I get asked all the time who I prefer, Will with Tessa or Jem with Tessa.
I don’t think this is a question I can ever answer because whoever I prefer is how the story ends. I suppose it doesn’t meant I’d necessarily pick that character myself (I’d probably pick Simon over Jace, myself, but I’m not Clary) since I am not Tessa, but if I think she should be with Will, she’ll be with Will, if I think she should be with Jem, she will be with Jem, if I think she should be alone, she’ll be alone. It’s not an answerable question for me.
I did say I’d be happy to host a series of essays by readers on who they think Tessa should end up with and why, so here they are below. Will/Jem included as well since it has a very strong constituency. :)
Nothing is edited by me but everything’s under the Read More tag because…spoilers!
Hello Shaowhunters and Downworlders! I’m Molly LeGrant from mortalinstrumentsheadcannons and I am a Jessa shipper! I know Jessa is kind of a minority in the TID world, and I have no idea why. Hopefully, when I’m done here, you will agree with my perspective.
First off, Tessa is comfortable in Jem’s presence and quickly became used to letting him in close. When Gabriel came up behind her in training, she instinctively thought it was Jem, and then turned around and was disappointed that it was not. Similarly, Sophie has noted that Jem is always excited when a door opens… and is disappointed when the person who enters is not Tessa. This shows that Tessa and Jem really are secure in each other’s company, which is a rare thing for couples, and even friends. Letting people in is hard for Tessa after everything that has happened to her. When Will barged into her room at the Dark Sisters, she didn’t trust him. She didn’t even trust the Shadowhunters at the institute when they saved her. Her own brother sold her out. For me, if my brother sold me out, I would probably never trust anyone ever again. But she somehow let Jem in, and felt safe and secure. It is a true accomplishment after everything that happened. And, let’s not forget, she didn’t trust any of the Shadowhunters when she first met them, except Jem. Since the night she saw him playing the violin, she immediately opened herself up to him, and he was always there for her. He has not let her down.
They consider each other beautiful and brave. Jem believes Tessa has the soul of a warrior, and has the heart of an amazing human, even if she isn’t fully one. Tessa believes Jem is nothing but goodness. When they were fooling around in the DSBS, Jem feels insecure about his body, as he is not as big as some of the other Shadowhunters. Tessa tells him he’s beautiful anyways, and she’s not lying. She truly does believe and know it. She knows that you don’t have to be a big, muscular, typical hot guy to be beautiful. It’s the inside that truly shows. (And probably the outside too, because in my head, Jem is hot.)
During Clockwork Angel, Jem and Tessa did not know each other very well, yet that didn’t stop them from being fiercely loyal towards each other. When Tessa was mad at the Shadowhunters- and called them awful things, may I add- Jem still went to find her. He was not even mad. And even if he was, he forgave her instantly. He took her to his favorite spot, and made Tessa laugh. Not only that, he truly helped her and gave her really great advise. And then the clockwork creatures attacked. Cassandra Clare really knows how to ruin a moment. (And we love her for that.) Tessa had never faced the clockwork creatures before. She couldn’t even fight, but she was willing to defend Jem to the death. When he started to cough up blood, Tessa felt instantly responsible, even though in no way was it her fault. Then, Jem even told Tessa about his illness, which he never had to do. It was not her business, and she could have lived happily not knowing. But, he didn’t want Tessa to blame herself for what happened, and he really did want Tessa to know the truth, because he felt she deserved the truth. Their loyalty towards each other only grows stronger as the books continue.
Another reason Jessa deserves to be endgame is that Jem is dying. (Wow Molly, way to soften it up.) But yes, it’s true, the incredible James Carstairs is dying. Now, this can go one of two ways for my argument. People can easily rebut this with “This would make Tessa a widow as a teenager,” or “Tessa won’t be able to have him for long anyways.” Now, these are true, but don’t you think that Jem deserves to have love in his life? Jem admits to Tessa that he probably won’t outlast the decade. He knows that his life will be over soon. But he just wants to be with the girl of his dreams as long as he can. Is that a crime? (And lets not forget, unless Tessa another downworlder, she’ll be a widow anyways. Yes, even if she marries Will.)
