I understand that TID, and TLH are based off the two books: Tale of two cities, and the Great Expectations. Which make sense because they are both classics. I was just curious (although absolutely certain there not) if TMI, TDA, or TWP are based off anything? Thanks so much! — dumbledorelovessherbetlemons

Sure, retellings of fairytales and classics are super-common so it’s reasonable to ask. Both Infernal Devices and The Last Hours are very loose retellings - you can see echoes of the themes and characters in the books, but they don’t stick strictly to pre-existing plotlines. 

The Mortal Instruments was inspired by Paradise Lost, which is alluded to in several chapter titles, in Valentine’s last name (Morgenstern=Morning Star= a common translation of Lucifer, or Satan, who is the central figure of Paradise Lost), with the Mortal Sword, with Jace’s possession, and with the very ending quote of City of Heavenly Fire. There’s a summary of PL here (a lot of times when I say that TMI was loosely based on it people go off to read Paradise Lost and then come back extremely annoyed that it’s a very long poem. It is, in fact, a very long poem!) 

The Dark Artifices is very loosely based on Annabel Lee, the poem by Edgar Allan Poe. You can read any of the books without reading the material that inspired them, because the relevant bits are usually discussed by the characters — in TID they talk about Tale of Two Cities, in TMI they talk about Paradise Lost, and in TDA they discuss Annabel Lee.

As for TWP it’s too early to say. :)

Mark Blackthorn, COHF spoilers

(Is there a lot of Mark suddenly on my tumblr? There may be.)

"Hi Cassie! I really love your books and definitely can’t wait for TDA n TLH. Talking abt TDA, does Mark Blackthorn have heterochromia or is his different eye colour solely due to the fact that he has faerie blood? — emmaherondale"

In the beginning of City of Heavenly Fire, Emma notices that “Mark had the Blackthorn eyes, the color of verdigris” (verdigris is the pigment obtained from rusting copper and looks like this ) but later we see him in the caves of faerie, and Jace demands to see his eyes:

“What is it?” Isabelle demanded.
“His eyes,” Jace said, raising his witchlight and shining it 
into Mark’s face. Mark scowled again but allowed Jace to examine him.

His eyes were large, long-lashed, like Helen’s; unlike hers, his were mismatched. One was Blackthorn blue, the color of water. The other was gold, hazed through with shadows, a darker version of Jace’s own.

Jace swallowed visibly. “The Wild Hunt,” he said. “You’re one of them now.” 

So the heterochromia comes with being in the Wild Hunt. Gwyn, who we see earlier, also has it. Whether if Mark leaves the Wild Hunt his eyes go back to the way they were before or not, is an open question!

For xpsychic


I just finished reading the ARC of your newest series with Holly Black. I gotta say I’m sooooo excited for more! Loved it!! — v-e-r-t-e-b-r-a-t-e

Thanks! I put this up here for Holly to read it. Also I thought I’d start intro-ing some of the character designs that Cassandra Jean did. Meet Call, our grumpy protagonist, and his pet, Havoc, a wolf with a secret.


Shh. I may or may not have been distracted.
Jonathan/Sebastian Morgenstern (c) cassandraclare


Shh. I may or may not have been distracted.

Jonathan/Sebastian Morgenstern (c) cassandraclare

In Clockwork Prince Jem told Tessa that the Parabatai ritual can be broken if one of them wishes to be a mundane. You never explained how a shadowhunter can wish to be a mundane?

Edmund, Will’s father, wanted to be a mundane and became one to marry his wife — Jem tells Tessa about it in Clockwork Angel, and it comes up again in both other books. If you want to read more about the exact process it’s in Vampires, Scones, and Edmund Herondale, in the Bane Chronicles. :) *

*which will be out in print November 11 so if you don’t like ebooks you can just get it at any bookstore


my-chemical-taco said: Hi CC! First,I want to tell you how much I love your books. I started TMI this Fall and I’ve read the whole series now, including CoHF and TID. I love that you have LGBT characters. I’m a lesbian myself,and I relate to Aline a lot. I remember reading about her for the first time and instantly falling in love w/her. I was wondering if we would have more of Aline and Helen in TDA,and if there will be more LGBT characters in TDA? I would love to hear more about them in the future. Thank you! -Kylie

wingsoferos said: Cassie, quick question - could you tell us a little bit about the lgbt+ characters in TDA and who they are, or is it a little too early for that? x


Whenever I get questions like this I feel like running in a little circle, because on the one hand I am super excited to talk about the new characters in TDA, and also I completely understand asking. I think it’s totally reasonable to check for representation of LGBT * characters in a series before you start it. Especially wanting to know if specific characters you love are still around.

At the same time I also worry about talking too much about the details of a book when I’m still way deep in the writing process. There are absolutely prominent GLBT* characters and that isn’t going to change, but I want the process of people being introduced to the characters to feel organic. We’ve seen them as younger kids, or seen them briefly (Mark) and so we don’t know their sexualities yet. Not all the Blackthorns are straight (and I don’t just mean Helen!) and not all the other characters are straight either. But just like with so many het romances in media, sometimes the romantic destination of a character or the pairing they wind up in is surprising, and I worry that just stating who’s gay and who’s bi will wind up in a weird guessing game of pairing them up before we get to know them.

I hope that made sense. Mostly I’m just very grateful when I get these kind of questions because it communicates a trust that representation in my books will be fulfilling/enjoyable/relatable and that means a huge amount to me. I guess it just boils down to — Will there be GLBT* representation in TDA? Yes. Can I go into specifics? Not quite yet, though I can promise that Aline and Helen are alive and well and still together, and we’ll see them again.

