The time is coming! I am crossing every single one of my fingers and toes that Barnes and Noble over in the US has made it so that I will get City of Heavenly Fire on May 27, but I have an incredibly strong suspicion that this is just simply not the case. But, even so, CoHF is so much closer than it was at the end of CoLS so I’m not complaining.
I’ve been working my way through The Mortal Instruments with the lovely C.J., who you should really all know by this point and if you don’t shame on you. And click here to fix it. If you haven’t jumped on my blog in a while, or C.J.’s for that matter, here’s our City of Bones and City of Ashes discussions, just in case you have a thing for continuity like I do. But warning: C.J. and I are hardcore Cassie fans so there are spoilers for most, if not all, of the The Mortal Instruments books as well as a few for The Infernal Devices trilogy and The Bane Chronicles eBooks. These spoilers are usually signposted, but you have been warned.
I will be shutting up now because this discussion is already pretty long. So join in our Shadowhunter fun!
Here’s something you guys might not know about City of Glass, and I totally don’t blame you if you don’t know it. I only know because I have way too much time on my hands and a smart phone that lets me while away the hours doing absolutely nothing of use.
But, did you know that TMI was only supposed to be a trilogy? Like TID, TDA, and TLH? Seriously. The whole series was supposed to end after the Battle of Alicante. Or The Mortal War, whichever way you refer to it. We were never supposed to get anymore Jace and Clary, or Malec. And we were never going to see Maia and Jordan reconnect. Seriously think about the Shadowhunter universe without CoFA and CoLS. More people would be alive, but there are so many things we just never would have known.
I know what you’re thinking. But Cassie left so many loose ends! Why yes, she did. But she had a plan to tie up those loose ends:
I had indeed initially planned not to write more Mortal Instruments books after City of Glass. Two things happened to change that: One, I had written a plot for a graphic novel about what would happen to Simon after the events of Glass, which is why I left so many threads untied at the end of City of Glass. When the graphic novel didn’t work out, I was left with this storyline and nothing to do with it — it wasn’t enough for a whole book on its own. However, while I was writing the first book in The Infernal Devices…the way events played out in it gave me the idea for a new villain and conflict that might beset the cast of characters from The Mortal Instruments, and connect up to the plotline from the planned graphic novel.
You can read the whole interview here
That’s why CoG feels so final in some respects. Everyone is with who they’re supposed to be (well, besides Simon), and the bad guys are dead. Or so we thought.
I am also often spouting the “fact” that TID was actually conceived before TMI, even though the above quote seems to negate that, right? WRONG!
I actually got the idea for The Infernal Devices before I got the idea for The Mortal Instruments. It started with a strong mental image: the image of a Victorian-era girl and a boy standing on a bridge in London while creepy-looking mechanical monsters came after them.…The idea for the Mortal Instruments came later and I decided to write it first, basically on the theory that it would be easier to sell a contemporary fantasy than a historical one.
If you want to know more click here.
Unfortunately, Cassie was probably right. No teenager in their right mind would pick up an historical piece unless they were already invested in the characters. But I’m kind of glad of how we were introduced to Will and Jem and Tessa. I mean, could you imagine having longer without [SPOILER FOR CP2] Will? I’m fine with the way things are, thank you very much.
The one major thing that sucks about that though, is that every person I have recommended TMI too, I have to preface it with, but before CoHF comes out you have to read TID in it’s entirety. Can you imagine picking up TMI after all the books are out and then read all the way through CoHF, then realize there is a prequel series and go back and read TID? I don’t want to spoil the big stuff, but good lord I am almost positive CoHF will spoile the shenanigans out of CP2. Which would be the saddest thing ever, because that book is magical and beautiful and perfect.
Main Point: Please read everything by order of release. It is so much more fun that way!
I was reading the interview with Cassie on GoodReads and she kind of touched on this. Apparently Jem and Tessa are going to “have useful things to do and meaningful moments, but this is the end of the Mortal Instruments, and the main focus will be on Clary, Jace, Simon, Alec, Isabelle, Maia, Jordan, et al.” I’m so excited by this. I think this has something to do with that CoHF snippet:
“Okayyyyy,” Isabelle said in a low voice, “When did Brother Zachariah get hot?”
