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.

Isabelle Lightwood
Portrayed by Emeraude Toubia
TMI103 Isabelle02
Biographical Information
Status: Alive

Izzy, Iz




New York Institute

Known relatives:
Significant other(s):
Physical Description
Gender: Female
Hair color: Black
Eye color:

Dark brown

I've decided to grow up, remember?

–Isabelle, Major Arcana

Isabelle "Izzy" Lightwood is a Shadowhunter of the New York Institute. She is the only daughter of Robert and Maryse Lightwood, is the sister of Alec and Max, and is the adoptive sister of Jace.


Early life

Born the middle child and only daughter of Maryse and Robert Lightwood, Isabelle is the sister of three brothers: the eldest, Alec, the youngest, Max, and is like a sister to Jace Wayland, whom was taken in by the family when they were young.

Raised in the New York Institute, Isabelle trained side-by-side with her older brothers and forged a close bond with them.

New friends

One evening, Jace managed to track a shape-shifting demon's activity to the Pandemonium Club. Isabelle decided to go in disguise, with an all-white outfit and a platinum blonde wig. Once inside, Isabelle distracted the other demons while Jace confronted the one that was peddling mundane blood. She managed to keep them busy until the fight broke out.

TMI101 Isabelle02

When Jace brought Clary Fray to the Institute, Isabelle was with her when the latter woke up. Isabelle even lent her some clothes after Clary's had to be burned.[1] Later, her mundane friend Simon Lewis was also welcomed into the Institute, and Isabelle volunteered to look after him and cooked him breakfast. She also briefed him about the Shadow World and the dangers Valentine Morgenstern and the Circle posed for all of them.

Outside the Silent City, Isabelle, again volunteering to stay with Simon, was flirting with Simon and was alone with him by his van when she heard sounds. She left to investigate, and Simon was gone when she returned. She told the others, and when everyone rushed back to the van, two vampires revealed themselves to be Simon's abductors, negotiating for the Mortal Cup.[2]

To contribute to Simon's rescue, Isabelle contacted the Seelie Meliorn, with whom she maintained a sexual relationship with—a connection she often used to her advantage to gather intel. In this case, Isabelle knew that Meliorn was also sleeping with the vampire Camille Belcourt and that he might be sneaking into the Hotel Dumort to do so. After getting the information she needed, she immediately told Alec and Jace.

She and Alec served as the distraction, going into the entrance she learned from Meliorn, while Jace and Clary went to a more direct route in hopes of finding Simon sooner. She and Alec managed to keep the vampires occupied and beat most of them in battle, and they eventually regrouped with Jace and Clary. Together, they all found Simon with Raphael. Raphael went on to help the group escape.[3]

Mortal Cup

When Isabelle's parents returned from their trip to Idris,[4] Isabelle realized that their family was under the Clave's scrutiny. Deciding to put her family ahead of herself, Isabelle decided to take her mother's words to heart and began a process of self-transformation, beginning by changing her manner of dressing, completely stashing her clothes away, and ending her relationship with Meliorn.[5]

CJ Jem 06
“I cannot be sure, though I think it has something to do with
the clarity of them.”

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She discovered from her father that in order to reaffirm their trust from the Clave, a tremendous sacrifice would have to be made. Robert and Maryse plan for Alec to marry a Shadowhunter woman for a political alliance. Though he is angered by this, he later proposes to Clave envoy Lydia Branwell, who was sent to take temporary control of the Institute, which Isabelle is completely against, believing her brother should not have to forfeit his happiness. Her dislike of Lydia further evolves when she arrests Meliorn, believing he has information on Valentine's whereabouts. With the help of the others, she is able to save him from being taken to the City of Bones where he would have been tortured. Before Meliorn escapes with Jace and Clary, she gives him a kiss goodbye.[6]

TMI108promo Isabelle01

Because Isabelle was the only other Shadowhunter who knew Meliorn would be taken to the Silent City, she is arrested by Lydia, who believes she was involved in his rescue, for high treason. Inquisitor Imogen Herondale is set to arrive at the Institute for Isabelle's trial, which would begin immediately. During her trial, Magnus Bane agrees to be her defense attorney, stating the case that Isabelle was only arrested because the Clave wants the Cup. After listening to Isabelle's statement, Lydia decides to drop the charges, however the Inquisitor still deems her guilty. She would only be freed if the Cup is given to the Clave. Later, Jace and Clary return with the Cup, thereby saving Isabelle.[7]

On the day of Alec's wedding, Isabelle is shown to be choosing the decor and reminds Alec once again that he does not have to get married. Nonetheless, she stands by him when he decides this is what he wants and plans him a bachelor party, though it turns out to be a way to get Jace and Alec to make up. She also invites Magnus to the wedding, though believes he will not come. When Magnus does show up, and Alec chooses his own happiness over duty, Isabelle is fully supportive and proud of him.[8]

