Long time no see etc.
I’ve been a bit scatty lately (more than usual, I KNOW!) because I’ve been moving all my stuff from one computer to another, an experience not unlike moving house. I originally came to Germany thinking, if we move into a furnished flat, we will accumulate much less stuff, and therefore will be able to move into a different flat when we are settled much more easily.
You’d think this would work! You’d think that, well, you can’t buy beds or sofas or chairs or cabinets or TVs or kitchen appliances that would require a great deal of moving, because these things are already provided and there is simply NO SPACE.
You would be right, and you would be wrong.
Because of course we can’t accumulate big things, but by the mighty beard of Jove, we can go back to England multiple times with empty suitcases and come back with full ones. One day my feelings about decorating our own place will overwhelm me and we shall have to move, and I am dreading that day. On that day we shall have so much stuff that we won’t be able to fit in the trivial things like chairs and beds and kitchen appliances.
But yeah, I’ve been moving all my stuff over, and in my usual way I was like whooo, all I need is my precious writing because I’m so unmaterialistic and a creature of simple pleasures and an artiste, and as soon as I moved it over I realised I’d forgotten my music and my pictures and I didn’t have Skype and I’d forgotten all my online passwords and basically right now I’m waiting for over 13,000 music tracks to copy over to my external hard drive so I can stick them here where they belong. Simple pleasures indeed.
Ergo, blogging! Of a sort!
We’re finally in double figures in City of Bones, which surely calls for a celebration, as it means I haven’t wandered off in pursuit of something shiny for ten whole entries!
This chapter is also the one which is actually called City of Bones. Pay attention to this. No, seriously, if you blink now you’ll spend the rest of the story wondering why the hell it’s called City of Bones.
We ended chapter 9 on the cliffhanger which was that Clary’s mam is actually the widow of Valentine, the big bad. I say widow because at this point the story is still totally pretending he’s dead, but you may notice that they themselves don’t ever use this word, because they’re just not pretending hard enough.
Jace (Obnoxious Shadowhunter if you’d forgotten his name) is shocked that Valentine had a wife at all, and Clary (author self-insert if you’d forgotten her name) is shocked that her mam had a secret ex-husband. Hodge (sarcastic British librarian Giles if you’d forgotten his name) tries to make her feel better about her mam having been in what was essentially a magical fascist group (and married to the ringleader) by saying she left pretty much as soon as she realised how extreme Valentine’s ideas were, shortly after Luke and Jace’s dad.
I’m not entirely sure what they thought Valentine was going to do before that. I don’t think he’d have ever not said he wanted to murder all Downworlders.
But whatever, it’s still an interesting twist, to have the heroine’s mother have been one of the baddies when she was young. If Clare ever dealt with this in any meaningful way, at least, without throwing out excuses for it.
Because then we find out that Hodge and Isabelle and Alec’s parents were also in the Circle (magical fascist group) and they didn’t leave. Hodge says this was because they were “too afraid of what he might do“, which I guess is a kind of flaw in that they were too cowardly to stand up for their beliefs, but still a bit of a cop-out. Why is it so bad to admit that they were extremists when they were young and foolish and did awful things?
Anyway, Hodge explains, then there was the Uprising and even the loyalists left him, and Hodge and the Lightwoods cooperated with the Clave (I assume the governing body of the Shadowhunters, though I’ve yet to meet a Shadowhunter who isn’t in the damn thing) and for their cooperation were given mercy. This means that Hodge can’t leave the Institute (something Jace thought was some spell by a warlock or whatever, so good fucking job, Hodge, in telling your ward that those evil, nasty Downworlders were responsible for something that you totally brought upon yourself by being an awful person) and the Lightwoods were basically not really punished because they were married and had a kid, because surely that is how the world and justice works. He says they were all exiled from the Glass City (Shadowhunter capital city) anyway, which was punishment enough.
You have all these people who want to rid the world of Downworlders, specifically people who did NOT leave this group at the specific moment its nefarious purpose became known (honestly did they think they were part of some knitting circle until Valentine revealed his evil plans?), who were too afraid to stand up for their good guy principles to leave and too afraid to stand up for their magical fascist principles to stay, and your idea of punishment is to SEND THEM INTO THE REAL WORLD WHICH IS FULL OF DOWNWORLDERS? That’s your final answer, Clave? You think that sending them out of the Glass City, where you could keep an eye on them, where you could stop them from causing any diplomatic catastrophes, is the way to fix this? Out of sight and out of mind, eh? Not your problem anymore?
And as for Hodge, you might say oh, he can’t leave the Institute so he can’t hurt anyone.
He is TASKED WITH EDUCATING YOUNG SHADOWHUNTERS. ALL of whom come from Circle backgrounds. How the hell do the Shadowhunters know he’s not teaching them Valentine’s dogma? Are they INSANE?
What kind of governing body is this?
I know that Hodge and the Lightwoods totally stuck to their good guy principles so far and haven’t caused any trouble, but that’s because it’s convenient for the story. There was no guarantee that this would be the case, when this decision was made.
So Hodge feels sorry for himself for never being able to see the Glass City again, and Jace turns his own words back on him (“the Law is hard, but it is the Law“) and Clary asks why the hell he never told her any of this. He says he knew Jocelyn under a different name, and for some reason assumed that Clary was in possession of all the facts when she said her mam didn’t know anything about the “Shadow World” (I don’t think it’s called that ever again).