Mark Blackthorn with the Wild Hunt

Mark Blackthorn with the Wild Hunt


Call it Raphael, it’s an angel name.

De-stress doodle of Raphael because of reasons. The quote is from CoHF but the picture was mainly inspired by Saving Raphael Santiago which broke my heart into a million tiny pieces.


Call it Raphael, it’s an angel name.

De-stress doodle of Raphael because of reasons. The quote is from CoHF but the picture was mainly inspired by Saving Raphael Santiago which broke my heart into a million tiny pieces.


swiftjolras said: Hi Cassie! I just finished reading Clockwork Princess and while I loved it, what I really want to know is - why did Jessamine have to die? I get that she was happier as a ghost than she was in life, but why did she have to die to be happy? Why couldn’t she have lived and been happy? It’s just so tragic to me because she was sad and angry her whole life and spent the last couple months a prisoner, and then the moment she got out, she died. What was your reasoning here?

Thanks for the kind words about Princess and the love for Jessamine, an often unnoticed character. I never thought of Jessamine being “happier” as a ghost (she’s not, really, she’s just … a ghost) as having to do with the meaning of her death. Rather, Jessamine, Tessa, Sophie, Charlotte (and to some extent Cecily — in fact, all the female characters in TID) are symbolic of the ways that the Victorian repression of women shaped women’s lives.

Sophie was a servant, who was sexually assaulted by her employer — something that happened constantly in the Victorian era, because women had no defense against a man in a greater position of power and wealth. He would always claim that she had thrown herself at him, and he would always be believed over her. Like Sophie, a lot of those women were tossed out on the street, unable to get another job. Sophie was rescued by Charlotte but many many women in real life were not that lucky.

Tessa had to go to England to join her brother because no other options were available to her. Without a guardian (her aunt) as a young woman, she had to have the protection of a man. She had no other options besides a workhouse where she probably would have died, or prostitution. She didn’t have the education to be a governess or the references to be a servant. Tessa is trapped into the events of the Clockwork series as much by her gender as her circumstances.

Charlotte is born to power, exactly the sort of woman her father wishes had been a boy because she’s a clear leader. Still, she fights tooth and nail for every bit of respect and every ounce of power she has. And until Princess, all her accomplishments are credited to Henry (even though everyone knows that though Henry is brilliant with inventions, he’s an awful leader) an she would have no access to power if she wasn’t married to him. The power she does have still comes through a man until the end.

Women of the mid-19th century had no such choices. Most lived in a state little better than slavery. They had to obey men, because in most cases men held all the resources and women had no independent means of subsistence. A wealthy widow or spinster was a lucky exception. A woman who remained single would attract social disapproval and pity. She could not have children or cohabit with a man: the social penalties were simply too high. Nor could she follow a profession, since they were all closed to women…Most women had little choice but to marry.”

Jessamine grew up as a mundane. As such, she would have been made to understand that making a good marriage was the purpose of her life. When she lost her family and came to the Institute, she was given one other option: become a Shadowhunter. (Not that there isn’t/wasn’t pressure on female Shadowhunters to marry, as well, and have  children/more Shadowhunters. But they did have the option of earning a Clave salary.)  

However, Jessamine doesn’t want to be a Shadowhunter. She wants what she was brought up to want, because that is what early conditioning does. And obviously not in every case — many women in the Victorian era chafed against the restraints placed on them by society. And Jessamine, who is in fact headstrong and stubborn and brave, probably would have as well, but she never got the chance to: her ideas of what marriage and family and propriety means are tied up with her dead family, as exemplified by her dollhouse, where she recreates what she imagines a “normal” life to be. For Jessamine, becoming a Shadowhunter means betraying the ideals of her dead parents, something no one in the Institute understands or tries to understand except perhaps Tessa.

Jessamine is trapped. As all Victorian women were in a sense trapped. She’s smart, she’s desperate, she’s willing to run away and live with Tessa if they can just get away from the Shadowhunters, but no one sees how desperate she is until it is too late. Was she in love with Nate? Probably not. He offered her an escape from the life she was trapped in, and she offered him some useful information. She did betray the other Shadowhunters, people who had taken her in and been kind to her, but she was not in her nature either stupid (no one who managed to cleverly get around the spell on her to communicate to Will where Mortmain really was is stupid) or treacherous. She was in a situation where only bad choices were available to her and she made one.

I do often get this sort of question a lot: “Why did so and so have to die? It was tragic.” And I understand it, because reading tragedy is hard and painful for us all. But tragedy in fiction is an illuminator: without death and tragedy, there are no visible consequences for anything. Without Jessamine’s death, there is no visible consequence for the misogyny practiced against her, against Charlotte and Sophie and Tessa.

That Charlotte is named Consul is a massive victory, but she is an exception, not the rule. Sophie, in surviving what her employer did to her and going on to Ascend, is an exception. Tessa, because of her immense magical power, is an exception.

Not everyone can be an exception.

 The world was a terrible and dangerous place for women in the 1870’s — by which I don’t mean that women walking down the street might be attacked at any moment. I mean their agency and personhood was under attack. Jessamine’s story is a story about being trapped and having no good options, because that was often if not always the situation for women in that era. It’s often the situation for women now. She’s obviously more sinned against than sinning, but there was literally a war against women at the time. There are five important women in the TID books; four of them survive the war. One doesn’t. The lesson of Jessamine and what the world and the Clave did to her will live on, into the lives of the descendants of the survivors. Into TLH.