|“||I wanted you to be proud of me. Out of everything that you taught me, killing was always what I was best at. It's ironic, isn't it? That that should be the reason you came to hate me.||”|
Before he was born, Jonathan was injected with pure demon blood while still in Jocelyn's womb. As a child, Jocelyn saw the destruction he was capable of and what she believed to be a natural inclination to bring death in him and slowly grew fearful of him. After the Uprising, Valentine faked their deaths by setting fire to the Fairchild manor. For years after finding out about his "death", his mother Jocelyn mourned for him. She kept a box of his things with her, and she would take it out once a year and cry over it.
Valentine raised Jonathan secretly and in seclusion in a remote cabin in Idris, at the same time as, but separate from, Valentine's other experiment: Jonathan Herondale, whom Valentine was raising as Jonathan Wayland. Valentine kept journals of the two opposite Jonathans' progress. Jonathan claimed to have developed an interest in science as a child, after Valentine gave him a chemistry set and taught him the basic laws of physics.
Because of his demon blood, Jonathan grew up with murderous tendencies. When he turned eight, Valentine gave him his first seraph blade. He had been so eager to try it out and make his father proud that he snuck out of their cabin and killed and skinned a large werewolf, wanting to give its pelt to Valentine as a trophy.
At one point, a young Jonathan killed a boy named Albert Timberworth by throwing him off a bridge, apparently curious if the 32-foot fall would kill him. Jonathan's deadly experiments continued and began to attract unwanted attention, in addition to fearing that Jonathan was out of control and he could be his son's next victim, that Valentine afterwards kept him shackled in the basement of the cabin.
Eventually, Valentine sent Jonathan to Hell, specifically the realm Edom. Jonathan felt that Valentine's reasons were that he grew to hate him for his inclination to kill and that his father chose Jace and wanted to protect him from Jonathan.
Time in Edom
Upon his arrival, Jonathan was welcomed by Lilith, the Queen of the realm, who greeted him while in human form. She introduced herself as his mother, and when he told her that his mother hated him, Lilith told him to abandon that thought, because it was her blood that made him special and powerful. As she told him that she loved him, she gripped him by his arms and burned him. Other demons joined in burning his skin—gradually, layer by layer—because he was too pretty, and too human, for their world. They made him hideous, leaving his body disfigured, his face unrecognizable.
Eventually, Lilith and the demons taught him how to use and draw power from his demon blood. He spent his years in Hell clinging to memories and hopes of freedom.
Eventually, he summoned the Greater Demon Azazel, who helped him escape Edom in exchange for his freedom from Duduael. Upon being freed, Jonathan found the cold unbearable, having gotten used to the flames of Hell. He was also disappointed to not have been overwhelmed with the emotions—anger, nor happiness—he'd expected to have when he finally made it back; instead, In the end, he felt nothing, though he eventually realized that he needed revenge on his father.
Jonathan spent time thinking of his next steps in his new life. To blend in, Jonathan kidnapped the English Shadowhunter Sebastian Verlac from London and took on his identity. He led Sebastian's family believe that he was safe and just needed to be away.
Meanwhile, Valentine had managed to convince the other Jonathan—now known as Jace—that he was Jonathan Christopher Morgenstern, until he was forced by the Soul-Sword to admit to him his deception. Meanwhile, a vision from Ithuriel told Jace and Clary that a "demonic Morgenstern" would be capable of destroying the Soul-Sword, denoting that someone like Jonathan would be able to do it. Because it was then believed that Jace was Jonathan, they wrongly assumed that it was referring to him, leading to him accidentally activating the sword. Clary was later able to deactivate the Sword, and Jonathan, knowing that the Sword could be used to destroy him, a demon-blooded creature as well, stole the Sword with the intention of sending it to Edom with Valentine.
Jonathan then had Azazel stage an attack on Isabelle Lightwood so he could swoop in and "save" her, a deed which he hoped would later grant him access to the New York Institute. He took her back to his apartment. When she woke up, he offered her a vial of medicine that would help with her withdrawal symptoms. To gain her trust, he told her that he was also previously addicted to yin fen and found his own ways of kicking the addiction, one of them being the root extract medicine he was giving her. He convinced Isabelle to confine herself in his residence for at least a day to recover.
