are you falling or flying, clarissa?
you know, as always, i’m really irritated when people call clary by the name morgenstern because she doesn’t use it, it’s not the name she grew up with, and most importantly she doesn’t like it, like don’t be fucking rude. so when the angel raziel called her clarissa morgenstern i was really annoyed, and then i got to thinking and this fits really perfectly into this shadowhunter fic i’ve been planning so what if:
the morgensterns are an old, wealthy, and powerful shadowhunter family, right? they have such an odd name for their profession, such a specific one – morning star, the name of lucifer before he fell, the name that jesus uses to describe himself in the bible. are they referring to one, to both?
but what a powerful name, what an important name. that’s not a name you take for yourself, not when you’re a servant of heaven like the shadowhunters are. it’s a name you earn.
then there’s the name clarissa. clarissa means bright and shining. so her name translates to the bright shining morning star. and it must have been valentine who gave her that name, because it’s such a heavy name for a baby, for a young woman, for anyone. and valentine calls her clarissa morgenstern because that’s what she is to him, a bright shining star. but that’s not a name you’re given, not really. it’s one you earn.
so i really like the idea that raziel calls clary by the name clarissa morganstern because he thinks she’s earned it. i like the idea that all the reasons clary chafes with the clave and other shadowhunters and the downworlders are the same reasons that the angels love her. she falls into the role of holy soldier in a way that’s so much cleaner and straightforward than most of the people around her.
i talk here and here about why i believe clary is a blossoming little general and about her sharp take on morality (some of these opinions are out of date because WOAH BOY some people have had hella character development, but i stand by the general idea of them). but in summary:
clary is crazy charming when she’s wants to be. she’s not manipulative really, she’s too straight forward for that. but especially in the first season she did impossible things so casually, and i don’t mean in magic or power. i mean in getting mortal enemies to die together for her cause, getting loyal subjects to break oaths to their queen for her, getting the aid of people who once professed to hate her or even tried to kill her. i once wrote that clary is dangerously charismatic and i believe that. she doesn’t have to be right, she just has to convince everyone she’s right, and she’s kind of scarily good at that.
secondly, clary has a very black and white view of morality. there isn’t really any grey area where she’s concerned. i’m just going to copy and paste from my other post here, so:
she’s really big on forgiveness. which seems odd, considering how completely ruthless she can be at times, but it’s true. it’s one of my favorite qualities of hers, the dichotomy of how readily she forgives and moves on from past hurts against how completely and thoroughly she’s capable of hating and cutting down those who stand in her way.
clary basically forgives everyone who’s ever lied to or wronged her – she doesn’t hold a grudge against magnus for taking her memories in the first place, against raphael for any of the actions he’s taken against her, never holds onto any hurt or resentment for any of the cruel things alec has said to her. jace ignores her for weeks and she doesn’t take it personally, only wants him back in any way she can have him. when luke abandons her in her time of greatest need she doesn’t blame him, is only happy to have him back. when luke’s sister returns she insists that they give her a chance, and even after cleophas has proven herself to be a betrayer and a liar, even when clary has every reason not to trust her – she does. when cleophas says she’s changed her mind, she’s ready to betray valentine even tho moments before she would have declared herself one his most faithful servants – clary believes her. clary believes and trusts a murderer because that – that’s part of clary too, i think, even her positive qualities circle back to her ruthlessness.
holding onto grudges and hurts will only hinder her, so she doesn’t. she has a goal and she has enemies and those are immutable and unmoving but everything else is negotiable.
clary is not a woman that deals in grey areas. either something is right or it’s wrong, either you’re with her or against her, and she has little patience for anything or anyone that tries to stay in the in between. this is most perfectly shown with that quick back and forth between her and cleophas in the alley. cleophas says that hurting an angel goes against everything being a shadowhunter stands for, and clary shoots back oh, and killing downworlders doesn’t? cleophas says it’s different, but the thing is for clary it isn’t. she deals with absolutes. killing downworlders and torturing an angel are the same for her because they are both actions that heaven’s warriors shouldn’t be taking, and in her mind if you’re capable of one you’re capable of the other.
so in conclusion: clary has a stunning capacity for both compassion and forgiveness, is ruthless down to her bones for better or worse, and treats morality as far more black and white than is probably healthy.
look at her relationship with jonathan and how that fits into all of this. when she’s on his side, she’s moved by compassion, is willing to forgive all manner of atrocities because she believes in him. when she’s like this, her dangerous charisma comes out in full force, and she nearly turns him to her side without even trying to. then he crosses a line, and all that compassion disappears, at least on the surface. clary has made her judgement – her brother is no longer worth saving, and she’ll kill him with her bare hands when necessary. compassion and forgiveness. black and white morality. utter ruthlessness. clary’s interesting, i think, because she has all these qualities at once.
and … i just feel like all these qualities make the angels really like clary. she is like them, ruthless and caring and with an unmovable certainty for what she believes to be right. on top of this, a charisma and presence that pulls others to her side in spite of how her other qualities grate on them or get them in trouble. she’s a leader, more last season than this one, but she still has those qualities.
they look at her, raziel looks at her, and calls her clarissa morgenstern. she is the bright, shining morning star.
will she fall like lucifer? is she a messiah like the son of god?
but both of those people brought change, brought revolutions, for better or worse.
clary has earned her name. when change comes, as it inevitably must, people will have her name on their lips.
for better or worse.