After the wedding, the group finds out Hodge Starkweather stole the Cup and is on his way to hand it over to Valentine. Isabelle goes with Clary and Simon to the Hotel Dumort where Camille is being held to get the Book of the White from her. While she distracts Raphael, Clary and Simon break Camille out of her imprisonment. Before the vampires of the New York vampire clan can kill them, Isabelle is able to save them and get them out of the Hotel. However, they are all too late to leave Camille's apartment in time and Jace leaves with Valentine.[9]

Saving Alec and Jace

When Alec shows signs of stress and frustration over Jace's departure, Isabelle is the one who suggests he take a break. She also defends Jace from the new Head of the Institute, Victor Aldertree, a representative sent by the Clave to turn the New York Institute around, when he declares the missing Shadowhunter a traitor. Despite Aldertree banning the group from the hunt for Jace, they continue to do everything they can to get him back.[10]

When Valentine begins raiding fight clubs for strong candidates, Isabelle and Alec decide that they can get information from a Circle member if they capture one in action at the dojos. Clary wants to go with them, although she is banned from leaving the Institute, however Alec is against the idea of her being on their team. Isabelle is torn between wanting to help both her brother and Clary, however before leaving, Isabelle comforts Clary and lets her know she's on her side.

At one of these dojos, Isabelle uses the shape-shifting rune to turn into Mark, one of the known fighters of that club, luring a Circle member to her when he arrives. Before she or Alec can take him down, he slits his throat, showing that Circle members would rather die than give up secrets about Valentine. Upon losing this Circle member, Alec grows even more frustrated and discouraged of finding Jace. When Jocelyn Fray approaches them with a way to find Jace using Adamas, a heavenly metal used by the Iron Sisters, Isabelle is against the idea when they are warned of the risks.[11] When Alec goes through with it anyway and falls into a comatose state, Isabelle stays by his side while Magnus tries to heal him.

TMI203promo Aldertree & Izzy 01

Jace contacts Isabelle and together, they make plans to get Jace and Alec to Magnus' loft, where they can awake Alec. When Aldertree refuses to let Isabelle and Magnus take Alec from the Institute, they use the shape-shifting rune on an unconscious Raj to disguise him as Alec, and portal Alec to Magnus'. Aldertree discovers this when he deactivates the rune on Raj and warns that now Jace is being hunted by the New York werewolf pack, who believe he killed their member Gretel Monroe, Isabelle makes a deal with him. If he provides her with a portal, she could save both Jace and Alec, however, she would then have to turn Jace into the Clave. The plan works, and Jace is taken to the City of Bones to await trial.[12]

Yin fen

When the Institute is attacked by a demon Valentine experimented on, it possessed Isabelle's body, causing her to attack Alec. To get the demon out of Isabelle's body, Clary stabbed her back, then killed the demon once it left her body. The stab left her with a wound that hindered her fighting abilities. While sparring with Jace, she finds out that a mission is being planned to go to the Iron Sisters to ask about the Soul-Sword's abilities. She approaches Aldertree about going on the mission, and he gives her a salve of yin fen that will help speed up her healing. She is warned by him to use it sparingly, and asked to spy on Clary, who goes on the mission with her.

When they arrive, they are prompted to participate in a purity trial in order to enter the Adamant Citadel. While Clary passes the trial, the water turns black and bubbles when Isabelle takes part. Sister Magdelena deems her blood is tainted with demonic impurities, meaning she would not be allowed inside the Citadel. Sister Magdelena then reveals that Yin fen, an addictive substance made from diluted vampire venom, is coursing through her veins, and will not cure her. However at this point, Isabelle is already addicted. When she and Clary go back to the Institute and Aldertree prompts her about the mission, she refuses to tell him about Clary's new rune ability, despite being tempted with another tin of yin fen.[13]

While Aldertree is back in Idris, Isabelle sneaks into his office to take the other tin of yin fen, only to find that it is gone. Growing increasingly desperate for more, she goes to the Hunter's Moon to find a Downworld drug dealer. She finds the warlock Rufus and asks him for yin fen. Magnus, who was at the bar speaking with bartender Maia Roberts, notices this and approaches the two, chasing Rufus away when he reminds him about his ban from North America. Magnus believes Isabelle is lying to him when she tells him she's there on business to crack the Downworlder drug trade, however he chooses to believe her in the end. Through him, she finds out that the source of yin fen is vampire venom. When she is unable to get Simon to bite her, Isabelle goes to a vampire den. Before the vampires there can kill her, Raphael steps in and sends them away. She begins convulsing and shaking in pain, a side-effect of not having yin fen in her system after a while, and she convinces Raphael to bite her, just once, to make it go away.[14]

TMI208promo Izzy & Raphael 01

Isabelle quickly learns that while getting yin fen directly leaves a stronger effect, it wears off much faster. She begins to feel withdrawals once again, just as she is heading to Magnus' loft for Max's rune ceremonial party. Raphael initially refuses her request, explaining that Shadowhunter blood is equally as addicting to him, but once again, she convinces Raphael to bite her so that she can make it through the party.[15]

