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“I cannot be sure, though I think it has something to do with
the clarity of them.”

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

Gideon Lightwood is the eldest child of Benedict Lightwood and Barbara Pangborn. He later went on to marry the mundane Sophie Collins, who underwent Ascension and has become a Shadowhunter.


Early life

Gideon Arthur Lightwood was born the eldest of three children, the others being Gabriel Lightwood and Tatiana Lightwood. Their mother died when he was five years old, and the story of her death that their father told them never made sense to him. Raised by their father, Gideon and his siblings grew up believing all Shadowhunters were like Benedict, who flouts convention and the Law, and they all acted like it. Gideon, however, had apparently never been happy in London, calling their home a miserable place ever since his mother's death.

Gideon was about fifteen when he met Will Herondale at a Christmas party held at the London Institute. His sister, Tatiana, was hopelessly infatuated with Will. When Will humiliated her by reading her diary in front of the entire Enclave, Gideon and Gabriel developed a deep loathing for Will, and Gideon was apparently much worse than his brother during these days.

When he completed his Shadowhunter training at eighteen, Gideon opted to travel to another Institute and settled in Madrid, Spain. Gideon was shocked to realize that all Shadowhunters weren't as pompous as his father and was apparently treated like a monster until he realized the wrongness of the principles he was brought up with and changed his ways.

Return to London

A few months after he left, Gideon was called back from Madrid by his father, told that he was needed at home and must return immediately. Though he no longer agreed with his father's decisions and principles and wanted to stay away, he decided to return to London, if only in hopes of helping and saving his brother, Gabriel, from their father's further brainwashing.

Before Gideon's arrival in London, it was decided at a Council meeting that he and his brother would be charged with the responsibility of training the untrained residents of the London Institute, particularly Sophie Collins and Tessa Gray. Jessamine Lovelace was also meant to attend these sessions but instead, she complained that she had a particularly tiring headache and was not fit to attend them.

At one point, his father threw a party at their Chiswick manor to honor, and impress, the Magister. Seeing the demon guests and automaton servants, it was only then that Gideon realized just how far Benedict had gone in terms of his fraternization with demons, much to his horror. He also eventually learned of his father's worsening condition due to his illness, the demon pox, as well as Benedict's deal with Mortmain in an attempt to heal himself.

During the training sessions at the Institute, though the brothers were initially frustrated with the assigned task, Gideon found himself enjoying the company of the servant Sophie, whom he personally trained. The two grew to be very close. Meanwhile, Gabriel continued to antagonize Will for their previous altercation, but Gideon was now fairly calmer about it, having moved past the issue.

Still disgusted and disturbed by his father's actions, Gideon decided to share his information on Benedict with Sophie after meeting with her for a picnic at Hyde Park, wanting to gain her trust and favor. At that point, Gideon had begun to express his feelings for her a bit more openly, though he constantly failed as Sophie still felt skeptical about forming any sort of relationship with him, given their social statuses and his father's indiscretions and challenges against the Institute.

He and Sophie began to meet when the latter wasn't working. When the Shadowhunters of the London Institute needed someone to watch over the Institute while they were out, Sophie recommended Gideon. He then became the one that they often called when needing someone to watch the Institute.

Before Tessa and the rest of the Institute left to meet Nate Gray (under the guise of Jessamine) Tessa had caught Gideon and Sophie sharing an intimate moment in the hallway, worrying Tessa and prompting her to warn Sophie about him. Gideon was murmuring into her ear and brushing strands of her hair away from her face. He and Sophie watched the Institute while the others were gone.

After Nate's death, Gideon revealed the newfound secret about his father to Sophie and explained the reason behind Benedict's association with Mortmain. Just before Charlotte was about to hand over the Institute to Benedict, Sophie revealed that to everyone at the Institute. He was present when Charlotte, Tessa and Will arrived at the Lightwood manor to confront his father.

