City of Bones – Chapter 7

Is this semi-regularity? Why I think it could be!

Had a very good weekend at the German iaido nationals over the weekend, and feel somewhat better about my hobby of being mean about people’s work on the internet.

So, without further ado, let’s go through THE FIVE-DIMENSIONAL DOOR!

Our intrepid heroine and obnoxious hero have just entered Madame Dorothea’s apartment, after said hero was a huge douchebag to her.

Because Madame Dorothea makes her living as a fortune-telling witch, I can forgive her for having decorated her apartment with bead curtains, incense, tarot posters, crystal balls, palmistry posters, and everything else you’d expect. Clary gawks a bit, as you’d expect (though, as you’d expect from Clary, her gawking takes the form of literally just a description of everything in the room, no thoughts or feelings or human emotions) and Madame Dorothea asks if she’s interested in chiromancy (because why use “palmistry”, a word people will have heard in their lives, amirite) or just nosy. Clary replies that she’s neither, and to be honest I believe her. I really think Clary is capable of looking at things she’s never seen before and not feeling any curiosity or interest at all.

That’s not a compliment, Cassandra Clare.

So we learn that Madame Dorothea kind of knows she’s a fake, though her mother was a super cool witch and taught her some tricks. She offers Jace tea, and he’s like “what” and she’s all “Tea. I find it both settles the stomach and concentrates the mind. Wonderful drink, tea.” Like. Is she meant to be from the UK? Or is this just weird Tumblr-style Anglophilia to draw in the fans? Or does this pass for characterisation in Clare’s world? That’s two characters who have a weird love of tea.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I also love tea. I just don’t treat it as the mystical nectar of the gods.

So Clary says yes to tea and Jace is like fine as long as it’s not Earl Grey because I hate bergamot man you feel me? which makes Dorothea cackle and leave.

Clary is for some reason hugely impressed by this fact. OMG, a boy who knows what bergamot is! How refined!

And how does he know what bergamot is? I’m sure you’re dying to know. Well, it isn’t from anything as dull as just knowing what’s in Earl Grey. It’s because he has to take lessons in medicinal plants at the Institute. Clary shoots off a halfhearted one-liner and Jace calls her “Fray” and then she remembers Xander Simon, sorry, it’s been a while since we last heard from him. She gets all weird about it, and Jace changes the subject to how stupid mundanes are. Clary snaps that “just because it’s not your type of magic…” and Jace is like NO WE DON’T USE MAGIC OMG

So what about the seraph blades?


Oh, OK. Runes are tools now. And making seraph blades, or whatever he was doing to them, doesn’t count as using magic either.

Anyway blah blah rigorous training, stay away from my weapons. Clary makes a half-arsed joke about selling them on eBay, which she describes as “a mythical place of great magical power” which I guess is meant to be a joke? But it backfires, because Jace, who apparently can’t tell when he’s being trolled, is all SEEMS LEGIT, MOST MYTHS HAVE A GRAIN OF TRUTH TO THEM.

Luckily Madame Dorothea comes back to spare us from any more of this witty sparring, and they make fun of her parlour (but where else would she entertain, Jace? Did you ever think of that??)

Whatever, she confounds him with a riddle! “If you were half as funny as you thought you were, my boy, you’d be twice as funny as you are.

No, really, he doesn’t understand what this means.

They go through more cliches to the tea and sandwiches laid out. The sandwiches are cucumber, which also offends Jace, though it’s not explained whether this too is due to his super special demonhunting lessons. Clary likes them anyway, and Madame Dorothea is like I ALWAYS THINK CUCUMBER SANDWICHES ARE THE BEST FOR TEA, DON’T YOU?

Yes, this is Tumblr anglophilia all over.

Joke’s on you, Cassandra Clare! Any true Englishman would tell you that cucumber sandwiches are for funerals! Or maybe picnics!

So Jace, the model of politeness, is like YOU’RE A LIAR and Madame Dorothea is like what, my mother was a witch.


Why? asks Clary to move the plot along.

Well, Clary, Jace is glad you asked! Witches and warlocks are all human/demon crossbreeds, and are sterile. Not infertile. Sterile.



So we get the potted explanation of werewolves and vampires (afflicted with demonic diseases) and faeries (of course it’s spelt with an e), who are either fallen angels (Satan is a faery – you heard it here first!) or the offspring of angels and demons, which, how would that happen if they’re nowhere near each other.

Dorothea’s all well, I don’t care about magic anyway, I just need to GUARD SOMETHING.

Ooh, is this plot? Are we actually getting to some plot?