And I can’t WAIT! Because Jem has been removed from society for so long that girls ogling him will be a new experience. Back in his day (haha) girls were way more restrained. I can’t wait to see his reaction to Izzy. It’ll be amazing. But I totally agree. People should definitely have read TID by this point. If just so they know who Will Herondale actually is and why we all love him so much.
Alright, so I wanted to just take a minute to talk about the power of a name. Specifically, it’s connection to one’s identity. At the end of CoG, Jace has a little bit of an identity crisis. Realizing that he is in fact, not a Wayland or a Morgenstern, he starts to question who he really is. Should he consider himself a Herondale? He didn’t know Stephen, he barely knew the Inquisitor. The only link he has to his biological father is a silver box of trinkets and a promise from his father’s ex-wife that he hadn’t always been a terrible person. As we all know, and I am sure agree, Jace is and will always be a Lightwood in our hearts. Clary makes a great point here, after talking to Jace about how his nickname came from Maryse:
“The only thing that makes a name important, and yours, is that it’s given to you by someone who loves you.”
It just made me think about all of the other people in TMI who have gone through a transformation, marked by a change in a name. Jace is by no means the only one, he is just the only one that we usually think of. Jocelyn sheds the name Fairchild when she flees Alicante, and takes on the name Fray (with basically the coolest inspiration ever). That makes Clary a Fray as well, but she knows now that her father is really a Morgenstern. Luke is another. When he became a werewolf and moved to New York he changed his name from Lucian Graymark to Luke Garroway. Who else am I missing?
Don’t even get me started on if we should call Jonathan Sebastian or Jonathan because that just makes my heard hurt.
I think another interesting thing to ponder are those who underwent a sort of transformation, but didn’t change their name. Especially Amatis. Even though she is not longer married to Stephen, and hasn’t been for what? At least 18 years? She never changed her name back to Graymark. I think there is some importance in that.
Amatis is an interesting one. I think she keeps Stephen’s last name to hold onto some last part of him. Amatis is one of those secondary characters who cop a lot of flak and I felt so sorry for her at the end of CoLS. She was such a good person, if misguided, and what happened to her felt like yet another unfortunate event. Amatis never really catches a break, does she?
YAY FOR FRAY! I love talking about this because I had a conspiracy theory that [SPOILER FOR BANE CHRONICLES AND TID AND TMI] Fray and Gray were related. They were just way too similar.
“I actually was born Tessa Gray,” Tessa said. “But you should choose whatever name seems right to you. I’ve always said there is a great deal of power in words, and that means names, too. A name you choose for yourself could tell you the story of what your destiny will be, and you intend to become.”
“Call me Fray. Let me join together the names of the Fairchilds, my lost family, and the Grays. Because you are…a family friend,” said Jocelyn, speaking with sudden firmness.
This quote also speaks to the whole name thing in the Shadowhunter-verse. Names have very little influence on who you are as a person, but they do say a lot about you. Those seem like two mutually exclusive things, yeah? But not really, if you think about it. Your name doesn’t make you what you are, but it shows people who you are by the choices you make. Think about it, your name tells people who your family is, or who your husband is, or demonstrates your beliefs if you’re married but you have a different last name from your husband. There is an awful lot of power in a name. BUT, just because your last name may be Hitler or Bin Laden or Morgenstern doesn’t mean you are anything like the terrible people who made those names famous. You get me?
And as for Jace. He should just drop the last name thing and pull a Madonna or Cher or Rihanna. I mean he starts as Jace Wayland, becomes Jace Morgenstern, only to find out that he’s actually Jace Herondale, and then finally settling on Jace Lightwood, (I love that quote from Clary, it’s one of my favourites).
But all of those names have a claim to who Jace is. He was raised by Valentine, has the Angel mark on him from his Herondale blood, and he believed he was Jace Wayland for the first ten years of his life. Lightwood may be the only name that doesn’t want a piece of Jace, but wants Jace to be a piece of it. Does that make sense? Like, Lightwood is the only name that is good for Jace.
The whole name thing brings to mind one very specific quote:
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet
Jace would still be Jace no matter his name. He would still be the arrogant, broken, beautiful, hilarious, angel boy we all know and love even if his last name were Morgenstern.
