The object inside was swathed in layers of tissue paper. Clary tore through it, her hand seizing on something soft as kitten’s fur. She gave a little gasp. It was a bottle-green velvet coat, old-fashioned, with a gold silk lining, brass buttons, and a wide hood. She drew it onto her lap, smoothing her hands lovingly down the soft material. “It looks like something Isabelle would wear,” she exclaimed. “Like a Shadowhunter traveling cloak.”
“Exactly. Now you’ll be dressed more like one of them,” Luke said. “When you’re in Idris.”
She looked up at him. “Do you want me to look like one of them?”
“Clary, you are one of them.” His smile was tinged with sadness. “Besides, you know how they treat outsiders. Anything you can do to fit in …”
— City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
Chapter 1: The Portal
I’m so tired of Clare being inconsistent about her fucking world building! I’m going to ask this for the millionth time: How much is the Shadowhunter Community integrated with the Mundane world?
The cloak and the discussion over Clary dressing to fit in bring up a whole host of questions for me. First of all, why are Shadowhunter’s wearing antiquated clothing? *Puts on fashion blogger hat again* Any student of Fashion will tell you that Fashion does not exist in a vacuum. Fashion trends and styles are influenced usually by cultural, economic, and moral standards of the day.
A prime example of this is the style during WWII and the clothing rationing during that time. Due to the high rationing of fabric made the style during the war to become more utilitarian and practical. People were often encouraged to “make do and mend” old clothes and recycle materials such as plastic into new items.
So what the antiquated clothing tells me is that contrary to Shadowhunter’s protestations that they are in fact better than Mundanes, that the Shadowhunter communities are pretty backward, Really, the Shadowhunter community is antiquated and behind Mundane society in both technologically and social norms.
Luke, sort of points that out with the whole “outsider” comment.
However, this leads to another question: Why is the Shadowhunter’s so ass-backward? Although I’m not really happy with J.K. Rowling lately, I will admit that she thoroughly explained why the Wizarding World was so close off and antiquated. The reason was for this that after the Witch Hunts, the Wizarding World basically closed off their interaction with Muggles. And since Wizarding magic fucks with modern technologically, it keeps their world in a pseudo-Victorian/Edwardian type of era.
Unfortunately, Cassandra Clare does not have a similar comprehensive answer as to why the Shadowhunters are so ass backward. Unlike the Wizards and Witches of the Wizarding World, most Shadowhunters have to work alongside Mundanes EVERYDAY. They have to work in the Mundane world in order to accomplish their main mission of protecting the Mundanes from demons and dangerous Downworlders.
And it makes no sense why they are so antiquated but yet Jace can use a cellphone, or the Institute can have a refrigerator or a microwave. Yet, in Idris the Shadowhunter’s home country they are wearing cloaks, and getting around in carriages? This constantly continues to make no sense to me!
So inclusion: Cassandra Clare continues to suck at world building!