Comparing The Mortal Instruments: City of Glass to Shadowhunters

My mother is now calling my obsessed as I’ve stopped playing video games or watching movies/YouTube videos when I get home from work to bury myself into this series. I think I finally found a book series that is holding my attention like no one’s business. And since I’ve now finished the third book we are half way through the series. So I’m going to be comparing The Mortal Instruments: City of Glass to the Freeform TV Show called Shadowhunters. After the first two books it’s very apparent how things are not following the same order, so I have no doubt certain points are going to be jumping from the beginning of season two to the end. And some points are incredibly different but aren’t plot points of the books so those will be in the Minor Details and Differences Section like in my previous posts.

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:

Portal to Idris

Similar to the show, Clary creates a portal to take her to Idris after she is left behind by Jace and the Lightwoods. As Clary needs to get to Idris in order to find Ragnor Fell, a warlock, who put the spell on her mother. The teleports her straight into Lake Lyn where she loses her steele and ingests the hallucinogenic water. Luke, who happened to come with her, gets her out of the water so she doesn’t drown.

In the book, Jace and Clary come to the conclusion Valentine must be in Idris but just not at the capital like everyone was thought he would when they took him through the portal. Clary ends up making a portal then takes Jace with her to Idris where they end up in Lake Lyn. There Clary loses her steele and shallows lake water. Later losing her mind until Jace uses his rune activation ability to heal her since Clary breaks Isabelle’s steele after Isabelle comes to help rescue the two of them. When this happens Jocelyn was already awoken by Ragnor Fell and killed by a possessed Alec.

Sebastian Verlac

In the show, Izzy meets Sebastian the day after the attack on the Institute. He saved her from a Greater Demon (that he summoned to New York as he’s actually Jonathan Morgenstern) as she was too strung up on craving vampire venom that she couldn’t fight for herself. Isabelle does not recognize him right away, but is aware Aline Penhallow is his cousin. Isabelle stays with him for a while as she’s going through withdraw from yin fen. Max doing tracking training for Isabelle uses a far found in the box Clary has from Jocelyn that belonged to Jonathan. He manages to find Sebastian in Alec’s office, who not wanting his identity detected while he’s searching for the Mortal Mirror attacks Max causing him to go into critical condition and almost die. The Institute goes on lock down as they believe Jonathan is still in the building after the attack. Clary remembers that Jonathan can’t touch electrodes due to his demonic blood, so she makes everyone touch a bit of Izzy’s whip while Max is undergoing a procedure with the Silent Brothers that saves his life. Clary identifies Sebastian as Jonathan and destroys the fake Mortal Mirror. He is able to get away however. Later Jace and Clary track him down through their angelic bond and manage to kill him in New York.

In the book, when the Lightwoods and Jace go to Alicante, Idris at the beginning of the book they stay with Aline Penhallow and Sebastian Verlac. Who they have known for ages, but the last time they saw them they were eight. Sebastian is actually the real Jonathan Christopher Morgenstern, not that any of them are aware of this. As his relatives hadn’t seen him for a while it was easy enough to pretend to be him. Jocelyn is the one who reveals that Sebastian is Jonathan Morgenstern. Jonathan wasn’t glamoured as Sebastian Verlac but rather just dyed his blond hair black to fit the role of being Valentine’s spy.

Credit: Freeform

Ragnor Fell & The Book of the White

In the show, Clary meets Ragnor Fell at the end of the first season before Jace joins Valentine and after Jace and Clary learn they are siblings. They go with Magnus to meet Ragnor Fell to see how they would awaken Jocelyn. When they get to his estate he is hiding in a painting that Clary pulls him out of. But before they can get any information, Ragnor Fell was killed by a demon. In the finale, after Clary recognizes a bookmark she saw in another dimension they identify the book is currently being held by Camille. Jocelyn had glamoured the book to look like a cooking book and once the bookmark is placed inside it transforms back into the Book of the White.

In the book, Sebastian takes Clary in Idris to Ragnor Fell’s place where he is already dead. Magnus Bane however is there having gotten a message from Ragnor on the location of the book. Turns out it to was in Idris at Jace’s childhood home as a cooking book. Clary ends up going there with Jace to retrieve the book. They manage to get it and Clary gives it to Magnus after the fighting has ended in Alicante as the demons have left for the day.

Wayland Home

In the show, Clary and Jace go to his old childhood home where he gets the journals Valentine wrote his observations between Jonathan Christopher Morgenstern and Jonathan Christoper Herondale (Jace). After visiting they learn Clary’s sibling is still alive as in this point of the story they know they aren’t related. In the show, we learn Jonathan was kept in the cellar for most of his life while Jace was upstairs until Valentine sent him to Lilith in Edom.

