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The Mortal Instruments

    Clary Fairchild/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)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/claryfray.png
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.
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    Jace Herondale 

"Jace" Wayland/Herondale

Played by: Jamie Campbell Bower (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones), Dominic Sherwood (Shadowhunters)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jacewayland.png
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.
  • Back from the Dead: He got killed by Valentine, but Clary brings him back.
  • 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 changed his surname quite a few times due to the confusion about who his father was. He first was Jace Wayland, Jace Morgenstern, Jace Herondale and Jace Lightwood. He eventually decides to stick with Herondale.
  • 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)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/simonlewis.png
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.

    Alexander "Alec" Lightwood 

Alexander "Alec" Lightwood

Played by: Kevin Zegers (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones), Matthew Daddario (Shadowhunters)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/aleclightwood.png
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.
  • Armored Closet Gay: He desperately tried to hide the fact that the he was gay, because of the homophobia in the Shadowhunter society and because he was afraid his parents wouldn't accept it.
  • 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.
  • Straight Gay: He doesn't have any of the stereotypical traits of a gay man. For example he absolutely doesn't care about clothes or his appearance, he is not effeminate and he is a really fighter.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: He shares his mother's dark hair and good looks and Clary describes him having long limbs like a dancer.
  • 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.

    Isabelle "Izzy" Lightwood  

Isabelle "Izzy" Lightwood

Played by: Jemima West (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones), Emeraude Toubia (Shadowhunters)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/isabellelightwood.png
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 very talented at Demon Slaying 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.
  • 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.

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The Infernal Devices

    Theresa "Tessa" Gray 

Tessa has spent the first sixteen years of her life being overprotected by her aunt after the death of her parents in a carriage accident. She lives almost all her life in books, dreaming of having the kind of adventures the heroines she reads about do—until she is forced to travel from New York to London when her brother Nathaniel goes missing and only a pair of mysterious—and sinister—women called the Dark Sisters seem to know where he might have gone. The Shadowhunters of the London Institute may be Tessa's only hope of finding Nate, but their mysterious world of demons and Downworlders holds many dangers for her—especially when she realizes she might be more a part of it than she'd thought.


  • Arranged Marriage: Tessa was going to be forced to marry the Magister had she not been rescued by Will. She was obviously not very happy about it.
  • Brainy Brunette: She is a wide reader and quotes poetry quite often. She has the potential to lapse into Badass Bookworm territory.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Will's mention of Boadicea gives Tessa the strength to fool the Magister.
  • Chekhov's Gift: The clockwork angel. Also, Tessa's dislike of chocolate and the gift Nate gives Aunt Harriet...
  • Driven to Suicide: Subverted. She makes the Magister think she killed herself so that he wouldn't get his hands on her power, but in reality she Changed into a woman who'd died by a gunshot wound seconds before the wound would prove fatal.
  • Expy: Of The Draco Trilogy version of Hermione Granger .
  • Faking the Dead: In The Clockwork Angel, she fakes her own suicide to prevent Mortmain from using her power.
  • Family Relationship Switcheroo: Her 'brother' Nate is actually her cousin. Tessa's aunt, Harriet Moore, had sex with her fiancé before they got married. Then her fiancé died before the wedding and she found out she was pregnant. To avoid a scandal her married sister Elizabeth, Tessa's mother, pretended the child was hers.
    • Complicated even more by the fact that her mother Elizabeth was actually a Shadowhunter named Adele Starkweather not related to the Moore's who got Switched at Birth with the real Elizabeth. This means that Tessa's is actually not related to Nate or Harriet at all.
  • First Kiss: William Herondale in the attic.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Played with by having Jem and Will be Tessa's angels, respectively. It doesn't hurt that they're both part angel.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: She's a warlock. Her father was a demon who fooled Tessa's mother into thinking he was human.
  • Shapeshifter: This starts off the whole story because of her ability to change into anyone, even possessing some of their memories and personality (she just has to touch one of their items to do it the first time).
  • Tangled Family Tree: Tessa's got one heck of a tangled genealogy:
    • Tessa is introduced as the daughter of Elizabeth and Richard Gray, the younger sister of Nate, and the niece of Harriet Moore . Yet just a few chapters in, we learn that Richard's just an adoptive father; her actual father is an unnamed Greater Demon, making her a warlock with very strong potentials comparable to Magnus.
    • Then we learn in Clockwork Prince that Tessa and Nate are only cousins; Nate is the son of Harriet, who left him in the care of Elizabeth because she had him out-of-wedlock (being set in the 18th century, illegitimacy is seen in a negative light). This led him to poison her, thus providing for a bait for luring Tessa to London in the first place.
    • Then we learn in Clockwork Princess that Elizabeth was never Harriet's sister, Nate's aunt, or even a part of the Moore family for that matter. She's actually Adele Starkweather, the long-lost granddaughter of Aloysius, the Shadowhunter head of the York Institute who was switched by the faeries in exchange for the real Elizabeth Moore, a sickly mundane girl. This means that Tessa is the only known person born of a Greater Demon and a Nephilim, meaning that she inherited both angel and demon blood and thus a warlock who can have children. And she's not related to Nate at all. Sorry, Nate.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The fact that Will and Tessa kiss is revealed in the trailer.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: With Jem and Will.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Tessa always compares her adventures to what she's read and hopes for the best of all situations.

