EXCLUSIVE: ‘City of Heavenly Fire’ London event with Cassandra Clare! [SPOILERS]

As the Shadowhunters and Downworlders of London gathered outside the Prince Charles cinema even the heavens opening couldn’t deter their spirits. There was a hush and excitement brewing about what exclusives we would hear about and what people were going to say to Cassandra and Sarah once they got to stage and handed over their books to be signed! The event hosted by Walker Books UK was truly lovely and we all learnt a lot more about our favourite characters, worlds and upcoming series by Cassie! If you choose to read on please note, there WILL BE SPOILERS! So beware!


Q & A with Cassandra Clare & Sarah Rees Brennan

Q: You said that Emma (Carstairs) was the best Shadowhunter since Jace, what does that mean exactly? Does Jace somehow become a worse Shadowhunter?

A: I had written that Emma looked up to Jace and wanted to be like him and that she wanted to be the pre-emptive Shadowhunter of her generation. Like Jace had been the pre-emptive Shadowhunter of his generation and probably still is. All it means is that she looks up to him and she wants to be the toughest, the bravest and she wants to kill the most demons. It was never meant to be a dark portrayal of Jace’s future and he doesn’t actually get any worse at Shadowhunting.

Q: In the end of the City of Heavenly Fire Magnus writes or gives Alec a book with all his bits and bobs in, I was wondering if that was any link to The Bane Chronicles?

A: Well Magnus says, “This is the story of my life” and it is supposed to be The Bane Chronicles, so it’s a book within a book. It still has the same meaning, that he has finally decided that Alec should know the whole story of his life and you know the important things that happened to him.

Q: Was City of Heavenly Fire going to be that ending? Or did you plan for an alternative ending?

A: No, it was definitely always going to be that ending, I had planned for that from the very beginning, I won’t say as far back as City of Bones because when I wrote City of Bones I thought I was writing a trilogy and a series of spin offs and it turned into a trilogy and a second half of a trilogy. But from the minute that I wrote out what was going to happen in City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls that was what was going to happen, I don’t think there were any major deviations.


Q: When you decide that there are characters that are going to die, how do you decide what character you want to kill off? Like is there a plan from the beginning? Or as their character storyline progresses?

A: I usually have a plan for them from the beginning, sometimes there death just has to serve a significent plot function, it has to push the narrative ahead, it has to do something for the other characters. It has to mean something for the overall story so I have to think about it, like I always knew Max was going to die. Poor little Max, he was literally brought or invented to die, thought he was going to die in City of Ashes but pushed it back to City of Glass because I did like him. But I knew he was going to have to die, it was going to have to shake up the Lightwood family, I knew it was going to have to kind of show the cost of what war is, show how terrible Valentine and Sebastian were, that they could do something like this to a child who wasn’t a part of the war. I felt that the function of his death was always there, it was a part of his character. Usually when a character has an arc, you know where the arc is going and some characters have to die.

Q: As a massive fan I was just wondering when filming is going to start for City of Ashes? Do you know if Jamie will still be playing Jace?

A: I don’t know, I would think so, I would personally be surprised if they didn’t have him. They had to completely redo the entire screenplay, which takes a long time but believe me you wanted that screenplay redone! I will tell you one thing that is, Clary split into 2 people that both looked like her and had a shovel fight with one another. (Sarah Brennan) Oh and of course Magnus running for mayor of New York. (Cassie) I thought you liked when Jace rode the mermaid! The cast was never the issue, the script was the issue but I have been told that I would hear from them in the next couple of weeks! I mean he (Magnus) would make a great mayor in principle but a race of peoples entire reason for being is to hide themselves from Mundanes, probably running for mayor isn’t a good idea.

Q: There were a lot of parallels throughout The Mortal Instrument series and some European history, I was just wondering if that was intended or it just happened?

