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Tessa Gray

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Tessa Gray
Photo Tessa 01
Biographical Information
Full name: Theresa Herondale (née Gray)
Born: 1862
New York
Age: 20s (physically)
Status: Immortal
Nickname/s: Tess
Species: Half-Eidolon demon
Residence: The London Institute
Allegiance: Enclave
Family: Will Herondale † (husband)
James Herondale (son)
Lucie Herondale (daughter)
Unnamed Eidolon Greater Demon (father)
Richard Gray † (believed father)
Elizabeth Gray † (mother)
Harriet Moore † (adoptive aunt)
Nate Gray † (adoptive cousin)
Herondale family
Blackthorn family
Physical Description
Gender: Female
Hair color: Brown
Eye color: Gray
I am Theresa Gray, daughter of a Greater Demon and Elizabeth Gray, who was born Adele Starkweather, one of your kind. I was the wife of William Herondale, who was the head of the London Institute, and I was the mother of James Herondale and Lucie Blackthorn. Will and I raised our Shadowhunter children to protect mundanes, to live by the Laws of Clave and Covenant, and to keep to the Accords. Once, I lived among the Shadowhunters. Once I might almost have seemed like a person to you.

–Tessa to Jocelyn in 1993, The Last Stand of the New York Institute

Theresa "Tessa" Gray is an American warlock, particularly a new kind of warlock—the rare half-Shadowhunter, half-Eidolon demon. After becoming entangled herself in the lives of the Shadowhunters at the London Institute during the Victorian era, Tessa married the Shadowhunter Will Herondale. After her husband's death, Tessa has been traveling the world and has become a scholarly warlock[1], also often checking up on her daughter's descendants, the Blackthorns, in Los Angeles.


Early life

Theresa Gray was born to the unmarked Shadowhunter Elizabeth Gray and an Eidolon demon, but raised by who everyone believed to be her father, the mundane Richard Gray. Under normal circumstances, children of Shadowhunters and demons would be stillborn, but Elizabeth was able to give birth to Tessa not only because she carried no runes, but also because she wore the clockwork angel.[2]

For much of her early life, she was unaware of what she truly was and her true parentage. Conceived in London, Tessa's family moved to New York while Elizabeth was pregnant with her. After the death of her parents in a carriage accident when she was only three years old, she and her brother, Nate, was raised by her maternal aunt, Harriet Moore. She spent the majority of her life being overprotected by hr Aunt Harriet and looking after her spoiled older brother, Nate. Tessa grew up taking comfort in books, dreaming of having the kind of adventures the heroines she read about do. At sixteen, her Aunt Harriet died of what she thought was a fever. Upon her death, Nate arranged for Tessa to move to London with him.

Arrival at London

Tessa traveled from New York to London when Nate called for her, shortly after the death of their Aunt Harriet. Once there, a pair of mysterious and sinister women, whom she called the Dark Sisters, gave her a letter written in Nate's handwriting and told her that they've come to collect her on Nate's behalf.

The Dark Sisters soon revealed that they apparently had Nate as a prisoner, showing her their father's ring, one that Nate always wore, splattered with blood. They forced her to Change, or shape-shift, torturing her to learn quickly as well as threatening to harm Nate if she did not do as they asked. The Dark Sisters had made a deal with "the Magister" who had hoped to marry her and exploit her ability. In her isolation, she wrote letters to Nate about her loneliness and imprisonment, which Will later found and read.

One day, after Changing into Emma Bayliss, she was told about her marriage arrangement with the Magister, who had long been waiting for her. After a futile attempt of escape, she was finally rescued by the Shadowhunter Will Herondale. Tessa passed out in the midst of the fight against the Dark Sisters and was taken to the London Institute.

During her stay at the Institute, the head Charlotte Branwell promised to take care of her and help her search for Nate. There, Tessa befriended Jem Carstairs and the rest of the Institute's residents and staff, particularly Sophie Collins, the handmaid, while she had an uneasy relationship with Jessamine Lovelace, who wanted to move out of the Institute with Tessa.

When the investigation into her brother led them to Alexei de Quincey's house, she took the form of the vampire Camille Belcourt to infiltrate an exclusive party, with Will posing as her human subjugate and Magnus Bane, Camille's lover, as her guide. Once the human captive at the party was bitten, Will sent a signal to the Nephilim lying in wait to attack. Tessa then realized that the captive human was her brother, Nate. After the battle, they brought him to the Institute.

work in progress

During the battle, Will is attacked by de Quincey and bites the vampire's arm, inadvertently ingesting some vampire blood, which threatens to turn him into a darkling. He must drink holy water but refuses it from Sophie. Tessa takes it to him, up in the attic, and he drinks it and then kisses her, but then shoves her away and demands that she leave him alone. After this he is standoffish and unfriendly, much to Tessa's confusion.

When confronted by the Magister, Axel Mortmain, Tessa recalls Will's words to her earlier, explaining that the British warrior-queen Boadicea was braver than any man because she killed herself rather than be taken by the Romans. With this inspiration, she prepares to kill herself to escape Mortmain. However, she realizes that if she Changes into the form of a dead woman, particularly Adams, whose form she had already taken while under the tutelage of the Dark Sisters, she will bleed convincingly. By changing very quickly, and for a very short time, into a woman who had been shot, she convinces Mortmain that she is dead and he leaves when confronted by Will.

Will is momentarily affectionate, but then puts an even greater distance between them. At the end of Clockwork Angel, she confronts Will, hoping to reconcile, but he is unkind, treating her like a prostitute and reveals that she is unable to have children as she is a warlock. Tessa leaves, hurt and confused.

