "gray eyes the color of iron" and cupid's bow lips - remind you of [[BenedictCumberbatch a certain someone?]]
* AncestralWeapon: Clary is given her mother's stele in the second book. [[spoiler: Subverted since she loses it.]]
** In City of Heavenly Fire, Clary gets one of two swords her father commissioned that was specifically meant to be an Ancestral weapon. Sebastion/Jonathon already has the other. Emma's Cortana also counts
* {{Animorphism}}: Simon is turned into a rat in the first book, and Magnus can turn into a cat.
* AnguishedDeclarationOfLove: Clary gets one from Simon and another from Jace, while [[spoiler:Jocelyn gets one from Luke in the third book]]. Magnus's is more of an Irritated Declaration Of Love, when [[spoiler:Alec demands to know why he hasn't called him back]], resulting in this exchange:
-->Magnus: You're an idiot.
-->[[spoiler:Alec]]: Is ''that'' why you didn't call me? Because I'm an idiot?
-->Magnus: No. I didn't call you because I'm tired of you only wanting me around when you need something. [[AllLoveIsUnrequited I'm tired of watching you be in love with someone else]]- someone, incidentally, [[IncompatibleOrientation who will never love you back]]. Not the way I do.
-->[[spoiler:Alec]]: You ''love'' me?
-->Magnus: You stupid [[spoiler:{{Nephilim}}]]. Why else am I here? Why else would I have spent the past few weeks patching up all your moronic friends everytime they got hurt? And getting you out of every ridiculous situation you found yourself in? Not to mention helping you win a battle against Valentine. And all completely free of charge!
-->[[spoiler:Alec]]: I hadn't looked at it that way.
-->Magnus: Of course not. You never looked at it in any way. I'm seven hundred years old, [[spoiler:Alexander]]. I know when something isn't going to work. You won't even admit I exist to your parents.
** Magnus also gives one to Alec one book earlier though the love part is only implied
* AppliedPhlebotinum: The runes.
** Though there is some stuff that runes can't do.
* AsLongAsItSoundsForeign: Raphael, being Mexican, tends to interject phrases in Spanish when he speaks. In ''City of Ashes'', he tells Clary that Simon "no es muerto," which is incorrect; it should be "no ''está'' muerto." It seems like a classic Website/{{Google}} Translate error rather than it being intentional.
* AuthorAvatar: It's probably not a coincidence that the heroine is named Clary while the author's name is Cassandra ''Clare'', which would [[BrotherSisterIncest result in some interesting implications if Cassandra Clare has a brother]]. (It is worth noting, however, that Cassandra Clare is just a pen name - the author's real name is Judith Rumelt.)
** Clare has stated when asked by a fan "What kind of a name is Clary?" that she was named after a friend, who's full name is Clarissa, much like the Clary in the books. The only real similarities seem to be red hair(though Cassie also states that she imagined Clary's a much darker shade) and the first four letters of their names.
* BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy: In the film, Johann Sebastian Bach is stated to have been a Shadowhunter and his music was designed to harm demons.
* BattleCouple: [[spoiler: When Alec and Magnus go into the final battle as partners]]
** Also Luke and [[spoiler: Clary's Mother]].
** Also Maryse and Robert Lightwood, though not explicitly given screen time as such.
* TheBeautifulElite: All the Nephilim are somehow good-looking (with the possible exception of Hodge and [[spoiler: The REAL Sebastian Verlac]]). The vampires, too.
* BeautyIsNeverTarnished: Alec and Jace are filthy after fighting a demon in a subway tunnel, but Isabelle is spotless.
-->Isabelle: I'm pure at heart. It repels the dirt.
* {{Beta Couple}}: Alec and Magnus; Luke and [[spoiler: Jocelyn]]. [[spoiler: Simon and Isabelle]] at the end of the third book and during the fourth.
* BigApplesauce: The first two books, as well as the fourth. The third book is set in Idris, but the trope is still in play, as the representatives of the faeries, vampires, warlocks and werewolves that come to Idris (which is located between France and Germany) are all from New York City. The prequel trilogy is set in VictorianLondon.
* BigBrotherInstinct: Alec takes his job as the oldest Lightwood sibling very seriously. Jace too, despite not being their real brother.
* BigDamnHeroes: In ''City of Glass'' Jace saves Clary from being killed by the big bad. [[spoiler: The big bad then proceeds to kill Jace seconds after he gives his WorldOfCardboardSpeech]].
* BlackAndGreyMorality: The story kind of trips over this. Valentine is supposedly evil because [[spoiler: he hates all Downworlders and wants to kill them all]], but when you see how the Shadowhunters treat mundanes and Downworlders, you start to wonder how they got to be the designated heroes.
* BlueCollarWarlock: Magnus Bane, who lives in a warehouse loft and generally behaves like a New York hipster. This is apparently not unusual for warlocks in general. One is even shown to work in a hospital as a nurse.