A: It was definitely intentional and you’re probably talking about the Treaty of Versailles, right? In the book they talk about it as the piece of Carthage which was actually often the way the Treaty of Versailles was described at the time as a Carthaginian piece actually. A piece where the defeated party is punished so severely, that it actually winds up causing more war. It was meant to be definitely specifically meant to parallel that because in history that has always been a part of the end.

Q: Also is it always necessary to bring protection when you enter the Demon realms.

A: (Laughs) You don’t know what you’re gonna find in the Demon realms, and you really don’t wanna get Demon Pox! So you gotta be safe!


Q: A lot of people like Sebastian and some don’t, what is your opinion?

A: A lot of people like him and a lot don’t, which makes sense because he is a villain! He does a lot of very very bad things, I mean my opinion about Sebastian, it’s not that I like this character and I don’t like this character, it’s do I find this character interesting? Do I find them fascinating enough to write about them for a long time to explore what makes them tick? I mean Sebastian is really interesting because he’s always been the shadow side of Jace, the dark suggestion of what Jace could have been if Valentine hadn’t sent him away to the Lightwoods when he was ten and changed his whole life. Sebastian on top of having Demon blood that is no good, has also just been taught bad things his whole life and he clearly knows there’s something wrong with him but has no idea how to fix it and so in his loneliness and his desire to be better, he lashes out and tries to attach himself to people who he thinks will make him better and more human and more like them. There’s something tragic in his reasoning but it’s also terrible, it’s effect on people. He possesses Jace and assaults Clary and does lots of terrible things all in the name of thinking that maybe this will make this person love me.

Q: Was Jem always going to be turned into a Silent Brother?

A: Yes! I was always going to turn Jem into a Silent Brother, I always knew how the Clockwork series was going to end. That’s why we get little of his perspective in the book because I wanted it to work in the 3rd book (Clockwork Princess) that he has this secret. And when he starts telling things from his perspective, and disappears off the page it’s not strange or suspicious that he’s dead. Actually the original ending was even more tragic!

Surviving characters from Mortal Instruments will appear in The Dark Artifices they’ll be in their twenties cause TDA is set about five or 6 years later. We get to see people getting married, having kids, getting jobs. – Cassandra Clare

Q: Will the characters from The Mortal Instruments be in other books?

A: Certainly the surviving characters from Mortal Instruments will appear in The Dark Artifices so they’ll be in their twenties cause TDA is set about five or 6 years later. We get to see people getting married, having kids, getting jobs, while I’m sad to say goodbye to their teenage selves I’m excited to interact with their adult selves.

Q: If you could bring any character, from any of the books to life who would it be?

A: To hang out with? Probably Magnus, he’d be so fun to hang out with! I would want to hear all of his stories about Lightwood’s in the past, hot herondale’s in the past, you know romances he had, fashion that he enjoyed, I mean Magnus would just be an awesome person to go to the movies with!

Q: You said you were going to write short stories about Simon, are they going to be like The Bane chronicles?

A: They’re going to be like The Bane Chronicles, same authors, so we really missed writing the Bane chronicles and we loved it and we actually had an idea to do a second round of them. But it’s not like The Bane Chronicles in that it focuses solely on Simon because Simon hasn’t lived for four hundred years, he’s got less vast historical experiences. He would definitely be the main character narrator but then it also delves into Shadowhunter history, it involves stories about Will and Tessa, it involves stories about their kids, love stories about Emma and Julian, Jace and Clary. It involves a story about a certain characters stag night and Simon is invited, Simon’s like the organiser, and it’s like the worst stag party ever! (Sarah Rees Brennan) Whereas somebody (We think Sarah meant Izzy) organises the best hen night! (Cassie Clare) We’re very excited about doing it, it would be 10 stories, each stories online and then made into a book.


Q: I thought that at first Sebastian loved Clary as a sister but then in City of Lost Souls he assaults her, so I was wondering how he actually felt about Clary?