I already mentioned why they went to the Wayland home in the book as they were looking for the Book of the White. Not only to wake up Jocelyn but to free Simon, who is being held by the Clave after Jace brought him to Idris instead of letting him die to a bunch of Forsaken (mundanes/humans who got an angelic rune that made them go crazy). This happens no where in the show, and it’s a pretty major plot point so I’m not going to just have it as a mention in the minor differences section. At the Wayland home, Jace and Clary find the cookbook but it just has a note inside regarding the real Book of the White in a language neither of them is fluent in. They also find the journals Valentine kept about Jonathan but he doesn’t take them.


Ah the angel in which both Clary and Jace have a blood connection. In both tales the discovery of Ithuriel is very different like almost everything when it comes to City of Glass. In the book, Jace and Clary discover Ithuriel chained up in the basement of the Wayland Home. Ithuriel then shows Clary and Jace the past of Valentine obtaining demon blood from Lilith for Jonathan Morgenstern. And Valentine keeping him prisoner in hopes of learning where the Mortal Mirror is. After Clary frees him, Ithuriel kills himself causing the manor to collapse.

In the show, Clary hears Ithuriel crying for help as Valentine is torturing the angel. She later frees him with Jace towards the mid-point of season two to help prevent the Soul-Sword from being activated to kill all downworlders. After Clary and Jace free him they get the same vision of a demon being able to completely destroy the sword upon touch. They of course assume it’s Jace who can do this since they think he’s Jonathan who has demon blood. Later Ithuriel also appears when Clary goes to Idris for the first time after she ingests water from Lake Lyn and tells her Jonathan is alive.

Credit: Freeform

Death in the Family

In the books when Jace and Clary come back from the Wayland Manor, the city is on fire. This never happens in the show as they only go to Idris twice both times by Lake Lyn, otherwise the entire plot of the show takes place in New York City. The first time they went in the show was to track down Valentine and the second time to stop him from using the Mortal Instruments. I’ll speak more on that later. The closest the book comes to a demon attack is one orchestrated by Valentine on the Institute. During that attack demons possessed individuals and made them rip out the hearts of others. This attack was a distraction for Valentine to get into the City of Bones to steal the Soul-Sword. And Jocelyn ends up dead due to Alec being possessed and ripping out her heart the day before she was going to leave for Idris. Isabelle is also injured in the show during this and leads her down the path of getting addicted to yin fen. After this Clary goes to see a warlock named Iris to bring Jocelyn back, but decides against it after signing the blood oath. Iris tries to have Clary impregnanted by a demon but Clary uses her ruin creating ability to kill the demon with sunlight.

In the books, as I mentioned Jace and Clary come back to find the city on fire and being attacked by demons. During the battle Max Lightwood is killed by you guessed it Sebastian/Jonathan Morgenstern, which hits Isabelle really hard as she ignored Max when he mentions someone was climbing the Demon Towers that protect Alicante from demon invasion. When Isabelle came downstairs to help draw protection runes, Sebastian hits her over the head. Max met a similar fate but did not make it, he was only nine years old.

Jocelyn Wakes Up

In the show, Jocelyn is woken up at the beginning of the second season after Jace has joined Valentine. Clary is happy to see her mother again and doesn’t blame her for everything she did. Jocelyn does not realize Jace is not her son and calls him a monster due to the thought he has demon blood. She even tries to kill him. Jocelyn dies before it’s revealed Jace is not a Morgenstern, and Jace stands with Clary at her right of passing.

In the book, Jace has taken off to find Sebastian using some blood of his that was on Clary’s coat. As Clary is talking to Isabelle about Jace’s suicide mission, Jocelyn arrives. Magnus had returned to New York with the Book of the White he received from Clary after the fighting in Alicante for the day was finished and woke up Jocelyn. Then she comes to Idris to see Clary who is staying at Luke’s sister’s place. Clary is less than happy about seeing Jocelyn and yells at her for taking her memories, not telling her she had a brother, and not training her to be a Shadowhunter.

Sibling Revelation

Can I just say this is something I kind of wish I didn’t know about reading the books. It probably would’ve been a completely different experience as the last two books (City of Ashes and City of Glass), as I just wanted to scream at Jace and Clary that weren’t related so their relationship was totally fine and they were just being a bit ridicilous.

