|“||You can't understand. You've never been a parent. You never love anything like you love your children.||”|
Maryse Lightwood is a Shadowhunter and the former head of the New York Institute who was exiled from Idris as punishment for her involvement with the Circle in the early 1990s. She is the ex-wife of Inquisitor Robert Lightwood and the mother of Alec, Isabelle, and Max, as well as the adoptive mother of Jace, and the grandmother to Max and Rafael Lightwood-Bane.
Maryse Trueblood was born in Idris to the Truebloods Adam and Marisa on October 30, 1968. She was raised in Idris alongside her older brother, Max. At some point during her life, her brother left the Clave, choosing to leave his Shadowhunter life and live as a mundane to marry one; this decision made Maryse an outcast among her peers.
When Maryse was young, her parents used to take her brother with them to hunt demons and leave her alone at home, saying she’d be frightened if she went with them. Maryse, however, tried to tell them she was more frightened worrying they’d never come back.
As a child, Maryse was unusually short. Because of this, she became more determined to train with a large variety of weapons but found herself unable to use the broadsword. She had a massive growth spurt in her early teens, after which she was able to finally use broadswords, and it became her favorite weapon.
Maryse was among the first generation of Clave women to be trained as seriously as men had in the past. So, when she was old enough, she was sent to the Shadowhunter Academy. Sometime while she was there, she met and befriended Valentine Morgenstern. He recruited her to his group of misfits, which later became known as the Circle. Around this time, she met Robert Lightwood, whom she began dating and eventually married after they left the Academy. The couple continued their work in the Circle and were even known for being nearly as bad as Valentine himself when it came to discriminating against Downworlders.
She and her husband attended Valentine and Jocelyn Fairchild's wedding. A short while after, Maryse became pregnant with her first son, Alec.
In 1989, Maryse joined the rest of the Circle on a trip to New York as part of their revolution campaign. During the encounter, the Circle massacred the Whitelaw inhabitants of the Institute, all of whom were defending the local Downworlders.
When Jocelyn, Luke, and others left the group, Maryse and Robert were among those who remained loyal to Valentine. Valentine's charm kept her—and most of the other members—clinging to his words, especially since Valentine had claimed to trust her the most out of the whole Circle—something he had told almost every other Circle member.
In the early 1990s, the Circle staged an Uprising during the signing of the Ninth Accords. The members armed themselves with demonic weapons and marched into the Accords Hall, intending to disrupt the signing to send their message against Downworlders. Jocelyn and Luke arrived with reinforcements to fight back, however, and the Circle became outmatched, though many had already been killed. Thinking of her son who needed her, Maryse surrendered.
Afterward, the remaining Circle members—those who failed to escape and survived—were tried with the Mortal Sword. Because of the fact that they had a son, and due in part to their connections with influential Shadowhunter families, she and Robert were given lenient sentences: the Lightwoods, including their innocent infant son, Alec, were exiled to New York, where they were to run the Institute as 'punishment', though it was a job that they grew to love over time. Meanwhile, their fellow Circle member Hodge Starkweather was banished along with them; unlike them, however, Hodge was literally confined to the Institute grounds.
Robert and Maryse' relationship, already built on a weak foundation, became even more strained as Robert, who was never as interested in the Circle as Maryse, partially blamed her for their banishment. Had she not been pregnant with their second child, a daughter they named Isabelle, Robert would have apparently left her then. Around eight years after they had first been exiled, Robert had an affair with Annamarie Highsmith and planned to leave Maryse for her. However, Maryse became pregnant with their second son, so Robert stayed. Maryse then named the boy Max, after her brother, despite their estrangement.
A little over a year after Max's birth, in 2000, Maryse was sent a ward in the form of Jonathan Wayland; the ten-year-old boy was then believed to be the son of their old friend Michael Wayland, who was thought to have been murdered recently. Charged with his upbringing, Maryse grew to love Jonathan, caring for him as if he was her own and giving him the nickname "Jace", which he grew to prefer over his birth name.
