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Will Herondale

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SPOILER WARNING: Plot details follow. Caution is advised.
Will Herondale
Photo Will 01
Biographical Information
Full name: William Owen Herondale
Born: 1861
Age: 17 (as of 1878)
76 (at time of death)
Status: Deceased
Death: June 1937
Cause of death: Old age
Alias: Gwilym Owain
Species: Shadowhunter
Ghost (briefly)
Residence: London Institute
Allegiance: Enclave
Parabatai: Jem Carstairs
Family: Edmund Herondale (father)
Linette Owens (mother)
Ella Herondale † (sister)
Cecily Herondale (sister)
Tessa Gray (wife)
James Herondale (son)
Lucie Herondale (daughter)
Gabriel Lightwood (brother-in-law)
Anna Lightwood (niece)
Christopher Lightwood (nephew)
Alexander Lightwood (nephew)
Herondale family
Physical Description
Gender: Male
Hair color: Black
Eye color: Dark blue
Life is a book, and there are a thousand pages I have not yet read. I would read them together with you, as many as I can, before I die—

–Will to Tessa Gray, Clockwork Princess

William "Will" Owen Herondale was one of the wards living in the London Institute whose life gets entangled with the newly-arrived Tessa Gray.


Early life

Will was the son of Edmund Herondale, a former Shadowhunter, and Linette Owens, the mundane whom Edmund left his Shadowhunting life behind for. As dictated by the Nephilim Law, Will and his sisters, Ella and Cecily, being Nephilim, were still welcome to becoming Shadowhunters. Hence, Will was asked twice in twelve years, both times he refused, after being raised to believe that Shadowhunters were not good people and that the lives they led were dangerous and monstrous.

However, shortly after the second time he was offered, when he was twelve years old, Will was going over his father's old things when he found the Pyxis that held the Greater Demon Marbas and opened it, unwittingly unleashing the demon. The demon then went on to attack him, and Will was protected by his older sister, Ella, who was subsequently poisoned by the demon. Before it left, Marbas claimed to have placed a curse on Will, telling him that those he love will die. When Ella died the next morning, Will was wracked with guilt and sorrow, believing himself to be responsible. Will then immediately decided to leave and join the Shadowhunters at the London Institute to keep his family safe.[1]

Even in London, Will was haunted by the demon's curse. Will remained distant from the other inhabitants of the Institute, Charlotte and Henry, not wanting to bring harm to them by becoming attached and learning to love them.

When Jem Carstairs arrived from Shanghai in 1873, Will tried to be rude to the boy to immediately dissuade him from trying to befriend him. However, Jem refused to be intimidated by Will and insisted in training with him. When Will learned that Jem was ill, however, Will lightened up and allowed himself to become close to Jem ever since, seeing him as his "great sin", convincing himself that since Jem was already dying, the curse would be worthless against him. When they were thirteen, Will asked Jem to become his parabatai and when they were fourteen, they underwent the ceremony and became parabatai.[1]

Clockwork Angel

Will and his parabatai, Jem, find Emma Bayliss, who has been murdered by a man from the Pandemonium Club, she was being followed by a demon that was killed by Will. They find a dagger with the 'ouroboros' symbol on it's hilt.

Will rescues Tessa Gray from the Dark Sister's house, where she has been kept prisoner. Tessa throws a china jug at him, thinking he was one of the Dark Sisters or Miranda, their servant. However, it catches his arm and injures him. He takes her back to the London Institute after fighting the Dark Sisters, and beheading Mrs. Black.

Will meets Camille Belcourt and accompanies Tessa, who is disguised as Camille, to de Quincey's ball for Downworlders, as her human subjugate. He tries to set off the alarm to alert the other Shadowhunters, but instead sets the curtains on fire. Fortunately, the Shadowhunters realize something is wrong and attack the mansion, killing the majority of Vampires who have broken the Accords. Will fights and bites de Quincey, after pulling him off Tessa, who has changed back into her human form, but he escapes.

