Cordelia Carstairs is the daughter of Elias and Sona Carstairs, and the sister of Alastair Carstairs.


In 1899, on a trip to France, Cordelia met Lucie Herondale and, after spending two weeks together, became very close to her. Even when they parted ways, the two remained in contact, sending letters to each other every week.[7]

Physical description

Cordelia has light brown skin, dark red hair, and black eyes.[8]

Skills and abilities

  • Nephilim physiology: Being Nephilim, Cordelia possesses a variety of enhanced physical and mental abilities granted to her by the angel blood of Raziel in her veins and also by the angelic Marks of the Gray Book. This includes enhanced strength, agility, stamina, and coordination, which only improved over time and practice.
  • Use of heavenly weapons: As a Nephilim, Cordelia 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.
  • Runic magic: Due to the Angel Raziel's blood in their veins, all Shadowhunters are all able to apply runes on their skin without any real danger. These Marks, in turn, give varied effects that serve to benefit the wearer.




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In-universe notes:

  • In her childhood, she loved scaring her brother Alastair Carstairs. Her favorite method was hiding under his bed and grabbing his ankle when he gets close enough to reach. They also shared a common interest in architecture and together built castles out of wood blocks, inspired by their last name.[9]
  • One of Cordelia's favorite stories is the poem Layla and Majnun by Nizami Ganjavi. It is also one of her mother's favorites; which is where her nickname "Layla" by Alastair comes from.[10]
  • Cordelia's favorite treat is ghotab (or qottab) — a deep-fried Iranian pastry filled with almonds.[11]
  • According to the "found" family tree, Cordelia will apparently go on to marry James, have a son named Owen, and die in 1962 at the age of 76 or 77.[6]

Upcoming content:

  • She is a main character in The Last Hours, currently set to be more of the female lead heroine than Lucie,[12] having the most page time in Chain of Gold. Her POV will be the readers' introduction into the new series.[13] She is set to be featured on one of the book covers.[14]
  • She, like her cousin Jem, is parabatai with a Herondale. (She is set to become Lucie's parabatai in The Last Hours.[15])
  • Cordelia speaks Farsi,[16][17] presumably taught by her Persian mother.[18] She splits her time between Idris, Paris, and London, but will be staying in London with her family for the duration of the series events.[19] The circumstances of Alastair and Cordelia's arrival and stay at the London Institute in 1903 (for The Last Hours) will be under a cloud of disgrace,[20] possibly relating to their parents,[21] and seemingly enforced.[22]
  • Cordelia, who is a bit of a scapegrace, as well as spunky and feisty,[23] has a strained relationship with her older brother,[24] Alastair, whom she finds annoying.[25]
  • She has had a crush on James Herondale since she was ten years old.[26]
  • She will be chosen by Cortana.[9][13]
  • Cordelia loves reading, specifically Persian literature and mythology.
  • "She's fascinated with plants, perfumes and fragrances. A bit of that is about her mother, who loves perfume, and some is about an interest in aspects of her heritage as "Iranians are regarded as the first manufacturers of perfume… The equipment and installations for obtaining rosewater and perfumes were abundant in many towns and villages, and their sweet smelling products were exported to remote corners of the world." Cordelia is fascinated not just with creating delicious smells that she can wear and give as gifts, but also with the meaning of plants and with their uses in healing."[27][13]
  • She was raised lonely in the countryside and has little experience with friends and none with romance.[13] She was always traveling, rarely anywhere long enough to make a serious friend. "Friends are an issue for Cordelia. She would practice swordfighting in the mirror, and pretend her mirror reflection was a friend who traveled with her. Once she gets to London, she suddenly has the experience of being thrust into an existing friends group. There may be some who resent her initially — especially her taking up Lucie's time and attention, as well as James' — but Cordelia is a stubborn, brave, smart girl, and she is more than a match for a pack of boys." The books will explore how they all become friends, and how their friendships differ.[27]
  • At least two people are set to develop massive crushes on Cordelia in The Last Hours. [13][28]
  • She is set to have an important relationship with Matthew Fairchild.[29][30]
  • In Chain of Gold, we are set to find out the weird, yet reasonable, reason why Cordelia and James eventually get married (as shown in a "found" family tree).[31][32][33][34]
  • Cordelia reads to James. It is important to her to be able to share Persian literature and she does with James, including One Thousand and One Nights and possibly Layla and Majnun.[35]
  • Cordelia is mostly forced into frilly, frothy pastel debutante dresses to fit in with the other, more socially accepted girls, not in a way that suits her coloring and full figure, and she is unable to choose for herself because she doesn't know much about fashion herself.[13]
  • Anna will offer her the hand of friendship almost as soon as Cordelia arrives in London. Though she's "a little intimidated by but deeply admiring of Anna's confidence in life and love, she's eager to support Anna and to go with Anna to Downworlder haunts and visit Anna for tea, and Anna's door is always open. Cordelia sees Anna's popularity with the ladies, and Grace's popularity with the gentlemen, and wishes she knew how to make people love you with a smile like they do."[13]


  1. "Cordy!" — a tag on the post by Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
  2. "what nickname does James has for Cordelia?" "Daisy." Cassandra Clare on Twitter
  3. August Chain of Gold short - Cirenworth Hall
  4. "Her kids are biracial and were born in what was then Persia." Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
  5. "17" [when TLH starts] — Cassandra Clare on Twitter
  6. 6.0 6.1 Found family tree, a Clockwork Princess extra (which states that she would turn 18 in 1903)
  7. Nothing but Shadows
  8. "She has light brown skin, dark red hair, and black eyes." Cassandra Clare on Twitter
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 A History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of the Downworld
  10. Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
  11. January 2020 Shadowhunter Army Newsletter
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 Information on CordeliaCassandra Clare on Tumblr
  15. "Yes, they are best friends and become parabatai in the Last Hours." Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
  16. "... Cordelia speaks Farsi", Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
  17. "She's half Iranian, she speaks Farsi." Cassandra Clare on Twitter
  18. "Her mother is Persian." Cassandra Clare on Twitter
  19. "Cordelia splits her time between...", Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
  20. Q&A Alastair stuff — Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
  21. q&a tlh, cls, gostm — Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
  23. TLH Q&A — #TMI Tour | Fangirlish
  24. "She doesn't get along with her brother." Cassandra Clare on Twitter
  25. "Because he's annoying." Cassandra Clare on Twitter
  26. The Last Hours character portraits and details — Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
  27. 27.0 27.1 Q&A Cordelia Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
  28. "Someone else is already on that . . ." Cassandra Clare on Twitter
  29. "They have an important relationship." Cassandra Clare on Twitter
  30. "He might." Cassandra Clare on Twitter
  31. "when will we find out why James married Cordelia?" "in the first book of [TLH]" — Cassandra Clare on Twitter
  32. "I think the reason they get married is so weird no one will guess." Cassandra Clare on Twitter
  33. "It's a reasonable reason." Cassandra Clare on Twitter
  34. "... you'll find out why he married her — though I suspect his reason is hard to guess." Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
  36. "Cordelia Carstairs has ties to Emma Carstairs." Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
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