Mark Blackthorn + descriptions

TDA snippet - a little Cristina

Cristina looked after Emma, her hand going to the pendant at her own throat. It was silver, in the shape of a circle with a rose inside it. The rose was wrapped around with thorny briars. Words were written in Latin on the back: she didn’t need to look at them to know them. She’d known them all her life. Blessed be the Angel my strength who teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to fight. The rose for Rosales, the words for Raziel, the Angel who had created the Shadowhunters a thousand years ago. Cristina had always thought Emma fought for her parabatai and for revenge, while she fought for family and faith. But maybe it was all the same thing: maybe it was all love, in the end.

Cool iconic fan art!


Hi, I know you probably get just short of a million of these a day, and you’re a busy person writing lovely books just for readers, like me to devour in long one night “can’t-put-the-book-down” sessions, but I would be honored if you could take a moment to answer a very simple little question. Can siblings become parabatai? It would be an interesting dynamic, don’t you think? Like, the twins Ty and Livvy, could they be parabatai? I know Jace and Alec are brothers, but not by blood, so the situation is a little different. If this IS possible…there might be a little ceremony occurring soon between my little sister and moi…just saying! :) Thanks for the lovely sleepless nights you’ve given me with your talented amazing writing!! — mnm-forever

Thanks! Absolutely siblings can be parabatai. You don’t see it enormously often, it requires a really really close relationship, but it does happen. Livvy and Ty becoming parabatai or not is one of the issues of TDA. (The twins almost never argue about anything, but one of them wants to, and one of them doesn’t.)

People often ask what the parabatai ceremony looks like, so I asked Cassandra Jean to render Emma and Julian’s, complete with the oath and the the three rings of fire — you step from your individual ring into the shared ring, and you draw the rune on each other. Don’t try the fire part at home.


Hi Cassie! (: I really loved all your books, especially TID because it was just so emotional. I recently finished CoHF and I’m really looking forward to TDA and finding out more about the fey and Emma Carstairs. I have a feeling the books will have a very different tone (in a good way!) from your other books in the Shadowhunter Chronicles because your previous heroines, Clary and Tessa knew nothing about the Shadow World while Emma is obviously a fearsome, trained shadowhunter already. Is Emma’s character close to that of Isabelle, queen of bad-assery? Also, will we please find out more about the Faerie Courts? Out of all the downworlders, the fey fascinated me the mist because of their cunning and their magic… Lastly, will we prettyyy pleaseee see more of JEM CARSTAIRS in TDA? I really loved his personality, with his gentleness and his dry humour. He is easily one of my favorite characters ever! — gloriousburritos

Hi! I’m really glad you’re looking forward to TDA and Emma.

I think it’s natural to want to map new characters onto old characters, like “Is Emma like Izzy?” because it gives a point of reference. We know Emma only as a kid at the moment, and while that does give some insight, it’s still hard to imagine her as the protagonist of her series: the most important character, the one who everything revolves around. 

It’s definitely true that while both Clary and Tessa had to have the Shadow world explained to them, The Dark Artifices focuses on characters who are already a part of it. Emma knows she’s a Shadowhunter from the beginning; the question of the book is much less “What is my identity?” and more “Since I self-identify as a dedicated Shadowhunter, how do I know when a law is a bad law?”

Before Infernal Devices came out people constantly asked if Jem (I’ll use him as an example because you seem to like him!) was like Jace, or Alec, or Simon. But while he has some things in common with all of them, he isn’t like any of them. He’s just … like Jem.

Emma is just like Emma. We’ve always seen Izzy as someone who revels in her own natural Shadowhunting skills, while Emma trains constantly, and brutally, and agonizes a lot over whether lack of inborn specialness can be made up for with effort. (She wants to be like Jace, but that’s not easy when you don’t have extra angel blood.) She’s dated before, unlike Clary or Tessa, but not with Izzy’s devil-may-care-I-don’t-believe-in-love attitude. And a huge part of what shapes Emma and Julian is that they have the basically sole charge of all these kids: any sibling who’s ever brought up a younger sibling with little to no help will hopefully relate. Jules, and Emma less but as well, are thrust into these parental roles very early: raising these kids, managing them, getting them to eat, singing them to sleep, teaching them to ride bicycles, all the details of child-rearing land on them and that makes one a very different sort of person.

In the end, though, I think you only can get to know a character by reading about them; no amount of telling people what they’re like will work (just as, as a writer, you get to know characters by writing about them.) I’ve been super happy about the positive response to Emma and Jules so far, and I hope people will not be disappointed in their story!

(We do indeed see much more about the faeries in TDA because of the connection to Mark and Helen. As for seeing Jem, etc, I don’t want to make concrete statements about how much he’ll be in it when the series is as yet unfinished.)

Cassandra Jean drew a gorgeous panel comic of Emma and Jules’ parabatai ceremony, meanwhile. I’m trying to decide whether to post it now or later. :)

I thought I’d reblog this now we know more about the Blackthorns.


More tarot cards from Cassandra Jean’s complete Shadowhunter TarotWe’ve moved on from the Major Arcana to the minor Arcana — we’re finishing up the suit of Runes, which takes the place of the suit of Cups. Clary and Jace stand in for the ace of Runes (angelic power); Mark Blackthorn, chained to his chair, is Surestrike; Emma, Queen of Runes, is Strength; Julian, Knight of Runes, is True North, and Livvy and Ty, the twins, are Philia, or familial love.


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!


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.