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SPOILER WARNING: Plot details follow. Caution is advised!

It helped a little that this particular little boy reminded her of Simon at that age, with his skinny arms and legs and glasses that seemed too big for his face.

Clary on Max, City of Ashes

Maxwell "Max" Joseph Lightwood was the second son and youngest child of Maryse and Robert Lightwood.


Early life

Months before his birth, his father was having an affair with Annamarie Highsmith and was just about to leave Maryse and the children when he found out that Maryse was pregnant with him.[2] Finding out that they were going to have another child made Robert decide to stay and stop his affair.

Being the youngest in the family, Max had always been close to his older siblings, Isabelle and Alec Lightwood, and is even attached to his adoptive brother, Jace.[3] When Jace first came to live with his family, Max was in awe of him and immediately went to hug his leg and pronounced his love for "Jonathing", saying he could sleep in his room.[4]

Around the time Clary Fray met the Shadowhunters of the New York Institute, Max was with his parents at Alicante for official Clave business.[5] Eventually, Max and his parents returned to New York. He met and was quickly befriended by Clary, who taught him to read the manga he had bought from the airport, much to his delight.[3]


A while after their brief return to New York, the Lightwoods traveled back to Idris, to discuss Valentine's return with the Clave, and stayed with the Penhallows.

One night, merely days into their stay at Idris, Max, who was supposed to be in bed, saw someone scaling the demon towers that hold up the wards that protect Idris. When Max told the others, they merely dismiss his claims, simply believing it to be a figment of his imagination, as they had other things to worry about.

When the demons attacked the city, Max stayed at the Penhallows' with Izzy while the others left to defend the city. Sebastian went to the house and hit Max with a hammer on the back of his head, with the intent to kill him for the chance that he knew of his true nature after seeing him climb the demon towers,[6] and later tried to do the same with Isabelle when she found them. Though she survived the blow and was only knocked out, Max died instantly, holding the toy soldier Jace had given him. His parents later came home and found them. He and Isabelle were brought back with them to the Accords Hall, where the family mourned for him.[7]


Max's death had a huge impact on those within his family. Alec was able to largely keep things together, holding out for the others' sake. On the other hand, Isabelle withdrew completely from the outside world for a short time, blaming her brother's death on herself after not believing him when he told them he had seen someone climbing the demon towers. Immersed in self-loathing, she shut out the rest of her family and stayed alone in her room in Alicante, not even attending her brother's funeral. Eventually, she allowed Simon in, and he was able to comfort her to an extent. Following this, Isabelle returned to normal life as best as possible, later finding Sebastian and aiding Jace in killing him.

Six weeks after his death, Maryse was still coping alone in the Institute, since Robert was still in Idris. His death caused the rift between his parents to worsen, with Robert even taking the Inquisitor position. Max's death was perhaps to an extent the cause of their eventual separation, Isabelle even going so far as to accuse her father of being glad of Max's death, having stayed with Maryse following an affair he had mainly because of her pregnancy with Max.[8]

Jace later saw Max in a dream induced by Lilith.[9] On a journey to Edom, Isabelle, Alec, and Jace had hallucinations of Max while bypassing a demon which fed on dreams. While Max was simply present at a victory banquet held for Alec, in Isabelle's dream, set in 2013, Max was still a boy, stuck at nine years old. The realization that the image of Max was wrong broke the illusion. In Jace's hallucination, Max was stuck in a cage with the others while Jace and Sebastian both sat on thrones, ruling the world together.[8]

Personality and traits

Photo Max 01.jpg

Young as he was, Max had always disliked being reminded that he was not yet of age. He hated being overlooked or left behind during matters for the adults and that he cannot engage in the conversations all his family members discuss with one another.

According to Jace, he could sleep through just about anything and, "like a cat", could sleep anywhere.

Max was an avid reader; he was particularly fond of folk and fairy tales. He related to these tales of dark magic and beasts because he watched his family face danger every day.[10]

Max once bought a Naruto manga and had taken an interest in them ever since Clary taught him how to correctly read it. He also seemed to not like it when certain other people touch his things, an example of this is when "Sebastian Verlac" read his copy of the manga 'Angel Sanctuary'. Before Max died, Clary had promised to bring him to Forbidden Planet.

Physical description

Max was a boy considered small for his age, appearing to be around seven though he was nine. He wore over-sized glasses that reminded Clary of Simon at that age, and had brown hair and gray eyes.[7][3]



See more here


  • Max was named after his mother's brother Max Trueblood, who left the Clave long before he was born and subsequently never met.[5]
  • Max was intended to die ever since the character's conception and was originally even meant to be killed off in City of Ashes.[11]
  • When Simon proposed to Isabelle, she insisted on having an engagement party in two days so they could celebrate it on the day of Max's birthday.[12]


  1. Since the Lottery ticket in Lady Midnight has the date August 11th on it, if you follow the timeline of events in the book, you can determine that the character's face down the Guardian on the 14th. When they get home, we see characters from TMI show up at the LA Institute saying they had just come from Simon and Isabelle's engagement party, which we know from A Long Conversation was on Max's birthday.
  2. City of Lost Souls
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 City of Ashes
  4. Son of the Dawn
  5. 5.0 5.1 City of Bones
  6. "Sebastian killed Max because Max knew something..." Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
  7. 7.0 7.1 City of Glass
  8. 8.0 8.1 City of Heavenly Fire
  9. City of Fallen Angels
  10. An Illustrated History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of Downworld
  11. Cassie's London Q&A in her UK Tour, Page to Premiere coverage.
  12. A Long Conversation, a Lady Midnight extra