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Alec Lightwood

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Alec Lightwood
Portrayed by Kevin Zegers
Photo Alec 01
Biographical Information
Full name: Alexander Gideon Lightwood
Born: 1989
Age: 18
Status: Alive
Nickname/s: Alec
Species: Shadowhunter
Residence: New York Institute
Allegiance: The Clave
Lightwood family
Parabatai: Jace Lightwood
Family: Robert Lightwood (father)
Maryse Lightwood (mother)
Isabelle Lightwood (brother)
Max Lightwood † (brother)
Jace Lightwood (adoptive brother)
Physical Description
Gender: Male
Hair color: Black
Eye color: Blue
Ordinary couples can hope—hope to grow old together, hope to live long lives and die at the same time, but we can't hope for that. I don't even know what it is you want.

–Alec to Magnus, City of Fallen Angels

Alexander "Alec" Gideon Lightwood is a Shadowhunter and the eldest of the Lightwood children.

Alec is one of the few gay Shadowhunters. Since homosexual Shadowhunters are normally shunned out of the Clave, Alec was skeptical about coming out, but he eventually does, letting everyone know of his relationship with Magnus Bane, inspiring other teenage closeted Shadowhunters to come out about their sexuality, as well.


Early Life

Alexander Lightwood was the eldest child born to Robert and Maryse Lightwood. Born in Idris, Alec was, along with his parents, exiled from their homeland and was banned from returning unless on official Shadowhunter business. Two years after him, his sister, Isabelle, was born, and his younger brother Max was born when he was nine. When he was eleven years old, Jace Wayland was adopted into their family and Alec had an instant liking for Jace and they eventually became parabatai. It is not believed that Alec knows anything about his father being unfaithful just before his mother fell pregnant with Max.

The Mortal Instruments

City of Bones

Alec was with Isabelle and Jace in Pandemonium the night Clary Fray saw them trying to kill a demon.

From the beginning, Alec has disliked Clary and is cautious of trusting her. It is soon implied that he is rather jealous of Clary, seeing Jace's growing attraction and feelings towards her and hates her for it. 

He goes with them to Magnus Bane's party to retrieve Clary's memories and meets the warlock, with whom he later ends up falling in love with. He then accompanies them to retrieve the Mortal Cup, and in the fight against Abbadon is seriously injured saving Jace. He is saved by Magnus Bane who comes and heals him. The two begin a secret relationship sometime after this. 

City of Ashes

At the start of the book, Alec, Jace and Isabelle go out hunting demons and crawl through abandoned subway tunnels. Alec and Isabelle were reluctant to go, as they had become unsure without Hodge's instructions and advice, but go because Jace wants to.

When Jace is locked up in the Silent City and Clary goes over to the Institute, Alec is there and receives the distress call from the Silent City. He is reluctant to take Clary, whom he still sees as a liability but agrees because she is the only one who has been there before. He helps Jace up the stairs when they find him, nearly passed out in his cell, and he contacts Magnus to save him.

When Isabelle suggests that they meet the Queen of the Seelie Court, Alec agrees and is adamant about going; however, when Jace offers to go in his place, Alec has a change of heart, realizing that he can be alone with Magnus and claims that it is more important for Jace to go.

Throughout the first parts of the book, Alec tries to deny his relationship with Magnus, despite several obvious evidences: Jace saw bite marks on Alec's neck after a night out, Magnus helps the Lightwoods unwillingly but does it anyway for Alec, and Alec even has a key to Magnus's apartment.

When Luke and Maia are attacked by demons, Alec is with Jace and Magnus when they go to heal them. After this, he volunteers to be the guinea pig in order to see whether or not Clary can create new runes.

They Mark him with a fearless rune, just as his parents, his sister and the Inquisitor enter the door. Alec then stands up and, fearlessly, tells them that he is seeing someone, a Downworlder, and that it's very important that he explains to them who. However, before Alec can fully explain why it is so important to tell them whom he is dating, Magnus knocks him unconscious with magic knowing that, normally, Alec wouldn't make the decision to tell everyone he is gay. When he wakes up seconds later, he scrambles to say he isn't seeing anyone and Magnus helpfully says that he's delirious due to demon toxins.

