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Comparing The Mortal Instruments: City of Heavenly Fire to Shadowhunters


Alright last one in my comparison of The Mortal Instruments Series to Freeform’s Shadowhunters. I’m going to miss the show as I seriously enjoyed, granted the third season was wildly different from the last three books in the series as they were all covered. After I compare what can be compared between the books and show I’m going to give my general overall opinion on both.

Check out my previous posts on how those books compared to Shadowhunters below. I’m not going to repeat minor differences (even if they are major) in this post since I’ve already mentioned them in previous ones:

Morgenstern Weapons

Clary finally gets her first weapon that isn’t borrowed from someone else in this book. After Emma Carstairs mentions how awful Clary’s sword is, Jace takes her to the weaponsmith in Idris where she ends up getting the Morgenstern blade, Heosphoros (Dawn-Bringer), which is a shortsword and part of a matched set. The other being Phaesphoros which is in Sebastian’s. The sword has a pattern of black stars that run down the center ridge. Jocelyn had sold the sword years prior before the uprising.

In the show, Clary gets her signature weapon after she receives her Angelic Rune and becomes a full-fledged Shadowhunter. She ends up going with dual kindjals that are not part of a matching set. One of the kindjals belonged to Valentine and the other to Jocelyn. The sword Jonathan has is the Morning Star sword that is opposite to Glorious, and they took from the Seelie Queen.

Pack Leader

In the book and show, the Brooklyn Werewolf pack goes through a bit of a power struggle. However, the players are quite different. In the book, there is a three way power struggle between Bat Velasquez (second in command to Luke), Rufus Hastings (a member of Praetor Lupus), and Maia Roberts. Rufus challenges Bat and almost kills him, Maia in turn challenges Rufus and kills him then allows Bat to live making her second in command for the pack.

In the show, there is no Rufus. Instead there is a werewolf named Russell he tries to take over the pack as he sees Luke is too involved with the Shadowhunters to be a leader. Luke and Russell fight with Luke winning but sparing his life. Later the Jade Wolf is attacked by vampires and Russell along with most of the pack is killed. Maia becomes the new pack leader as Luke has stepped down to focus on helping get Clary free of Jonathan’s control.

Jordan Kyle Death

Credit: Freeform

Jordan is not destined in either show or book to survive the end of this tale. In the book, Jordan is killed by Sebastian after the Praetor Lupus to destroyed. Sebastian lies Maia live to deliver the message that any Downwolders who sides with Shadowhunters will die a similar fate. She was going to break up with Jordan before he died.

In the show, Jordan even though he got help from the Praetor Lupus after being stabbed with silver ends up dying from the poisoning. Before he dies, he steals the last veil of Heavenly Fire and gives it to Maia so she can be mundane once again like Raphael. Maia does not want a mundane life, as she didn’t want to leave Jordan behind. Though she learns he is dying, Maia hands over the serum to Luke who got it for the Praetor. When Maia returns to Jordan, he is dead on the shoreline.

Attack on Alicante

Jonathan moves his attention to Shadowhunter’s capital. In the book he uses a combination of Seelies and Endarkened Shadowhunters. All of the Shadowhunters around the world escaped to Alicante after he attacked them first though. With the promise he’ll let everyone live if they remain in Idris forever if Clary and Jace join his side. Sebastian is staying in Edom. Jace, Clary, Isabelle, Alec, and Simon go to Edom to stop Sebastian.

In the show, the second after he is separated from Clary and gets black wings. He drains the demon towers of power then uses the Morning Star sword to release all of the demons in Edom on Alicante. Not all of the Shadowhunters are in Idris at the time. And Simon is back in New York as Clary portaled him away before the Demon Towers went down. Magnus joins the group to help them fight the demons of Edom. Jonathan flees after stating Clary will never love him back and destroys the sword so the riff cannot be closed.

Institute Down

In the book this comes first in the story wise. Jonathan along with the Endarkened attack multiple Institutes including the Los Angeles Institute, and turns everyone inside into an Endarken that is an adult. The children are killed. The LA institute however the children manage to escape to Alicante.

