The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones Talking Points: 10 Essential Facts

The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones is in theaters now and whether you’ve seen it already or not, you might have a few questions. Don’t worry because we’ve not only seen the movie, but we might have read all of the books in author Cassandra Clare’s popular YA series, and we’re ready to spill some secrets about the film, the characters and that controversial ending.

Be forewarned, though, because mild spoilers abound in the first two pages, and MASSIVE SPOILERS appear in the last page.

1) There Isn’t A Love Triangle In This Film. There Are TWO (Er…THREE…WAIT! SORT OF FOUR!) Love Triangles.

Ever since Twilight came out there’s been this expectation that stories that feature a female protagonist also need to have one love interest and one third wheel. The Mortal Instruments fulfills this stereotype with the love triangle between Clary Fray (Lily Collins), Jace Wayland (Jamie Campbell Bower) and Simon Lewis (Robert Sheehan), but there’s another, more interesting love triangle at play. A gay love triangle between Jace, Alec (Kevin Zegers) and Clary, and then kind of with Magnus Bane (Godfrey Gao).

2) Why Are People Comparing This To Twilight?

It’s called marketing.

You see, studio heads believe audiences are dumb and that every story about a teenage girl dealing with werewolves and vampires and demons and love must be the same and appeal to the same audience.

The Mortal Instruments is way more action packed and more comedic. Clary is also a much more intelligent and courageous heroine than Bella Swan is. In general, the story is actually way more like Buffy The Vampire Slayer with a dash of Harry Potter and a generous spoonful of Supernatural than a successor to Twilight.

3) Shadow-whats? What’s The Deal With Their Tattoos? Their Glass Swords? Why Is There So Much Black Leather?

The Shadowhunters are a race of human beings whose ancestors drank the angel Raziel’s blood out of a cup called The Mortal Cup.

The tattoos are runes…they are cut into the skin by a thing called a stele and each rune gives the Shadowhunter a type of superpower. Some are permanent. Some fade quickly. Most of the runes were given to the Shadowhunters by the angel Raziel way back when. Most of the runes…

They’re seraph blades. They’re special weapons that… How do I explain this without sounding crazy? In the books, the Shadowhunters say an angel’s name and they come to life and are good at killing demons. In the movie, they just kind of light up.


4) Is That Hot Asian Guy Dubbed?

We don’t know for sure, but it kind of sounds like it.

By the way, “Hot Asian Guy” is actually named Godfrey Gao and he’s a Taiwanese-Canadian model turned actor making his U.S. debut in this film as Magnus Bane. Now, Magnus Bane is an important character in the book series because he sort of ties the entire universe together. He appears in all of The Mortal Instruments books, all three Infernal Devices books and has his own special limited series called The Bane Chronicles. Not to mention that he’s a fan favorite.

But yeah, he really sounds dubbed. Or it’s the same guy, but the dialogue was recorded in ADR? It just sounds a little off and it’s one of the distracting minuses of the film.

5) Clary’s Not The Only Female Lead.

Isabelle Lightwood, played by Jemima Kirke, has a massive part in the film. She kicks a lot of demon ass and comes across a lot more likable than she does in the books. For some reason, Kirke’s been bumped off promoting the film in favor of Kevin Zegers and Godfrey Gao. That’s possibly because Zegers and Gao play such massive fan favorites, but Kirke definitely deserves some praise and attention.

6) There Are Two Very Good Reasons Why That Hodge Guy Vaguely Reminds You Of Albus Dumbledore.

One, Cassandra Clare shot to online fame as a Harry Potter fan fiction writer. Meaning, she got her start writing original stories based on J.K. Rowling’s books and using her characters. It’s a label that’s followed her around for a while and her critics repeatedly point out the similarities between her original works and her fan fiction. So, Hodge is the stand-in for Dumbledore.

Two, Hodge is played by Jared Harris. As in Sir Richard Harris’s son. As in Sir Richard Harris…the guy who played Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films. Meaning, Hodge is Dumbledore’s in real life son.



8) So, Are Jace, Hodge, Alec And Isabelle The Only Shadowhunters Left? Because The Movie Makes It Seem Like It


The Shadowhunters are a dying breed, but most of them live scattered in other Institutes all over the world and in their very special Shadowhunter country called Idris (which we choose to believe was named after Idris Elba).

That said, if you use common sense, you might think … huh, Shadowhunters have to intermarry or die off, so EVERYONE must be closely related. And you’d be right.

Spoiler Alert: Jace is a distant cousin to Alec and Isabelle. In the Victorian era spin-off, The Infernal Devices (which, by the way, is our favorite of the two published series), we meet a character who looks a lot like Alec Lightwood named Will Herondale, who is Jace’s ancestor, and his sister, Cecily Herondale, is Alec’s and Isabelle’s. Clary’s ancestors are also key characters in that series.


9) Why Was Luke In The Photos With Valentine And Jocelyn?

The movie doesn’t really go into this, but it’s because he was Valentine’s best friend until a werewolf bit him. And then Valentine was all, “Ugh, you’re gross.” And then Luke realized, “Ugh, you’re evil.” And then Luke also realized that if his best friend was evil, he might finally have a shot at his hot wife.

I mean, that’s the short version.


10) So About That Ending…

The thing that makes The Mortal Instruments hugely controversial within YA fanbases is that it’s heavily intimated that Jace and Clary are siblings. Which means their romantic feelings for each other are incestuous.

Or are they?

Was Valentine lying? Was Valentine telling a partial truth? Is it true?

We’re not going to tell you. Read the books.

Or glean what you can from our interview with the cast wherein they discuss how they changed the ending so it would be more palatable:

[Photo Credit: Sony Pictures]