If you’re like me, you could not be more ready for Chain of Thorns to come out January 31! But before we read the final book in Cassandra Clare’s Last Hours series, we need to remember what happened to all our favorite characters in Chain of Iron.
The Chain of Iron Character Recap You Need Before Reading Chain of Thorns
Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD for Chain of Iron!
1. James Herondale
Ah James, our favorite dark-haired, beautiful and broody Londoner. We reunite with James on the eve of his bachelor party as he prepares to enter into a (fake) marriage with Cordelia, since he’s still desperately in love with Grace (or so he thinks, because he’s STILL wearing that bracelet nobody likes). Even though their marriage is “fake,” James and Cordelia OBVIOUSLY have very real feelings for each other, and have some *moments* now that they’re living together in a house that James designed perfectly with the two of them in mind. Swoon!
Although the newlyweds are enjoying their time together, all is not well. Though Belial was wounded by Cortana and James doesn’t disappear into the shadow realm often, he is still troubled by nightmares, and finds himself experiencing a string of Shadowhunters’ murders through the killer’s eyes. When he begins to awaken freezing cold with his window wide open, James fears that Belial is somehow using him to commit these murders, but he is thankfully proven innocent.
Though James is not the killer, all clues do point to Belial being connected to these murders, and the connection is proven when James ventures into the shadow realm with who he *thinks* is Magnus Bane (spoiler alert: it’s actually Lilith in disguise!) to get answers. We learn that although Belial still wants to use James’s body to wreak havoc on the world, he now has an alternate plan: to possess Jesse’s body and give it strength by stealing runes from the murdered Shadowhunters! Belial then summons his brother, Leviathan, to destroy the London Institute and the Shadowhunters themselves, but his plans are thankfully thwarted once again thanks to James, Cordelia, and Lucie.
2. Cordelia Carstairs
Cordelia experiences a LOT of change in Chain of Iron. She starts it by getting married, moves out of her family’s home and into her new home with James, and ends up losing her father (one of the Shadowhunters murdered by Belial), but the biggest change for Cordelia by far is becoming a paladin. While she initially thinks that she has sworn herself as the champion of a legendary hero, Wayland the Smith, the person who she thinks was Wayland was actually Lilith, a greater demon known as the “mother of all warlocks.”
This creates a crisis of identity for Cordelia (and honestly, who could blame her) because she (and Cortana) are now sworn to do the bidding of an evil being, and not a hero as she first thought. She is horrified at the prospect of putting all of her friends and loved ones in danger, because she could be called upon by Lilith at any time. Still, with James by her side as her best friend and husband, Cordelia could face these challenges, but after one MAJOR misunderstanding (and an unfortunately timed appearance from Grace) she runs off to Paris with Matthew to escape.
3. Matthew Fairchild
Matthew, Matthew, Matthew. Where do we even begin. If he was drinking about 60% of the time in Chain of Gold, that percentage is now up to 90%, but he’s still beautiful and charming 110% of the time. He finally reveals a major secret that seems to be the root of many of his problems, telling Cordelia that he has never forgiven himself for accidentally poisoning his mother with what he thought was a truth serum when he was a child, causing her to have a miscarriage.
While he does confess to Cordelia and grows closer with her, he refuses to share this weight with anyone else, and continues to rely on his self-destructive tendencies, distancing himself from James and his family. When Cordelia runs to him after seeing James and Grace together (it’s all a big misunderstanding, okay?!) Matthew confesses his love (OMG)! We can’t wait to see how this all plays out in Chain of Thorns!
4. Lucie Herondale
As we head into book two of the Last Hours series, Lucie is thrilled to be preparing to become Cordelia’s parabatai, and is still writing The Beautiful Cordelia, but she also has MUCH bigger things on her mind, like a fragile alliance with Grace and a goal of bringing Jesse Blackthorn back to life. Lucie has been spending all of her nights chatting with Jesse’s ghost and has fallen in love with him, but knows it can never work unless he is restored to his body.
Things take a turn when we discover that Belial has been using Jesse’s body to murder London’s Shadowhunters and preparing it as a vessel for him to possess. He succeeds, and Jesse/Belial is almost destroyed by Cortana, but Lucie steps in to save Jesse’s body. She has discovered that she has the power to command ghosts and in an effort to save Jesse from Belial, she commands Jesse to cast Belial out of his body. It works, and the day is saved (for now)! But what’s next for Jesse and Lucie?
5. Anna Lightwood
Anna is still the coolest, most fashionable and unflappable person you’ll ever meet, and throws many a party in Chain of Iron. She and Ariadne’s relationship is still troubled, but they have an arrangement that involves lots of visits to the Whispering Room. Ariadne is still very much in love with Anna, but Anna is reluctant to have her heart broken and doesn’t want to let her get too close, and they end the book with their relationship in a bad place.
6. Christopher Lightwood
Christopher still spends much of his time in his godfather Henry’s laboratory working on experiments and inventions, and creates a new weapon (a runed gun) that James is able to use to fight Belial and Lilith! He is tricked by an Eidolon demon into giving up a vital piece of equipment to Belial, but as always, the Merry Thieves band together and save the day. All’s well that ends (mostly) well!
7. Jesse Blackthorn
After giving his last breath to save James in Chain of Gold Jesse’s strength continues to fade, but Grace and Lucie continue to watch over him and work to find a solution (through both legal and illegal means) to restore him to his body, with little success. Unbeknownst to him, Belial is using his body to murder and steal runes from Shadowhunters to complete a scheme years in the making, finally brought to fruition thanks to Belial’s scheming and Tatiana’s bad decisions. After spending so much time talking with Lucie, Jesse has fallen in love with her, and they end the book with a (semi)happy ending when Lucie commands him to live, and he does, but what comes next for these two?
8 & 9. Thomas Lightwood & Alastair Carstairs
Thomas and Alastair start off Chain of Iron on strained terms, with Thomas going on solo patrols to try to catch the murderer hunting Shadowhunters and Alastair dealing with the fallout of his father’s return from the Shadowhunter version of rehab. But when Thomas is arrested as a suspect when he’s found at the scene of one of the murders, Alastair comes to his defense with evidence that he couldn’t have committed them, because Alastair was following Thomas to keep him safe!
The two are locked in the Institute together as they await further questioning and have a heart to heart, and discover that they have feelings for each other (AWW), but all doesn’t end well, and Alastair ends the book by keeping Thomas at arms length, saying that things will never work between them.
10. Grace Blackthorn
Where do we even BEGIN with Grace. Now that James is marrying Cordelia, Grace has promised to stay away from him (and she should have enough to worry about as she’s trying to find a way to bring Jesse back to life), but somehow… she still turns up at the WORST times and confuses both James and Cordelia. She continues to hold control over James until the bracelet she gave him finally breaks, and she confesses everything she’s done to him, but somehow things with Cordelia are still ruined in the process.
Even though she’s lost control of James, she’s still ending the book on a good note now that Jesse has been revived… right? WRONG. Her mother, Tatiana, commands her to use her control over men to make Jesse (her own brother?! okay, not by blood relation, but STILL) believe he loves her, and not Lucie. Will she go through with this plot in Chain of Thorns?
Now that you’ve read the recap, take a quiz to see which of these characters you are!
Want more? Watch this video to find out four things that won’t happen in Chain of Thorns and one thing that will from Cassandra Clare herself!
Art in header image by Cassandra Jean. Character cards by Novarentale, except Grace and Jesse character art by Charlie Bowater.