Johnathan will always be Sebastian. Jace will always be Jace. The whole Johnathan thing is something I try to ignore. It hurts to much to have Jace and Sebastian share that name. So I conveniently forget about it as I’m reading it. Like Magnus’ memory spell in a way.
One of my qualms with CoG is the whole Sebastian “mystery”. As I re-read the story, I felt that the clues that Cassie left throughout the story were so bloody obvious. I mean, seriously:
[Clary] glanced down surreptitiously at her wrists as she fell into step behind [Sebastian] – they were ringed with red where his fingers had gripped her, and more strangely, her fingertips were smudged black, as if she had somehow stained them with ink.
And, come on:
They were partway to the doors when she realized that her wrist was hurting, stinging as if it had been burned. Looking down, she expected to see a mark on her wrist, where Sebastian had gripped her, but there was nothing there. Just a smear of blood on her sleeve where she had touched the cut on his face.
I mean, what else could those things actually mean? Sebastian has demon blood and dyed hair. It’s so obvious. And just another thing as a woman who is constantly dying her hair and one of those colours was black, there is no way dye rubs off when you run your hands through dyed black hair. Otherwise my ex would have had black fingers every other day. I don’t buy that Sebastian and Valentine were using the cheap stuff. Valentine was loaded so he could have afforded decent dye. Plus, there’s no way he would have had Sebastian use the temporary stuff. It would wash out too easily. This tiny detail just bugged me.
As I was reading, I kept trying to remember how I felt when I was reading CoG for the first time, and how I managed to miss these clear-as-glass clues. And it came to me:
The whole ink thing? I thought maybe Clary had stained her hands while she was drawing. Forget that there was never a passage in the book where Clary was sitting around Alicante drawing, I figured it had happened in one of those scenes that are never described. You know, kind of like there is never a single mention of a character going to the bathroom.
And the whole stinging blood thing? I figured Clary had cut herself and the salt in Sebastian’s blood had aggravated the wound. Clary’s time in Idris was pretty violent, to say the least.
So my theory is that I missed these details on my first read through because I was so hungry for the story that I managed to miss these crumbs and I just took them as extra details that came together in the conclusion climax of the story. What do you think? Or was I just stupid and totally missed obvious clues?
Dude, I totally missed them the first time through too. And you are right, they are pretty obvious! I kind of love that I missed them the first time through though, because it allowed me to have that “oooohhhhhh” moment when it all came together at the end!
Can we talk about how basically the instant everyone found out that Clary and Jace weren’t really brother and sister, everyone was literally shipping the shit out of them? Seriously. It made me realize just how much that relationship not only affected Clary and Jace, but all of the people who loved them. It tore up Isabelle and Alec so bad that both of them at one time or another lashed out at Clary, either verbally or physically. They knew how much it was hurting Jace, but they also knew how genuine it was. Can you imagine how hard that would be? Izzy knew that Clary wasn’t being malicious with her feelings for Jace. She knew Clary wasn’t playing with his feelings or baiting him. They genuinely loved each other, and that is what made it so hard. Right after the Mortal War was over, in that scene with Izzy, Clary, and Aline getting ready, I am pretty sure Izzy had just become Clace’s #1 fan. She reminds Aline repeatedly that Clary and Jace aren’t really brother and sister, and that they love each other. Then, when they get to the celebration and Clary is just hovering around looking for Jace, enter the Magnus the Magnificent:
Alec sputtered as Isabelle laughed, and Magnus took the opportunity to lean close to Clary and whisper in her ear. “The Accords Hall steps. Go.”
BEC: I was totally shipping Clace even when they were brother and sister. Sounds messed up, but I honestly believed, to my core, that they weren’t. They were too into each other and too good for each other that it all just had to be rectified. Thank God it was otherwise I would have had to book myself in for some serious therapy.
I never really thought about how the S.S. Clace effected the people around Clary and Jace. Not until I really thought about it. And you’re right, it affected everyone. Seriously, everyone. I mean, we all already know that Clace affected Simon because he has to watch the love of his teenaged life pine after her brother instead of trying to be in a relationship with him. But I never really thought about how it all affected everyone else.
