Hey Cassie! I’m a huge fan of your books and so excited to discover your new stories and characters in both TDA and TLH! I was re-reading the bane chronicles recently and after I finished Midnight Heir I couldn’t help but be completely fascinated by Grace Blackthorn. Being the huge nerd that I am (in preparation for TLH obviously lol) I started to get really into researching the Edwardian era. I ended up coming across the beauty standards for the women at the time and became curious… At the turn of the century the “Gibson Girl” was the height of feminine beauty. Apparently blondes were ‘out’ and tall statuesque ladies with dark hair, dark brows, pale skin and pink lips were the height of fashion. Blonde haired women even dyed their hair to keep up to date. None of these qualities (as far as I recall) apply to Grace and I was wondering why that was. I realize that Grace’s appeal obviously extends beyond her looks and that asking about your motives behind a characters physical appearance could be redundant and one of those “it is because it just is” questions. But because Grace’s beauty and charm seem to be such a huge part of her character (like Estella’s in Great expectations) it made me wonder about your reasons behind Grace’s particular brand of beauty. Do those “mundane” beauty standards not apply to Shadowhunters? Are her looks some kind of clue to her genetics? Is she meant to look ghostly like Miss Havisham? Or is she just the way she is because that’s what felt right? Anyways, thank you for creating such wonderful worlds to explore, they’ve all made me feel safe and happy when I otherwise wouldn’t have. Sending love!! Xoxo — conflictedfangirl
How cool of you to do research! The thing is, the dictates of high fashion rarely match up with what people find beautiful in the run of ordinary life. High fashion might have dictated that brunettes were “in” at the end of the Victorian era, but that didn’t prevent beautiful blondes from being celebrated. It didn’t prevent the Prince of Wales from pursuing Lilly Langtry, one of the most famous beauties of the time, and a blonde. There was also a brief period where colored hair was in — green, blue and pink — at the turn of the century, but it didn’t make young men spring up shouting “MAMA! I SHALL MARRY ONLY A PINK-HAIRED LASS!” (Unfortunately.)
Grace is charming, when she wants to be; she is also blonde. Because so much of her nature and mystery revolves around the idea of whether her feelings are dead, whether she is “frozen” inside, I gave her pale hair and skin and eyes, to echo that coldness. Whether they are a clue to anything genetically interesting about her, you’ll have to wait and see!
You have been in every line I have ever read, since I first came here, the rough common boy whose poor heart you wounded even then. You have been in every prospect I have ever seen since — on the river, on the sails of the ships, on the marshes, in the clouds, in the light, in the darkness, in the wind, in the woods, in the sea, in the streets. You have been the embodiment of every graceful fancy that my mind has ever become acquainted with. The stones of which the strongest London buildings are made, are not more real, or more impossible to be displaced by your hands, than your presence and influence have been to me, there and everywhere, and will be. Estella, to the last hoursof my life, you cannot choose but remain part of my character, part of the little good in me, part of the evil. — Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
Cordelia Carstairs. Bit of a scapegrace and ever since she was ten she’s had a sort of a crush on James Herondale, who is parabatai with the always-delightful Matthew Fairchild, and has a very odd relationship with Tatiana’s Blackthorn’s ward Grace Blackthorn, whose brother Jesse Blackthorn may or may not be dead, a mystery that occupies the busy brain of writer Lucie Herondale, whose father would really prefer she marry Alastair Carstairs, Cordelia’s older brother. Shown with Cortana — looks like Elias did as Tessa suggested and passed it down to his own children after all. Alastair is best friends with Charles Fairchild, who you may remember as Potentially Buford from Clockwork Princess. Charles would like to be the next Consul, alas, and Henry finds he rather gets along better with Cecily and Gabriel’s son, Christopher, who is the younger brother of the ever so sophisticated Anna Lightwood.
My all time favorite Anna headcanon is that Anna always acts really annoyed when Christopher asks for her to help him test his various hypothesizes, but Anna secretly loves learning from him.
Anytime he discovers something new Anna is astonished about what a genius her baby brother is.
All the Lightwood and Herondale kids meet up at Anna’s flat and hang out
They literally just sit around and complain about their parents to each other, and Anna gives them all great advice about life.
When Grace broke James’ heart, he headed straight for Anna’s flat. He didn’t know why he went to her instead of Matthew, but Anna was able to cheer him up almost immediately.
After that, Anna and James’ relationship strengthened and they became nearly inseparable, and James would visit Anna anytime he was feeling down.
Anna is super sassy to her parents, and the way she talks to Cecily drives Gabriel mad (however, he fawns over his daughter.)
Anna is very blunt, and she will often say things that others perceive as insulting.
Cecily tried to talk to her about it but Anna wouldn’t have it, saying she only spoke the truth.
Anna doesn’t really care what anyone else thinks of her; she dances to the sound of her own music, and she won’t let anyone else’s words or opinions change that.
Anna does, however, immediately jump to the defense of her friends and family. If anyone hurts her loved ones, especially Christopher, James, or Lucie, they better run because Anna will hunt them down.
