|“||I came here to bring true love back from the dead.||”|
–Malcolm, Lady Midnight
Born in England, Malcolm was taken in as a child by the Blackthorn family. He lived in the Cornwall Institute as a ward, where he became very close to and eventually fell in love with the Shadowhunter Annabel Blackthorn. At one point, he also became friends with fellow warlocks Ragnor Fell, Magnus Bane, and Catarina Loss. Because their relationship predated the Accords and was therefore forbidden, Annabel's family took her away. For so long, Malcolm believed that she had been sent to the Adamant Citadel to become an Iron Sister.
It was a long time before he discovered the truth from a faerie: that her family had in fact buried her alive out of shame. Heartbroken, Malcolm became obsessed with finding ways to raise her from the dead, his attitude seen simply as strange by those around him. He also later learned that the poem "Annabel Lee" had been about them. Malcolm also developed a deep hatred for his warlock friends—Magnus, Catarina, even Tessa Gray—whom he believed lied to him about Annabel.
Malcolm went to the Unseelie King for advice. When the King needed a favor from him, he obliged and asked for information that could help him in exchange. The King gave him a rhyme, which he believed would be the spell that would raise her. He deciphered it eventually, only to find out that it was more instructions that told him that the spell he needed was in the Black Volume of the Dead. During this time, he also became acquainted with the King's right-hand man Iarlath, who later made a deal with him.
At the turn of the 20th century, Malcolm arrived in London and announced that he would be taking over the position of High Warlock as Ragnor Fell was resigning and no one had seen Magnus. While in London, he purchased a bit of property and allowed his friend Hypatia Vex to run a salon by the name of the Hell Ruelle out of it on some nights.
He was working the door on one particular night in August 1903 when three Shadowhunters arrived. Having seen Anna Lightwood and Matthew Fairchild there before, he allowed them easy passage. As for their third companion, Cordelia Carstairs, he stopped her, inquiring as to whether she had any Blackthorn blood in her family. After saying she did not, he allowed her entry as well. Later that night she saved him and Hypatia from being poisoned by their mermaid guest, Arabella. To repay their life debt, he and Hypatia passed along some rumors they had heard to assist them in their investigation into some recent demon attacks. In his gratitude, he also sent Matthew and Cordelia a bundle of faerie-work blades.
Translating the rhyme and finding the book took Malcolm almost a century. Some time mid-2007, Malcolm moved to Los Angeles, where he knew the book was being kept. He soon became the area's High Warlock.
Malcolm used this time to open an entrance to a convergence site in L.A. to use as his base. He wrote the words of the poem Annabel Lee within the convergence cave's walls and prepared the instruments he would need for the resurrection. To keep up appearances, he also threw a huge Downworlder party in Venice to celebrate their victory in the Mortal War. Supposedly he stole the venue from Barnabas Hale — who ended up crashing the party, quite literally, and accusing him of thieving not only the mansion but the High Warlock position. The pair fought magically and the whole mansion fell down. Barnabas was eventually sent away by Magnus Bane and Malcolm quickly moved on to discussing where he could throw the following day's party as it was meant to be a several day celebration.
Months later, in December 2007, after Sebastian Morgenstern's attack on the Institute, Malcolm took the rare opportunity of the Institute being vacant to steal the black book—the Black Volume of the Dead—from its library. There, he scanned through the Volume and saw the spell he needed; he discovered that it required the sacrifice of Shadowhunter life. Just then, Cordelia and John Carstairs arrived. Though it had not been a part of his plan, he ended up killing them to test the spell. The ritual failed, and he then dumped their bodies in the ocean, knowing that the preoccupied Shadowhunters would assume it was Sebastian's doing.
Malcolm was one of the first few people to find out that Magnus and the rest of the Downworlder Council representatives were captured by Sebastian. He went to New York to inform Catarina. Together, the two warlocks met with the local werewolf pack to pass on the news, as well as to ally themselves with them and try to help unite the Downworlders against Sebastian. He returned some time later on behalf of Catarina, who was having a demon problem at Beth Israel Hospital where she works.
