If you’re like me, you could not be more ready for Chain of Iron to come out March 2. But before we read the next book in Cassandra Clare’s Last Hours series, we need to remember what happened to all our favorite characters in Chain of Gold.

The Chain of Gold Character Recap You Need Before Reading Chain of Iron

Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD for Chain of Gold!

1. James Herondale

James Herondale

Will and Tessa’s son, James, is uncommonly beautiful. He is the de facto leader of the Merry Thieves, which consist of his friends Thomas, Christopher, and his parabatai and best friend Matthew. James fancies himself hopelessly in love with Grace, who he met at 13, and wears a bracelet from her at all times (no one likes the bracelet). James has an unfortunate habit of disappearing into a shadow (aka demon) realm. It’s uncomfortable, but he’s trying to manage it, and figure out which Prince of Hell his grandfather is. He is briefly bracelet-less and free to fall in love with Cordelia and they have some *moments.*

James must have gotten the self-sacrificing gene from his dad, because he goes off to face his grandfather (spoiler: its Belial) in a hell dimension alone, tied to the real world by a rope attached to his two loves, Matthew and Cordelia. Belial wants to use James’s body to wreak havoc on the world, but Cordelia is thrown into the demon world and injures Belial with her sword Cortana. James is grievously injured in the battle and is a goner for sure, until ghost Jesse offers him his last breath. James is saved!

But then Grace goes and puts that bracelet back on him and he burns down her house for her. That’s, um, romantic? Not really, but what IS romantic is that Cordelia saves James from Clave censure by claiming he couldn’t have burned down the house because he was with HER! And then the two of them must get fake-engaged to save her virtue because this is 1903.

2. Cordelia Carstairs

Cordelia Carstairs

Cordelia arrives in London with her brother Alastair from their home in Devon. She is tasked with making a good impression on the London Shadowhunters, as her father is awaiting trail (turns out he’s an alcoholic) and her mother is quite ill (turns out she’s pregnant). No one is more excited that Cordelia is now in London than her future parabatai, Lucie.

Cordelia is hopelessly in love with the clueless James, who goes around calling her Daisy, which is about the most adorable and heartbreaking thing in the world. James and Daisy have quite the romantic moment while hiding in the Whispering Room at Hell Ruelle (PSA: it’s Chapter 15). Cordelia wields her family sword Cortana, and together, they save James from certain death several times. By the end of the book, she is engaged to James, and knows with heart-wrenching certainly that she’ll only get this one year to love him.

3. Matthew Fairchild

Oh Matthew. He has a reputation. He’s drinking about 60% of the time and beautiful and charming 110% of the time. He may be the Consul’s son (that’s Charlotte!), but that doesn’t mean he has to behave like his boring brother Charles.

He is very sad for reasons (that can be found in the short story “Cast Long Shadows“). At the ball when James abandons Cordelia for Grace (James, no.), Matthew is the one to step in and save Cordelia. Despite his self-destructive tendencies, he protects those he loves. Matthew loathes Alastair and loves James like no other. He is very protective of Cordelia.

4. Lucie Herondale

Lucie Herondale

Lucie could not be more excited that Cordelia is in town, as she can share new chapters of her book, The Beautiful Cordelia, in person now. Unfortunately, her enthusiasm isn’t always properly directed, and she makes Cordelia think James is in love with her for a brief spell before demons attack in broad daylights (that’s bad) and Grace shows up (that’s worse).

Lucie has a special talent for seeing ghosts, and forms a special bond with Jesse Blackthorn. She also seems to have a strong pull over ghosts, summoning them to save Cordelia when she falls in the Thames in a demon battle. At the end of the book, she and Grace start conspiring about how to restore Jesse to his body.

5. Anna Lightwood

Anna Lightwood

Anna is the most fashionable and cool person you’ll ever meet. She’s good friends with Matthew and the two of them enjoy casually scandalizing the Shadowhunter adults. The older Shadowhunters call her “improper and brash” while the younger Shadowhunters adore her. She often has her friends over to her apartment for tea (aka an excuse for a clandestine affair) and has left a trail of heartbroken young women in her path. She was once in love with Ariadne (find their story in “Every Exquisite Thing), who at the end of the book, vows to win her back.

6. Christopher Lightwood

Christopher Lightwood

Christopher is curious about everything. He spends a lot of time in his godfather Henry’s laboratory working on experiments and inventions. He may be a little clueless at times but has a big heart. Christopher has almost created an antidote to cure all those in comas from these new demon attacks when he is wounded in…yet another demon attack. But his cousin and bestie, Thomas, saves him!

7. Thomas Lightwood

AT 18, Thomas is the oldest of the Merry Thieves and he’s tall. Like, really tall. He went off for his travel year in Madrid and had quite the growth spurt. In flashbacks, we see that while abroad, he took a trip to Paris, and there, ran into Alastair. They had a surprisingly good time together, but now Alastair won’t really acknowledge at him, and Thomas hasn’t told his friends about it.

His preferred fighting weapon is the bolas and he has a compass tattoo. He is heartbroken when his sister Barbara passes away from a demon attack. When Christopher is injured, he is the one to finish the antidote (with Alastair’s help!).

8. Jesse Blackthorn

Jesse Blackthorn

Jesse describes himself not as a ghost, but as a manifestation of his soul. His mother hopes to restore him to his body, and he keeps present through illegal necromantic magic. Jesse’s soul wanders between the real world and spirit realm, and he hasn’t aged since he died at 17, 7 years prior. He only “lives” at night, and spends most his time reading.

He becomes quite close with Lucie, and finally fulfills his desire to be a life-saving Shadowhunter when he offers his last breath to save James. His strength begins to fade, but Grace continues to watch over his body, and Lucie can still talk to his spirit.

9. Alastair Carstairs

Alastair went to the Shadowhunter Academy with the Merry Thieves for a turn, but due to some events (see “Nothing But Shadows“), they hate him. He is half-Persian, like his sister Cordelia, and dyes his hair to try to fit in.

He had a secret affair with Charles, who has gone and gotten politically engaged with Ariadne (who we might remember had a secret affair with Anna!). He still loves Charles, and Charles breaks if off with Ariadne (while she’s unconscious- oof) and becomes engaged to Grace?! But sidebarring all that drama, Alastair gets to have a really nice moment at the end of the book where he tells Charles he better move on, because he’s not going to be Charles’s secret any longer!

10. Grace Blackthorn

Grace Blackthorn

Grace has just arrived in London from Idris and the drama sure does follow. Her very unpleasant adoptive mother Tatiana has brought her to London for murky purposes, which might involve revenge on the Lightwoods, or on ALL Shadowhunters, who she hates. (Find Tatiana’s bad deeds in “The Midnight Heir.”) Grace seems to only care for her brother Jesse.

She pulls along James, and when he says he won’t run away with her, she becomes engaged to Charles. At one harrowing point, she makes Matthew kiss her for blackmail! How dare! But turns out, she engaged herself to Charles to try to get out from under her mother’s control. Or did she? Because she puts that bracelet back on James to control them all! And turns out, her mother has been working with Belial this whole time! That can’t be good.


Now that you’ve read the recap, take the quiz to see how well you know these characters!


Want a peek at Chain of Iron? Watch Cassandra Clare and friends read an exclusive scene!

Want more recap? Check out Christine Riccio’s Chain of Gold recap video!

Art in header image by Cassandra Jean. Character cards by Novarentale, except Grace and Jesse character art by Charlie Bowater.