Oh my goodness I was so shocked to hear about the Cassandra Clare plagiarism thing, I've only just started reading her books. The mortal instruments characters are supposed to be parallels of the Harry Potter characters, from what I gather, but I can't really find many similarities? Please explain. It's awful that she plagiarized for her fanfic but could you pretty please explain how it connects to her published work because I'm really confused and would like to know the truth before reading mor
All righty i’m off mobile and back on my laptop so here goes. Like I’ve said in some tags, please don’t feel like you can’t enjoy her works! It’s just good to know their origins.
Here’s some posts about the current law suit against her, which alleges that her entire Shadowhunters premise and the main cast of characters have been stolen from Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series:
- A post that includes links to the full court document, which outlines in detail every aspect Kenyon alleges Clare stole from her series. The ‘similarities’ fill up close to thirteen pages and are far too close to be just coincidence. I highly recommend at least skimming the whole document, so you can see them for yourself. They’re outlined pretty clearly by being put side by side.
- This post which discusses what the outcome of the lawsuit could be.
- The post that broke the news, and which includes this gem of a line: “The Dark-Hunter Series and the Shadowhunter Series are so similar that CLARE’S own publisher mistakenly printed 100,000 copies of a Shadowhunter Book referencing the DarkHunter Mark on the cover.”
And now we delve in to the dark days of the Harry Potter fandom, where Clare’s fame began, and where she was first called out for plagiarism:
- An introductory summary from fanlore.org: “The Draco Trilogy was posted in instalments over a period of six years (2000-2006). In each instalment, Cassie deliberately inserted unattributed quotes from various science fiction television shows and may have expected her readers to identify them, but many readers were not aware that the quotes were not her writing. Not everyone thought that this practice was ethical. Matters came to a head in 2001 when Avocado [a reader] identified extensive sequences of action, description and dialogue from Draco Sinister, Chapter 9, as having been lifted from The Hidden Land, an out-of-print fantasy novel by Pamela Dean. Cassie was subsequently banned from Fanfiction.net for plagiarism.”
- This link has a full rundown of the paragraphs and lines Clare stole from Dean. it’s about as damning as the court document issued by Kenyon.
- @alli6 has written an absolutely glorious post which sums up the plagiarism and the consequent cyber-bullying.
This paragraph of hers excellently conveys my thoughts on the issue: “The problem with the TMI series isn’t that it’s based on a fanfic, but that it’s based on a fanfic that was about 90% plagiarized. CC was hailed for all her clever dialogue and how original she was with The Draco Trilogy. The problem was that all those witty one-liners probably came from someone else. She would give really vague disclaimers that led the reader to believe that most of the writing was original with just an idea borrowed or one line used when in reality it was entire paragraphs and entire conversations that were being copied with either no or very little change to the original source.”
- You’re right in saying that similarities between the TMI characters and the HP characters are hard to see, and that’s because Clare travelled so far from the source material in her fanfic.
This is explained well by The Draco Trilogy tvtropes page: “It used many of the same tropes found in The Mortal Instruments, and deviated wildly from Harry Potter canon because it was begun before the fifth book was released.” “Notable for beginning the Draco in Leather Pants phenomenon, the story took Harry’s rival Draco Malfoy and turned him into a sarcastic, leather-clad Anti-Hero”
- From the fanlore article on Cassandra Claire (her fandom alias): “Clary and Jace are based on Claire’s fanon versions of Ginny and Draco. Additionally, one passage from Draco Veritas, which tells the story of Draco’s pet falcon, appears word-for-word in City of Bones; the only differences are minor punctuation changes and the amendment of “Draco” to “the boy” (now referring to Jace).”
Anyone who’s read TMI knows how important that scene is in regards to Jace’s background and character development; the fact that it’s lifted straight from Draco’s story speaks volumes to the fact that the characters are essentially one and the same.
- A stack of reviews on the City of Bones Goodreads page testify to the similarities between Clare’s versions of the HP characters and the cast of TMI:
“But here’s the problem. Jace is really just Draco from DT [Draco Trilogy]. Simon is really just Ron and Harry amalgamated into one. Clary is really just Ginny. The bad guys seems too much like good ol'Voldie. The plot is painfully similar to DT. It was like reading her old work all over again. And I think, because she was really just redressing her old characters, she didn’t even both to give them any growth in this story.”
“It is painfully obvious that your dopey red-haired ingenue and snarky blond asshole were essentially Ginny Weasley and Draco Malfoy in Original Character clothing. Ditto Simon being a hybrid of Harry/Ron and maybe Isabelle being a slutty Hermione. But wait, you didn’t stop there! Hodge is Lupin/Peter Pettigrew 2.0 and Luke is better known by his other name, Sirius Black, and I am not entirely sure why you didn’t just call Valentine by his true name - Voldemort. And seriously, though, why not just call the Mortal Instruments by their true name - the Deathly Hallows? But wait, it gets better”
“She borrowed so heavily from Buffy, Harry Potter, and Star Wars that it sticks out like a sore thumb. It reads like altered fan fiction. And I love fan fiction, make no mistake, but it’s not attempting to make a buck off someone else’s world, either. Which is essentially what the book is. Cobbled fan fiction that has no cohesion.”
- If you’d like to read The Draco Trilogy and see the similarities for yourself, you can find the three fics here, here and here.
I don’t have an issue with the fact that Clare took a successful fanfic and turned it into a novel. I’m all for fanfic writers having their talents recognised and getting published!!
And in the spirit of full disclosure: if my novel ever gets published, some of you will notice that it includes scenes and dialogue that also feature in my Skateboards and Snapbacks fic. But the difference is that all of that writing - the scenes, the dialogue, the small character interactions - came from my own imagination.
Clare’s dialogue and scenes were plagiarised, and that’s the issue. She branched so far from HP canon that it’s almost unrecognisable, but in the process she stole lines and scenes from other sources, and it’s those aspects that are still present in The Mortal Instruments, works which she is profiting from. That’s the core of the problem.
The characters of The Mortal Instruments have their origins in Clare’s old Harry Potter fanfiction. Jace, particularly, is her sympathetic anti-hero version of Draco, as evidenced by his backstory and some dialogue being transplanted line for line from the fic into the published book. (This would be fine, in and of itself, if that fanfic didn’t consist of dialogue and individual scenes that were plagiarised from sources like Pamela Dean novels and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.)
And the plot and character relationships are so similar to Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series that the parallels are enough to fill a thirteen page court document.
So really, there’s nothing all that original about Clare’s Shadowhunters universe at all.