Before the blade can be used, a Shadowhunter must name it to invoke its power. Any angel's name, except for Raziel's, can be called upon. Within the Shadowhunter community, it is often believed that when a Shadowhunter names a seraph blade, the blade not only becomes engulfed by heavenly fire, but some of the named angel's spirit is infused into the blade as well.
Seraph blades are activated when their name is called. It is said to be stronger the louder the angel's name is called. Seraph blades are an efficient way to kill demons and Downworlders. However, they do not work, and disintegrate, when used on the finalized version of Mortmain's mechanical automatons, despite the fact that these mechanical beings were run and possessed by demons. Seraph blades are also unable to work in land that has been blighted by the Unseelie King's magic. When used against a mundane, the seraph blade has been observed to be vastly overpowering, causing the mundane to burst into flames upon the first blow.
Although they are chiefly for the killing of demons and rogue Downworlders, seraph blades are known to also affect angels. Ithuriel once used Jace's seraph blade to commit suicide on Earth and be sent back to Heaven.
Seraph blades can also be used to create a Malachi Configuration.
According to Shadowhunter legend in the earliest days of the Iron Sisters, when they were few in number and their Adamant Citadel was no more than a single adamas forge and a few protective wards, a lone Iron Sister was confronted with a Dragon demon in the Citadel. In her desperation, she picked up and pointed an unprocessed adamas jag at the Dragon, and prayed to the Archangel Michael, making the adamas unexpectedly burst to life as a sword. It bored through the Dragon's neck, engulfing it in heavenly fire. She then deduced what had just happened, and by the time her fellow sisters returned to the Citadel, she had drawn up the first set of plans for the seraph blades.
The seraph blades are, when deactivated, dull tubes with blunt edges. When activated, the blade springs to life, growing into a bright, glowing, clear dagger. They vary in length, from a small ones like daggers, to long ones like swords.
Known named blades
All the seraph blades ever called in the series, listed alphabetically, with the series book/s they were included in linked in the adjacent reference. For more angel names, go to the section on the separate Angels page.
- For some unknown reason, seraph blades cannot be named after Raziel. According to Luke, it just isn't done, while Jace said that it should not be attempted as legend says Raziel does not like it and it would likely result in "nothing good".
- Seraph blades are among the Nephilim tools rendered useless in "blighted" land by the Unseelie King's Black Volume of the Dead-derived magic.
- In the TV adaptation, Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments, the design for the seraph blade for the first season was the same as the one used in the film. It was redesigned for the second season.
- On both adaptations, seraph blades are not shown being named after angels. On the show, the Iron Sisters, while forging the blades, hear the angels whisper instead.
- ↑ Shadowhunter's Guide
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Shadowhunter's Codex
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 City of Glass
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 City of Ashes
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 City of Lost Souls
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Lady Midnight
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Clockwork Princess
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 City of Heavenly Fire
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Clockwork Angel
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 City of Fallen Angels
- ↑ The Red Scrolls of Magic
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 City of Bones