Benedict Lightwood was a Shadowhunter who was once well-respected by certain members of the Clave. A rich and powerful man, Benedict often antagonized Charlotte Branwell, particularly questioning her capability as a woman in running the London Institute. Because of his strange interest and relationship with demons, Benedict soon contracted demon pox and brought shame to his family name.
Benedict Lightwood was born to the wealthy Lightwood family. As a child, he was fascinated by reptiles, especially snakes. Whenever he fought with his father, which was frequent, he would go to the countryside to look for creatures, specifically reptiles such as frogs, turtles, and snakes.
When Benedict finally contracted the disease, he eventually passed it onto his wife, Barbara. Overcome with horror from what happened to her, Barbara killed herself. Benedict went on to cover up the true nature of her suicide, blaming his wife's grief on the suicide of his brother-in-law, Silas Pangborn.
Over the course of the next few years, Benedict continued to fraternize with demons. He raised his children with false morals, leading them to believe that almost all Nephilim were as liberated as him, though he sheltered his daughter from his misdeeds. When Granville Fairchild died, Benedict fully expected to be named head of the London Institute. However, when Consul Wayland named Charlotte Branwell head of the Institute, Benedict was furious, hindering Charlotte's plans whenever possible.
Claim on the Institute
When Axel Mortmain came into power in the Shadow World, Benedict agreed to become his spy and subordinate, desperate for the cure for demon pox that Mortmain offered him. For his compliance, Mortmain sent him medicine that would only slow the progress of the disease.
After Mortmain's attack on the Institute, Benedict, on his orders, took a stand to try and take the Institute from Charlotte. During a Council meeting, he formally challenged her for the position of head of the Institute, blackmailing others into standing by him. He communicated with Nate Gray to get information to Mortmain, and vice versa.
Mortmain gave him clockwork automatons to work at his home for his service. On July 27 the same year, Benedict threw a masquerade ball at his home in Chiswick to impress Mortmain and had several demons attending. Jessamine Lovelace was invited to go with Nate but was secretly replaced by the Changed Tessa Gray and a masked Will Herondale. Also in attendance was the demon Marbas and warlock Magnus Bane.
Eventually, Gideon found out about Benedict's dealings and plans with Mortmain, and that the latter had promised Benedict a cure for his demon pox. Gideon later passed this information onto Sophie Collins, who in turn told those at the London Institute.
When this information came to light, Benedict was subsequently threatened by Charlotte into dropping his claim on the Institute and showing support for her instead, in exchange for their silence regarding his dalliance with demons and the truth about Barbara's death. Faced with the possibility of the darkest of punishments (becoming Forsaken, his children stripped of their Marks, and their family name erased), Lightwood agreed. His eldest son, Gideon, immediately admitted to revealing his secrets and betraying him. He went with Charlotte to the London Institute, turning his back on his father, while Gabriel, still unable to fully understand the scope of his father's sins, stayed by his side.
Succumbing to astriola
At the next Council meeting exactly two weeks after the last they attended, Benedict begrudgingly told them some lies about his faith in Charlotte, yielding to Charlotte's threats. Mortmain immediately stopped sending him the drugs that delayed the effects of the demon pox. Moving to their Chiswick home, Benedict locked himself in his study, where, after two weeks, Benedict underwent the last stages of his disease and turned into a demonic worm.
No longer himself, the worm eventually left the study. It went on to kill the Lightwoods' servants and, later, Benedict's son-in-law, Rupert Blackthorn. As Gabriel managed to escape when he saw the mangled bodies of their servants, he went to the London Institute for help. Ultimately, it was Gabriel who sent the killing blow when he shot the worm with an arrow.
After his death, the Clave investigated Benedict for traces of his connection with Mortmain. The Lightwood's homes and possessions were confiscated, and in the process of clearing it out, they found about a dozen Cerberus demons on the properties he had placed for protection. The Consul later, Josiah Wayland, threatened his children into spying on Charlotte Branwell in exchange for the restoration and preservation of their family's honor, else he would strip them of their Marks, ending the Lightwood line and removing their names from the records of the Nephilim. Tatiana, in hopes of salvaging the family name, tried to lie about how her father and husband died; lies which were disproved by her brothers and the members of the London Institute.
Despite Tatiana's efforts and the Consul's threats, word of his actions eventually got out and his family became a laughing stock, their honor only brought back years later by his well-behaved sons.
Though he did not simply leave behind disgrace for his family. Over the years, Benedict had become obsessed with demons, not just socially but also experimentally. He hoped to create an obedient demon that, when slain, would give birth to new demons that held the same mandate and remembered all its progenitor knew. He managed to succeed in his efforts and left such a demon in the greenhouse with the task of protecting his family and property. It lived on the property for 25 years after his death, protecting his estate and his daughter's new family, before being slain and its successors defeated.
He also left behind journals and papers of his work with dark magic and his relations with demons in his home. His grandson Jesse Blackthorn had found some of his unpublished papers hidden in the chimney and spent some of his afterlife reading them. At one point his son Gideon had begged Tatiana to allow him to read them as well, hoping to find some curse that may have been passed on to his own son or some other explanation for why he and Tatiana both had sickly children.
Benedict was highly condescending and intimidating, even for a Shadowhunter, using his political influence, assertive presence, and, if necessary, physical strength to control others and gain his way through fear. Once called by Josiah Wayland a hypocrite and a blackguard, Benedict is, true enough; despite his attitude towards other Shadowhunters, Benedict is in fact corrupt and tainted himself, as he is quite libidinous and had a particular and deviant attraction to demon women.
Benedict was a gray-haired man with a bony face, sharp features and dark eyes.
- Vampires, Scones, and Edmund Herondale (mentioned only)
- Clockwork Angel (first appearance)
- Clockwork Prince
- Clockwork Princess (as a demonic worm)
- Clockwork Princess: Manga (as a demonic worm)
- Every Exquisite Thing (mentioned only)
- The Midnight Heir (mentioned only)
- Chain of Gold (mentioned only)
- Secrets of Blackthorn Hall (mentioned only)
- An Illustrated History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of Downworld
- Clockwork Prince
- "Was lilith the demon with benedict Lightwood in the mask party?" "yep, good catch" Cassandra Clare on Twitter
- "It was indeed Lilith." Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- "Why yes, that is Lilith!" Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- Clockwork Princess
- Chain of Gold
- The Midnight Heir
- A Lightwood Christmas Carol, a Chain of Gold extra