More of Cassandra Jean’s flower cards — we’re now onto The Infernal Devices, and these cards are done in oils, not watercolor. Jem and Will, together as always!


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. :)


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.


being-normal-is-weird-to-me said: Hi cassie I know I’m not the first and definitely not the last to say that your books are amazing and I can honestly say I loved not only the TMI series but also TID as well and was happy when tessa and Jem were in the CoHF. My question to you is because I’m sure it will be a main concern for your next series is, why is it so forbidden for parabatia’s to be in love why are the clave so set for it to be against their law? Thank you for letting me join the shadow world. Mikaela Borg

I can’t say why it’s against the Law yet. We know it is, we know what the punishment is. I can only say that it’s not one of those situations where the Clave is making laws just to be restrictive. They have an actual good reason for this one. And yes, you will find it out!

Ace and five of steles
Have you released the ace and five of steles from the tarot card set. I just scrolled through all of cassandrajp’s posts and she was always really good to reblog them all but I didn’t see them.

Here you go! I do think I’ve posted them but maybe I didn’t tag them. Cecily Herondale and Gabriel Lightwood make up the ace of steles, and the five of steles is Clary and Simon, the scene where she marks him with the Mark of Cain. 

The Infernal Devices in The Mortal Instruments

Reblogging cause I’ve got a bunch of these questions and I posted this almost a month ago, so — this time not under a cut. Beware COHF SPOILERS!

Hi Cassie :D I just wanted to say that I LOVED City of Heavenly Fire. It was awesomeness. But I just had some questions. Why didn’t Jem/Zachariah tell Emma that he is related to her (even if distantly)? And will he make an appearance in upcoming books? Will Emma eventually know that she’s related to him? These question just crossed my mind while reading. Thanks :) — thatescapist


Have a warlock bouquet! Cassandra Jean’s flower cards. Only two more and we move from TMI to TID.


Jem, Tessa, Will questions

teresasmaze said: I have a question that’s been bugging me, and I don’t know if somebody asked you this before or not. But I have to ask anyway sorry. OKAY so did Tessa ever try to change into Will after he died? I feel like it would have been something that occurred to her, and even though she probably didn’t it would have been tempting don’t you think? I think it’s an interesting idea. Love your books, by the way! They’re filling about 75% of my second shelf on my bookshelf right now.

I think it would actually have been incredibly sad for Tessa to do that. It might almost have been like a drug, having that sort of almost-contact with Will and then not having it. Also Tessa was very firm about not “Changing” into people without their permission or some necessity, as she considered it invasive and disrespectful of their privacy — I don’t think she’d do it to Will, even after his passing. (But on the other hand I don’t want to kill anyone’s headcanons, though…so….)

congratu-freakin-lations said: Why doesnt Jem want to be a shadowhunter anymore? Is he at least still involved in the shadowhunter world?

Epilogue of Clockwork Princess:

“But—after today? Where will you go? To Idris?” Tessa asked.

Jem looked, for a moment, honestly bewildered—and despite how old she knew him to be, so young. “I don’t know,” he said. “I’ve never had a lifetime to plan for before.”

“Then … to another Institute?” Don’t go, Tessa wanted to say. Stay. Please.

“I do not think I will go to Idris, or to an Institute anywhere,” he said, after a pause so long that she felt as if her knees might give way under her if he did not speak. “I don’t know how to live in the world as a Shadowhunter without Will. I don’t think I even want to. I am still a parabatai, but my other half is gone. If I were to go to some Institute and ask them to take me in, I would never forget that. I would never feel whole.”

“Then what—?”

“That depends on you.”

City of Heavenly Fire: 

“… Zachariah? He is no longer an active Shadowhunter,” Jia was saying. “He left today before the meeting, saying he had some loose ends to tie up, and then an urgent appointment in London in early January,* something he couldn’t miss.” 

So no, he’s not an active Shadowhunter any more, but that’s nothing we didn’t know. :) Whether he decides to take an active interest in Shadowhunter goings-on is his business — he is interested in Emma. He and Tessa have something of their own agenda too.

*Yes, this is the epilogue of CP2. That’s where it fits into the narrative of CoHF - not long after the end of the last chapter before the epilogue.

xo-fairytalespirate-xo said: Hi Cassie. I just finished reading Clockwork Princess and absolutely loved the whole series. The epilogue in CP made me cry, especially when talking about Will’s last day and Jem playing his violin for him. But I was wondering why Magnus didn’t come to say goodbye?? Was it because he was waiting for Tessa to come to him?? I loved reading the development of their friendship. Sherrie

Magnus really hates being there when a mortal he cares about dies. He does talk about being with his first girlfriend while she died and I think he will do it in some circumstances, but I also think he would have considered this an event for family only. He would have come when Will was sick, and then he would have gone back to Paris. I don’t think he would have known for sure Tessa was going to come, but he would have known she might.