* {{Brainwashed}}: [[spoiler: Jonathan]] does this to [[spoiler: Jace]] in ''City of Lost Souls''.
* BreakTheHaughty: Gets a ''glorious'' example in ''City Of Ashes'', when the Inquisitor learns that her plan to trade Jace to Valentine for the Sword and Cup won't work. It causes her to freak out and have a short BSOD before Maryse snaps her out of it.
* BrotherSisterIncest: In ''City of Bones'' [[spoiler: a fortune teller tells Jace that he will "Love the wrong person". He falls in love with Clary, who turns out to be his sister.]]
** [[spoiler: Subverted. They end up not related.]] Jace [[spoiler: is the son of his supposed Father's second second-in-command.]] And Clary [[spoiler: ends up with Jace, though only after meeting and kissing a boy she finds out is her REAL brother. Oops.]]
** In ''City Of Lost Souls'' [[spoiler:Sebastian/Jonathan is shown to actually want Clary, backing her up against a wall and forcefully kissing her, while going on about how they can be evil and rule the world together.]]
* ButNotTooForeign: Every character of a different ethnicity who appears in the series always turns out to be biracial, (usually half Caucasian). Magnus is half Dutch half Indonesian, Aline is half Japanese half Caucasian, Maia is half black and half Caucasian.
* CallingTheOldManOut: [[spoiler: A difficult feat for Jace, even after years of having been abandoned by Valentine.]]
** For the entire duration of Jocelyn's kidnapping and subsequent coma, Clary is completely devoted to bringing her back. When Jocelyn finally is cured and returned, the very first thing Clary does is tear into her for depriving Clary of her Sight and not preparing her for the Shadowhunters' world.
* CanNotTellALie: The fairies. This should not be mistaken to mean that they are always honest.
* CaptainObviousReveal: The series is rather infamous for these, due to its ''very'' frequent use of {{Foreshadowing}}. The most hated examples were that [[spoiler: Valentine was Clary's father]] and [[spoiler: Clary and Jace weren't siblings]].
* CastingGag: In the film, all of the Shadow Hunters have British accents. Clary who is the daughter of one is also the daughter [[PhilCollins a Brit]]
* CelestialParagonsAndArchangels: Raziel, who created the Shadowhunters. Also, [[ArchangelMichael Michael]], [[ArchangelGabriel Gabriel]] and many others are mentioned but do not appear. Raziel explicitly states that {{God}} exists, but what degree of direct interest He takes in earthly affairs is ambiguous.
* ChekhovsGun: In the first book, [[spoiler: Madame Dorothea's tarot cards: the Ace of Cups was the Mortal Cup.]]
** Also, the lake that Clary and Luke fall into during ''City of Glass'' turns out to be [[spoiler: the Mortal Glass.]]
* ChekhovsSkill: Clary's ability to draw - this helps her [[spoiler: create Runes of her own.]]
* CodeOfHonour: The Shadowhunters' Law, which provides a moral framework for what they do, but which is often very restrictive. Both the [[NeutralGood heroes]] and [[NeutralEvil villains]] have a distinct tendency to try to circumvent it, even while accepting it in principle.
* CombatStilettos: Isabelle wears heels constantly and fights in them when she needs to. She has even been known to use them as weapons, slashing and impaling targets with her kicks.
* ComicallyMissingthePoint: More than once during the Anguished Declaration of Love as seen above, where[[spoiler: Alec Lightwood]] seems more concerned with the fact that [[spoiler: Magnus didn't return his calls and lied about his age than the fact the city is under attack and Magnus is explaining all the pain Alec's closeted-ness and his love is causing him.]] Leading us to this little gem where they BOTH end up missing the point of their conversation:
-->"You told me you were three hundred! You're seven hundred years old?"
-->"Well, eight hundred, but I don't look it."
* ComingOutStory: [[spoiler: Alec is outed quite spectacularly towards the end of the third book.]]
** Luke gets Simon a pamphlet called 'How To Come Out to Your Parents' when he becomes a vampire and tells him to adapt it to suit the situation. Neither Simon nor Clary is amused.
* ContemptibleCover: The first book, as seen on the page picture. Jace doesn't [[ShirtlessScene go shirtless]] at all in the first book, and hardly ever throughout the whole series. A more accurate cover artwork would probably [[http://www.impawards.com/2013/posters/mortal_instruments_city_of_bones.jpg look something like this, the teaser poster for the film adaptation..]]