I don’t really care about Alec’s reaction because I loathe Alec. He’s just ridiculous and selfish and I hate him. And he THREATENED TO KILL CLARY. AND SHOVED HER AGAINST A WALL. But Izzy? Poor Izzy sees her brother fall in love with someone he can never, ever have and has to watch it tear him apart from the inside out. So you can’t even hate Izzy for this:
“I don’t hate you, Clary. I even like you. If it were possible, there isn’t anyone I’d rather Jace be with. But I hope you can understand when I say that if by some miracle we all get through this, I hope my family moves itself somewhere so far away that we never see you again.”
Izzy is such a bright character. She is basically the human equivalent of fire, in my opinion: warm, but dangerous. Helpful, but will burn you if you stand too close for too long. Draws you in like a moth. And beautiful.
She may be one of the only characters we actually get to know in the usual fashion. We see her as a little shallow and then, as the story progresses, we get to see all of the depths that are hidden under Izzy’s appearance and nonchalance. I love Izzy.
Anyway, so for fiery Isabelle is would be like a constant itch she couldn’t scratch, knowing that her brother is in pain and yet can do absolutely nothing to help.
[Just a sidebar on Isabelle guys. There is a book vlogger, obviously on YouTube, who has some incredibly mind-blowing theories about Izzy in CoHF. Thank you, C.J., for introducing me to this woman! You have got to watch this clip!
Moving away from Izzy, the whole Clary/Jace thing also puts the family in such an awkward position. And when I say family, I mean the teenagers. Everyone understands the situation even if no one ever speaks of it. But when they introduce the strangers Aline and Sebastian into the mix, things start having to be explained. How awkward would that be? For example, when Isabelle is trying to stop Clary from walking in on Jace and Aline…
“Sebastian!” Isabelle called. “Don’t let her go upstairs!”
The boy looked up, startled, and a moment later was in front of Clary, blocking her path to the stairs.
“He’s not here,” Isabelle answered, at exactly the same time that Sebastian said “He’s upstairs.”
Isabelle turned on him. “Sebastian! Shut up.”
Sebastian looked perplexed. “But she’s his sister. Wouldn’t he want to see her?”
Now how do you explain that Jace definitely would NOT be happy to see Clary while he’s kissing another girl? Because you can’t just tell people that the Morgenstern kids are into each other without someone calling the Clave. Or the Silent Brothers. Or whoever acts as protective services in the Shadowhunter universe.
I am glad that Clary and Jace aren’t related, that’s basically the short of it.
I also have a totally heartless theory about Max Lightwood’s death. My theory is that Cassie realised there wasn’t really any room in her story for a third Lightwood. She had to focus on Alec’s relationship with Magnus and Izzy trying to give herself permission to let Simon in. Alec and Izzy were also the same age as most of the main cast whereas Max was too young to ever really be part of the action. So my theory is that Max was killed off so that Cassie didn’t have yet another character’s arc to write. I mean, she even gave Aline the story arc of coming out to her parents and ending up with Helen Blackthorn. Max may have seemed superfluous. And so she figured that Max would be more useful dead than alive and killed him, thus giving the Lightwoods and their friends a highly personal and emotional reason for going after Sebastian.
But Max would have been the right age for TDA. He would have been a little on the young side, given that he was eight and Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn were about twelve when all of the Sebastian stuff went down. But still, he would have been old enough to play a role in the next generation of Shadowhunter teenagers. I wonder whether Cassie is maybe kicking herself a little. Because what’s a better way to bring in some old favourites like Isabelle (and Simon by extension, because I hope to God those guys are still together) and Alec?
Well, she can only bring them back if they are still alive after CoHF…
On a happier note, I just wanted to leave my favorite bit so far here, just for the sake of badassery.
“Clarissa,” he said. “What have you done?”
Clary stretched out her hand, and with her finger she wrote in the sand at his feet. She didn’t draw runes. She drew words: the words he had said to her the first time he’d seen what she could do, when she’d drawn the rune that destroyed his ship.
MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN.
Damn that Cassandra Clare giving me goosebumps. SO GOOD.
I loved that part. It was like “Screw you, dad, I’ll take your magic wish away from you. Take THAT!”
But the best part? Clary was still not a fighter. She won through her guts, her determination, her love for Jace, and her brains. Oh, the beauty of it.