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Magnus Bane

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Magnus Bane
Portrayed by Godfrey Gao
CJ Flowers, Magnus 02
Biographical Information
Full name: Magnus Bane
Age: Over 300 years old[1][2][3]
Status: Immortal
Species: Warlock
Title: High Warlock of Brooklyn
Residence: New York
Affiliation: The Clave
Family: Asmodeus (father)
Unnamed woman (mother)
Physical Description
Gender: Male
Hair color: Black
Eye color: Green and yellow
Distinct feature/s: Cat-like eyes
No belly button
You could give me the past, but Alec is my future.

–Magnus to Camille Belcourt, City of Fallen Angels

Magnus Bane is the High Warlock of Brooklyn. Being over three centuries old, his life has since intertwined with several Shadowhunters and Downworlders over the centuries.


Early life

Magnus was born to a half-Dutch and half-Indonesian woman and the Prince of Hell Asmodeus in the 16th century in Jakarta, Indonesia, back then known as Batavia of the Dutch East Indies. He was born seemingly normal, only with unusual amber eyes.

Magnus was raised on a farm with his mother and her husband, both of whom raised him lovingly. However, when Magnus' warlock's mark developed and they realized that he was the son of a demon, they both feared him and Magnus despised himself, and his mother soon hung herself in their barn.[4] When he was ten, his stepfather attempted to drown him but was instead burned when Magnus lashed out with his powers at him. He was then brought up by churchmen and raised by the Silent Brothers of Madrid, Spain in the 17th century. He received the name "Magnus Bane" from them.

Somehow, Magnus has acquainted himself with his father, Asmodeus. Aware of his father's influence, Magnus occasionally brought up his power and notoriety and used this in his favor. Being a very skilled and powerful warlock, Magnus began charging for his services fairly young, even before he was a full-grown warlock. Though he was only less than twenty years old, he had already began lying about his age, claiming to be hundreds of years old, old enough to know historic figures such as Julius Caesar and certain oracles, to increase his clients' confidence in him.[5]

At one point, Magnus fell in love with someone and had, for the first time in his long life, stayed with his lover for the duration of the girl's mundane life. Even for thirty years after that, Magnus still has not moved on from the pain, though it had become tolerable, and was still on an extended vacation, seeking adventure in places like Peru, unable to settle somewhere with the thought of his late lover still stinging.[5] Magnus once cited this heartbreak about a century after to another warlock friend who had lost her first loved one, saying that the first one was always the hardest.[6]

Adventures in Peru

In 1791, Magnus was able to coerce his friend Ragnor Fell into going to Peru with him. They toured the city of Lima and eventually went to Arequipa, one of Magnus' favorite cities in Peru. There, a woman named Guiliana guided them through the rain forest, where Magnus was be chased by a dominant male spider monkey, which he narrowly escaped.

Around that time, he was hired by Edmund García, a rich Peruvian merchant, to help him move his cargo of guano. Infuriated at the discovery that guano was in fact bird droppings, and that they accidentally fell into the cargo hold, Ragnor ended up throwing a magical fit onboard that would then sink the ship and the cargo, rendering them both foul and unpaid.

The pair returned to Peru in 1885 with Catarina Loss, mainly for a job they were hired, and offered a large sum, by Nayaraq to help her retrieve her family's treasure from the ruins in Pachacamac. Upon fulfilling their part, Magnus realized that it was not the treasure but the truth and reality of faeries and her family's connection to them that Nayaraq was truly in search of. Due to this assignment, however, the trio were marked wanted criminals for desecrating a temple.

Due to Catarina's invitation, the three remained in Peru for much longer after that last task. Five years later, in 1890, they were in the city of Puno, living by Lake Titicaca, when Magnus met Imasu Morales, a musician. Wanting to spend more time with him, Magnus asked to be taught to play an instrument. Magnus began playing the charango, rather terribly, much to the horror of those around him that not even his friends could tolerate it. Eventually, Imasu made him stop, admitting that he had their lessons showed, and may never, show improvements in his music playing, and that he agreed to teach him because he had also wanted to get to know him. With this, Magnus finally decided to give up music, causing the city to hold a festival in celebration.

Imasu had been one of the few people Magnus grew to love since the death of his previous lover. Despite this, he still found himself unable to fully open up to him, especially about his past and his true nature. Just when he began to truly consider telling him, even just about magic, and settling down with him, Imasu left him, reasoning that he felt Magnus to be ephemeral, much to Magnus' amusement and dismay. With Catarina and Ragnor's help, Magnus was able to deal with and overcome his grief.

It was in 1962 that Magnus returned to Peru once again; this time, alone. At Cuzco, Magnus met a girl named Kitty, a con-artist whom Magnus charmed into leaving her then target, Geoffrey, to be with him. The pair became a couple and stayed together for a summer, during which they had magical crime spree.

At one point, the High Council of Peruvian warlocks met in secret and decided to ban Magnus from Peru for "crimes unspeakable." Magnus found out through a letter sent to him, and while he inquired about why he was banned, he never did find out.[5]

Stay in London

Clockwork Angel

In 1878, Magnus is the lover of Lady Camille Belcourt, a vampire. Tessa Gray uses her shapeshifting ability to take the form of Camille and attends a party at the home of London head vampire Alexei de Quincey along with Will Herondale, who is pretending to be her human pet. Magnus acts as their guide through the house, helping the Nephilim determine that de Quincey has violated the Law. During this, he admires Will's blue eyes and black hair, calling it his favorite combination. This does, of course, match Alec's appearance over a century later.

Clockwork Prince

Magnus is living in Camille's house and constantly thinking about her since she disappeared and went into hiding. Archer stays and acts like Magnus's doorman, while Camille took Walker with her. Will visits Magnus, who is helping Will look for a specific demon that placed a curse on him. Due to their failures, he is a frequent visitor.

After the ball at Benedict Lightwood's estate, Magnus appears and interrupts Will and Tessa kissing on the balcony (under the influence of a warlock drug). He whisks them, by magic, off of the balcony and outside. Will then recognizes the demon who cursed him and chases after it.

Later that night, Will made an appearance at Camille's house. He was bit on the forearm by the demon and kept one of its teeth. Thinking that it could be used to summon it, he brought it back to Magnus. He then collapses on the carpet and Magnus carries him to the couch to heal him. Camille returns that night, as well, saying she was in Paris on vacation. Magnus reveals that he tracked Walker to Saint Petersburg where his informants wrote him that she was with a human lover. He realizes that Camille does not want to commit so he says that he is dating Will. Enraged that Magnus would date a Shadowhunter, Camille throws them out. Magnus wakes Will up and kisses him to emphasize his point to Camille. Outside, Will asks if Magnus kissed him, unable to tell reality from fantasy because of the painkilling spells, to which Magnus replies 'no' and explains that the spells can cause hallucinations.

Travel respite

Move to New York

Vampire period

work in progress

In 1929, Magnus was running a speakeasy, Mr. Dry's, during the Prohibition era.[7]

In 1953, Magnus decided to try his hand at being a detective. His first client was Guadalupe Santiago, who asked him to find and save her son, Raphael.[8]

City of Bones

He is first introduced as the warlock who signed the mind of Clary Fray. He had been hired by her mother, Jocelyn Fray, to erase her memories of seeing anything related to the Shadowhunter World. She initially wished to remove Clary's inner eye, which was providing her sight of Shadowhunter world, however Magnus warned that this would likely kill Clary or in the least drive her to pure insanity. Instead, he casted a spell on her that would cause her to forget anything she saw that was related to the Shadowhunter world. But this spell would fade as time passed, needing to be re-casted every two years. 

Clary and the others found him at his New York apartment hosting a party in which Isabelle Lightwood received an invitation from a kelpie in Pandemonium. Magnus, assuming that he was the one who gave them the invitation, said that he "must have been drunk" because he doesn't give invitations to Shadowhunters.

At first, he says nothing about recognizing Clary, but eventually must acknowledge the fact he has known her since she was little, even commenting that he's watched her grow up. At the party, he talks about his tragic past, and Alec Lightwood sympathizes with him and tries to remove the morbid atmosphere, but Magnus brushes it off, claiming that it happened a long time ago. He openly flirts with Alec by asking him to call him and winking at him. Alec however, who has yet to 'come out of the closet', thinks he is in love with Jace Wayland, his adopted brother. In bonus content from Cassandra Clare, known as "Kissed", Alec confronts his and Magnus' growing attraction to each other and asks him out. Upon learning that Alec has never kissed anyone, Magnus kisses him (resulting in the couple's first kiss with each other) before arranging for a date with him within the week.

At the end of the book, Magnus is called upon by the Lightwoods to heal Alec, who had been fatally wounded while fighting the Greater Demon Abbadon. Isabelle says that when Magnus showed up he was quite in a rushed hurry to get Alec to a private room in order to heal him.

City of Ashes

Magnus and Alec have been secretly dating, even though Alec still thinks he is in love with Jace. Alec refuses to tell others about the relationship due to how homosexuality isn't approved among Shadowhunters, often resulting in them being kicked out. Magnus takes Jace in to his apartment when he is injured. Magnus is upset by this and nearly tells Jace of his relationship with Alec, but ends up deciding against it knowing that Alec isn't ready for that kind of step yet. In a chapter of the novel, Clary creates a "fearless" rune, which Alec volunteers to have applied to his arm in order to test it to see if it works. In result of applying the rune, he nearly openly tells his parents about his relationship with Magnus as well as his homosexuality, shocking those who are aware of it. However, before he can directly reveal who he is seeing and the importance of it, Magnus quickly uses a spell to momentarily knock Alec unconscious and from revealing their relationship, knowing Alec isn't ready for anyone to know about them yet.

The last scene with them together is on a floating truck, where just after being rescued from drowning. Alec offers Magnus what is left of his strength, who is severely exhausted from using his warlock abilities, so he can continue to use his magic to help the Shadowhunters, who are still on board a ship on the East River. Alec then gives Magnus his strength. 

City of Glass

Magnus opens a portal for the Lightwoods so that they can get to Idris, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters. They are attacked by Forsaken, and Magnus is forced to rush everyone through, including Simon, who has been badly injured, even though Downworlders are not welcomed in Idris without permission. Eventually, Magnus ends up in Idris himself (pretending to being the warlock Ragnor Fell, who had been recently killed by Sebastian, though Clary obviously knows it is him).

While he is there, the city is attacked by demons controlled by Valentine, who is bent on wiping out all Downworlders and those associated with them. Magnus is fighting off a horde of Iblis demons when Alec shows up and saves his life. After this, Alec confronts Magnus about ignoring him. Magnus is angry with Alec because he still hasn't told his parents about their relationship and while he loves him, Alec assumes he is in love with Jace (this is the first time either of them confess love to each other) and won't be with someone who loves him "the way [he] does." Shocked that Magnus has directly told him that he loves him, Alec makes a deal with him; if they survive the battle, Alec will introduce Magnus to his whole family (including his parents) to which Magnus, while grinning in happiness, agrees.

A bit later, Alec passionately kisses Magnus (to the latter's shock) in front of a huge crowd of Downworlders and Shadowhunters, including his parents and friends, finally revealing his sexuality and relationship with Magnus. At the end of the book, Magnus is seen off to the side, speaking with Clary. Afterwards, true to his promise, Alec finally introduces Magnus to his parents. In the epilogue of this book, Magnus can be seen talking to Tessa Gray of The Infernal Devices series; she is the girl in the white dress by the tree that Clary somehow recognizes but isn't sure how.

City of Fallen Angels

At the beginning of City of Fallen Angels, Magnus and Alec are touring the world, with Alec occasionally texting Jace with pictures of them together. It seems that they are having a reasonable time, as the photographs depict Alec wearing his usual jeans, while Magnus wears themed outfits for the occasion. At one point, Jace asks Simon if he would like to see a picture of Magnus in Lederhosen, Berlin.

Their trip, however, is cut short when Camille Belcourt is being questioned, refusing to answer to anyone with the exception of Magnus, thus forcing him and Alec to return to New York.

Despite what can be assumed to be an excellent holiday, sparks begin to fly when Alec soon finds out that Magnus had, indeed, dated Camille centuries before he was born. At this knowledge, Alec listens through the door while Camille and Magnus speak, hearing her compare him to a man named Will. This further upsets Alec, causing several outbursts between the two later on, causing great tension between the couple.

Alec finds himself finally confronting the fact about his mortality in his relationship with Magnus, and how he wants to live with Magnus forever. When he overhears Camille comment that "pretty boys" are always Magnus's undoing, he tells the warlock that he feels trivial to him while also bringing up how he never did anything to be with his previous lovers forever in the past and that he feels that he's just another boyfriend in a long line to him, who will eventually die, as he goes on living. He further states that it is especially unfair, since Magnus is anything but trivial to him. Magnus tries to comfort Alec as he is dragged off to find Camille, who had escaped, saying that Alec is not trivial to him, but Alec is still left unconvinced.

Another issue among the couple is of Magnus not sharing his past with the Shadowhunter. In one scene, it is depicted that Alec angrily asks Magnus if there is "anything that he isn't into" and questions if he slept with a specific werewolf. Magnus inquires if Alec will ask every person he has met such questions, if he's had a relationship with them, to which Alec only answers while still clearly upset, "Maybe."

After the final battle, and everyone is reunited, Magnus finds Alec and they begin to speak. Alec finally confides in Magnus of his fear of eventually aging, and not being with Magnus who will go on to live forever in his youth. He is particularly distressed that they may not even have a chance, and that Magnus has already seemed to have accepted his fate as a mortal. Magnus consoles his boyfriend, telling him that he won't be any more ready to lose him in the future than he is "right now," which he firmly says is "not at all." Revealing he has truly fallen in love with Alec and wants him forever.

The final scene of Magnus and Alec is of them passionately kissing in a corner, wrapped up in each other.

City of Lost Souls

Magnus is seen studying the design that was on the rooftop from which Jace had disappeared when Alec visits him. Clary and her mother, Jocelyn, decided to stay over at Magnus' apartment when Jace and Sebastian appeared at their house and soon, Alec, Simon and Isabelle were staying at the apartment too. Magnus confronts Isabelle about Alec, directly telling her that he loves Alec, telling her that he's noticed and is worried since Alec wasn't "happy."

During their stay, Magnus assists them in finding a weapon that would be able to sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace or hurt one without harming the other. He opens a portal to the Adamant Citadel for Isabelle, Jocelyn, Alec and himself so that the women could meet the Iron Sisters and request said weapon. Later, Magnus summons a Greater Demon, Azazel (Lieutenant of Hell and Forger of Weapons) to ask for the weapon again. He takes a memory from each person and gives them to Azazel in exchange for his idea. Magnus later also tells Simon that if it weren't for Alec, he'd be long gone from the scene by then and would go into hiding until the battle and everything blew over. 

Finally, when all else failed, Magnus summons Angel Raziel at the wide, empty space near Luke's farmhouse and Simon manages to get Glorious (Archangel Michael's sword). When Team Good knows of Sebastian's intentions, Magnus creates a portal to transport a large group of fighters (Shadowhunters and Werewolves) to the Seventh Sacred Site where they engaged in a war with the Dark Nephilim. Magnus gets hurt while protecting Simon from Amatis, who had turned into a Dark Shadowhunter, receiving a severe wound on his chest. Alec lets Magnus take his strength (like on the night of the battle on Valentine's ship in City of Ashes) to heal himself.

In the epilogue, Magnus finds out about Alec's private meetings with Camille. Alec ends up finding him in an abandoned subway where he was supposed to be meeting Camille, obviously waiting for him, much to his shock. Magnus is upset that Alec would consider taking his immortality away at all and kept it a secret, not bothering to tell him about Camille's offer. Here he also reveals how he had, in fact, been considering taking away his immortality, revealing how that was part of the reason he wanted the spell book in City of Glass. He says how since he has seen everything and been everywhere in the world, all he ever wanted was to simply live the rest of his life and grow old with someone he genuinely loved and wanted and hoped for it to be with Alec. Though Alec emotionally pleads for another chance, Magnus refuses, asking him to take his things from his apartment and to leave his key to it on the table, also saying he wished to never see him or his friends and family (being tired of being their "pet warlock") ever again. The two share one last passionate embrace and final kiss before Magnus reluctantly walks away, leaving a heartbroken and tearful Alec behind.[9]

City of Heavenly Fire

It is revealed in a teaser that Alec keeps calling Magnus, but keeps hanging up whenever Magnus picks up. This, eventually, results in Jace breaking Alec's phone in order to get him to stop. It is also implied that Magnus is just as miserable over his break up with Alec when Jace goes to confront Magnus. Jace bluntly points out that he is obviously unhappy, since his apartment is a mess and he has takeout containers everywhere, clearly gorging himself on take out food. At the end of the story, they get back together.

Physical description

Codex Magnus

Having stopped aging when he was around 19, Magnus has brown skin, is very tall, long and lean, but not skinny, with lightly muscled arms. His warlock marks are his yellow-green "cat-like eyes" with vertical pupils and his lack of a belly button. He is also noted to have a somewhat Asian appearance, due to the curve of his eyes. He is stated to have, when not spiked, shoulder length, straight black hair.

He wears all kinds of make-up, such as glitter around his eyes and lipstick. He likes to flaunt his beauty by often dressing in flamboyant and glitzy ensembles, which is seen by some as strange, or unique.


Alexander, I've been alive for hundreds of years. I've been with men, been with women—with faeries and warlocks and vampires, and even a djinn or two.

–Magnus to Alec

Alec Lightwood

Over a century later in The Mortal Instruments, he becomes romantically involved with Alec Lightwood, being the boy's first kiss and relationship. Magnus says in The Infernal Devices that black hair and blue eyes are his favorite combination, which only Alec and Will Herondale are shown to have.

The issue of his immortality versus Alec's mortality is brought up several times in City of Fallen Angels, when Camille, Magnus's ex-girlfriend/lover, says that in sixty or seventy years, Alec will eventually age and die while Magnus will continue to live on forever. This in which, causes heavy complications in the two's relationship. However, it is revealed in City of Lost Souls that Magnus had been seriously considering taking away his immortality, confessing that while he is immortal, all he has wanted was to find someone he loved to live the rest of his life and to grow old with and had hoped and wanted for it to be with Alec. In The Bane Chronicles, Magnus expresses fear of having his heart broken by Alec, quoting that though he had been through a hundred heartbreaks, he was terrified by the thought of Alec committing the act.

Camille Belcourt

In The Infernal Devices, he is the lover of Lady Camille Belcourt. However, they break up after Magnus discovers that Camille has gone to St. Petersburg to be with a human lover.

Woolsey Scott

After leaving Camille, Magnus stays with Woolsey for rest of Clockwork Prince through to the end of Clockwork Princess. Magnus and Woolsey are not so much a romantic relationship but one of circumstance and housing as well as physical satisfaction.


Warlock Abilities

  • Immortality: As a warlock, Magnus was granted immortality. Physically, Magnus does not age and has maintained the appearance of a 19-year-old since the 16th century.
  • Magic: Magnus has access to magical powers that often manifest themselves as blue flames or sparks at his fingertips. Magnus is capable of casting spells and performing summoning rituals.


The name Magnus means 'great' in Latin and was one of the first names used among Romans. His surname, Bane, would mean 'glorious defender' in Slavic, however, the more appropriate translation of Bane is 'destruction'. If his whole name is translated, Magnus Bane would mean 'great destruction'.



Cob magnussanspants

Magnus portrayed with no pants at his party in the film.

Godfrey Gao portrays Magnus Bane in the The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, beating over 100 people who auditioned for the role. Gao's voice was dubbed over in the film.


  • Magnus' true age is known only by a few people, like Catarina Loss and Ragnor Fell. He has lied about his age since he was young, often to impress clients and feign experience, by making himself seem older and ancient, sometimes younger, as he see fits.[5]
  • Magnus is known for his parties, which he loves throwing for both Downworlders and Shadowhunters alike.
  • Magnus has owned pet cats in New York over the years, namely Great Catsby and Chairman Meow, whom Magnus throws birthday parties for, a decision Magnus made in 1953.[8]
  • Having moved to Spain from his hometown, Spanish was the first language he learned after his native language. Aside from Indonesian and Spanish, Magnus has also become fluent in several other mundane languages, after years of traveling the world, as well as demonic languages, such as Purgatic, Gehennic, and Tartarian.
  • Because his father, Asmodeus, was once an angel, witchlight, which normally only lights up under a Nephilim's touch, responds to his. It responds differently, giving off a dark red glow. Between him and Alec, the witchlight's glow changed colors.[9]
  • He and Alec are set to get married and possibly adopt a child.[10][11][12]
  • While Magnus was not meant to have such a big role in the series,[13] Magnus is so far the only character to appear in every installment of the series.


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