Julian was the first child born to Andrew and Eleanor Blackthorn. Some time after he was born, Andrew's children with the faerie Nerissa—Julian's elder half-siblings Mark and Helen—were sent to the Institute to live with them.
His mother died when he was around ten, just after his youngest sibling, Tavvy, was born. During his mother's funeral, while her body was burned in the canyons, Jules was comforted by Emma, who held his hand while he cried. Jules started painting around this time.
In November 2007, when Julian was twelve, he and some of his siblings went to the New York Institute to accompany his older sister, Helen, who was attending a Council meeting at the Institute. Julian, Ty, and Livvy played with the wax in the nave of the Institute, frustrating Helen who opted to go home after realizing their mischief.
Before they left, Jules met Clary Fairchild, and Isabelle and Alec Lightwood. He wondered and asked if they were siblings; when he found out that Clary had no siblings, he asked her if that was why she looked so sad.
Only weeks after their trip to New York, Julian, Mark, Ty, Livvy, and his friend Emma were at the Los Angeles Institute training with their tutor Katerina when Sebastian came and attacked the Institute. When Mark and Katerina left to investigate, Jules opted to contact the Clave through the office and left with his siblings. Eventually, they found out that Sebastian and his Endarkened army had attacked the Institute, and the group of young Shadowhunters escaped.
Being the oldest among them, Jules was the one asked to hold the Mortal Sword for the Clave's interrogation. During the battle in the Accords Hall, Julian had to kill his father before the latter could take his brother, Tiberius.
In the aftermath of the war, his older sister Helen was exiled to Wrangel Island, and his older brother Mark was left at the mercy of the Wild Hunt. Helen entrusted him, as well as their uncle Arthur, with the care of their younger siblings. Unable to bear the thought of being separated from each other, especially after everything they've been through together, Emma and Jules decided to become parabatai so the Consul would have no choice but to let Emma stay in Los Angeles with the Blackthorns.
After the war, every year on the anniversary of the Cold Peace, Julian began to send petitions to the Clave to allow his half-sister, Helen, to return home from her post on Wrangel Island, and it was denied every time.
Julian saw the continued decline in his uncle Arthur's mental health as a danger to his family. He suspected that if the Clave found out that his uncle was no longer fit to run the Institute and act as their guardian, the family would be split up to live and be trained in different places. To hide this, Julian began to take on the responsibility of running the Institute while Arthur hid away in his attic. As an added measure, he had the High Warlock of Los Angeles, Malcolm Fade, concoct medication to allow Arthur lucid moments whenever Julian felt that his presence would be needed.
Along with this was the added responsibility of taking care of his younger siblings. Many of them suffered great trauma due to the war, and Jules made sure to take extraordinary measures to help them cope. As previously requested by Helen, Julian also gave special attention to Ty and managed to figure out ways to help him, even making fidget toys specifically made to help him calm down or focus, and constantly assured him that there was nothing wrong with him. He also grew familiar with the habits and likes of his younger siblings, which he often catered to, and together, they developed patterns and routines they all grew accustomed to and expected Julian to uphold. He essentially took on the parent role for his siblings.
In 2012, the children indulged their old great-aunt Marjorie by staying with her at her home in England for the summer. Knowing that Cristina Rosales was coming and that Emma would not be alone, Jules hoped to use the summer away to get over his forbidden feelings for his parabatai. While there, Julian began to work on a set of tarot cards depicting his family.
Upon returning to Los Angeles—a day early due to Malcolm's quirks—he realized that he had failed but still tried to distance himself from Emma emotionally.
More surprises came in the form of a visit from Unseelie and Wild Hunt faeries requesting help to investigate recent deaths of their kind in exchange for the return of his brother, Mark. Julian did not have think long and immediately agreed to their terms, despite knowing that they would have to keep the whole deal a secret from the Clave because of the Cold Peace.
Though Julian and Mark had to adjust to each other—to the changes both had undergone since they were separated, with which Julian also realized that Mark would be unable to takeover his responsibilities because of his carefree demeanor—they grew closer during the course of their investigation. Julian was determined to solve the murders so that Mark could stay, knowing that the alternative would break their siblings' hearts; however, he eventually realized that Mark had grown attached to the Hunt and correctly predicted that Mark was planning on leaving them again if given the choice.
Julian's feelings for Emma also grew stronger, his time away having not helped at all. Though they both tried to not act on their feelings, various circumstances during their investigations led them together: in one instance, while at the party at the Midnight Theater, Julian gave signs of his attraction for Emma while they danced together because of the moving faerie music around them. With this came Julian's jealousy of what he saw as Emma and Mark sharing tender moments.