    William "Will" Herondale 

Seventeen-year-old Will is the sort of young man nice Victorian girls were warned against. He drinks, gambles, and enjoys the company of ladies of questionable virtue—at least, as much as he enjoys anything. Will hates everyone and everything, with the possible exception of Jem, and even that's in some doubt. Charlotte despairs of keeping him alive past the age of nineteen. When he finds himself oddly drawn to Tessa, his friends begin to hope that the Downworlder girl will prove Will's unlikely salvation—but as Tessa grows closer to the bleak secret that makes his life a prison, danger threatens to destroy them both if she ever finds out the truth.


  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Will constantly says he's always out drinking and gambling, and that there are a dozen girls who've claimed that he'd compromised their virtue. Jem, however, thinks he's lying to make himself look bad.
  • But Not Too Foreign: He's half English and half Welsh. His actual name is Gwilym, but this is only brought up once or twice in passing and for some reason he seems to prefer to be called by his "British" names.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: According to Jessamine, Will thinks he's Galahad. And it's true.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Or at least, he alludes to one quite often.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Oh, Will.
    Gabriel: You know, there was a time when I thought we could be friends.
    Will: There was a time when I thought I was a ferret, but that turned out to be the opium haze. Did you know it had that effect? 'Cause I didn't.
    • And there's this scene from The Clockwork Prince:
    “They’re not hideous,” said Tessa.
    Will blinked at her. “What?”
    “Gideon and Gabriel,” said Tessa. “They’re really quite good-looking, not hideous at all.”
    “I spoke,” said Will, in sepulchral tones, “of the pitch-black inner depths of their souls.”
    Tessa snorted. “And what color do you suppose the inner depths of your soul are, Will Herondale?”
    “Mauve,” said Will.
  • Emo Teen: According to fans. He even lampshades it himself at times.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: De Quincy and Magnus Bane both hint at this about him.
  • Expy: Of the Draco Trilogy version of Draco Malfoy .
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Jem. So much that even though both boys love Tessa, they are willing to let the other one have her and even if Jem died after marrying Tessa, Will would never pursue Tessa as he feels it would be a betrayal to his friend.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: It's to stop people from caring about him too much - because of his curse, they'll wind up dead eventually. After he finds out that there is no curse, he mellows down.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Pulvis et umbra sumus. For those who don't read Horace, that means "we are dust and shadows," pretty much said by Will to be what he believes in.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Pulls this for both Tessa and Jem when they announce their engagement.
  • I See Dead People: Confirmed in the first chapter of The Clockwork Prince to be one of the few Shadowhunters that can.
  • Interspecies Romance: With Tessa.
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: He alludes to a traumatic childhood quite often.
  • Jerkass: He very occasionally strays into Jerk with a Heart of Gold territory, but he really isn't. However, he does shift into Hidden Heart of Gold territory after the discovery that he literally kills everyone he loves. Until it turns out that he doesn't. He's still distant, though, but that's just his personality.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Big time. Will's good looks are given a lot of attention.
  • Odd Friendship: With Jem - Will is a rude asshole and Jem is a kindhearted nice guy. They even look absolutely different: Jem is all white and silver and Will is all dark colors.
  • Playing Drunk: Jem says it's to make himself look bad. It is revealed in The Clockwork Prince why.

    James "Jem" Carstairs 

Brought up in the Institute in Shanghai, Jem's parents were killed by a demon who allowed Jem to live—but with a terrible price to be paid. Frail and silver-haired, Jem seems an unlikely demon-killer, but his skills and swift intelligence make him a formidable foe. He finds a kindred spirit in Tessa as both of them feel they are torn between two worlds, neither belonging completely to one or to the other. As Jem's affection for her grows, will Will have to hurt the only person in his life he's ever seemed to care about?


  • Blood from the Mouth: Due to his 'illness', he coughs up blood when weak.
  • But Not Too Black: According to Cassandra Clare, an early cover for one of the The Clockwork Prince him pulling his hat over his face. The cover was changed when Clare protested.
  • But Not Too Foreign: He's half English and half Chinesenote . His actual name is Jian, but this is only brought up once or twice in passing and for some reason he seems to prefer to be called by his "British" name.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: According to Jessamine. Not as much as Will, though.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: A partial version of this trope; Will is the only one to call him, "James", although it is a mark of affection more than anything.
  • Oblivious to Love: Probably can't tell that Sophie's sweet on him.
  • Odd Friendship: With Will - Jem is a kindhearted nice guy and Will is a rude asshole. They even look absolutely different: Jem is all white and silver and Will is all dark colors.
  • Secretly Dying: As of The Clockwork Prince, he is still hiding his Soap Opera Disease from everyone except Will and Tessa.
  • Soap Opera Disease: It was caused by a demon drug that was used to torture him and his parents when he was younger. There is no known cure for it, and he has to keep taking a specific drug to keep on fighting - as Brother Enoch says, taking the drug means a slow death, but keeping him off the drug would mean a quick one.