Tessa brings holy water to Will, who is forcing himself to throw up any vampire blood he has swallowed so that he does not become a Darkling. Will, who later blames it on the vampire blood, kisses her passionately.

Axel Mortmain arrives at the London Institute warning the Shadowhunters that the Dark Sisters are planning on animating the Magister's Clockwork Army. Will and Jem rush off to stop the Dark Sisters. However they arrive at the abandoned mansion to find only Mrs. Dark conducting a necromantic spell to bring her sister back to life. Realizing that they have been tricked, they rush back to the Institute but Will leaves Jem behind with the carriage.

Will finds Tessa on the floor, with Mortmain next to her, who is surprisingly upset. Mortmain flees after being confronted by Will. Will rushes towards her, upset at her death. He cradles her head in his lap, but then realizes she is breathing. Tessa opens her eyes and tells Will that she tricked Mortmain into believing that she had stabbed herself. Will however is distraught as he believes that he has lost everything.

On an errand for Magnus Bane, Will visits a graveyard and gives 'Old Molly', a ghost, some rings in payment for ingredients for one of Magnus' spells. He asks the ghost if she can supply the opposite of a love potion, however she suggests he acts nastily to scare the girl away. As he leaves, he mutters to himself that it's for him, not her.

Clockwork Prince

He realizes that Tessa has taken a liking to him and he also realizes that he loves her too. Because of this, he goes to Magnus Bane, to summon the demon who cursed him. Magnus summons the demon, Marbas, to release Will from his curse, but Marbas tells them that there was no curse in the first place and swears on it. He tells Will that Ella died because she was wounded from the attack. Will is distraught but rushes back to the Institute, jumping with happiness and tells Tessa he loves her. His happiness is short-lived as Tessa tells him that she is already engaged to Jem. Will, heartbroken, tells Tessa not to tell Jem about his feelings and pretends to be happy about the engagement for Jem.

Clockwork Princess

Will trains his sister, Cecily, to become a Shadowhunter. However, he is annoyed at her presence in the London Institute and her insistence that he come home with her, but he does care for her and is fiercely protective of her.

Will discovers that Jem has been taking large doses of yin fen to keep him fit, whilst also killing him inside. He travels to buy more of the demon powder, with Cecily who follows him, but discovers that someone has bought it all up.

When Jessamine Lovelace is brought back to the London Institute from the Silent City, the Magister's automatons attack. Will had no wish to see her, so was inside but upon hearing the noise, rushed down to help. He sees Jem run after a carriage of automatons, but does not realize that they have kidnapped Tessa. Jessamine tells him that Mortmain is in 'Idris', before dying of a stab wound in the back. Jem returns because the carriage was too fast and he collapses.

Cecily overhears Will's conversation with Jessamine and figures out that Mortmain is hiding in Cadair Idris, a mountain near where Will used to live in Wales, as she knew Mortmain and his personality.

Will asks Magnus Bane to help them find a cure for Jem, who is dying and running out of Yin Fen. Magnus asks Will if Jem knows that he was in love with Tessa, but he tells Magnus that he did not want to hurt Jem. But Jem overheard and gives Will his blessing to rescue Tessa, instead of him as he is too ill.

On the road to Wales, Will feels his parabatai rune bleeding, and realizes that Jem has died. He throws up and asks Woolsey Scott for advice, even though he got into a fight with some of his werewolf pack. Will cuts his hand with Jem's dagger and buries it in the ground by a tree.

He eventually finds Tessa in Mortmain's hideout, and rushes to her without thinking, causing him to be trapped inside the invisible barrier with Tessa. Believing that Jem was dead and thinking that they would both die, Will confessed everything to Tessa and told her how much he loved her, then they both had sexual intercourse during the night.