In the show, this happens after Edom. Jonathan attacks thirteen Institutes though we only see the attack at LA where Robert Lightwood and Max Lightwood are stationed. They come inside to see everyone dead and weapons have no effect on Jonathan. He allows Max and Robert to live so they can tell Clary that Jonathan is planning on taking down every Institute leaving New York for last so she can watch the world burn. Stating it’s all her fault.

To Edom They Go

In the books, the Downworld Council representatives are kidnapped to Edom along with Jocelyn (Raphael, Luke, and Magnus) by the Seelies using Meilorn since he can lie. They are imprisoned there. Jace, Isabelle, Clary, Alec, and Simon go to Edom through the entrance in the Seelie Court so they can stop Jonathan. They used one of Clary’s portals to get to the Seelie Court even though they were uninvited in her doing this and they never made the Seelie Queen promise not to tell they were leaving only that they weren’t there. Of course it’s a loop hole so the Seelie Queen tells Sebastian. When they arrive each have a dream about what they most desire though it is slightly off.

In the show, Magnus is the first to go to Edom. In order for Magnus to close the rift, Magnus needs more power which he can’t get unless he goes to Edom. However, before he goes Alec and Magnus propose to each other. Needless to say I was screaming in excitement. After Magnus leaves and seals the rift saving Alicante, but not before stating: “I never thought I’d be a runaway groom.” There Lilith asks him to allow him to escape so she can go after Jonathan, which he denies. Meliorn takes Isabelle to Edom through the Seelie Realm. He then warns the others about her going there alone. Then the rest of the group goes together but are separated upon entry though they end up staying together with their pair. Alec, Lorenzo, Clary, and Simon all reunite when they run into Magnus. Izzy, Jace, and Meliorn reunite after that group run into demons. However, they go to the castle where Lilith is rather than where Magnus is in Edom.

Downworlder to Shadowhunter Binding (Alliance) Rune

I so wanted to see this show up in the show it’s one of Clary’s most interesting runes that she has created in my opinion. In the books, this rune is first used during the Mortal Wars. Clary creates the rune to bind Downworlders to Shadowhunters to temporarily allow them to share abilities so they can fight against all of the demons without dying. Clary is not bound to anyone in the book as she is kept out of the fighting granted she ends up going to Lake Lyn to stop Valentine though she wasn’t supposed to go anywhere near the battle.

In the show, Clary finally creates this rune so they can go to Edom after Isabelle. Of course, Jace doubts it will work and states it would be insanely dangerous. Clary binds herself to Simon giving her super speed, Jace is bound to Meliorn and complains about not getting anything cool though Meliorn claims he’ll learn when he takes his next lover to bed (I died laughing at that), and Alec is bound to Lorenzo allowing him to use magic. Clary gets thirsty for blood, Alec can’t control his magic and needs Lorenzo’s help to calm down, and Jace is unable to lie afterwards (also died laughing at this especially after he says Meliorn is a 9 out of 10).

Credit: Freeform

Heavenly Fire in the Veins

In the book, after Jace was stabbed with Glorious he has the heavenly fire running through his veins so any time he gets excited he starts on fire. The first time this happens it’s just his hands then later he burns a wall while kissing Clary. After a fight he explodes while Brother Zachariah tries to help him which cures Jem of his Yin Fen addiction, and turns him back into a regular Shadowhunter. This is taken out of Jace by Clary using a rune into her family sword that she later uses to kill Sebastian.

In the show, after Clary is stabbed with a reforged Glorious the sword explodes with the shards stabbing Isabelle as she saves Simon. They finally have their first kiss only to reveal that the heavenly fire is inside of Izzy as she bursts out into flames. Isabelle is told by Helen that she cannot come into contact with any Downworlders or she might explode just like the sword. After Izzy uses the Heavenly Fire on Lilith, they use the Alliance Rune to pass the fire between all of them. The Heavenly Fire destroys Edom after they free it from Isabelle. Since they don’t need Magnus in Edom any longer to keep the rift sealed they go back to New York.

