Trigger Warnings For: Talk of child abuse.
You know what I don’t take abuse, especially child abuse lightly. It’s an issue that is close to my heart for personal reasons. However, I have a very big issue with how Cassandra Clare is writing Jace’s own childhood abuse by his father. Clare is clearly saying that Jace’s actions are automatically excused because he was abused as a child. Actually, it’s one of the biggest hot-button topics in the Shadowhunters/TMI fandom, and I’m going to give my two cents about it right now.
First off, I do feel sympathy for Jace. No child deserves to be physical or verbally abused. I certainly also feel sorry that his childhood was essentially ripped away to essentially serve as a perfect killing machine. However, my sympathy only goes so far. The moment that Jace started gleefully killing things, the moment that he outright admitted to stalking Clary and then later on that admitting that he planned on kidnapping her; any sympathy that I would had for Jace disappeared.
In both fiction, and in real life, I firmly believe that abuse is no excuse for hurting other people. Your abuse doesn’t instantly give you a get-of-jail-card. And I really hate that Clare is perpetuating this way of thinking on young people. It is especially a dangerous trope for young impressionable people. Glorifying this way of thinking can often have nasty real-world results. I can’t tell you how many times I have personally seen people excuse the horrendous things other people do to them, just because the perpetrator was abused as a child.
I want to move on from that disgusting theme. And now, I want to discuss this from a bigger point of view. It would be one thing if Jace’s abuse was an isolated incident, but the more that I read this book the more that I see it’s the way Shadowhunters raise their childern. For what I have seen so far, it’s expected and accepted to raise your children this way in their culture. For all we know, Isabelle and Alec were raised the same way. Yet, I don’t see anyone showing sympathy for the Lightwood children and the other children whose childhoods has been stripped away. It’s just all about Jace, and no one, not even Clare herself, ever shows a bit of sympathany for those children.