A: I don’t think he knows, it’s what Clary says in COHF that he wants to own her, she belongs to him like a monogrammed luggage that has his name stamped on it, I think she’s accurate about that. He says to her in COLS, it’s you and I, the last of the Morgernsterns, to him theres no one else like him in the world, he’s unique, he’s lonely because of it and he thinks that Clary is the closest thing that is going to come to having somebody who is like him. And so what he feels for her is this immense sense of possessiveness and for him that’s as close as he comes to loving anyone or anything.

Q: Are we going to hear anything more about the Iron sisters?

A: Well we do see a lot about the Silent Brothers because they are allowed to leave and see the Shadowhunters, they are the healers, the archivists. And the Iron Sisters stay in the bound citadel, they don’t come out, except they can have a visit from a Shadowhunter as long as it’s a woman, so you don’t see them much, because they don’t get out much. We’ll definitely see more of them, they’re more important in The Last Hours and also there is a part in COHF where Luke says his mother was an Iron Sister that’s important later.

I wrote City of Heavenly Fire on the set of City of Bones.- Cassandra Clare

Q: The Herondale’s have got a certain fear of ducks, where does that come from?

A: One day whilst I was doing research for the Infernal Devices I said to Sarah… Let us go to Hyde Park and experience some of what the Victorian’s experienced when they visited the beautiful parklands of London. So we went to Harrods on the way because I had the desire to buy the kind of food that Victorian people would have eaten, so we bought game pies, including a duck pie. And I said to Sarah let’s feed some pie to the ducks and Sarah said… (Sarah Rees Brennan) “That’s a great idea Cassie, oh ducks they’re so happy, oh they’re coming rather close, Cassie! We’re feeding the ducks, duck pie! We gotta stop!” (Cassandra Clare) And then Sarah said “It’s a moral problem, we are creating a race of evil cannibal ducks!” Their little eyes started to glow red, so I said to Sarah stop feeding them, we got rid of the pies and the ducks started advance upon us! And I said “I think the ducks are going to bite us.” (And they ran screaming from Hyde park) I wrote it into Clockwork Angel as a thing that Will and Jem as a thing that they did. And gave the Herondale’s an enternal fear of ducks!

Q: Why does Tessa not introduce herself as a Herondale but Tessa Grey?

A: COHF had to be readable by people who haven’t read The Infernal Devices, it also needs to not spoil TID, if Tessa had used her married name that would have wrecked The Infernal Devices for anyone who hadn’t read it yet. I also think that character wise, the end of the book had to be about the generation that you had been reading about. Jace, Clary, Simon, Isabelle and Alec and their adventures and look to the future as suppose to looking to the past.

Q: Why did you make Simon a vampire?

A: I wanted to show the reason why the clave and the council (jerks that they often are) and the Shadowhunter’s are so secretive about what they do, if you’re gonna write a closed fantasy world and you’re going to say this is a society that keeps the existence of supernatural creatures totally secret, why do they do it?Because it’s dangerous and take a character like Simon who is a Mundane and very shortly he gets turned into a vampire and dies. If it was easy to enter the world of werewolves, warlocks and fairies then there would be no reason for Shadowhunter’s to work the way they were. You had to see someone pay that price and that was the cost of Simon being brought into that world.


Which series of books by Cassandra Clare are you most looking forward to?

Mariyam is a 23 year old Londoner with a BSC in Sociology & Communications from Brunel university. When she isn’t adventuring across London with her trusted camera, or of course obsessing over any and every Cassandra Clare novel. She makes nerdy pieces of jewellery based on much loved books and movies for her Etsy shop, Oh Panda Eyes. The first book she was bewitched over being adapted into a film was Harry Potter, touring every inch of the UK for any house, hill and road that Harry Potter was filmed on, to camping out for the last ever premiere brought her closer to one of her favourite adaptations. Though she loves an array of genres, YA and the classics are her favourites. You can follow her on twitter: @LadyBird_1990