* DatingWhatDaddyHates: All over the place. Isabelle dates anybody but other Shadowhunters. Alec winds up in a gay relationship with a warlock. Jocelyn isn't wild about her daughter dating the boy [[spoiler:that Valentine raised]]. Jocelyn and Luke's relationship has caused them no end of grief over the years. Valentine forced Stephan Herondale to divorce Amatis simply because she was Luke's sister. Aline and Helen's lesbian relationship is controversial for Shadowhunters. Somewhat invoked and somewhat subverted when Maia and Simon date: A werewolf and a [[spoiler:vampire]] dating is controversial but their mutual surrogate father figure, Luke, doesn't care and thinks highly of both of them. Worth noting that while these relationships are all said to be taboo, actual opposition or fallout is very low-key if it's seen at all.
* DemonLordsAndArchDevils: [[{{Satan}} Lucifer]], Azazel, Samael, Asmodeus, {{Lilith}} and many others. At least some are [[FallenAngel fallen angels]].
* DemonSlaying: The Shadowhunters' whole schtick.
* DevilInPlainSight: Some demons, [[spoiler: Sebastian]]
* DyingMomentOfAwesome: [[spoiler: Simon]], dear God. [[spoiler: He can't pray because he's a vamp]], so he instead goes out saying simply [[spoiler: "Clary."]][[UnexplainedRecovery He gets better.]]
* EtTuBrute: [[spoiler: Sebastian to Clary, although to be fair he was TheMole all along and she didn't even know they were related.]]
* {{Epigraph}}: ''City of Bones'' begins with quotes from ''Theatre/JuliusCaesar'' and ''Paradise Lost''
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: Valentine really does love Jace, even though [[spoiler: he's not his real son.]]
* EverybodysDeadDave: Isabelle, Alec, and Clary do this in ''City of Ashes'' when they realize that all the silent brothers are dead.
* EverybodyLives: For the most part. There's an occasional death, but it's almost always a villain, and if not, it's never a major character.
** Though it's implied that at least one major character will die by the sixth book.
* EverythingsBetterWithSparkles: Magnus is ''quite'' fond of them, and his magic itself does sparkle.
* EvilCounterpartRace: [[spoiler: The "Endarkened" Shadowhunters that Sebastian Morgenstern creates using the Infernal Cup and Lilith's blood. They are stronger and faster than regular Shadowhunters, but cannot use their Runes or angelically aligned weapons. They are given demonic equivalents]].
* EvilPlan: Driving the plot in every book. In the first three it is Valentine's. In the fourth it is [[spoiler: Lilith's]] and the fifth and sixth center on [[spoiler: Sebastian's]].
* {{Expy}}: Most of the characters are expies of Literature/HarryPotter characters [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation as]] [[DivergentCharacterEvolution inter]][[{{Jossed}} preted]] by Creator/CassandraClaire's old fanfic The Fanfic/DracoTrilogy:
** Clary Fray is Ginny Weasley.
** Jace Wayland is Draco Malfoy.
** Simon Lewis is a CompositeCharacter of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Seamus Finnigan.
*** In universe he starts to take on many aspects of the biblical Caine thanks to Clary inscribing His mark onto him.
** Isabel Lightwood is Blaise Zabini.
** Alec Lightwood is Harry Potter.
** Valentine Morgenstern is a CompositeCharacter of Lord Voldemort and Lucius Malfoy.
** Luke Garroway is Sirius Black.
** Jocelyn Fray is Narcissa Malfoy.
** Hodge Starkweather is Peter Pettigrew.
** Sebastian is [[spoiler:Tom Riddle]]
** In Uinverse Brother Zachariah is a quite obvious expy of Brother Jeremiah, although he's shown to be a bit more human. [[spoiler:[[Literature/InfernalDevices With good reason.]]]]
* ExtraStrengthMasquerade: The Shadow World is generally invisible to [[{{Muggles}} Mundanes]]. Many Downworlders strut around fairly openly, relying on humanity's natural WeirdnessCensor to cause people to not see them for what they really are. The Shadowhunters, being almost human, put a modest amount of magical effort into rendering themselves unnoticeable in everyday society. Also, their ''country'' [[HiddenElfVillage apparently doesn't exist]].
* TheFairFolk: Fairies are rarely trustworthy. Although they cannot lie, they are masters of evasion. They also have a definite sadistic streak and will ally with good or evil depending on where they think their interests are best served.
* FantasticRacism: Nobody gives mundanes any respect. [[spoiler: One of the more blatant examples was when Simon takes down the Greater Demon in ''City of Bones''. An Amazon.com review notes that the Shadowhunters react in a manner that "suggests Simon's mundane status was a crippling retardation he managed to overcome; apparently mundanes are incapable of dexterity, motor skills, or strategy?"]] Who was making weapons ''before'' the Nephilim were created, again?
** Not just mundanes, but Shadowhunters in general tend to look down on Downworlders too, and the vampires and werewolves are constantly at each others necks, and the Faeries are equal-opportunity misanthropes.
** The elitism of the Shadowhunters is often {{Lampshaded}} by outsiders, notably Clary and Simon, as well as Downworlders.
