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SPOILER WARNING: Plot details for Chain of Gold follow. Caution is advised!

If I become Consul, I could do so much good for the Clave, as well as for you. My mother is too sentimental, but I can make our people strong again. It is what I have wanted all my life.

–Charles to Alastair Carstairs, Chain of Gold

Charles Fairchild is the firstborn child of Charlotte and Henry Branwell, and the older brother of Matthew Fairchild.



Charlotte Branwell discovered her pregnancy with Charles in late August of 1878. During this time the Branwells were being investigated for the problems at the London Institute due to the Magister. When Charlotte revealed that she was indeed pregnant, Charles's father, Henry, and the rest of the London Institute were overjoyed.[3]

For months, Charlotte and Henry bickered over a name. Henry wanted the child named Buford, an apparently traditional Yorkshire name as well as his father's, but Charlotte found the name horrible. Finally, after Charlotte became the Consul, they settled on Charles Fairchild. However, Henry still insisted on Buford and the couple settled with at least making it his middle name. He was given his mother's maiden name, Fairchild, as she was the Consul. For that Christmas, his mother's good friend Sophie Collins knitted him a baby blanket with the initials CF in the corner as a present.[2]

For a few years, Charles and his family lived in the London Institute before Charlotte felt ready to move their family to Idris, where she needed to accomplish her duties as Consul.


At one point in his youth, Charles took an interest in Charlotte's work,[1] eventually developing aspirations to one day become Consul like her. Charles grew to become a serious-minded but reliable man, who would sometimes point out in exasperation that Matthew, already at fifteen years, should finally grow up. Their family moved back to London sometime prior to 1901.

In 1901, Charles was told that Charlotte was pregnant with a third child, making him occasionally snap at Matthew when he bothered her. Matthew misunderstood the common, seemingly distracted behavior from the three and thought that their parents were separating. When Charlotte suddenly collapsed one morning during breakfast, Charles panicked and thought that it was due to exhaustion from Portaling back and forth between London and Idris. He and Cook then left to call for a Silent Brother. Charlotte, Henry, and Matthew later learned that she had suffered a miscarriage.[1]

Weeks after the incident, Charles was sent off to Paris to become the interim head of the Paris Institute for at least a year. Around that time, Maurice Bridgestock and his wife tried to set him up with their daughter, Ariadne. Charles entertained the idea and told Ariadne of his intent to spend time with her upon his return.[4]

During his time as the head of the Paris Institute, Charles fell in love with Alastair Carstairs, who reciprocated his feelings. Not wanting to jeopardize his dream to become Consul, Charles and Alastair agreed to keep their relationship secret. Charles promised that his engagement to Ariadne would be temporary, but he had planned to follow through with the wedding, while still remaining to keep his relationship with Alastair on the side.

A couple years later, during a crisis in London that resulted in a lock-down on the city, Charles was made acting Consul, as his mother was stuck in Idris. Thrilled to have a chance to live his dream, Charles did all he could to command the Enclave and properly quarantine them while looking for the demon responsible for the attacks that were infecting and killing Shadowhunters.

However, also during this time, as his fiance Ariadne was unconscious and dying of demon poison, Charles publicly renounced his engagement to her and announced his new fiancée Grace Blackthorn. The change prompted Alastair to end their secret affair as he believed it to be proof that Charles cared little for his feelings and never planned to make their relationship public. Heartbroken, Charles attempted to change his mind but upon further rejection, decided to get drunk at Cordelia Carstairs and James Herondale's engagement party and make a fool of himself.[5]

Later life

Years later, in 1937, Charles was present at Will Herondale's deathbed because the Fairchilds were like family to the Herondales. While there, he is assumed to have brought his sons and/or daughters with him.[2]


James liked Matthew's older brother well enough, and they were practically family, but he had only one interest—Shadowhunter politics.

Chain of Gold

Charles is a serious individual with an interest in his goals and ambitions. For that end, he would sacrifice personal relationships if it means putting his goals in jeopardy, including his relationship with Alastair Carstairs. His stern personality puts him at odds with his younger brother, Matthew, who appears more flamboyant and carefree.

Physical description

Charles inherited his father's red hair and has green eyes.


I have realized that you will never care half as much for me—or for anyone—as for your career.

Alastair to Charles, Chain of Gold


Do not forget, Alastair, that whatever I do, it is with the thought of you ever in my mind.

–Charles to Alastair, Chain of Gold

Charles's secret ex-partner. The pair fell in love in Paris while Charles was acting as interim head of the Paris Institute and Alastair was on his travel year there. They decided to keep it hidden as to not jeopardize Charles's political career. Hoping that once he became Consul, they could publicly be together.

When he became engaged to Ariadne, Alastair accepted it; believing it to be a temporary political engagement that would not follow through. Though he was still not happy with the arrangement, despite knowing Ariadne was also gay and had no true feelings for Charles.

When Charles publicly renounced his engagement to Ariadne, and announced his new one to Grace Blackthorn, Alastair realized that no matter what Charles said, the two of them would never be able to actually be together. He ended the relationship through letter and when Charles showed up at his home to try to change his mind, had Risa tell him he was not home. At Cordelia and James's engagement party, he tried to confront Alastair again but he made it clear he was not interested in rekindling their relationship. Heartbroken, Charles promptly got drunk.

Charles's ex-fiancée. The two agreed to the engagement as a political move for Charles, and so that Ariadne could please her parents. Both of them being gay, they knew they would never have romantic feelings for one another but thought it was a good match nonetheless. Because of this, Ariadne knew and was okay with his affair with Alastair.

Still, Charles did seem to genuinely care for Ariadne. During the attack at Regent's Park, Charles threw himself in front of her to protect her and fight off the oncoming demons. When she was injured regardless of his efforts, he rushed her to the Institute without another thought and stayed by her bedside while the Brother's looked over her.

Charles's fiancée. When she moved to town the two began talking and after only a week, she asked him to marry her. Charles, influenced by her power,[6] agreed and dumped Ariadne while she was still unconscious and dying.


Charles has a bit of a strained relationship with his younger brother. They do not get along and often fight. "They both keep secrets, and both withdraw from family because of it. Charles has a lot of classic traits of the “older child” — trying to be perfect, trying to please everyone, frustrated that, in his view, his younger sibling gets away with everything and doesn’t follow the rules/work as hard as he does."[7]

Charles hopes to become Consul after his mother steps down. For this reason he accompanies Charlotte to Idris a lot in order to advance his political career and often tries to shadow her or otherwise help her with her work.



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