Aline was born an only child to Patrick and Jia Penhallow. With her parents being good friends with the Lightwoods, Aline became friends with the Lightwood children Alec and Isabelle when they were young, but they stopped seeing each other when she was around nine. She lived with her parents at the Beijing Institute for a few years before they moved to Alicante.
When Aline was thirteen, she and Jace—a boy taken in by the Lightwoods—explored the Brocelind Forest in Idris on horseback and got lost. While Aline had been terrified, Jace seemed fearless to her and, though it took hours, managed to get them out of the forest.
In September 2007, the Penhallows agreed to house the Lightwoods and Sebastian Verlac, her cousin, who were visiting Alicante for the signing of the Tenth Accords. When the younger Lightwoods arrived with the hurt vampire Simon Lewis, Aline, misinformed and ignorant about Downworlders, refused to shake his hand, wrongly pointing out that vampires had no souls. But she was curious, and her questions and statements for him came off as rude and judgmental.
At that point, Aline had already begun to question her own sexuality. In an attempt to figure it out, she flirted with Jace and later kissed him to see if "any guy was [her] type." While she was making out with Jace, they were interrupted by Clary, whom everyone believed then to be Jace's sister. The flirting no longer progressed past that.
On the evening of the Morgensterns' attack on Alicante, when the demon towers were deactivated and demons swarmed the city, most of the adult members of the Clave were meeting at the Gard and were thus not there to protect them. Several demons broke into Aline's house and one pulled her out onto the street. While outside, Aline was knocked to the ground by a Rahab demon which then attempted to rape her. Isabelle Lightwood arrived just in time and stopped the demon. Aline went after the fleeing demon and killed it before running off.
The same evening, Isabelle and Alec's little brother, Max, was killed by Sebastian. When they contacted Sebastian's aunt Élodie, the woman, in disbelief, sent her photos of Sebastian, making Aline realize that the Sebastian that had been staying with them was an imposter. Aline looked for the Lightwoods, who had distanced themselves from her family after the incident, in hopes of sharing the revelation to mend bridges between their families. Unable to find them, she proceeded to pass the message on through Clary. In addition to this conversation, she cleared the air with Clary about her intentions when she kissed Jace.
In preparation for the impending battle with Valentine Morgenstern's demons, the Penhallows' home was used as a refuge for at least twelve children, and Aline and a few other teenagers looked after them.
After the battle and war was won, and the subsequent defeat and death of Valentine and Sebastian, Aline prepared for the victory party with Isabelle and Clary, during which Clary was finally able to be open with them about her feelings for Jace. At the party, she conversed with the werewolf Maia Roberts.
Rome and Helen
After the war, her mother was appointed as the new Consul.
Shortly after, Aline decided that she needed a break and went to Rome where she came across Alec on his vacation. Aline decided to assist Alec in his quest to prove Magnus's innocence and disprove any recent connection with the cult Crimson Hand. Aline accompanied him to the Rome Institute where they were immediately intercepted by Helen Blackthorn, a Shadowhunter on her travel year who ended up investigating the cult and, by association, Magnus and Alec. Aline tried to stand up for the pair, getting into at least two arguments with the girl within minutes of meeting her.
Helen and Alec, both determined to find the truth, decided to join forces in their investigation and, despite their initial clash, Helen looped Aline with them, replacing her former companion, Leon Verlac. From information Alec had told her earlier, Aline learned that Helen was interested in girls, having seen her making out with one at a party in Venice. Aline felt an almost immediate attraction for her, which Alec misunderstood as judgment and mistrust of the girl for her sexuality.
The three fell into a trap set by the cult's true leader, Shinyun Jung, and got stuck battling Cherufe demons, during which Helen, suddenly remorseful, apologized to them for putting them at risk because she selfishly wanted to prove herself to the Clave. Both Aline and Alec reassured Helen that there was nothing wrong with having Downworlder blood, Aline herself recognizing the wrong in how she used to think of them.
Upon arriving at the cult's true meeting place, they found Rahab demons guarding the area, infuriating Aline, who still had some trauma associated with the demon from the war. Helen held her hand to comfort her, and the trio easily dispatched the demon.
In the end, the group and Magnus managed to stop their attempts in summoning a Greater Demon, proving Magnus's innocence along the way. After helping Helen and the reinforcements perform a sweep of the area, the group agreed to not include Magnus's suspected affiliation with the group in their reports and to keep the details of their trip to themselves, a secret even from their friends and families.
|“||Yes. Yes, yes, yes, a real date. You are the most beautiful person I've ever seen, Helen Blackthorn. And you fight like poetry. When you talked about your family, you made me want to cry. So let's get coffee, or dinner, or we could go on a weekend trip to Florence. Wait, no, or I could say something more suave and sophisticated than that. I'll read some romantic books and learn to phrase things better. I'm so sorry.||”|
– Aline to Helen, Red Scrolls of Magic
Aline then asked Helen out on a date. As Aline blabbered on about what she liked about Helen and her plan for their lunch date, an endeared Helen kissed her. Helen agreed to lunch with her, stating that further dates would have to be put on hold because Helen was due to return to Prague shortly after. By the time Alec and Magnus were leaving for their next destination, however, Helen had decided to defer her traveling to stay with Aline, while Aline offered to join her in her travels instead.
