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Characters / The Mortal Instruments

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A listing of characters that appear in Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments series and their portrayal in the film adaptation, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Please put tropes for the characters as portrayed in the Shadowhunters television series here.

Clare is also publishing a prequel series, The Infernal Devices. Check out that character sheet, too.

Beware of unmarked spoilers!

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Main Characters

    Clary Fray 

Clarissa "Clary" Adele Fray

Played by: Lily Collins and Hope Fleury (young) (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones), Katherine McNamara and Sofia Wells (young) (Shadowhunters)
Click here to see Clary in the film adaptation. 
Click here to see Clary in the TV adaptation. 

Clary 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.

  • 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.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In the books she has green eyes. In The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, she has brown eyes, also her red hair is darker than described appearing almost brownish.
  • Angel Unaware: Unintentional, as Valentine didn't know Jocelyn was pregnant when he experimented on her with angel's blood.
  • Author Avatar: It's probably not a coincidence that the heroine is named Clary while the author's name is Cassandra Clare, which would result in some interesting implications if Cassandra Clare has a brother. (It is worth noting, however, that Cassandra Clare is just a penname - 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, whose 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.
  • Betty and Veronica: In the first two books, she's caught in a love triangle between her sweet, dependable childhood friend Simon and Jace, a sexy, brooding demon hunter. She chooses Jace.
  • 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:
    • In City of Bones, she falls in love with Jace, who turns out to be her brother.
    • Subverted. They end up not related. She 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 Sebastian/Johnathan is shown to actually want her, backing her up against a wall and forcefully kissing her, while going on about how they can be evil and rule the world together.
  • Cain and Abel: She's the heroic counterpart to her estranged demonic brother, Jonathan.
  • 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.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Her ability to draw - this helps her create Runes of her own.
  • Die or Fly: A key part of her role as protagonist. Despite having been raised with no knowledge of her Nephilim ancestry she starts to exhibit an intuitive, and encyclopedic, knowledge of angelic runes once she gets caught up in the events of the Shadow World. She is even able to come up with powerful runes that other Shadowhunters have never seen before. It turns out that the captive angel Ithuriel had been putting them into her mind, and this aspect of her abilities starts to diminish after he is freed, such that she can no longer pull new runes out of her head at will.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Usually goes barefoot indoors.
  • Fiery Redhead: Clary is easily upset and often lashes out at people.
  • Fish out of Water: Clary is not a hardened Shadowhunter or a Downworlder like the rest of the cast, at least at first. She jumps right on the mundie racism bandwagon rather disturbingly fast, though.
  • 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. Though considering what happens it causes Jonathan to come back to life and create an anti-nephilium group, this might not be a bad thing.
    • 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.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Prior to City of Bones, Jocelyn brought Clary to Magnus Bane every two years to have her memories of the Shadowhunter world wiped.
  • Like Brother and Sister: She and Simon come off as this at first, until Simon gains the status of Unlucky Childhood Friend before moving rather briefly into Victorious Childhood Friend and then going back to Just Friends.
  • 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 Morgenstern is her biological father. He went into hiding before she was born.
    • Subverted with Jace. Valentine makes them think they're long-lost siblings, but then Jocelyn reveals that they're not actually related.
    • Played straight with Sebastian, her biological older brother. Their mother though he had died, so he was raised by Valentine while she was raised by Jocelyn.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: 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.
  • Love Martyr: Clary is devoted to Jace, despite the fact that he is a Death Seeker and/or a positive magnet for Mind Control.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Jonathan Clark, the man her mother told her was her father, was just a mere acquaintance. Her real father is Valentine Morgenstern.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Clary sage is a plant historically used to help clear the eyes, so Clary is a name suitable for a heroine who sees the Shadow world, which most people are blind to. The meaning behind her name is mentioned by Jace upon learning it in City of Bones.
    • Subverted, in that her father wanted to name her Seraphina, which derives from "seraphim", a class of angels. Her mother named her Clarissa instead.
  • Morality Pet: For Jace - The reason he didn't go with Valentine through the Portal in City of Bones was because he was thinking of Clary.
  • Official Couple: With Jace.
  • One True Love: Jace's. She has stated before that if he were to die, there would just not be anyone else for her.
  • Slashed Throat: Comes very close to this in City of Fallen Angels, courtesy of Jace (to be fair, he was under Lilith's Mind Rape at the time).
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Like Maryse and Isabelle Lightwood, Jocelyn Fray greatly resembles her daughter, only with sharper features.
  • Surprise Incest: Subverted. She and Jace are revealed to be siblings at the end of City of Bones. They spend all of City of Ashes and most of City of Glass angsting about their attraction, until it's revealed thatJace was adopted. Played straight with Sebastian/Jonathan, Clary's actual brother, who kisses her despite knowing full well that she's his sister.
  • Tangled Family Tree: She is raised by her mother Jocelyn, and thinks of her mother's devoted, if platonic, boyfriend Luke who is really a Shadowhunter named Lucian Graymark that was turned into a werewolf as her stepfather. He later gets a Relationship Upgrade with Jocelyn. She believes her biological father was a soldier killed in action, but he is really the Big Bad Valentine Morgenstern.

    Jace Herondale 

"Jace" Wayland/Herondale

Played by: Jamie Campbell Bower (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones), Dominic Sherwood (Shadowhunters)
Click here to see Jace in the film adaptation. 
Click here to see Jace in the TV adaptation. 

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.

