We have this Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, and Annabeth and Percy thing. But the best kind of love I’ve read so far is about the love Tessa Gray, Will Herondale, and Jem Carstairs. They are the three main characters from Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices.
I am aware I just wrote three characters—a love triangle? Yes. But did the boys hold grudge for each other since they learned of their feelings for Tessa? No. Certainly not. But that wasn’t because Will and Jem are parabatai (shadowhunter term). It was because Jem loved Will, and Will loved Jem in a special way. It’s hard to explain how the parabatais loved each other, but I guess that’s love—unexplainable. Tessa loved both of the boys romantically, but in the whole duration of The Infernal Devices, you would know that those three of a whole held some kind of unexplainable, deep, overwhelming kind of love as a whole.
This is the best kind of love I’ve read about so far. I’m not so sure if this kind of love surpasses the love Sydney Carton held for Lucie since I haven’t actually read A Tale of Two Cities, but Tessa, Jem and Will proved that love isn’t just about getting married, having children, and looking after each other. It’s something else—bolder, gentler, and fiercer.
This is love, vaguely and overwhelmingly described by a sixteen year old. It’s not love from the dictionaries, or from personal experience, but it is love perceived from someone else’s point of view—Cassandra Clare’s perhaps. (Hi Miss Clare!)
Just second to this is Alec and Magnus. Alexander Lightwood and Magnus Bane from The Mortal Instruments. In this part of this essay-journal-ish, you’re probably thinking about how I’m a huge, die-hard fan of Cassandra Clare’s shadowhunter books, but I’m sorry, they really stick through me. Don’t kill me for not saying something cheesier like Clary and Jace.
Alright, Augustus and Hazel were something. But there’s something about Alec and Magnus.
I’ve been around a lot of same-sex relationships. I graduated high school from an all-girls school, and no matter how much people from these kinds of institutions deny it, LESBIAN RELATIONSHIPS HAPPEN IN THESE PLACES. I’m also aware that gay relationships could be happening in the building opposite us (It’s up to you to guess where I last went to school.) I’ve seen girls who used to wear ribbons on their hair cut their locks off for a guy’s hairdo. I’ve seen girls do your bae’s usual monthsary surprise way better.
I’m pretty much exposed to these kinds of things. I’m more exposed to these kinds of relationships than the ones composed of a girl and a guy. But yet again, it’s not the reason why I think Alec and Magnus seconds the Tessa-Will-Jem love.
There was always some distance between the two guys. Although they held some kind of special affection for each other at the beginning of the series, you would know that there is space. The space is not their differences as warlock and shadowhunter. The space was Magnus’s age; he has known, experienced, and felt a variety of things already. It made him smart and it made him know himself so much to the point that he knew he should never ever love a mortal being. Alec had his own fault in the space too: he hadn’t accepted the whole of Magnus yet.
Both of them had faults. Alec wanted Magnus to be mortal. That was selfish, because books and stories told me that love wouldn’t care whatever you are. Magnus didn’t want to welcome Alec fully in his. That couldn’t be if you’re in love.
Towards the end of this series, both learn that love should not have these spaces. If they want to keep intact, then these spaces should not exist. These things should be resolved, or there would be no real love at all.
Magnus and Alec’s love might have not blossomed as quickly as Jace’s and Clary’s, or Will and Tessa’s, or Jem’s and Tessa’s. But it was a lesson. It may be just another experience acquired by Magnus, but it is a special experience to love fully—without the space holding him back from what he yearns: Alec, his love.
While you could heed to fight and kill me with these words I had just written, whether you’re a Gus and Hazel worshipper or Romeo and Juliet believer, well, this is love we’re talking about. I’m straight, I used to like a guy, and I won’t hold admiration for a girl. But I’m not narrow minded.
Straight but not narrow.
This society tends to judge and think holding romantic love for someone who carried the same kinds of private parts is sinful. Alec and Magnus are brain babies of a creative mind, but they exist. They may not be wearing glitter or carrying seraph blades but these guys know how to love.
A good deal of close friends who know how I feel about the girls in my school who have romantic partners from the same campus. I haven’t accepted them fully since I’ve seen how this kind of relationships give them some kind of popularity, temporary satisfaction, and the list goes on. I hate how teenagers see love this way. They claim they share something special. But is love really something to keep from your parents? Is love something you should brag to everyone about? Is love something you should be embarrassed about after the life-destructive breakup?
Believe me, I’m not bitter. I didn’t want to have such love. Love is something to cherish. It is a sweet account to keep as a memoir even after the duration of the relationship. It is not something you think you would laugh about twenty to thirty years later. It is real, it’s something you cannot hold with your hands, but it is something you could hold with your heart.
As long as it is something worth keeping, even if it only comes back to mind after twenty, thirty years, then that’s love and nothing should stop it from happening.
PS. I wrote this essay a few moments after reading Alec and Magnus’s part in Call It Peace. I turned my laptop on as soon as possible and typed this in MS Word. It was the part that struck me the most in the whole series. I finished the series just this morning. I picked up the book and read the epilogue upon waking up.
Thank you for The Mortal Instruments, Cassandra Clare!