Clary Goes to Jonathan

In the book, Jonathan shows Clary the two worlds: Edom and Earth. He states he’ll allow Earth to live if Clary sits on the throne next to him. She and Jace planned how to double cross him using the Heavenly Fire hiding in her sword. She agrees and sits on the throne watching the portal to Earth close behind her. After Earth is safe and Jonathan has everyone bow to her, she approaches him, gives him a kiss on the cheek, then says “Hail Master” as she stabs him with her sword killing him with the Heavenly Fire.

In the show, Clary goes to Toronto alone having Magnus portal her there fearing creating a portal will bring on the wrath of the angels so she can stop Jonathan before he destroys that Institute. Clary has a heartfelt conversation with Jonathan telling him about her dreaming about him in the burning tower. Clary ends up drawing one final rune that wasn’t from the Grey Book which gives her wings. This in turns kills Jonathan, and she loses her runes overtime as she was warned by the angel never to do that again. Which means Clary can’t be Jace or the rest of the Shadow World, as she can’t see it anymore.

The Wedding

Both the books and show end with a wedding. However, the individuals getting married are different. In the book, Jocelyn and Luke get married six months following the events of the Dark War. Magnus and Alec have just gotten back together, Simon has little to no memory of the shadow world, and Clary meets Tessa Gray whom their mundane last name (Fray) came from. Jocelyn and Luke get married out at Luke’s farmhouse. However, in the show Jocelyn is dead. She died back in season two shortly after waking up. So it’s not their wedding we are treated to. Instead we get a wedding between Magnus and Alec. Which was so sweet but at the same time heartbreaking considering Clary was losing all of her runes, sight to let her see the Shadow World, and memories of it. She left a letter for Jace before she left about the angels’ punishment which that made me an emotional mess.

Credit: Freeform

Minor Details/Differences


  1. Jace was tied to Jonathan.
  2. Jocelyn and Luke get married after the Dark War.
  3. Jordan helped Jace with staying calm after he was stabbed with Glorious.
  4. Jonathan Morgenstern goes by Sebastian up until Clary kills him.
  5. Raphael is killed by Sebastian after refusing to kill Magnus.
  6. Sebastian is in a relationship with the Seelie Queen before he is separated from Jace. Seelie Queen lives after the Dark War.
  7. Jace and Clary first have sex after Clary takes the heavenly fire out of Jace into her sword, and they are in a cave in Edom.
  8. Magnus does not share his past with Alec until they leave Edom and Jonathan is dead.
  9. Maia injected herself with Holy Water to kill Maureen by request of a vampire named Lily. Maureen bites her to to seal a deal between vampires and werewolves.
  10. Jace starts going by Herondale after the Dark War is won. He decides this at the wedding of Luke and Jocelyn. Clary jokes at how bad Clary Herondale sounds.
  11. Meliorn is half Seelie so he can lie.
  12. Asmodeus is revealed to be Magnus’s father and he helps him leave Edom for a price of immortality.
  13. Sebastian always had white platinum blond hair. Has no black wings but has black eyes all of the time.
  14. Kaelie is still alive and accepts the punishment from the Clave on behalf of the Seelies for the Queen’s actions in the Dark War.
  15. Helen is exiled to study wards after the Dark War for being part Seelie.
  16. Sebastian has an army of Endarkened Shadowhunters as well as demons and Seelies.
  17. Maryse and Robert Lightwood are separated but still married, and Robert became the Inquisitor.
  18. The demon towers were taken out for the first time during the Mortal War.
  19. Maia never makes amends with her family.
  20. Luke is a werewolf.
  21. Simon and Izzy get back together.
  22. No one considers becoming a Downworlder to go to Edom or question that the air will kill them on arrival.
  23. Lilith is just recovering after helping Sebastian with the Infernal Cup, and does not make an appearance.
  24. Clary has no parabatai at the end of this book nor the desire to ever have one, though in later books becomes one with Simon.
  25. The angels do not punish Clary for her rune ability.
  26. Simon loses his memories and immortality as a result of a deal with Asmodeus. After six months he starts to show signs of remembering the Shadow World.
  27. Jem is a regular Shadowhunter as the heavenly fire stripped away the runes from the Silent Brothers and cured him of the damage done by Yin Fen.
  28. Taki’s Diner is a Downworlder restaurant that has been in the series since the very beginning.
  29. Magnus gives Simon back his memories after they see signs that Simon still remembers some of the Shadow World enrolling him to become enlightened (a Shadowhunter).
  30. Clary and Isabelle spy on Simon after he loses his memories of the Shadow World.
  31. Jace, Alec, Clary, and Izzy are shadowhunters at the New York Institute.


