|“||Being what I am puts me between two worlds. I belong here and yet I don't. Sometimes I can glimpse other things that do not quite belong.||”|
As a baby, Jesse required the protection spells placed on Nephilim shortly after birth. However Tatiana, who had grown distrustful of Shadowhunters, would not allow the Silent Brothers to perform the spells and instead put word out in Downworld to seek someone to do it. Emmanuel Gast was the only warlock who responded and so Tatiana hired him. Prior to his arrival, the Prince of Hell Belial threatened Gast into placing a small part of Belial's essence into Jesse's body while he did the spells so that Belial could later possess him to carry out his plans.
Jesse was a weak and sickly child growing up. As a result, Tatiana told the Silent Brothers he could not be Marked. However, Jesse desperately wished to be a Shadowhunter like all the others so he continually begged and pleaded with his mother to let him be runed. Finally, when he was 17, she relented after he threatened to run away to Alicante and have them done himself if she did not let him.
The rune ceremony went well at first, but when he returned to his room he collapsed. He woke up feverish and screaming, blood welling from his skin as the runes of the Gray Book reacted badly with the demonic essence in his body. His adoptive sister Grace stayed with him and even held him in his final moments. Just as he realized he was dying, his mother came in and held the Blackthorn family locket to his lips to capture his last breath.
After his death, Tatiana refused to give the Silent Brothers his body. Instead, she brought a warlock into the room in the hours following to preserve and safeguard his body. His soul was then cut from it, making him free to wander both the real world and the spirit world; though he is not able to crossover. For some reason, Jesse's spirit is only conscious during nights and is strong enough that he is able to lift and touch people.
Over the years, Jesse spent his nights wandering in Brocelind Forest and reading either books or his grandfather's papers. One night in 1897, while wandering the forest, he came across a small girl who had fallen into a faerie trap. He was surprised when she saw him as prior to that night, as no one had been able to see him aside from his family. He was even more surprised by his ability to lift her out of the hole. Jesse attributed this to her youth.
In 1903, seven years after his death, his mother was still trying to find a way to resurrect him. She called for Magnus Bane requesting that he kill five Shadowhunters for her in order to accomplish this task; a job Magnus refused to do. Despite this setback, Tatiana still hoped that once she has all the ingredients a warlock would need, his last breath could be used to bring him back.
Later that year, Jesse re-encountered the girl from the forest at a party in the London Institute. When he realized she could still see him, he dragged her away from the party and explained to her who he was. He and Lucie spent time together and talked often after this. The two became close and Jesse began confiding in her, even asking for her help when he believed his sister to be in trouble. When Lucie's brother James was dying, Jesse gave his last breath to him in order to save his life.
Though he was able to stay a ghost, he lost his strength to be a solid entity that could be touched. He and Grace, having realized the extent of their mother's madness through the reveal of her deals with demons, decided they could no longer trust her and made plans to get her the help she needed. While Lucie was visiting his grave, he thanked her for allowing him to be a hero but asked that she not try to save him.
Personality and traits
Jesse cares deeply about those important to him. To others he is somewhat mysterious; though he is willing to be more open and share stories about his life with Lucie. Jesse can be playful at times but also holds a sense of propriety with societal expectations, despite his ghostly state.
Jesse has straight black hair and eerie green eyes. He is tall, like his mother, and slender with shockingly pale skin. He has a lovely melancholy face with the handsome, angular features of his uncle, Gabriel.
In his ghost form, he is always dressed in white shirtsleeves and black trousers. He has a scar on his right hand from his Voyance rune. Jesse also wears a silver Blackthorn ring on his right hand and a gold locket with a circle of thorns etched on its surface.
Tatiana is Jesse's mother. Growing up, she refused to allow him to have his rune ceremony because of his illness. When Jesse turned 17, he threatened to run away to Alicante and have it done himself if she did not allow the Silent Brothers to perform the ceremony. She relented but the success was short-lived as he began convulsing and crying out in pain. Taiana didn't come to see him while he died until he took his last breath, which she captured in the Blackthorn family locket.
Jesse soon came back as a ghost and learned that his mother had invoked a warlock's help to get him to his current state. Over the years, he spent time with his mother but was oblivious to the details of her plans. Eventually, Jesse realized his mother had gone too far with dark magic and made plans with Grace to get her the help she needed.
Grace is Jesse's adoptive sister. The two are extremely close and confide in one another. When Jesse was dying after his rune ceremony, Grace held him in her arms till he took his last breath.
When he returned as a ghost, they talked often but still Grace kept things from him. She tried to shield him from knowing all the dark dealings Tatiana had taken in an effort to resurrect him. Jesse inevitably learned the truth after killing the demon Namtar when it attacked Grace. He and Grace then made plans to get their mother help, as her madness was clearly not harmless as he had believed.
|“||You brought light into my lightless world, and for that I am grateful.||”|
–Jesse to Lucie, Chain of Gold
Jesse and Lucie first met in Brocelind Forest in 1897 when he saved her from a faerie trap. It was the first time anyone besides his mother and sister had been able to see him and as such, the memory stayed with him for a long time.
The two met again in 1903 at a party in the London Institute. He was shocked that she could still see him and dragged her away to explain to her who he was. They became close afterward; they spoke often and Jesse began telling her the story of his death and afterlife. He was also able to help Lucie understand the nature of her power.Later, knowing how much he meant to her, Jesse saved her brother's life by giving him his last breath. While Lucie was visiting his grave to thank him for his sacrifice, he ended up thanking her for allowing him to be a Shadowhunter. When she began promising to repay him by bringing him back from the dead or properly laying him to rest, he asked that she not try to save him.
- The Midnight Heir (first mention)
- Chain of Gold (first appearance)
- Chain of Iron
- Lady Midnight (mentioned only)
- Lord of Shadows (alluded to)
- Secrets of Blackthorn Hall (alluded to)
- See more here
- Jesse's weapon of choice is the Blackthorn sword.
- In The Midnight Heir, Tatiana lies to Magnus Bane about Jesse's death—claiming he died when he was 16 due to sickness, years after his supposed rune ceremony.
- A "found" family tree states that Jesse died at the age of 59. This may be because of his mother's plans to resurrect him.
- Also according to the found family tree, Jesse apparently went on to marry Lucie and had children with her.
- Jesse is set to be a pianist.
- He doesn't know much about his father as Tatiana has created a whole false narrative of her life.
- Jesse's favorite book is A History of Notable Shadowhunters.
- His favorite animal is the red fox.
- "...and has been since 1896" - Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- Jesse Character Card — Cassandra Clare on Instagram
- Chain of Iron
- Chain of Gold
- The Midnight Heir
- "Jesse Blackthorn used to play the piano when he was alive." Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- "...the information he’s gotten hasn’t been very solid." CC on Tumblr