When Emma went to the convergence site alone one evening and ended up drowning at sea, Julian rushed off to rescue her. In the heat of the moment, they ended up sleeping together on the beach. Julian finally admitted to her that he loved her, and the pair agreed to hide their relationship from the others due to the Law preventing them from being together.
Julian struggled with his feelings of self-hatred—a result of his secret dealings over the years: his treatment and manipulation of Arthur, all his secrets in his attempts to keep his family together, the overwhelming stress resulting from single-handedly looking after his family, as well as what was deemed his "wrong" feelings for Emma. Eventually, after Fade told him to come clean to his family about it, Julian admitted some of this to Emma and Mark.
After Fade was discovered to be the Guardian—the one behind the killings, they confronted him at the convergence site and rescued the kidnapped Tavvy. Some time before then, Julian had already began forming a plan in his mind for what he would tell the Clave. He had given Arthur a bottle of wine containing his medicine, making him lucid by the time they returned. Having already performed his own investigation of Anselm Nightshade's illegal activities involving his business, Julian explained to Inquisitor Lightwood that Arthur had been preoccupied with the investigation, leading to Nightshade's arrest, and at the same time protecting his family.
Meanwhile, Emma ended the progress of their relationship, telling Julian that she did not love him; though she did not tell Julian that the real reason she did this was because she feared what their forbidden love and their resulting powers would do.
During the next two weeks, Julian grew bitter and angry towards Emma, who had started a relationship with Mark, out of jealousy that she could be open with his brother while he had to hide what he felt. He began avoiding her altogether and only spoke with her when it was necessary, and during the moments they spoke, things were either tense or cold.
Later, when a group of Centurions were sent to the Institute to search for Malcolm's body and the Black Volume of the Dead, Julian rushed to find a replacement for the medicine that Malcolm had been providing for Arthur, though he was unsuccessful.
Distrustful of the Centurions, Julian made sure to keep his family's minor infractions against the Law a secret: Arthur's illness, Ty's uniqueness and unusual behavior, Livvy's skill with a computer, and Dru's love of horror movies.
The situation became further complicated when Gwyn ap Nudd arrived and asked Mark to rescue Kieran from his execution at the Unseelie Court. Though Mark initially refused, he slipped out at night and went. Cristina alerted him and Emma, and they followed Mark to Faerie, using Cristina's medallion to give them access to an entry as well as a way to avoid Faerie's time difference. At the Gate of Lir, the guarding phouka asked a small price from them in exchange for their passage into Faerie, promising something enticing in exchange to each of them. The phouka told Julian that he would find someone who could tell him how to break the parabatai bond in Faerie, and Julian allowed the phouka to take his father's watch that he had worn that night.
Their arrival at the Court, just in time for Kieran's execution, created an uproar. Julian pretended to be sent by the Clave and challenged the King's decision to execute Kieran, whom he said the Shadowhunters owed for helping them with Malcolm, with a trial by combat. After the King gave them a riddle to answer, he chose Emma to be the Shadowhunters' champion. Emma overpowered the King's champion but forfeited when the faerie took the form of Emma's father. Expecting the situation to worsen, Jules held the King's favorite son Erec at knife point and held him hostage so they could escape the Unseelie Lands. Jules threatened Erec into telling them how to escape, and though Erec did not back down, he led the way.
Shortly after, the King's riders caught up to them and Erec escaped, and just then, a path to Seelie Lands was opened for them by Mark's aunt, Nene. Nene, Cristina, and Mark looked after Kieran, while Julian and Emma were sent to a separate room to rest. Later that night, while Emma was asleep, the Queen summoned him. The Queen convinced him to look into her scrying glass, and Julian did at the mention of someone going to Malcolm's convergence. Through the glass, Julian witnessed Arthur surrendering himself to Malcolm to spare the children. He then saw Annabel Blackthorn brought back to life, and her subsequently killing Malcolm.
The Queen showed Julian the scene so he would bargain with her. In addition, the Queen tempted hi with the knowledge that she knew how to break the parabatai bond—just as the phouka had promised. However, the Queen told her that it was just not any bond that the spell she knew of would break—it was all parabatai bonds ever made.
The next day, when everyone had been gathered in front of the Queen, she told them that she only wanted the Black Volume of the Dead—which was in Annabel's possession since she killed Malcolm—in exchange for her help against the Unseelie King, that she wanted the book to retrieve a captive of the Unseelie King, and that offering her aid to the Clave would force the end of the Cold Peace should the Shadowhunters accept it. She appointed Kieran as her representative to the Clave and called Gwyn to take them back to the Blackthorns staying at the London Institute.