The Inquisitor then takes Jace away, and Alec does the opposite of protest - he says that the Inquisitor is right, that Jace should be punished since he broke the law. After Jace has been caged up however, Alec is the one to help him escape. He explains that he saw that the Inquisitor wouldn't be swayed, so he pretended to agree to get in her good books, which is how he was able to sneak up there. He brought him food, and suggested that he jump 30 feet up in the air to get out of his electric like prison.

When Jace succeeds, Alec takes him to Isabelle's room where he calls Magnus for help, again. Then he watches Valentine refuse the Inquisitor's deal, his son's life for the Mortal Instruments, and informs his parents and the Inquisitor about Jace's escape. Alec then joined the rest of the Conclave in storming Valentine's ship against an army of demons, helping Jace fight one of the more dangerous demons until the demon grabbed him and flung him from the deck.

He was saved by Magnus who pulled him out, but Magnus, at that time, was very close to falling unconscious because of the energy needed to strip the ship of the wards. Alec made the decision to stay with Magnus and give him his strength so he could stay awake, rather than try to get back to the battle.


Despite their similar looks, Alec is very much the opposite of his sister in the sense that he is self-conscious and serious. In the special, "Kissed", Magnus describes Alec as straightforward, and Alec says that he is blunt, as it is the only way he knew to be. Clary perceives that Alec appears "uncomfortable in his own skin." This is possibly due to his fear of admitting to others that he is a homosexual. He convinces himself to believe he is in love with Jace as a way to escape his fear of being hurt by falling for Magnus. Alec is very protective of his family and assumes the most responsibility as the oldest of his siblings. He and Jace are parabatai, meaning that they are warriors who fight together and are closer than brothers.

He seems to pride himself in being allowed into the Court in City of Glass, him being the only one of the Lightwood children to go.

Alec is often soft spoken and serious in most situations. He tries his best to act wisely, and is shown not be as brave as Jace is; but cautious. Up until later in the story, he had never killed a demon. However this is more because he puts Jace and his sister's safety before killing demons, frequently putting himself in danger to protect them. He shows himself to be extremely caring of the ones he loves, and is willing to do anything to save them, also he is said to be "easily guilted". Between the whole group, Alec is the most clever. Alec, as seen in City of Fallen Angels, can also become extremely jealous, getting angry at Magnus when he discovers Magnus' long dating history and relationship with Camille, a vampire woman. He also becomes jealous of Will, who he suspects as another one of Magnus' several lovers and, he learned from Camille, is said to look extremely like him.

Physical description

Codex Alec

Alec is described as having a thin, wiry build. He has black hair and striking blue eyes, and he was said to resemble his distant relative Will Herondale.


  • Angel Blood: All Shadowhunters have some of the angel Raziel's blood in their veins, giving them the ability to survive the otherwise fatal application of Marks on their skin, as well as the power to perform tasks unavailable to other species, such as using seraph blades.
  • Runes: Alec has had several Marks placed on his skin, giving varied effects.
  • Superhuman Physiology: Being Nephilim, Alec has physical abilities superior to mundane humans. This includes enhanced strength, agility, stamina, and coordination, which only improves over time and practice.



  • Stele: Alec has utilized a stele to place Marks on his skin, giving varied effects.


  • Bow and Arrows: Alec uses a bow and arrows as his primary choice weapon in battle.
  • Feather-Staff: Alec will utilize a feather-staff as a second choice for a weapon in battle.
  • Seraph blades: Alec has been seen using a seraph blade in battle.
  • Dagger: Alec has also been shown to use a dagger.


For further information, see the "found" family tree.
Benedict L.
Barbara P.
Gabriel L.
Cecily H.
Gideon L.
Sophie C.
Tatiana L.
Rupert B.
Anna L.
Christopher L.
Grace C.
Alexander L.
Catia M.
Isidore L.
Phoebe G.
Andrew L.
Robert L.
Maryse T.
Alec L.
Isabelle L.
Max L.


Magnus Bane

Oh? So you're just that friendly with everybody, is that it?

–Magnus to Alec upon denying their relationship, City of Ashes

Tarot Runes 4

When Clary Fray, in City of Bones, tries to restore her lost memories, she figures out a man named Magnus Bane is the person who caused the block on her mind. When she and the group meet him at a party he is throwing, Magnus openly flirts with Alec upon seeing him, even flirtatiously asking Alec, "As for me," before winking at him. In a bonus scene of the novel, as seen on Cassandra Clare's official website, it is shown that Alec eventually gathered up the courage to confront him about their growing feelings for each other. Also when Alec reveals to Magnus that he has never kissed anyone, the two share their first kiss when Magnus kisses him before arranging for a date within the week; officially starting a secret relationship with Alec (since he was not ready to come out as gay yet).