** Taken UpToEleven in City of Heavenly Fire where [[spoiler: Helen and Mark Blackthorn are considered tainted by their half Faerie status despite the former having fought for the Shadowhunters and the latter having actually leaked vital intelligence to the Shadowhunters. It's even sold by the Shadowhunters as saving the family from the future pain of being betrayed despite both clearly caring for their family]]
* FantasyKitchenSink: Warlocks, werewolves, vampires, faeries, demons, angels, and Nephilim are the main fantasy creatures; however, many others are mentioned in passing. In fact, in ''City of Bones'' Jace tells Clary that "all the stories are true."
** Except for mummies. No one believes in mummies.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: [[spoiler:The Lightwoods have a history of marital troubles. Isabelle is noted as wishing she had her parents' blue eyes instead of her own dark ones. Blue eyes are a recessive genetic trait, it's impossible for two blue-eyed parents to have a child that's not blue-eyed.]]
** [[spoiler:In City of Bones, Simon makes a joke about Jewish Vampires. That's exactly what he ends up becoming]]
* ForgottenPhlebotinum: The Alliance Rune. After City of Glass it's never used again, even when Shadowhunters and Downworlders are going into battle ''right next to each other''.
* FunctionalMagic: Primarily Inherent Gift, as one of the defining attributes of being "human" is the inability to use magic and thus free access to magic is generally limited to Downworlders and Shadowhunters. Warlocks (who are half-demon) are the primary practitioners of magic, although the Shadowhunters have their Runes and the Fairies possess strange powers.
* FurAgainstFang: The vampires and werewolves do not get on well; this is because the two demon species which originally infected humans, giving rise to the vampires and werewolves, were rivaling species who hated one another.
* GenreSavvy: In ''City of Ashes'', [[spoiler:newly turned vampire]] Simon Lewis says the following line after Valentine's ship blows up.
-->'''Simon''': Never believe the bad guy is dead until you see a body. That just leads to unhappiness and surprise ambushes.
* GeometricMagic: Angelic Runes are a crucial part of the story, and the most potent weapon in the Shadowhunters' arsenal.
* AGoodNameForARockBand: ORGY IN HOBOKEN!
* GratuitousGreek: Interestingly averted despite the regular use of GratuitousLatin and the fact that Shadowhunters are usually educated in both Classical languages. While it is mentioned that some texts, such as the Book of the White, are written in Greek, nobody seems to drop any Greek phrases to anybody that would not be expected to already know the language anyway, even though they often do so with Latin.
* HalfHumanHybrid: Warlocks are the progeny of couplings between humans and demons. They are themselves generally infertile.
* HappilyAdopted: Jace, by the Lightwoods. Clary Lampshades this when Jace is angsting about his lack of a last name and she points out that he's always been Jace Lightwood.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Jace Wayland and Alec Lightwood. Alec's sexuality and initial attraction to Jace notwithstanding, the two share a "parabatai" bond which is explicitly stated as being a permanent bond of partnership even stronger than that of brothers.
* HiddenElfVillage: Idris and the Faerie Realm.
* HolyHandGrenade: The Heavenly Fire. Also the ''skeptron'' [[spoiler: developed by the Shadowhunters of the parallel Earth now known as Edom]].
* TheHunter: The Shadowhunters protect humanity from supernatural creatures. Subverted somewhat in that the Shadowhunters are themselves supernatural in nature.
* IdiotBall: At the end of City Of Glass, Clary decides to [[spoiler:wish Jace back to life. Which is great except she seems to have forgotten about all the other shadowhunters that died.]] Real considerate there Clary.
*** Though considering what happens [[spoiler: it causes Jonathan to come back to life and create an anti-nephilium group]], this might not be a bad thing
** Arguably, Simon's little incident with the vampires in City of Ashes counts.
* IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming: All of the books in the series are called "City of X". The titular ''City of Bones'' is the Silent City, while the titular ''City of Glass'' is Alicante.
* InfantImmortality: Subverted.
* InterspeciesRomance: Played straight with [[spoiler: Magnus and Alec]]. No [[CampGay pun]] [[StraightGay intended]]. Every warlock is the offspring of a human and a demon (though WordOfGod says that most of these cases are rape, not romance), in ''City of Ashes'' Isabelle is dating a faerie knight. The fey themselves are the offspring of demons and angels. Jocelyn and Luke [[spoiler: and Isabelle and Simon, as of City of Lost Souls]], are in the same vein as [[Literature/HarryPotter Tonks and Lupin]], with their lycanthropy and vampirism respectively being more like diseases than a genetic trait, though there are born werewolves in-universe. Helen and Mark Blackthorn are half-fey as well.
* InvisibleToNormals: Idris and the rest of the Shadow world.