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The Dark Artifices

    Emma Carstairs 
When Emma was younger, she was living happily in Los Angeles with her parents. Then they died in the Dark War under suspicious circumstances. After that she started living at the Los Angeles institute with her best friend/future parabatai Julian Blackthorn and his family. Even though the Clave claimed her parents got murdered by Sebastian, she knows that there is more to it and she is determined to find out what really happened.


  • Action Girl: One of the best shadowhunters of her generation.
  • Covered in Scars: Her body is scarred because she tends to be reckless about her own safety. She's left with even more scars after she takes a whipping from the Faeries in order to protect Mark and Julian.
  • Intimate Healing: Emma heals Julian from a fatal injury while they're cramped together in the back seat of a car. She even notes that she's straddling him. It's even this on an emotional level, as the only reason Julian's wound was able to be healed was because his and Emma's romantic feelings for each other enhanced the power of the healing runes.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: When she and Julian became parabatai, they swore to be this. However some time later they fell in love. At the end of the series their parabatai bond gets broken and they become a couple.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: She falls in love with her parabatai Julian, which is strictly forbidden.

    Julian "Jules" Blackthorn 

Julian is the third child of Andrew Blackthorn (and the first with his wife Eleanor). In the dark war his father died, his older sister got banished and his older brother got kidnapped by faeries. Since his mother had already died a few years earlier Julian and his younger sibling along with his best friend Emma (who lost all her family in the war) got placed under the care of his uncle Arthur.


  • Affectionate Nickname: Emma has been calling Julian "Jules" since they were kids.
    • Played with: When Emma and Julian have sex, and later admit their feelings for each other, Emma calls him Julian. Then, upon learning about the curse, she tells him she loves Mark, not him, and goes back to calling him Jules. Julian starts hating it, and missing when she called him Julian.
  • Intimate Healing: Emma heals Julian from a fatal injury while they're cramped together in the back seat of a car. She even notes that she's straddling him. It's even this on an emotional level, as the only reason Julian's wound was able to be healed was because his and Emma's romantic feelings for each other enhanced the power of the healing runes.
  • Patricide: His father, after he got turned into an Endarkened, tried to kill Ty. Julian then killed his father to save his younger brother.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: When he and Emma became parabatai, they swore to be this. However some time later they fell in love. At the end of the series their parabatai bond gets broken and they become a couple.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: When Emma has seemingly been stabbed to death, Julian holds her in his arms and begs this word for word.
  • Please Wake Up: After Livvy is killed, Julian repeatedly begs her to open her eyes.
  • Promotion to Parent: Julian for his younger siblings. He's not the oldest, but his older sister Helen was exiled by the Clave and his older brother Mark was kidnapped by the Wild Hunt; therefore when their father died in the war, Julian, at the tender age of twelve, had no other choice but to step up and take care of the rest of the Blackthorn brood.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Julian's never felt attraction to anyone except Emma.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: He falls in love with his parabatai Emma, which is strictly forbidden.

    Cristina Rosales 
Christina Mendoza Rosales is the daughter of Carmen Rosales. She grew up at the Mexico City Institute. She was very close with her distant relatives Diego and Jamie Rosales. Diego became her boyfriend and she and Jamie planned to become parabatai, but after she overheard a conversation between Jamie and Diego that implied they were manipulating her to gain political power, she left Mexico without telling them why. She then decided to go to the Los Angeles Institute where she became friends with Emma Carstairs and the Blackthorns.


  • Nice Girl: Cristina is always kind, compassionate and willing to help other people.
  • Platonic Lifepartners: She and Jamie used to be this. They were best friends and planned to become parabatai. [[However their friendship ended when Cristina overheard Jamie saying that he only wanted to become parabatai with Cristina because of political reasons and didn't actually care about her.]]

    Mark Blackthorn 

The second child of Andrew Blackthorn and Seelie faerie lady Nerissa. He is the younger brother to Helen and the older half brother to Julian, Livvy, Ty, Dru and Tavvy. He grew up in the Los Angeles institute with his father, stepmother and siblings. When Sebastian attacked the institute during the Dark war, he turned Mark's father and teacher into endarkened. Since he couldn't do the same to Mark due to his alliance with the Seelie queen he decided to give Mark to the faeries where he got claimed by Gwyn ap Nudd and became a Hunter in the Wild Hunt.


  • Bi the Way: He had a relationship with Kieran in The Wild Hunt, but is also attracted to Cristina. He easily admits to being bisexual when Emma questions him about it. Most Faeries are bisexual as they view love and lust differently than mundanes.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: Because of the Seelie queen support for Sebastian in his war against the other Shadownhunters (which they lost) and the cold peace, the Shadowhunters and faeries developed a lot of hatred for each other. This resulted in most fearies hating Mark for his Shadowhunter side and most Shadowhunters hating him for his faerie side.
  • Literal-Minded: Mark is a little out of practice when it comes to interpreting figures of speech after spending a long time in the Land of Faerie.

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