Alec’s behaviour in How Are Thou Fallen and how to portray insecurity in a healthy manner
Since I won’t be able to make any videos this week due to unforeseen circumstances, I thought I’d offer my thoughts on Alec’s behaviour in the promo for Episode 7 ‘How Are Thou Fallen’ and how important it will be to the series.
I think it’s obvious by this point that I don’t like the books that Shadowhunters is based on. If you want to see why loads of posts will show up if you type ‘anti tmi’ or ‘anti CC’ into the search tags on my blog. The main reason is because of Alec’s behaviour in City of Fallen Angels onwards in relation to Magnus’ past relationships. He makes extremely inappropriate comments towards Magnus, insinuating that Magnus would sleep with anyone because he’s bisexual. Of course, as I’ve said in the past, I wouldn’t have an issue with this if there had been a character arch or development of understanding where Alec would apologise and realise what he had done wrong. But there wasn’t any of that.
Now, when book stans defend Alec’s behaviour, one of the first things they say is “Alec was insecure”.
This always struck me as interesting. As an extremely insecure person myself, I could never understand how people could justify statements such as:
“Or, there are plenty of girls here, since apparently your taste goes both ways. Is there anything you aren’t into?” ~City of Fallen Angels Page 305
as someone being insecure. It definitely came from a place of Alec’s innocence in relationships and the young age he was in the books whenever he began his relationship with Magnus. I’m not going to get into the boatload of problems with Alec’s behaviour here, if you want to see my thoughts here’s my video on it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Md4n-jhNBpc
I’m focusing on the point of insecurity in this post. Alec’s comments about Magnus’ sexuality-if were made to portray Alec’s insecurity in the relationship-failed their purpose. There are so much better ways to portray a character’s insecurity than having them make such damaging comments in a book series that prides itself on its LGBT characters. And this is where the show comes in.
I’ve only seen the promo for How Are Thou Fallen (we all have!) and I already know that they’re going to portray Alec’s insecurity so much better than the book could ever dreamed of.
In The Iron Sisters, Alec made it clear that he didn’t care about Magnus’ past relationships. It did, undoubtedly, alarm him a little during their date that there had been so many people in Magnus’ past in comparison to his own. Which is natural. Even Magnus himself was alarmed by how little experience Alec himself had. But there was no disgust; no grimaces; no comments made like the one quoted above; they were both simply alarmed. And that’s normal. As Magnus said, they’re both from completely different worlds. And that’s fine.
However, we see in the promo for episode seven that Alec is still insecure. I know there are jokes flying around about him being called innocent one episode and then asking about sex the next but you see that’s exactly the point. Insecurity makes you so self aware, and Alec will not be able to help comparing himself to all the people Magnus will have been with before him. He’ll be measuring himself up, and worrying that he won’t cut the mustard. Hence why he goes to Isabelle, his sister, for advice.
Sex is one of the most common things an inexperienced person will think of being inadequate at in a relationship. One of the most common questions is the one Alec asks Isabelle. The question of when? How do I know? Should I wait? Do I not wait? If I wait too long will they grow bored of me? Because from my own experience I know what it’s like to worry that maybe if I hold off too long, my other half will grow bored of me. It’s a normal thought process.
Not to say that Alec thinks Magnus is a sex hound and thinks this is the only way he’ll be able to hang onto him. It’s simply a concern that arises quite often with someone who hasn’t had any experience when they’re dating someone who has quite a bit. That their lack of knowledge on what to do and how to proceed will wreck things, or become difficult for their partner to deal with.
So Alec is trying to educate himself by talking to Isabelle. He’s going to his sister, who he knows has quite a bit of experience herself, for advice on what he’s supposed to do. And Isabelle will probably tell him that he’ll know when the time is right (I don’t expect her just to say ‘jump his bones and it’ll work out in the end’) but for someone who’s worried and insecure, it can be misconstrued as ‘it might not be right for me but it could be right for them’. And Alec is constantly trying to put other people before himself anyway he’d be more concerned about Magnus being happy and satisfied in their relationship as opposed to his own worry over the topic of sex itself.
And as we can see from the stills for episode seven, Magnus is most likely going to stop Alec in his tracks. He’ll reassure him that this doesn’t need rushed and that he’s perfectly happy waiting until they’re both ready for it. Besides, just because Magnus is not a virgin himself it doesn’t mean he’ll be ready to jump into bed with Alec immediately either. They’ll only have been on one or two dates by that point.
That’s where I think episode seven is going with this plot. And it’s really, really good. It’s a much more healthy way of portraying Alec’s insecurity over Magnus’ past relationships and his worry that he won’t be as good as them. Alec is trying to build Magnus up, and make him happy in their partnership, rather than tear Magnus down like he did in the books.
Words cannot describe how happy this makes me.
I don’t know if any of this makes any sense but I wanted to get my thoughts down somewhere while I had them ^_^