Study Guide

City of Bones Quotes

  • Religion

    Chapter 1

    "Demons, [...] religiously defined as hell's denizens, the servants of Satan, but understood here, for the purposes of the Clave, to be any malevolent spirit whose origin is outside our own home dimension." (1.64)

    The Shadowhunters don't seem to know whether demons are the spawn of Satan or not, which goes along with Jace's inner religious conflict. Either way, we don't want to meet any of these demons in a dark alley. Or anywhere. Maybe their religious or non-religious origins are entirely beside the point.

    Chapter 5

    The dreams held her, one after the other, a river of images that bore her along like a leaf tossed in a current. [...] Simon with crosses burned into the palms of his hands. Angels, falling and burning. Falling out of the sky. (5.7)

    Clary's not quite sure what it means, but her dream is rich with religious imagery.

    Chapter 7

    "'Supposed to be'? You mean angels don't—" (7.58)

    We assume Clary is going to say "angels don't exist" before getting cut off by Madame Dorothea. Jace doesn't seem to think they do, even though he might be one (or maybe he just looks heavenly).

    Madame Dorothea

    "Faeries are fallen angels," said Dorothea, "cast down out of heaven for their pride." (7.55)

    Madame Dorothea is sure of herself here, not peppering her beliefs with any "maybes" or "mights." Her mythology is concrete.

    Chapter 8

    [Clary's] favorite was a statuette of the Indian goddess of destruction, Kali, brandishing a sword and a severed head as she danced with head thrown back and her eyes slitted closed. (8.119)

    Yeah, these gods and goddesses don't mess around. Smiting with lightning? Pssh. They get their hands dirty—with blood. And these are definitely gods who like to come down to earth and meddle in human affairs.

    Chapter 9

    "We find it useful to inhabit hallowed ground." (9.11)

    Useful is different than "critical," or "spiritually beneficial." Maybe the Shadowhunters aren't angels at all, but they think of religion as a convenient ally.

    Chapter 11

    "[Idris is] a place blessed by the Angel." (11.121)

    Sounds like heaven on earth to us, except Shadowhunters don't have to die to go there. So why would they ever leave?

    Chapter 14

    "In the name of the Clave, [...] I ask entry to this holy place. In the name of the Battle That Never Ends, I ask the use of your weapons. And in the name of the Angel Raziel, I ask your blessings on my mission against the darkness." (14.10)

    Okay, this isn't quite the Our Father, but it totally sounds like a prayer, Shadowhunter-style.

    "When I saw [my father] lying dead in a pool of his own blood, I knew then that I hadn't stopped believing in God. I'd just stopped believing God cared. There might be a God, Clary, and there might not, but I don't think it matters. Either way, we're on our own." (14.43)

    Jace has had a lot of tragedies befall him that have been totally out of his control, like the death of his father. So his reaction—that God is callous—is more than understandable. Either way, the God he's talking about doesn't seem all that interested in worldly affairs, the way the supernatural beings like demons and angels do in the book.

    Chapter 20

    "All that this angelic heritage has given to us is a longer distance to fall." (20.21)

    Being the offspring of an angel isn't all it's cracked up to be. Being good all the time? No thank you.

  • Versions of Reality

    Chapter 1
    Clary Fray

    Clary said, "I'm not blind, you know." "Oh, but you are," said Jace. (1.80)

    Jace has knowledge and vision that Clary doesn't, so he can serve as her guide into the Underworld, à la Virgil in Dante's Inferno. Basically, the hottie's here to show her a whole new world.

    "Have you had dealings with demons, little girl? Walked with warlocks, talked with the Night Children?" (1.106)

    Um, no we haven't thank you very much. Talking cryptically must be in Jace's job description, as Clary's guide to all things magical. It adds to the mystery, sure, but it probably doesn't help Clary much when it comes to sussing out what's real and what's not.

    It was as if they had sprung into existence between one blink of her eyes and the next. (1.58)

    Clary was either too preoccupied with her fears of a cute boy being murdered that she didn't notice them, or they were somehow hiding in plain sight. But how can people be invisible?

