|“||But I am so much more selfish than that. I am doing it because it will free me from Mama.||”|
–Grace, Chain of Gold
Grace Blackthorn, born Grace Cartwright, is the ward and adoptive daughter of Tatiana Blackthorn.
After her parents' death when she was eight years old, Grace was adopted by Tatiana Blackthorn, to whom she became very loyal and devoted. Grace also grew to have unearthly beauty and was implied to have possessed siren-like abilities, both of which were exploited by her adoptive mother. Despite the seemingly cold persona Grace eventually developed, she loved her adoptive brother, Jesse.
After his rune ceremony, Grace heard Jesse screaming from her room and came running to him. She was hysterical as blood swelled from his fevered skin and he writhed over the bed. As he weakened and shivered, Grace held her brother in her arms until he took his last breath. As her mother had Jesse's body preserved with the intention to resurrect him, he later appeared to the two of them as a ghost. Though he could only come at nighttime, the two remained close and often spent time together.
At some point, Grace became aware of her mother dealing with powerful demons in order to bring back Jesse. Though she did not know the full extent of her plans, she went along with her mother's wishes.
|“||My mother made me her blade, to cut every barrier raised against her.||”|
–Grace, Chain of Gold
Grace met James Herondale for the first time in 1899. James's family had been staying in Herondale manor for the summer and Tatiana hired him to trim the briars around her property. Grace supplied him with better cutters than the knife he was given and the two began a sort of friendship; talking daily when he came to cut or meeting in the forest.
The following summer when his family returned, they continued meeting up to chat and exchange stories of their lives. Eventually, she confided to him that she had nothing of her mother's besides a bracelet that Tatiana kept from her. As Tatiana instructed, Grace asked James to use his shadow magic to steal it back for her. Once he had retrieved it, she asked him to wear it as a token of their friendship, which he agreed to do. Now with the enchanted bracelet on, Grace's siren-like abilities were able to work on him, whereas before they couldn't because of his demonic blood.
For the next few years, she made James believe he was in love with her. They constantly exchanged letters throughout the year and then would spend their summers together. They came to have a secret understanding that one day, when they were old enough and she was free of Tatiana, they would get married. However, it wasn't all niceties. She would also test and torment him by saying she wished to end things, which drove him down self-destructive paths.
After one such time in 1903, Magnus Bane was called to the Blackthorn Hall to perform a task for Tatiana that would lead to Jesse's resurrection. After Magnus refused to perform the ritual, Grace followed him out. Magnus asked her if she needed help or was being held against her will; to which Grace responded by holding a blade to his chest and coldly refusing him, followed by threatening him should he reveal her mother's plans. Magnus then mentioned James, whom he had rescued earlier in the night after Grace had told him she did not want to talk to him anymore. Grace answered him with indifference saying she did not care for him and that "a blade does not care" where it is pointed.
Moving to London
At the end of that summer, Tatiana and Grace moved permanently from Idris to London. They moved back to Chiswick manor, where Tatiana lost her husband and father and began integrating back into Shadowhunter society. They attended the welcome party at the London Institute for the Carstairs family and Grace even joined the younger set at a picnic the next day.
At the picnic, Grace began to notice the effects of the bracelet and her power weren't working. She could tell James felt a wrongness in kissing her and was able to resist it. So she sent a letter to James requesting they meet the following night. There she asked him to run away with her and elope. When James refused, she tried to guilt him into it, claiming he forgot her and she should be the most important thing if he truly loved her. However, when he refused once again, she said she needed time to think and left with her mother who had arrived to fetch her.
The next day, Grace brought her mother to the Institute for treatment after Tatiana was attacked and poisoned by Khora demons. It was there she told James about her engagement to Charles Fairchild, much to James's shock since Charles was already engaged to Ariadne Bridgestock. With her mother unconscious, she felt she needed to act fast and she needed his power and position within the Clave to get her out of Tatiana's grasp. Though James tried to change her mind, Grace knew she was doing him a kindness and—having decided it was no longer working—she asked James to return her bracelet.
Some days later, while in the garden talking to Jesse's coffin, she was attacked by Namtar. The demon told her he had been sent by Belial to reprimand her for taking the enchantment off of James as it was not her decision to make. When she tried to explain that it was not working, he simply told her he would see to its strengthening and that she was to put it back under the threat of destroying Jesse's chance to be brought back to life. Before she could respond Lucie Herondale fell from above and attacked the demon. When Jesse came to their rescue and slayed the demon, Grace learned that Lucie could also see him. While Grace tried not to say anything incriminating of Tatiana in front of her, Jesse expressed that he trusted Lucie and she should as well.
Over the course of the next few days, Grace and Jesse began to realize how dark their mother's plans were and just how mad she had become. The two began to discuss how they could help her receive the help she needed.
However, she could not ignore Namtar's warning and paid James a visit to return the bracelet. It had indeed been strengthened and James returned to his complacent smitten state. She then asked James to destroy the clockwork automaton Tatiana had stored inside Blackthorn manor in Idris, which led to a fire that burned the entire building down.
At the Enclave meeting the following day, Tatiana accused him of burning Blackthorn manor down and consorting with demons. She called on Grace to give testimony, claiming James had told her all about it. Grace struggled to confirm her mother's story and was cut off by Cordelia Carstairs giving him an alibi, which Grace supported. When Tatiana was confronted for the dark magic items found in the rubble of the manor, she began screaming and crying for help from Grace. To which Grace simply put a hand on her shoulder for comfort.