  1. Clary was tied to Jonathan.
  2. Luke does not get married as Jocelyn is dead. But ends up with Maryse.
  3. Jonathan Morgenstern goes by his birth name.
  4. Jordan helped Maia stay calm after the massacre at the Jade Wolf when they get locked in the storage room.
  5. Raphael becomes mundane due to Heavenly Fire serum.
  6. Jonathan is not in a relationship with the Seelie Queen prior to his transformation, after he sleeps with her he kills her.
  7. Jace and Clary first have sex after Clary is reunited with Jace in Paris.
  8. Magnus tells Alec about his past before Lilith binds Clary to Jonathan.
  9. Maia injected herself with Holy Water to kill Heidi after most of her pack was killed. Heidi bites her in a fight and dies.
  10. Jace has been going by Herondale since he learned the truth.
  11. Meliorn cannot lie like all Seelies.
  12. Asmodeus is revealed to be Magnus’s father back when Lilith corrupted the ley lines, and took Magnus’s immortality/magic in exchange to break Jace’s possession. He also returns both to Magnus for the price of Alec breaking up with Magnus. When Magnus learns the truth, he banishes Asmodeus to limbo.
  13. Jonathan only has white blond hair after transforming.
  14. Kaelie died before the Mortal War after she killed Shadowhunters.
  15. Helen is not exiled after the events of the show as Seelies are not punished.
  16. Jonathan has an army of demons at least for the attack on Alicante, the rest he does solo.
  17. Maryse was stripped of her runes after the Mortal War, divorced Robert, and went to the LA Institute with Max.
  18. The demon towers are taken out for the first time.
  19. Maia makes amends with her family after Jordan’s death.
  20. Luke has become a Shadowhunter again.
  21. Simon and Izzy have their first kiss and get into a relationship. He lives at the Institute with her in the year flash-forward.
  22. The air of Edom would kill non-downworlders.
  23. Lilith builds an army to take down Magnus.
  24. Clary asks Izzy to be her parabatai, and Izzy accepts. Though this will never happen.
  25. Raziel punishes Clary for creating the Alliance and Necromancy runes by stripping away her runes and memories of the Shadow World. She is able to see Jace with the Sight after a year of being mundane.
  26. Simon is a vampire
  27. Jem is still a Silent Brother (Brother Zachariah).
  28. Maia renames the Jade Wolf to Taki’s Diner where all Downworlders can eat.
  29. Clary knows something is blocking her memories and has been painting it. Jace goes to her gallery and she is able to see him. She runs after him and states that his name is Jace, hinting that she is starting to remember meaning the angels are done punishing her after year.
  30. Jace spies on Clary after she loses her memories of the Shadow World.
  31. Jace is the trainer at the New York Institute, Alec is the Inquisitor in Alicante, Izzy runs the New York Institute, and Clary is a mundane artist.

Final Thoughts Between The Mortal Instruments and Freeform’s Shadowhunters

Now that it’s over, I’m in some serious withdraw from the story. And the book series ended happy. Maybe a little bittersweet, everyone except for Jonathan survived. Simon is mortal but is going to become a Shadowhunter in the future, so he’ll eventually remember everyone. Though he does know some things thanks to the help of Magnus. All of the couples are basically together and happy, so it’s a good note to end the series on. I know there are other books in the realm of Shadowhunters but I don’t think I’m going to read them. I know roughly what happens in those but they aren’t really following Jace or Clary, which were the main characters I enjoyed. Don’t get me wrong the others are fine to, but I really enjoyed their segments the most. In the show, I feel more invested in the other characters so if it was like that while reading the books then maybe I would. But since I didn’t, I’m think I’m going to skip on the other books.