  • Abusive Parents: Valentine, who was posing as Michael Wayland, physically and emotionally abused him. He would regularly beat Jace and on one occasion killed Jace's pet falcon right in front of him.
  • Action Hero: Jace is very willing to get into fights.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: He has golden eyes in the book, but blue eyes in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.
  • Angel Unaware: The angel's blood that Valentine used to experiment on him with gave him certain characteristics (such as the ability to jump supernaturally high).
  • Badass Bookworm: He is very knowledgeable of classical literature and very talented at killing demons.
  • Betty and Veronica: He competes with Simon for Clary's affection. Jace is more mysterious and thrilling, but he can also be a jerk. The fact that everyone briefly thought Jace was Clary's long-lost brother adds a Forbidden Fruit element to him too. Meanwhile, Simon is her casual, adorkable friend that's she known her whole life.
  • Big Brother Instinct: He tends to be very protective of his adopted siblings.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In City of Glass, he saves Clary from being killed by Valentine. Valentine then proceeds to kill Jace seconds after he gives his "World of Cardboard" Speech.
  • Bio-Augmentation: Valentine added angel's blood to him before he was born, through the naivete of his birth mother Celine Herondale.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: In City of Fallen Angels, after his rebirth, Jace is left vulnerable to demonic possession; his death erased the protective effects of a magic ritual all newborn Shadowhunters are given to protect them demonic possession. Lilith takes advantage of his new Achilles' heel, sending him nightmares and forcing him to do her bidding. Even after she's defeated, Jace is then forced into a corrupted form of the parabatai bond, wherein Sebastian imposes his will and beliefs onto Jace.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: In City of Bones, a fortune teller tells him that he will "Love the wrong person". He falls in love with Clary, who turns out to be his sister. Subverted when they end up not related. He is the son of Stephan Herondale, his supposed father's second second-in-command.
  • Byronic Hero: Handsome, brooding, charismatic, aloof, the list goes on. Also a Death Seeker and drenched in Mangst. Jace has a very strong personal presence, but he's not exactly a source of much positivity.
  • The Casanova: He is implied to have been involved with lots of girls, and he flirts with Kaelie in City of Bones. However, prior to Clary he was never in a long term relationship.
  • Cassandra Truth: In City of Glass, his outright dislike and suspicion of Sebastian raises a lot of eyebrows despite the fact that he was right all along.
  • Cat Smile: Clary often likens his smile to that of a cat, adding that it comes of as mischievous.
  • Cunning Linguist: He's fluent in several languages.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Blonde hair and golden eyes.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: He saw his father, Michael Wayland, murdered in a pool of his own blood. That was staged, of course. And Michael Wayland was never his father.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The snarkiest in a World of Snark. Applies mostly in the books
  • 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.
  • Demon Slaying: He's a Nephilim, it's a requirement. Although, he is more intensely focused on it, then other people.
  • Distinguishing Mark: The star-shaped mark on his shoulder which is a birthmark of the Herondale family.
  • Distressed Dude: A recurring plot in almost every book is him being held in some form of captivity. This despite the fact that he is one of the most skilled Shadowhunters of his generation. Most of it is that he is a bit of a Death Seeker, and a large amount of effort on the part of his family and friends goes into getting him out of whatever trouble he has gotten into. In City of Bones his best friend Alec had initially never slain a demon, primarily because his main focus was on keeping Jace alive instead.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Usually goes barefoot indoors.
  • Fearless Fool: In City of Ashes, he gets a Fearless rune put on him by Clary. After a few minutes of fighting The Legions of Hell, he notes that the rune might be a little bit of too much of a good thing. In particular, he notes how blasé he was becoming in regards to injuries.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: He considers himself an agnostic even though he belongs to an order founded by angel and has met and killed many a demon himself. He claims it's because he's never personally met an angel or knows anyone who has but he does know that holy water, sacred ground and blessed weapons work because he uses them on a regular basis!
  • Happily Adopted: By the Lightwoods. Granted, Maryse and Robert are not the most emotionally engaged of parents, but they do care for him greatly. His adoptive siblings all love him dearly. Clary lampshades this when he is angsting about his lack of a last name and she points out that he's always been Jace Lightwood.
  • Harmful to Minors: His childhood, basically, the least of which involved his father murdering his pet falcon.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With 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 platonic bond of partnership even stronger than that of brothers.
  • 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.
  • I Have Many Names: He doesn't really have a surname. He was Jace Wayland, Jace Morgenstern, Jace Herondale and Jace Lightwood.
  • 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.
  • Like Brother and Sister: With Isabelle, with whom he has a purely platonic relationship.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Jace is very fast, very strong, and very enduring, thanks to Valentine's training.
  • Long-Lost Relative:
    • Subverted. For a time, Valentine tricks him and Clary into thinking they're lost long siblings. Its turns out that Jace was actually adopted.
    • Imogen Herondale realizes that Jace is her grandchild — whom she thought died in the womb — not long before she dies. Jace himself doesn't learn of their connection until the following book.
  • Love Martyr: Jace is obsessively devoted to Clary, even when he believes that they are siblings.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Michael Wayland was never his father. Valentine Morgenstern is, he raised Jace while under the guise of Michael Wayland. Though City of Glass reveals that his father was actually Stephen Herondale. Valentine adopted him after his mother died, but he kept him a secret from his real son, and vice versa.
  • Mangst: A fair-sized chunk of the conflicts in the series are in some way related to the fact that Jace tries to conceal emotional and physical problems even from Clary and Alec. He will go into dangerous situations alone to try to work out his issues, which rarely ends well. His Death Seeker tendencies are tied directly to this.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Much attention is given to how attractive Jace is, especially since the viewpoint character is in love with him.
  • Nay-Theist: He believes that there is a God, just not that God cares, after seeing his father murdered in front of him.
  • Neat Freak: Clary notes that his room is as neat as a pin. When he is rooming with Magnus Bane, the poor messy warlock is driven nuts by Jace fixing up his apartment.
  • Official Couple: With Clary.
  • 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."
  • One True Love: Clary's. She is the one person he cant live without. In a parallel universe, her death is the one that destroys him and ultimately makes him a villain.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Jace comes from the initials for Jonathan Christopher, which hardly anyone calls him. When his full name is revealed at the end of the first book, its significant because it makes Clary think he's her long-lost brother, who also had the initials J.C.
  • Secret Other Family: He was being raised alongside Jonathan Christopher/Sebastian without ever knowing it.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Manly Man to Alec's Sensitive Guy. Jace is aggressive, forward and often downright antagonistic even in the face of Shadowhunters of much higher rank than him. Alec is shy, reserved and is easily hurt emotionally.
  • Shipper on Deck: For Alec and Magnus, despite traditional Shadowhunter prejudices about both homosexuality and Downworlders.
  • Significant Monogram: Jonathan Christopher "Jace" Wayland. The "JC" variation.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Amatis tells Jace that he looks exactly like Stephen Herondale did save for his mother (Celine)'s eyes.
  • Surprise Incest: Subverted. He and Clary are revealed to be siblings at the end of City of Bones. They spend all of City of Ashes and most of City of Glass angsting about their attraction, until it's revealed that he was adopted.
  • Tangled Family Tree: He is 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 Brother–Sister Incest 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. Worth noting that Stephen had previously been married to Luke's sister. Although after City of Heavenly Fire, he adopts his father's last name, Herondale.
  • Wangst: invoked Hilariously used by Alec to shut Jace down when Jace was being critical of the way Alec was wrecked over his breakup with Magnus. Alec finally found his sass and retaliated:
    Jace: You're pining.
    Alec: Look who's talking. 'Oh, I love her. Oh, she's my sister. Oh, why, why, why—'
  • Will They or Won't They?: With Clary. Nothing much ever seems to happen until they figure out they aren't related.
  • You Killed My Father: Subverted. He initially believes that Valentine killed his father, until a declaration of Luke, I Am Your Father. Double subverted when it's revealed that Jace is not Valentine's son and that he really did kill Jace's father, albeit not directly.