    Chapter 2

    He was tall, with maple-syrup-colored skin, gold-green eyes like a cat's, and tangled black hair. He grinned at her blindingly, showing sharp white teeth. (2.109)

    Well this guy certainly doesn't sound like a typical human. He's got a mysterious allure. Must be from out of town.

    "Clary, you're an artist. [...] You see the world in ways that other people don't." (2.46)

    Art is all about perspective, and Clary's is definitely unique. Clearly Clary's already open-minded enough to see other worlds, other realities, that her fellow mundies might not be hip to.

    Chapter 4

    Clary saw the [police woman's] hand was fleshless, a skeleton hand sharpened to bone points at the fingertips. (4.53)

    We would not want to get pulled over by this officer.

    Chapter 6
    Jace Wayland

    "Down the rabbit hole." (6.20)

    Jace's allusion to Alice in Wonderland proves that Shadowhunters do read books by mundie authors (assuming that Lewis Carroll was actually a mundie), and that he's about to lead Clary into a world that is both similar to her own and radically different.

    Chapter 7

    "Most myths are true, at least in part." (7.29)

    Many characters in the book say this line, or a version of it, making Clary's world, with all its vampires, werewolves, faeries, fallen angels, and more, all the more real.

    "Dimensions aren't all straight lines, you know. [...] There are dips and folds and nooks and crannies all tucked away." (7.108)

    Nooks and crannies, eh? Who knows what magical worlds might exist inside a Thomas' English muffin? So long as they're butter-filled, we're not picky.

    Chapter 18

    "We all see what we want to see," [Simon] said quietly. (18.197)

    This explains the power of magical glamor. When you look at a crumbling mental hospital, that's what you expect to see, and do. But there could be something else there.

  • Appearances

    Chapter 1

    They were dancing [...] in a space between a group of teenage boys in metallic corsets, and a young Asian couple [...], their colored hair extensions tangled together like vines. (1.19)

    The partiers at the Pandemonium Club have a very unique sense of fashion. We get the impression Clary and Simon don't dress the same way, giving the Pandemonium Club an otherworldly feel.

    Chapter 2

    [Clary] knew she wasn't beautiful like her mother was. To be beautiful you had to be willowy and tall. (2.50)

    Says who?

    Chapter 6

    Two teenage girls sitting on an orange bench seat were giggling together. [...] Clary wondered for a moment if they were laughing at her. (6.38)

    Clary's pretty insecure. We have a feeling that if the girls weren't cute, Clary either wouldn't think they were laughing at her, or wouldn't care.

    Chapter 7

    "In my day, girls were robust, strapping creatures, not twigs like they are nowadays." (7.62)

    However old she is, Madame Dorothea has a healthy view of body image. Clary, on the other hand, desperately longs to be a twig.

    "Maybe I'm just a late developer." (7.76)

    Here, Clary is talking about her lack of magical sight, but it might help explain her insecurity, too. Maybe she feels awkward in her own body just because she hasn't come into her own yet. She is only 15, after all.

    Chapter 9

    Isabelle was exactly Simon's type—tall, glamourous, and beautiful. Come to think of it, maybe that was everyone's type. (9.46)

    Says who part deux.

    Chapter 11

    [Simon] wasn't looking at [Clary's] backpack; he was looking at her legs as if he'd never seen them before. (11.228)

    We wouldn't be surprised if Clary had a tomboy style, until she puts on one of Isabelle's dresses confirming that yes, she is a girl, and yes, she does have legs. This isn't going to help deter Simon's unrequited crush one bit. Poor guy.

    [Clary] recognized her mother instantly: Jocelyn, no more than seventeen or eighteen, her hair halfway down her back and her face a little rounder, the chin and mouth less defined. She looks like me, Clary thought dazedly. (11.96)

    We wish this revelation would give Clary the self-confidence to realize that she, too, will age into an attractive woman once she's past her awkward teen years. We really wish she'd just get over her whole hang-up on appearance altogether, but at least this is a small step in the right direction.

    Clary Fray

    "Demon hunting and fashion," Clary said. "I never would have thought they went together." (11.224)

    Here's something we can get behind—showing your strength and taking charge, now that's hot.

