Comparing The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes to Shadowhunters

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Well I’m through the second book now and I thought I would do this again, though honestly if I keep this up these are going to be a jumbled mess between the different seasons. Plus I know there are some major plot points between the show and the books that are completely different. So if something happens during the show that didn’t in the books I’ll put it in the minor details/differences section though some of them are not minor things.

Since I will be talking about plot of the book and show there is will be spoilers. Also if you want to see my previous ones check those out below:

Jace in the Silent City

The first main thing that happens is Jace is sent to the Silent City where he is being held for trial. This event happened in both the show and book, but for very different reasons. In the book, after Jace let’s Valentine go with the Mortal Cup he back talks Maryse Lightwood and Inquisitor Herondale. They send him to the Silent City over night where the following morning he is to be tried by the Soul Sword to get the truth on what happened at Renwick.

In the show, after Clary rescues him from Valentine’s ship and Jace helps save Alec, who is dying after trying to find Jace, Jace is attested for aiding Valentine against the Clave. He is tried and sentenced to spend the rest of his days in the Silent City dungeons. He also sees Hodge again who was alive at the time also being held in the next cell over.

During the night (in the book) Valentine arrives and slaughters all of the Silent Brothers. He steals the Soul Sword but leaves Jace behind in his cell. In the show, Valentine also comes to steal the sword but Jace is freed from the cell. Hodge is finally killed and Jace saves another Shadowhunter instead of running after Valentine. This allows him to leave the Silent City and return to the Institute. In the books, Clary, Izzy and Alec rescue him then Jace is placed under house arrest with Magnus Bane as his caretaker. Jace in the show does stay with Magnus as well but after he doesn’t feel welcomed at the Institute anymore; however, no one is forcing him there or expecting him to appear in court later like in the book.

Seelie Court

Oh this scene, one of my favorites from the show… has a whole new meaning in the book. There are lots of differences. For starters Isabelle joins them and Simon is still human. Also Jace and Clary still believe they are brother and sister.

Clary is also far easily tricked by the seelies and almost is killed twice in the books. The first time she almost goes off dancing until Jace stops her and gives her a mark to help keep her from being drawn in. You also see the court for its devilish ways in the book, whereas in the show it’s only hinted at. The second time she almost drinks from a cup given to her by the Queen, but again Jace stops her. However, Clary is later bitten by a fairy and sucks on her finger which just so happens to have the drink on it causing Clary to become trapped at the court. The Queen will allow her to leave if she kisses the person she most desires. Simon immediately kisses her then they all go around talking about who’s going to kiss who as it didn’t work. Finally Jace and Clary kiss, and Simon takes off not waiting for the kiss to finish as he’s furious since he was dating Clary.

In the show, Simon killed some bugs which made Jace and himself trapped in vines that are straggling them to death. The Queen will allow them to leave if Clary kisses the one she most desires. Now she knows Jace is not her brother and has been dating Simon for a few weeks or month at this point, so her kissing Jace is just a matter of choosing which guy she likes. Not forbidden or something she’s repulsed by as it was in the book. Clary first kisses Simon then kisses Jace. After the vines release the boys, Simon takes off. Also Simon is a daylighter at this point in the show, and the Seelie Queen wants Simon to join her and states that Shadowhunters always choose their own kind.

Simon Becomes a Vampire

After the Seelie Court, Simon in the book goes to Hotel Dumort where he is drained of blood. Raphael brings him to the Institute but cannot enter as it’s holy ground. They immediately go to a Jewish cemetery and bury him so he will become a vampire. Alec, Magnus, and Isabelle are all there in the book to see Simon reborn as a vampire. Magnus is the one who brings blood for Simon not Raphael.

In the show, Simon is turned into a vampire within the first few episodes. He is sired to Camille, Magnus’ ex, instead of Raphael like in the book. Clary also has way longer to debate on what to do. Also there wasn’t really a choice in the book, it was bury him or he’ll remain between life and death forever but never able to wake or get better.

Valentine’s Army

In the show, after Valentine gets the Mortal Cup he starts using it right away to start turning humans into new Shadowhunters. In the process killing hundreds of people. They all stay and train on a barge somewhere in the channel of New York City, glamoured so no one can see it. Jace also has joined him shortly after he’s done this and believes he has demon blood as he thinks he’s Jonathan Morgenstern not Jonathan Herondale. Jocelyn is also awake by this point.

In the book, Valentine does not have a new army of Shadowhunters. Instead he has an army of demons that he is commanding using the Mortal Cup and Soul-Sword after drenching it in the  childs’ blood of a werewolf, seelie, warlock, and vampire. Jace goes to the boat after getting a motorcycle from Raphael and spots it while he is flying over the water. Jace asks Valentine about his blood and is told it is just the blood of the angel. Considering he’s also holding the Soul Sword it’s revealed way earlier that Jace has angel blood, though it’s not taken the same way as it went down in the book. Also Jace leaves the boat and does not join Valentine at any point.

Simon is Kidnapped

In the show, Valentine kidnaps Simon before he became a daylighter to get Clary to come back to the Institute so she will touch the Soul-Sword in order to activate it so he can use the sword to wipe out the Downworlders (vampires, werewolves, seelies, and warlocks). Jace and Clary both go to the Institute as they believe since Jace has “demon” blood he’ll be able to destroy the sword. Jace glamours as Clary then saves Simon’s life… since Jace actually has angel blood not demon this makes Simon a daylighter. After he knocks out the guards trying to make Clary touch the sword, and then he touches the sword that is wired into the Angelic Core of the Institute. Thus activating the sword and killing numerous downworlders including Alaric (who in the book died at Renwick). More happens immediately after this… but it’s not in the book so I’m going to hold off on that until we get to that at some point (next book?).