Jace asks why Valentine wants the Mortal Cup anyway, and Hodge is like to build an army, duh, and before he can explain anything there is a CONVENIENT INTERRUPTION in the form of Isabelle the shitty cook.
There’s a highlarious bit of banter about OH I ALREADY ATE before Isabelle says she threw out the soup and ordered Chinese (ANOTHER VICTORY FOR ISABELLE’S MAM IN TEACHING HER CHILDREN NOT TO FEND FOR THEMSELVES). Isabelle is understandably miffed about their lies, and says, “Look, I know you don’t like my cooking-“ but we’ll never know what she was going to say, because Jace dismisses her with a “so stop doing it then”. Thanks, Jace, really helpful. That was truly a productive contribution to this conversation.
What could she have been going to say?
“…but I’m trying really hard and it would be nice to have some support”?
“…but if I didn’t cook none of you would and we’d all starve”?
“…but if you have such a problem nothing’s stopping you from cooking for yourself”?
“…but I’d prefer it if you respected me enough not to lie to my face”?
IT IS A MYSTERY FOR THE AGES.
So the boys go off to eat because that’s what boys do, and Clary asks Isabelle if Jace really is a terrible liar. Isabelle says NOPE HE ACTUALLY DOESN’T LIE AT ALL. I guess he didn’t actually lie here, he just said “the dread hour has come”, but eh, it makes no sense that Isabelle would call him a liar only for Clary to ask if it’s true and Isabelle to admit nope, not at all. Except if this is supposed to be some kind of vehicle for finding out that Jace always tells the brutal truth and you should never ask him anything unless you can stand to hear the answer.
Because we hadn’t worked that out from seeing how much of a rude douchebag he is.
They sit down to dinner, and Isabelle, because she is a girl, talks about how she thinks it’s romantic that Valentine and Jocelyn were married, purely to facilitate some banter, because GUYS HAVE WE ALL FORGOTTEN THE MAGICAL FASCISTS, REALLY? and Hodge is like BUT HE RAINED DOWN DESTRUCTION AND MADE THE STREETS OF THE GLASS CITY RUN WITH BLOOD AND I’VE ACTUALLY CUT OUT SOME OF THE MORE MELODRAMATIC WORDING BECAUSE WHAT and Isabelle argues that evil is sort of hot.
Isabelle, I love you, I do, but I love you later, when you have stopped being a hollow puppet for lol girls have no sense of proportion cheap laughs.
They get back to the point, which is that the Cup makes Shadowhunters, but it only works on kids, so Isabelle’s like whoa, a child army, and for some reason Jace is like ONLY FOR A FEW YEARS THOUGH BECAUSE KIDS GROW.
Y-yes, they do, thanks for that insight, Jace. Let me note that down. Time passes, children grow.
Hodge explains some more – which is that only like 20% of kids can even become Nephilim anyway (when DID Nephilim become the new thing, anyway?) and you need to do a lot of testing to find out who they are, but of course Valentine would never bother with that and he’d just go around offering kids a drink from his magic Cup and use the ones who survived. This is all very presumptuous, but we can assume it will be true because the story demands Valentine be super evil, and Hodge qualifies it with “that was his plan back when we were all magical fascists together”.
Suddenly Isabelle forgets that evil is hot and is like BUT THAT’S KILLING CHILDREN and Hodge is like well, he said we’d sacrificed enough to keep humans safe (ugh is there any way to say these things without the intensely impersonal “humans”?) and now it was their turn, I guess because he was INSANE. BRILLIANT, but INSANE.
Of course he was.
The thing is, this isn’t insane at all. It’s very coldly logical. It makes perfect sense as a way to accomplish his goal. What Hodge means here, is that Valentine is MORALLY REPUGNANT. BRILLIANT, but MORALLY REPUGNANT. I’m not sure it’s even that brilliant, to be honest. Having a magical device to turn normal people into an army of demonhunters seems like most of the work has been done for him.
Then Hodge says he would have sacrificed his own son, and Alec’s like he had a son? and Hodge is like FIGURATIVELY. HYPOTHETICALLY. YOU KNOW.
But his hand is shaking! GOODNESS WHAT COULD THIS MEAN.
It turns out that Valentine set fire to himself, his family, his house and the Cup rather than give in to the Clave, because I’m sure a magical angelic cup can be destroyed by fire, and everyone was like welp, that’s the end of that. They found bones and everything.
But obviously it wasn’t them!
Jace is like SO NOW WHAT and Hodge says now you STFU and let better Shadowhunters deal with it, and you can tell that Jace is thinking BUT I’M THE BEST and Alec also tells him to shut up and not do anything stupid, for which I applaud him. Hodge says he’ll send the Clave a message, and Jace comes up with the bright idea of rifling through Clary’s mind to find out where Jocelyn is. He is convinced that the knowledge is in there. We are given no proof or reason as to why this would be. Seriously, how would she know? How?
So they decide to go to the Silent Brothers, who are basically psychic librarians and everyone is scared of them. Why? Well they say it’s because they can get into people’s heads and mess them up. Are you expecting to ever see this? You will be disappointed.
Wow this chapter is long. So let’s end on a dreeeeeeeeeam, in which Clary dreams that she’s dancing in a ball in the Glass City with Simon and then Jace, and when she’s like hey where’s Simon Jace says THIS PLACE IS FOR THE LIVING.
Well, I just cannot deal with this enigma.
Until next time!