I’ve never heard anything more hurtful than the words “Magnus deserved better.” Logically, I know there were a lot of people who were really upset at Alec at the end of City of Lost Souls, but I’d never really experienced it firsthand like THAT before.
I know people tend to love characters like Magnus more than characters like Alec. That’s why people like Jace and Will as well. These bright, confident, funny characters who hold endless wells of emotion inside, and we just love them, right? I mean, I love Magnus. I love him so, so much.
But. But. People tend to view these characters’ loved ones as the quieter, less awesome ones. Even when both characters are awesome, mainstream media-type readers tend to do this. (As does advertising. And if you’re really mainstream (coughgirlfromSouthCarolinacough), then you don’t even care about Magnus and Alec, because mainstream generally means heteronormative.) A lot of relationships are built on this dynamic. One really magnetic character, and then their sidekick/significant other. (The Doctor and Captain Jack Harkness have this, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson too, etc.) So I know it’s a thing, and it’s common.
But. BUT. I was upset with Alec too. Who wasn’t? But I think the most important part of this whole page 511 mess was that no one (NO ONE) was more upset at Alec than Alec. I could go on and on and on about Alec, and his character, and how he thinks of himself (how little he thought he was worth) for the longest time, but that is a different post for many other times. I will say: This trait exists in tiny things, because you won’t ever know with people like Alec. Maybe you just thought he was oblivious when everyone BUT ALEC knew that Magnus was in love with Alec in City of Glass. The heartbreaking truth is that he really wasn’t oblivious, he would just never assume Magnus loved him, no matter how many people thought it or tried to convince him of it, because he doesn’t think he’s worth that much. And at the time, he’d convinced himself that he would never be worth anything unless Jace loved him, because that was safe. That was SAFE. For him, holding himself to this impossible standard attached to his parabatai (who took SIX BOOKS to actually SEE Alec) was safe. Safe.
And I really could go on forever about Alec, and how often people misunderstand him, but that was not the point of this post. The point of this post is that I am really upset that there are people out there who think “Magnus deserved better.” A lot of people blame Alec for the whole thing. It was his fault, but it’s also Magnus’s! Cassie explained this! I’m shocked that she even had to! It should be pretty clear that both of these characters are flawed. We like to think characters like Magnus aren’t, but he is. What makes these two so wonderful for me is that I can love them for their flaws as well as their strengths.
A lot of people don’t understand why Alec Lightwood is my favorite character. Like, why, Kyra? Out of all the characters? When there’s Magnus? And Izzy? And all these badass awesome people who are more badass and awesome than Alec, who we have deemed less badass and awesome? Why?
It’s a very simple answer. I’ll try to do it the bandaid way: quick and nearly painless. Because last year, when I zoned out of my classes to daydream about what a relief killing myself would be, when I shrank inside myself so much that I couldn’t look my mom in the face, Alec Lightwood was all I had. Even though there were people around me who were willing to help, and did, and I am doing much better now, Alec was the one person I had that made me feel like I wasn’t alone. I understood him. Yes, I was upset at Alec for every second of his mistakes. But I knew I would have done the same thing. Now, would I? No. But I was a different person a year ago. So was Alec in City of Lost Souls.
So it just really, really upsets me when I still see echoes of this “Magnus deserved better” bullshit. It just….no. Alec is so much more complex than the casual reader will usually understand, and I know most other people don’t feel the same way about Alec, but. But. Magnus does not deserve better. He HAS better. Alec Lightwood is not a second choice, he not a runner-up, he is not an honorable mention, he is. Not. Trivial. He is Magnus’s husband, goddamn it, and if you hadn’t noticed, Magnus hasn’t actually married anyone else in his 400 some-odd years. Magnus thinks Alec is worth it. So keep your bullshit away from my ship.