* ITakeOffenseToThatLastOne: In the film adaptation of City of Bones, Simon confronts Clary about her decision to associate with Jace when Jace steps out of the room:
--> '''Simon:''' *whispering* Your mom is [[spoiler: ''gone'']], and you're hanging out with some dyed-blond-wanna-be-goth-wierdo?
--> ...
--> '''Jace:''' *re-entering room with a phone* You need to check this. Oh, and for the record, my hair is naturally blond.
* ItsAllAboutMe: So pervasive that listing all the characters this trope applies to would be natter.
* JesusTaboo: Judeo-Christian mythology and characters are extensively used in the series. Except for Jesus, who is never mentioned as a real character.
* LateArrivalSpoiler: Don't even get us started. Almost every single blurb in the series spoils at least one [[TheReveal reveal]] from the previous book.
* {{Lie Back and Think of England}} - Jace tells Clary to do this before they kiss in front the fairy court. More like "Close your eyes and think of England."
* LaserGuidedAmnesia: Every two years, Jocelyn brings Clary to the warlock Magnus to have him make Clary forget what she knows of the magical world.
* LikeBrotherAndSister: Simon and Clary come off as this at first, until Simon gains the status of UnluckyChildhoodFriend before moving rather briefly into VictoriousChildhoodFriend and then going back to JustFriends.
* LoveDodecahedron: Clary falls for Jace. [[MuggleBestFriend Long time best friend Simon]] has always loved Clary, but Clary [[ObliviousToLove doesn't find out until later]]. Alec has a crush on [[spoiler:[[HoYay Jace]]]], who doesn't realize it for quite a while. Simon has a crush on Isabelle, Alec's sister. She loathes him when they first meet but he [[JustFriends grows on her]]. By the end of the first book, Jace has fallen for Clary as well. [[spoiler:[[BrotherSisterIncest Oops]]]]. Later, [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent Maia]] is introduced. She likes Simon, and he likes her back. [[spoiler:[[FurAgainstFang But we can't let anything in this story be simple]]. [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Sorry Simon.]]]]. By now, [[CampGay Magnus Bane]] has been introduced. Guess who ends up with him? In ''City of Glass'', yet another player is introduced, Sebastian. Clary has a short fling with him. [[spoiler:[[BrotherSisterIncest Oops again]]]]. Only it turns out that [[spoiler:Jace and Clary ''aren't'' actually related. But in Sebastian aka Jonathan's case, it's for real. [[{{Squick}} And he knew it]]]]. And this is to say nothing of Jocelyn's love history, which is simpler ([[ObliviousToLove Lucian]] / [[BigBad Valentine]]), or other side love interests like Isabelle's fling with Meliorn or Maia's ex Jordan.
* LukeIAmYourFather: [[spoiler: Valentine is Clary and Jace's father]]
** Though ''City of Glass'' reveals that [[spoiler: Jace's father was actually Stephen Herondale. Valentine adopted him after his mother died, but [[SecretOtherFamily he kept him a secret from the ''real'' Jonathan, and vice versa.]]]] Cue the relieved sighs of shippers.
* MacGuffin: The titular Mortal Instruments: A cup, a sword, and a mirror
* MagicalSociety: The Shadowhunters most definitely, complete with their own [[HiddenElfVillage magically-concealed country]] located on the border of France and Germany. The Fair Folk likewise count for much the same reasons. Vampires and werewolves are a less organized variation, being organized into local clans and packs respectively, and they live within mundane cities. The warlocks are an aversion, being mostly free agents bound primarily by individual relationships.
* {{Magitek}}: The flying motorcycles the vampires ride, which are powered by "demon energies". Also, those who look closely will notice that Magnus Bane's television is not actually plugged in. The Shadowhunters have Magitek home conveniences in Idris.
* MagicVersusScience: The extensive wards that conceal and protect Idris also appear to interfere with technology. Hence the Shadowhunters do not use things like automobiles to get around within the country, even though those that live elsewhere are quite familiar with them. Witchlight is used to provide things like illumination that would normally be powered by electricity in other countries. Elaborate mechanical devices, possibly related to phonographs, are used to play music. There is no cellular coverage or internet access naturally, and the only working phone in the country was [[{{Magitek}} enchanted by a warlock]]. It is also noted that Runes interfere with the proper ignition of gunpowder, which is why Shadowhunters do not make use of firearms.
* MedievalEuropeanFantasy: Idris positively screams this, and thus ''City of Glass'' could be seen as fitting this genre, whereas the rest of the setting is UrbanFantasy, especially being focused mostly on [[BigApplesauce New York City]].
* {{Mind Rape}}: [[spoiler: Lilith to Jace in Book 4]]
* MixedAncestry: Technically anyone of note in this series. Shadowhunters are half-angel half-human, Warlocks are half-demon half-human, Faeries are half-angel half-demon, etc etc.
* MomentKiller: Every time Jace and Clary seem to be about to exchange a moment that could turn into a RelationshipUpgrade it is inevitably interrupted.