After recovering, Isabelle invited Sebastian to the Institute, just as he had anticipated, where he proved his worth by imparting his expertise on Greater Demons and advising them how to defeat Azazel. This opportunity also allowed Jonathan to meet Clary for the first time. When he noticed that Clary was struggling with her rune powers because of her emotions, he advised her to accept her feelings instead of shutting them, and her powers, out. When they needed Clary's ability to save Jace and capture Valentine, he forced her to accept her emotions by throwing harsh truths at her, which, despite his words, Clary later thanked him for.
Jonathan was eventually able to gain the trust of the other Shadowhunters and integrated himself into the Institute, well enough that he became part of the team assigned to Valentine. He anonymously arranged for Luke Garroway to get access to Valentine's cell to kill him but reported him to Alec Lightwood, prompting Alec and the Clave to decide to have Valentine transferred to Idris to keep him safe, while he was being interrogated for the Mortal Instruments, from those who want him dead. This transfer gave him the opportunity to Portal Valentine away from the Shadowhunters through Duncan Armstrong, a Shadowhunter he'd been blackmailing into doing his bidding at the Institute. Jonathan had Duncan Portal them to the basement of the cabin he grew up in and later killed Duncan.
Jonathan gave Valentine a recap of the life he had in Hell. When the remorseful Valentine took the blame for everything that happened to him and told Jonathan that he grew to regret sending him away, Jonathan refused to believe him and continued to prepare for the ritual that would send Valentine and the Soul-Sword to Edom. Valentine then took hold of the Sword and, compelled to tell the truth by the Sword, told Jonathan that he never hated him, that he had always and still cared for him despite his decision to send him away, and that he still thought of him and was haunted by his decision every day. He also told Jonathan that he was the "ultimate warrior" he'd always dreamed of, not Jace, and the man he'd grown up to be fulfilled this dream, calling him his greatest creation. This was able to convince Jonathan to change his mind, and he later took Valentine back to his place and had dinner with him.
When Valentine left for Idris to summon Raziel, he left Jonathan behind in New York, claiming to have done it because of the danger. Jonathan decided to kill those in pursuit of them, for which Valentine Turned several mundanes to Forsaken to help him. Jonathan was able to take Jace by surprise and moved to hang him by the neck on a bridge, only to be coazed into a battle. While he bested Jace at first, Isabelle arrived and confronted him. He was distracted enough that Jace was able to stab him from behind. Jonathan tried to continue fighting, but Jace was able to kick him off the bridge and into the stream.
In his dying moments, Jonathan crawled ashore and used his blood to open a rift to Edom and called for his "mother", Lilith. Through this rift, several asmodei entered the world, one of which took Jonathan's body and brought it to an isolated cave. The demons then coalesced into Lilith, and she was reunited with her "son".
|“||As you live, so shall my son.||”|
–Lilith to Clary, Erchomai
Lilith went to great lengths to prepare Jonathan for his rebirth, and to prevent anyone from interfering. She and her Owl, which she had possess Jace, gathered 33 disciples—33 virtuous mundanes who, after possession, killed for her, tainting their virtuous souls with demonic lifeblood—to donate their blood for the nourishment of his body, kept beneath an altar in her base.
Eventually, the 33 disciples were completed, rendering Jonathan just about ready for the ritual. Jace retrieved the two last things Lilith needed for him: flesh from his father Valentine, and Clary's heart—in fact her life force, which Lilith bound to him through a mark on their chests—allowing Jonathan to rise and live, as long as Clary was alive. Shortly before Lilith was killed—on Earth, and banished back to Edom—Jonathan awakened and took ahold of Clary who passed by his tomb. Before she was sent back to Edom, Lilith managed to send the apartment, along with Jonathan and Clary, to Siberia. The apartment appeared to explode with her, convincing the others that Clary and Jonathan died with her.
