Movie Reviews

10 Best Quotes From The Mortal Instruments Books

Summary

  • The Mortal Instruments series, also known as The Shadowhunter Chronicles, revolves around Clary and Jace as they fight evil forces.
  • The series delves into forbidden love, family secrets, and the power of friendship amidst battles with angels, demons, and monsters.
  • From romantic moments to emotional conflicts, the books capture the essence of young adult fantasy while the film adaptations fall short.

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From the publishing of the first installment of The Mortal Instruments books, City of Bones​​​​​​, in 2007, the novels and their best quotes have remained a cornerstone of young adult fantasy. The series is referred to as The Shadowhunter Chronicles, as the story revolves around Clary, a young woman who discovers she’s a Shadowhunter in the first book, which propels her into the Shadowhunter world to fight the forces of evil. Her primary romantic interest, Jace, is a Shadowhunter as well, and their relationship fuels many emotional moments across the series.

Angels and demons play a large role in the story, as do otherworldly monsters that it’s up to Clary, Jace, and their friends to stop.

The books were developed into both a film and a series, but there are some harsh realities of watching The Mortal Instruments series today. Additionally, neither screen adaptation did the novels justice, making them worth a read for anyone interested in the story. Angels and demons play a large role in the story, as do otherworldly monsters that it’s up to Clary, Jace, and their friends to stop. With each book, the character’s responsibilities grow, and it’s up to them to continue saving the universe.

10 “‘There is no pretending,’ Jace said with absolute clarity. ‘I love you, and I will love you until I die, and if there is life after that, I’ll love you then.'”

City of Glass

Jace says a lot of romantic things to Clary, and while some of them occur when the pair think they’re siblings, thankfully they find out by the end of City of Glass that they aren’t. When Jace confesses this love to Clary in this unforgettable line, it’s after she’s been plagued by fear and anxiety about her mother’s fate and the plotting of Valentine, one of the major antagonists in the book. She’s trying to sleep when Jace appears at her window, claiming that he couldn’t sleep either and felt pulled to her across the city.

It’s the first time that Jace tells Clary he loves her, and they let themselves pretend they can be together, even if it seems as though they can’t.

It’s in this scene that they lay out their feelings for each other and grapple with the fact that their love for each other is more than forbidden, it’s wrong. At this point, they still believe they’re brother and sister, so the implications of this are hard to ignore, but knowing the context that they aren’t actually related allows the scene to be a lot more romantic. It’s the first time that Jace tells Clary he loves her, and they let themselves pretend they can be together, even if it seems as though they can’t.

9 “‘Surely you’ve seen girls before, Alec. Your sister Isabelle is one.'”

City of Bones

Part of the reason The Mortal Instruments movie was a failure is because it didn’t capture the book’s most important themes and story beats. Though a good film adaptation should take liberties with the story and create something unique, the movie lacked the charm and humor of the books and changed essential plot points. Early on in City of Bones, Clary believes she’s a regular human, and right before she discovers her powers, she accidentally walks in on Jace, Isabelle, and Alec interrogating a demon. She tries to remain hidden, but soon she reveals herself.

Not understanding what she sees, she believes the trio is about to kill a human boy instead of a demon hiding its form. Clary shouts for them to stop, and the three Shadowhunters are stunned to see her. In classic Jace fashion, he tries to shake off his discomfort and pretend that he’s not at all shocked by her appearance and pokes fun at Alex and Isabelle to make this clear. However, the demon still escapes, making this moment the inciting incident that connects Clary and Jace.

8 “‘I don’t care,’ Clary said. ‘He’d do it for me. Tell me he wouldn’t. If I were missing-‘ ‘He’d burn the whole world down till he could dig you out of the ashes. I know,’ Alec said.”

City of Lost Souls

the cover of City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

She asks Alec and Isabelle to join her and says that she intends to ask the Fair Folk if they know anything about Jace.

Clary and Jace have an intense connection, and when he’s missing in City of Lost Souls, she won’t accept that the Institute Council refuses to continue the search for him. After questioning Alec if he can feel that he’s still alive through their parabatai link, Clary decides to disregard the law and search for him herself. She asks Alec and Isabelle to join her and says that she intends to ask the Fair Folk if they know anything about Jace.