* MuggleAndMagicalLoveTriangle: Clary has Simon (muggle, at least for the first book and a half), and Jace (magical).
* {{Muggles}}: 'Mundanes' or the less polite 'mundies'
* MundaneUtility: Jace to Magnus: "Nearly unlimited supernatural power, and all you do is use it to watch reruns. What a waste."
* {{Noodle Incident}}: How exactly did Magnus get himself banned from Peru? [[note]]According to {{Word Of God}}, it has something to do with a [[InherentlyFunnyWords llama.]][[/note]]
* NaginatasAreFeminine: In ''City of Ashes'' Isabelle walks in with her trademark whip and a naginata. When Alec asks if the naginata is for him, she tells him to get his own weapon, promptly giving it to their mother.
* {{Nephilim}}: Descendants of angels that slay demons and look beautiful doing it.
* NotGoodWithRejection: Really, it gets to the point where should-be TrueCompanions are abandoning each other to vampires and demons for slights like "I can't believe you like her/him more than me!" and "It wasn't my fault!" Kind of sends the underlying message that this is all teens are capable of.
* NotListeningToMeAreYou: In the first book. [[CrowningMomentOfFunny Simon does this to Clary]], who's looking at a good-looking mystery man
* NotSoOmniscientCouncilOfBickering: The Clave more often than not.
* {{Official Couple}}: Jace and Clary
* OfficialCoupleOrdealSyndrome: To put it mildly. All the more notable considering that Jace and Clary have only known each other for ''months'' in-universe. [[spoiler: Alec and Magnus seem to have gotten ensnared in this as well, as have Isabelle and Simon. It all works out in the end, more or less]].
* OnlyInItForTheMoney: Magnus is, at least until [[spoiler:he falls in love with Alec]].
* OperationJealousy: Simon hangs around Isabelle to make Clary jealous when it seems like she's not interested in him.
* OrangeBlueContrast: The 2013 [[http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1227610624/tt1538403 movie poster]].
* OurAngelsAreDifferent: In many ways.
* OurVampiresAreDifferent: They're able to pass for normal humans.
* PowerGlows: The seraph blades, the angels and Magnus' hands all do this.
* PowerTrio: Jace, Alec and Isabelle start out the series as this. However, the group dynamic changes when Clary and Simon come along, and still further when [[spoiler: Jace and Clary become an OfficialCouple, as do Alec and Magnus Bane]] resulting in a more complex set of relationships.
* PurpleProse: Clare's writing is on the borderline of this. She seems to be [[TropesAreTools completely aware of this]], and occasionally uses it for comic effect or to [[GoshDarnitToHeck skirt around curse words]]. Prime example:
-->"Jace suggested that the cast of GilligansIsland could go do [[GoshDarnitToHeck something anatomically unlikely]] with themselves."
* TheReveal: [[spoiler: Jace is Clary's brother, and Valentine is their father]]
** And [[spoiler: Jace is not Clary's brother: Sebastian is. It's complicated.]]
* SecretOtherFamily: [[spoiler: Jace was unaware of Sebastian's existence, which led him to believe that he was Valentine's real son.]] [[spoiler: Also Clary's father and brother.]]
* ShapeShifter: Eidolon demons, Magnus
* SharedUniverse: As well as the InfernalDevices prequel series, this seems to be set in the same universe as the ModernTalesOfFaerie by HollyBlack. Val and Luis from Valiant are the homeless kids Clary sees in the first book and Simon listens to Stepping Razor, Ellen's band from Tithe.
** Ironside references the Mortal Cup
* ShouldntWeBeInSchoolRightNow
* ShoutOut:
** The Herondales are a Shadowhunter family with a birthmark of a star. [[spoiler: Jace's]] is on the back of his shoulder. Now, [[Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure where have I heard of that before?]]
** Val and Luis from Holly Black's [[Literature/ModernTalesOfFaerie Valiant]] are seen at one point.
** A badge on Clary's bag says 'Still Not King', a reference to Clare's famous ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'' fanfic ''FanFic/TheVerySecretDiaries.''
*** A "Still Not King" pin is also seen in Ruth's bag in ''Valiant'' in a reverse shout-out (shout-back?)
*** The "Still Not King" badge could also be a Shout-Out to Roy Mustang of Manga/FullmetalAlchemist.
** Best of all, two extra characters have a debate on which fictional gay wizard would win in a fair fight, [[Literature/HarryPotter Dumbledore]], or Magnus.
** A reference to ''Manga/{{Hellsing}}'' is made when Clary thinks about how a church looks like "one of her favorite anime scenes involving a vampire priest".