For the signing of the Tenth Accords, Maryse and Robert went to Alicante, bringing along their youngest son Max, as representatives to participate at the signing. When they returned, her children had already met Jocelyn and Valentine's daughter, Clary, and it had been discovered that Valentine was alive and that Jace was his son. Because of this newfound knowledge, Maryse tried to distance herself from Jace. She even suggested that it would be best if Jace left the Institute—though the reason for this was because she secretly wanted to save him from the wrath of Inquisitor Imogen Herondale.
When Valentine refused Imogen's trade for Jace, in exchange for two of the Mortal Instruments in his possession, Maryse snapped her out of her astonishment so they could mobilize and rescue Jace from Valentine's ship. Because of the short notice, they could not get reinforcements from the Clave and stormed the ship despite their numbers.
Shortly after the battle against demons on the ship, when they returned to the Institute, Jace began packing, having decided to leave the Institute. Maryse convinced him to stay by explaining to him the reasons behind the things she'd told him. She begged him to stay, if not for her then for her children who loved Jace dearly. Nothing she said convinced him until she sang the French ballad she used to sing to Isabelle and Alec when they were children and told him that she also used to sing it to him secretly. Jace was moved enough to wordlessly agree to stay.
The Lightwoods prepared to leave for Idris to attend a major Council meeting. When Clary argued with Jace about going to Idris with them, Maryse spoke out against Jace and reprimanded his beliefs about Valentine's next actions.
A couple of months after the events of the Mortal War, dead Shadowhunters started to appear. To find who was behind it, Maryse brought Clary and Luke to the morgue, where Clary used a recently-discovered necromancy rune to reanimate a murdered Shadowhunter for questioning. Horrified by the negative effects of the rune on the dead Shadowhunter, Luke chastised Maryse, but she argued that he had no right to tell her how to run her Institute.
When Sebastian returned to life, he used the Mark that Lilith had put on Jace to manipulate him, and disappeared with him. Maryse managed to track Jace, who had been marked by a special Rune that was commonly used by Valentine to track members of the Circle. She was shown to be relieved that he was alive.
In order to rescue Jace and stop Sebastian, Maryse fought in the battle against the Dark Shadowhunters at the Seventh Sacred Site. She killed Jeremy Pontmercy, who was confronting Jocelyn, which showed the fraught relationship between the two women. Soon afterward, Maryse called in Brother Enoch and Brother Zachariah to show them a message from Sebastian Morgenstern: a pair of sawn-off angel wings, dripping in golden ichor, with a note that read "Erchomai", Greek for "I am coming", and signed with his full name.
Maryse called her children, Clary, Jocelyn, Luke, and the rest of the New York Conclave to the Institute for a meeting. Maryse told them about Sebastian's recent attacks on Institutes for the past two weeks and about the latest attack on the Los Angeles Institute. Maryse explained that the Blackthorn children and Emma Carstairs, with the exception of the eldest brother Mark, went missing and that Helen was with Aline in Idris. Maryse told her children to pack up their things as all the Institutes were being evacuated and all Shadowhunters had to return to Idris to discuss Sebastian and his Endarkened army.
They went to Idris through a Portal which was opened by the warlock Catarina Loss, substituting Magnus. Maryse and her children had their house in Alicante due to Robert being the new Inquisitor. Maryse and Robert and their children and the other Shadowhunters attended the Council meeting, mourning the Shadowhunters who were Turned or were killed when Jia and Robert interrogated Julian Blackthorn and Emma about the events that happened at the Los Angeles Institute. The Clave also interrogated Julian's siblings; Tiberius, Livia, and Drusilla, with the exception of the youngest, Octavian.
Maryse and Alec witnessed when Isabelle confronted Robert about the knowledge of his affair with Annamarie Highsmith. Maryse and Robert ran over to Alec, worried about him, as he collapsed onto his knees due to Jace being hurt during the battle at the Adamant Citadel. Maryse attended the funeral for the Shadowhunters who died during the Citadel battle, among other Nephilim.