Put yourself in Jem’s shoes. You are twelve years old. Your parents have just been murdered. You were tortured nearly to death. You have had weeks of experiments done on you. But in the end it’s all the same. You are dying. The only thing keeping you alive is the thing slowly killing you. Your looks will fade, and you wonder if your parents would even recognize you now. You have nothing, even as you are shipped off to London, a continent away. You are considered weak by others, spineless, and you know you will never amount to as much as anyone else. You are twelve. After five long, painful years you have tried to make the most of, and in some cases succeeded, you meet the person of your dreams. The second you see her- or him- you fall madly in love. And you feel you don’t have a shot. You’re dying. Why would she want you? And then, you realize that she actually does.
Now maybe Tessa does love Will. But she would never go for him. It would hurt the other man she loves, Jem. And she does love him. She needs both boys in different ways. Will is there for her to discuss knowledge and books with and to make her laugh. Jem makes her laugh too, and makes her feel good about herself. He would never, ever hurt them, even if it meant living longer.
Now the main reason for Jessa is simple: Jem deserves Tessa. He is nothing but goodness. (Tessa’s own words!) He’s been there for everyone since day one. Charlotte, Henry, Will, Tessa, Sophie, Thomas, (now I’m rambling) even bloody Jessamine! He would do anything for them. He probably wouldn’t even take a cure if it meant never seeing Tessa or Will again. He would even give up Tessa to Will if it would make them happy. He’d probably spend the rest of his days alone and miserable, but he would. And he would do it in a heartbeat.
Now if you are still against Jessa, just remember: Will has the rest of his life to find a girl he loves. Jem doesn’t. His time is running out.
Well thank you for reading! Hopefully you are now a Jessa shipper, and if you’re not, you can see why it could work. For mortalinstrumentheadcannons, I’m Molly LeGrant, and I’ll talk to you soon.
Cassandra Clare challenged people to create an essay on the merits of Will/Tessa and Jem/Tessa so that she can compare the two side by side from a shipper’s perspective.
By her leave, here’s my less-than-750 word essay on why I ship Will/Tessa:
Before I start on this delightful little piece, I have to say two things:
One, there is no dignity or good in attacking someone’s ship or OTP so while arguing the merits of Will/Tessa is fine to a degree, I don’t want to see this used to attack Jem/Tessa shippers or their ship.
Two, this is an interpretation. Meaning it’s not based off fact, though no fictional pair and their feelings can be explained away with fact.
Also, spoilers. If you don’t want them, don’t scroll down.
Will/Tessa has been a staple ship in the ID series, and there are a few reasons why:
A) it was the first evident ship, and Jem’s interest was only shown later (except probably to the incredibly perceptive). B) Will’s emotions have been shown to be much deeper than he makes them out to be to others. C) Will and Tessa are two intelligent, strong characters who are at odds with each other, and the tension (see: unresolved UST; foeyay; slap-slap-kiss; love-hate relationships) is appealing to a lot of people.
It’s appealing to me, too, especially when you read the reason behind it in Clockwork Prince. Will Herondale, it’s revealed, is a good, kind, unselfish person, who’s lived for years with the curse of thinking that letting people get close would kill them. He sacrificed his own happiness for the people he loved, but like any human being, couldn’t do it utterly. He couldn’t refuse Jem’s friendship and reasoned it away with “Jem’s going to die anyway”. He could barely keep away from Tessa, but pushed her away harder than others because he loved her more. He read her letters, he caught a glimpse of her soul, and even more, realized that she loved something he loved too: books.
That’s one hell of a connection to start with, and as time went on, Will could only love her more, for her bravery and for all the things she’d done and said. And the ultimate evidence of his love: he wanted to lift the curse. He could stand to push away the people he loved, but not Tessa. Never Tessa.
Meanwhile, Tessa thinks of Will. She dreams of Will, she feels an attraction, then sees glimpses of the side of Will no one else saw (but Jem, in some cases). She learned he was kind and loved his family, learned he loved books, same as her, learned he loved her deeply, thought over and over again how she might love him too.