Character wise Jace in the books is way more sarcastic with quick one-liners that Jace in the show just didn’t really have past the first season. I mean there were a few, but he showed more of the loving boyfriend side and Jace with his heart on his sleeve in the show. They are just two completely different characters. Jace also has more abilities in the show including the ability to activate runes without a stele, while in the books he’s just stronger due to the angel blood. Malec (Alec and Magnus) I think have more chemistry in the show than in the books but maybe if I read their spin off books I would see that. It just wasn’t really in the main series as it was with the show. Clary is also more warm and forgiving in the show, she makes friends with the others (like Isabelle) more easily and is more badass warrior princess as compared to the book Clary.

The show also has all of the characters older than they are in the books with Clary being 18 at the start. Another major different is Raphael is 15 in the books but appears much older in the show, so the vampires aren’t being lead by a teenager. I don’t know… I like that in the show they are older. Though I feel bad we never got to experience Jocelyn and Luke getting married which is how The Mortal Instruments ends. Another major difference is in the show the Seelie Queen manipulates her age having a total of three different actresses playing her character (most likely due to scheduling conflicts as the main Seelie Queen plays Maddie in The 100). While in the books, it is never mentioned that she can do this. Also I was so happy when the Queen died in the show, it felt like justice and what her character desired. She’s alive in the books and they have to repay for all of the damages caused by Sebastian during the Dark War.

Credit: Freeform

Technically in the books relationships don’t seem as rushed when you put time into the perspective of the story. It makes more sense why some characters just aren’t as far in their relationship yet as others. But take away time and oh my god, I love the relationships as they are shown in Shadowhunters. It’s cute, sweet, hot, and heartbreaking. However, almost unrealistic at how fast they appear to progress if you think about the whole show taking place in the matter of like a few months. So I get why in the books, some characters aren’t as serious or haven’t broken up several times over then gotten back together. It wouldn’t make sense, since the story only takes place between August to January with a jump forward to May for the wedding in the Epilogue of the final book. So basically five months all six books take place. Not a lot of people are in extremely serious relationships during that time where they would propose (looking at you Alec from the show). In the show, the events take place between Clary’s birthday in August until shortly after Halloween when Clary loses her runes. With a jump forward of a year to show everyone happy and changes happening at the Clave with Downworlders being representatives around the world to Shadowhunters.

Another major thing about the main relationship between Jace and Clary, the books take way… way longer to share the fact that the two aren’t siblings. And go into very different avenues in regards to that mini period of their lives. The show makes them go from a very serious making out all the time relationship to you’re related, and they go their own ways sort of mutually. Sure they still had feelings for each other, but they didn’t try to still be close in that way until after they learn it was a lie. If anything they are both repulsed by the idea they were into each other in the show up until that point. The books on the other hand do some of my favorite lines of the show and books, while they still think they are sibling including the Seelie Court kiss. In the books they think they are siblings when that happens so the line “this doesn’t mean anything” has a whole different meaning. Another lines that Jaces says to Clary is when he goes to spend the night with her just laying in bed so he could sleep with her just once before they possibly die: “I love you until the day I die and if there is a life after that, I’ll love you then too.” They don’t learn until the next day they aren’t related. In the show this happens well after that revelation right before they have sex for the first time. But during that sibling time in the book, both Clary and Jace go back and forth between who cares if we’re siblings to no this is wrong as we’re siblings. They can’t stay away from each other in the books as they did in the show. Which reading it knowing they aren’t related was a bit annoying as I was the cheerleader in the sidelines going, “It’s fine, just be together you’re meant to be.” Kind of wish I didn’t know that fact going into the books. But the show through me for a massive loop at the end when they switch out Clary for Simon so Jace and her can’t have a happy ending (though it is hinted she might be starting to remember or regaining the Sight). I was all prepared to lose Simon then they we’re like oh sweetie, no. Then took Clary instead shattering my heart into a million pieces. Which as much as that sucks it was excellently executed and we got a sense of it was over.