With Kieran having no memories of his breakup with Mark, Emma saw it fit to "break up" with Mark, shocking and infuriating Julian, who was still in the process of trying to accept their relationship.
Their search for Annabel and the Black Volume led them to Cornwall, Malcolm and Annabel's home country. He was supposed to go with Emma and Cristina, but Cristina's binding curse with Mark forced him and Emma on the trip alone together. They went and found Malcolm's cottage, which he'd built and maintained for him and Annabel. Annabel came knocking one evening and told Julian to not follow her and not come after the Black Volume, claiming that it was too dangerous. Julian was determined, however, knowing that the Volume was what he needed to save his family.
Tensions continued to rise between him and Emma. Still searching for Annabel, the pair were led to Porthallow Church by piskies who knew Annabel. It turned out to be a trap, and they were attacked by the Greater Demon Sabnock. After vanquishing the demon, Julian thought it best to destroy the tainted church. With their combined power, further strengthened by their parabatai bond and their love for one another, their Fire rune became powerful enough to burn through the church's stone structure.
Shortly after came another ordeal: four of the Riders of Mannan, sent by the Unseelie King to retrieve the Black Volume, arrived and fought them. Both Julian and Emma had a hard time against the seasoned assassins. At one point, Julian tried to trick one of the Riders into thinking he'd been corned into a cliff before planning on surprising him with an attack, but this worried Emma, causing her to intervene. This then led to her slaying one of the Riders, the one named Fal, with Cortana, surprising the other Riders and causing them to flee.
Their display of power at the church made Emma realize that they still loved one another, and after the battle with the Riders, she finally told him that everything she'd done was because she found out about the parabatai "curse" from Jem and that she'd been avoiding him and their feelings to protect him. Having cleared things up, the pair was unable to hold back their feelings any longer and slept together once again, and they decided to find a way to be together somehow.
Magnus Bane appeared suddenly in the cottage at one point and Portaled them back to London, telling them of the threat of the Riders on all of them. When the Riders did come to the Institute, they were unable to enter because of its protections, but Emma faced them alone, trapping them all inside to protect them. They all managed to break through eventually, but even with all of them, they stood little chance against the Riders. Suddenly, Annabel arrived with Magnus and helped them. Annabel was able to send the Riders away with a threat to the Unseelie King, claiming she knew his name, and with Magnus's magic an additional protection against them.
Annabel told Julian that a letter she received from Ty convinced her to come to him. With still the Black Volume as his primary goal in mind, he convinced Annabel to testify to the Council that she killed Malcolm, promising her that she could reintegrate herself into the Shadowhunter community and reclaim the Blackthorn manor—all as a ploy to ger his hands on the Black Volume once he's appeased her.
Everything fell apart at the Council meeting. The presence of the Cohort made things worse as they actively contradicted everything about Annabel, especially when she told them that she killed Malcolm—a feat that their candidate Zara Dearborn had claimed for herself. They insisted that Annabel be tried with the Mortal Sword but then questioned her credibility, seeing her as a tainted Shadowhunter for the dark magic done to her. This pushed Annabel to the edge, and before Julian could get to her to calm her, she used the Mortal Sword on Robert Lightwood and killed him. Seeing that he needed a weapon to protect himself against Annabel, Livvy ran to them to give him a longsword. Annabel got to her and killed her. Devastated, Julian abandoned everything to cradle his dying sister. His reaction snapped Annabel out of her mania, but Julian seemed to barely notice, even as Annabel disappeared, as he watched Livvy die in his arms.
Julian is stubborn, confident, and does not open up to a lot of people, though he can also be very considerate and thoughtful. He is also a very loving person. Though he is typically gentle, patient, and sweet, he has his limits and is shown to be capable of yelling even at authority when furious, and ruthlessness when the situation calls for it. Despite trying to follow the rules as much as possible, Julian puts his family over everything else.
As a child, Jules was extremely troublesome, though he often took the blame for his and Emma's mischief. Having lost both of his parents and his elder siblings at the tender age of twelve, Jules has since looked after his four younger siblings. Though he has an uncle to help him, Jules feels responsible for them. Painting, however, momentarily helps him take his mind off his responsibilities.
Julian has dark brown, curly and messy hair and the startling Blackthorn blue-green eyes. He is described as tall and slender, muscular, with high cheekbones. As an artist, he is usually seen untidy or splattered with paint, and his nails are bitten. His hair is the color of dark chocolate and wildly wavy and he is said to be the kind of person to wear all black and pull his sleeves over his hands.