In the book, Valentine after Jace leaves him kidnaps both Maia and Simon to complete the conversion of the Soul-Sword. He also doesn’t take them to the Institute but rather to his boat filled of demons. Nor does he face-time Clary to show him cutting Simon’s throat open as he does in the show. Magnus helps them get past the wards of the boats so they can rescue Simon and Maia. Simon’s neck was already cut by the Soul-Sword by the time they arrived. After fighting hundreds of demons and falling through the ship, Jace finds Simon drained of blood but not completely so he gives Simon his blood so Simon wouldn’t die. Similar to the show Simon almost kills Jace by drinking too much blood. And in doing so becomes a daylighter.

Minor Details/Differences

Credit: Freeform


  1. Jocelyn is alive but still unconscious. She will remain alive the rest of the series as far as I’m aware.
  2. Clary is staying at Luke’s place.
  3. Alec and Magnus’s relationship is more or less hidden, and Alec has not come out.
  4. Jace has two demon energy motorcycles. One at the Institute and one he used to get onto the ship.
  5. Dorothea died in the first book.
  6. First meet the Inquisitor when Jace is questioned about letting Valentine go free with the Mortal Cup.
  7. Inquisitor takes over as head of the Institute.
  8. Isabelle is not addicted to yin fen.
  9. Magnus first heals Luke after he is attacked by one of Valentine’s demons as well as Maia.
  10. Maia helps out at Luke’s book shop.
  11. Seelie Court visit is requested by the Seelie Queen after one of their children is drained of blood by Valentine’s army, and the group want her assistance to stop him.
  12. Isabelle flirts with Meliorn when they visit the Seelie Court, possibly seeing him as it’s not stated explicitly if they are but one could assume.
  13. Jace wants to still be with Clary even though they are brother and sister, and doesn’t want things to end between them even if they have to keep it in secret.
  14. Maia meets Simon first as a human then dislikes him when she finds out he’s a vampire.
  15. Clary gets Jocelyn’s steele from Luke in the second book.
  16. Imogen Herondale (The Inquisitor) dies saving Jace from demons on Valentine’s boat after recognizing Jace’s birth mark as one of the Herondale’s. Jace thinks it’s just a scar from an injury he got when he was a kid as that’s what he was told by Valentine.
  17. Valentine leaves with the Mortal Cup and Soul-Sword. The Soul-Sword was not converted as he never got the blood of a werewolf child (one who is under the age of seventeen).
  18. Simon still lives at home with his mother and sister. They believed he had the flu for the last week, not that he was a vampire and couldn’t go into the daylight.
  19. Simon breaks up with Clary as he would prefer just to be friends and knows she doesn’t love him back. He doesn’t seem heartbroken over the break up as he does in the show.
  20. The Malachi Configuration is used on Jace to hold him prisoner by Inquisitor Herondale so he can used as a bargaining chip with Valentine for the Mortal Instruments.


  1. Jocelyn is dead. She was killed by a possessed Alec during a demon attack (episode 4 of season 2) on the Institute before Valentine activates the Soul-Sword and Simon becomes a daylighter (episode 10 of season 2).
  2. Clary is staying at the Institute.
  3. There are so many more scenes with Alec and Magnus where you see their relationship develop.
  4. Jace does not have a motorcycle.
  5. Dorothea called Dot is alive (also is a warlock) and helps Clary when the injections from Valentine have worn off so she can escape the boat with Jace.
  6. First meet the Inquisitor during trial of Isabelle after she helped first Meliorn escape from being taken to the Silent City.
  7. Lydia Branwell, a Clave diplomat, first takes over as the head of the Institute then Victor Aldertree following Hodge stealing the Mortal Cup.
  8. Aldertree gets Isabelle addicted to yin fen (a drug made from vampire venom) after the demon attack that killed Jocelyn.
  9. Magnus first heals Luke after he takes over as the head of the Brooklyn Pack and was bit by the previous Alpha.
  10. Maia is a bartender at the Hunter’s Moon.
  11. Seelie Court visit was prompted after Alec became head of the New York Institute, and Shadowhunters were killed by a Seelie Knight.
  12. Isabelle used to date Meliorn in the first season but broke up with him after the Lightwoods lose control of the Institute.
  13. Jace does not act on his feelings towards Clary when they believe they are brother and sister. Though he is jealous of Simon being with Clary.
  14. Maia meets Simon when he’s a vampire and doesn’t mind what he is.
  15. Jocelyn gives the steele to Clary on her eighteenth birthday.
  16. Imogen Herondale and Jace have several episodes together where he learns about his parents with her before she is killed by a possessed Jace. She dies in Season Three.
  17. Valentine has the Mortal Cup, but the Soul-Sword abilities after being unlocked by Jace are deactivated by a rune Clary made. And was recovered by Sebastian/real Jonathan.
  18. Simon lives at the Jade Wolf (werewolf HQ).
  19. Simon breaks up with Clary after the Seelie Court (episode 14 for the Court and 15 for the breakup of season 2) as she loves Jace not him.
  20. The Malachi Configuration is used on a possessed Jace (season 3) in Idris/Magnus’s apartment by Izzy, Alec, and Clary to trap him so they can break him free of Lilith’s control.

Love ya,

Mae Polzine

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