    Chapter 14

    Clary wondered if there were any ugly vampires, or maybe any fat ones. Maybe they didn't make vampires out of ugly people. Or maybe ugly people just didn't want to live forever. (14.183)

    Jeez, reality check, Clary. Just because someone might be considered "ugly" (and who's to judge?), doesn't mean they have no other reason to live.

    Chapter 17

    "[Isabelle] always wanted to be small and delicate, you know. She hates being taller than most boys." (17.75)

    Even pretty girls have body issues. Like man shoulders and sucky nail beds.

  • Love

    Chapter 2

    Simon pushed [her messenger bag strap] back up absently, his finger lingering at the bare skin of her shoulder. (2.139)

    Clary sure doesn't recognize this lingering touch, and we're not sure if Simon's doing it consciously either, at this point. We're talking ten years of unrequited love here.

    [Simon's] face was so familiar [Clary] could have traced its lines in her sleep. (2.161)

    This is sweet, but it's more like brother/sister love than the romantic love Simon desires. If only he was her real brother, like Jace, (spoiler alert!) then maybe she would have romantic feelings toward him…

    Chapter 3
    Jace Wayland

    "Declarations of love amuse me, especially when unrequited." (3.57)

    Jace's amusement at unrequited love is ironic because he has his own unrequited love for Clary, his sister. He'll get down off his cynical high horse soon enough.

    Chapter 6

    "[Parabatai] means a pair of warriors who fight together—who are closer than brothers. Alec is more than just my best friend." (6.52)

    Alec is to Jace what Simon is to Clary. The object of their affection loves them, but only in a familial way.

    Chapter 7

    "The most terrible things men do, they do in the name of love." (7.84)

    Maybe that's why The Supremes command men to stop in the name of love. But in all seriousness, this moment tells us that besides revenge, there's one other clear motivator in this book: ooey gooey, hearts and flowers, rainbows and unicorns love.

    Chapter 10

    [Jace's] hands were cool on [Clary's], and she was aware of them in a way she had not been of Simon's. (10.121)

    Jace's hands may be cool, but their relationship is heating up fast.

    Chapter 11
    Jace Wayland

    "Falcons are not meant to be loving pets: They are fierce and wild, savage and cruel. This bird was not tamed; it was broken." (11.160)

    This story told by Jace says a lot about why he puts up a prickly façade to keep people away. He's both scared of loving and being loved. Vampires on the other hand? Not scary at all.

    Chapter 16
    Clary Fray

    "I've only ever loved three people in my life," [Clary] said. "My mom and Luke, and you." (16.66)

    We're glad Clary didn't include Jace on this list. She's only known him for a few days at this point, so at least we know she's kept her head. Simon's been around for years.

    Chapter 17

    "There might have been a time when one or the other of us considered it, but [Isabelle's] almost a sister to me. It would be strange." (17.69)

    Almost a sister = strange. Actually a sister = go for it, bro! This book has some strange notions about incest. But we have a sneaking suspicion that those notions might be explained in the sequels…

    Chapter 18

    "Where there is love, there is often also hate. They can exist side by side." (18.128)

    There's a fine line between these two seemingly opposite emotions, both rooted in passion, which explains why you can get so incredibly mad at someone you love.

    Chapter 21
    Luke Garroway

    "I loved [Valentine] too: He was my closest friend, and I was happy to see Jocelyn with him." (21.10)

    Luke talks about his love for Valentine in past tense, so we're pretty sure he won't re-join Valentine's cause the way Hodge does.

  • Art and Culture

    Chapter 2

    The floor was littered with discarded balls of paper, a sure sign that her creative juices weren't flowing the way she'd hoped. (2.2)

    Little wads of paper: evidence of creative constipation. Clary needs more inspirational fiber.

    "I've got a bunch of meetings with my art group, and ten more classes at Tisch." (2.68)

    One of Clary's short-term goals is to attend summer classes at the prestigious Tisch School of Art. Guess what? You can, too.

    Chapter 11

    Chiaroscuro, [Clary] thought. The art of shadows and light. (11.165)

    Clary's art education enables her to make nifty arty metaphors about Jace and his inner conflict between light and dark.

    Chapter 12

    There was a queasy sense of something organic about the bikes, like the bio-creatures in a Giger painting. (12.20)

    So they look like the alien from Alien with wheels. We do not want to know what the exhaust pipe is sticking out of.