While in L.A., Malcolm began to take jobs in the movie industry. He would be hired for magic, or to ensure a film's success. Malcolm was often too invested in the storylines and pushed for happy endings or romance in the film; as a result, he did not have many repeat clients. Malcolm did this as one of his ways to "bring true love back from the dead." Malcolm also began procuring medicine for the new head of the LA Institute Arthur Blackthorn, whose mental health had been deteriorating, as requested by his nephew Julian.
Malcolm spent the next years after his first failed sacrifice to further study and perfect the spell. He moved Annabel's body from her tomb in Cornwall to the convergence—specifically, in the ocean near the site which had portholes that led to the ocean. One of the things he eventually learned was that the word 'mandrake' in the spell stood for main de gloire—the Hands of Glory. Realizing that he would need the hands of murderers, he gathered a group of Followers that would kill for him, in exchange for the false sense of success that he would give them.
To fully accomplish his plans without the interference of the Clave, he distracted Emma Carstairs—whom he knew was determined to find her parents' killer—and her friends with false leads and had Iarlath return their brother Mark to the Blackthorns in exchange for apparently helping the faeries, knowing that this was against the Cold Peace. However, his leads, in addition to the children's craftiness, inadvertently still helped them trace everything back to him.
Eventually, Malcolm realized that he was running out of time, and so he kidnapped the youngest Blackthorn, Tavvy, and attempted to kill him and use his Blackthorn blood to complete the necromantic ritual. However, he was interrupted and confronted by the Blackthorns and their allies at the convergence site. He was later stabbed by Emma before he could complete the ritual and was sucked through the ocean door in the cave. His blood reached Annabel, awakening her.
His death set off several events due to spells he had cast in life. His protective spells around Johnny Rook's home fell suddenly, and the sea demons around Los Angeles that were under his control were released. Because of contingencies he had set up before his death, Malcolm's corpse—ruined by sea water—was reanimated with magic from the Black Volume of the Dead. With a part of his sea demon army, Malcolm charged at the Los Angeles Institute and made his return known to the Shadowhunters. Malcolm once again demanded Blackthorn blood by the next day and left, leaving the inhabitants of the Institute to face the demons.
Arthur Blackthorn later went to his old convergence site and called him out. Malcolm brought him to Porthallow Church, where Arthur offered his life for his family's safety. Malcolm accepted and killed Arthur, spilling his blood across the semi-awake Annabel. Malcolm was overjoyed when Annabel woke up, but unbeknownst to him, she had been half-alive and in agony for five years—since his partial casting of the ritual by killing Emma's parents. Seeing Arthur's body on the floor upset Annabel even more, and she stabbed Malcolm to death with the knife he had used to kill Arthur.
His final death stopped the surge in sea demon activity, and the Centurions suspected that Malcolm had died, this time for good. Cohort member Zara Dearborn took credit for his death, for which she was celebrated by some members of the Clave.
Malcolm was a tall man with an angular face, white hair, and purple eyes. He was strangely attractive. He had the appearance of a twenty-seven-year-old man.
Skills and abilities
- Immortality: As a warlock, Malcolm was immortal. Physically, Malcolm did not age and maintained the appearance of a twenty-seven-year-old for over two centuries.
- Magic: Malcolm had access to magical powers. Malcolm is capable of casting spells and performing summoning rituals.
- Necromancy: Malcolm was able to perform necromancy.
- Every Exquisite Thing
- Chain of Gold
- Chain of Iron
- Learn About Loss (mentioned only)
- The Red Scrolls of Magic
- City of Heavenly Fire (first appearance)
- A Long Conversation (mentioned only)
- Lady Midnight
- Lord of Shadows
- Queen of Air and Darkness (mentioned only)
- See more here
Malcolm is a given name of Scottish origin that means "devotee of Saint Columba".
- Malcolm's backstory in The Last Hours is set to connect the series with The Dark Artifices.
- For some reason, Malcolm claims to have been born in 1850—most likely an intentional lie.
- Malcolm planted atropa belladonna—deadly nightshade, a poisonous plant native to Cornwall— at his base, the convergence point in California.