A listing of characters that appear in Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series. Beware of unmarked spoilers!Clare is also publishing a prequel series, The Infernal Devices. Check out that character sheet, too.
Clary's was perfectly content with living life with her overprotective mother and geeky best friend. But her normal life is turned upside down she starts seeing things other people can't. When she comes home one evening to find her apartment sacked, her mother missing, and a demon in the room, she is thrust into the world of the Shadowhunters. Which sucks, considering she was totally unprepared for it. And if that wasn't enough, she might be the only one who can stop the impending war.
Tropes that apply to Clary:
A-Cup Angst: Not as pronounced as some examples, but Clary feels insecure when she compares herself to the more traditionally beautiful, busty/curvy Isabelle.
Angel Unaware: Unintentional, as Valentine didn't know Jocelyn was pregnant when he experimented on her with angel's blood.
Bio-Augmentation: Valentine unknowingly added angel's blood to her before she was born.
Bratty Teenage Daughter: Clary is often almost insanely self-absorbed. Even though she is unconcerned about things like popularity, she can be rather spectacularly heedless of other people's feelings, tends to jump into dangerous situations without thinking about it and will do whatever she wants even if it literally results in endangering the entire world. Luke calls her out on it one time, when she tries to blindly Portal to Idris and she is shocked because he has never chastised her before.
Brother-Sister Incest: Jace and Clary, when it is revealed that they were both Valentine and Jocelyn's children.
Subverted when it turns out that they aren't even related.
Played straight with Sebastian Verlac/Jonathan.
Simon: "So, Jace isn't your brother, but you HAVE kissed your brother."
Cainand Abel: With Sebastian, her estranged demonic brother.
Calling the Old Man Out: 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.
Cartwright Curse: The trope doesn't apply to her, although when she meets Sebastian/ Jonathan for the first time she describes him as looking like a character from her manga who was this.
Idiot Ball: At the end of City Of Glass, Clary decides to 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.
She usually grabs the Idiot Ball and runs with it whenever Jace is involved, like when possessed!Jace is able to trick her into mind-control just by batting his eyelashes at her and playing on her hormones.
Literal-Minded: Jace once told Clary "If there were such a thing as terminal literalism, you would have died at birth."
Long Lost Relative:Valentine, her father, and Jonathan Christopher, her full brother who was posing as Sebastian Verlac.
Love Makes You Evil: Not so much evil as monumentally irresponsible. Jace has been Brainwashed by Sebastian, who is about to bring his Evil Plan to fruition. Jace manages to escape Sebastian's control temporarily, and wants to flee with the MacGuffin back to the Shadowhunters in order to prevent The End of the World as We Know It. However, afraid that the Shadowhunters will kill Jace to stop Sebastian, Clary keeps him from getting away, assuring that he ends up back under Sebastian's mind control and ultimately allowing Sebastian to advance his plan to the next stage.
Sarcastic, cynical, and a ladies' man, Jace seems like the archetypal Byronic Hero. But it's not like that arrogance is unfounded - Jace is widely renowned as one of the best - if not the best - Shadowhunters of his age. He lives with the Lightwoods at the Institute, and is, for some reason, incredibly attracted to Clary.
Death Seeker: Can get like this often, much to the frustration of Alec and Isabelle, and later almost everyone else. Sometimes it is just reckless overconfidence, other times it is because of his traumatically confusing family history.
Distinguishing Mark: The star-shaped mark on his shoulder which is a birthmark of the Herondale family.
Distressed Dude: Despite being generally quite competent, Jace spends an awful lot of time captured, imprisoned or under somebody else's control. A common sub-plot in the books involves freeing him from whatever captivity he is currently in.
Happily Adopted: Granted, Maryse and Robert are not the most emotionally engaged of parents. But they do care for Jace greatly. Jace's adoptive siblings all love him dearly.
Hollywood Atheist: He believes that there is a God, just not that God cares, after seeing his father murdered in front of him.
Harmfulto Minors: His childhood, basically, the least of which involved his father murdering his pet falcon.
Idiot Ball: Grabs it with a bloody deathgrip when he refuses to tell anyone about the possible prophetic dreams he's having about murdering Clary until it's almost too late, nearly starves himself to death, doesn't sleep... oh, and ends up getting himself possessed by Sebastian. What an IDIOT.
Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: While he unquestionably cares for some people, he also considers hurting them emotionally an acceptable outlet for his own mangst. Also, can remain prejudiced easily even if the basis of his prejudice towards the target changes. For example, he seamlessly switches from calling Simon "mundane" to "vampire" as if he simply cannot remember the personal names of anyone who is not a Shadowhunter.
Jump Physics: He has the ability to jump supernaturally high, thanks to the angel's blood.
Omniglot: Jace can speak a lot of languages, thanks to all the training his father put him to.
An example is when he speaks to Sebastian in Romanian in City of Glass.
Jace: "De ce crezi ca va ascultam conversatia?"/"Why do you think I was listening to your conversation?"
Sebastian: "M-ai urmarit de când ai ajuns aici. Nu-mi dau seama daca nu ma placi ori daca esti atât de banuitor cu toata lumea.” / "You've been watching me since you got here. I can't tell if you don't like me or you're just this suspicious of everyone."
Power Trio: With Alec and Isabelle, at least in the beginning. It gets more complicated when their team swells with the addition of Clary, Simon, Magnus, Maia, Jordan, etc...
Shipper on Deck: For Alec and Magnus, despite traditional Shadowhunter prejudices about both homosexuality and Downworlders.
Strong Family Resemblance: Amatis tells Jace that he looks exactly like Stephen Herondale did save for his mother (Celine)'s eyes.
Tangled Family Tree: To put it mildly. Jace undergoes multiple surname changes throughout the books, working his way through Wayland, Michael originally being believed to be his biological father, Morgenstern, when it was revealed that Michael's identity had been stolen and used as a disguise by Valentine, Lightwood, after Jace's adoptive parents and Herondale, supposedly Jace's actual biological father.
Troubled, but Cute: Having witnessed his father being murdered, plus later discovering that the "murder" was actually a scam and the man in question was not really his father, Jace has some issues to put it mildly. He is however quite attractive, and charming (when he chooses to be).
Blood Lust: After he becomes a vampire, he needs blood. Badly. After he is imprisoned by Inquisitor Aldertree, the latter tries to starve him to death to find out the secret of his being able to walk in daylight.
Love Martyr: Simon is devoted to Clary, He hangs in there even after it is absolutely clear that Clary wants to be with Jace and he himself begins to date other (supernatural) girls.
Mark of the Beast: The Mark of Cain, which dates way back to the book of Genesis. Subverted in that Clary puts it on him to save his life. It actually comes in handy several times during the fourth book, as anybody who tries to lay hands on him gets punishment laid down on them sevenfold. In book five, the angel Raziel removes the Mark of Cain when Simon summons him, in exchange for a heavenly sword to sever the bond beyond Jace and Johnathan/Sebastian.
Megane: Although he doesn't need his glasses after he gets Turned.
Muggle Best Friend: To Clary after she finds out she's a Shadowhunter. Eventually subverted when he gets turned into a vampire.
Insult of Endearment: Following Jace's lead, the Shadowhunters tend to consistently refer to Simon as "the mundane", despite him proving himself useful (and at one point saving their lives). Later on it gets switched to "vampire", although Isabelle in particular becomes less prone to use the latter.
Malicious Misnaming: Mostly on Magnus Bane's part. Much like Endora, he just calls Simon by a variety of names starting with the letter "S".
Only Sane Man: Recognized that loving Clary was a dead end, and had enough self-respect to let her go and move on to Isabelle and Maia. Yes, at the same time. Yes, they find out. He seems to be together with Isabelle at the end of the fourth book, though.
Token Minority: He's Jewish. This is especially hard for him once he becomes a vampire.
Too Dumb to Live: The incident with the vampires in City of Ashes may count. After ingesting a tiny bit of Raphael's blood, he believes he is turning into a vampire and goes there at night, alone, to be sure. Naturally they nearly rip him to shreds, but Raphael keeps him alive for Clary's sake. Then he gets turned into a vampire.
Alec's younger sister, Isabelle is beautiful, confident, and dangerous - she is an accomplished Shadowhunter, after all. Being the middle child, Isabelle is rebellious and attention-seeking. The snobbish, Fantastic Racism she seems to hold against non-Shadowhunters, as well as the Ice Queen persona she upholds, starts to crumble once she meets Clary and Simon.
Does Not Like Men: While she is not averse to dating them, she distrusts men in general (in contrast to Jace and Alec, who wear their hearts on their sleeves) because she was The Confidant to her mother, who told her how her marriage to Robert was breaking apart.
Foreshadowing: The Lightwoods have a history of marital problems. 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 who is not also blue-eyed.