Now bearing his own skin, restored by Lilith's ritual, Jonathan introduced himself to Clary when she woke up days after the explosion. Clary asked him about the rune Lilith cut into her chest, and Jonathan showed her his own, calling it a symbol of their bond, and Clary realized that it was what brought him back to life. Jonathan expressed his desire to protect Clary and be there for her as her brother, which the girl rejected and only used to try and get away from Jonathan. Clary fled but only managed to get so far before she collapsed of exhaustion in the cold, and Jonathan caught up to her and brought her back to the apartment.
While Jonathan tried to nurse Clary back to health, he asked her to try and understand his situation and how he grew into the boy she came to despise. He told her that he would like to change and find some goodness inside of him like she has as well.
|“||We are one now, little sister. You and I... we are one.||”|
–Jonathan to Clary about their bond, Lost Souls
Later, Jonathan offered to go to Paris with Clary, knowing she'd always wanted to go. Clary acted eager to distract him then tried to kill him, stabbing him through the chin. Both then witnessed for the first time the effect of their new bond, born from the rune Lilith had Marked them both with, as Clary bled with him from the same injury and healed only when Jonathan activated his healing rune. Jonathan gleefully told her of their bond.
Jonathan took the apartment to Paris next. He continued to try and get Clary on his side, and Clary pretended to give him a chance. Jonathan, however, had a secret agenda on the side. With Clary, he went to an antiques shop ran by a Vetis demon, Mirek, to retrieve the Morgenstern family sword. The demon taunted him about not wanting to give him the sword, then claimed to have already sold it. When the demon wouldn't tell him to whom, Jonathan killed him. Jonathan then felt a twinge of pain and rushed outside, realizing that someone was hurting Clary. He tracks her down and kills the French Shadowhunter she was with, not knowing that Clary had been attempting to contact her friends with his stele.
|“||And I did it for you. Seeing you in his arms like that, so vulnerable... It wasn't like any kill I've ever done before. Clary... it felt so good! You make me good.||”|
–Jonathan to Clary, Original Sin
Clary confronted Jonathan about his belief that he was being good, despite his actions. Jonathan retorted that Clary seemed to have felt good about killing their father. Clary demands to know what Jonathan had planned with the sword, and Jonathan refused to answer, doubting Clary's loyalty. Jace then arrived with Luke and Alec to rescue Clary. Clary explained to them that killing Jonathan would kill her, too, but stabbed herself in the leg, prompting Jonathan to run. Jonathan returned to the apartment and transported some place else, anguishing over the loss of Clary, and her betrayal.
Unable to be with Clary, who was once again under the protection of her friends at the New York Institute, Jonathan tormented Clary by burning himself and cutting the words "I miss you" into his skin, and thus causing her the same pain. Desperate for his sister's presence, Jonathan went to a place called "the Bone Chandelier" and employed the services of a Seelie nymph Lanaia to take Clary's form and act like her, instructing her to seem excited to be back with him, though he was dissatisfied with the fakeness of it in the end.
Deciding that he needed the real Clary, Jonathan stalked her and Jace while the two went on a date, knocked Jace out and took his form. He slowly led her back to the apartment and kissed her during the "date", unwittingly giving away his identity to Clary. When they were close to the apartment, Clary stopped him. Jace, Isabelle, and other Shadowhunters arrived. Clary intended to knock him out with a Somnus rune but, in the moment of hesitation Clary had due to their bond, Jonathan slipped away and ran. The encounter made Jonathan confident that Clary would join him soon.
Jonathan and Clary unexpectedly ran into each other. He assured her that the rune binding them is what brought them together, which Clary refused to believe. When Clary attempts to call the Institute to capture Jonathan, he escapes before she could do so. Jonathan later feels his hand burning when Clary, influenced by the rune, puts her hand on the fireplace, only to be stopped by Jace.