The Infernal Devices

Clockwork Prince

Tessa is present, and is a key witness, at the trial of Charlotte Branwell in front of the Clave, about the attack on the London Institute. Charlotte is given two weeks to find Mortmain or she will have to resign as head of the Institute, and be replaced by Benedict Lightwood.

Tessa, accompanies Will and Jem, up to the York Institute to meet Aloysius Starkweather, who may hold a clue to the Magister's past. Jem gives her the Carstairs family ring, so that she can pretend to be a mundane girl, who is engaged to Jem.

Tessa is trained by Gabriel Lightwood to defend herself, in case there was an attack against the London Institute.

Sophie Collins comes to Tessa with an invitation to a masked ball at the Lightwood's house, addressed to Jessamine from Nate. Jessamine slapped Sophie, so Sophie hit her on the head and knocked her out. Tessa sends Sophie to Will for help, and he places a sleeping rune on Jessamine so that she will not wake up until morning, and ties her to her bed as a precaution. Tessa Changes into Jessamaine, and Will accompanies her, so that she can sneak into Benedict Lightwood's house. Tessa meets Nate, who dances with Jessamine, and reminds her that she is now 'Jessamine Gray'.

Jem proposes to Tessa, and gives her his jade necklace as a token of their engagement. However, Will arrives back from Magnus' house after the demon, Marbas, reveals that there was no curse on him. He talks to Tessa in private and declares his love for her, but she rejects him and tells him that she is engaged to Jem.

Clockwork Princess

In Clockwork Princess, she is revealed to be a half-Shadowhunter, half-Demon, a new species, because her mother Elizabeth Gray, the real Adele Starkweather, was a Shadowhunter who bore no runes, and her father was replaced by an Eidolon Demon, making her a hybrid and an immortal.

She is kidnapped in a assault on the Institute at the delivery of Jessamine from the Silent City where she is taken to The Magister, who has taken up refuge in Cadair Idris near Will and Cecily's former home. Will then came and found them, but his long trip was to no avail as he is quickly captured by his own stupidity and Mortmain's wall. The rest of the Enclave then shows up, accompanied by three Silent Brothers: Enoch, Micah, and Zachariah.

In the fight with the Infernal Devices, it is revealed that her fiancée, Jem, has become a Silent Brother, Brother Zachariah. Since Silent Brothers cannot marry, they are separated.

Tessa eventually married Will, and the two stayed together for at least 60 years. Wanting to at least physically age with her husband, Tessa made herself look older.[3] During their thirtieth wedding anniversary, Will took the bracelet Tessa wore on their wedding, which bore the wedding runes she could not, and had it redesigned with pearls.[4] Tessa stayed with Will until his death in 1937. After Will's death, Tessa keeps her distance from her family, not wanting to go through the pain of seeing her children and other loved ones grow old while she remains youthful.

More than 100 years later, Tessa meets with Jem who has found a cure for his prior addiction to Yin fen and ascended from the grip of the Brotherhood. They quickly reconcile, ending the book on the Blackfriars Bridge, kissing and agreeing to travel the world together.

Later life

One day, Tessa was staying with Magnus in New York, when Jocelyn Fairchild came to ask him to protect her daughter, Clary. Tessa, in the place of an Iron Sister, then performed the Shadowhunter children's ritual on Clary with Brother Zachariah.

The Mortal Instruments

City of Glass

She is briefly seen by Clary, who thinks of her as familiar, but does not remember from when. She is chatting with Magnus Bane.

City of Heavenly Fire

Clary is introduced to Tessa by Jocelyn.

Physical description

Tessa has smooth brown hair, steely gray-blue eyes, and is considerably taller than other girls and boys her age. While she used to think herself average, several of her friends have noted that Tessa is pretty and beautiful; not conventionally beautiful, but kindly attractive.


Warlock Abilities

  • Immortality - Tessa is immortal, having maintained her youthful appearance since the 19th century. When she reached the age of about early twenties, she stopped aging.

Eidolon Abilities

  • Changing - As a child of an Eidolon demon, she has inherited the ability to Change; the demonic power to shape-shift into another person. Unlike ordinary Eidolon demons like Mrs. Dark, Tessa can become whomever she transforms into as long as she has a physical object of theirs when she first turns into them. She achieves the Change by linking with a psychic impression or remnant of a person contained within an object. She can also Change by linking with a person's soul, as she did when she Changed into the Angel Ithuriel. In addition to their physical presence, Tessa is also able to touch the mind of a person and access their memories and thoughts when Changing, taking on their memories, mannerisms, and abilities.



  • Tessa hates chocolate.
  • Tessa always wore the pearl bracelet given to her by Will on their thirtieth-anniversary.
  • Tessa, like Clary, is a main protagonist and narrator in Cassandra Clare's book series. In the first book, both are attacked and knocked unconscious by demons and are brought to the Institute by one of their potential love interests, particularly Will for Tessa and Jace for Clary. Both also walk in on their love interests playing a musical instrument in a room at the Institute; Jem was playing violin, and Jace was playing the piano, and both mistook the girls to be their parabatai before seeing them.
  • Jocelyn Fray formed their mundane surname "Fray", a portmanteau of Fairchild and Gray, as an homage to Tessa and her close relationship with the Fairchilds.


Start a Discussion Discussions about Tessa Gray

  • Jem, Tessa, and City of Heavenly Fire

    194 messages
    • I think Tessa might cry at the sight of Alec because he looks like Will, but Jem is there for her now so who knows? And Jem might now feel rea...
    • Yay!!!! Yah I agree, it will be emotional for everyone I think, especially me. Lol
  • Team Will or Team Jem?

    58 messages
    • I would probably pick Will because he wouldn't have been so rude to Tessa if he hadn't thought he was cursed (Will reminds me of Jace and I l...
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