|“||It seems to be the lot of the living to have tragedy visited upon them.||”|
Jessamine Lovelace was a ward of the London Institute until 1878. Jessamine ultimately betrayed them shortly before her death, after which she repented and returned as a ghost currently guarding the Institute.
Jessamine grew up with her Shadowhunter parents who left the Clave, on Curzon Street in London. She was raised to despise the dangerous lives that Shadowhunters lived. When her parents died in a fire when she was fourteen, no members of the Clave agreed to take her in, not even her relatives, who disliked her for not being raised among Shadowhunters, so she was sent to the London Institute to be cared for.
There, she lived with Charlotte and Henry Branwell, the heads of the Institute, the servants, and the Institute's other wards, Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs. Throughout her time there, she made the lives of the other occupants exceptionally difficult. She constantly argued with Will, remained indifferent towards Jem despite his situation, and was also so haughty that she made the ladies' maid, Sophie, hate her.
Charlotte spent a great deal of time trying to convince Jessamine to be trained as a Shadowhunter, though she outright refused. She often longed for her normal family with her parents, even keeping the dollhouse, a miniature model of their townhouse, that her father had made for her when she was six, complete with dolls that represented her and her parents, often fiddling with it as she reminisced her past. She anxiously awaited the day she turned eighteen and was eligible to leave the Clave. She also was left to inherit her family's wealth and used lots of it on dresses—which were disposable to Jessamine.
Meeting the Grays
When Tessa Gray was brought to the Institute in 1878, Jessamine met her at dinner and was immediately distrustful of her, particularly because they were unsure what type of Downworlder Tessa really was. Jessamine spoke up about her doubts that Tessa even had warlock abilities. To prove it, Tessa borrowed Jessamine's ring and Changed into her, surprising Jessamine.
Tessa was also given Jessamine's old or unused dresses. On Tessa's second day, Jessamine, instructed to investigate for the Clave, got out of the task by volunteering to take Tessa shopping. Throughout their shopping spree, Jessamine pretended that Tessa was her cousin from America. Jessamine later revealed to Tessa that she had wanted her alone to ask her to act like her sister so that they could, together, move out of the Institute when she would receive her trust fund money, when she would turn eighteen, a few months from the time.
Before they could discuss it any further, they wandered from the path they were taking and were attacked by a hobgoblin, hoping to let their angel blood spill onto their "strange earth". Jessamine, in a fit of rage, killed the dwarf with her electrum-laced parasol, and had to be stopped by Tessa even after the goblin died. It was then that Tessa realized just how much being a Shadowhunter bothered Jessamine.
After the Enclave managed to rescue Tessa's brother Nate, Jessamine saw her way out of the Institute. She flirted with Nate, insisting on caring for and spending as much time with him as possible during his stay. Tessa once pointed out that Nate was not a wealthy prospect, to which she replied that she had enough money for both of them.
When the Institute was attacked by Mortmain and his clockwork army, Jessamine realized that Nate was working with the enemy. Miffed by his lies and betrayal, Jessamine stood up to him and fought the automatons. However, Jessamine was knocked out, which Nate laughed at, and Tessa and Sophie had to leave her to get to safety.
Jessamine soon regained consciousness and was told by Thomas to run. Jessamine caught up to Tessa and struck Nate in the head with a lamp. Hiding in the Sanctuary with Tessa and Sophie, Jessamine blamed Tessa for their situation, telling them that if she had been in charge, she would have long kicked Tessa out, and Agatha and Thomas would not have died. When one of Mortmain's automatons impersonated Will behind the Sanctuary doors, Jessamine was easily convinced and opened the doors for him. With him was Nate, whose anger was directed towards Jessamine and would have gone after her if Mortmain had not stopped him. Mortmain threatened to have both Jessamine and Sophie killed, but Tessa bargained for their safety and they were brought downstairs, unharmed.
