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Clary Fairchild

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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.

Clary Fairchild
Portrayed by Katherine McNamara
TMI201 Clary01
Biographical Information
Full name:

Clarissa Fairchild-Morgenstern

Born: 1998
Age: 18
Status: Alive
  • Clary Fray
  • Clary Fairchild
  • Little Girl (by Alec)
  • Biscuit (by Magnus)



Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York City

Physical Description
Gender: Female
Hair color: Red
Eye color: Green
Height: 5'5"

Clarissa "Clary" Fairchild, also known as Clary Fray, is a Shadowhunter who was raised among mundanes, not knowing her true heritage. When her mother was kidnapped, Clary's simple, content life was disrupted as she was forced into action; she was set on a journey of self-discovery as she learned more about her past, and needed to embrace her newfound powers and the central role she was expected to play in this new world.


Early life

TMI101 Memories01

A young Clary's memories about to be taken by Magnus.

Clary is the second child of Jocelyn Fairchild and Valentine Morgenstern, two Shadowhunters who were members of the Circle. She was born some time after her brother, Jonathan Christopher whom most everyone believed perished in a fire with her father.[1]

Before she was born, her mother went into hiding and fled to New York, leaving behind her life as a Shadowhunter. While playing at a park when she was young, Clary was almost attacked by a demon but was saved by her mother. After the incident, Jocelyn rushed her to Magnus Bane, a warlock, and had him wipe the memories of the Shadow World from her mind.[2] For years, Jocelyn led Clary to believe that her father was a man named Jonathan Clark.[3]

Jocelyn's abduction

In 2016, Clary started her 18th birthday with an interview at the Brooklyn Academy of Art. Clary was accepted into the advanced program she'd applied for, and she credited the graphic novel illustrations she didn't submit as the pieces that caught the panel's attention.

Later that evening, Clary encountered a group of Shadowhunters and Magnus, whom she briefly and confusedly remembered, at the Pandemonium Club. Freaked out by the battle she witnessed at the club, she rushed home and told Jocelyn, who started to tell her that she was a Shadowhunter. Just then, a group of men arrived, scaring both Jocelyn and Dot. Jocelyn wrapped a necklace around her neck and sent her into a Portal that took her to the NYPD station, to Luke,[2] a good friend of Jocelyn and a father figure to Clary.[1]

While at the station, however, she overheard a conversation between Luke and two people about how he cares nothing for the Frays, hurting Clary. She rushed back home to find Jocelyn missing, and a demon in the guise of Dot attacked her. Jace, one of the Shadowhunters from the club, arrived just in time to save her. Clary collapsed due to the demon venom, and he carried her back to the New York Institute to recuperate.

Upon waking, she met Isabelle and Alec Lightwood, the latter of whom immediately expressed his distrust of her. Jace briefed her of the basics: that they, including her, were all Shadowhunters, humans who were part-angel,[4] whose mission it was to protect the human race from demons, and that other beings from stories exist.[2] In addition to finding out that she was Nephilim, the Institute's trainer and former Circle member Hodge Starkweather told her that her mother was once also part of the Circle—the very organization, led by Valentine Morgenstern, that abducted her.

When they realized that the people who took Jocelyn were after a powerful tool known as the Mortal Cup, they worked alongside Clary to get ahold of it before Valentine or Downworlders find it. While the people helping her were primarily concerned with securing the Cup, Clary remained focused on her search for Jocelyn.

Blocked memories

In an attempt to unlock her seemingly blocked memories, the Shadowhunters brought her to the City of Bones, where the Silent Brothers used the Soul-Sword on her. While not all her memories were accessed, she remembered enough to find out that she was Valentine's daughter. Outside the City of Bones, Simon was kidnapped by vampires in an attempt to get information on the Cup.[5] Clary forced the others to save Simon, and they infiltrated the vampires' base, the Hotel Dumort. With the help of Raphael, a vampire who did not agree with Camille's decisions, they were able to escape with Simon.[4]

Realizing that her memories were crucial to their search for the Cup, as indicated by the demon that had attacked her at their home, Clary told them of a memory, which came to her at the Silent City, from her youth where she saw a man named Magnus taking her memories, Simon told them that her abductor Camille had told her about Magnus Bane when he mentioned Clary's missing memories.

The group lured Magnus out of hiding with a party, and while the warlock initially refused to help them, he eventually agreed when the group helped him fight off Circle members that attacked their safe haven. To her surprise, Magnus also told her that Dot, whom she had grown to see as a sister,[5] was tortured and killed by Valentine in her efforts to protect her. Magnus then told them that he fed Clary's memories to a memory demon, Valak, for safekeeping. They decided to summon the demon, but when Jace's life was put at risk, Clary decided to sacrifice her memories and banished the demon to save him.[6]

Even without her memories, Clary was eventually able to retrieve the Cup for the Clave.[7] While Valentine posed as Michael Wayland, Clary caught onto his deception and gave him the fake Cup, after which Valentine revealed to them that she and Jace were siblings—that they was Jonathan, and he was his son with Jocelyn. They were also able to rescue Jocelyn from Valentine,[8] though she was still asleep under the potion she took, so she began hunting for the Book of the White for the spell that could wake her. They then lost the Cup when Hodge betrayed them and gave the Cup to Valentine.[9][9] After they found the book and were able to revive Jocelyn, they lost Jace, who felt he had no choice but to join Valentine.[10]