The two eventually returned to their homes and began dating rather seriously, until they got to the point where they exchanged family rings. Aline soon met Helen's six siblings, who liked her and saw her as a calming presence for Helen. Aline felt that her parents were trying to ignore their relationship, and while her father was indeed disappointed, Jia was more concerned with the fact that Helen was part-faerie and feared that she would break her heart.
She and Helen attended the Council meeting in New York in November later that year, convened to discuss what should be done with Jace, who had gone missing with Sebastian—Valentine's son who'd impersonated her cousin who has since adopted the name as his own. After the meeting, Isabelle approached them and introduced Helen to Clary. When Alec arrived, she thanked him for giving her the bravery to come out to her parents.
While meeting with Maryse at the New York Institute one day, Isabelle and Alec arrived and told them that they'd been conducting their own unsanctioned search for Jace. She understood and promised not to report them to her mother. In gratitude for Isabelle saving her months before in Alicante, and in retaliation for Sebastian killing her real cousin, she even offered to help them. She and Helen joined in the battle against Sebastian and his army at the Burren. She continued to cover for them by telling her mother that there had been no time to notify the Clave and that they needed to act as soon as they got the intel on Sebastian.
Aline had been in Idris with Helen when the Blackthorns were attacked at the Los Angeles Institute. After Helen's younger siblings, except for Mark, and Emma Carstairs escaped through Portal, they were brought to the the Consul's residence and allowed to stay there throughout their stay in Idris.
Aline was later among the people who witnessed a drunken Simon professing his love for Isabelle before being interrupted by Robert Lightwood. She was also at the Council meeting when the Endarkened Matthias Gonzales threatened her mother's life and passed on messages from Sebastian. Helen held her back, preventing her from hastily rushing to them, and was forced to watch as the Endarkened held a knife against Jia's throat and began to cut. When Jia was freed when Alec disarmed Matthias, Aline rushed over to hold her mother.
Before the war's culminating battle, Aline stayed in the Gard with her family. After the city walls were destroyed and their enemies entered the city, Aline went down and participated in the fight against Sebastian's army of Endarkened Shadowhunters and faeries. She fought in the Angel Square, protecting her mother and the Accords Hall where the children and the elderly were hiding. Helen tried to get to her but was unable to in the chaos. After the Hall's defenses were breached, Aline and Helen rushed in to get to the children as soon as they were able. The Endarkened army was eventually destroyed upon Sebastian's death, ending the war.
At the Council meeting after, majority of the Clave voted to "assign" Helen to Wrangel Island to study the wards, basically exiling her. Jia was forced to recuse herself from the decision and was unable to refuse it. Aline promised to follow Helen later that year.
Aline stayed true to her word and eventually followed Helen to Wrangel Island. Eventually, Helen proposed to her, and she accepted. Though Aline's mother was recused from any decision-making related to Helen because of her apparent bias, Helen struck a deal with the Clave—she would agree to go to the Shadowhunter Academy to tell the students the story of her parents and be paraded around as an example of the Clave's distrust of faeries, in exchange for a temporary pardon from her exile for a day and a night so they could get married in Idris with their family and friends present.
On October 1, 2009, Aline and Helen got married in Idris. Jia stood as Aline's suggenes for the wedding. Aline and Helen spent their wedding party surrounded by and talking with Helen's younger siblings.
For the following years, she and Helen spoke to Helen's siblings and Emma every week. Both Julian and Helen weren't completely honest with each other during these calls, not wanting either to worry about each other.
Making the most out of the situation, Aline picked up ice sculpting as a new hobby, excelling at the detail-oriented work and the use of a variety of weapons for carving. Her best-known piece was her rendering of Jonathan Shadowhunter, carved entirely with seraph blades, but her favorite subject was her wife, Helen.
Move to LA
In 2012, Helen and Aline detected when the former High Warlock of L.A. Malcolm Fade broke the wards of the L.A. Institute and immediately reported it to Jia. Around this time, they also saw the earliest signs of the Shadowhunter blight on the maps of Alicante, in the area of the Brocelind Forest, and informed Jia about it.
Knowing what they knew, Jia and Diana Wrayburn plotted to have Helen and Aline present at the Council meeting that would discuss the blight and potentially present themselves as the new heads of the Los Angeles Institute, a position that was recently vacated with the death of Helen's uncle. With Diana's help, Aline and Helen were rushed to Idris for the meeting, where one of Helen's younger sisters, Livvy, was killed.
On the day of Livvy's funeral, Jia had Aline and the rest of the L.A. Institute residents, excluding Julian and Emma, immediately Portaled back to Los Angeles so that Horace Dearborn won't have an opportunity to have them returned to Wrangel Island. Upon arriving at the Institute, she and Helen were delegated as the interim heads of the Institute and immediately got to work, all the while Aline helped Helen adjust to being around the children again.