When the members of the Institute came to blackmail his father, Gideon sided with them in the confrontation. He feared the future of the Enclave, the London Shadowhunter force, if his father became head of the Institute. Then he left with the Institute Shadowhunters, deciding to take up residence at the Institute. He stood up to his father after finding out that his mother died from contracting the Pox from him, making him responsible for her suicide, and for lying to him about it his whole life. This essentially ended his relationship with his father. Benedict was then blackmailed into retracting his request for the London Institute. He tried to convince his brother Gabriel to join him at the Institute, but he refused it out of shame and loyalty to his father. Gideon was disappointed by this but implied his brother was always welcome to join him, convinced that eventually, Gabriel would see the reason. He sat with the Institute Shadowhunters at the Council meeting.[2]

Automaton War

After he denounced his father, Gideon moved into the Institute. This strained his relationship with Sophie Collins, who didn't think their flirtation could continue while they were living under the same roof. She didn't want him to see her working as a maid, and since he now resided at the Institute she had to serve him. However, Gideon was still very much in love with Sophie and asked her to bring him scones so that he could see her. Meanwhile his father had succumbed to demon pox, resulting in his transformation into a giant worm demon, and, unfortunately, he had to slay his father. He then returned to the London Institute with his brother, Gabriel, who assisted him and the Institute in the killing. After delivering scones to him one evening, Sophie comforted him about the loss of his father but noticed all the previous scones hidden under his bed. Gideon explained that he used the scones as an excuse to see Sophie and that he didn't think of the extra work she had to do in order to make them. Furious, she left. Gabriel then teased him, and Gideon threw a scone at him.

He and Gabriel were then approached by Consul Wayland, who asked them to intercept Charlotte's mail and tell him who she was corresponding with, in fear that she was becoming defiant. Gideon and Gabriel agreed, but sent the Consul false information, talking about her many floral hats and her lack of feminine care regarding her uncle's illness. Sophie caught them, and before she reported them, Gideon explained that he was protecting Charlotte. He then showed Sophie their letters and she laughed, and all their earlier tension was resolved. He later declared his love for Sophie and his intention of marriage in front of everyone. However, she demanded a proper proposal where he asked her. He then recited a heartfelt proposal, which she accepted. In Cadair Idris, Gideon fought alongside Gabriel and returned alive. He later was present for Sophie's Ascension, where he watched proudly and was noted to be clapping the loudest.[3]

While the Lightwoods had become a laughing stock because of his father's actions, Gideon and Gabriel worked hard to regain their family's honor, which they eventually accomplished.[4] By 1901, their family name was strong enough that when Charlotte needed support, Gideon would lend her the name and consequence. Because he was often doing so and helping advise her, Gideon began escorting Charlotte through a Portal to the Clave meetings in Alicante.[5]


Gideon went on to have three children with Sophie, namely: Barbara, whom they named after his late mother, Eugenia, and Thomas, whom they named after Sophie's friend, Thomas Tanner.

When Thomas was young, he was often sick. His illnesses constantly made Gideon fear he would die prematurely. When he learned that his sister also had a sickly child, Gideon began to think that it was more than a coincidence—that perhaps his father's dalliances in dark magic had somehow doomed their children.

In 1889, he went to Tatiana to beg her for their father's papers, in hopes he would find something in there about it. Tatiana refused to give him the papers, claiming he had no right to them as he had betrayed their father and murdered him. Eventually he and Will were able to convince her to loan him their father's books but Gideon found himself frustrated as there was nothing in them that could back up his theory. He then expressed to Will that he felt he was unable to help his son but Will snapped at him and told him the reason for Thomas's illness is simply that he is small. That there was no plot against him, sometimes children were just sick. He explained Cecily Herondale was the same way and she grew out of it and that Thomas would as well.[6]

In 1903, their daughter Barbara was attacked and poisoned by a Khora demon. A few days later she succumbed to the poison and died, much to the sorrow of Sophie, Gideon and the rest of their family and friends. They then went to Idris to be with their other daughter as she had collapsed upon the news of Barbara's death and was not well enough to travel to London. After the quarantine of London ended, they returned home with Eugenia to attend an Enclave meeting and later James Herondale and Cordelia Carstairs's engagement party.[7]

He attended James and Cordelia's wedding in December, accompanied by Sophie. He also went to Rosamund Wentworth and Thoby Baybrook's engagement party and danced the first set with Cecily. A few weeks later, he, Sophie and Eugenia went to comfort the Pounceby family after Basil Pounceby's death.

When Thomas stood accused as the serial killer behind the murders in London, he and Sophie rushed to the London Institute, making it just before a crowd arrived. Gideon immediately rushed off to Mayfair to get Charlotte. Later, while entering the Sanctuary where Thomas was being kept, he was arguing with the Inquisitor to have Thomas released. After Thomas told his perspective, Gideon accused the Inquisitor of not making an effort to find the real killer and wasting everybody's time by accusing the wrong person just to reap the rewards from the Clave for having caught a killer. Charlotte assured Gideon that a trial would be held and the Mortal Sword—which was in Will's possession in Paris—would be used to find out the truth; and that until then Thomas and Alastair, who testified in Thomas's favor, would be well-cared for.

