sociopathwithyournumber said: Hi Cassie, first off i wanted to tell how much i admire your writing. CoHF was fantastic but I do have questions about it. This was brought to my attention by polandbananasbooks video, but was never addressed in CoHF. why is Izzy the only lightwood child with dark eyes when both Maryse and Robert have blue eyes? why does it seem like we know practically every character’s eye color but max? Is this just coicindence or will it be adressed in another series? thanks for sharing the shadow world :)
Hello! I’m not sticking this under a spoiler cut because honestly, it’s not really a spoiler, any more than “City of Heavenly Fire contains no sharks!” is a spoiler.
One of the things readers/watchers do between installments of books/movies/TV is theorize. It’s part of a way of remaining engaged with the text. Characters’ comments are analyzed, and their appearances, and their interactions. Polandbananasbooks is one of my favorite video-book-bloggers actually because she’s so engaged with the books she reads, and so positive about reading. Theorizing in between books is something writers love to see because when it doesn’t happen we worry we haven’t given readers enough of a big, detailed, complicated world to chew over.
That said, we can’t always predict the theories that are going to arise. Some of them are really great, and based in textual analysis, just like Christine’s — I remember the Ron is a time-traveling Dumbledore theory that literally took the Harry Potter fandom by storm before Deathly Hallows. Let me just tell you, it was very convincing.
It gained so much traction JKRowling eventually debunked it in an interview (sort of what I’m doing now) but she never addressed it in the books, probably because it had never occurred to her. You can’t really address an issue in a book that you’ve never actually raised.
It had never occurred to me that anyone would think Isabelle wasn’t a Lightwood (and it had never occurred to me anyone would find a lack of Max’s eye color description suspicious, mostly because there is one.) City of Ashes, my page 326:
Alec glanced down and saw gray eyes glaring at him from behind a bent pair of spectacles. “Max,” he said. “Come on, little brother, let me in.”
Max’s eyes are gray. Alec’s are blue. Alec’s parents’ eyes are blue. Isabelle’s are dark. The problem here is the way US schools teach high school biology. We have to draw these dumb Punnett squares that tell us that Brown eyes are dominant, blue eyes are recessive, and two blue-eyed people can only have blue-eyed children.
The problem is that this is very generally true but not actually true. The Punnett square is more than a hundred years old. We have learned a lot more about genetics since then. (Famously in 1908, Punnett was asked at a lecture to explain why recessive phenotypes still persist — if brown eyes were dominant, then why wasn’t the whole world becoming brown-eyed? — and couldn’t answer.)
As it turns out, it isn’t just a question of B (brown, dominant) and b (blue, recessive.) B is actually two genes. They need each other to work. If either gene is broken (broken genes are enormously common and most people have about 100 of them) then you wind up with a carrier of the brown-eyed dominant gene who has blue eyes.
Why did I give Isabelle brown eyes? Because my best friend is the daughter of two blue eyed people who have one blue eyed son and a brown eyed daughter. That’s it. No larger reason was at play. And I never honestly thought anyone would give it a single thought, because I’d grown up around a dark-eyed daughter of blue-eyed people and I assumed others had too (you probably have, and just not thought about it!)
(As for Max, gray eyes are just a variant on blue.)
If you were greatly hoping Isabelle would turn out to be Valentine’s daughter, I apologize if you were disappointed. It literally never crossed my mind. Isabelle is such a Lightwood — and I would have hated for Cecily’s necklace and her Lightwood ring and her whip to no longer be her birthrights.
I can see how there’s lots of compelling fun in the idea that Isabelle might be Valentine’s daughter — but that is already Clary’s story, and the character whose heritage being in question has been his arc is Jace. Isabelle’s arc was in learning that her actual parents, who always have been her parents, were flawed and dealing with those flaws, first alone and later with support. Certainly mirroring plotlines can be a lot of fun, and I can see a fun story about Isabelle being Valentine’s daughter, but since it wasn’t the story I was telling I never thought about it.
Anyway, I love that my readers are so engaged and excited about developing theories — especially one that gives a lot of action and angst to an important female character. Hurrah for the significance of the feelings and interiority of women! And thank you for being so invested.
How blue-eyed people can have a brown-eyed child. (thetech.com)
Blue-eyed parents can have brown-eyed kids (USA Today)