    Simon Lewis 

Simon Lewis

Played by: Robert Sheehan (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones), Alberto Rosende (Shadowhunters)
Click here to see Simon in the film adaptation. 
Click here to see Simon in the TV adaptation. 

Clary's best (and probably only) friend, Simon, along with her, inevitably discovers the world of the Shadowhunters - something he eventually becomes a part of.

  • Adrenaline Makeover: After getting turned into a vampire and everything, Isabelle notes he's gotten more attractive.
  • Animorphism: Simon is turned into a rat in City Of Bones.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • At first he competes with Jace to be with Clary. Jace is new and exciting, while Simon is an ordinary guy whom Clary has grown up with. He does date her briefly, but then they decide they're Better as Friends.
  • 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.
  • Distinguishing Mark: The ability to walk in sunlight, nicknaming him "Daylighter" and the Mark of Cain, though he later loses the latter.
  • Fish out of Water: He is not a hardened Shadowhunter or a Downworlder like the rest of the cast. He does get turned into the latter.
  • Foreshadowing: In City of Bones, Simon makes a joke about Jewish Vampires. That's exactly what he ends up becoming in City of Ashes.
  • Geek: Big time. He has several geeky interests, including video games, and comics.
  • Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?: Clary gives him pamphlets about coming out to help him tell his religious mom he's a vampire.
  • Hollywood Nerd: He is a shy, awkward, D&D-loving nerd who can't get Clary to notice that he's in love with her (and is eventually rejected in favor of the dashing hero Jace.) In the film he is played by the gorgeous Robert Sheehan.
  • In-Series Nickname: He is often called Daylighter by Downworlders, for that unique, annoying detail about being a vampire that can walk around in sunlight. Thanks, Jace's angel blood.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Asmodeus takes all of his memories of Clary and the Shadow World from him as part of the deal to return everybody from Edom to Earth. This is both because he relishes human memories and he knows it will hurt all of Simon's friends, especially Isabelle, to be forgotten by him. Magnus is able to restore some fragments of Simon's memories, but for the most part he has to start over from scratch.
  • Like Brother and Sister: He and Clary come off as this at first, until he gains the status of Unlucky Childhood Friend before moving rather briefly into Victorious Childhood Friend and then going back to Just Friends.
  • 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.
  • Muggle Best Friend: He's the only "regular" main character at first and only gets involved in the adventure because his friend Clary finds out that she's a Shadowhunter. Jace, Alec, and Izzy are initially skeptical about bringing him along since they don't think a "mundane" can keep up with them. Subverted later on when he gets turned into a vampire, thus making him a Downworlder like Luke and Magnus.
  • My Name Is Not Durwood: In more than one fashion.
    • 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: Magnus calls Simon a variety of names starting with S, and very rarely calls him by his name.
  • Non-Action Guy: In City of Bones, he is the only main character that is 100% a mundane and is depicted as totally normal and needs rescuing from a hotel crammed with vampires. However, this is ended when he kills a Greater Demon, and then is turned into a vampire in City of Ashes.
  • Not Growing Up Sucks: He is dismayed at being sixteen forever, saying that it's one thing to be frozen at twenty-five but looking how he is he is never going to grow into his features. Or get a drink. And there's the fact that he's going to far outlive his friends.
  • Operation: Jealousy: He hangs around Isabelle to make Clary jealous when it seems like she's not interested in him, although this develops into something more genuine.
  • Only Friend: He's the only mundane Clary is ever seen interacting with.
  • Only Sane Man: Recognized that loving Clary was a dead end, and had enough self-respect
  • Post-Kiss Catatonia: He's stunned stupid after Isabelle kisses him.
  • Power Tattoo: In City of Glass, he receives the Mark of Cain, which dates way back to the book of Genesis. Clary puts it on him to save his life. It actually comes in handy several times during City of Fallen Angels, as anybody who tries to lay hands on him gets punishment laid down on them sevenfold. In City of Lost Souls, 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.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Clary chooses Jace instead of him, although he doesn't seem too affected by it in the long run.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Towards Maureen, whom he is genuinely not interested in despite her liking him to an absurd degree. It comes back to bite him in the ass later on.
  • Slashed Throat: In City of Ashes, Valentine does this to collect Simon's blood. He gets better.
  • Token Minority: He's Jewish. This is especially hard for him once he becomes a vampire.
  • Too Dumb to Live: 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 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, and the blood would have gone out of his system, as well as the compulsion it had on him to return to Raphael.
  • Walking the Earth: He's scared he's going to end up doing this, with the Mark of Cain and everything. Good for him the angel Raziel removes it.

    Isabelle "Izzy" Lightwood  

Isabelle "Izzy" Lightwood

Played by: Jemima West (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones), Emeraude Toubia (Shadowhunters)
Click here to see Isabelle in the film adaptation. 
Click here to see Isabelle in the TV adaptation. 

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.

  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: She has some shades of this, constantly complaining and lashing out at her parents. It was implied that this was at least partially a ploy to distract their parents from Alec's homosexuality.
  • Combat Stilettos: 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.
  • The Confidant: She confides in her mother, Maryse about the problems in her parents' marriage.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: She dates anybody but other Shadowhunters, intentionally bringing home boys she knows her parents would disapprove of. Jace says it's to get attention, it works - in the wrong way.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Like her brother, she is not very fond of Clary at first. Later, though, she begins to open up to her.
  • 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.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Usually goes barefoot indoors.
  • Foil: The seasoned, snobbish, girly Nephilim to Clary's naive idealist tomboy.
  • Interspecies Romance: In City of Ashes she is dating a faerie knight and as of City of Lost Souls the vampire, Simon Lewis.
  • It's All My Fault: Believes Max's death to be her fault, as she was in charge of him at the time.
  • Lady of War: Isabelle is the daughter of an old, prestigious, Shadowhunter family. She herself is a very talented Demon Slayer and manages to fight quite effectively even while wearing dresses and high heels. Her preferred tactic is to Whip It Good using her weapon of choice, an enchanted whip made of electrum (an alloy of gold and silver). Also noted for Beauty Is Never Tarnished — she can join her brothers fighting monsters underground without getting dirty even as they are covered in filth. When asked how she manages it, she remarks:
    Isabelle: I'm pure at heart. It repels the dirt.
  • Lethal Chef: Although she enjoys cooking, Isabelle isn't good at it and everyone hates her food. Her mother didn't teach her how to cook because she was afraid Isabelle would be told to Stay in the Kitchen.
  • Like Brother and Sister: With Jace, with whom she has a purely platonic relationship.
  • 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.
  • Outnumbered Sibling: She grew up with two brothers and Jace.
  • The Proud Elite: She has Raven Hair, Ivory Skin, is extremely cold and proud, and actively partakes in Shadowhunters' Fantastic Racism. She defrosts rather quickly, though.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Isabelle is very beautiful, with pale, clear skin and long dark hair.
  • Razor Floss: Edges her whip. She uses it to take off Sebastian's hand in City of Glass.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: According to Jace, Isabelle is very comfortable with her own body. In the TV series, she usually wears skimpy and revealing clothing, sometimes bordering on the stripperiffic.
  • 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.
  • Silly Rabbit, Romance Is for Kids!: Quite young to be this cynical, but then she is privy to the fact that her parents have a Happy Marriage Charade going on. She openly questions how her brothers can so readily fall in love. But then, they aren't in on the family secret.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Isabelle is very tall and beautiful, attracting the attention of many boys. According to Jace, Isabelle hates being taller than most boys her age and would rather be dainty and petite.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Like Clary and her mother, Maryse Lightwood greatly resembles her daughter, except for her blue eyes.
  • Tap on the Head: Sebastian renders her unconscious in City of Glass with a hammer after he finishes with Max.
  • Whip It Good: She uses a silver-gold whip when she fights demons, one which can somehow cut through flesh and bone. It's partially magical, however, which explains its unusual cutting capacity.