He payed a visit to the Seelie Queen to negotiate the custody of the Morning Star sword, which is in her possession. She initially attempts to have Jonathan killed as revenge for Lilith invading her realm and killing half of her subjects, relenting when Jonathan makes a deal: He will kill Lilith himself and bring back her head to the Queen in exchange of the sword. Jonathan then goes to Edom and tricks Lilith into helping him defeat Asmodeus, who took her crown and confined her in a room with magic borrowed from Magnus Bane. She remained skeptical, but Jonathan told her that he loved her. After this, Jonathan attempts to stab Lilith, only for her to be teleported to Earth by Clary, who demanded that she explain how to remove the rune. Jonathan arrives and attacks Jace and Isabelle, overpowering them. He tries to kill Isabelle, but Simon saves her by feeding on him. Jonathan begs Clary to help him, but thanks to Jace's presence, Clary portaled Jonathan to the Institute instead and he proceeds to yell in defeat and frustration. He is then restrained in chains to prevent him from hurting himself.
Underhill has been questioning Jonathan about the Morning Star sword, but he refuses to reveal anything unless Clary speaks to him. She does, despite Jace's warnings. Clary asks him if he wants the sword to release demons, to which Jonathan insists that it is a family heirloom. Jonathan explained that he never knew Clary existed until Lilith informed him. That moment changed everything for Jonathan as he realized that with Clary, he had someone to fight by his side, not against, not in spite of, but with him. During his time in Edom, Lilith told Jonathan that the sword could only be wielded by a Morgenstern: him and Valentine. She then made it clear to Jonathan that nobody would rescue him, because nobody loved him like she did. Clary gets very shaken by this tragic story and leaves. Clary had a recurring nightmare as a child in which she was a princess supposed to rescue a prince locked in a burning tower by an evil queen, and every time she reached the top, she would fall and wake up screaming. After finding the way to remove Lilith's rune, she tells Jonathan and leaves him to suffer the consequences, despite his desperate pleas.
Isabelle has Jonathan restrained to a chair to inject him with the heavenly fire. He tries to convince Clary to stop this, only to be interrupted by Luke who orders Alec to gag him. Isabelle then injects Jonathan, causing him a lot of pain, as well as Clary, to no avail, as the formula is too weak to remove the rune. Later on, Jonathan remains in his cell where Lanaia breaches the Institute wards to enter. Jonathan's relief turns to horror when she attempts to kill him on the Seelie Queen's orders. Before she could, however, Clary, who has succumbed to Lilith's rune and turned evil, kills Lanaia and breaks Jonathan out of his cell.
With the now-evil Clary on Jonathan's side, they plan to kidnap the Seelie Queen in order to get her to relinquish the Morning Star sword, with Jace pretending to join their quest by going undercover using a Seelie ring to communicate through telepathy in an attempt to save Clary and stop the Clave from killing her. Clary gains Jace's trust thinking that his love for her matters more than his loyalty to the Institute, but Jonathan remains dubious. They find the Queen at a night club frequented by Downworlders where they enjoy themselves. As Jonathan holds the Queen hostage, Jace's deception is exposed. Clary threatens retaliaton should Jace ever come near them again and sends him back to the Institute.
Back at Lilith's apartment, Jonathan is surprised to see that the Queen is neither screaming nor begging for help. They began talking, with the Queen telling Jonathan that she thought he was only a child, with Jonathan stating that she should not have underestimated him. They were interrupted by Clary, who demanded that she hand over the sword. She asks Clary what she'll do to her if she refuses, prompting Clary to slap her in response, to which the Queen says that she didn't expect this behavior from her, but from a true Morgenstern, with Clary stating that she indeed is. When Jonathan and Clary finally obtain the sword in exchange for the release of the Seelie Queen, Jace and Isabelle arrive. Jace fights Jonathan while Isabelle fights Clary. The fight ended when Jace used the sword embedded with heavenly fire to remove Lilith's rune, finally breaking her bond with Jonathan for good. Just as Alec was about to execute him, Jonathan grows black wings and becomes stronger than ever before, as his bond with Clary was holding him back. Jonathan then creates chaos in Alicante by using the sword to release all of the demons. Clary begs Jonathan to stop this, but he refuses and destroys the sword to prevent the rift from being closed before flying away.
The Seelie Queen approaches Jonathan and offers help to nurse him back to health, only to be rejected. She once again offers to let her help him and Jonathan reluctantly accepts, despite initially telling her to leave him alone. After completing his transformation, the Seelie Queen provides him with kidnapped shadowhunters who are held hostage. She teaches him how to harness his powers and at the request of one of the shadowhunters, Jonathan kills him. The Queen plots to rule the Shadow World with Jonathan at her side.
