Alec Lightwood

So, my copy of City of Heavenly Fire still hasn’t arrived yet. I had a twenty second rush when the doorbell rang and I saw a delivery van carefully going back down the driveway, but instead of a cardboard box emblazoned with Barnes and Noble, a plastic bag covered in Sevenly‘s mottos was sitting on the doormat. I’m glad to have a new jumper, but come on. I’d sooner wrap myself in a blanket all winter if I could just get my hands on the last Clary and Jace adventure.
That being said, Sevenly is an amazing website and you should all check it out. You can indulge your need for new, beautiful clothes and know that $7 of your purchase it going to charity (see, Sevenly. Get it?)

Anyways, to distract myself from my Shadowhunter-hiatus, I’m re-reading The Bane Chronicles. These are the last Shadowhunter stories I have, so I’m hoping I can make them last. Thank God there are so many of them. So why have I called this post “Alec Lightwood” instead of “The Bane Chronicles”? Because TBC just reminds me of how much I loathe Alec Lightwood. Really, I don’t think I’ve ever hated a character so much. Not Valentine, Sebastian, Zoe from Bloodlines, Voldemort, Umbridge, Falco from Secrets of the Eternal Rose, President Snow from Hunger Games, or Laura, Cather’s mother from Fangirl. All of the aforementioned characters are evil, whether because they believe they’re doing the right thing, like Valentine and Zoe, or because they just don’t care about anyone else, like Laura and Falco, or because they are just evil for the sake of being evil: Sebastian, Voldemort, Snow, Umbridge.
Alec holds a special place in my heart as the epitome of selfishness. You’ve heard me say it before, and you’ll hear me say it again. Probably many, many times. Especially when CoHF finally arrives. I’ve managed to avoid all spoilers thus far, but I don’t know how much longer I can hold out.

To me, Alec will always be the guy who shoved Clary against a wall, cracked her head on said wall, and threatened to kill her.

“Alec moved, blindingly fast. A sharp crack resounded through her head. He had shoved her against the wall so hard that  the back of her skull has struck the wood paneling. His face was inches from hers, eyes huge and black. “Don’t you ever,” he whispered, mouth a blanched line, “ever, say anything like that to him or I’ll kill you. I swear on the Angel, I’ll kill you.”

Whenever Alec does anything, I remember this. Every time he does something noble or brave or good, I always remember that his very first response to someone outing him was violence and death threats. That in moments of panic, stress, or moments where he himself is at risk of even the slightest hint of discomfort, he responds with brute force. I don’t care how good of a person you seem to be, it is in moments of greatest personal trauma that you see  someone’s true colours.

Case and point: when Will Herondale finds out that Jem and Tessa are to be married in Clockwork Prince he steps aside. He puts his own feelings for Tessa on a shelf and lets his parabatai and the woman he loves find happiness. He doesn’t try to fight Jem or do anything terrible to Tessa even though: “Heav’n hath no rage like love to hatred turn’d”. He simply lets them be, rather than to cause pain to either of the people he loves best:

You see it, don’t you, James? Without Tessa there is nothing for me—no joy, no light, no life. If you loved me, you would let me have her. You can’t love her as I do. No one could. If you are truly my brother, you would do this for me.
But the words remained unspoken, and Jem leaned forward, his voice low and confiding. “Will. There was something I wanted to say to you, and not when everyone else was around.”
Will braced himself. This was it. Jem was going to tell him about the engagement, and he was going to have to pretend to be happy, and not be sick out the window, which he desperately wanted to be.

Jem grinned. His happiness was printed all over his face, his eyes, Will thought; he had never seen him look like this. He had always thought of Jem as a calm and peaceful presence, always thought that joy, like anger, was too extreme and human an emotion for him. He realized now that he had been quite wrong; Jem had simply not been happy like this before. Not since his parents had died, Will imagined. But Will had never considered it. He had dwelled on whether Jem was safe, whether he was surviving, but not if he was happy.
Jem is my great sin.
Tessa had been right, he thought. He had wanted her to break things off with Jem, whatever the cost; now he realized he did not, could not. You might at least believe I know honor—honor, and debt, he had said to Jem, and he had meant it. He owed Jem his life. He could not take from him the one thing Jem wanted more than anything else. Even if it meant Will’s own happiness, for Jem was not only someone to whom he owed a debt that could never be repaid, but, as the covenant said, someone he loved as he loved his own soul.

Could you honestly see Alec just stepping aside? That he would let someone else have the person he loved because he valued their happiness above his own? No! Because Alec doesn’t value anyone’s happiness above his own. Not even Magnus’, who he supposedly loves.

