|“||With this Cup, I can cleanse our bloodlines... save our race.||”|
–Valentine, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
Valentine Morgenstern is the leader of the Circle, a rogue group of idealist Shadowhunters who aims to make their kind evolve, a goal which he tries to accomplish through experimenting with demon and angel blood. He was also the husband of Jocelyn and the father of Clary Fray and another boy. He also raised Jace Wayland and led him to believe that he is his father.
Valentine Morgenstern was once a great man until, according to his former friend Luke Garroway, he came into conflict with the Clave. He believed that the Mortal Cup should actively be used to create more Shadowhunters. However, since the Clave was wary of its risks—where few people survive drinking from it—Valentine sought to take action himself.
Valentine had other goals in mind: unlike some of his comrades, whose main purpose was the protection of humanity, Valentine wanted to rule. He felt that the Shadowhunters needed to evolve and become more powerful. Thus, he began experimenting using the Cup. He learned magic, particularly the art of summoning demons. He became so invested in his plans that he even injected himself with demon blood so he could control them.
In an effort to stop him for going further, his pregnant wife Jocelyn took and hid the Cup from him and left. Knowing that he would face retribution from the Clave, he faked his death (and that of his son's, Jonathan Christopher) by burning their house to the ground.
Somehow, he got a hold of an infant Shadowhunter whom he later raised as his own, even giving him Jonathan's name without telling him who he really was. He took the guise of Michael Wayland, leading the boy to grow up believing he was a Wayland. Eventually, Valentine faked his own death to Jonathan and placed a block on his mind, befuddling his memories of him, to the point where he became unrecognizable to him. The child was then sent to the New York Institute.
Around a decade after, Valentine finally made his return to the living world, revealing to everyone that he was in fact alive. He came after Jocelyn, in hopes of not only reuniting with her but also finding the Cup she had stolen from him years before. However, before his men could bring her to him for questioning, Jocelyn drank a potion and put herself in a deep slumber that would save her from Valentine's wrath and interrogation.
His plan temporarily foiled, he bided his time and momentarily left things to Hodge, who was stationed at the Institute with the Lightwoods, Jonathan, who now went by the nickname Jace, and Valentine's own daughter, Clary. Clary, with Hodge's urging, successfully found the Cup. Once he had gotten ahold of it, he immediately summoned Valentine, who arrived through the Portal within the Institute, surprising Clary. Valentine immediately asserted his power of Clary, his daughter, and tried to get her to drink his blood, tainted with his demon blood, from the Cup. Clary retaliated by placing the Cup back into the enchanted tarot card, preventing Valentine from getting the Cup once again.
As he worked to summon demons with a pentagram in the Institute's library, Valentine and Hodge had a heated discussion about their fates, convincing Hodge that his curse was simply in his mind and he could have left anytime he wanted, while Hodge insisted otherwise. Moving on with his plans, Valentine, aware of Jace and Clary's growing love for each other, decided that he would tell them that they were siblings in order to break them.
When Jace arrived, Valentine was quick to feed him his lies. Jace, disbelieving and in denial, fought him. To support his claim, Valentine removed the block from his mind and turned the ring on Jace's finger from a "W", initially thought to stand for Wayland, to an "M", revealing a Morgenstern family ring, and Jace was finally convinced. Clary later arrived and was immediately told of her and Jace's relationship, much to their horror and grief, the revelation having the desired affect that Valentine wanted.
Valentine again tried to force Clary to take the Cup out of the card; when Clary continued to refuse, Valentine began to get violent, prompting Jace to finally fight back. During the ensuing battle with Jace, Clary was able to switch out the Cup with a fake one and threatened to drop it into the Portal, transport it to someplace unknown to him. As Valentine tried to desperately reach for the Cup, she kicked him into it; he returned shortly after, only his arms outside the Portal as he tried to grab and take her, but Valentine ended up stuck when Clary froze the Portal with Jace's stele. He managed to break free, destroying the Portal from inside.
Valentine has blue eyes and dark brown hair, cropped short and styled up except for a single rat tail.
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Behind the scenes
- This version of Valentine only appeared in the film The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. He is portrayed by Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
- A Spotify playlist was made for the character by Republic Records for promotion of the film.
- Differences from the novel:
- Valentine's general appearance, such as his hair (brown in the film, blond in the books), eyes (blue instead of black), and the way he presents himself, differs largely from the books. In the film, he was portrayed as an almost psychotic Shadowhunter driven to madness by experiments he performed on himself.