It's All My Fault: Believes Max's death to be her fault, as she was in charge of him at the time. To be fair, though, she had absolutely zero reason to suspect Sebastian.
Middle Child Syndrome: Isabelle is always raring to go into fights, not to mention she consistently dates boys her parents would hate. Jace says she does it to get attention, as she is not only the only girl but also the middle child.
Razor Floss: Edges her whip. She uses it to take off Sebastian's hand in City of Glass.
Sibling Yin-Yang: With Alec. Isabelle is not averse to showing off her beauty, is generally nicer, and like Jace, always rushing headfirst into demon-slaying. It's implied that Isabelle is the way she is in part because she wants to draw attention from her brother's homosexuality, as she does not want her parents to find out when he wasn't ready.
Demon Slaying: He's Nephilim. However, it's noted that up until late in the story he's never killed a demon because he's always looking out for Isabelle and Jace, who tend to do most of the dirty work.
Sibling Yin-Yang: With Isabelle. Unlike her, Clary notes that he is shyer, easier to guilt, and tries everything he can to downplay the good looks he shares with his sister.
Single-Target Sexuality: Towards Jace, or so he thinks anyway. Once he begins dating Magnus Bane he starts coming to terms with the fact that he really is gay. Jace puts the final nail in the coffin by confronting Alec, telling him that he was only infatuated with Jace because it was a "safe", guaranteed unrequited love that he could use as an excuse to avoid other relationships. He proves the point by demanding that Alec kiss him, which Alec cannot bring himself to do.
Dead Person Impersonation: He killed Michael Wayland and his infant son (using that baby to make Jocelyn believe her son Jonathan was dead) and took over Michael Wayland's identity while raising Jace (who was Stephen Herondale's son. It's complicated.
Faking the Dead: While posing as Michael Wayland he faked his own death to strengthen Jace.
Guinea Pig Family: Experimented on his own children in the womb to create better Shadowhunters. He infused Jonathan/Sebastian with demon blood, which made him horrifically strong but had the unfortunate side-effects of making him soulless and Jocelyn depressed. To make her feel better he gave her angel blood, not knowing she was pregnant with Clary at the time...
Shut Up, Hannibal!: In the third book, he actually uses a rune to avoid this - ie. he can monologue without interruption. Clary manages to foil him by writing in the dirt.
Hunting Accident: Kind of. He never intended to murder Lucian, just get him bitten by a werewolf. Then he hands him a dagger and asks him to kill himself.
Hypocrite: Expresses hatred and disdain for the mixed-breed Downworlders, and contends that the Shadowhunters must keep the world safe from demons. But he deliberately taints his own son with demon blood, making him into a strange human/angel/demon hybrid, and even tried using demon blood to change himself with unclear results. He also readily summons and uses large numbers of demons to fight for him, as well as dealing with the powerful Greater Demon Lilith. Raziel calls him out on it.
Karmic Death: In City of Ashes he arranges the death of teenage warlock whose blood he needs by tricking the kid into summoning a demon that will be able to bypass the magic circle used to contain it. In City of Glass, Valentine has setup his own magic circle to summon the Angel Raziel to force it to remove the powers of the Shadowhunters that refuse to serve him. His daughter Clary, whom he has effectively bound and gagged nearby, manages to alter the circle, allowing Raziel to smite him in punishment for his evil deeds, but only after giving him "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
Meaningful Name: "Morgenstern" means "morning star" - signifying, of course, Lucifer.
Never Found the Body: After his ship is destroyed - which naturally means that he's still up and kicking. That is, until he gets stabbed by the angel Raziel in City of Glass, is cremated and has a funeral. He is dead for good. Unlike his other son.
Convenient Coma: Jocelyn induces a coma on herself to avoid anyone squeezing information out of her about the whereabouts of the Mortal Cup. The only person who knew how to revive her aside from the warlock that cast the spell was an old acquaintance, who gets killed early on in the third book.
Hidden Badass: Under the Overprotective Mom stance, Jocelyn was a powerful, talented Shadowhunter who plotted to overthrow her husband during the Uprising. Not to mention she ran away from Valentine to prevent his turning Clary into a "monster" like he did Jonathan.
Hooked Up Afterwards: With Luke. They planned to get married in City of Fallen Angels but the marriage was postponed indefinitely, with Jace's possession by Lilith and subsequent disappearence.
Hot Mom: Jocelyn is said to be beautiful: tall and willowy, with sharp features.