I think there might be a story, really, in the last time Magnus saw Will, perhaps sat with him through the watches of the night, the last time they talked. 

the-flowers-are-blooming-love said: Hi Cassandra! Like most asks you probably get I wanna say that you are an amazing author and your books really have had an amazing effect on so many people. I have loved reading all your posts about Tessa and Will and Jem, your reasoning to it all makes a lot of sense and is easy to understand. I was just curious to know if Tessa ever felt like she would have to distance herself from one of the boys and just because when you are in that kind of situation it might be painful for Will and Jem.

She did distance herself from Will. Tessa talking about Will:

Months, she thought. Months since they had been alone together for more than a moment. They’d had only accidental encounters in hallways, in the courtyard, awkwardly exchanged pleasantries. She had missed his jokes, the books he had lent her, the flashes of laughter in his gaze.  


For months they had avoided each other, had barely spoken.  

All that is on purpose — Tessa is avoiding Will to try to make it easier on him and to make it absolutely clear she isn’t dithering between Jem and Will. She’s made her choice. She’s given Will no encouragement. She believes she has to do this in order to free him to love someone else.

Perhaps it did depend on the book, she thought. But in this, the book of her life, the way of dishonor was only unkindness. Even if she had hurt Will in the drawing room, over time as his feelings for her faded, he would someday thank her for keeping him free. She believed that.” — Clockwork Princess.

Clockwork Princess is the best book I ever read mainly because of the of the way you ended it. It was the saddest and happiest ending ever. So I was wondering is COHF going to have the same kind of ending? — weleylaworld

Well, hopefully, by now, you know! :) I wrote a bit about loss and sadness and genres when I wrote about death in CoHF. While the Clockwork series takes place in the same world as TMI, it’s historical, which has somewhat different genre issues. While you can always write a fun, happy historical, sometimes you feel like you need to grapple with the fact that just about everyone you’re writing about, in today’s world, is dead. I think there’s an elegiac feeling about Clockwork Princess, a sense of a sorrow that is about facing mortality and death. By contrast the loss that is in City of Heavenly Fire is more specific to the people involved in the story and their dangerous situation. 

I hope that makes sense. These are just my thoughts about why I wrote things the way I did; hopefully they’re interesting but if you have a different reading that’s cool too.

Books, books, books

brookeelizaxo said: Hi Cassie! I love your books so so so sooo much! I finished City of Heavenly Fire and it was amazing. I was wondering when the rest of your novels were being released (TDA, TLH, TWP, etc)? Are there set dates or years for the releases? Thank you for such wonderful series! :)


Shadowhunter Chronicles:

City of Heavenly Fire wrapped up the Mortal Instruments series. The next installment of the Chronicles is The Dark Artifices, which takes place five years after CoHF. You can read about them here.

There are three Dark Artifices books: Lady Midnight, Prince of Shadows, and Queen of Air and DarknessLady Midnight is tentatively scheduled for release in late 2015 though it is not definite yet.

The Last Hours, the sequel series to The Infernal Devices, begins publishing shortly after Lady Midnight. You can read about it here. It’s about the children of the Infernal Devices characters. So the order of books is:

Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices 1)

Chain of Gold (The Last Hours 1)

Prince of Shadows (The Dark Artifices 2)

Chain of Iron (The Last Hours 2)

Queen of Air and Darkness  (The Dark Artifices 3)

Chain of Thorns (The Last Hours 3)

That carries us through for quite a few years, so other than saying that the Shadowhunter Chronicles is intended to wrap up permanently with an installment called The Wicked Powers, I think that’s all I can say right now.

(I’m leaving the Codex, the Bane stories and the Academy stories off as they’re not technically novels/series.)


The Iron Trial, the first book in the Magisterium series, comes out September 9, 2014. There will be an installment of Magisterium every September for the next four years. The second book, The Copper Gauntlet, is scheduled for September 2015.

Hope that helps!


"Cassie, as a huge fan, I want to thank you for writing such magnificent books. And…. here’s my question! I read your post in which you explain why Tessa’s relationship with Jem was more than friendship and I’m fascinated by the way you explained and pointed out things so as to make clear that they were more than friends. I was wondering if you could do the same with Will&Tessa. All characters show us they’re thoughts and therefore, we can deduce what they’re feeling but I’m sure there’s something you can add, just like you did with Jem and Tessa :) Daniela."

Hi, Daniela! The thing is, I don’t really get questions from people who think Will and Tessa were just friends. The opposite side of the argument (taken to an extreme) seems to be that Tessa and Will only felt lust for each other, not Love.

I think probably obviously that’s not what I was thinking when I wrote it. But shipping has a lot to do with personal preferences about kinds of relationships and kinds of personalities. Do I think Tessa and Will loved each other? Yes: I don’t think you’re willing to give your life for someone you just lust for (Will, Clockwork Prince), nor do you burn your hand with a poker because the emotional pain of someone you just lust for hurts you so much (Tessa, Clockwork Prince.) I think the fact that after Jem left, Tessa and Will didn’t touch each other for months while they dealt with the grief of his going, and sincerely tried to build the foundations of a solid emotional relationship with each other, speaks volumes in itself. And of course a marriage of fifty-odd years, in which one person grew older and one continued to look twenty, in which there was never a failure of passion or commitment, speaks to a deep love indeed.