Now (not to insult Jem/Tessa shippers), Jem and Tessa did not have the same impact as Will and Tessa. They were Heathcliff and Catherine, with all their flaws and mistakes, and no matter what hardship they went through, they never stopped loving each other. You can’t say it’s healthy, nor can you say it won’t bring trouble, because you somehow know it will.
But they love each other. So much it hurts them. So much that when they lost it, Tessa’s heart broke and she showed it in the most painful way possible. And for Will, to have all that hope built up that they could finally be together, it was like his life crashing down around him. His only lifeline was that it was Jem, and Tessa chose Jem, and he loved them both too much to fight for it if he was going to be fighting against his own parabatai.
Meanwhile, Tessa may have chosen Jem, but that doesn’t mean she loves Jem more or Will less. In fact, a lot of Jem and Tessa’s relationship was peppered with Tessa thinking of Will, and how it was better with Jem even if it hurt her to convince herself of that.
I ship Will and Tessa because that’s a love that you can’t replace. The strong passion, the slow burn, the things they shared, the suffering they went through alongside each other and because of each other—you can’t brush that off, nor can you deny that it’ll probably haunt them for the rest of their lives. And for Tessa, whose life is infinite, that’s saying something.
And though Tessa chose Jem, love isn’t measured by the good it does for everyone, and it certainly isn’t measured by “what’s best” for everyone.
Again, no offense to Jem/Tessa shippers, but I think Will and Tessa belong together. If they don’t, then the regret will trail after them forever.
That’s my piece. Hope it made sense.
3) Why I ship James Carstairs & William Herondale,
Their relationship has always been one based on complexity from my point of view. They have a sort of deep understanding between one another that really shows through in the way they interact with one another—and this deep understanding stems from a connection and or bond that one could only possibly find once in a life time. It’s not easy to completely explain why I ship Jem and Will so much, but firstly, maybe it’s because they are two of my favourite book characters and secondly, the fact that their friendship and or bond is so strong—it is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read in a book. I love their friendship because they always care for one another and furthermore they love the other more than they love themselves—they would do anything for the other, but really only if the other would let them! I love that they just get one another in a way that is understandable; they may not see things—such as, the fact Jem did not see Will’s love for Tessa and vice versa—but they have a much deeper understanding of each other, that things like that can go unchecked once in awhile. They balance one another well, Jem with his utter gentleness in everything he does, and Will with his aggressive determination to make anything that needs to happen, happen. The way Jem is always there for Will and Will is always there for Jem really gets to me all the time; despite the fact that they may hide things from each other, they still place their trust in each other, no matter what. It is as if they are one soul connected by a common thread that has weaved around both of their lives, essentially trapping them together; making them stronger than brothers. I would honestly say they are my biggest ship—whether it’s in a romantic way or not (we’ve all thought about it!)—because they just seem to spend their days looking out for one another, hoping that the other is staying sane, safe, and is fine. Because that’s what two people do when they love one another, they worry about the other counter part always—even if that person does not need it. This friendship has made me cry countless tears, because I can’t even imagine something coming between them to separate them. They were meant to be together,always; staying by each others side to help hold up the other when one fell. Jem was the one who was there when Will had thought everyone else had left him in his life—he has been Will’s solace for a long time. And Will has always been that person Jem could go to about his illness. They need each other, mentally and emotionally. The relationship between them is just so beautiful and completely natural. Both of them have had the hardest time just living everyday in a world where they are expected to die young and yet they find a sort of companionship between one another—a closeness they had even as twelve year old boys. It shows you that there are many kinds of love and Will and Jem have found each other in the maelstrom of their lives. They are more than friends, they are brothers connected by a strong bond—and nothing beats the bond of brothers. The love for family is more deeper and emotional than the love for a woman and Jem and Will possess that undying quality of family between them. Jem and Will truly deserve each other.
- Amber (Infernaldarkinstruments)
(With help from: Remimiprimus, Jemisnothingbutgoodness & Williamcarstairs)
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