Both Alec and Isabelle warn her against this, as the Council already asked the faeries where Jace is, and they’re notoriously difficult to get the truth from. Additionally, it’s incredibly dangerous and the risk to Clary’s well-being is great, so Jace would definitely be against her going if he was around. However, he’s not around, and Clary points out that if the situation were reversed there’s nothing he wouldn’t do to find her.

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7 “‘Actually,’ said Jace, ‘I prefer to think that I’m a liar in a way that’s uniquely my own.'”

City of Ashes

The cover of City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

Even in the face of incredible odds and in moments of great tension, Jace still finds a way to slip in a one-liner and ensure that no one thinks he’s lost his confidence. Finding out that Valentine is his father shook Jace’s worldview to its core and made him question everything he thought he knew about himself. It also put him at odds with the people he trusted at the Institute because Valentine was a liar and a traitor. When the Inquisitor comes to inspect him, instead of showing that he’s loyal, Jace can’t help fighting back.

She accuses him of being a liar like his father, but Jace won’t let her force him into the same category as a man who’s caused so much pain. Jace will own up to his faults and knows he’s not perfect, but he’s nowhere near as bad as Valentine. Unfortunately, their interaction doesn’t stop at subtle jabs, and Jace fails to control his temper for the rest of the conversation. This makes his position worse as people begin to suspect him of working with Valentine.

6 “Still I pictured having you for fifty, sixty more years. I thought I might be ready then to let you go. But it’s you, and I realize now that I won’t be any more ready to lose you then than I am right now. Which is not at all.”

City of Fallen Angels

The cover of City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

Magnus and Alec have one of the most beautiful love stories in The Mortal Instruments, and unlike Clary and Jace, they’re never convinced they’re siblings. In City of Fallen Angels, they start to grapple with the fact that Magnus is immortal and that one day Alec will grow old and die. It’s a difficult reality, but one that Alec refuses to let Magnus ignore. Magnus is upset that Alec put his life at risk during the battle, but Alec momentarily shakes him off, claiming that Magnus has always known one day Alec would die.

However, Magnus informs Alec that no amount of time with him could be enough because of how much he loves him.

However, Magnus informs Alec that no amount of time with him could be enough because of how much he loves him. Though this doesn’t change where their relationship is heading, it gives the two of them a moment of peace when they can act like their love is the same as everybody else’s. The members of the Shadowhunters cast who embody Alec and Magnus do great work portraying their love and connection, but the book is the place where their relationship shines.

5 “You left me. You made a pet out of me, and then you left me. If love were food, I would have starved on the bones you gave me.”

City of Fallen Angels

The cover of City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

Magnus has been around for a long time in The Morta Instruments, and though Alec isn’t happy to hear about his past lovers, it’s not surprising that they pop up now and then. When the vampire Camille returns on orders from Lilith and begins killing again, she crosses paths with Magnus and the hurt she caused him in the past comes bubbling up. It’s surprising to hear Magnus say that someone else hurt him romantically, as his character was always framed as quite the player before he fell in love with Alec.

However, it makes sense that someone like Camille would have hurt him in the past, as his treatment of other romantic partners stems from his unhealed wound from Camille. She tries to use their past connection to convince Magnus to help her make a deal with the Shadowhunters, but Magnus can see right through this. After years of coming to terms with what happened between them, Magnus uses her for information and finds out what she knows.

4 “‘You know,’ Clary said, ‘most psychologists agree that hostility is really just sublimated sexual attraction.'”

City of Bones

The cover of City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Clary and Jace are known for their witty banter, and throughout City of Bones, their sexual tension grows as they spend more time together. However, Simon frequently comes between them because he and Clary have unresolved feelings for each other, making Jace jealous and acting rudely towards Simon. While this is their dynamic for most of the series, Jace is particularly hard on him when Simon’s the only one with a driver’s license and the Shadowhunters need his help.

Trying to come to Simon’s defense, Clary makes a veiled suggestion that Jace might secretly like Simon, but this is clearly covering for the fact that she has feelings for Jace herself. Additionally, things are made more awkward as Alec tries to defend Jace since Alec has a crush on him in City of Bones. The whole interaction is rife with the romantic tension and teenage awkwardness that The Mortal Instruments is known for.