When they saw Jem arrive, Jessamine immediately ratted Nate out but was silenced by an automaton on Nate's orders. She and Sophie were released when Nate ordered the automatons to go after Jem, instead. Later, when Nate left with the Pyxis, Jessamine held the wounded Sophie and explained the situation to Jem.
Jessamine then attended the funeral with her fellow Shadowhunters, wearing pale flowers through her hair for the event. Tessa had the sneaking suspicion that Jessamine enjoyed funerals because she looked pretty in white.
Betraying the Enclave
Only days after the attack on the Institute, Jessamine received a letter from Nate, apologizing for his behavior and wooing her with sweet words, which she ignored. She also unwillingly attended the Council meeting where Charlotte was interrogated. Jessamine remained bored throughout, until the arguments regarding Charlotte's leadership began, to which Jessamine expressed excitement for. It was then decided that Jessamine, Tessa, and Sophie be trained by the children of Benedict Lightwood.
Nate continued to send Jessamine letters, and, by the third one, she was moved enough to agree to meet with him. Jessamine met with Nate at Hyde Park where he kissed her, much to her delight. The next time they saw each other, Nate proposed, and Jessamine, convinced by his lies, promptly accepted. Soon after, they were apparently wed in a church by a minister. Jessamine had since been sneaking out of the Institute in the middle of the night, wearing boys' clothes so she could safely walk the streets alone. She had been spotted by Sophie several times, and once by Tessa.
Jessamine was led to believe that Nate was working for Mortmain only so he could earn enough to support her and their future family. Ecstatic, Jessamine sought out to help him by spying and reporting back to him the activities of her fellow Shadowhunters at the Institute. She was the one who told Nate of their plans, the Downworlders they had contacted, and their trip to the York Institute. On the other hand, Jessamine learned very little of their plans from Nate, as they had anticipated that she might get caught and forced into telling the truth.
Jessamine was invited by Nate to a masquerade ball thrown by Benedict Lightwood on the 27th of July that year. On the evening of the event, Sophie found her invitation in her jacket. When Jessamine saw her with it, Sophie hit her on the head with her mirror and knocked her unconscious. Sophie tied her to her bed, and Will helped keep her down with a Sleep Now rune. Wanting to know more about the event and Jessamine's connection to Nate, Will had Tessa Change into her. Because of a block on her mind placed there by Mortmain, Tessa found herself unable to touch Jessamine's thoughts and memories as she could with everyone else, though she was still able to pose as her during the short time she was with Nate at the party.
When Jessamine awoke, Jessamine was surprised about her situation and confronted Tessa, the only one left in the room, about it. Tessa told her that Nate did not love her and had tricked her, infuriating Jessamine. Charlotte and Sophie soon joined them, along with Brother Enoch who brought the Mortal Sword. She was then questioned about Mortmain and Nate, though she refused to begin speaking until Brother Enoch left the room.
Again, because of the block on her mind, they did not learn much about Mortmain, though they were able to get Jessamine to reveal where she hid the Book of the White in Tessa's room, and that Mortmain had big plans that so far ruled in his favor. Jessamine claimed that Mortmain had expected them to tell Consul Wayland about him, that Mortmain was in "Idris", and that Tessa's father was a demon, and her mother a Shadowhunter. Since further forceful interrogation might have killed Jessamine, Brother Enoch volunteered to bring her to the Silent City to sift through her mind.
The following morning, Jessamine was visited by Jem and Tessa. After only a night in the Bone City's cells, Jessamine had already been in a bad shape, crying all night in fear of the whispers of the dead around her. Tessa gave her the porcelain doll "Baby Jessie" in hopes of soothing her. They then asked her to help them set a meeting with Nate. Though she initially refused, Jessamine eventually obliged, wanting leniency from the Clave and convinced that Nate would forgive her if he truly loved her. She went on to tell them what they needed to know and wrote the note to Nate. During the visit, Jessamine also called out Jem and Tessa for their relationship and told Tessa that she should borrow her dresses instead of reusing the four they bought a month before.