The problem with the Lust narrative isn’t in thinking that Jem and Tessa have a deeper connection — that’s normal; we all react to fictional relationships in ways that reflect what we prioritize or prefer in life — the problem is that it sometimes winds up in blaming Tessa and slut-shaming her, which I have to admit, does bother me. So, I’ll share with you a brief clip from a post from a professed Jem fan (though God knows I love my Jem fans and would never tar them all with this brush, not even close) about Tessa herself. The link to the post was sent to me by a very upset fan, and I think it’s better if I don’t mention their name or the name of the poster. But here it is. Trigger warnings for rape culture, calling women bitches, misogyny.

Post: “Good lord, I knew she [Tessa] had no fuck to give for Jem, she only wanted to bang Will, but jesus christ, have some empathy, respect… Boys were doing everything for this bitch, got hurt, one finally died for her and because of her, all she could do was demand, put people in trouble and act out and never appreciate neither feel bad, and she did so much bad she was not sorry for, she was so fucking selfish and wanted to get the best out of it for her and all she could do was play them, disrespect them as people, and their lives, and describe their looks whether they were dying or not and care about nothing else but her own good. 

I wish someone bought her [Tessa] a dildo because her hormones obviously made her incapable of sorting out her priorities. And it killed Jem.”

Wow. Just, I mean, WOW.

In other words: Tessa being a woman, specifically a woman capable of sex, killed Jem.


Well, I’m not exactly sure. She didn’t sneak into his room at night and smother him with her thighs. He was dying when Tessa arrived. There was no cure for his illness. There is absolutely nothing Tessa could have done to keep him alive — and remember, she was the one pushing to find a cure, not Will. If it wasn’t for Tessa, Jem would never have chosen Silent Brotherhood, he never would have lived to be Brother Zachariah, he never would have been cured, and he would not be alive and happy today.

Boys were doing everything for this bitch, got hurt, one finally died for her”

I’m seriously curious which one died for Tessa since Will died of old age and Jem’s still alive. In fact, he’s 135 years old. The thing is, Tessa saved Jem’s life. She saved Will’s, too. It takes an enormous effort of deliberate, willfull misogyny to miss that.

POST: “ all she could do was demand, put people in trouble and act out and never appreciate neither feel bad”

 From the books:

“I’m sorry,” Tessa said. She couldn’t count the number of times she’d told him she was sorry over the past hours. (Clockwork Princess)

“You saved my life at the tea warehouse, and I am grateful, Will.” (Clockwork Prince.)

“Oh, Will. This is all my fault. Jem threw away his life for me. If he had taken the drug more sparingly—if he had allowed himself to rest and be ill instead of pretending good health for my sake—”  (Clockwork Princess)

She shook her head. “How can you bear to have me near you?” she said in despair. “I took your parabatai from you. And now we will both die here. Because of me.” (Clockwork Princess)

Tessa, actually, often feels bad for things that are not her fault: so do Will and Jem, but when they do it, it’s because they are poor sweet babies, when Tessa does it, it’s because — yeah! It IS her fault! You can’t win for losing when you’re a lady. Of course Jem taking all his yin fen at once isn’t her fault: she didn’t even know about it. Obviously Tessa feels bad often, is eaten up with guilt often, but unfortunately no woman can ever feel bad enough about herself to be satisfactory. Society as a whole tells women they must hate themselves and each other, and this sort of thing is the result.

Thinking Tessa killed Jem with her lady parts as opposed to what she actually did do, which is save and prolong his life, requires an absolute dedication to misogyny and the belief that women are significant and important only in how they treat the men in the story. If they make them happy constantly, the women are okay. If they ever seem to be making them unhappy, if a man ever does anything stupid or life-threatening because of a woman even if she doesn’t know about it, if he’s unhappy even if she couldn’t prevent it, if she sleeps with someone else even though she thought he was dead and he couldn’t give less of a damn anyway, if she doesn’t prioritize the imaginary pain of a dead man over what she needs for her own survival and mental health, she’s a bitch who needs to die. If she observes with surprise and no lust that a man is naked because she’s a Victorian girl and she’s shocked to be in the same room with a naked man, she’s a whore. And if she wants to have a consensual pleasant sexual experience before a lifetime of being raped (by the actual villain of the books — his name is Mortmain, by the way, and he’s the one who actually makes everyone unhappy) she’s not just a whore, she’s a murdering whore.

It’s the mentality at the heart of rape culture: that women are vending machines, and if you shove a few coins of attention or affection into them, they better respond with sex and obedience or they’re … broken.

Ship wars brew easily and it’s easy to get into the “If Jessa gets a thing, Wessa gets a thing” mentality. I decided to go a different way and present you with something I think both Wessa and Jessa and even Heronstairs shippers can agree on: this kind of thinking? Is revolting.