After a brief happy reunion with her awakened mother, Clary soon became preoccupied with their troubles. She broke the news to Jocelyn that Jonathan was alive and was taken by Valentine, not knowing that Jocelyn felt that Jonathan was innately evil and would later try to kill him.Along with this, she was closely monitored by the Institute's new head, Victor Aldertree.[11]

Alec blamed Clary for their dilemmas, making the latter start to falter in her sense of belonging—unable to truly fit in among the Shadowhunters while also unable to return to her former ordinary life. In an effort to get her bearings, she went to the Brooklyn Academy of Art to paint. Though Jocelyn and Luke, concerned for her safety, rushed over, she was kidnapped by Dot and taken to Valentine's ship. Clary was caged and mind-controlled by Dot to trick Jace into submitting to Valentine. Clary was able to get through to Dot, who then later helped her and Jace escape the ship by taking down the wards with her magic.[12]

Though she and Jace were separated, he soon contacted her and Isabelle and the group formed plans to meet at Magnus's loft to save the unconscious Alec, who needed contact with his parabatai to survive. Jace was arrested after this,[13] and he was imprisoned in the City of Bones. Clary tried to talk to Jace, but was only pushed away. Meanwhile, the Clave decided to reassign Jocelyn to Idris, and Jocelyn asked Clary to come with her. Though she briefly considered it, she turned her offer down, wanting to learn to be a Shadowhunter at the Institute and unable to leave her friends.

Meanwhile, a new type of demon infiltrated their ranks at the Institute and began possessing Shadowhunters to kill others. While possessing Alec, the demon killed Jocelyn, devastating Clary. A vengeful Clary set out to hunt for the demon and soon found it possessing Isabelle. After it attacked Alec, Clary stabbed Isabelle, forcing the demon out of Isabelle's body, after which Clary vanquished it.[14]

Personality and traits

Clary is headstrong, stubborn, and fiery. She is also intelligent and creative. She loves and cares deeply about her mother and her friends and is loyal to them above all others.

Having not been raised with the typical Shadowhunter prejudice and rules, she is often at odds with the more traditional Shadowhunters in the Institute, like Alec and Lydia, over issues regarding mundanes and Downworlders, strict adherence to rules and protocol, and their generally self-centered culture. Unlike most Shadowhunters, who defend innocents out of a sense of duty, Clary does so without hesitation because she wants to.

Physical appearance

Clary is a beautiful young girl with bright red hair and a slim build. Hodge remarked that she looks a lot like her mother, Jocelyn. Her clothing style is generally simple and conservative, and she dislikes wearing the revealing outfits that Isabelle had her wear on occasion. Since meeting the Shadowhunters, Clary now has a number of runes burned into various parts of her body.

Skills and abilities

  • Nephilim physiology: Being Nephilim, Clary naturally possesses a variety of enhanced physical and mental abilities granted to her by the angel blood of Raziel in her veins and also by the angelic Marks of the Gray Book. This includes enhanced strength, speed, agility, stamina, and coordination, which would improve over time and practice.
  • The Sight: As a Shadowhunter, Clary is able to easily see through most magical illusions and layers of glamour over reality. However, due to her general ignorance to the Shadow World because of her years worth of missing memories, she still needs some prompting to see through glamour.
  • Use of heavenly weapons: As a Nephilim, Clary is also able to handle heavenly weapons, such as seraph blades, with effect that would normally not work for other species.
  • Runic magic: Due to the angel blood in their veins, all Shadowhunters are all able to apply runes on their skin without any real danger. These Marks, in turn, give varied effects that serve to benefit the wearer.
  • Angelic blood empowerment: While all Shadowhunters have some angel blood in them, Clary has more; particularly, she has pure angel blood, and a blood connection with the angel Ithuriel.
    • Accessing new runes: Because of this, Clary is able to "create" new runes—those not in the Gray Book—sent to her as visions or images by Ithuriel.
    • Unique Shadowhunter ability: Clary and Jocelyn have the shared ability to press physical objects into paper, transforming them into drawings or paintings, and are conversely the only ones able to "reach into" the pictures to extract the hidden object. According to Luke, this may have been her unusual angelic powers, which some Shadowhunters have, and may have been passed down from her mother.
  • Art: Clary is a particularly skilled and talented artist. 
  • Skilled swordswoman: Clary has some skill in swordsmanship, which she is still currently trying to improve under the tutelage of those at the Institute.


  • Fairchild stele: For her eighteenth birthday, Jocelyn gave her a stele that is a family heirloom.


  • Portal shard: Clary received a Portal shard tied to a chain from Jocelyn before they were separated for the first time. It spontaneously triggered visions of the people Clary focused on, working like a Portal for viewing the current state or location of the person. It was also detectable and once used by Valentine to communicate with her.


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

  • She is portrayed by Katherine McNamara on Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments. A younger Clary is played by Sofia Wells.
  • Differences from the novel:
    • Clary is two years older than her book counterpart.
    • At the beginning of the TV series, Clary was applying for the art school Brooklyn Academy of Art; at the beginning of the books, was a high school student attending Tisch art classes.


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