    Alexander "Alec" Lightwood  

Alexander "Alec" Lightwood

Played by: Kevin Zegers (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones), Matthew Daddario (Shadowhunters)
Click here to see Alec in the film adaptation. 
Click here to see Alec in the TV adaptation. 

The eldest Lightwood sibling, who is shyer, snarkier, and generally less welcoming, but his cold, standoffish persona crumbles faster.

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: He went from having black hair in the books, to being brunet in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.
  • Aloof Big Brother: Alec confesses that he was one to Max, who was closer to adopted brother Jace, because Alec was mostly concerned with keeping Max out of trouble and safe rather than doing fun and exciting stuff with him.
  • Ambadassador: By the time of the Tales From The Shadowhunter Academy story "Born To Endless Night", Alec has become this to the Downworlders of New York City. He is the preferred go-to Shadowhunter for both Lily Chen (leader of the vampires) and Maia Roberts ( leader of the werewolves). Less combative than Jace and a lot less high-handed than Maryse, the Downworlders look to him for guidance in solving problems. But it is also understood that he will be no less decisive in dealing with problems that they let get out of control.
    Lily: I stopped Elliott in time. I knew you'd kill him, and then I knew you'd give me your disappointed look.
  • Archer Archetype: While Alec is also formidable in hand-to-hand combat, he really stands out most when using a bow. He is even able to knock the knife out of the hand of an Endarkened that was holding it to Consul Jia Penhallow's throat, without hurting Jia.
  • Battle Couple: He fights alongside his boyfriend Magnus Bane in the final battle.
  • Big Brother Instinct: He takes his job as the eldest Lightwood sibling very seriously and displays a protectiveness over his friends. He is the oldest of the teenage cast and turns eighteen after the first book, making him legally an 'adult' and increasing his sense of responsibility for the others.
  • Coming-Out Story: In City of Glass, he comes out rather awesomely by kissing Magnus in the middle of the entire Clave, including his parents.
  • Literal-Minded: He has a tendency to misinterpret sarcasm.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Alec becomes involved with Magnus Bane, who is around 400 years old, when he is only seventeen and enters a relationship with him at eighteen. The fact the Magnus is an immortal warlock while Alec is human becomes a plot point in City of Fallen Angels.
  • No Sense of Humor: Possibly because he tries too hard to be the mature one of the group.
  • Oblivious to Love: He is a rather... odd example. Despite the fact that he and Magnus were dating, he is caught completely by surprise by Magnus's Anguished Declaration of Love in City of Glass. In his defense, he was still hung up on Jace, and his relationship with Magnus was just supposed to be a casual thing. He gets over both Jace and his obliviousness by the end of City of Glass, though.
  • Properly Paranoid: After finding out a bit of Magnus's romantic past, he is shocked by how many people and the kinds of people (namely the various species and genders) his boyfriend has been with. Needless to say, he becomes a bit paranoid about it. Later that day, they are at a party with a group of their friends and Magnus mentions to a werewolf boy they had just met that he once knew the werewolf that founded the organization the boy was part of. Alec, who had been quietly sulking until this point coldly asks, "Did you sleep with him, too?". This comes off sounded like an overreaction and paranoia about someone casually mentioned as an icebreaker. That is, until you read Clockwork Prince, where it is revealed that Magnus was indeed involved with him at some point. The author stated that she did this to show that Alec had a right to be paranoid about Magnus's romantic past.
  • The Reliable One: Alec often seems to be less overtly swashbuckling than Jace or Isabelle. But Magnus observes that Alec instinctively responds to people needing him, and will go to great lengths to help them. As a result, by the time of the Tales From The Shadowhunter Academy story "Born To Endless Night" he has become a cohesive force between the Shadowhunters and Downworlders of New York City. To the extent that vampire leader Lily Chen considers him an exception to her personal rule about keeping Shadowhunters out of Downworlder business because she knows he will just help solve problems rather than chastising her about the Law.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Sensitive guy to Jace's manly man. Alec is shy, reserved and is easily hurt emotionally. Jace is aggressive, forward and often downright antagonistic even in the face of Shadowhunters of much higher rank than him.
  • Shipping Torpedo: He isn't a fan of Jace/Clary at first, because Jace keeps putting himself in danger for Clary and because Alec has feelings for Jace himself. This doesn't last past the first book (partially because Alec and Clary make amends, partially because Clary and Jace think they are siblings). By the time Clary and Jace actually begin dating Alec has grown to like Clary and fallen in love with Magnus, so he doesn't become this again.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: With Isabelle. Unlike her, Clary notes that Alec 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.
  • Transparent Closet: In City of Glass, everyone seems to know that Alec is gay before he tells them. Except his parents, judging by their reaction to him kissing Magnus in the Accords Hall.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Magnus is very drawn to Alec's blue eyes.

    Valentine Morgenstern 

Valentine Morgenstern

Played by: Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones), Alan van Sprang (Shadowhunters)

The Big Bad of the first three books, a powerful and charismatic Shadowhunter who aims to destroy all Downworlders.