    Chapter 14

    The sight was as surreal as one of the abstract Magritte paintings Jocelyn had loved. This one, Clary thought, would be called The Stairs to Nowhere. (14.128)

    Actually, we think a better name would be This is Not a Staircase,in honor of Magritte's famous work This is Not a Pipe.

    Chapter 17

    If a rune could bring a painting to life, then maybe— (17.143)

    If it doesn't work, then Clary has just succeeded at defacing a painting, which she will probably feel pretty rotten about later.

    [Clary] cradled [her sketchbook] to her chest, not wanting to draw in it, just craving the feel and smell of familiar things: ink, paper, chalk. (17.136)

    Art is as much about physical sensations as it is about mental ones. And for Clary, art's kind of like home.

    [Jace] looked like a fair-haired angel from a Rembrandt painting. (17.8)

    This is meant to be compliment, and something that Clary, an art student, would think, but it sure doesn't sound very masculine or heroic. Sorry, Gabriel.

    Chapter 18

    "My mother painted the Mortal Cup into Madame Dorothea's tarot deck." (18.38)

    The Ace of Cups can represent love and creativity, and repressed emotions. Or it can be a magical artifact that might hold the very fate of mankind. Who knew Tarot could be so serious?

    Chapter 22

    As it usually did, thinking of how she would draw it helped. (22.139)

    Art therapy, anyone? Clary's eye for art assists her special Sight in seeing what really exists.

  • Prejudice

    Chapter 5

    "Who could argue, really, that the Fair Folk do not belong in this world, when they have been here longer than we have?" (5.244)

    Unfortunately, the whole we-were-here-first argument doesn't work, especially when confronted with an army of angry people with weapons. Just ask the Native Americans.

    Chapter 9

    "There's no need to be sadistic just because he isn't one of you." (9.82)

    Jace might be motivated more by jealousy than by prejudice, but sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between the two.

    I will be ready to risk my life at any time for the Circle, in order to preserve the purity of the bloodlines of Idris, and for the mortal world with whose safety we are charged. (9.138)

    The loyalty oath of the Circle of Raziel shows that they think they're actually doing something good for humanity by advocating genocide. That's the same kind of scary stuff that has been seen plenty of times in our dimension, human vs. human.

    "It's only been recently that women have been Shadowhunters along with men. [...] [Isabelle's mom] was afraid that if she [taught Isabelle to cook], Isabelle would be relegated to the kitchen permanently." (9.108)

    Who runs the Clave? Don Draper? The struggles within the Clave for women's rights seem to mirror mortal struggles.

    Chapter 11

    "You don't hunt [Downworlders] because they aren't exactly demons, but they're not exactly people either." (11.59)

    So do half-demons half-humans get treated like demons or humans? It's a tough call for many of our characters, just like it was for Buffy and her boyfriend.

    "They would disown [Alec] and throw him out of the Clave." (11.210)

    So, the Clave has no problem with djinns and faeries, but being gay is going too far? What's that all about?

    "So they're good enough to let live, good enough to make your food for you, good enough to flirt with—but not really good enough? I mean, not as good as people?" (11.63)

    The Shadowhunter view of Downworlders seems to be along the lines of Thomas Jefferson's view of slaves. We'd like to introduce Kaelie, part-fey waitress, to Sally Hemings, President TJ's slave mistress. As these two examples show, prejudice is often rife with hypocrisy.

    "A few hundred years of the Accords can't wipe out a thousand years of hostility." (11.73)

    Just like the 13th Amendment abolished slavery, but it didn't wipe out racism.

    "It's easier to confront a threat as a mass, a group, not individuals who must be evaluated one by one." (11.116)

    Which is why stereotypes can be dangerous. Sometimes, we wish these characters would really listen to themselves. Alas, these words come from Hodge, who's not exactly a clear-thinking, levelheaded good guy.

    Chapter 20

    "You're just a slimy Downworlder who didn't even care that all those years [my mom] treated you like a friend—like an equal—and this is how you pay her back!" (20.115)

    Without even realizing, Clary seems to view Luke, a werewolf, as less than a real person because he's a Downworlder. She should probably think about that for a minute before she writes the guy off completely.

