When reading CoB aloud to your 13 year old sister directly after reading CoHF, it occurs to you how fucking beautiful all of these characters are, and how much they’ve grown up.
- Jace was a whiny, emotionally explosive emo dick who was so afraid of hurting people that he intentionally hurt people to keep them away. He was a dick to his parabatai,
- Isabelle hated other girls, because that’s how afraid she was of being less than the best, less than beautiful and loved. She’d go out with guys who treated her like shit so that she’d have attention.
- Alec was painfully shy, a bit clave-y racist, so far in the closet that he spoke moth and madly in love with his parabatai, despite his lack of actual attraction to him.
- Clary was egocentric, incredibly reckless and very naive. She’d pout and throw fits.
- Simon genuinely thought the friendzone existed. He felt slightly entitled to Clary’s affection, and he was sort of very whiny. He was the ‘damsel’ in distress, most of the time.
The growth since then is so fucking immense. Jace’s transformation is probably most dramatic, and it’s even addressed in CoHF. He’s become a better person because of what happened. Clary is more selfless and considerate, she’s very caring and fiercely loyal and a great person. Alec is warmer and friendlier, he’s confident in his sexuality and isn’t racist anymore. Isabelle is more confident and doesn’t hate other women, and Simon’s gained some respect and some agency.
They were all good characters book one. But the series made them dynamic. It made them, in my opinion, great characters.