When Clary confronts the Clave and proves her rune powers to them, the Rune she draws makes people see who they love the most. It is implied that Alec saw Magnus when she did this, as he looks confusedly from Clary to Magnus, who was standing beside him. Before the big battle between the Clave and Valentine's army of demons, Alec kisses Magnus in a crowded hall, finally publicly revealing his homosexuality to his parents and the Clave. In City of Fallen Angels, Alec is on a world tour with Magnus with stops in Germany, Austria, and France. Alec's resemblance to William Herondale is noted. Their relationship turns complicated when they have several fights about Magnus's past sexual history and Alec's mortality, finally facing the fact that Alec will age and die one day whereas Magnus will continue to live forever in his youth, but they eventually make up deciding to take things one step at a time. In one of the last scenes of City of Fallen Angels, they are seen kissing as they make up.

Their relationship once again becomes complicated throughout City of Lost Souls. Alec has difficulty getting over the fact that he will die some day whereas Magnus never would. Therefore, when given the chance, he goes to see Camille Belcourt. She reveals that there is no way to make him immortal (other than the typical options of using black magic and vampirism, which Alec both bluntly rejects using). However, she soon reveals that there is a way to take away Magnus's immortality. However Alec, unable to agree to her terms, refuses her offer. Despite this, when Magnus eventually discovers that Alec had even considered the offer at all, ends their relationship despite Alec's emotional pleas for one last chance. Magnus firmly tells Alec that while he loves him, he couldn't forgive him for even considering to shorten his life. He then tells him to gather his things from his apartment and to leave his key to the apartment on the table when he left, also severing ties altogether with him saying he never wanted to see him (or his friends and family in addition) ever again. The two share one final kiss before Magnus walks away, leaving a heartbroken and tearful Alec behind staring after him.

It is revealed in a teaser of the following novel City of Heavenly Fire that Alec keeps calling Magnus after their break up, but keeps hanging up when Magnus picks up and answers his call. His ongoing calls to Magnus eventually result in Jace breaking Alec's phone in order to get him to stop.

Jace Lightwood

Exactly. Despite my staggering good looks, you actually don't like me that way.

–Jace confronting Alec, City of Glass

Tarot Runes 6

Jace Lightwood is Alec's adoptive brother (and parabatai), whom he first believes he is in love with. After years of Alec's infatuation, Jace confronts him, telling Alec that he only loves him because he is "safe" (Alec can use their relation as an excuse to hide his feelings) and there is no chance of being hurt. He says that Alec is afraid and only uses his love for Jace to avoid pursuing other relationships. At this, Alec realizes that he will never be with Jace and that he truly loves Magnus Bane. In City of Fallen Angels, Alec consistently sends pictures of himself and Magnus to Jace from their travels.

Isabelle Lightwood

Tarot 16

Being the eldest Lightwood children, Isabelle and Alec are very close and are always looking out for one another. It is stated that the reason Alec has never killed a demon is that he is always looking out for her and Jace. Earlier in the series, before everyone found out about Alec's sexuality, Isabelle looks out for him, telling Clary particularly to not tell anyone when she figures it out, concerned of what others might think of a gay Shadowhunter. He was slightly concerned when he found out that Simon and Isabelle had slept in the same bed (though it is implied nothing sexual happened), but didn't push the issue as they had bigger problems.

Clary Fray

Alec initially strongly disliked Clary and was jealous of her, due to Jace's obvious attraction and growing feelings towards her, and never bothered to hide his dislike towards her. But when he realizes that Jace truly loves Clary and that she was a good person in her own right, he began to open up towards her and shed his feelings of hatred towards her. He is especially kind to her after Clary and Jace discover that they are supposedly siblings (this could possibly be because of the fact that he feels Jace is now "off limits" to her) and continues to mend a friendship with her throughout the series. Even after the truth is revealed that Clary and Jace are not actually siblings, he continues to be kind to her as he now shares a passionate love with Magnus.


  • Alec's full name, Alexander, means 'defending men' in Greek.


  • Alec is scared of spiders and umbrellas.
  • Alec is named after two of his ancestors: Alexander Lightwood and his uncle, Gideon.

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