3 “‘I don’t want to be a man,’ Jace said. ‘I want to be an angst-ridden teenager who can’t confront his own inner demons and takes it out verbally on other people instead.’ ‘Well,’ said Luke, ‘you’re doing a fantastic job.'”

City of Ashes

The cover of City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

Using sarcasm and deflecting tactics to prevent anyone from seeing how hurt or vulnerable he is, Jace shuts people out with ease, but he finds it harder to do with Clary.

Jace is not known for his good moods, and when Clary comes to check on him after he’s thrown out of his adoptive parents, the Lightwoods, house, he’s particularly fragile. Using sarcasm and deflecting tactics to prevent anyone from seeing how hurt or vulnerable he is, Jace shuts people out with ease, but he finds it harder to do with Clary. After Valentine claims that Jace is his son, which doesn’t turn out to be true, the Lightwoods accuse him of being a spy, but both he and Maryse, his adoptive mother, are in pain.

It’s easy to forget that the characters in The Mortal Instruments are teenagers, as the adults who are supposed to protect them act like kids. When Clary and Luke tell Jace he should be the bigger person and go to Maryse, he doesn’t take it well. Jace had to grow up too fast and take care of himself for many years, so being rejected by a parental figure is a blow. By regressing to teen angst, he’s putting up walls to protect himself. However, Clary and Luke push back, knowing he must return to the Institute and make up with Maryse.

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2 “Because the world isn’t divided into the special and the ordinary. Everyone has the potential to be extraordinary.”

City of Heavenly Fire

The cover of City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

One of Magnus’ best quotes occurs toward the end of City of Heavenly Fire when he decides that it’s high time Simon gets his memories and his magic back. Simon is an underrated character in the series, as he starts out as Clary’s normal best friend who pales in comparison to her newfound magical world. When he becomes a vampire, all of this changes, but eventually he’s made to give up his immortality and memory to save his friends. Magnus is of the mind that Simon didn’t have to be born special to deserve these powers.

The Mortal Instruments has elements of the chosen one trope, but it also expands upon this through Simon.

Isabelle is also on board with this because she wants Simon to remember their love so they can be together again. The Mortal Instruments has elements of the chosen one trope, but it also expands upon this through Simon. He acts as the stand-in for the audience and proves that everyone has the ability to be great. Magnus gives Simon the choice to become a Shadowhunter and reclaim his place among his friends, deciding to be special and making it a reality.

1 “We are all the pieces of what we remember. We hold in ourselves the hopes and fears of those who love us. As long as there is love and memory, there is no true loss.”

City of Heavenly Fire

The cover of City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Zachariah says this to Clary toward the end of City of Heavenly Fire, the final installment of The Mortal Instruments series, and there couldn’t be a more poignant moment for someone to express this to her. By this point in the book, Clary has experienced a lot of loss, although that also came with triumph. Zachariah and Tessa take their leave of the Shadowhunters after this farewell, and what they say to Clary sticks with her as she realizes this part of her journey is coming to an end.

She, Jace, and the rest of their friends are still together, and Zachariah reminds her that everyone else is still with them. A good deal of the series is dedicated to the themes of found family, as many of the main characters are estranged from their parents and are in search of a home. At the end of City of Heavenly Fire, Clary walks down to the lake with Jace on her arm, and her friends by her side, thrilled that this is possible.

The Mortal Instruments City of Bones

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

In The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, teenager Clary Fray discovers she is a Shadowhunter, a human-angel hybrid destined to fight demons. She delves into an underworld of magic and danger when her mother is kidnapped. Teaming up with fellow Shadowhunters Jace, Alec, and Isabelle, Clary embarks on a quest to save her mother and uncover her own hidden past. Amidst battles with dark forces and a journey of self-discovery, Clary learns the true extent of her powers.

Director
Harald Zwart

Release Date
August 21, 2013

Cast
Aidan Turner , Lena Headey , Lily Collins , Jonathan Rhys Meyers , Robert Sheehan , Jamie Campbell Bower

Runtime
130 minutes

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