Maryse, Robert, Alec, Isabelle, Clary, Simon Lewis, Kadir, Aline, the Blackthorns, Emma, and the other Shadowhunters attended the Council meeting as Jia told them about the Downworld representatives' and Jocelyn's kidnapping by Sebastian. Matthias Gonzales, the former Head of the Buenos Aires Institute and Endarkened, threatened Jia's life and told the Clave to surrender both Clary and Jace up to Sebastian. Alec, Maryse's son, saved Jia's life from Matthias. Maryse participated, along with Robert, Jia, Aline, Helen, and the Silent Brothers Enoch and Zachariah in the discussion of whether or not to deliver Clary and Jace up to Sebastian.
Maryse and Robert were furious and frantic when Alec, Jace, and Isabelle fled Alicante with Clary and Simon, unaware they went to the demon realm, Edom, to rescue the Downworld representatives and Jocelyn, which they told to Jia and Patrick. The four of them, along with Kadir, Diana Wrayburn, Tomas Rosales, Brothers Enoch and Zachariah, and other adult Shadowhunters had a meeting about the Fair Folk's betrayal and asked for aid from the warlocks of the Spiral Labyrinth against Sebastian and the Fair Folk.
Maryse, Robert, and the other adult Shadowhunters participated in the battle against Sebastian's Endarkened, and the faerie warriors. Maryse and Robert were happy and grateful when Alec, Jace, and Isabelle returned unharmed from the demon realms.
At the Council meeting after the Dark War, the Clave had the Fair Folk sign a set of sanctions for their betrayal which they begrudgingly accepted. Helen and Mark Blackthorn, because of their faerie blood, also got caught up in the Clave's punishment of the Fair Folk. Helen got banished to Wrangel Island to study the wards which devastated her and her girlfriend, Aline, while her brother Mark was refused rescue and left with the Wild Hunt indefinitely, despite his family's objections.
Maryse and her children returned to the New York Institute while her husband, Robert, stayed in Alicante.
Maryse, Robert, and their children along with their Shadowhunter and Downworlder friends attended Jocelyn and Luke's wedding at Luke's Farm. Maryse and Robert ended their marriage. However, they still cared about and loved one another. Maryse was seen talking to Jocelyn during the wedding reception.
Maryse and Robert finalized their divorce shortly after the Dark War.
In early 2010, a warlock baby was found on the steps of the Shadowhunter Academy. Alec was there with Magnus who was a guest teacher and agreed to take care of the child. Through a series of misunderstandings, Alec and his family came to believe that they were adopting the child, so they rushed over to where they were staying and began baby-proofing the suite. Maryse immediately went into grandmother mode and began bickering with Robert over who should get to hold him. After a long talk between Magnus and Alec, they officially decided to adopt him and name him Max, as Maryse and Robert had suggested.
Not long after, Maryse began discussing retiring as head of the New York Institute and asked Jace to take over. Jace did not initially wish to be the head, thinking he was not suited for bureaucracy as he preferred fighting. In September of that year, Alec took Jace and the others to Shanghai for a mission and Maryse asked if Alec could talk to and perhaps convince Jace to take the job.
While they were away, Maryse was excited to watch Max. After a couple of days, she and Kadir Safar expressed concern over Max crawling up the walls and ceilings and how to get him down but refused to admit they were struggling and get any magical help. At some point during her babysitting, Maryse injured her arm badly enough to need a sling but denied that it had anything to do with Max when the group returned home.
Maryse was later thrilled when Jace agreed to become head of the Institute—with Clary—as she hoped to spend her newly-found free time to grow closer to her children and grandchild.
In 2012, Robert was killed. Though they had long been divorced, Maryse still grieved his death and attended his funeral.
Later that year she attended Julian Blackthorn's war council against the Cohort. She was requested to take the children (both her son's kids, Max and Rafe, and Dru and Tavvy Blackthorn) to Alicante so they were safe and not involved in the foreseen battle. Since she could not stay in the house meant for the Inquisitor like in the past, she went to Amatis's house with them. During the projection of the Cohort's parley, Maryse commented that it was like "the Circle all over again." When the battle began she tried to herd the kids back into the house though Dru and Tavvy had taken off.