The next morning, Tessa wakes up and realizes that her clockwork angel is on his shoulder near his neck, and she pulls it away to find that it had left a mark in the shape of a small white star on Will, thus creating the mark of the Herondales that will be seen on the descendants in the future generations.

Eventually, Magnus Bane finds them and release them, bringing them to the others where a battle against hundreds of automatons was being held, with the Shadowhunters losing. Will joined the battle right away and, in the gist of the battle, finds out that one of the Silent Brothers, Brother Zachariah, was actually Jem.

Tessa then gets abducted again and Mortmain holds her, threatening Will and the other Shadowhunters with her. Tessa Changes into the angel trapped inside or necklace, Ithuriel, leaving Will in awe as he watched her blaze with fire. She kills Mortmain, but she Changes back into herself afterwards and falls to the ground unconscious, making Will very worried.

They had won the battle, but once Will returned to the Institute with the others, he enters a state of depression because he was worried about Tessa not regaining consciousness, and feeling lost without Jem. Much to his happiness, Tessa recovers and he is allowed a conversation with Jem, which makes him feel gloomy for weeks but gradually starts to recovery and adjusting to life without Jem.

Will and Tessa grow closer and he finally proposes to her, with Tessa saying yes. They scheduled to marry after Will turns 18, and he uses Henry's Portal to go back to Wales along with Cecily, Tessa, and Gabriel to visit his parents after so long. Will and Cecily have a happy reunion with their parents, and Will announces that Tessa is his fiancé. He has a wonderful time visiting his parents after five years.

Later life

Eventually, Will became the head of the Institute, a position given to him when Charlotte became the Consul. Eventually, he and Tessa married and, unexpectedly, even had two children: James and Lucie Herondale. After Will retired, he went on to write several Shadowhunter histories which became very well respected.

In 1937, Will, at 76 years old, died of old age. On his deathbed, he was visited by their friends and family, and, finally, Jem, as Brother Zachariah, who came and played him the violin. Jem bids him the Shadowhunter farewell, and Will then died surround by the two people he loved most in his life: Tessa and Jem.


You don't know anything about love, do you? They were both so alone, so long, This gives me peace.

–Will to Jessamine, City of Heavenly Fire

Over a century later, Jem and Tessa finally reunited. In 2009, the couple finally got married and tied the knot on Blackfriars Bridge. Will momentarily came back as a ghost to witness the brief ceremony.[2] He joined Jessamine, who also watched the wedding from afar and struck up a conversation with him. They discussed the odd mix of guests, which consisted of Magnus Bane and the descendants of the people they knew. Will also asserted that the thought of seeing Jem and Tessa happy and together again gives him immense pleasure and joy. Shortly after, Tessa and Jem, sensing his presence, approached him and bid him farewell before Will left.


He comes across as rude and arrogant, always utilizing his quick wit and sarcasm. He is aware of his good looks and uses it to get his way. This is in fact a front that he uses to keep everyone at arms-length. He is actually caring and would risk his life for the people he loves. He is also self-sacrificing.

Will reads extensively and has a perfect memory. He can find a quote for almost any situation and often makes his own (very bad, although sometimes purposefully) poetry.

Physical description

Will is described to have deep violet-blue eyes and black hair that falls in his eyes. He has elegant features—high cheekbones; long, thick lashes; full lips and an elegant throat. He is muscular and well built with broad shoulders. He is mentioned to be 6 feet tall and has callused hands from his years of training as a Shadowhunter. He is said to be extremely handsome by most people. He is said to look amazingly like his mother, Linette.

Skills and abilities

  • Nephilim Physiology: Being Nephilim, Will possesses a variety of enhanced physical and mental abilities granted to him by the blood of Raziel in his veins and also by the angelic Marks of the Gray Book. He also has power to perform tasks unique to their species, such as the ability to use and call on the power of angels for their seraph blades. This includes enhanced strength, agility, stamina, and coordination, which only improves over time and practice.
  • 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.
  • Marksmanship: Will is particularly adept at knife throwing.