Shortly after Thomas's innocence had been proven, the Institute was attacked by Leviathan, trying to enter the world. Gideon took part in the battle and was seen brandishing a sword. After the attack ceased, he helped Matthew take Charles to the infirmary and then gone to the Enclave meeting later.[8]

Physical description

Gideon is said to be very attractive; he is very muscular and has thick, sandy-blond hair and grayish-green eyes. He is noted to have gained the most looks from his father.

Personality and traits

Gideon is exceptionally different from the rest of his family. Like his mother, Gideon is mature and kind-hearted, as well as quiet in nature and typically calm. He is known to be a fairly good teacher to Sophie and he is far less rash than his brother. He is shown to care very deeply for his brother, returning to London, though he hated his father's home, just to help his brother. He speaks Spanish when he is in a good mood.



In fact, it would be fair to say that since my return home, I have hated everything in London except these hours with you.

– Gideon to Sophie, Clockwork Prince

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Gideon and Sophie first met at the London Institute when Gideon's father forced his sons to train her and Tessa. He began developing feelings for Sophie during their training sessions and they began seeing one another on Sophie's days off.

When Gideon moved into the Institute, Sophie had a difficult time being around him, embarrassed that he saw her working as a servant. Since he is from one of the wealthiest and most prestigious Shadowhunter families, she believed they could have no future together anyway. However Gideon tried relentlessly to get her attention, sending for scones he did not want just for a chance to see and speak with her. Of course when she found out she was infuriated but later relented.

Sophie was stunned when Gideon not only announced her secret wish to Ascend but also declared his intention to marry her to the whole Institute. After everyone left the room, he apologized for asking her so publicly but she simply reminded him that he had no asked her. He then properly proposed and she said yes. Years after her Ascension, Sophie and Gideon married. They then had three children together: Barbara, Eugenia, and Thomas.


Gideon has always been protective over Gabriel. The main reason that Gideon returned from Madrid was to save him from their father's influence. Though Gabriel sided with their father, in the end he came around to his side. The two became closer than ever.

After Gideon's daughter fell ill, and later died, Gabriel was there helping his brother every day. Both grieving the loss together and supporting him through it the best he could.

Gideon had an uneasy relationship with his father. At first he followed his father's example and believed everything he said. However, when he went to Madrid, he realized that not every Shadowhunter was as loose with the Law as his father. In fact he learned the complete opposite, other Shadowhunters strictly followed the Law and thought he was monstrous for his belief to the contrary. At a party at their Chiswick home after he returned, he realized that Benedict's actions went too far and decided to stop him. He joined the Institute's Shadowhunters when they blackmailed his father, and he was subsequently banished from the family.

Growing up, Gideon was protective of Tatiana and hated Will for humiliating her. However, their relationship changed when Tatiana blamed him for their father's and her husband's death. She filed a Reparations claim against him and Gabriel and later demanded her father's estate and fortune be released to her. Charlotte planned to fight it for them, but he told her not to bother and give her what she wanted.

Over the years, he and Gabriel wrote many letters to Tatiana, hoping to reconcile and meet their nephew Jesse Blackthorn. Tatiana never read them and made it clear she wanted them no where near her or her son.[6] The brothers eventually accepted that they had forever lost their sister.

Gideon has a good relationship with his daughters. He was devastated when Barbara died, and went to Idris to comfort Eugenia during their grief.

Like his wife and daughters, Gideon constantly worried about Thomas's sickness when he was young. Unlike them, he momentarily believed his illness could have been a result of Benedict's dark dealings. He tried looking into the matter but could find nothing in his papers. Eventually, however, Thomas began falling ill less and less and became a healthy young boy, albeit smaller than he should have been until he was nearly an adult.

When he came of age, Gideon sent Thomas to Madrid for his travel year because he felt that the country improves people. He hoped that Thomas would flourish while independent of the overprotective attention of his family and friends.[9]



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  • According to the found family tree, Gideon died some time in 1919, at the age of 60 or 61.[1]
  • He speaks Spanish when he is in a good mood.[2]
  • After Tatiana's arrest, Gideon and Sophie offered Grace a place at their house. They repeated the gesture nearly every subsequent time they met.[8]