‘Shadowhunters” (Season 2): Role Reversal


The world of Shadowhunters as depicted within the pages of the Cassandra Clare books – on which the small screen adaptation is based – focuses on a world where Shadowhunters, a long-line of human-angel hybrids, battle against demons.

The primary character in this world is your typical New York teenager – Clarissa “Clary” Fray – who learns on her 18th birthday that she is so much more than she ever expected to be. She finds out that she is a Shadowhunter, and that her mother has been hiding the truth of her origin from her in an effort to protect from her father.

Happy birthday, Clary!!

As the show has played out over two and a ½ seasons on Freeform (formerly the ABC Family channel), there have been some slight alterations to characters – or more specifically circumstances involving certain characters (more on that in a second).

Last night’s episode may have found the characters of warlock Magnus Bane and former Shadowhunter (and father to Clary) Valentine Morgenstern literally body swapping because of a curse placed on them by earthbound Higher Demon Azazel. It was quite the role reversal watching these characters be themselves while trapped inside the other’s body.

But what has been unusual (or perhaps, in some instances, unexpected or even surprising) for fans of the books is how the following alterations are playing out in the series:

• Clary’s mother Jocelyn did not die in the books, however, at the end of the show’s debut season, she is killed by Alec while he was possessed by a demon;
• The relationship between Clary and Simon within the pages of the book were not romantic – despite Simon’s brief unrequited love for her – but in the series, they are very much “hot and heavy” with each other; even with Clary knowing the truth that Jace isn’t her brother; and,
• In fact, in the books, Simon has an on-again, off-again relationship not only with Shadowhunter Isabelle but also with werewolf Maia, but given how his relationship with Clary has played out so far on the small screen, neither of these relationships will probably happen in the show.

This leads to the introduction of Sebastian in the season premiere, which aired last week. As anyone who has read the books knows all too well, Sebastian is [SPOILER ALERT: if you haven’t read the books you may want to stop reading now!] the real, biological brother of Clary, and he is not a nice guy at all. That does not seem to be the case in the series – at least for right now – with Sebastian not only saving Isabelle and helping her get well but also helping Clary and Alex stop Valentine from escaping not to mention his asking Clary out for dinner, and seemingly being disappointed in her rejection. But how long will that role reversal last? Will he be a kinder, gentler Sebastian or is he just a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

What are your thoughts on how the show has changed these aspects of the characters’ lives? Do you think it was a good idea for the writers of the show to have Clary’s mom die? Do you see Clary and Simon remaining a couple in the long-term? Or, do you think – like in the books – that she and Jace will not be able to tamp down their strong feelings for each other? Please share your thoughts in our comments section below.

The next new episode of the second season of ‘Shadowhunters’ will air on Freeform on Monday, June 19 at 8/7c.