Image from Scholastic

The City of Bones by Cassandra Clare is the first in a 6 book series, referred to as The Mortal Instruments (Clare 2007). The series title describes the three instruments that are sacred to the shadowhunters. There is the mortal cup, sword, and also mirror which each have actually their own significant power and ties to the angel Raziel. Shadowhunters, also well-known as Nephilim, are those with angel blood who have actually been tasked via protecting the downworlders and mundanes from demons. They’re able to carry out this with rigorous training and also their runes (marks on their skin that provide them heightened abilities). Downworlders are fifty percent human and also half demon, and can be warlocks, vampires, wolves, faeries, etc. All of this is done while keeping the presence of the shadow human being a secret from humans.

Image from Freedevelop.Image from Freedevelop.Image from Freedevelop.

You are watching: City of bones symbols

With the first book the focus is on Clary Fray, that was at initially though to be a mundane. One night as soon as she goes to a club via her frifinish she witnesses what she thinks is a brutal murder. It transforms out to be a team of shadowhunters fighting a downworlder who was praying on humans and also breaking shadow civilization legislations. The catch below is that the hunters were using a rune that keeps them concealed from mundane eyes, so the reality that Clary was able to check out them at all was unusual. She runs amethod and also after an event where she comes residence to discover her mommy gone and also a demon in her residence, she is saved by one of the hunters from the club, Jace.

After bringing her back to the institute, located in an old church wright here the shadowhunters live and train, it is revealed that Clary herself is a shadowhunter. After some exercise it’s clear that she is no ordinary shadowhunter, which is interesting bereason neither is Jace. He is he best fighter in the shadowhunter ranks. It’s not till the second book that it’s reveled that Clary can create runes. This is unexplained bereason tright here is the Grey Publication, wbelow all the runes to exist are, and also that’s what shadowhunters learn and also usage to run within the people. No one else have the right to create runes out of nowbelow. In a later on book it’s revealed that while their mothers were pregnant they were injected via pure angel blood, providing them these one-of-a-kind abilities. I just point out these details from various other books because it implies that the pair are half angels, and also it impacts exactly how one would read City of Bones, and Clary’s interactions through runes.

Video from Freeform.

The book is really good at introducing the religious themes that playout via the rest of the franchise with an emphasis on runes and symbols, and also blood and bloodline descendants with the angels, demons, shadowhunters, and also downworlders. These details are constantly highlighted also in the various iterations of the book and also series, like in the movie of the exact same name (Zwart 2013), and the television present Shadowhunters (Hastings and Decter,2016). I mention these other iterations because many the visuals supplied in this article are from those sources, as they adequately showinstance relevant information and aspects from the book.

Image from Pinterest .
Image from Girlfriends Magazine.Image from TeePublic.

The runes are such an essential part of the shadowhunters visibility as they quite literally are representations of power. They activate a rune eincredibly time they require a boost in skill, speed, stamina, healing, and so on The manifeterminal of super humale abilities in a symbol has become a common way of differentiating that one is a shadowhunter. They are extended in these runes from head to toe, it’s a visual depiction of that they are and also what they believe in. The concept of icons belonging to a team of human being is genuine, most faiths have a collection of symbols they’re tied to.

The concept of signs is that they stand for somepoint, communicate somepoint, and also it all just counts on what that symbol looks favor. My expertise of what a symbol is a combination of a pair definitions, alengthy the lines of being either a physical or attracted manifestation, word or expression that gives worth and also interpretation to this object ( 2019).

Image from Old Tvery own Trolley Tours
Image from Wikimedia.

Based off of that the initially two points that pertained to mind when viewing points in that method are the icons on spiritual structures and art. They’re a means for a group to differentiate themselves and interact to others that this is their very own area. Churches, sanctuaries, mosques, holy places, abbeys, the list could go on. This is wbelow human being practice their ideas, and also the structures themselves reflect that. Taking churches for instance, currently a days for various Christian sects it’s not inexplicable to discover a cross or two on the outside of structures, whether neatly consisted of within the design or simply hanging up. The structures themselves, some specifically used to be developed really high to be closer to be closer to wright here they though heaven was, they really emphasized the vertical aspects of the frameworks (Campbell 2017). So these spiritual constructions themselves are signs and also embody the ideas of the civilization that inhalittle them.

Image from Amino Apps.

That being said, it’s really fitting that the institute, that’s basically a headquarters for operation among the shadowhunters is in a church. They’ve taken hold of that space and it’s wbelow they practice their ideas. Their ideas that they are expected to do excellent and also protect civilization, the ideas that they have this greater calling to fight evil and also demons, the belief that they are descended from angels. This is their very own faith and also they exercise it and spreview it in the way of maintaining everyone safe via training and also knowledge acquisition. Which goes ago to their usage of runes/icons to not just note themselves yet empower themselves enough to go out and put their ideas into action.

“Everypoint have the right to assume symbolic significance… herbal objects choose rock, plants, animals, mountains and valleys, sun and also moon, wind, water or male made things such as watercraft, cutlass or even numbers, triangle, cross, are all symbolic…therefore endowing them via excellent mental prestige and expressing them in both religious beliefs and also visual art.”

