Crush-Worthy Wednesday: Alec Lightwood

Mallory Dobry ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Crush-Worthy Wednesday is a bi-weekly series in which Emertainment contributors discuss their most favorite, most inspiring, and totally crush-worthy fictional characters.

Cassandra Clare’s bestselling The Mortal Instruments series features a wide cast of characters, all with very varying personalities and traits, and each of them brings something unique to the story. Clare’s novels tell the story of Clary Fray, a young girl who realizes she is part of a fierce race of angel blooded warriors called Shadowhunters.

Spanning six books, readers get the chance to know and really relate to Clare’s characters, like understanding Clary’s deep connection to her lifelong best friend, Simon, or struggling with your identity like Jace.

Alec Lightwood as played by Kevin Zegers in the film adaptation of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Source: Screen Gems

However, one of the characters who develops and grows the much over the course of the series is Alec Lightwood. Alec is often a secondary character in the books, typically playing as a foil to his adopted brother Jace, and his biological sister Isabelle. He sometimes comes across hostile and antisocial, and like the little black raincloud of the group. The root cause of such is the internal battle he has with himself that plays out over the course of the series.

Early on, it’s revealed that Alec has romantic feelings for Jace, and that the Shadowhunter community does not approve of same-sex relationships. Because of this, Alec remains quiet about his sexuality, and pretends that a huge part of his identity just doesn’t exist. Due to his inability to express his sexuality and be himself, Alec easily confuses his feelings and misplaces his affection, particularly toward Jace, and acts out when he sees Jace falling for someone else.

Alec at the start of the series was scared of being himself, often anxious of how he’d be received, and more of a defender in battle, having never killed a demon before. He was a meek boy who considered himself the “dark star” to Jace’s “supernova”, letting Jace bask in attention, while Alec was just honored to be his friend.

But through the course of the novels, Alec finds love with flamboyant warlock Magnus Bane, and that romance suffers many ups and downs. It also harps on Alec’s insecurities of being forgotten or being meaningless, and his fear of being abandoned. And while his romance arc does help him to come forward with his sexuality, and to become a braver warrior in battle, the darker and more upsetting parts of his arch showcase who he has grown into.

By the end of the series, Alec Lightwood is no longer overshadowed by his dramatic and glamorous sister, or by rebellious and moody Jace. Alec is a hero, who acts with not only smarts, but with kindness and power, and instead of hesitating and never killing demons, he’s the first to draw his bow to protect his friends and family. He’s also able to stand on his own two feet and say that he’s capable of being a strong person on his own, without Jace and without a boyfriend. And through that, he finally reconciles with his estranged father, and the two can come to a mutual understanding.

Sometimes in literature, while readers sometimes focus so heavily on the main characters and the growth they experience in a series, sometimes, it’s not the main characters that develop the most. Sometimes it’s the characters who fall to the back, and go unnoticed. In an instance such as Alec Lightwood, it’s hard to miss how the usual dark star becomes a supernova of his own, and one of the most unlikely heroes of the story.

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