It’s really weird when someone tells you your mannerisms resemble an ancestor you’ve never met before. My dad tells me that certain things I do unconsciously (for e.g. shaking water off my hands the minute I wash, or the way I sit perched with my legs on the chair, even the way I spit are the same habits of his dad). I never got the chance to meet my dad’s dad because he passed away before I was born. A lot of the things I do (which my dad and I are still discovering) have been passed down through his line. I have always pondered over the mystery behind this phenomenon. It’s surreal discovering your ancestors within yourself through another person’s eyes. It often leads you to questions about yourself, who you really are and how being so different from a person you’ve never met, there are threads that connect you. Threads you will one day pass on to your children.
Which brings me to Will and Jace Herondale. Jace from very early on in the Mortal Instrument series faces an identity crisis and when we finally discover that his line comes from the Herondale clan (making Will his ancestor) we heave a sigh of relief. Off-course with Jace it’s still not that simple. He still does not consider himself a Herondale and who can really blame him? We’re still waiting for the final book to see which surname he will take on when he marries Clary. Coz if he decides to go all Lightwood on us, he will be ending the Herondale line with that declaration.
I’m still processing the fact that Will is Jace’s great great great something……..I sometimes still picture Will as Jace’s father. A lot of fans disagree that Will and Jace are similar on any aspect but when I look at them I see a world of similarities. Interestingly Cassandra Clare highlights these shared similarities, not through external appearances (Jace and Will ooze equal amounts of sexiness but bear zilch resemblance to each other) but through mannerisms. I shall be using quotes from the Infernal Devices and the Mortal Instrument series to highlight certain traits that have been passed down the line from Will to Jace.
1. Touched by Angel-Star birthmark
The birthmark which the Clockwork Angel gives Will passes down through his line to Jace and the ones before him (very handy when you’re trying to identify and pick a Herondale boy out)
(Tessa’s perspective on Will)
“She had fallen asleep with her head on his arm, the clockwork angel, still around her throat, resting against his shoulder, just to the left of his collarbone. As she moved away, the clockwork angel slipped free and she saw to her surprise that where it had lain against his skin it had left a mark behind, no bigger than a shilling, in the shape of a pale white star.”
(Amatis to Jace)
“It’s not a scar. It’s a birthmark, or sorts, and a Herondale family secret. The story Stephen told me was that years ago, a Herondale ancestor encountered an angel. The angel touched him on the shoulder, and the touch left a mark like a star. It is the mark of one who has had contact with an angel. The mark was passed on through his blood: all of his descendants have it as well.”
2. Hates Ducks
The Herondale boys hate ducks courtesy of a bad encounter Will had with a duck when he was a kid. You can read about it here http://www.cassandraclare.com/my-writing/excerpts-extras/ducks/
(Jem to Will)
“Remember when you tried to convince me to feed a poultry pie to the mallards in the park to see if you could breed a race of cannibal ducks?”
“They ate it too,” Will reminisced. “Bloodthirsty little beasts. Never trust a duck.”
(Clary to Jace)
“She turned and looked at him. “Ducks?” she said again. A smile tugged the edge of his mouth. “I hate ducks. Don’t know why. I just always have.”
- 3. Extremely egotistical and arrogant
The aura of mystery the Herondale boys carry matched with their conceited airs make them appealing, desirable and admittedly hot as hell. They make you believe that they think the world revolves around them but this is a cover. They are extremely loyal, sensitive and protective with the ones they love even if their sarcasm and narcissistic attitudes hide it well.
(Will to Tessa)
“Never mind that,” said Will. “I’m boasting of my investigative skills, and I would prefer to do it without interruption. Where was I?”
(Jace, Simon & Kyle in conversation)
“They think they’re better than everyone else.”
“No,” said Jace. “I think I’m better than everyone else. An opinion that has been backed up with ample evidence.”
Kyle looked at Simon. “Does he always talk like this?”
- 4. Hide feelings behind Humour
The Herondale boys use humour and sarcasm to hide the way they are feeling. Jace at one point tells Clary “My rapier wit hides my inner pain”. They are extremely gifted at keeping straight poker-faces and they bestow cynicism with such ease that it makes them seem removed and unfeeling which is far from the truth. They bring in their bitter sense of humour while battling demons, their greatest defense mechanism because it allows them to keep their cool in battle and anger the demons leading them to commit folly.
