Wednesday, June 19, 2024

I’ll go down with this ship… Clace

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When I think about Shadowhunters I picture 2 couples. Malec which was my first gay ship that got their happy ending. Then there is THE ship of the show (and books) Clace. This particular relationship is at the center of the series. It intertwines with the heroine’s, Clary’s story.

The whole supernatural, adventure world aside, it’s this pairing that drew me in. First to the books, then the movie and the TV show. As with Malec, I’m focusing on the relationship as shown in the Shadowhunters TV series.

The characters

As it seems to happen in a lot of my pieces I already dug into Clary’s character in my first series I like my women… That gives you a head start on her personality. I also examined her while I wrote about Clary’s and Simon’s friendship.

If you haven’t read my previous pieces about Clary here’s a cliff notes version.

Clary’s grown up with just her mom and Luke as a stepfather figure. She led a regular, some might say boring life… at least until her 18th birthday. That’s when everything took a turn, and she had to dive headfirst into a completely new, magical world. A world full of creatures that, most people think, are just legends. It took her some time to find her footing in this strange, new landscape. Once she got, it Clary quickly started to shake things up. She changed the way Shadowhunters viewed the world and operated.

The young Shadowhunter is fierce, loyal, talented, intelligent, empathetic. She brought a certain humanity into the shadow world. It was quite a novelty. Shadowhunters were taught, from a young age, that emotion and empathy have no place in their world. The most important thing is following the rules and procedures.

clary talking to Jace

As soon as Clary grew into her new role as a Shadowhunter she discovered her talent for creating new runes. She wasn’t afraid to use it to her advantage. Even if it came with consequences. Clary was warned that the angels might not like her creations. The power she had was thanks to the angel blood in her veins.

While she was aware that she might be punished for using her gift Clary didn’t hesitate to use it. Especially once she knew that it was the only way to defeat her brother, Jonathan. For her efforts, she paid the ultimate price. Forgetting her new life, friends, and family. At least for a while.

Clary faced a fair amount of difficulties in her journey, and she didn’t always come out unscathed. What I find admirable is that she faced them head-on. She wasn’t afraid to defy orders or break the rules if she thought it was the right thing to do. It sometimes led to more problems, and not only for her. However, Clary more often than not did it with pure intentions.

I said it before but it’s worth repeating. Kat McNamara’s performance as Clary fit right in and was very believable (at least for me). She caught the whirlwind of change. The emotions her character went through as she found her way and place in this different world. Maybe because it wasn’t just Clary’s journey but also Kat’s and their adventures mirrored each other in some way.

Jace didn’t have an easy life. And his childhood was especially hard, having to grow up with Valentine Morgenstern as his father. It wasn’t until much later that he found out who his real father was. It took quite some time before he discovered that he was the heir of the Herondale family.

Thankfully, when he lived with the Lightwoods, he got to taste some normalcy. As normal as growing up as a Shadowhunter can be, at any rate.

Even though he broke free from Valentine, the time spent with him took its toll on Jace, leaving him scarred emotionally and with abandonment issues. They shine through especially in his relationship with Clary or Alec.

Speaking of Alec, thanks to the parabatai bond he’s like an integral part of Jace. Their relationship is very interesting, but so rich, that it’ll take another article to explain. They’re like brothers and one could argue that their relationship is as important as Jace and Clary’s.

Jace saves Clary

Jace is a natural leader who cares deeply about those closest to him. He also strives to be the best in everything he does. He mastered martial arts and can use several weapons.

What’s surprising is that although he grew up with Alec he’s not quite as rigid when it comes to rules. He seems to understand that sometimes you have to break the rules to get results. Since he views results as the important part he’s more open-minded. He’s willing to take risks or think outside the box.

Jace often takes charge even if he’s not asked or there are superiors in the room. He’s also not afraid to disagree with his supervisors or bosses. That’s something he has in common with Clary.

The Herondale heir is also very protective of his loved ones. He’s willing to sacrifice everything to save them. So while he might come off as aloof and cold that’s not true.
Jace can be easily described as rough around the edges. Thankfully, throughout the run of the show, and thanks to Clary in some regard, he became softer, more human.

Their story

As far as first meetings go Clace’s was pretty average. They bumped into each other in a club (Pandemonium) as many people do. Was it as ordinary though? Given that Jace was glamoured Clary shouldn’t be able to see him right?