  • Big Bad: Of the first three books.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: His eyes are described as black. He's also the genocidal Big Bad.
  • Cradling Your Kill: In City of Glass, he holds his adopted son Jace (who he's just stabbed through the heart) while he dies, whispering, "My son. My boy."
  • 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, whom he cut out of her dead mother's womb). It's complicated.
  • Dissonant Serenity: He is always calm, even sarcastic, even when ripping out people's hearts.
  • Driven by Envy: Despite the fact that the Shadowhunters are effectively the dominant power in the supernatural world, Valentine greatly resents the Downworlders for their unique abilities, such as the vampires' ability to change shape or the magic wielded by the faeries and the warlocks.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He seems to actually care about Jace. That doesn't stop him from killing Jace. He is sad afterwards and tried to keep Jace from forcing him to, though. He also seems to care for Clary, Jocelyn, Sebastian/Jonathan and Luke in his own twisted way.
  • Fantastic Racism: Even by Shadowhunter standards, and that's saying something. He hates Downworlders enough to ally with demons to eradicate them.
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • Killed Off for Real: In City of Glass. Thank you, Raziel.
  • Long-Lost Relative: He is Clary's biological father.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: He is Clary and Jace's father. Though City of Glass reveals that Jace's father was actually Stephen Herondale. Valentine adopted him after his mother died, and raised him under the guise of Michael Wayland.
  • Light Is Not Good: White-blond, handsome, talented...and very evil.
  • Meaningful Name: "Morgenstern" means "morning star" - signifying, of course, Lucifer.
  • Names to Run Away From: His last name means "Fallen star", referring to the fallen angel, Lucifer. You'd think that an organization as biblically based as the Shadowhunters would have been a little concerned when the guy who's last name essentially meant "Lucifer" began to gain so much power...
  • Never Found the Body: In City of Ashes, 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.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: In City Of Glass, he avoids this by using a magic rune to keep Clary quiet so he can monologue without interruption. She eventually gives a rebuttal by writing in the dirt.
  • Straw Hypocrite: Was this in his younger days when he formed the Circle. Although the stated goal that he used to woo his followers was to reform the Clave (by taking it over), his real objective was simply to set himself up as their ruler. But he ditched his followers the moment the odds turned against them. Once he reappeared years after the Uprising and his failed coup attempt, he was a good deal more open about his true objectives.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Unfortunately, his plan to reform the Clave to protect against demonic threats involves raising a massive demon army and slaughtering them all.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: White-blond and, oh, aims to wipe out all Downworlders.

Secondary Characters

    Jocelyn Fray 

Jocelyn Fray(née Fairchild)

Played by: Lena Headey (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones), Maxim Roy (Shadowhunters)

Clary's overprotective mother.

  • Convenient Coma: In City of Bones, she 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 City of Glass.
  • 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.
  • Interspecies Romance: With werewolf, Luke Garroway.
  • It Was a Gift: The tarot cards she gave Dorothea which contained the Mortal Cup.
  • Mystical Pregnancy: Valentine experimented on her while she was pregnant both times, giving her daughter Clary angel's blood and her son Jonathan Christopher demon's blood, resulting in supernatural powers.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After the Circle uprising, Jocelyn fled Idris with no intention of ever returning.
  • That Thing Is Not My Child!: Valentine injected her with demon blood whilst she was pregnant, causing her to give birth to a demonic child who she was convinced was monstrous and evil. She turns out to be right, since Jonathan grows up to be a sadistic psychopathic murderer.

    Luke Garroway 

Luke Garroway

Played by: Aidan Turner (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones), Isaiah Mustafa (Shadowhunters)

A close friend of Jocelyn's and Honorary Uncle to Clary, Luke is more part of the Shadowhunters' world than he lets on.

  • Asskicking Equals Authority: On more than one occasion when Luke has needed to acquire some allies in a hurry his solution has been to find the nearest werewolf pack, kill the Alpha and take over as leader.
  • Hidden Badass: You would never think that this laid back bookstore owner is a badass. But as a former Shadowhunter-turned-werewolf, he can be quite hardcore when he needs to be.
  • Hollywood Old: He is 36-years-old but is played by 29-year-old Aidan Turner in the film.
  • Honorary Uncle: Clary considers him to be like an uncle since he's been around her whole life.
  • Hooked Up Afterwards: With Jocelyn. 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.
  • Interspecies Romance: With Shadowhunter, Jocelyn Fairchild.
  • Meaningful Name: Luke Garroway sounds like loup-garou, French for werewolf.
  • Mysterious Animal Senses: His lycanthropy enables him to hear and smell things better.
  • Parental Substitute: Helped raise Clary along with Jocelyn. By City of Heavenly Fire, they're referred to as father and daughter more often than not by themselves and others. In a way, he was sort of a father figure to Simon, too, as the latter's father died when he was younger.
  • Second Love: He's the second person Jocelyn falls in love with, after her disastrous marriage to Valentine.

    Magnus Bane 

Magnus Bane

Played by: Godfrey Gao (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones), Harry Shum Jr (Shadowhunters)

The campy, effeminate High Warlock of Brooklyn. Magnus, like most warlocks, is highly mercenary, but he becomes more helpful and generally heroic due to his love for Alec.

  • The Ageless: Warlocks stop aging once they reach adulthood.
  • Agent Peacock: He features glitter eye shadow, rainbow leather pants, and awesome ass-kicking.
  • Animal Eyes: Magnus has greenish-yellow eyes with vertically-slit pupils, like a cat.
  • Badass Finger Snap: Lampshaded in City of Ashes, when he gives a warning finger-snap, and somebody feels the need to explain:
    Magnus: There's no need to clarify my finger snap. The implication was clear in the snap itself.
  • Belly Buttonless: Being a warlock (half human/half demon), he has no bellybutton.
  • Bi the Way: Later books, as well as The Infernal Devices and The Bane Chronicles reveal that he dated and slept with various people of both genders. Also describes himself as 'freewheling bisexual'.
  • Blue-Collar Warlock: He lives in a warehouse loft, throws wild house parties, generally behaves like a New York hipster and otherwise seems entrenched in modern urban culture despite his great age. Also does spellcasting for a fee as his primary source of income.
  • Breakout Character: Magnus Bane was only meant to have a minor role City of Bones, but due to the amount of positive reception by the fans he received an expanded role as both a secondary character and Alec Lightwood’s love interest – appearing in every book in the series. He also went on to appear in the prequel series, The Infernal Devices, and got a series of short stories that were told from his perspective, The Bane Chronicles.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Is half Dutch/half Indonesian.
  • Eccentric Millionaire: He's the High Warlock of Brooklyn, darlings.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: He is quite fond of his body glitter and his magic itself does sparkle.
  • Extreme Omnisexual: He's been with men, women, warlocks, vampires, humans, fey, and the occasional djinn, which does show that he does go for anything. Except mermaids. They smell like seaweed.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: As with all warlocks, Magnus is the child of a human/demon coupling.
  • Interspecies Romance: He's dated vampires, faeries, and djinns. Now he's dating a Shadowhunter, Alec Lightwood.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: He can induce it, such as his work on Clary. However, he can't undo it.
  • Magnus Means Mage: A fitting name for the High Warlock.
  • Mark of the Supernatural: Warlocks have a distinguishing mark that's unique to each one. He has cat eyes.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: He is around 400 years old and dating Alec Lightwood is eighteen. The fact he is an immortal warlock while Alec is human becomes a plot point in City of Fallen Angels.
  • The Medic: Frequently called in to provide healing whenever somebody suffers an injury that the usual Shadowhunter healing Rune cannot fix.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Being a warlocks he is half-demon half-human.
  • Noodle Incident: How exactly did he get himself banned from Peru? note 
  • 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 ancestry) 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. He eventually admits to being around four hundred.
  • Squishy Wizard: Has immense magical powers, but is still susceptible to physical injury. Considering how many enemies have Super Strength, Super Speed and Super Reflexes this can be a weakness.
  • 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.
  • Token Minority: He's part Asian.
  • Twofer Token Minority: He is biracial (part Asian) and a self-proclaimed "freewheeling bisexual." And a warlock to boot.