Aline was incredibly worried when they found out that Emma and Julian were in Faerie on a suicide mission, and more so when their rescue team returned without them, only to reappear shortly after wounded and dressed oddly and bearing a whole Mortal Sword, which had been broken days before during the Council meeting. Julian and Emma told them about Thule and about the cure for the warlock illness being water from Lake Lyn. Aline had access to the schedule of patrols in Idris and helped Jace and Clary prepare to gather water, though this was ultimately not carried out as planned when an announcement from the Clave claimed that Jace and Clary were dead. She then became distressed upon learning that her mother was imprisoned in the Gard.
She was surprised and impressed when Julian was able to invite so many Shadowhunters and Downworlders to his war council. Aline supported him and agreed to his plans, Portaling to the deserted Brocelind Forest on the day of the Cohort's parley with the Unseelie Court. Aline stayed behind with the group that expected to be ambushed by Dearborn's followers and when their trap succeeded, they all followed Julian and the others to the Imperishable Fields with their attackers, showing their spectators that Dearborn wanted to have Jace and Clary killed.
Aline was reunited with Jia, who was freed from prison by Dru, on the battlefield. Later, she witnessed Jules and Emma's transformation into giants—true Nephilim who had little control over their actions and were dying of heavenly fire. She didn't try to stop Helen when she wanted to try to talk the pair down with her family and later even joined them, imploring them to return and continue to be part of the family she and her wife wanted, contributing to the loving words of their friends and family that managed to bring the two back to their human forms.
Aline was among those who were surprised by Jia's announcement at a Council meeting that she was stepping down as Consul. She then supported and voted for Alec. The vote was met with opposition from the Cohort, and Alec voluntarily accepted the exile of the Clave if it meant being free from the Cohort's plots. Soon after, she and Helen were officially appointed heads of the L.A. Institute.
At Magnus and Alec's wedding, Aline told Helen of her desire to have a child, which Helen shared albeit with some dread. Aline suggested the name Eunice, after her aunt, if they were to have a daughter, which Helen tried to refuse.
Aline has a bit of an abrasive personality due to the fact that she always speaks her mind and is fiercely loyal. She is very quick to go on the defensive when it comes to those she loves. Overall she has quite a temper and is one to get physical to express her frustration.
Though despite her typically immediate responses, Aline truly listens to people when they confide in her, never dismissive of their feelings, and considers what they say from every angle before responding.
Aline is half-Asian. She has curved cheekbones, dark brown, round, almond-shaped eyes, a delicate, pointed chin, straight, black hair, and a small stature.
She is said to greatly resemble her mother, Jia, and is said to be pretty and striking.
- Main article: Relationships/Aline and Helen
Jia Penhallow is Aline's mother. Both love each other dearly and look out for each other. When Aline came out to her and started dating Helen, Jia was accepting but was worried about Aline getting her heart broken. Jia felt bad for having to send Helen away to Wrangel Island because she knew how much this would affect her.
Patrick Penhallow is Aline's father. When Aline came out to him, Patrick was disappointed at first, for the selfish reason that she could no longer continue his line of the Penhallows.
Aline is very close to Helen's siblings, as well as their close family friend, Emma Carstairs, and cares deeply about them. Meanwhile, the children love Aline and appreciate her love for their sister. They saw her as a calming presence who kept Helen from fretting. In Julian's tarot cards, Aline was depicted as "the devoted".
Aline is a childhood and family friend of the Lightwoods, specifically Alec, Isabelle, and even the adopted Jace. Though they do not see each other often, they are considerably good friends and support one another.
Clary Fairchild is one of Aline's friends. They met shortly before the war, and though they got off on the wrong foot, they eventually developed a good understanding of one another and became allies and friends.
- Son of the Dawn (mentioned only)
- City of Glass (first appearance)
- The Red Scrolls of Magic
- City of Lost Souls
- City of Heavenly Fire
- Pale Kings and Princes (mentioned only)
- Bitter of Tongue
- The Fiery Trial (mentioned only)
- Angels Twice Descending (mentioned only)
- The Land I Lost (mentioned only)
- Lady Midnight (mentioned only)
- Lord of Shadows
- Queen of Air and Darkness
- The Lost World
- See more here
- Her favorite weapons are blades.
- The first love note Aline wrote for Helen was a quote from Oscar Wilde: "The world is changed because you are made of ivory and gold. The curves of your lips rewrite history."
- Though she does not remember, her soul attended Tessa Gray and Jem Carstairs's dream wedding along with Helen and the younger Blackthorns.
- "They keep their maiden/family names and take each other's last names as middle ones." Cassandra Clare on Twitter
- Queen of Air and Darkness
- City of Glass
- City of Lost Souls
- The Red Scrolls of Magic
- City of Heavenly Fire
- Pale Kings and Princes
- Bitter of Tongue
- Lady Midnight
- An Illustrated History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of Downworld
- Lord of Shadows
- In Dreams Begin, a The Lost Book of the White extra