Lily—she's one of the smartest of the vampire clan. Knows everything. She and Raphael were always thick as thieves.

Simon about Lily, City of Heavenly Fire

Lily Chen is the current leader of the New York vampire clan.



Lily was once a mundane who was somehow killed and Turned in the 1920s.[2] Eventually, she joined the New York vampire clan and became a well-trusted member over the years. Before that, however, Lily was among those who fed on humans leisurely and was even present during Louis Karnstein's visit and kidnapping spree. When she met the newly-Turned Raphael Santiago, whose wits and sense of responsibility were contagious to those he lectured and easily influenced, Lily herself became more sensible and even developed a deep sense of admiration and respect for Raphael.[3]

In the year 2000, Lily and Raphael caught onto an arriving shipment of yin fen; realizing that they wouldn't be able to take care of it on their own, they approached the Silent Brother Brother Zachariah,[1] after being told by Raphael's warlock friend Tessa that he could be trusted.[4] They waited for him at the New York Shadow Market and, after telling him their dilemma, he agreed to help them convince the local Institute leaders to help them intercept the shipment. Lily, Raphael, Brother Zachariah, and the Shadowhunter and Institute head Robert Lightwood infiltrated the ship.

A battle ensued against the werewolves that were smuggling the drugs. When they were outnumbered before the others arrived, Raphael shielded her, resulting in a wound that Lily doted on and took care of after the battle.

During their short time together, Lily, having found Brother Zachariah attractive, teased him by giving him inappropriate nicknames, diverting her attention to him, all the while unable to express her feelings for Raphael.[1][5] Recognizing that Raphael—though he obviously cares for her as he does the rest of the clan[1]—may never return her sentiments, Lily became content with being next to him as a loyal ally.[1][6]

Under Raphael

After Camille Belcourt momentarily left the clan in 2006, Raphael, who had already become the second-in-command, became the interim leader, and Lily became quite loyal to him.

GN Lily 01

In 2007, Lily was among the vampires who confronted the New York Conclave Shadowhunters who trespassed into their clan's base, the Hotel Dumort.[7]

Some time after the confrontation at the hotel, Lily, Raphael and Elliott all went to Taki's Diner and found one of the New York Shadowhunters, Alec Lightwood, on a date with the High Warlock of Brooklyn, Magnus Bane. The three vampires interrupted the date and, while Elliott taunted Alec about what his parents would think about him dating a warlock and was later challenged by Magnus, Lily simply watched in silence. They promptly left the diner when Raphael promised Magnus that they won't tell anyone, though Raphael himself later told Ragnor Fell.[8]

She was also among the vampires who later accompanied Raphael to Idris during the Mortal War.[9]

Taking over

During Maureen's loose leadership of the clan, Lily was among those who did not appreciate her irresponsibility. She acknowledged not only that Maureen seemed "crazy", but also the risks of feeding too freely on mundanes. Contacted by Maia Roberts, Lily hinted that the head of the New York werewolf pack might have some sway over the clan.

After Maia became the new, albeit temporary, pack alpha, they plotted Maureen's death and had her inject her veins with holy water. When Maureen died afterwards, Lily revealed herself to her comrades as the mastermind and took over as the clan leader.

With the emergent threats of Sebastian Morgenstern against the Downworlders, Lily and Maia, and their respective groups, formed an alliance. Both showed support for the Nephilim, helping them reinforce their connections with warlocks as well. Lily saw and proved to everyone that even though the Nephilim can sometimes be strict and severe with their Laws and the Accords, they were still necessary in the world's fight and defense against demons.

Upon Raphael's death, Lily not only took over as the leader of the clan, but she also became Anselm Nightshade's stand-in representative on the Council during the December Clave meetings after the Dark War and Sebastian's defeat.[10]

Cold Peace

Five months after the war, Lily and the rest of the clan attended the wedding of the werewolf Luke and the Shadowhunter Jocelyn in an attempt to further ease the relationships of the New York vampires and werewolves. She played the piano until she got tired of it and Jace stepped in for her.[10]

Shortly after the fallout of the war, Lily began an alliance with Maia and, an even unlikelier one, with the Shadowhunter Alec.[6]

The partnership went on for years, to the point where Lily became a trusted associate of the local Conclave, especially when Jace and Clary took over. She was even granted access to the Institute through spells cast by Magnus that allowed her into the hallowed ground—something that has never been done for any other vampire. Together, the group often met at a strategy room at the Institute. Most of the issues they settled involved spats resulting from the fallout of the Cold Peace, such as battles over territories taken from the faeries.[2]


Lily is brave and smart, her wisdom sharpened by her years of living as a vampire and her time with Raphael.[3][10] Lily can also be eccentric, naughty, and playful.[3][1] She can be stubborn, as well as blunt and straightforward, saying what she wants and believes. Despite being distrustful and contemptuous of others at times, she has matured enough to recognize when it becomes necessary to work with them.[10][6]

Physical description

Lily is of Asian descent, petite and considerably attractive—as all vampires typically are. She has straight, dark hair which is often dyed—in August 2007, it was blue.[3][7] She stopped aging physically in the 1920s, maintaining her youthful appearance; she looks around nineteen years old.[1]



  • Lily plays the piano, is a smoker,[10] and knows Spanish.[7][1]
  • Her room in the Hotel Dumort is meticulously decorated with a varnished wood floor and silk curtains. She sometimes tries out new decorating ideas in other rooms of the hotel, which some of the clan members appreciate.[12]
  • Lily is pansexual.[5]
  • Lily always liked children when she was mortal and was said to be good with them. [13]