    The Lightwoods 

Robert, Maryse (née Trueblood), and Max Lightwood

Played by: Paulino Nunes (Robert Lightwood), Nicola Correia-Damude (Maryse Lightwood) and Jack Fulton (Max Lightwood) (Shadowhunters)

Alec and Isabelle's immediate family, consisting of their parents Maryse and Robert, and their youngest brother Max. The Lightwoods run the New York Institute, where Clave meets are frequently held.

  • Happy Marriage Charade: They only pretend to be Happily Married, when in reality their marriage has nearly fallen apart at least thrice: once when the Circle disbanded and Robert blamed their wrecked lives on Maryse, twice when Robert was caught cheating (but Maryse told nobody save her daughter), and thrice when their youngest son dies. The general distrust between them lead to their daughter; Isabelle's "all-men-are-untrustable" attitude.
  • I Want Grandkids: Maryse and Robert in the Tales From The Shadowhunter Academy story "Born To Endless Night", despite agreeing on very little else. To the extent that even with their history of Fantastic Racism, they are positively ecstatic when Alec and Magnus adopt an abandoned warlock baby. The head of the New York Institute and the Inquisitor of the Clave — both former members of Valentine's Circle! That they approve of the adoption the instant they find out about it, and proceed to drown Alec and Magnus in parenting advice, while imposing time limits on which of them gets to hold the baby for how long, makes it clear that they consider a warlock grandchild better than no grandchild.
  • Infant Immortality: Subverted. In City of Glass, all the teenage protagonists survive the final battle.... but Max; the cute, manga-reading youngest Lightwood who wasn't allowed to fight is brutally murdered.
  • 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.

    Sebastian Verlac (SPOILERS

Sebastian Verlac

Aline's cousin, who is handsome, smooth-talking, cultured, and easily sweeps Clary off her feet. He's around town to represent the Paris Institute at the emergency council meeting. Due to this character's status as a Walking Spoiler, please see below for tropes present after The Reveal.

  • Everyone Looks Sexier If French: While probably not French by blood, he was raised in France and represents the Paris institute, and certainly comes off as unusually attractive.
  • Nephewism: He was raised by his aunt Elodie after the death of his parents.
  • Ship Tease: Has some sexual tension with Clary and Isabelle, which go nowhere.
  • Walking Spoiler: Anything about him from the later part of City of Glass spoils several plot points like: Jace and Clary aren't really siblings, the real Sebastian Verlac has been Dead All Along, and Valentine fed Jocelyn demon blood while she was pregnant.

Tropes present after The Reveal. Major Spoilers.

Jonathan Christopher Morgenstern

In the third book, it's revealed that the real Sebastian Verlac has been dead for some time, and that his identity had been taken over by the real Jonathan Christopher Morgenstern, Valentine and Jocelyn's son and Clary's older brother who was experimented on with demon's blood. Cold, sadistic, and ruthless, he's his father's agent through and through.

  • Abomination Accusation Attack: In City of Glass, he openly denounces Alec Lightwood for his homosexuality, which the latter feels very insecure about because it is strongly frowned upon in Shadowhunter society. This is more than a little hypocritical on his part however, seeing as how he himself has Brother–Sister Incest desire for Clary.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: In City of Heavenly Fire, Sebastian goes down quickly, but Jonathan, the good within him, arises, tells Clary how to destroy the Infernal Cup, talks about what might have been, and then dies.
  • Almost Dead Guy: When sustaining Death Equals Redemption, he gets to talk about the real him that never got a chance because of Valentine and the demon blood.
  • Ancestral Weapon: In City of Heavenly Fire, he has one of two swords his father commissioned that was specifically meant to be an Ancestral weapon. Clary gets the other.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Thanks to the demon blood, he had these at birth. Jocelyn was so repulsed by him she refused to care for him.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: In City Of Lost Souls, he 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.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: The real Sebastian's actually been Dead All Along, with Jonathan Christopher having taken over his identity after he murdered the former.
  • Death Equals Redemption: The Heavenly Fire burns the evil out of him. But what little good there was in him is not enough to keep him alive, unlike Jace who was similarly burned in it. He does use his command of the Endarkened to keep them from hurting his former captives, and tells Jace how to destroy the Infernal Cup before he dies.
  • The Dragon: To his father. Seems to be one to Lilith now, too.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In Clary's dream in City of Ashes, she sees Jace standing with white wings (a reference to his angel blood) and, behind her, a dark-haired boy with blood-tipped wings - Sebastian.
  • Foil: To Jace: He was experimented on with demon's blood while Jace was experimented on with angel's blood. Valentine raised him to be cold, cruel, and sadistic, while Jace is more compassionate and kind.
  • Long-Lost Relative: He is Clary's actual brother.
  • 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.
  • Nice Guy: Averted, this only applies to the real Sebastian, who by now is a Posthumous Character.
  • Not Quite Dead: In City of Fallen Angels, 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. This allowed Lilith to fully resurrect him.

Other Characters

    Other Shadowhunters 

Hodge Starkweather

Played by: Jared Harris (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones), Jon Cor (Shadowhunters)

The tutor at the Institute, who taught Alec, Jace, and Isabelle everything they needed to know about Shadowhunting.

  • Age Lift: In both adaptations. Word of God states that Hodge is around 36, but Harris was in his early fifties. On the opposite end, Cor is only 30; this is especially notable since his students, Jace and the Lightwoods, are now older in the series.

