|“||There is so much wrong with the world. I want it to make sense. I want to put it right. I want to find the solutions that are overlooked by others.||”|
Christopher was mentored by fellow inventor Henry Branwell—an old family friend of his parents and relatives. Though he was eccentric, their familiarity with Henry and his attitude made them able to adapt to him, and thus most of his family and friends were supportive of his experiments.
Attending the Shadowhunter Academy at twelve in 1899, Christopher was accompanied by his cousin Thomas Lightwood and later by their family friend Matthew Fairchild. When his other cousin James Herondale arrived, their group tried to assimilate him into their group, though James kept distancing himself at first. Eventually, after James and Matthew resolved their issues, the four boys became good friends. Christopher was mostly oblivious to why the other students bullied or feared James, not thinking James was strange. Christopher was also constantly distracted and impressed by odd things, bothering even their professor Ragnor Fell.
A few weeks into the school year, Matthew gave Christopher materials that he could use to build explosives. They left the slow-acting bomb in the Academy's south wing, and it exploded minutes after. Christopher was asked to leave the academy following the explosion, though that had not been Matthew's intent. As it turned out, Ragnor had threatened to leave the school forever if they allowed him to remain.
They began renting a room at the Devil Tavern, where Christopher has his own experiment table.
Finding a cure
In 1903, he and his family suffered a great loss when his cousin Barbara Lightwood died of a demonic poison after an attack at Regent's Park. He and his friends began working diligently to sort out and destroy the demon responsible for the attacks, while Christopher simultaneously worked on finding an antidote for the poison. Eventually Christopher was able to figure out the cure but couldn't find a way to make it work without a key illegal ingredient. James was able to locate where it may be found but before they could retrieve it, Christopher was attacked and poisoned himself.
While receiving treatment in the Silent City, James Herondale, Cordelia Carstairs, and Matthew Fairchild snuck in and talked with Christopher. Christopher, under the influence of the infection, grabbed James's wrist, infecting him, while trying to warn him that he was in danger and all the attacks were about him. During this time his cousin, Thomas Lightwood, used Henry Branwell's lab to finish Christopher's work and mix the elixir. He soon brought it to the Silent City to cure everyone, including Christopher. His creation of the antidote earned him the status of hero; much to his annoyance as he believed Thomas deserved the praise for being the one who mixed it.
Personality and traits
Christopher is a form of scientist, much like his godfather Henry Branwell, whom he is close to and gets along with. He is quite eccentric and can be absent-minded and easily distracted. He is also quite awkward, especially around women. He sometimes disobeys instructions when he deems it necessary, following his own line of logic that he can give himself permission to do something, even when someone else has told him not to. He is also somewhat of a peacemaker, as he dislikes conflict.
Christopher has lavender eyes and brown hair. He has a slender build and is often seen wearing spectacles.
Skills and abilities
- Nephilim physiology: Being Nephilim, Christopher possesses a myriad of enhanced physical and mental abilities granted to him by the blood of Raziel in his veins and also by the angelic Marks of the Gray Book. This includes enhanced strength, agility, stamina, coordination, and many others which improve over time and practice.
- Runic magic: Due to the angel Raziel's blood in their veins, all Shadowhunters are able to apply runes on their skin without any real danger. These Marks, in turn, give varied effects that serve to benefit the wearer.
- The Sight: As a Shadowhunter, Christopher is able to easily see through most magical illusions and layers of glamour over reality.
- Use of heavenly weapons: As a Nephilim, Christopher is also able to handle heavenly weapons with effect, since this would normally not work for other species. In particular, these are weapons made of adamas and forged by Iron Sisters, such as seraph blades.
Christopher and Anna have always been very close. Anna is very protective over Christopher and tries to make sure he doesn't get into any trouble. At most functions, she is tasked with making sure he doesn't accidentally set something or someone on fire with his absent mindedness.
In turn, Christopher cares deeply for his sister and is also protective of her. When Anna had her heart broken by Ariadne, Christopher attempted to comfort her, and when Alastair Carstairs was about to say something uncomplimentary of her, he stopped him angrily and warned him off of finishing his thought.When Thomas was accused of being a serial killer and several members of the Enclave had arrived at the Institute, Anna threatened to beat whoever troubled Christopher.
- Thomas and Christopher have a brother-like relationship and are almost always together. Thomas often assists him in the lab and, following Christopher being poisoned, Thomas was able to finish the antidote to the demon poison Christopher had developed. When Thomas was suspected to be the serial killer of London, Christopher and his friends snuck into the Sanctuary where Thomas was being kept. He gave Christopher the pithos which helped the latter deduce how the serial killer was transfering runes from the victim's body to his own.
- Matthew Fairchild is a bit motherly towards Christopher. At the Academy, Matthew was given the responsibility of watching over Christopher to make sure he didn't blow anything up. After Matthew moved out of the Fairchild manor, Christopher occasionally slept in his room, when he worked till late at night in Henry's lab.
- James Herondale is Christopher's cousin and one of his best friends. James occasionally picks up books for Christopher to read and is supportive of Christopher's experiments. After James and Cordelia's marriage he occasionally visited their house with the other Merry Thieves, and gave James the gun that helped him defeat Lilith.
Henry is Christopher's godfather and mentor. Both of them have a love of science and inventions and as such work together often. Some of their inventions include a steam-powered elevator to allow Henry to get to and from his lab in the basement and an ointment to repel demons (which failed). They are also attempting to develop a working runed gun, and Christopher was partially successful in making it work, however it could only be wielded by James. Henry's laboratory was also where he found an antidote to the plague, and later about the working of the pithos.
- Nothing but Shadows (first appearance)
- Cast Long Shadows
- Every Exquisite Thing
- Chain of Gold
- Chain of Iron
- The Red Scrolls of Magic (mentioned only)
- Born to Endless Night (mentioned only)
- See more here
- Christopher's favorite treat is lemon tarts.
- His favorite weapon is considered to be explosives.
- According to a found family tree, Christopher went on to marry Grace Blackthorn and had a son named Isidore with her. Also according to the tree, he died some time in 1938 at the age of 50 or 51.
- At one point, Christopher received love letters from an Iblis demon.
- Christopher supposedly figured out how to eat fire after seeing a man do so at Covent Garden.
- There is a hole in the floor at the Shadowhunter Academy that Ragnor Fell named the Christopher Lightwood Chasm, after him.
- Christopher's favorite book is Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne.
- His favorite animal is the otter.
- Christopher once had a pet rat named Marie Curie.
- Most of the mundane objects that he works on were given to Henry by another Shadowhunter scientist that tried to integrate them with runic magic. Henry was thankful for Christopher's interest in the crate as he had planned to get rid of them.
- Christopher's character card — Cassandra Clare on Instagram
- An Illustrated History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of Downworld
- Nothing but Shadows
- Cast Long Shadows
- "... since they are, as a group, always together." Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- Chain of Gold
- The Last Hours character portraits and details — Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- The Last Hours snippet — Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- Days Past: Christopher, a Chain of Gold extra
- Every Exquisite Thing
- January 2020 Shadowhunter Army Newsletter
- The Anniversary Party, a Chain of Gold extra
- Shadowhunter Army May 2021 newsletter
- "Cecily and Will's kids speak Welsh." Cassandra Clare on Twitter
- TLH snippet — Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- Shadowhunter Army September 2019 Newsletter – Shadowhunters.com
- The Midnight Heir
- Cassandra Clare on Instagram