** Max is frequently seen reading ''Manga/{{Naruto}}''.
*** In City of Glass, Max is also seen reading Angel Sanctuary, a manga about a reincarnated angel who is in a romantic relationship with his sister. It has a case of Does This Remind You of Anything as well as bringing to question why a nine year old with fairly strict parents would be reading it. But then again, his parents have quite a lot of marital issues. So his reading choices likely passed largely unnoticed. Besides, they probably thought that that something called AngelSanctuary would be clean and proper.
** Happens often with animanga, given that Simon is characterized as a typical {{Geek}}. At one point Clary asks him if he wants to spend the evening with her watching ''Manga/TriGun''.
** Simon is described in the fourth book as wearing [[Webcomic/QuestionableContent Jeph Jacques's "Clearly I Have Made Some Bad Decisions" shirt]], and Cassandra Clare also mentions his [[ShowWithinAShow in-universe series "Magical Love Gentlemen"]].
** Church (the Persian cat from the New York Institute) shares his name with [[PetSematary another famous cat]].
* ShutUpHannibal: In the third book, Valentine avoids this by using a magic rune to keep a character quiet ''so he can monologue without interruption''. The character eventually gives a rebuttal by writing in the dirt.
* SpellBook: The Gray Book is dedicated to the [[GeometricMagic Angelic Runes]] used by Shadowhunters, and the Book of the White with spells [[TheNecromancer affecting life and death]] among other things. Shadowhunters and Warlocks are prone to collecting spell books, the former to keep them under lock and key, the latter in order to use them.
* {{Straight Gay}}: [[spoiler: Alec]]. Generally the only way gays could be without being expelled from the Clave. Interestingly, homosexuality is not in fact prohibited by the Law. Shadowhunters just tend to look down on it, possibly as a reflection of their slightly archaic culture.
* SummoningArtifact: The titular Mortal Instruments.
* SummoningRitual: The [[SummoningArtifact Mortal Instruments]] are required to summon the angel Raziel, a ritual that can only be done once every millennium. Once they have all three, Raziel will come to them and will grant any single wish the summoner wants. Or rather, he won't smite them the moment he appears and might consider granting that single wish. Well...
* SupernaturalElite: The Shadowhunters tend to see themselves as this and act accordingly. The Downworlders are not especially happy about it, but lack the necessary unity to do much about it.
* SwordOfPlotAdvancement: Much of the action in the first three novels involves locating and recovering the titular Mortal Instruments, one of which is literally a sword, "Maellartach". Some other items, like the Book of the White, are also the subject of quests. Then in ''City of Lost Souls'' it is again literally a sword, in this case [[spoiler: "Glorious", the sword of the ArchangelMichael]].
* TangledFamilyTree: All over the place.
** Clary is raised by her mother Jocelyn, and thinks of her mother's devoted, if platonic, boyfriend Luke [[spoiler: who is really a Shadowhunter named Lucian Graymark that was turned into a werewolf]] as her stepfather. [[spoiler: He later gets a RelationshipUpgrade with Jocelyn]]. She believes her biological father was a soldier killed in action, but he is really [[spoiler: the BigBad Valentine Morgenstern]].
** Jace is [[spoiler: supposedly the son of Michael Wayland. But then it turns out that Michael was murdered and the man who supposedly fathered him was really Valentine Morgenstern, leading to a BrotherSisterIncest problem with Clary. It later turns out that his actual biological father was Valentine's right-hand man Stephen Herondale]]. Needless to say, Jace goes through a great many surname changes, although he often uses Lightwood after his adoptive parents and siblings. [[spoiler: Worth noting that Stephen had previously been married to Luke's sister]]
** [[spoiler: Valentine did in fact have an actual son with Jocelyn, Jonathan, whom he raised in secret. Jonathan disguises himself as Sebastian Verlac, a cousin of the prominent Penhallow family. Later he magically coerces Jace into regarding him as a brother. Jonathan also has a BrotherSisterIncest vibe with Clary]].
* TeensAreShort: It is called out repeatedly that the main characters whose biological parents are still running around look very much like their parents, only shorter.
* ToBeLawfulOrGood: A common quandary for Shadowhunters. The [[NotSoOmniscientCouncilOfBickering Clave]] is often [[LawfulStupid rather clueless]], even about the actions and motives of its own members. As a result the heroes must often struggle with deciding whether to follow the Law, or do what is necessary and/or right.
* TokenMinority: Simon is [[NiceJewishBoy Jewish]], Maia is biracial, and Magnus is part Asian.
** TwoferTokenMinority: Magnus is also bisexual.
* TomboyAndGirlyGirl: Clary and Isabelle. Played with in that Clary starts out as TheChick and evolves into a {{Badass}} while Isabelle is a {{Badass}} ActionGirl.
* TooDumbToLive: Simon. Breaking into a hotel of murderous vampires that have expressed that they wouldn't mind having an excuse to turn you into hamburger meat isn't such a good idea. Especially if you go alone. And do it at night. Sure the [[spoiler: vampire blood was summoning him back to Raphael, and he would have given in and sought them out sooner or later,]] but if he had only asked Luke, he would have known to wait a few more days[[spoiler:, and the blood would have gone out of his system, as well as the compulsion it had on him to return to Raphael]].