  • Stele: Will uses a stele to draw runes on his skin for healing, etc.
  • Daggers and throwing knives
  • Seraph blades
  • Scythe


Tessa Gray

I felt I was dreaming and thinking and feeling with you. I dreamed what you dreamed, wanted what you wanted - and then I realized that I truly just wanted you. The girl behind the scrawled letters. I loved you from the moment I read them. I love you still.

–Will, Clockwork Prince

Will's relationship with Tessa is rocky. At first he treats her quite rudely. She is the only one, besides Jem, to make him laugh and he takes a liking to her straight away. During the fight where her brother is rescued, Will bites a vampire. Back at the Institute, he stays by himself in the attic drinking Holy Water to get the vampire blood out of his system. Tessa arrives to see how he's doing and he kisses her . At the end of the book, when he realizes that she's dead, he feels empty and as if he's lost everything. When he sees that she's actually alive, he is terrified that he showed too much emotion and that she could see that he cared for her so he insulted her on the roof when she told him that she would be staying at the Institute. He did this by insinuating that she was a prostitute, and a barren one at that. However, he has his reasons for doing this, which are revealed in Clockwork Prince.

In the second book, they don't talk but Will, slowly figuring that he's falling for her, goes to find an indifference potion for himself so he can't love her but can't attain one. When they find out Jessamine is a traitor, Tessa disguises herself as Jessamine at the Lightwoods' ball. They kiss on the balcony at the party, only to be interrupted by Magnus. After he finds out that there was no curse on him, he tells Tessa that he loves her but she tells him that Jem already proposed to her. Will tells Tessa to forget everything that he told her. When Jem announces the engagement at dinner, he makes a toast to him and Tessa and pretends to be happy for them.

In Clockwork Princess, Will saves Tessa from Cadair Idris and they consummate their relationship. They go on to have various children, among them James Herondale, their firstborn son. 

Jem Carstairs

Jem is my greatest sin.

–Will, Clockwork Prince

When Jem arrived at the Institute, he and Will immediately became friends after he shows that he is not intimidated by Will's moody attitude. It is said that Will spent a lot of time in Jem's room, ensuring that he wouldn't die because of his yin fen addiction. Will did not tell Jem of the curse put on him when he was 12, but has a close friendship with him, like brothers. When they were 14, Will asked Jem to be his parabatai. Jem refused but when Will put a bet on a sword fight, he agreed.

Before Tessa, Jem was the only person Will truly cared about and showed affection to. He thought that his curse wouldn't affect Jem, since he was already dying. With every passing day that he lived, Will's theory solidified. Will cares for Jem when he is weak and buys yin fen for him from the ifrit's den in Whitechapel because Jem can't face it.

When he found out that Jem loved Tessa and was engaged to her, he sacrificed his love for her and pretended to be happy. He even toasted them when Jem announced it at dinner.

Charlotte Branwell

Although Charlotte shows feelings of maternal love towards Will, he claims not to care, for reasons unknown until Clockwork Prince. It is revealed that he does care for her in a motherly way, but is just trying to protect her from the 'curse' that supposedly claimed his sister, Ella.

However, he still has not told her about the fake curse the demon put on him, which resulted in him pushing away those who loved or cared for him.



See more here


  1. 1.0 1.1 Clockwork Prince
  2. confirmed information; citation simply needed

Start a Discussion Discussions about Will Herondale

  • Jace's last name & Will vs. Jem

    25 messages
    • Definitely Herondale. He"s just got the Will characteristics. Sarcasm and pushing people away. Wessa :)
    • Herondale and Jem 
  • Wessa or Jessa?

    211 messages
    • Team Will!!!!! If I were Tessa I would choose will cause they have so many similarities. Will was a good guy and kept her away to save her(s...
    • if i were tessa i will chooe will. as i've read here, you are saying that you are in team jem because he's sweet, kind bla bla. well, i know th...

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