Jonathan and the Seelie Queen share a bed together, but Jonathan grows tired and decides to leave. The Queen then reminds Jonathan that it was her who healed him and taught him how to use his powers. The Queen confesses that she has feelings for Jonathan and that she wants him to be her king and destroy the mundane realm together. Jonathan rejects the offer, saying that he prefers to rule on his own. The Queen then reverts to her child form and begs Jonathan to have mercy, before Jonathan murders her. Jonathan begins his reign of terror by killing both mundanes and shadowhunters, including the Los Angeles Institute in which Robert Lightwood and Max Lightwood are currently residing, killing everyone inside but sparing them both. They then contact the New York Institute to give Clary a message from Jonathan: He is taking down every institute worldwide, saving New York for last because he wants Clary to watch the world die, knowing that it's all her fault. Clary goes to stop him. She manages to trick him into getting closer to her and once he gets distracted, Clary draws a rune which gives her white wings that slowly crush Jonathan, rendering him dead again, finally ending his venomous wrath for good and avenging all those who he had killed.
Personality and traits
Jonathan is an expert liar, able to blend in with others as a charming, compassionate, brilliant man. He also has masochistic tendencies, often burning his hand, due to his high resistance to pain after years of torture in Edom. Johnathan is also sadistic; he enjoys killing and finds ways to justify his decisions and actions.
From his time with Valentine, he was well-educated and was trained to possess unrivaled fighting abilities, along with the superiority his demon blood gave him. His time in Edom also gave him vast knowledge on Greater Demons.
|“||Resurrection brought back my real face.||”|
–Jonathan, Lost Souls
Jonathan has blue eyes and red hair, the latter being of the same shade as his mother's, sharp cheekbones, and a lean figure. His eyes — even the sclera, or the white of his eyes — sometimes turn completely black, particularly when he accesses his powers.
|“||The first day I was there, they started burning my skin. Just one layer at a time. They said I was too pretty for their world... Too human. So they made me hideous.||”|
–Jonathan, Day of Atonement
For at least half of his life, however, which had been spent in hell, all the layers of skin on his entire body were burned off. His rebirth around a decade later healed his skin, restoring his true face.
- Valentine Morgenstern: "Then why keep the Verlac boy's visage if you're weaker for it?"
- Jonathan: "I think it rather suits me. Don't you? As does the accent. A bit more... charming than a demonic beast with burnt flesh."
- ―Jonathan about Sebastian Verlac's face, Day of Atonement
For a time, Jonathan used the appearance of Sebastian Verlac, a tall man with blue eyes and blond hair. He had a "Calm Anger" rune on the left side of his neck.
Skills and abilities
- Nephilim physiology: Being Nephilim, Jonathan should possess a variety of enhanced physical and mental abilities granted to him by the angel blood of Raziel in his veins and also by the angelic Marks of the Gray Book. This includes enhanced strength, speed, agility, stamina, and coordination, which continue to improve over time and practice.
- The Sight: As a Shadowhunter, Jonathan should naturally and easily be able to see through most magical illusions and layers of glamour over reality.
- Runic magic: Due to the angel blood running in the veins of all Shadowhunters, Jonathan should be able to apply runes on his skin without any danger. These Marks would give varied effects that serve to benefit the wearer.
- Use of heavenly weapons: As a Shadowhunter, Jonathan would also able to perform tasks unique to their species, such as the ability to use and call on the power of angels for their seraph blades, as well as to handle any heavenly weapons or objects with effect, which would normally not work for other species. In particular, these are tools made of adamas and forged by Iron Sisters.
- Demonic blood empowerment: Being born with pure demon blood apparently gave him enhanced strength, speed, and others superior to those of normal Shadowhunters', as well as the ability to destroy small living beings, like a flower. According to Valentine, this would also affect his psyche. Upon being reborn with Lilith's ritual, Jonathan was brought back even stronger than he was before.
- Expert hand to hand combatant: Jonathan is highly skilled in armed combat.
- Expert swordsman: Jonathan is highly skilled and proficient in swordsmanship.