* TrilogyCreep: First, there was the original trilogy (''City of Bones'', ''City of Ashes'', and ''City of Glass''). Then, it was announced that Clare was writing a steampunk prequel trilogy set in Victorian London (''The Clockwork Angel'', ''The Clockwork Prince'', and ''The Clockwork Princess''). Then, a fourth book centered around the Simon character of the first trilogy was revealed to be in the works (''City of Fallen Angels''). Then Clare decided to add two more books to the Mortal Instruments story (''City of Lost Souls'' and ''City of Heavenly Fire'') while also stating that this new trilogy of TMI books would no longer focus solely on Simon but rather on the entire cast. This series of somewhat obscure YA fantasy books literally tripled in size.
** It has far more than tripled now. In addition to the Mortal Instruments and the Infernal Devices, there are three new trilogies in the works; The Dark Artifices, The Last Hours and The Wicked Powers. Note that all of these (Infernal Devices included) are separate series within the same universe, and each trilogy (not including the double-trilogy of the Mortal Instruments) is written so that it can be read on its own.
* TwoGuysAndAGirl: Jace Wayland, Clary Fray and Simon Lewis.
* UnluckyChildhoodFriend: Simon is this for a time when it seems like Clary and Jace are a thing [[spoiler: until they find out they're siblings]] and then becomes a sort of example of a VictoriousChildhoodFriend for a while and then he trips over an IdiotBall... it doesn't work out and they go back to being JustFriends.
** Luke is an example as well, for Jocelyn [[spoiler: since, she was, you know, married to Valentine, but now they're set to be married.]]
* UrbanFantasy: Shadowhunters, warlocks, werewolves, vampires and fairies, all in modern day [[BigApplesauce New York City]].
* VampiresAreSexGods: Averted, as Jace makes clear to Simon:
-->'''Jace:''' There’s no such thing as vampire mojo.
* TheVerse: Clare is also publishing a prequel series. The first book was recently released.
** As of 2014, there are The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, The Dark Artifices (first book to be released soon), and then the secretive The Last Hours (a sequel to TID) and the even more secretive The Wicked Powers (a sequel to TDA), all taking place in the Shadowhunter world.
* ViralTransformation: Common from exposure to angelic or demonic influences and/or bodily fluids.
** The Shadowhunters received their special abilities from drinking the blood of the angel Raziel given to them in the Mortal Cup. New Shadowhunters can also be created this way, although the process is risky. [[spoiler: Jonathan Morgenstern arranged the creation of the Infernal Cup, tainted by the blood of Lilith, which can turn humans and Shadowhunters into [[EvilCounterpartRace Endarkened Shadowhunters]].]]
** Consumption of angel or demon blood generally, even in dried form, can result in changes to a person or their offspring. [[spoiler: Valentine, Jocelyn, Clary, Jace and especially Jonathan were all altered to some extent in this way due to Valentine's experimentation with the blood]].
** Vampires and werewolves are the descendants of two different species of demons. They can transmit their condition to humans, and even Shadowhunters, via bite.
* WeirdnessCensor: A standard attribute of [[{{Muggles}} mundanes]]. They simply do not possess the necessary perception to notice most supernatural phenomena, and supernatural beings can evade detection with little or no effort.
* WelcomedToTheMasquerade: It's brooding, experienced love interest Jace that first demonstrates Clary's Shadowhunter capabilities. Later, [[MrExposition Hodge Starkweather]] expounds on them.
* WellDoneSonGuy: Jace spent most of his life being this - until he found out who his father really was. And even then....
* WellIntentionedExtremist: [[spoiler: Valentine. Unfortunately, his plan to reform the Clave to protect against demonic threats involves raising a massive demon army and slaughtering them all.]]
* WhatTheHellHero: Luke calls Clary out (with good reason) at the beginning of the third book.
* WhereTheHellIsSpringfield: Idris.
* WhoYouGonnaCall: Shadowhunters
* WillTheyOrWontThey: Jace and Clary, to ridiculous levels. Nothing much ever seems to happen until they figure out[[spoiler: they aren't related.]]
* WingedHumanoid: Jace in Clary's dream and sketch
* WolfMan: [[spoiler: Luke]], Maia and her pack.
* WorldOfSnark: Granted, most of the protagonists are teenagers.
* WouldntHurtAChild: Subverted by Sebastian.
* YouKilledMyFather: Jace to Valentine [[spoiler: which is of course followed by a (false) LukeIAmYourFather]].
* YouKillItYouBoughtIt: How [[spoiler: Luke]] becomes the new werewolf pack leader.
** And how [[spoiler: Maureen]] becomes the leader of the vampire clan.
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