I’m a huge Charles Dickens fan (I’ve read all of his books many times each,) so I tend to associate Grace with Estella from “Great Expectations.” I believe both of their characters will follow similar development arcs, but I can try to create some headcanons anyway:
Young Grace was absolutely devastated when her big brother Jesse died.
She cried for weeks and weeks on end, and Tatiana was too grief-stricken to comfort her.
This was around the time Grace met James, who helped her understand and move past her loss.
Grace secretly always admired James’ love of literature growing up, and she wished she could study books as often as he did.
She read every book in the old Blackthorn manor from cover to cover multiple times and also learned to appreciate the written word.
Grace begged Tatiana for more books, but she said no because “pretty girls had better things to do than read.”
This infuriated Grace, who began reading as many books as possible which she borrowed from James
Soon James and Grace would have these long, in-depth conversations about various classics, authors, and characters that they read about.
James started visiting Idris less and less, and Grace soon lost her access to his extensive library.
She started sneaking into Alicante to buy second-hand books, and she hid them all in her room.
When Jesse came back, Grace shared all of her books with him while Tatiana tried to keep him hidden.
Eventually, Grace grew to hate Lucie and Cordelia, especially after they “took” Jesse away with them
In reality, she was devastated that she was trapped alone with Tatiana again.
I hope you liked my headcanons! Please send me your theories, ideas, and headcanons, and I will post them on my blog!
so if the main characters of tlh are 16/17 and it takes place in 1903 then it’ll probably be about christopher lightwood (16), james herondale (17), grace cartwright (17), and i’m assuming cordelia carstairs because of james even though she’d be 18 (unless her birthday is later in the year i guess). so then thomas lightwood could also be a main character since he’d be around 18 as well…
In TLH Cordelia is in love with James since she was a child and in the family tree she marries James and not Grace who is James’ (Pip) Estella.
Biddy = Cordelia
“She acts as Estella’s foil.”
foil is a character that serves the purpose of making another characters traits or ideas more apparent. Usually by being “the opposite”.
Cassie did say that Cordelia is a scapegrace which means she’s a mischievous or maybe even a little mean (maybe a little like James’ father?). Her being a scapegrace may have led people, and james’ attention, to Grace who might be, as Tatiana (Miss Havisham) trained her, the most beautiful and most graceful charmer/deciever then.
“Pip ignores her affections for him as he fruitlessly pursues Estella.”
of course we all know he’s sooooo in love with Grace, tried to harm himself even, so how can he possibly notice Cordelia if he’s blinded by the Grace.
“he returns to claim Biddy as his bride, only to find out she married Joe”
I have a feeling that Joe might be Matthew?? I don’t know. just a guess.
Joe and Pip are friends, i don’t remember if they were best friends or something but they were friends. It could be possible that Matthew and Cordelia or Cordelia and another get married, we don’t know, its a possibility that James might have the same stupidity of timing with regards to proclaiming their love to the woman meant for them, like his father.
But of course Cassie would do a lot of plot twists and stuff there about the whole Pip-Biddy-Estella thing just like what she did on Tale of two cities story in TID.
Regarding TID. *spoiler* Will’s death is actually a reference to Tale of two Cities so is Jem and Tessa’s engagement and Will’s stupidity over screwing up his chance with her. which means Will’s death is actually a thing that follows ToTC’s story and not Cassie’s own evil plan to make us cry for weeks or more. In ToTC Sydney Carton dies and Sydney is Will so to follow the story she has to do it. I think?
Back to TLH..
Estella’s husband dies so Christopher Lightwood (Grace’s husband, as written in the family tree) might die. I have a feeling that Grace and Christopher’s marriage is the arranged one that Cassie said before.
As for Matthew and Grace’s “odd” relationship I don’t know what that is.. I have this thought at the back of my mind that it might be that Grace seduces Matthew as she is trained to do but I don’t think that is likely to happen.
Okay so this is just my theory based on what Cassie has told us about their marriage.
So she said that they get married for a “weird” reason that she doesn’t think anyone will guess and that they don’t get married for the reason that we think, so I’m starting to wonder if maybe James gets Cordelia pregnant. Just think about it for a second: in that time period, it was considered kind of weird if an unmarried girl got pregnant and it would be a reason that most people probably don’t think about. Cassie has also said that it is a reasonable reason, which if you think about it, Cordelia getting pregnant could be considered a valid reason to get married. Cassie said that she doesn’t think we’d really guess it because it’s not a conclusion that immediately pops into your head.
Now, as for why they have sex. I’m still not entirely sure why they would have sex, but these are a few of my theories:
1) James is upset because of something Grace did/said, and he wants to take his mind of things for a while. Maybe he knows that Cordelia has a sort of crush on him or maybe she’s just there, but he starts kissing her and it leads to sex.
2) James is upset and Cordelia wants to make him feel better, so she has sex with him thinking it might help.
3) Cordelia tries to cheer James up and they somehow get drunk and have sex.
Like I said, I’m not sure why they would have sex and this is just my theory to explain why they would get married. If any of you have any thoughts or other theories, I’d love to hear them!