top of page
  • Writer's pictureMelba Jones

The Enigmatic Clary Fray Shadowhunters Heart & Soul Heroine

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

clary fray heroine of Shadowhunters TV series in pensive pose

In the fantastical world of "The Mortal Instruments" series by author Cassandra Clare, and the televised series "Shadowhunters," one character who has mesmerized readers and viewers is the indomitable Clary Fray. Portrayed by the talented actress Katherine McNamara, Clary is a symbol of courage, tenacity, and the timeless battle between forces of light and darkness. This article delves into the essence of Clary's character, her uniqueness, and her profound relationships with friends like Simon, Alec, Isabelle, Magnus, and love interest, Jace.

Who Is Clary Fray?

Clarissa Adele Fray, or Clary for short, is the central character in Cassandra Clare's "The Mortal Instruments." A regular young woman living in Brooklyn, New York, Clary's life takes an unexpected twist when she hits 18 and discovers her true identity as a Shadowhunter, a lineage of angelic-aligned warriors sworn to defend the world against dark and destructive demonic forces. Clary's character arc is a captivating journey from a mere art student to a fierce and capable warrior entangled in a realm teeming with supernatural entities.

At the heart of Clary's character lies her unwavering determination, loyalty to her friends, and a relentless pursuit of the truth. Her primary motivation is to reunite her fragmented 'family', driving her to undertake extraordinary feats. It's her evolution from an ordinary human to a formidable Shadowhunter that resonates deeply with readers and viewers alike.

Uniquely Beautiful Style

Clary Fray Shadowhunters heroine in fierce warrior pose

Clary's physical attributes play a crucial role in defining her character. Described in Clare's books as having fiery red hair, pale skin, and a petite frame, Clary's most arresting feature is her striking emerald green eyes, which hold a power within the narrative. Her unconventional beauty and vibrant style set her apart in the light and dark world of the Shadowhunters.

In the television adaptation, Katherine McNamara seems to effortlessly embody Clary's distinctive look. With her showstopping red locks and arrestingly sweet features, McNamara was the perfect choice to bring Clary to life. The show's costume designers paid meticulous attention to detail, creating a wardrobe for Clary that fuses bohemian and edgy design, reflecting her artistic background and her transformation into a very unique Shadowhunter with a style all her own.

Clary's Relationships and Companionships

Clary's character is further enriched by her profound relationships with friends who become her adopted family. Her bond with childhood friend Simon Lewis, portrayed by Alberto Rosende, transcends friendship, evolving into a deep connection that withstood the supernatural challenges of their world, and she never lets him down not even when he becomes a downworlder himself, and a vampire.

Alec Lightwood, portrayed by Matthew Daddario, and his sister Isabelle, played by Emeraude Toubia, become Clary's fellow Shadowhunters and trusted allies. These relationships showcase Clary's ability to bridge divides and earn the trust and affection of those initially wary of her presence. And Alec was definitely resentful of her getting in the way of his relationship with parabatai Jace.

Magnus Bane, the charismatic warlock played by Harry Shum Jr., brings a touch of magic and wisdom into Clary's life. Her connection with Magnus illustrates her capacity for forming bonds that transcend species and background.

The Heartwarming and Traumatic Love Story with Jace

At the core of Clary's character lies her deep and passionate love for Jace Herondale, portrayed by Dominic Sherwood. Their love story is a defining aspect of "Shadowhunters," marking both characters with love, trials, and tragic sacrifices that leave an indelible mark on their hearts and souls.

The talented Katherine McNamara has brilliantly brought Clary Fray, the resolute and enigmatic character at the heart of Cassandra Clare's "The Mortal Instruments" to life in "Shadowhunters." Her transformation from a regular art student to a formidable Shadowhunter and her enduring love for Jace have made her an icon in the realm of fantasy fiction.

Clary Bashing

Is this a thing? Unfortunately yes. It seems the bigger the character, the more exposure and more famous the actor who plays the part, you open yourself up to very harsh criticism. Not warranted, I feel. What could Clary or Katherine have done better?... Not much in my humble opinion. So I will not say another word about CB. Done, dusted and put to bed.

As Clary's relationships with friends like Simon, Alec, Isabelle, Magnus, and her passionate love for Jace come to the fore, her character becomes more compelling and relatable, revealing her resilience, empathy, and the enduring power of love. We root for her all the way! The world of "Shadowhunters" is richer and more captivating thanks to Clary Fray, who remains a beloved figure in the hearts of fans (particularly mine) and a testament to the enduring allure of the Shadowhunter universe.


bottom of page