(Ofuafo 2013, 395)

Going back to this principle of art having spiritual symbolism in it, it’s not unprevalent to discover different pieces with a symbol or two hidden amethod. Like mentioned in the above quote, anypoint can be a symbol. Any component of art, a drawing, paint, can be construed as interacting x thing. These pictures have the right to reexisting many type of things, they have the right to embody many things and be that physical depiction of them. Which brings me to the element of art in the City of Bones. Clary is an artist, as was her mommy, and her mom made this hand painted collection of tarot cards. One of them in certain was particularly striking as it had this beautiful cup. As it turns out this is where her mother hid the mortal cup and Clary, using her one-of-a-kind rune producing ability, is the only one that deserve to produce it from this actual painted card. Making this cup on the card not only simply a painted symbol favor everyone originally believed, however the actual embodiment of the mortal instrument. This tarot card, this piece of art was both a symbol and also the real thing, co-existing at the same time.

Image from Freecreate.Image from Screen Gems.

Diving further right into the realm of signs and also what they could be, provides the opportunity to talk about what blood and also bloodlines really stand for. Blood is typically supplied as a widespread representation of either strength or weakness, of power or being powermuch less, purity or impurity in popular media. In this shadow world there is a heavy focus on who has angel blood and also that has demon blood. Those with angel blood have actually an elevated status and also a greater objective, through their abilities perceived as presents. That is in stark comparison to those through the demon blood and also are looked dvery own upon. They are viewed as impure because demon blood has contaminated them, even if they have actually half human or angel blood too. The faeries have half angel and also fifty percent demon blood but are still classified as lesser. This is really exciting as in the bible the existence of Nephilim is actually as a result of the reality that fallen angels mingled through humans (Beginning and End 2012). In the cited source it didn’t identify the fallen from evil, however indicates that they didn’t have some magnificent objective, and neither would their offspring. The post further goes on to state that the Nephilim were actually bring about a lot of trouble and also were enemies of that god (Beginning and also End 2012).

Image from the Shadowhunter Wiki.

In the shadow human being the Nephilim exist because the angel Raziel pours his blood right into the mortal cup for the initially shadowhunters to drink from to offer them fifty percent angel blood. This therefore provides them this magnificent function and their abilities. That’s a substantially various take on the concept of Nephilim, what they stand for and also just how they came to be. Not to mention that aacquire the blood symbolizes this power get, bereason it’s “pure”. The idea that blood can make such a drastic readjust prefer that is so prevalent in famous media. However, the duty that blood and blood rites play isn’t as basic as that. Tright here are the majority of contributing components especially based upon social ideas. Is it purifying, or does it ward off evil? Does it offer power, or does it offer life? Tright here isn’t really one made a decision upon answer for that, it is reliant upon so many type of outside components that there is no concrete answer (McCarthy 1969, 175).

The Mortal Instruments series has actually many type of allusion to spiritual affiliated principles or icons without ever really connecting to one religion particularly, it borrows from lore from all over. The first book, City of Bones, is a great arrival right into the shadow civilization wright here they have actually created their very own lore and also take on some of these principles and ideas. The runes and emphasis on blood is a consistent design template throughout the series and also is put up in the first book. And while tright here are many type of religious like aspects one have the right to discover in this shadow people it would be hard to deal with any type of of them without first looking at those 2 bereason they play such an essential part in essentially eexceptionally interactivity the shadowhunters and also Clary have actually. The runes and differentiation in between angel and also demon blood stand for a lot even more than what appears on the surconfront. Overall City of Bones opens the door for many type of discussions in just how icons are vastly current in stories and also have the right to allude to many various ideas through a spiritual disguise.


Clare, Cassandra. City of Bones.Vol. 1. 6 vols. The Mortal Instruments. New York City, NY: Simon &Schuster, 2007.

The Mortal Instruments: City ofBones. Directed by Harald Zwart. Percreated by Lily Collins and also Jamie CampbellBower. United States: Display Gems, 2013. Film.

Shadowhunters. Directed by MatthewHastings. Written by Ed Decter. Freeform, January 12,2016.

“The Definition of Symbol.” AccessedApril 16, 2019.

Campbell, Josephine. “Church(Building).” In Salem Press Encyclopedia. Salem Press, 2017.

Ofuafo, Philomina Uyovwirume1. “Art Symbols as Means ofCommunicating Religious Concepts in Urhobo Timeless Society.” Journal ofInternational Social Research 6, no. 27 (Summer 2013): 392–97.

“Bloodlines of the Nephilim – ABiblical Study.” Beginning And End, August 26, 2012.

See more: By Natures Bio 7 Hair Growth Oil : Beauty & Personal Care, Bio7 Biotin Growth Oil

McCarthy, Dennis J. “The Symbolism of Blood and Sacrifice.” Journalof Biblical Literature 88, no. 2 (1969): 166–76.