Aline Penhallow

A family friend of the Lightwoods.

  • But Not Too Foreign: Is half Chinese/half Caucasian.
  • Foil: To Isabelle; she's conservative and shy where Isabelle is outspoken and outgoing.
  • Motor Mouth: She talks a lot, and according to Clary is one of those people who says whatever comes to mind.
  • Nice Girl: Apart from her rude questions to Simon, which are probably due more to naivety and Fantastic Racism than genuine malice, she's fairly polite and even explains to Clary why she kissed Jace.
  • The Proud Elite: Her behavior towards Simon is neither actively malicious nor self-consciously snobbish. But the way that she talks to, and about (in his presence), him bears a distinct resemblance to a member of an old-fashioned aristocracy meeting her very first peasant.
  • Screaming Woman: Despite being a Shadowhunter, from a prestigious Shadowhunter family, her reaction to Alicante being besieged by demons is to basically panic, adding her to the roster of people in need of rescuing as opposed to helping with the defense.

Helen Blackthorn

A half-faerie Shadowhunter who lives in Los Angeles with her siblings.

  • Action Girl: She has demonstrated prowess in both battles she's participated in.
  • Fantastic Racism: Is on the receiving end of this, when she is exiled permanently to Wrangel Island due to her faerie heritage.
  • Plant Hair: When she is first introduced as a background character in City of Glass, her hair is described as being "made of flowers".

Imogen Herondale/The Inquisitor

Played by: Mimi Kuzyk (Shadowhunters)

A high-ranking Shadowhunter and the Clave's Inquisitor, sent to keep tabs on Jace after the revelation of his heritage.

  • Break the Haughty: She gets a glorious one. After being nothing but condescending to Jace merely because he's the son of the Big Bad, she finds out that her plan to trade Jace to Valentine for the two Mortal Instruments that he has isn't going to work, because despite what she thought, Valentine doesn't care about Jace, only the instruments. This causes her to have a Freak Out and a bsod until Maryse snaps her out of it.
  • Cool Old Lady: Her age does not stop her from being an extremely competent Shadowhunter.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Starts out frosty and unapproachable, but suffers several humbling failures and by the end of City of Ashes she performs a Heroic Sacrifice to save Jace after learning that he was her grandson.
  • Gray Eyes: The second (strong-willed, unapproachable) type.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Pulls one to let Jace escape on the ship, knowing that he was Stephen Herondale's son.
  • Mama Bear: Despite her hatred for children, she acknowledges this trope, coming to the conclusion that Valentine would do anything for his son like she would.
  • Smug Snake: A racist Evil Chancellor and Manipulative Bitch with a pathological hatred of children. She thinks she's playing everyone throughout City of Ashes but her grand plan fails spectacularly and Valentine Morgenstern viciously humiliates her until she breaks down. Unusually for this trope, she is revealed to have a sympathetic side and ultimately redeems herself by sacrificing her life to save Jace.

Amatis Herondale

An ex-Shadowhunter residing in Idris, and Luke's sister. Stephen Herondale's first wife.

  • Black Eyes of Evil: When under the influence of the Infernal Cup.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: In City of Lost Souls, after Sebastian captures her and forces her to drink from the Infernal Cup, turning her into a Dark Shadowhunter.
  • The Dragon: To Sebastian/Jonathan Morgenstern while under the influence of the Infernal Cup.
  • Happily Married: To Stephen Herondale, for a few years, until the forced divorce.
  • 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.
  • Minor Flaw, Major Breakup: Valentine convinced Stephen to divorce her because of her "undesirable family connections" — her brother was a werewolf — and convinced him to marry Celine instead.

Stephen Herondale

Imogen Herondale's much-beloved son, deceased by the beginning of the series.

  • Living Emotional Crutch: Implied to be this to his second wife Celine, to the point of her nearly committing suicide upon hearing of his death.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: City of Glass reveals that he is Jace's actual father.
  • Number Two: To Valentine when he was still alive, after Valentine cast out Luke for becoming a werewolf.
  • Posthumous Character: Despite being dead for years at the beginning of the series, we learn a lot about him through recollections and his relationships with other characters.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Jace really resembles him, except for his eyes.

Celine Herondale

Stephen Herondale's second wife, a beautiful woman from an abusive family.

  • Driven to Suicide: She killed herself when she heard about her husband Stephen's death, despite being pregnant at the time. Valentine cut her son Jace out from her body and raised him as his own.

Jonathan Shadowhunter

The very first Shadowhunter, who formed a pact with Raziel to be able to slay demons. After being given the Mortal Instruments, Jonathan turned his sister Abigail and best friend David into Nephilim as well. The three of them would go on to form the Clave.

  • All There in the Manual: Information regarding him is found in The Shadowhunter's Codex.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Jonathan Shadowhunter of the parallel Earth now known as Edom was this. Described as being a "divider", he apparently had some similarities to Valentine, and when the demons invaded his world in force, most of the Downworlders sided with them against that world's Shadowhunters, leading to the demons being victorious and the whole world being laid waste.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With David the Silent, inspired by their Biblical namesakes who were also examples of this trope. They were the very first parabatai.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Lived during the Middle Ages and the details of his life have been heavily mythologized in the thousand years since. This is one of the reasons nobody knew what the Mortal Mirror was, because the specifics of how he summoned Raziel (with the help of a warlock) had been buried beneath idealized legends.

The Silent Brothers

Male Shadowhunters who devote their lives to medication and archiving of Nephilim. They reside in the Silent City and keep watch over the Nephilim dead. They were founded by David, former parabatai of Jonathan Shadowhunter. The most frequently seen Silent Brothers are Jeremiah and Zachariah.

  • Character Overlap: Brother Zachariah is Jem Carstairs, who appears the way he does due to being unable to complete the entrance rituals because of the yin fen in his body.
  • Mouth Stitched Shut: They have their mouths sewn shut. They give up their speech for telepathy.
  • The Speechless: They cannot speak due to Runes that mutilate their appearance, instead communicating through Telepathy.
  • Theme Naming: Silent Brothers give up their birth names upon joining, instead taking on the name of a man from The Bible.

The Iron Sisters

Female Shadowhunters who craft the steles and weapons used by Nephilim. They were founded by Abigail, older sister of Jonathan Shadowhunter.

  • The Blacksmith: A whole order of them. They're the only ones who can handle adamas, the heavenly metal from which Nephilim weapons are forged.
  • Distaff Counterpart: To the Silent Brothers.
  • Impartial Purpose-Driven Faction: They don't take parts in the disputes of the Clave and Downworlders, instead residing in Idris and forging weapons.
  • Retired Badass: Most of them are retired Shadowhunters. Abigail Shadowhunter, in particular, founded them because she was frustrated at becoming this, and still wanted to help in the fight against demons.
  • Technicolor Eyes: Becoming an Iron Sister means getting orange eyes.
  • Woman in White: They wear long white gowns that blend in with the mists of their home, so when summoned they look like they appear out of nowhere.