In the weeks following the battle and the Clave's exile, Maryse helped her son and the crisis team in New York that was working on rebuilding the Clave in New York. She later went to her son's surprise wedding ceremony in Los Angeles.
Maryse is a passionate and proud Shadowhunter. Though she was once a member of the Circle that targeted Downworlders, she has since grown to care for the lives and rights of Downworlders and views them as valuable allies. She cares deeply for her children.
Maryse has blue eyes and black hair. She strongly resembles her daughter, Isabelle- a taller bonier version, while Alec is said to have inherited her eyes and structure—her thin, wiry build.
Skills and abilities
- Nephilim physiology: Being Nephilim, Maryse 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 also 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.
- Leadership: Maryse was once the head of the New York Conclave and was considerably good at her job, able to effectively lead and command the respect and obedience of those she leads.
Maryse and Robert got married immediately after they left the Academy. Maryse was completely in love with Robert, though he had his doubts about their future. However, the marriage continued. They almost ended it when Maryse was pregnant with Isabelle, but Robert decided to stay for their children. When Maryse was pregnant with Max, she discovered that Robert was having an affair with Annamarie Highsmith, and only revealed this to her daughter, Isabelle, while emphasizing to never trust others. Robert stayed in Idris after the death of their son, Max, and even applied for the Inquisitor position, which he received. After the Dark War, Maryse and Robert separated. Although the two did not have the best relationship and did not speak to each other often after the separation, they still cared for each other.
Alec is the oldest of Maryse's children, who she has a generally good relationship with. He has inherited her structure and eyes. Maryse was astonished to find out about Alec's sexuality and relationship with Magnus but did her best to accept it, though she still had her opinions about it. She became more accepting of it over the years, especially after the couple adopted their first son, Max, who was named after her youngest son.
Isabelle is the second of her children and the one she has the most favorable relationship with. Maryse told Isabelle about Robert's affair at a young age and taught her not to trust men and to be a strong and independent woman. Isabelle looks exactly like her mother, except for her eyes and the fact that her cooking is not as good as Maryse's.
|“||How she still thought of Max every day and it was like someone had emptied her lungs of air, and she would catch at her heart, afraid she was dying.||”|
–Maryse about the loss of her son, City of Lost Souls
|“||He is not a Herondale. He is a Lightwood. Jace Lightwood. He’s my son.||”|
–Maryse, City of Lost Souls
Jace entered Maryse's life when he was ten years old, and she raised and loved him like her own child. When it was first discovered that he was Valentine's son, Maryse tried to keep her distance, scared of the pain a potential betrayal could cause, but couldn't entirely do so as she dearly loved him as her own son. When Jace confronted Valentine, Maryse saw that Jace wasn't like him; she apologized and went back to treating Jace like she used to.When Jace was in danger due to his bond with Sebastian Morgenstern, Maryse went as far as lying and trying to trick the Clave in order to protect him, knowing that losing him would be as hard as losing one of her children.
- See more here
- Maryse was taught how to cook when she was young because most women were not trained as warriors before her generation.
- Some e-book copies of The Land I Lost mentioned that Maryse had a boyfriend with whom she babysat her grandson Max for Alec and Magnus. This was cut at the last minute during editing, though it remained in certain copies, but it was said that it might still be canon and addressed in The Lost Book of the White.
- Official Clave Files in the City of Bones 10th Anniversary Edition
- City of Bones
- Queen of Air and Darkness
- An Illustrated History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of Downworld
- The Last Stand of the New York Institute
- The Evil We Love
- City of Fallen Angels
- Son of the Dawn
- City of Ashes
- City of Glass
- City of Lost Souls
- City of Heavenly Fire
- A Long Conversation
- Born to Endless Night
- The Lost Book of the White
- A Love That Never Tires, a Queen of Air and Darkness extra
- "We were cutting things for length til the very last minute so that’s probably the issue." Sarah Rees Brennan on Twitter