After her mother's arrest, Grace moved in with the Bridgestock family until such a time as she and Charles were wed and could live together. She planned to still return to Blackthorn Hall to check on Jesse.
She then attended James and Cordelia's engagement party, where Charles officially announced his engagement to Grace. At one point she tried to convince James that they could be together in a year, after his marriage blanc with Cordelia was over, but he would not discuss it and told her they could not talk. She later had a conversation with Lucie about Jesse and her plans to resurrect him with or without his consent.
Grace is seemingly a cold and unfeeling person. While she is able to appear charming and seductive when she has to and can display an air of innocence, she betrays no true emotions. Due to her upbringing and the outlook of the woman who raised her, any conscience Grace may hold seems restrained. Nonetheless, she is extremely loyal to her adoptive family.
Grace is said to possess extraordinary beauty. She is slender with pale, blond hair, rosy white skin, thick and dark eyelashes, and gray eyes.
Skills and abilities
- Nephilim physiology: Being Nephilim, Grace possesses a variety of enhanced physical and mental abilities granted to her by the blood of Raziel in her veins and also by the angelic Marks of the Gray Book. She also has the power to perform tasks unique to their species, such as the ability to use and call on the power of angels for their seraph blades. This includes enhanced strength, agility, stamina, and coordination, which only improves over time and practice.
- Runic magic: Due to the angel 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.
- Siren-like magic: Grace was given the ability to enchant men by Belial at her mother's request. This ability allows her to cloud men's minds and make them do or feel as she wishes while simultaneously blocking any thoughts that Grace is doing anything.
Tatiana is Grace's adoptive mother. Grace is very grateful to Tatiana for giving her a home and a family and as such, she does whatever she wishes. However, Grace is still anxious to free herself from her mother's control and physical abuse.
|“||I always wished to show you my best face, Jesse. You were the only one who ever spoke up for me against Mama.||”|
– Grace to Jesse, Chain of Gold
Jesse is Grace's adoptive brother and perhaps the only person Grace truly cares for. When Jesse was dying after his rune ceremony, Grace held him in her arms until he took his last breath.When he returned as a ghost, the two talked often but Grace began keeping things from him. She never really talked to him of James and tried to shield him from knowing all the dark dealings Tatiana had taken in an effort to resurrect him.
|“||To love me, James, you must love me above all other things.||”|
–Grace to James, Chain of Gold
Grace and James first met in Idris in 1899, when Tatiana asked him to cut the briars of their home. Grace supplied him with better cutters than the knife he was given and the two began a sort of friendship—talking daily when he came to cut or meeting in the forest.
The next summer, under Tatiana's orders, Grace asked James to use his shadow magic to steal a bracelet back for her. When he did, she asked him to wear it, as her only friend and he agreed. The bracelet—being enchanted as it was—allowed her siren-like abilities to work on him and she made him believe he was in love with her; whereas in the past, Belial's blood prevented it. Over the years, they exchanged hundreds of letters and spent their summers together in the forest. Eventually, they came to have an understanding with one another.
When she moved to London, Grace realized the bracelet's effects were fading. As a test, she asked James to run away with her and elope. When he refused and Tatiana fell ill, she decided to remove the bracelet altogether, ending their arrangement and freeing James. However, her act of kindness was short-lived. Namtar soon attacked her as a messenger for Belial and demanded she replace the bracelet and that he would see to its strengthening.Not long after it was put back on, James entered a marriage blanc with Cordelia Carstairs. When Grace tried to convince James that they could be together afterward, he told her they should no longer talk.
- Nothing but Shadows (mentioned only)
- The Midnight Heir (first appearance)
- Chain of Gold
- Chain of Iron
- Secrets of Blackthorn Hall (mentioned only)
- See more here
- Grace is left handed.
- Grace likes making crowns from flowers, leaves, and vines—a hobby she retained from before she was adopted by Tatiana.
- Grace favors hairpins as her weapon.
- Her favorite animals are moths and spiders.
- Her favorite book is The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.
- The general belief was that Grace was never given any Shadowhunter training by Tatiana and only bears a few runes. Whether it is true has been put into question by Cassandra Clare herself.
- According to a "found" family tree, Grace was born in 1886, went on to marry Christopher Lightwood and had a son named Isidore with him, and died in 1940.
- We are set to learn more about Grace's powers and childhood in Chain of Iron.
- Grace and Lucie will be working together to try to resurrect Jesse.
- Grace doesn't remember her birth parents and the reason why will be discovered in Chain of Iron.
- Found family tree, a Clockwork Princess extra
- Grace's promotional character card for Chain of Gold — Cassandra Clare on Instagram
- Chain of Gold
- The Midnight Heir
- "Grace’s power literally forbids the person affected from thinking about it" — Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- "The bracelet really just channels her power into a form that can affect James." CC on Tumblr
- "Her mother had hit her earlier." Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- An Illustrated History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of Downworld
- "Whether that's entirely true…" Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- "We don’t know a lot of the details of Jesse and Grace’s childhood in Chain of Gold, but in Chain of Iron, we will learn them." CC on Tumblr
- "More information about Grace, the Blackthorns, her powers, her history...we will get in Chain of Iron." CC on Tumblr
- "Lucie and Grace are keeping a lot of what they’re doing from Jesse..." — CC on Tumblr
- "Grace doesn’t really recall her parents, for reasons you will find out about in Chain of Iron!" CC on Tumblr