This is what annoys me so much about The Bane Chronicles. Well, not annoys me, more like frustrates me. In both of the stories Alec’s in, we see a side to him that we don’t usually see. We see Alec trying to protect Magnus when they’re both trying to calm the newly Turned werewolf. We see Alec ecstatic that Magnus actually likes him back. We see Alec shy and unsure of himself and open and honest. Where does that honesty go? Because I never, ever see it in the main storyline. All I see Alec do is denounce Magnus as his boyfriend, treat Magnus like crap, and try and take away Magnus’ immortality. He doesn’t do it in the end, sure, but you know why? Because he doesn’t want to kill someone for it. Because that would be going directly against The Law. Sed lex, dura lex and all that. So it bothers Alec to actually end someone’s life but not to alter the length of someone’s life. And taking away an immortal’s eternal life is basically killing them anyway.
You can argue with me until you’re blue in the face about what it means that Alec went so far along with Camille’s plan. But Alec lets his own selfish insecurities about having a boyfriend not age at the same time as he does blind him to the fact that he is contemplating ending Magnus’ life. I can’t see Jace, Clary, Will, Izzy, Tessa, Jem, Jocelyn, Jordan, Maia, Simon, Luke, Sophie, Gideon, Gabriel, Cecily, Henry, Charlotte or any of the other fabulous Shadowhunters I’ve neglected to mention doing that. They would accept it. Or let the other person be happy without them. Alec is a selfish son-of-a-bitch and Magnus deserves so much better.

I know already that Malec is probably reformed in CoHF. That’s just a given. Like it’s a given that Clary and Jace will finally be able to be together. But Alec does not deserve Magnus. However, I will concede that Magnus deserves to be happy, and if a selfish spoiled Shadowhunter brat makes him happy, then so be it. But that doesn’t make this scene any less awful:

“Magnus,” Alec said again. “I thought you were asleep.”
“Evidently,” Magnus said.
Alec swallowed hard. He had never seen Magnus angry, not really. Not like this. Magnus’s cat eyes were remote, impossible to read. “Did you follow me?” Alec asked.
“You could say that. It helped that I knew where you were going.” Moving stiffly, Magnus took a folded square of paper from his pocket. In the dim light, all Alec could see was that it was covered with a careful, flourishing handwriting. “You know, when she told me you’d been here—told me about the bargain she’d struck with you—I didn’t believe her. I didn’t want to believe her. But here you are.”
“Camille told you—”
Magnus held up a hand to cut him off. “Just stop,” he said wearily. “Of course she told me. I warned you she was a master at manipulation and politics, but you didn’t listen to me. Who do you think she’d rather have on her side—me or you? You’re eighteen years old, Alexander. You’re not exactly a powerful ally.”
“I already told her,” Alec said. “I wouldn’t kill Raphael. I came here and told her the bargain was off, I wouldn’t do it—”
“You had to come all the way here, to this abandoned subway station, to deliver that message?” Magnus raised his eyebrows. “You don’t think you could have delivered essentially the same message by, perhaps, staying away?”
“It was—”
“And even if you did come here—unnecessarily—and tell her the deal was off,” Magnus went on in a deadly calm voice, “why are you here now? Social call? Just visiting? Explain it to me, Alexander, if there’s something I’m missing.”
Alec swallowed. Surely there must be a way to explain. That he had been coming down here, visiting Camille, because she was the only person he could talk to about Magnus. The only person who knew Magnus, as he did, not just as the High Warlock of Brooklyn but as someone who could love and be loved back, who had human frailties and peculiarities and odd, irregular currents of mood that Alec had no idea how to navigate without advice. “Magnus—” Alec took a step toward his boyfriend, and for the first time that he remembered, Magnus moved away from him. His posture was stiff and unfriendly. He was looking at Alec the way he’d look at a stranger, a stranger he didn’t like very much.
“I’m so sorry,” Alec said. His voice sounded scratchy and uneven to his own ears. “I never meant—”
“I was thinking about it, you know,” Magnus said. “That’s part of why I wanted the Book of the White. Immortality can be a burden. You think of the days that stretch out before you, when you have been everywhere, seen everything. The one thing I hadn’t experienced was growing old with someone—someone I loved. I thought perhaps it would be you. But that does not give you the right to make the length of my life your choice and not mine.”

But why does the fandom turn on Magnus after this? Why do people suddenly think Magnus is a terrible guy because he doesn’t want to see Alec or his friends ever again? is Magnus not allowed to be hurt? Does Magnus just have to sit there and take this abuse because people “prefer” the Shadowhunters? I’m going to end my Alec Lightwood hatred rant with an excerpt from Cassie Clare’s interview on GoodReads, because she can explain things better than I can:

Magnus has been badly treated for years by Shadowhunters. He talks about Shadowhunters throwing AWAY??? the plates he’d eaten from because a warlock touched them. His friends have been murdered by Shadowhunters. Alec, and Isabelle, and Jace, and Clary’s parents were all once part of a fanatic organization bent on eradicating Magnus’s kind. I think framing it as Magnus being in a sulk because his boyfriend did something to hurt him ignores the larger implications of his situation: Alec didn’t just do something to hurt Magnus; he did something fundamentally untrustworthy, and he didn’t do it in a vacuum. He did it in a world in which Magnus has good reason not to trust Shadowhunters, a group who have long disenfranchised warlocks, and by whom Magnus has been betrayed before. Questioning his trust in other Shadowhunters afterward seems natural, especially considering that Magnus is in a position where he needs to make decisions not just for himself, but also for other Downworlders about what is safest for them.