After the party, Isabelle begins to spend more time with Raphael. They begin to learn more about each other, however it becomes clear that they are becoming dependent on each other for a high. Raphael leaves for a meeting with other Downworlder representatives on how to deal with the possible activation of the Soul-Sword, and sides with the seelies on executing Clary. Raphael is in the middle of drinking her blood once again when Alec arrives at the Dumort, having learned from Magnus that at the Downworlder meeting, Raphael and Isabelle have been seeing each other. He tries to get her to go with him, but she refuses, claiming that Raphael has been there for her.[16]

Isabelle returns to Raphael, who expresses that he truly does have feelings for her. She tries to get him to kiss her, however he reveals that he is not interested in sex, that he is asexual. To keep Isabelle from finding out that the seelies and vampires plan on killing Clary, he hides her phone and tells her he's off to meet with another vampire clan. She eventually finds her phone and sees messages from Alec about Valentine's attack on the Institute and rushes there to help, killing four Circle members before they can get to Alec and Aldertree. In the aftermath of the Soul-Sword's destruction, Raphael finds Isabelle. She lets him know she never wants anything from him ever again.[17]

Road to Recovery

After Valentine's attack against the Downworlders, Isabelle is determined to get the vampire venom out of her system. She hides out in her room with Alec checking in on her. Due to withdrawals, she's shaking and sweating. She promises Alec that she will remain in her room while he is out on a hunt for a demon, however she eventually cannot take the pain and goes to Raphael. She apologizes about how she treated him, however he refuses to give her anymore venom causing her to lash out at him. She leaves the Dumort and finds the nearest vampire den.

The Greater demon Azazel finds her and wants the Mortal Cup, although she does not have it. Before he can kill her, a Shadowhunter arrives and drives him away. He reveals himself to be Sebastian Verlac. He takes her to where he is staying and gives her a drop of medicine from a root extract, something he discovered would help with the withdrawal of yin fen. He is from the London Institute, however he left and found himself in New York to defeat his own addiction to yin fen. To help her, he convinces Isabelle to stay for a day to get the venom out of her system, as the medicine only has short lasting affects. Upon his request, she also calls Alec to let him know she's safe.[18]


Isabelle is compassionate, warm, charming, and is generally welcoming to new friends. Despite her beauty and kick-ass combat skills, Isabelle is seen to be the moral compass that keeps her brothers Alec and Jace in check in tense situations, though she is also seen to have a bit of a defiant side. Isabelle is not afraid to speak her mind and isn't afraid to break rules, a trait she shares with her adoptive brother Jace. She is able to stand up to higher ranked individuals for what she believes in and fights and argues to get the point across whenever necessary.

She is a skilled seductress who can seduce any man, both Shadowhunter and Downworlder, into either complying with demands or maintaining confidential information. She enchants pretty much anyone who meets her. She is incredibly comfortable with her body; in the past, she wore revealing outfits with no qualms—a way of standing up to her mother's strict rules. During that time, she often acted as the bait or distraction to lure demons.

Isabelle is also equally skilled and deadly in battle, particularly when using her weapon of choice: her whip. Isabelle is feisty, talented, intelligent, and well-educated.

As Maryse and Robert's only daughter, Isabelle is seen as a daddy's girl, having a loving and trusting relationship with her father, while she has a more strained and tense relationship with her mother, who did not approve of Isabelle's decisions and lifestyle. As a result, Isabelle is often maternal toward others, fulfilling a role that was lacking in her life. She is supportive of her brothers, urging them to do what makes them happy. Isabelle is a deeply compassionate person, and she often seeks to comfort those around her.

She is also fiercely loyal to her family and loved ones, willing to let go of her own happiness if it will make things better for them. Despite this, she will fight for what she believes is right even if the odds go against her, and would only cede and make the necessary sacrifice or adjustments when she sees the sense in it and how it would contribute to the greater good.

Skills and abilities

  • Nephilim physiology: Being Nephilim, Isabelle 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 continue to improve over time and practice.
    • The Sight: As a Shadowhunter, Isabelle is able to easily see through most magical illusions and layers of glamour over reality.
  • 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.
    • Use of heavenly weapons: As a Nephilim, Isabelle 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.
  • Expert hand-to-hand combatant: Isabelle is highly skilled in armed and unarmed combat.
  • Forensic pathology: Isabelle is shown to be skilled in the study of forensic pathology and is referred to by Jace and Alec as the best in New York. She was even able to perform an autopsy on a strange new form of Forsaken and was able to successfully deduce what made it special.
  • Bilingual: Isabelle fluently speaks English and is shown to also speak Spanish.



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:
You Are Not Your Own:
Those of Demon Blood:
The Fair Folk:
A Problem of Memory:
Day of Atonement:
A Dark Reflection:
Awake, Arise, or...:
Will be featured
Hail and Farewell:
Will be featured
Beside Still Water:
Will be featured


See more here


  • She is portrayed by Emeraude Toubia on Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments. Romy Weltman portrayed a teenage Isabelle in the Season Two episode Parabatai Lost.
  • Her casting press release described her as an exotic-looking, model-beautiful Shadowhunter who, as an expert with her whip, is as lethal as she is attractive; is a trained fighter who can kick-ass in high-heels; and whose one weakness is her choice in men—always going for the bad boy.[19]


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