Hi sorry to bother you but at this point do you think Alec's greatest fault is that he doesn't trust his instincts?
i feel like “greatest flaw” is kind of subjective, and also dependent on the situation that he’s in, if that makes sense?
but, regardless, i don’t know if i would say his lack of trust in his instincts is his biggest flaw, but something slightly different, which is better described as an adherence to authority even despite his instincts or better judgment - and by authority, i don’t necessarily mean just, like, the inquisitor or maryse, but rather being generally “lawful” to a fault - even if there’s nobody explicitly giving the orders, even if it comes from his own self and the standards he perceives himself to have to fulfill as he learned growing up in the society he did.
you can see him start to develop out of this in terms of his personal life/relationships/family etc. in season 2, which wasn’t at all the case in s1, leading to the whole wedding storyline for him (as he adhered to the idea of family honour above personal fulfillment even though there was a part of him that knew it wasn’t the right thing to do). so it’s not necessarily any strict authority, but rather an internal code that he has forced himself to follow.
and not only that, but also the more typical sense of the word “authority” which in alec’s case would largely be the clave. like in s1, alec followed the letter of the law without a lot of external pressure such as in 1x09-1x11, genuinely thinking that that was what was best for him and his family and really the shadow world in general – even if it maybe didn’t feel quite right to him on a moral level. but i don’t think it came out of a lack of trust in his own instincts, but more so the high value that he places on values of obedience and adherence to authority, sometimes over his own personal feelings and - at times - moral judgments. like even if he feels that something is morally wrong, e.g. torturing meliorn, he’s more likely than other characters to look to following the rules as the ‘greater good’ that justifies it. but, as we saw with things like his confrontation with aldertree, he seems to be growing out of it. but even so, alec is not (or at least not yet) a “fuck the system” kind of guy - he largely tends to work within the system, like even when he confronted aldertree, he did it when he knew there was a way to officially delegitimize him, rather than the jace/clary style of “fuck you fuck the system im gonna do what i want”. whether that last part is a flaw of alec’s or not is probably pretty subjective though, and depends on the situation. i guess he has a trust and respect for the status quo and letter of the law that in many situations - considering the clave’s moral corruption - might pose a problem.
THAT BEING SAID, in 2x12, though, i feel like people are putting too much of the onus on alec’s inherent flaws (dont get me wrong there are many), and less on the extremely complex and confusing situation at hand. i don’t really think it was a case of “if alec had followed his gut instead of listening to jace/imogen he could have saved magnus sooner” but it was just a really hard situation, and i’m not sure if he would have, regardless of what jace said to him. regardless of outside influence, alec is more logical and cautious than instinctive or impulsive - like, in early season 1 before they really knew her, he’s the only person who entertained the fact that clary aka valentine’s daughter could be a spy for valentine (i mean, she wasn’t, but it made sense as a theory, rather than just instinctively trusting her as the others did). that also being said, though, jace isn’t wrong when he says that valentine is a master manipulator, and to alec, the uprising and its associated massacres are very very recent history. valentine has been the shadow world’s symbol for utter moral and social reprehensibility for alec likely throughout his entire life, and that coupled with the fact that he has seen firsthand how easily and cruelly valentine has twisted jace’s mind - his parabatai - and i think that contributes to a caution that would be reasonable in that extremely difficult situation. people don’t get that dramatic irony allows us to perceive what the characters can’t, which means it’s all well and good for us to say that he should have known, but you have to look at it from alec’s point of view. but i digress.