Soon after that Clary was thrown into the Shadow world and had to quickly adjust. Meanwhile, Jace started out as a babysitter for the newbie and reluctant ally. The trust between them was there almost from the beginning. There was an instant connection, something akin to understanding. As they faced obstacle after obstacle that trust only deepened.

Their connection quickly grew, which helped tremendously. Especially when we take into account what they faced and the stakes of their ordeals.

Clace Paris

Their ride was quite bumpy. Full of ups and downs. The happiness never lasted long always like a quiet before the storm.

Starting with them supposedly being siblings making their romance impossible. Dealing with the fallout of that, while still working together closely. Still having feelings for each other. Even though they knew they couldn’t be together (or thought so at the moment). Feelings don’t magically disappear. No matter how much we wish it. Add to that the family drama and their evil father and a thousand other things and complications.

Then they got thrown another curveball finding out they’re actually not siblings. That happened while Clary was in a relationship with Simon. That’s just drama central.

After that, we had Jace’s death and all the repercussions of being brought back to life and the wish made with the cup. Pop in some more family drama and an older brother. That’s just a recipe for disaster.

And boy did it become a disaster. What with Lilith, Sebastian, Jonathan, and all the trouble they’ve brought, including poor Jace thinking that Clary died. We also can’t forget Clary’s sacrifice that allowed her to defeat Jonathan. As a “reward”, she got to forget her new life, family, and friends. Watching as she realizes what’ll happen, says her goodbyes, and slowly walks out of the Institute after dancing with Jace one last time was heartbreaking.

Let’s not be too pessimistic. Sprinkled throughout all that were loads of sweet little moments, as well as magical, romantic, emotional scenes. Big declarations of love. Cue in the perfect first time or a hot training session.

Clace kiss

Then there was this hopeful, uncertain but in some weird way fulfilling ending. Leaving enough (or a lot) for the imagination. Allowing us viewers to tell stories and fantasize about what happened. Keeping the fandom alive forever.

Something that I also appreciated is that while given the source material. The producers took creative liberties that made the story more appealing. They didn’t change the elements too much or too drastically. They changed them just enough to make them believable. Offering a fresh, unique spin, which carried through to the actors performances.

Their flaws

I hope I proved, in this series, that perfect relationships, characters, or stories don’t exist. With that being said here’s what irked me in Clace the most.

Please don’t get me wrong because I love a good love triangle storyline but recently I feel as if every show has one. Especially those with teenagers but others do it as well. If they didn’t do it yet they will. I mean come on there are other ways to create drama or stir things up. They may take some more thinking and planning but it’s worth it. Believe me!
Also, as a side note, there’s no way that love triangles happen this often in real life.

Clace, Simon the love triangle

Although I can perfectly understand the use of love triangles I can’t comprehend why we needed it here. The Simon, Clary, Jace love drama was completely unnecessary. We already had plenty of other interesting storylines, drama, and complications. They could’ve used the time wasted on the love triangle for another story.

Why I ship them

First and foremost the chemistry and instant connection. Malec, Olicity, Deckerstar, Clace you can see the pattern. That instant great chemistry is something that makes me want to get invested. I usually end up falling in love with the ship.

Then there’s the way Clace complements each other. They push the other to get better, to improve. While still being understanding of their shortcomings. Offering support when needed.

Furthermore, I enjoyed how their journeys and development mirrored each other. There were quite a few similarities, and some of their hardships were almost identical. Subtle differences made watching them worthwhile. The slight discrepancies kept the story interesting.

Clace asleep

Last but not least, while Clary’s and Jace’s relationship was crucial, it didn’t overshadow other storylines. Furthermore, it wasn’t the defining element of the characters. Their separate storylines and character arcs were as critical as their love story.

Although Clace’s relationship was often the catalyst or motivation it often took a backseat. Serving as a background supplying us with added context and emotion.

One last thing, they’re just a good looking couple!

Something that surprised me was that open ending in the series finale. That corresponded so nicely and adequately with Clace’s first meeting. Leaving us not with a happy ending but with a possibility, another chance to make this work.

While I’m not a fan of these kinds of endings, in this particular story it worked. It also leaves room for more.

Images courtesy of Freeform

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