Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson recently joined Figment for a live chat, and if you missed their witty banter and excellent writing advice, check out the recap here. Both authors happen to be huge fans of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series — and they particularly love Magnus Bane, the unpredicatable and smokin’ warlock. Like a lot of us, Sarah and Maureen express their love through writing: they’re currently collaborating with Cassandra on a Magnus-centric series called The Bane Chronicles.
In the new anthology Shadowhunters and Downworlders — a Cassandra-edited book of essays on all things MagnusAlecJaceClarySimon — Sarah contributed a piece on the raunchier sides of the characters. Check out an excerpt of that essay below, and then check out Shadowhunters and Downworlders to find out what Kami Garcia, Holly Black, and others have to say about the Mortal Instruments.
What Does That Deviant Wench Think She’s Doing?
Or, Shadowhunters Gone Wild
The Dirty Side of Demon Hunting
“So, technically, even though Jace isn’t actually related to you, you have kissed your brother.”
—Simon Lewis in City of Glass, telling it like it is
I hope, with this saucy title, that everyone has flipped right from the table of contents to this essay. Hi, guys! Almost every other essay will be more coherent and intelligent than this one, but if you want dirty jokes, you have come to the right place. Welcome to Sarah’s School of Deviant Literary Analysis, where everyone gets to canoodle, including Magnus Bane’s magnificent self.
And since I invoked Magnus Bane’s name because I was shamelessly cribbing off a phrase he used in City of Bones (nobody canoodles in his bedroom but his magnificent self), let’s begin my list of shameless debauchees (otherwise known as Cassandra Clare’s cast of characters) with a look at Magnus: warlock, Downworlder, fashion icon. Though the angel Raziel says that Downworlders have souls, warlocks are looked down on by the Shadowhunters. They would probably be looked down on by most people: It’s a shady enough thing to have a parent from Hell and to know that you are born via a nonconsensual demonic arrangement. Magnus’ mother was violated, and his birth had far-reaching tragic consequences, resulting in the deaths of most of his human family; no wonder Magnus does not want to talk about his father. In lesser books, Magnus might be a villain: doomed and damned by descent, by his sexual preferences, by who he is.
But Magnus is one of the good guys. He is the only character to appear in all of the six Mortal Instruments and three Infernal Devices books. (I know they’re not all out yet, but trust me, he’s in ’em.) Indeed, in the Infernal Devices books, there is another demon’s child: Tessa, our adorable book-loving heroine, is a warlock too. The presence and prominence of Magnus Bane, a bisexual, flamboyant, part-Asian, part-demon character, in the Mortal Instruments novels says: You can be very different, genuinely and obviously different. You can love as you will and have whatever kind of fun you like. You can be banned from Peru because of that shocking thing you did involving a llama, and you still can be one of the kindest, most decent and dependable people in the world.
Magnus in the Infernal Devices helps one of our heroes, Will Herondale, for no reason other than that Will needs help. Magnus is shown as hurt by a lady he loves, and in the Mortal Instruments, he is shown as entering into a committed relationship with a dude he loves and who loves him back. Said dude, Alec, takes a while to love Magnus back, so almost from the start we see Magnus as pining and rejected as well as deeply snarky…we empathize with his longing just as we do with Clary and Jace’s longing for each other.
From Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader.
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