  • Duty

    Chapter 7

    "The Law is hard, but it is the Law." (7.99)

    And Jace and the other Shadowhunters must adhere to it. No questions asked.

    Chapter 8
    Jace Wayland

    "My oath to the Covenant binds me," [Jace] said. "No such oath binds you." (8.60)

    Here, Jace is telling Clary that she can tell Simon all about the Clave, etc., because she isn't forbidden to do so. We have a feeling that Jace wouldn't tell Simon anything even if he had a gun pointed at his head. There are some rules you just don't break.

    Chapter 10

    Even in death, the Clave serves the cause. (10.317)

    Boy, talk about commitment. We hope they at least offer good health benefits. And a little life insurance to kick over to the loved ones.

    "I thought the Clave was pledged to protect people." (10.83)

    Sure, that pledge sounds a lot like a law, designed to get the Shadowhunters to do their duty. But things get grayer when you consider the fact that who falls into the category of "people" is debatable.

    Jace Wayland

    "Only people with no purpose are unhappy. I've got a purpose." (10.260)

    We wonder if Jace is trying to convince himself that he's happy here. After all, his purpose is little more than a supernatural assassin, which sounds like it might be more than stressful and less than fulfilling.

    Chapter 16

    "[Jace] thinks he has to save the world; he'd be glad to kill himself trying." (16.34)

    Would Jace take any job this seriously? Like, if he worked at Burger King would he kill himself trying to get you your Whopper your way?

    Chapter 19

    "It's their job, Clary," [Simon] said gently. "Fighting demons--it's what they do. Not what you do." (19.104)

    Having a duty gives the Shadowhunters a purpose, and Clary feels lost without a purpose of her own. No wonder she jumps on their bandwagon so quickly. And wanting to get her mother back didn't hurt the cause either.

    Jace Wayland

    "I may not believe in sin," [Jace] said, "but I do feel guilt. We Shadowhunters live by a code, and that code isn't flexible: Honor, fault, penance, those are real to us, and they have nothing to do with religion and everything to do with who we are. This is who I am, Clary." (19.122)

    Jace's job defines him. Talk about a workaholic.

    Chapter 22
    Luke Garroway

    "Faithful unto death." (22.89)

    Here, Luke is translating the NYPD motto, Fidelis ad Mortem, for Clary. It echoes the Shadowhunter motto, don't you think?

    Chapter 23

    The neck of [Valentine's] shirt gaped open a little, showing his scarred collarbones. Scarred, like his son's, like all Nephilim. A life of scars and killing, Hodge had said. (23.18)

    If the Shadowhunters had recruitment posters, "A life of scars and killing" probably wouldn't be their tagline of choice. It's nowhere near as catchy as "Be All You Can Be."

  • Jealousy

    Chapter 8

    "Jealous, Graymark? Perhaps you no longer feel about her the way you used to." (8.164)

    We're not sure if Luke grew out of the jealousy of his youth or not, and we never really find out because he kind of bottles that stuff up. What can we say? Luke's not a sharer.

    Chapter 9

    Clary, who a moment ago would have been meanly pleased, felt a rush of anger toward Jace. (9.82)

    Clary is torn between being jealous of Simon and Isabelle and defending Simon from Jace's snide comments. It's kind of an awkward spot.

    Chapter 11

    Stifling a murderous rage, [Clary] refused on grounds of exhaustion. (11.91)

    Clary's jealousy of Simon and Isabelle might just drive her... to murder! Okay, okay, so we're being a bit dramatic. But notice how Clary bottles up her jealousy and blames it on fatigue. She's afraid to share how she really feels—even with her best friend.

    Chapter 12

    If they dance any closer together, they won't have to go off in a corner to have sex. (12.64)

    Here's our take: Clary probably wouldn't have cared if Simon were dancing with anyone else but Isabelle.

    Chapter 13
    Jace Wayland

    "Let's not be hasty." Jace was actually grinning, the bastard. […] "[Simon's] cute like that. Look at his little pink nose." (13.115)

    Even the third-person narrator thinks Jace is being a "bastard" for teasing Simon. And when the narrator thinks you're a jerk, well then you know you're on thin ice.