It Was a Gift: The tarot cards she gave Dorothea which contained the Mortal Cup.
Your Cheating Heart: "City of Fallen Angels" reveals that all wasn't fine and dandy for the Lightwoods after the Circle broke up. Robert blamed their wrecked lives on Maryse, and it seems they were on the verge of separation/divorce but decided to stay together for the sake of Alec and their unborn daughter. Unfortunately, a few years later, Maryse found out about his having an affair with somebody, and confided in Isabelle about it. Still, they stayed together, even if Robert was spending more and more time away.
Hodge Starkweather (Jared Harris)
The tutor at the Institute, who taught Alec, Jace, and Isabelle everything they needed to know about Shadowhunting.
Bi the Way: Later books as well as The Infernal Devices Trilogy and the ebook series The Bane Chronicles reveal that he dated and slept which various people of both genders. Also describes himself as 'freewheling bisexual'.
Blue-Collar Warlock: He lives in a warehouse loft, throws wild house parties and otherwise seems entrenched in modern urban culture despite his great age. Also does spellcasting for a fee as his primary source of income.
Really 700 Years Old: While his exact age is never given we know that he looks around nineteen and has to be older than two hundred and younger than seven hundred. Historically speaking (and given that Camille wasn't lying about his anchestory) he can't be much older than three hundred years old. In The Mortal Instruments books he is implied to be lying about his age (telling Alec that he's eight hundred years old) while The Bane Chronicles flat out state that he lies about it whenever it suits him.
Superpower Lottery: Basically anytime somebody needs something that is not explicitly covered by another character's power set, all eyes turn to Magnus. As a very old, powerful and knowledgeable warlock, if he doesn't know the specific spell needed, he usually knows where to get it.
A member of the downtown werewolf pack, Maia's had a rough life. Her brother abused her, and her ex-boyfriend hit her and eventually turned her into a werewolf. She seems to be getting along fine though.
Tsundere: Towards Simon and Jordan in City of Fallen Angels.
Why Did It Have To Be Beautiful Men: She has a fear of guys that look like her deceased brother, who abused her as a child. There's also her possessive ex-boyfriend Jordan, who was mentioned as the reason she was turned into a werewolf.
The Proud Elite: In some cases an even better example than Isabelle, but it's played with as while he's certainly proud and he does see himself and vampires as elite, the magical world (re:the Clave) does not see them as so.
The Starscream: According to Camille, he was the reason she left - he killed mundanes and blamed them on her, causing her to flee. When she did so, he seized her position and told the rest of the New York vampire clan that she was struck with wanderlust and a desire to travel (something that was not unheard of in vampires.)
Lipstick Lesbian: Heavily implied in the third book. Although she is seen kissing Jace, she tells Clary later it was merely a test to see if any guy was "her type". Confirmed in book five, where she appears with her girlfriend, Helen Blackthorn, and it's revealed she came out the closet, inspired by seeing Alec do so.
The Mole: He was the reason Valentine knew what Jace's group was about to do. He killed the real Sebastian Verlac and posed as the Penhallows' cousin in order to get information.
Not Quite Dead: In the fourth book, it turns out that he isn't exactly dead because of Clary's wish at the end of City of Glass to bring Jace back to life, which screwed up the balance of life and death.
Polyglot: Like Jace, he's also fluent in a variety of languages.
Romantic False Lead: We all know who's going to win Clary in the end. Besides, he's her brother.
Break the Haughty: When she realizes that her plan to trade Jace for the Mortal Instruments wasn't going to work and she realizes that Valentine might not care for his "son" as much as she cared for hers.
Toilet Seat Divorce: Not played for laughs, and the divorce actually did happen. Valentine convinced Stephen to divorce her on the grounds that she had "undesirable family connections" - ie. her brother was turned into a Downworlder, and Valentine does not like Downworlders.
Long Lost Relative: To Luke, more or less, although it's more of the fact that they're estranged siblings and Luke's afraid that she'd blame him for her divorce.
The newest member of Simon's band, Kyle seems like your typical nice guy (although Clary describes him as superhot). He's a member of the local Wolf Guard as well as Maia's ex-boyfriend who turned her into a werewolf.
The Atoner: He does seem to sincerely regret what he did to Maia, and only picked Simon as an assignment so he could get close to her.
Chekhov M.I.A.: He was mentioned back in City of Ashes as Maia's ex-boyfriend who turned her into a werewolf and disappeared for nearly two years.