Skills and abilities
- Nephilim physiology: Being Nephilim, Julian possesses a variety of enhanced physical and mental abilities granted to him by the angel blood of Raziel in his veins and also by the angelic Marks of the Gray Book. This includes enhanced strength, speed, agility, stamina, and coordination, which continue to improve over time and practice.
- The Sight: As a Shadowhunter, Julian is naturally and easily able to see through most magical illusions and layers of glamour over reality.
- Runic magic: Due to the angel blood in their veins, all Shadowhunters are able to apply runes on their skin without any real danger. These Marks, in turn, give varied effects that serve to benefit the wearer.
- Use of heavenly weapons: As a Shadowhunter, Julian is also able to perform tasks unique to their species, such as the ability to use and call on the power of angels for their seraph blades, as well as to handle any heavenly weapons or objects with effect, which would normally not work for other species. In particular, these are tools made of adamas and forged by Iron Sisters.
- Parabatai bond: Due to his parabatai bond with Emma Carstairs, Julian is able to call on more strength in battle. The runes drawn on him by Emma also give a considerably stronger effect.
- Combatant: Julian is a very skilled fighter.
- Marksmanship: Julian has mastered the use of his crossbow and aims with complete accuracy.
- Art: Julian is a particularly gifted and talented artist.
- Crossbow: Julian's favorite weapon is the crossbow, though he also favors seraph blades and throwing knives as his primary weapons.
- Sea glass bracelet: Julian has a lucky bracelet that is decorated with shells and sea glass given to him by Emma, who in turn received them from her distant relative, Jem Carstairs.
Emma and Julian are parabatai and have been best friends for years. As parabatai, they have grown close and developed great feelings of both philia (friendship) and agape (family) love throughout their childhoods.
Over time, however, they developed feelings for one another, which, since they are parabatai, is forbidden. Despite their attempts to fight it, the pair eventually gave into their feelings and slept with each other.
When Emma discovered what love between parabatai may do, Emma falsely told him that she did not have feelings for him to protect him and those around them, going as far as pretending to be with Mark to convince Jules.
Mark is Julian's older brother. Emma states that Julian and Mark have always had a tough relationship: they love and care for each other and would do anything for each other, but Mark does get on Julian's nerves very easily, which causes arguments and other problems to arise between the two of them.
- City of Lost Souls (first appearance)
- City of Heavenly Fire
- Pale Kings and Princes (mentioned only)
- Bitter of Tongue
- The Fiery Trial
- Angels Twice Descending (mentioned only)
- A History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of the Downworld
- Lady Midnight
- Lord of Shadows
- See more here
As all the Blackthorns have Latin or Greek mythology based names, he was given the name Julian as a variant of Julius Caesar.
- Jules developed a habit of biting his nails due to stress.
- Julian's siblings respect the fact that he needs alone time to paint. Their mother was a painter and a photographer and her creative influence shaped the family. In this vein, Julian encourages his siblings to pursue their own interests, helping them in any way he can.
- Julian's room is painted a blue almost exactly like that of the sky and ocean outside the Institute, and the wall is covered in murals. On the wall that faces the desert, there is a mural of a castle draped by a tall wall of thorns, and a prince riding towards it, with his head down and sword broken. Half-finished sketches are scattered all over his desk.
- Jules is a grammar nerd.
- In the early drafts of Lady Midnight, Julian smoked clove cigarettes due to stress. It was ultimately cut from the book, as Cassie felt that Jules wouldn't do it as it may endanger the kids around him, particularly through the possibility of them finding out and emulating the bad habit.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Lord of Shadows
- ↑ Queen of Air and Darkness
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 City of Heavenly Fire
- ↑ Pale Kings and Princes
- ↑ "When his mother died." Cassandra Clare on Twitter
- ↑ City of Lost Souls
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 Lady Midnight
- ↑ "It's the only time he doesn't feel responsible for everything." — Cassandra Clare on Twitter
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 "The Blackthorns and their friends" — Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- ↑ "They come from Roman history and Greek mythology," — Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- ↑ "Because he is stressed." Cassandra Clare on Twitter
- ↑ A History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of the Downworld
- ↑ "He's a grammar nerd." Cassandra Clare on Twitter
- ↑ "Blackthorns and Jules" — Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- ↑ "He smokes clove cigarettes." Cassandra Clare on Twitter
- ↑ "Because he's overwhelmingly stressed out." Cassandra Clare on Twitter
- ↑ "It's a bad habit." Cassandra Clare on Twitter
- ↑ "We'll see." Cassandra Clare on Twitter
- ↑ "I cut it!" Cassandra Clare on Twitter
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 "lady midnight, spoilery questions: smokin’" — Cassandra Clare on Tumblr