9 Rules to Being a Shadowhunter

Rule 1: Tell everyone who asks “ARE JACE AND CLARY RELATED?!?!?!” Yes. you tell them YES!
Rule 2: If someone asks for no spoilers you spam them with fake spoilers.
Rule 3: Love and Respect your parabatai as if you’re Jem and Will.
Rule 4: You MUST shout incest when Clace kiss to confuse some people who don’t know.
Rule 5: When someone dies, you say Ave Atque Vale.
Rule 6: Always support Simons band. No matter how terrible it is.
Rule 7: Always look better in black than the widows of your enemies.
Rule 8: Always ask Jace if you can touch his Mango.
Rule 9: Nothing less than 7 inches.


And some are fallen, to disobedience fallen,
And so from heaven to deepest hell; O fall
From what high state of bliss into what woe!

beyond I love you

Hi I’m a big fan of both TID and Mortal instruments series. There are two characters which are my favourite. Isabelle and Jem. Jem has been the character to get me through a time in my life when it wasn’t the easiest. He gave me hope. As for Isabelle she was the person I look up to be. The endings for these two characters for me felt heart breaking. I also was a little annoyed that everyone within Mortal instruments got a happy ending besides Isabelle. I was just wondering why these characters didn’t have a happy ending? These books are one of my must favourites to read if I have connections with each character. You are an amazing writer and I hope you continue in the future.… — jasington

So here’s the thing about having favorite characters that I have discovered due to being both a reader and then a writer: you always feel like your favorite character (or ship, but that’s another post) got done down, didn’t get written about as much as everyone else, didn’t get a happy ending, etc. I get written to constantly about how Jem got the happy ending and Will didn’t. Or how Gabriel didn’t get a happy enough ending, or Gideon, or Charlotte even, or Henry (who did get handed a crap sandwich at the end of Princess, though he leads a long and happy life after.)

It’s not that bad things have happened to them randomly, it is that they are your favorite and you want them to have All The Things. I get letters about how Jace and Clary didn’t get as happy an ending as Magnus and Alec because they are not as committed to their relationship being forever. I get messages about Magnus and Alec being done down because Alec, like every other person on the planet, will die someday. And messages about how Maia gets the fuzzy lollipop because her boyfriend didn’t just lose his memory, he died in front of her and her and Bat aren’t officially dating. Also, quite a volume about how Sebastian didn’t get a fair deal.

To me, Isabelle got what everyone got at the end of CoHF: she got a human ending. She lost Max, which was her biggest loss, and she experienced losing Simon, though by the end of CoHF is it clear he is back and they’re going to give it another try whether he remembers her or not. (And if you read Tales from Shadowhunter Academy, which I know you said you have not, you can read all about how that plays about and Isabelle and Simon’s happy ending.) But she also experienced victory, saving people and being saved, experienced being loved and loving, loss and losing, gaining friends and cementing family ties. Isabelle is a brave young woman, with great friends and a complicated but loving family; even if a piano had fallen on Simon, I would not consider her to have had an unhappy ending. If you feel differently, your feelings are totally valid, but it’s definitely worth asking yourself: Do I feel this way because this is actually an unhappy ending, or because I perceive other characters/ships as having gotten more? Maybe worth asking that about Jem, too, who I consider one of the happiest and luckiest characters I’ve ever written?

Hey Cassie! I loved Born to Endless Night so much I cannot even use words. Thank you and Sarah for such an amazing story- it is one of the best e-books ever! When Simon tells Izzy he loves her I squealed so much because oh my god! However I have noticed something about Izzy- she has never directly said it back! In CoHF she said that she has never told anyone she loves them (who is not in her family) and when Simon said he loved her but didn’t want her to say it back unless she meant it, she said- ‘I mean it’. And then in BtEN she said ‘I know’!!! Will Izzy ever just say it?! I doubt you will answer this but if you do it will mean the world to me. Thank you so much for the shadow world! (So hyped for LM, Angels Twice Descending and the TV show!) Thank you! — asgreenasfire

This might not seem like the same question as the above question, but to me they are actually related! Ok, here’s a thing: I am not actually a huge fan of the words “I love you.” Obviously I like them fine  in real life, or used casually in books, but as the apotheosis of a literary relationship, phrased that way, it does not work for me or interest me. And if I’m in a critique group, in someone else’s work, I’ll ding it with a comment: “Can’t you find another way to say this? Something that’s less generic and more about these people and this relationship?”