- Flight: When Jonathan's bond was released, Jonathan's black wings were unleashed, giving him the ability to fly.
|Season One appearances: 0/13|
|The Mortal Cup:|
|The Descent Into Hell Isn't Easy:|
|Dead Man's Party:|
|Moo Shu to Go:|
Alluded to only
|Of Men and Angels:|
|This World Inverted:|
|Blood Calls To Blood:|
|Season Two appearances: 10/20|
|This Guilty Blood:|
|A Door Into the Dark:|
|Day of Wrath:|
|Dust and Shadows:|
|How Are Thou Fallen:|
|Love is a Devil:|
|Bound By Blood:|
|By the Light of Dawn:|
|Mea Maxima Culpa:|
In main story and flashback
|You Are Not Your Own:|
|Those of Demon Blood:|
|The Fair Folk:|
|A Problem of Memory:|
|Day of Atonement:|
|A Dark Reflection:|
|Awake, Arise, or...:|
|Hail and Farewell:|
|Beside Still Water:|
|Season Three appearances: 17/22|
|On Infernal Ground:|
Corpse and in a dream
|The Powers That Be:|
|What Lies Beneath:|
Corpse and an illusion
|Thy Soul Instructed:|
|Stronger Than Heaven:|
|A Window Into an...:|
|Salt in the Wound:|
Appears as a corpse only
|A Heart of Darkness:|
|Familia Ante Omnia:|
Appears as a corpse only
In main story and flashback
Onscreen and in a vision
|A Kiss From a Rose:|
|To the Night Children:|
|Stay With Me:|
|The Beast Within:|
|Aku Cinta Kamu:|
|City of Glass:|
|All Good Things...:|
- In Season 2B, he was portrayed by guest star Will Tudor, who also portrayed Sebastian Verlac, while Elias Toufexis portrays his true, charred form. Young Jonathan is played by Jacob Skiba. He is portrayed by Luke Baines in 3B, portraying Jonathan's true form, no longer burned.
- Jonathan as a boy was depicted with blond hair in the flashbacks in the episodes Mea Maxima Culpa and Erchomai.
- The writers referred to him as "Bass".
- Joey Racki was a stunt double for Luke/Jonathan in the episode Lost Souls.
- Listed below are characteristics or elements of the character in the books that differ from the show; in the books:
- Jonathan was raised by Valentine until his teenage years and was part of his plans until the end.
- Jonathan did not grow up in Edom, though he did spend his last moments there.
- Jonathan did not appear burned and did not actually take Sebastian's form. Instead, he only temporarily disguised himself as Sebastian by dyeing his hair black.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 2x01: This Guilty Blood
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2x02: A Door Into the Dark
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 1x11: Blood Calls To Blood
- ↑ 1x05: Moo Shu to Go
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 2x16: Day of Atonement
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 3x10: Erchomai
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 2x15: A Problem of Memory
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 2x11: Mea Maxima Culpa
- ↑ 2x10: By the Light of Dawn
- ↑ 2x12: You Are Not Your Own
- ↑ 2x14: The Fair Folk
- ↑ 2x19: Hail and Farewell
- ↑ 2x20: Beside Still Water
- ↑ 3x03: What Lies Beneath
- ↑ 3x07: Salt in the Wound
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 3x11: Lost Souls
- ↑ 3x12: Original Sin
- ↑ 3x13: Beati Bellicosi
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 3x14: A Kiss From a Rose
- ↑ 3x15: To the Night Children
- ↑ 3x16: Stay With Me
- ↑ 3x17: Heavenly Fire
- ↑ 3x18: The Beast Within
- ↑ 3x19: Aku Cinta Kamu
- ↑ 3x20: City of Glass
- ↑ 3x21: Alliance
- ↑ 3x22: All Good Things...
- ↑ Shadowhunters Season 3 Episode 10: Clary Dies, Jonathan Reborn | TV Guide
- ↑ Casting announcement on Instagram
- ↑   - "Bass is short for Sebastian." Todd Slavkin (@toddzer1) on Twitter
- ↑ "... my incredible stunt double, Joey Racki," Luke Baines on Twitter