Posing as Jessamine, Tessa later realized that Nate had been onto them since the ball and knew that it would not be Jessamine he was going to meet that evening. The encounter ended with Nate getting killed by the destruction of the automaton he brought with him. In a dream Tessa had during her recovery, she saw a somber Jessamine guess that Nate had died. She carved her initials "JG" into the wall and, upon the breaking of her diamond engagement ring, eventually realized that Nate's feelings for her were as fake as the ring.
After more than two months of further questioning and imprisonment, Jessamine was released from the Silent City and returned to the Institute on Charlotte's orders—a decision met with disapproval and contempt from Consul Wayland, who wanted to have her sent to Idris, and the other inhabitants of the Institute. Jessamine had degraded to an unrecognizable, self-loathing girl after her time in the City. Her wealth was also confiscated by the Clave.
Upon her return, the carriage bringing her to the Institute was followed by another carriage filled with automatons that promptly infiltrated the gates of the Institute. Henry tried to defend her as she remained practically frozen in fear amidst the chaos. Incapable of fighting back in her fragile state, she was struck in the back and her heart was pierced by a taloned automaton. Finally, Jessamine crawled towards Will. When he discovered her injury and tried to take her into the Institute, she asked to be set down instead, knowing she wouldn't last. As a dying wish, she asked for her dolls not to be destroyed. She once again tried to tell them that Mortmain was in Cadair Idris, a mountain in Wales, and not in Idris, as they all believed, which she could not directly say due to the block on her mind placed there by Mortmain as a trick. After calling Will "a terrible Welshman" for not understanding what she meant, she passed away, and Will uttered the words of farewell for Shadowhunters: "Ave Atque Vale, Jessamine Lovelace."
Upon death, she was mourned by Charlotte, despite her betrayal; Will himself granted her dying wish and made sure her room and dolls were cared for. Jessamine chose not to pass over and instead returned to the Institute, where she had died, as a ghost and decided to watch over the place and act as its guardian. She first appeared to Will on the steps of the Institute—on the spot where she had died—and though she couldn't yet enter the Institute then, she believed that she would be able to progress over time and might apparently get through the doors someday. She then convinced Will to propose to Tessa before disappearing so as not to be seen by Magnus Bane.
During her time as a ghost guarding the Institute, she was a bit of a nuisance. Whenever she didn't like someone's clothes, she would replace them with, in her opinion, more suitable alternatives—this caused confusion in the Institute, because the replacement clothing would be that of another resident.
However she was also a helpful presence around the Institute. While Anna Lightwood was living there as a baby, Jessamine often blocked the child from wandering out of the house, as she often tried to. At one point, in 1888, she helped them defeat the Whitechapel demon that had gotten inside and hidden the children.
Over the years, she became particularly friendly with Lucie Herondale; talking with the young girl and offering her advice. When Sophie and Gideon's eldest daughter, Barbara, died of demon poison, Jessamine—sensitive to the unsettled feeling inside the house—kept Lucie and Alexander Lightwood company.
She was also seen at the Institute's balls to welcome the Carstairs family and for Cordelia Carstairs and James Herondale's engagement. She was typically found by the dessert table trying to overhear some gossip or simply looking at the cakes.
While Will and Tessa were in Paris, Will tasked her with keeping an eye on Lucie. When the latter decided to summon a ghost, Jessamine refused to leave her side, saying she needed supervision. As such, she witnessed and learned of Lucie's power to command ghosts. After the incident, Jessamine was shocked and hurt, believing that Lucie had been commanding her to fetch her lost items or read her a bedtime story and she had never had any choice in the matter. Though Lucie tried to explain that wasn't the case, she left upset.
The following night, after Will and Tessa had returned home, she visited the couple's room where she informed them about Lucie's involvement in necromancy—how she can control ghosts and seemingly destroyed Emmauel Gast's. When they inquired about her whereabouts, Jessamine told them that Lucie was in the Sanctuary with Jesse Blackthorn's body. The pair thought Jessamine might be exaggerating but agreed she had no reason to lie, and so Will went to check on his daughter.