    "[Simon] just looks dim-witted. Really his intelligence is quite average." (13.215)

    Jace is so jealous of Simon, he can't resist making sarcastic digs at him even when Simon's no longer human. But seriously, what's Jace's beef with the guy, besides the fact that he's Clary's bestie? This makes it clear that, as awesome as he may seem, Jace is not the most mature of folks.

    "You'd be happy to leave him if it weren't for her," Isabelle said, managing to inject the single syllable word with enough venom to poison an elephant. (13.119)

    By italicizing the pronoun there, we know that Isabelle really doesn't like Clary. So it looks like jealousy is a two-way street.

    Chapter 17

    "I've never liked any of your girlfriends, but at least I've had the decency to keep it to myself." (17.122)

    It looks like the time for decency has passed. Air that dirty laundry, Clary!

    "I don't like flat soda. I don't like crappy boy band pop. I don't like being stuck in traffic. I don't like math homework. I hate Jace. See the difference?" (17.119)

    Simon clearly never heard '90s boy band LFO sing "Summer Girls" or that might put his hatred for boy bands in the same, or higher, category than his hatred for Jace.


    "I was trying to make you jealous!" Simon screamed. [...] "You're so stupid, Clary. You're so stupid, can't you see anything?" (17.127)

    Finally someone speaks his mind. Holding in these feelings for so long causes some volatile explosions of hurtful words. But hey, at least it's all out in the open.

  • Revenge

    Chapter 10

    Clary didn't see how killing one person could make right the death of another, but she sensed there was no point saying that. (10.254)

    Maybe Clary can be an anti-death penalty advocate when she grows up, but for now, she sure doesn't seem willing to speak her mind.

    "A Shadowhunter who kills another of his brothers is worse than a demon and should be put down like one." (10.264)

    "Put down" like an unwanted animal. Look, we get that there's a lot of anger flying around in this book, but the moral code of the Shadowhunters seems a bit too old school. Where's the wiggle room? Are there no gray areas?

    Chapter 14

    "You go in there and do for your friend what I could not do for my brother." (14.109)

    At this point, we don't know that Raphael is actually a vampire, but if he weren't, he would still be wishing Jace and Clary a successful mission to satisfy his own feelings of revenge.

    Chapter 16

    [Clary] could see how she was hurting [Alec], and it made her glad. Someone else ought to be in pain for a change. (16.46)

    Um. Yikes. Someone needs to take a deep breath and count to 10. Or 10,000. This is a little moment of romantic revenge, which is the best kind of all.

    "Don't you ever," [Alec] whispered, mouth a blanched line, "ever, say anything like that to [Jace] or I'll kill you. I swear on the Angel, I'll kill you." (16.47)

    We'd love to get the Angel's opinion on this to know whether he or she would condone this violent pledge. We admire the loyalty, but not the threat.

    Chapter 18

    "Perhaps [Luke] saw an opportunity to turn the tables. To hurt [Jocelyn] as he'd been hurt." (18.138)

    Even though he loves Jocelyn, he might still get mad enough to hurt her. At least, that seems to be the working theory here. And why shouldn't it be? Everyone else in this book seems motivated by revenge.

    Chapter 21

    I wanted only to die, and to take with me the creature who had ruined me. (21.18)

    This is Luke talking about the werewolf that infected him. Who in this book doesn't have an axe to grind?

    "Since the death of his father, Valentine had become an outspoken proponent of war against all Downworlders, not just ones who broke the Accords." (21.10)

    Valentine takes his revenge a little far, extending it beyond just killing the werewolf who killed his father, but killing all Downworlders. Talk about guilty by association.

    Chapter 22

    "You think killing [Valentine] will what? Erase those things?" (22.63)

    Luke presents a shrewd counterpoint to the whole revenge argument that's been dominating the book so far, even though he himself has had similar feeling in the past. So is he a hypocrite, or has he learned his lesson?

    Clary Fray

    "If we catch Valentine," [Clary] asked abruptly, "can we kill him?" (22.60)

    Speaking of grinding axes, it seems that Clary has begun sharpening her own. Seriously, why are all these folks so hot-blooded? Or hotheaded?