I didn’t get sad or teary eyed when Simon lost his memories of the shadow world in the book, but Clary losing them in the show broke me. I don’t think a single moment has made me more crushed then that moment in the show. Not Jace dying since I knew he was coming back or when Magnus and Alec broke up multiple times since in the back of my mind there was always the trailer of the wedding in the finale. But Clary losing her memories seriously destroyed me. As every other moment I felt wasn’t true and would be fixed a few episodes later. But this one, this one I knew wasn’t going to just be fixed. And that broke me for the entire last thirty minutes and then some after that. Though in the end like Simon, Clary recognizes some of the Shadow World including being able to see Jace and remembering his name. I wish they kissed but at least there’s a chance they were happy in the end, and the angels are done punishing Clary forever. Plus there was the call back to how they first met of “you can see me” from Jace. I mean everyone else got a happy ending except for Clace (Jace & Clary). I get why they did it, it was the best way to end the show. They took away the runes in reverse order she got them as if the last three seasons never happened. It was an emotional and a somber goodbye. As there’s no bringing back the show for another season though I so wish we could have more even if it doesn’t follow any of the books. Taking Clary’s memories has more of an impact than Simon. Plus if by some miracle it gets picked up by another producer, it opens a window for a whole new storyline that’s not straight out of the books.

Ultimately, I loved both the books and the show. There are elements of each that I prefer over the other, but neither take away from the other. I do wish they didn’t cancel the show and cram four books into one final season as a lot was taken away. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t great. And the last two episodes made me die of both laughter and tears. Laughing at Seelie Jace and him saying boop to Simon while training, and crying like crazy at Clary being stripped of being a Shadowhunter even though she created the last rune to save the world. It was the perfect way to end the show. As heart wrenching as it was, it ended on a good note and didn’t diminish the series. The books sort of did with the wedding scene, as it more just felt like set up for two other books series rather than drawing the adventure to a close. At least with the show there was closure, sure I want more but there was a sense it was over.


Love ya,

Mae Polzine

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  1. April 15, 2021 / 9:43 AM

    Magnus’s book is really good! It’s his whole back story and since I do very much enjoy Magnus’s character, it was a great read. However the “Shadow Market” only really follows Jem/ Brother Zachariah, who until this moment does not really have a massive foot print in the storyline. It does touch on many other Shadowhunter families throughout the ages though and it is nice to see the ancestors of the characters that we have grown to love! It does jump around the timeline quite a bit, which I don’t LOVE when books do, but alas I did read them both and quiet enjoyed them both, but I am a Shadowhunter Nerd and all the details the author put into the Downworld Sect’s and Alicante and all things Shadowhunter just further my love of the series!

    • Mae Polzine
      April 15, 2021 / 9:44 AM

      Good to know. I have been debating on reading those.
      ♥ Mae

    • August 14, 2021 / 10:31 PM

      Just saw this! Honestly I loved the Mortal Instruments series. I read them more than once and still love them! I decided to read the clockwork series because I loved the world. These were, HANDS DOWN better than the mortal instruments. There’s only 3, they aren’t drawn out like MI, and they have a strong female lead in comparison to Clary. I loved them, still one of my favourites to read. Plus there’s characters that you know from MI, and if you read them again you’ll see names and people that you know already! Plus you continue and read MI and you’ll know specific characters!
      Honestly one of the best series 🙂

      • Mae Polzine
        August 14, 2021 / 10:33 PM

        Agreed! The Infernal Devices is one of the best series Cassandra Clare has released. The characters were very well written and even though you “know” what’s happening from reading MI, you still don’t know how it’s going to get to that stage.
        ♥ Mae

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