I’ll just say it: I hope Alec dies in City of Heavenly Fire.


P.S. All of the illustrations were drawn by the infinitely talented Cassandra Jean. She illustrated The Shadowhunter’s Codex and does the most amazing Shadowhunter artworks. If you click on any of the pictures, they’ll take you to her Tumblr. I hope you have a spare few hours because there is a lot of awesome stuff on there!


About Bec Graham

Bec Graham, 24, was born on the wrong continent. Everything from her burns-like-paper skin tone to her inability to cope with the slightest hint of a hot day suggests she should have been born under the gloomy skies and mild sun of the UK. She hopes writing will get her to her rightful home one day. Failing that, she scans the skies for a spinning blue police box, hoping to catch a lift back to the motherland.
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8 Responses to Alec Lightwood

  1. I HAVE SO MANY THINGS TO SAY. But can’t yet. 😦 Hurry up CoHF!

  2. Hailey says:

    I know everyone is entitled to their own opinion but PLEASE FOR GODS SAKE JUST LET THAT FUCKING GO!!!!!! Remember what the book said about them being treated differently if the shadowhunter community found out you were gay??? At the time he didn’t know her nor did he trust her!!! I’m not saying he didn’t over react but you can’t just let that ONE SCEAN ruin you perception of him! What Sebastion did and is doing is MUCH WORSE!!!!!! BY FAR!!!!!!!!

    • Bec Graham says:

      Yes, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. And this is mine. I find Alec to be a downright selfish character and I don’t like or trust him. That is my opinion and it will not change.

      • Hailey says:

        Fine. Be that way. I was just telling you to open up a little I was the same way with Clary until I stop being so closed minded and looked at it from her point of view and saw she was just scared

  3. Pingback: “Born to Endless Night” by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan | My Infernal Imagination

  4. Bridget says:

    You keep saying everyone is entitled to their own opinion and yet you attack everyone who has a different point of view left right and center.
    Alec is not selfish at all. He is just an insecure inexperienced guy who is in his first relationship. He doesnt know what to do.
    He met up with Camille to find out more about Magnus’ past because Magnus wouldn’t tell him and Alec is all for honesty. So this type of mistrust leads him to Camille. He feels that if he finds out from Camille he wouldn’t have to bother by asking him and he would know more about Magnus. Remember Alec is a practical and logical person. So in his point of view it is impossible for you to trust a person you know nothing about.

    And about his honesty? Don’t you think that’s why he is so reluctant for anyone he knows to even think about breaking the law. His obligeism to inform someone aboht what is truly going on. His honesty is shown in his feelings and the way he interprets certain things. Just because Magnus says it in TBC and not in TMI doesn’t mean he thinks differently or he lost it. It just means there hasn’t been enough Alec time to reconfirm (even though it’s not needed) what has been said.
    It’s actually stated quite clear as day in the books.

    Alec cares for Magnus too much to take away his life, he only considered it. So it’s not fair of you to deem him selfish over one thing during one time in that one book.
    He wanted him and Magnus to have this ‘Normal relationship in the sense of age. NOT in the sense of warlock\Shadowhunter relationships.
    He wanted to assure himself and Magnus that none of then would have to be upset about the other. And if you have sense (which I doubt) You would see that Magnus also wanted to take away his own immortality for Alec.

    It’s 2019 and I’m still convincing idiots to read between the lines.

    Anyway, Alec was blinded by his own insecurity because that’s the type of person he is – not confident in his actions and way too humble to actually say anything.
    Their relationship was solved by communication after they realised they can’t bear to let each other go and finally TALK.
    Their break up was a fundamental point in their relationship. I’d explain it to you if you want me to. But I know it won’t change anyrhing. You have already made up your mind.

    And as for shoving Clary against a wall. She was a person actively using his sexuality against him, he felt threatened and cornered. And as a Shadowhunter his automatic response to such emotions is to fight it off. In fact if I were in his position of be doing much worse.

    The rest of the things you claimed were false and only written for the purpose of derogation.

    No one is blaming Magnus and I’m most certainly not.
    But I can see where people are coming from: he was insistent that Alec be outed and that put pressure on him.

    They both made mistakes and they sealed with it at the end.

    And as for the other Shadowhunters how yo you know they wouldn’t do the same, is there any proof?
    Cause I would looove some evidence.

    Everyone deals with things differently and if Alec had never met Magnus and these things had happened to someone else we’d be sitting here having the same argument with the only exception of Alec being featured in your list.
    Pressure And insecurity makes you do strange things.

    I’ve covered all the point I deem worthy conversating. The rest is just pent up anger at…..
    Well you have to find that out for yourself.

  5. Bridget says:

    And when you add the circumstance of the Shadow World and their beliefs to the mix. You be read the Bane Chronicles so you would know what Magnus says about Alec’s personalities clashing. So take that into account and apply it. It fits perfectly

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