In the show, they only spend about 13 episodes thinking they are siblings but during that time don’t act on their feelings for each other. After Valentine activates the Soul-Sword in Season 2 episode 10 with Jace’s blood, he reveals that he’s not actually Jace’s biological father. Though he wasn’t lying about the fact that he did raise Jace pretending to be Michael Wayland. Jace doesn’t let Clary about this until the following episode while they are interrogating Valentine as in the show they managed to capture Valentine briefly. Valentine is shocked Jace didn’t tell Clary the truth. Jace didn’t mention it as he didn’t want to ruin what Clary has with Simon, as well as it didn’t come up in conversation. They don’t get together after this revelation as Clary is still in a relationship with Simon. And even after the Seelie Court it takes until episode 19 for them to finally kiss.

In the book, the part I thought it became overly apparent they weren’t siblings in City of Ashes wasn’t the moment they realized it. Nope, they still thought they were siblings for almost the entire City of Glass. This however does not stop them from going back and forth on “we’re siblings we shouldn’t” to “F*** it, I love you” only for them to flop back over to the former immediately afterwards. So in a way the book makes it way more frustrating when you know the truth, as you have to deal with the two struggling and honestly I ship them so I just wanted them to get over themselves and be together happy.

Anyways… the truth is revealed multiple times in this book as well. Or hinted at really since Clary and Jace are so dense. Hodge comments that Jace isn’t Valentine’s son but is killed by Sebastian just as he was revealing the truth. Simon is repulsed by Sebastian’s blood since it’s demon blood, whereas he didn’t have the same reaction to Jace’s blood in the previous book. And everyone literally comments how Jace looks nothing like Valentine, the only similarities are maybe personality due to how Jace was raised. It isn’t until Jocelyn wakes up that she tells Clary how Hodge took the Herondale infant to a cabin, after Celine killed herself, during the uprising who had angel who was Jace, and Jonathan was actually Sebastian as Valentine told her his entire plan and truth while she was unconscious. And Valentine had been raising both boys: Jonathan/Sebastian at the cabin and Jace at the Wayland Manor.

Jace on the other hand in the book learns he’s not Jonathan Morgenstern when he goes to find Sebastian. He spies on them while Valentine and Sebastian are talking. Sebastian mentions how he tried to kidnap Clary to bring her to Valentine so they would be on the same side, but was unable to due to Jace and Alec. Valentine also reveals that Hodge knew there were two Jonathans (Morgenstern and Herondale), but that Hodge was too scared of Valentine to say anything.

The Clave’s Decision

Credit: Freeform

In the show, Malachi ends up joining Valentine’s side to make the wish with Raziel to get rid of all demon blooded creatures. When Jace and Clary go to Idris to stop Valentine, Malachi captures them then takes them into the woods to be executed. Clary’s head is placed on a chopping but just before they chop off her head, Jace uses his angelic ability to activate ruins without a steele to break free and save Clary’s life. Together they kill all of the Circle members including Malachi before going to Lake Lyn.

In the book, Valentine gives the Clave a choice. Let him rule them or everyone will be murdered by his demon army. Clary manages to convince the Clave including Malachi to allow her to create an Alliance rune on each of them which will allow them to share abilities with the downworlders to help them fight against the demon army after the massacre that happened the night before. Malachi however is working with Valentine and drank from the Mortal Cup so he wouldn’t be turned into a Forsaken, and is killed by Hugin (Valentine’s Raven).

Finding the Mortal Mirror

In the show, the group believe the Mortal Mirror is one that Jocelyn hid at a park she used to take Clary. They were able to find the fake mirror using a warlock map that Dot (Dorothea) has. As they retrieve the mirror, Jonathan kills Dot. Jonathan later disguised as Sebastian steals the mirror but Clary destroys it. Later, Clary keeps having nightmares about drowing in Lake Lyn as the Soul-Sword tries to kill her. Making her realize that Lake Lyn is the Mortal Mirror.

In the book, no one knows what the Mortal Mirror is until Hodge points it out to the group after they break him out of prison which is burning to the ground after the demon attacks. Jonathan still pretending to be Sebastian kills Hodge after learning the Mortal Mirror is Lake Lyn but before Hodge can reveal that Jace is not Jonathan Morgenstern.

Simon Gets the Mark of Cain

In the books, Clary gives Simon the Mark of Cain as a way to protect him from other vampires as Raphael wants him dead for being different. In allowing Simon to go to Raphael with the mark this forces them to align with the Shadowhunters without being able to harm Simon. The mark is always visible.

In the show, Simon receives the Mark of Cain in the third season from the Seelie Queen. She gives it to any daylighter as a means of protection. But also so it can be used to destroy Lilith (though it’s not clear if the Seelie Queen knew Lilith was in New York when she gave Simon the mark). The mark is not visible unless activated.