Madame Dorothea dashes our hopes by changing the subject. Clary has eaten all the cucumber sandwiches, which pleases her. “It’s good to see a young woman eat her fill. In my day, girls were robust, strapping creatures, not twigs like they are nowadays.”

Subtle, Clare. Subtle.

Then Clary thinks about how skinny Isabelle is and feels massive.

Madame Dorothea starts reading her tea leaves. While she’s doing that, let’s go back to this “real women have curves” thing. Like, I am totally on board with having more larger female role models, both real and fictional. I just think that there’s a way of doing it without alienating thin women. I know this is controversial and all. But honestly, I think we’ve all been told we’re anorexic, we’ve all been told to eat a sandwich, we’ve all been told we fall outside the range of “real women” sizes, and we’re unattractive because we don’t have any meat on our bones, and it’s just irritating.

And in the context of the story, Clare has Madame Dorothea be supportive of Clary’s size, and then has Clary feel self-conscious. So the reader’s already on her side (aw Clary don’t be embarrassed, you’re a STRONG BEAUTIFUL WOMAN) and then Clare brings it all back to Isabelle, the skinny, pretty girl who is the personification of the twig-women Dorothea’s on about. So the reader thinks “omg Clary don’t think about her, she’s not even that pretty anyway omg” and all in all it’s just underhanded and unnecessary.

Let’s think about Isabelle for a moment. She lives in a magical church-school, with a cat, an unimaginatively-named raven, a sarcastic British librarian and her brother and adopted brother, who are formal demonhunting BFFs. This is the only company she has, and she even misses out on the magical BFF bond of the parabatai.

But it’s OK, we can hate her because she’s skinny and pretty.

Back to the story, Madame Dorothea can’t read Clary’s tea leaves, so she reads Jace’s instead. We can assume that this will be totes meaningful to the story because these things always are. So, what does the story have in store for Jace?

1. Violent future

2. Blood will be shed by both Jace and people who aren’t Jace

3. He’ll fall in love with the wrong person

4. He has an enemy

None of this is really interesting apart from the love one if Jace isn’t too obnoxious for you.

They both move on to Clary’s cup, which is apparently jumbled and meaningless, much like a random assortment of tea leaves in the bottom of a cup OH YEAH I WENT THERE, and Madame Dorothea is like “IS THERE A BLOCK ON YOUR MIND?”

Let’s take a moment to appreciate the stupidity of asking someone whether their mind has been wiped by magic.

Clary’s like duh no but Jace isn’t so sure. Skip the terrible “late developer” joke and Dorothea breaks out the tarot cards and tells her to pick one that feels special. None of them feel special in any way, so Clary’s like whatever I choose you, pikachu Ace of Cups. By a twist it turns out that Clary’s mam painted the whole pack as a gift, and Jace is like HOW DID YOU KNOW CLARY’S MOTHER





Turns out they knew each other’s magicalness, and Jocelyn asked Dorothea to keep an ear out for Valentine’s name, and she was also a Shadowhunter (“one of the Clave”, so please explain what that is at some point Clare). Clary’s like NOOOOOOO and Jace finishes Madame Dorothea’s sentences, talking about how the house is a Sanctuary. He calls Downworlders “criminals” and says that the Shadowhunter motto is “the law is hard but it is the law”. Madame Dorothea is like yeah it’s TOO HARD and Jace is like I’LL TELL THE CLAVE ALSO EXPLAIN THIS DOOR (he rips off a wall hanging to display the door, btw).

This is of course the five-dimensional door of the chapter title. Let’s listen to Madame Dorothea’s explanation, shall we?

It’s a five-dimensional door […] Dimensions aren’t all atraight lines, you know […] There are dips and folds and nooks and crannies all tucked away. It’s a bit hard to explain when you’ve never studied dimensional theory, but, in essence, that door can take you anywhere in this dimension that you want to go. It’s-“


You know, maybe this book isn’t as badly written as I thought it was. If this isn’t just Clare being terrible at writing exposition/explanations and dialogue, and she just wants to really show how much of a knob Jace is about Downworlders, she’s doing a good job. He becomes the most horrible person ever around them. He’s just so unflinchingly rude. He gets worse btw.

But that’s a story for another day.

Right now, Clary has just realised that her mam didn’t go through the door because she didn’t want to leave Clary. So Clary forgets all about what she just heard and is like I MUST SEE WHERE MY MAM WAS GOING TO GO and runs right through the damn door.

Take a shot if you didn’t see THAT coming.

-fin for now-

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