Almost 130 years after her death, she was able to protect the London Institute from being attacked by the force of Sebastian. When Magnus told Jocelyn Fray of her, he was evidently pleased and hoped that it had given her peace. Jocelyn asked for her name, but Magnus refused, knowing she would recognize her surname Gray since Jocelyn knew Tessa.
In 2010, a mundane boy, George Lovelace, adopted by Jessamine's distant Lovelace relatives died during his Ascension. When the boy was buried in the garden of the London Institute, Jessamine welcomed his spirit, and both appeared to his dear friend and roommate at the Academy, Simon Lewis.
In 2012, the Blackthorn family and their friends came to stay at the London Institute. During the first few days, Jessamine repeatedly tried to get the attention of Kit Herondale to no avail. Finally, after getting his Voyance rune applied by Ty Blackthorn, he was able to see her and she offered them help in finding Malcolm Fade's cottage in Cornwall. When asked why she hadn't simply told Evelyn Highsmith—the current head of the Institute—to tell them, she explained that Evelyn couldn't actually see her and merely pretended she did by making stuff up. She continued on to express her sadness over Arthur Blackthorn's death, claiming she used to look after him when he slept during his time living there because of his nightmares. When she faded out, she left a note threatening Kit away from stealing the books in the library, as she had caught him eyeing them earlier.
Jessamine was in general contemptuous; she and Will were similar in that sense though, unlike Will and his pretenses, she seemed to truly dislike almost everyone in the Institute, though this was mainly brought on by her hatred of the Nephilim, just as she was raised to think. Despite her outlook on life, she was proud and vain. When Tessa tapped into Jessamine's mind, she felt a strong sense of resentment, bitter hatred, anger, and fierce longing.
She spent her orphaned years dreaming of living an ordinary, mundane life away from the fighting that she abhorred. Born to rich parents who spoiled her, Jessamine also grew up proud, snobbish, and pompous, as well as extravagant and flamboyant, often squandering her money on unnecessary things.
When it came to love, Jessamine was desperate and naive enough to fall for the tricks of her "husband", Nate.
It was shortly before her death that Jessamine seemingly changed too late. After being subject to the Silent Brothers, and spending weeks alone in her cell, Jessamine was left to contemplate her life and her decisions. When she died, she was happier to stay as a ghost to guard the Institute rather than pass on, fearing what expectations the afterlife may have for her.
Jessamine was a beautiful girl with long blond hair and brown eyes, though her face was often marred by scowls and her personality. She often wore beautiful dresses, which she always personally bought or has professionally made, which she preferred with very small waistlines. She also put on a great deal of makeup and often had Sophie do her hair.
After months at the Silent City, Jessamine had lost weight and became sickly thin; her hair was also cut short, practically shaved to her scalp like a fever patient's.
- Electrum-laced parasol: Jessamine's parasol is pink with flowered designs on it. Henry gave it to her as a form of protection. The parasol was made out of fabric that was edged with electrum. The tips of it were razor sharp. It was a deadly weapon, and Jessamine used it to kill a goblin in the park and to fight off some clockwork monsters.
- Dollhouse: A beautiful miniature reproduction modeled exactly after the townhouse she and her parents lived in on Curzon Street before it burned down, complete with the furnishings and small china dolls representing the family: Baby Jessie, her Mama and Papa. It was given to her by her father as a gift when she was six years old, and she kept it for years as a constant reminder of the life she once had. Tessa brought her Baby Jessie for comfort during her time in the Silent City. When she died, she asked Will to look after them.
Jessamine was judgmental and distrustful of Tessa when the latter was first brought to the Institute. However, she quickly realized that Tessa could be of use to her: once Tessa was kicked out of the Institute, she and Tessa could move out and be roommates. After she thought of this idea, she began to treat Tessa slightly better—or at least tried to.
