Study Guide

City of Bones Religion

By Cassandra Clare


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.