    Supernatural Creatures 

Madame Dorothea/Dorothea "Dot" Rollins

Played by: CCH Pounder (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones), Vanessa Matsui (Shadowhunters)

Clary and Jocelyn's neighbor. Actually the adopted daughter of a witch.

  • Fortune Teller: Supposedly; she decorates her apartment with several generic Fortune Teller themes as a cover-up for her customers.
  • Guarding The Portal: What she's really doing is guarding a Five-Dimensional-Door in her apartment.
  • The Hermit: Doesn't like leaving her apartment, and only interacts with Jocelyn.
  • Race Lift: Black in the film, Asian on the show.

Maia Roberts

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.

  • Asskicking Equals Authority: In City of Heavenly Fire, she takes down an usurper of the New York Clan in an absolutely vicious Curb-Stomp Battle which leads to her becoming temporary head and later permanent head of the New York Clan after Luke's retirement.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: 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.

Raphael Santiago

Played by: David Castro (Shadowhunters)

Current leader of the New York vampire clan (although he asserts that he's merely leading in Camille's stead.)

  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Being Mexican, he 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 Google Translate error rather than it being intentional.
  • Decomposite Character: His role in Simon's vampirism in City of Ashes is largely given to Camille Belcourt, despite Raphael still existing as a separate character.
  • Fantastic Racism: Discriminates against anyone who isn't a vampire.
  • Hypocrite: Badgers Simon relentlessly about the need to accept that he is dead to humanity and must sever all ties to his former life. However...
  • Irony: It's said that he puts on a cross and visits his family every Sunday.
  • Interrupted Suicide: In The Bane Chronicles he attempts to throw himself into a beam of sunlight after being turned, but is stopped by Magnus.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He is cold and rude to pretty much anyone except his mother and siblings but he did care deeply for Lily It is revealed that in an alternate universe, Raphael started a war because of her murder, Ragnor, Tessa and Magnus.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Was the eldest of seven brothers from a poor family.
  • Number Two: To Camille.
  • Older Than They Look: He is stated to look around fourteen years old. But then again, he's a vampire.
  • Religious Vampire: He's Catholic, and wears a cross that has burned a scar into his chest.
  • 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.)
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Implied depending on from which characters perspective he is being seen from. Icy in the main series; in The Bane Chronicles, Magnus says he can have a rare sweet smile, and his mother states that he is the "sweetest of [her sons]". Notably, he is considerably more playfully snarky towards Magnus as opposed to his usual interactions in the main series.
  • Super Empowering: Like other vampires, he is capable of turning other people into vampires.

Camille Belcourt

Played by: Kaitlyn Leeb (Shadowhunters)

Magnus's vampire ex, and the actual leader of the New York vampire clan.

  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: For all of her villany, she was genuinely in love with a werewolf over a century ago. But he was killed by her clan leader which makes her plot against him for years culminating in his ruin and ultimate death.
  • Killed Offscreen: In City of Lost Souls, she is revealed to have been killed by Maureen Brown, who usurps the position of leader from her.

Jordan Kyle

The newest member of Simon's band, Kyle seems like an attractive, nice guy.

  • 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, but makes his first appearance in City of Fallen Angels.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Simon says that he grows weird plants on his balcony. He then follows it up by claiming they aren't drugs. The plants turn out to be wolfsbane.
  • Nice Guy: Comes off as such, although of course there's more than meets the eye.
  • Only One Name: Simon asks why his name is listed as just Kyle even on his apartment door. It turns out Kyle is his surname and his first name is Jordan, which he hid so that Maia wouldn't find out.
  • Storyboard Body: Strange tattoos cover his arms. They're actually mantras from the Upanishads.

Maureen Brown

Played by: Shailene Garnett (Shadowhunters)

A friend of a cousin of Simon's friend Eric, a mundane little girl with a crush on Simon. She gets turned into a vampire. Now the leader of the New York vampire clan after murdering Camille.

  • Age Lift: She's a little girl in the books, but on the show she's around the same age as Clary and Simon, who are already older than their book counterparts.
  • Precocious Crush: Had one on Simon before she was Turned; she claimed that Simon was her boyfriend much to his chagrin.
  • Slashed Throat: She's found in a dumpster with her throat slit.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: In City of Lost Souls, she becomes leader of the New York vampire clan after killing Camille Belcourt.


An archangel and the patron of all Shadowhunters. He mixed his blood with Jonathan Shadowhunter's to create the Nephilim.

  • Literal Genie: He can grant one wish to whoever summons him.
  • Only the Pure of Heart: Raziel will only help those with pure intentions, such as Jonathan Shadowhunter. In City of Glass, out of total displeasure at Valentine's dream, Raziel swiftly kills him.
  • Summoning Ritual: The Mortal Instruments are required to summon him, a ritual that can only be done once every millennium. Once they have all three, he 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...
  • Telepathy: Can read minds and hearts; justified due to his angelic status.


Yes, that Lilith. Big Bad of the second trilogy.

  • Chekhov's Gunman: Actually appears early in the fourth book as Satrina the band promoter before taking center stage as the new Big Bad.
  • The Dark Side: What she represents, as the mother of all demons.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Raven-haired, pale-skinned, and very creepy.
  • Mama Bear: Considers Jonathan her "son" due to him being tainted by her blood, and takes measures to protect him throughout the second trilogy.
  • Uncanny Valley Girl: She's described as beautiful, but unsettling.


A Prince of Hell, and the technical owner of Edom.

  • Animal Eyes: In humanoid form he has catlike eyes.
  • Demon Lords And Arch Devils: One of the nine most powerful, and subordinate only to Lucifer.
  • Fallen Angel: He is not one of the demons spawned by Lilith, but instead was one of the rebel angels that served as one of Lucifer's generals in the failed war against God. Because of this his son Magnus can cause witchlight stones to illuminate, which normally only works for people with angelic blood.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Nobody from Earth would want to see what he really looks like, so he presents himself in a humanoid form not that different from Magnus.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Too busy overseeing the destruction of entire worlds to get involved in day-to-day evildoing. Until his son Magnus summons him, at which point he briefly appears in humanoid form and acts as a Deus ex Machina before returning to his more cosmic interests.
  • Offing the Offspring: Wants to take his son Magnus's immortality to use as an energy source to repair all the damage Sebastian did to Edom.

Alternative Title(s): Mortal Instruments


Example of: