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Alec Lightwood

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CJ 09 September Tessa
“It felt so real, so utterly real—”

This article depicts a subject within the Shadowhunters television series, and as such, it either does not play a role within or differs largely from the established continuity and canon of the books of The Shadowhunter Chronicles.

Alec Lightwood
Portrayed by Matthew Daddario
TMI101 Alec01
Biographical Information
Full name:

Alexander Lightwood

Age: Around 20[1]
Status: Alive
  • Big Bro; Big Brother (by Isabelle)
  • Alexander; Pretty Boy (by Magnus)



New York Institute

Parabatai: Jace Wayland
Significant other(s):
Physical Description
Gender: Male
Hair color: Brown
Eye color: Hazel
You know, it's like, you have this plan for your life, and you know what you need to do and what your responsibilities are. And you think, you know, if you follow the rules, everything's gonna be fine. Then somebody comes along and... pushes you off that path.

–Alec relating his own situation to Jace's, Malec

Alec Lightwood is the brother of Isabelle and Max Lightwood and the parabatai of Jace Wayland. The three of them band together in their pursuit of demonic creatures. The eldest of the group, his responsibility as acting head of the New York Institute in his parents' absence and his strict moral code forces him to follow the law to the letter.


Early life

Alec is the eldest child of Maryse and Robert Lightwood. He is the older brother of Isabelle and Max, and is the parabatai of Jace, whom his family took in when they were young.

Raised by a distant mother who placed a lot of expectations on her children, Alec grew up with a strong desire to prove himself worthy, to make his parents proud and bring honor to his family, and to follow rules and orders to the letter.

An experience from when he was ten years old stuck with him through adulthood. He trained with another Shadowhunter, Preston, but kept losing at kendo training despite his perfect form. Maryse pointed out that in his attempts to perfect his techniques, he became predictable, and thus needed to step outside of the rules and break form to surprise his opponent. Alec listened and broke the other child's nose. When chided by the boy's mother, he simply took it, knowing it would make his mother proud to see him accept consequences for his actions.[2]

Helping Clary

During a routine demon-hunting mission—one not sanctioned by the Clave, much to Alec's disapproval—the group encountered a girl at the Pandemonium Club. The girl was later revealed to be a Shadowhunter unaware of the Shadow World. After the girl's mother was kidnapped, Jace rescued her and took her back to the Institute—another decision Alec highly disapproved of. He saw her as a threat and a potential danger, and he thought of her as a bad distraction for Jace.[3] He became even more livid when Clary insisted on taking her mundane best friend with them.

In order to help Clary, they had to help her regain her memory. Their first attempt was by taking her to the Silent Brothers at the City of Bones. Alec grew more impatient with the number of unsanctioned outings and contact with Downworlders they were having. While exiting the City of Bones, Clary's mundane friend was kidnapped by vampires, further frustrating Alec with the situation.[4]

Alec continued to call out Jace for his recent impulsive decisions regarding Clary. He demanded that they contact the Clave for help in rescuing the kidnapped Simon, but was easily swayed when Jace insisted that they could take care of it on their own, though Alec was still skeptical. They ended up having to sneak out of the Institute without weapons and instead gathered them from a cache in a cemetery. When they found that the cache had no bow and arrows, Alec returned to the Institute to get his and was contacted by Izzy, who sent him the location of the entrance into the hotel. Together, they killed some of Camille Belcourt's vampires before regrouping with Jace and Clary and, finally, saving Simon.[5]

TMI104 Summoning02

The group summoning Valak, moments before Alec broke the bond.

Their next attempt to help Clary regain her memory involved reaching out to the High Warlock of Brooklyn, Magnus Bane. The connection between the pair since their first meeting was undeniable, and Alec was both pleased and baffled by the flirtatious comments Magnus kept sending in his direction. Alec pointedly did not respond to any of them, as not only was he still conflicted over his own feelings, particularly over Jace, but he was also not used to the attention and was still convinced that he should remain in the closet. When they summoned the demon Valak and were forced to relinquish a memory of the one they loved most, the memory that was ripped from him was one of Jace. Alec claimed he had been tricked, struggling at the thought of having been outed, and, in a panic, broke from the summoning circle, inadvertently releasing the demon.[6]


After his mother returned from Idris to tell Isabelle and Alec that the unsanctioned missions at the Institute had shamed the Lightwood name, Alec knew that it was partly his fault for allowing Jace to pursue Clary, knowing it would break his mother's rules. Maryse wanted to arrange a wedding with a strong Shadowhunter family to help restore their name, and thought Alec would adapt and do as he was asked. Isabelle was against the idea, and insisted Alec tell their parents he would refuse.[2]

Later, Lydia Branwell arrived at the Institute as the Clave's envoy. Although Alec did not trust her at first he began to understand her better after learning about the circumstances surrounding her late fiancé. Torn between duty to his family and his own budding feelings for Magnus, he told the warlock about his parents' decision to marry him off. Magnus encouraged Alec to do what was in his heart and to be himself. Alec, after running the Institute with Lydia, knew that a marriage between the Lightwood and Branwell names would not only restore faith in his family in the eyes of the Clave—and therefore provide Isabelle and Max a safer future—but it would also allow them both to run the Institute together.

At the same time, Alec discovered that his parents were members of the Circle years before and had kept that information from them. Angry at being lied to and realizing that his family's honor had in fact been threatened by his parents, he took matters into his own hands and set off to fix what his parents had broken himself. Alec therefore proposed to Lydia, and she accepted.[7]

TMI112 Kiss01

On the day of his wedding, Alec, despite knowing he had feelings for Magnus, continued with the ceremony, thinking it was the right thing even after a last-minute confrontation between him and Magnus. However, Alec finally acknowledged that marrying Lydia when he would never love her was not the right thing for either of them, and faced his feelings for Magnus by kissing Magnus in front of his family, friends and envoys from the Clave, effectively calling off the wedding.[8]


As the eldest of Lightwood siblings, Alec has a very serious, cautious and by-the-book demeanor, answering to the Clave for reports and missions, following every law and every rule. He has a habit of being blunt and is extremely distrustful of newcomers, and Simon once referenced that his bedside manner is 'abysmal'. Despite this, he is loyal to his friends and is fiercely protective of them, going along with his friends' missions to keep them safe even though he disapproves. Alec takes his duty extremely seriously and often steps in front of others to keep them safe, instinctively putting others ahead of himself and taking responsibility for and of others, regardless of whether he finds them agreeable or not.

Alec is gay but was in denial and reluctant to admit this to himself for years due to Shadowhunter society still finding the subject taboo. Furthermore, his feelings for his parabatai and adoptive brother, Jace, gave him another reason to stay in the closet, as romantic relationships between parabatai are forbidden. This makes him a deeply conflicted individual, torn between being himself and not bringing shame to his family. After meeting Magnus, Alec has chosen to do what's right for himself and is now out to everyone.

Skills and abilities

  • Nephilim physiology: Being Nephilim, Alec 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, Alec 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, Alec 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 Jace Wayland, Alec is able to call on more strength in battle and is able to use certain runes or magic exclusive to parabatai. The runes drawn on him by, or shared with, Jace also give a considerably stronger effect.
  • Expert hand-to-hand combat: Alec is highly skilled in armed and unarmed combat.
  • Expert archer and marksman: Alec is highly skilled and proficient in marksmanship and archery.



Season One appearances: 13/13
The Mortal Cup:
The Descent Into Hell Isn't Easy:
Dead Man's Party:
Raising Hell:
Moo Shu to Go:
Of Men and Angels:
Major Arcana:
Bad Blood:
Rise Up:
This World Inverted:
Blood Calls To Blood:
Morning Star:
Season Two appearances: 20/20
This Guilty Blood:
A Door Into the Dark:
Parabatai Lost:
Day of Wrath:
Dust and Shadows:
Iron Sisters:
How Are Thou Fallen:
Love is a Devil:
Bound By Blood:
By the Light of Dawn:
Mea Maxima Culpa:
May be featured
You Are Not Your Own:
May be featured
Those of Demon Blood:
May be featured
The Fair Folk:
May be featured
TBA 2x15:
May be featured
Day of Atonement:
May be featured
TBA 2x17:
May be featured
TBA 2x18:
May be featured
TBA 2x19:
May be featured
TBA 2x20:
May be featured


See more here

Behind the scenes


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