The Wish

In the book, Valentine is going to wish all Nephilim who are not allied with him be stripped of that status making them mundane. However they would still have their marks so they would all turn into Forsaken to be slaughtered by his demon army. Valentine could wish for anything, but he in the books doesn’t wish for the death of all demons. You know since that’s the main thing he’s been after this entire time. Clary goes to Lake Lyn using one of her portal runes by herself and is bound wrists and legs by runes and has a silence rune on the back of her neck by Valentine. After Jace is killed by Valentine, Raziel is risen and disagrees about the Downworlders stating they have souls and it was not heaven’s wish to kill them or the disloyal Shadowhunters. While Valentine is in the middle of talking with Raziel, Clary replaces Valentine’s name with her own so Valentine cannot compel the only wish Raziel can be compelled to make. When Valentine realizes this, Raziel kills him with a spit of fire and frees Clary of her binding runes. Then Clary wishes for Jace to be brought back to life. Everyone believes Jace was merely injured then healed by the angel, not killed by Valentine.

In the show, Valentine is going to wish for the death of every single demon blooded creature so demons and Downworlders alike and any disloyal Shadowhunter. To do so Raziel requests that he make a blood sacrifice as he will not do so willingly. Before we summons Raziel however he kills Jace as he’s too “dangerous” with Clary then knocks Clary out. When Clary wakes Valentine is placing the Mortal Instruments into Lake Lyn. But before he can bleed into the water to compel The Wish (they are only allowed to get a single wish from Raziel then he will no longer grant one to any other Shadowhunter), Clary kills him and uses her own blood to compel Raziel to bring Jace back to life. Alec had felt Jace die and saw the Parabatai rune vanish, and sees it return after seeing Jace alive on the shore of Lake Lyn with Clary. Honestly I think the shows version of the scene was more emotional but also Clary was more badass and managed to kill Valentine herself.

Minor Details/Differences

Credit: Freeform


  1. Jocelyn is alive.
  2. Clary is staying at Luke’s place.
  3. Isabelle was never in a relationship with Raphael nor was addicted to yin fen.
  4. Vampires can’t enter the Institute as it’s holy ground.
  5. Ithuriel kills himself after being set free why Jace and Clary.
  6. The vision Ithuriel shows Jace and Clary is of Jonathan getting demon blood in the womb.
  7. Aldertree is the Inquisitor with it out for the Lightwoods, and tries to get Simon to lie stating the Lightwoods were in league with Valentine.
  8. Story takes place in Idris.
  9. Max dies during the battle in Alicante.
  10. Jace self-destructs his relationships as he’s struggling to understand who he is. This mainly includes Clary as he is in love with her but thinks they are siblings.
  11. Clary still sucks at combat, like literally has zero training though she’s managed to get through purely on throwing knives thus far.
  12. Aldertree is killed by a projection of Valentine after the first night’s attack on Alicante.
  13. Jace is easily overpowered by Jonathan in combat, but Izzy helps distract Jonathan long enough for Jace to kill him using the spot on the back where you can hit the heart and severe the spine.
  14. Jonathan never went to Edom, so he still looks the way he has his entire life.


  1. Jocelyn is dead. She was killed by a possessed Alec during a demon attack (episode 4 of season 2).
  2. Clary is staying at the Institute.
  3. Isabelle is addicted to yin fen and had relationship with Raphael.
  4. Vampires can enter the Institute.
  5. Ithuriel is still alive until season three where Lilith kills him.
  6. Clary learns about the demon blood of Jonathan from Jocelyn not Ithuriel.
  7. Aldertree for a brief period until overthrown by Alec was the head of the New York Institute.
  8. Story takes place mainly in New York City, but they do go to Idris twice briefly.
  9. Max is alive and in recovery after Sebastian’s attack.
  10. Jace doesn’t self-destruct his relationships, nor puts himself in danger except for after Clary is presumed dead in season 3 (but that’s related to another book so I’ll get more into that during a future one of these).
  11. Clary can kick butt in combat and hold her ground.
  12. Aldertree is alive and has returned to the Clave after Valentine activated the Soul-Sword.
  13. Jace and Jonathan are evenly matched when it comes to combat, but Izzy did help turn the fight so Jace could kill Jonathan.
  14. Jonathan is disfigured from being burned in Edom by Lilith.

Love ya,

Mae Polzine

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  1. May 7, 2019 / 9:48 AM

    Wow great writing skill… I really thanks to you for giving great knowledge. you can read City of Glass . I will Bookmark this website. and recommend for everyone to read Top Novel books

    • Mae Polzine
      May 7, 2019 / 9:50 AM

      Thank you so much, I had a lot of fun doing the comparison between the books and show. And just exploring all of the differences between the two.
      ♥ Mae

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