I do think of this as related to the above question, because sometimes this is less about the significance of the “I love you” and more about scorekeeping. There was a lot of arguing about whether and when Tessa said I love you to Jem and/or Will, and whether Jem had ever said it to Tessa and whether Will had, etc. I also got a lot of emails about Clary not saying it to Jace, and about Alec not saying it to Magnus, with neither the Clace people or the Malec people willing to acknowledge this might also be the case in other relationships in the books. :)  Here’s one about whether Jem ever said it to Tessa. (He did, just in Mandarin.) It happens with literally every ship, but every ship thinks it’s just them.

Going back to me not liking “I love you” — it isn’t because there’s anything wrong with the words, and my characters do say it all the time. It’s about the way they say it. Will saying “I am catastrophically in love with you” is to me enormously more interesting and more relevant to Will and Tessa than him saying “I love you, Tessa.” As is Jace saying, “I love you and I will love you until I die, and if there’s a life after that, I will love you then.” As is Alec saying to Magnus, “I would never want a less strange love.” (I have even seen the argument that Alec saying “I love you” to Magnus in BTEN does not “count” because it is in the middle of a sentence about his family, rather than a pronouncement he makes from the top of a tree or accompanied by Jace on the flute or whatever.)

As for Isabelle, when Simon says “I love you”, she says “I know” — which echoes him saying that that’s what he’s always wanted, back in City of Ashes. A girl who when he said “I love you,” said I know. It’s the best “I love you” she could give him, and much better than the three words “I love you” because it’s about Simon and Isabelle, it wouldn’t work for any other couple, but it works for them. As does Alec saying, Even if it were just days, I would want to spend them all with you to Magnus, because part of the core issue of their relationship has always been time, and the amount both of them have, and this is Alec saying: I don’t care about time, I only care about being with you. It’s about conquering that issue. Will saying he catastrophically loves Tessa is about him saying he understands that  it’s a terrible time, a terrible moment, but he loves her so much he can’t not say it. When Clary says "When I die and they burn my body and I become ashes that mix with the air, and part of the ground and the trees and the stars, everyone who breathes that air or sees the flowers that grow out of the ground or looks up at the stars will remember you and love you, because I love you that much” it’s her way of reassuring Jace, who has always believed love is destruction, that love is good things like the growing world and the natural beauty of the stars.

All these ways of saying I love you are about making the characters richer, deeper, more interesting and resonant. I have no recollection of anyone ever saying “I love you” to someone in a book, but I do remember Juliet saying and when he shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars, and he will make the face of heaven so fine, and Cathy saying, Whatever souls are made of, his and mine are the same, or Wentworth writing I am half agony, half hope, or Jack’s I wish I knew how to quit you.

Obviously one does not spend all one’s time beating oneself up because one is not Shakespeare, but I, and every writer I know, do try to make the pronouncements of love in our books as memorable and character-specific as possible. It took days of tearing up paper to get I am catastrophically in love with you, and years of waiting for the right moment for Isabelle to say I know to Simon. In fact, I know, obviously, is a Star Wars reference, and the rumor is that the original version was “I love you, too.” Harrison Ford ad-libbed it into “I know,” and changed a forgettable line into something we all remember and look to — I have friends who have “I know” carved on the inside of their wedding bands. To turn the forgettable “I love you” into something people will remember is what we as writers are constantly striving for.

Alec laughed dryly. “I think they’ll figure out where we went. Eventually. Maybe I don’t care if Dad ever figures it out.” Alec threw his head back and sighed. “Oh, God, I’m a cliché,” he said in despair. “Why do I care? If Dad decides he hates me because I’m not straight, he’s not worth the pain, right?”

“Don’t look at me,” said Jace. “My adoptive father was a mass murderer. And I still worried about what he thought. It’s what we’re programmed to do. Your dad always seemed pretty great by comparison.”

“Sure, he likes you,” said Alec. “You’re heterosexual and have low expectations of father figures.”

“I think they’ll probably put that on my gravestone. ‘He Was Heterosexual and Had Low Expectations.’ ”

—  City of Heavenly Fire (the best one in my opinion)

Black for hunting through the night

For death and mourning the color’s white

Gold for a bride in her wedding gown

And red to call the enchantment down.

White silk when our bodies burn,

Blue banners when the lost return.

Flame for the birth of a Nephilim,

And to wash away our sins.

Gray for the knowledge best untold,

Bone for those who don’t grow old.

Saffron lights the victory march,

Green to mend our broken hearts.

Silver for the demon towers,

And bronze to summon wicked powers.

—  -Shadowhunter children’s rhyme (Cassandra Clare, City of Heavenly Fire)