Though she wasn't much older, Charlotte was technically the one who raised Jessamine after she was orphaned. Despite this, Jessamine never truly showed gratitude to Charlotte for everything they'd been through, was as rude to her as she was with everyone, and even ultimately betrayed her. Nonetheless, Charlotte still cared for her, felt guilty about sending her to the Silent Brothers, pitied her, forgave her, and mourned her death.
Jessamine and Will had a highly hostile relationship. Jessamine found Will's lack of manners atrocious, and they often argued. Nevertheless, Will secretly also cared a bit about Jessamine, missing her when she was taken to the Silent City, and Jessamine felt somewhat similar. The two of them were a great deal alike in that both acted volatile and arrogantly to hide their pain. Jessamine once even stated that she liked him more than Jem because she related to him and his apparent hatred for himself, and because he did not pity her. She even expressed disappointment that he never came to visit her at the Silent City.
Jessamine was often cruel and condescending to Sophie; she treated and spoke to her poorly and saw her as only her servant. Because Sophie did in fact work as her parlormaid, she rarely complained and still did as she was asked dutifully. Jessamine believed herself superior to Sophie.
Jessamine became a bit of a guardian to Will and Tessa's daughter. Growing up in the Institute and being able to see ghosts, Jessamine took it upon herself to educate the young girl in the kinds of ghosts to help protect her from those more dangerous. She would often play hide-and-seek with her; though Lucie felt she cheated by shrinking her size to hide in shoeboxes or glove drawers while Jessamine saw no reason she shouldn't. She also simply loved to look at Lucie's clothes and give her unasked for fashion advice or brush her hair.
Because of her desire to marry a mundane and out of her Shadowhunter life, Jessamine showed an instant liking to Nate. She looked after him and doted on him while he recovered when he was first brought to the Institute. The pair became close until Nate was discovered as an ally of the Magister. When Nate reached out to her, however Jessamine—still desperate to leave her life behind—was quick to trust him and even married him in a mundane wedding ceremony shortly after. She even spied on the people she grew up with for him but came to regret this when Tessa made her realize that Nate did not truly love her.
- Clockwork Angel (first appearance)
- Clockwork Prince
- Clockwork Princess
- The Whitechapel Fiend (flashback)
- Chain of Gold
- Chain of Iron
- City of Heavenly Fire (mentioned only) (appeared in comic)
- Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy (alluded to)
- Angels Twice Descending
- Lord of Shadows
- Queen of Air and Darkness (mentioned only)
- See more here
- In November of 2007, Jace Herondale slept in the same cell in the Silent City that Jessamine was kept over a century before, the initials she had etched into the stone above the bedstead still there.
- The legitimacy of Jessamine's mundane marriage to Nate was questioned by Charlotte, though its invalidity was never really confirmed either.
- Jessamine left her fortune to Tessa, as her sister-in-law, which may prove useful in a future installment.
- Even as a ghost, Jessamine loves gossip and was often seen at Institute functions trying to overhear some.
- According to Lucie, Jessamine has a tendency to romanticize her past.
- In the wedding comic from City of Heavenly Fire, Jessamine attended Tessa and Jem's wedding on the Blackfriars Bridge. She expressed her surprise upon seeing Will's ghost appear to witness the wedding too, though she acknowledged the sweetness of the thought and Will's luck when it came to love. However, in the extra story In Dreams Begin—from The Lost Book of the White—the wedding was held a year later and inside a dream by Magnus using Oneiromancy and Jessamine was not mentioned as having attended. As such it is unclear whether her presence or the conversation she had with Will is still considered canon.
- 10th Anniversary Edition of Clockwork Angel
- "Because Jessamine's name was Jessamine Gray." Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- Clockwork Angel
- Clockwork Prince
- Clockwork Princess
- An Illustrated History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of Downworld
- The Whitechapel Fiend
- Chain of Gold
- Chain of Iron
- City of Heavenly Fire
- Angels Twice Descending
- Lord of Shadows
- Lucie and Ghosts, a Chain of Gold extra
- City of Fallen Angels
- "And she left her fortune to Tessa..." — Cassandra Clare on Tumblr