(Will explaining his bitter sense of humour to Magnus Bane)
‘They say it runs in our blood, that sort of bitter humour,’ said Will, looking at the flames. ‘Ella had it. So did Cecily. I never thought I did until I found I needed it. I have learned good lessons in how to be hateful over all these years.’
(Tessa explaining Will’s humour to Will from her perspective)
“You behave as if everything is funny to you, but you never laugh. Sometimes you smile when you think no one is paying attention.”
(Will using humour while fighting)
“The demon bared its greenish fangs. “This is my true form. An ugly surprise for you, I suppose.”
“I daresay it’s an improvement,” said Will. “You weren’t much to look at before, and at least the horns are dramatic.”
(Jace using humour to hide his feelings with Clary)
“Out of the corner of her eye she thought she saw Jace shoot her a look of white rage – but when she glanced at him, he looked as he always did: easy, confident, slightly bored.
“In future, Clarissa,” he said, “it might be wise to mention that you already have a man in your bed, to avoid such tedious situations.”
“You invited him into bed?” Simon demanded, looking shaken.
“Ridiculous, isn’t it?” said Jace. “We would never have all fit.”
(Jace from Clary’s perspective)
“There was something about Jace, though, that made her want to push him, crack that shell of cynicism and make him admit he believed something, felt something, cared about anything at all.”
(Jace using humour while fighting)
“By the Angel,” Jace said, looking the demon up and down. “I knew Greater Demons were meant to be ugly, but no one ever warned me about the smell.” Abbadon opened its mouth and hissed. Inside its mouth were two rows of jagged glass-sharp teeth.
“I’m not sure about this wind and howling darkness business,” Jace went on, “smells more like landfill to me. You sure you’re not from Staten Island?”
5. One woman-kind of guy
The Herondale Boys are a –fall in love with one girl for the rest of their life-kind of guys-This aspect makes all the ladies melt. When the Herondale boys fall in love, they fall in love only once (except Stephen Herondale but he was evil and twisted so he doesn’t count) and give their whole heart to that one woman. How can anyone not want a guy like that?
(Will to Tessa)
“Jem told me what Ragnor Fell said about my father,” Will said. “That for my father, there was only ever one woman he loved, and it was her for him, or nothing. You are that for me. I love you, and I will only ever love you until I die —”
(Jace to Clary)
“There is no pretending,” Jace said with absolute clarity. “I love you, and I will love you until I die and if there’s a life after that, I’ll love you then.”
6. Their love for books makes them “classic” (and swoon-worthy to booklovers worldwide)
This one is for the book lovers which is why I saved the best for last. The Herondale boys are avid book readers and keep quoting poetry. Will’s love for the classics is particularly apparent when he remarks “By the Angel, it just crushed Sophocles, Has no one respect for the classics these days?”
Will and Jace can be found quoting literary passages to fit different occasions, mostly when they try to romance Tessa and Clary. Although Jace attributes his reading habits to Valentine who brought him up, we can assume his recall, love for books and ability to quote comes from Will’s line.
(Will quoting “Tale of Two Cities” to Tessa)
“If it had been possible. . . that you could have returned the love of the man you see before yourself- flung away, wasted, drunken, poor creature of misuse as you know him to be- he would have been conscious this day and hour, in spite of his happiness, that he would bring you to misery, bring you to sorrow and repentance, blight you, disgrace you, pull you down with him-“
(Jace quoting “Paradiso” to Clary)
“It’s a bit of the very last verse from Paradiso – Dante’s Paradise. ‘My will and my desire were turned by love, the love that moves the sun and the other stars.’ Dante was trying to explain faith, I think, as an overpowering love, and maybe it’s blasphemous, but that’s how I think of the way that I love you. You came into my life and suddenly I had one truth to hold on to- that I loved you, and you loved me.”
I end on this note that every person will be his own true self in the end. The traits that pass on to you from your ancestors do not define you. They enhance the awesome person you already are and keep you connected to your family line through time immemorial. You have no control over this phenomenon anyways.
So continue being yourself (and a little like your ancestors before you) and remember “Never trust a duck”