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SPOILER WARNING: Plot details follow. Caution is advised!

Nothing will stop me from bringing my son back.

–Lilith, Thy Soul Instructed

Lilith is a powerful Greater Demon and the Queen of Edom. She is known as the Mother of demons, as well as a mother figure by her brainwashed followers.[1] She personally views Jonathan Morgenstern as her son.



Lilith was the first wife of Adam in the Garden of Eden until she was cast out and replaced by Eve. She suspected that she was subsequently cursed with never being able to bear children.[2] Vengeful, Lilith tricked Adam and Eve's first son, Cain, into killing his brother, Abel.[3] At some point, she became known as the Mother of Demons.[1] Lilith also became sworn enemies with the Queen of the Seelie Court and her immediate successor.[4][5] In revenge, the Queen endowed Eve with Seelie beauty.[4]

Around the 1990s, the Nephilim Valentine Morgenstern came to her and asked for demon blood to be given to his unborn son,[6] through the child's mother's womb, for his experiments.[7] As she'd suspected,[6] the young boy, named Jonathan, eventually proved too powerful—and too hungry for death—to control and was sent to Edom when he was around eleven years old.[8] Lilith loved him like he was her own child.[6]

Church of Talto

"I'm here now, son."

Almost a decade after, Jonathan returned to Earth and met his doom in a battle against Jace Herondale.[9] In his dying moments, Jonathan used his blood to open a rift to Edom and called for her. Through this rift, several asmodei entered the world, one of which took Jonathan's body and brought him to an isolated cave. The demons then coalesced into Lilith, and she was reunited with her "son".[10]

Bent on resurrecting Jonathan, Lilith set herself up in an abandoned cathedral in New York where the energy from the ley lines are strong. She called it the Church of Talto.[2] Here, Lilith set up an altar—specifically, a sacred tomb with a pattern carved into the stone—with Jonathan directly underneath.[11]

Exploring the mundane world, she found her way to a hospital where she looked at the newborn babies in the maternity ward. She asked a nurse, Tim Dempsey, who approached her if she could hold one of them, lamenting that she was barren because of her ex-husband. The nurse, though sympathetic, politely refused her request and gently escorted her out. Lilith noted his kindness and chose him as her first disciple.[2]

TMI301 Blood ritual 01.png

At one point, she managed to call for Jace. She put him under her control, turning him into a loyal foot-soldier by having him possessed with her demonic Owl,[11] but only able to do so in his sleep because of his strong love for Clary Fairchild. In an attempt to circumvent this, Lilith sent him dreams, sometimes involving Jonathan, that ends in Jace killing Clary himself. Once Jace finished his assignment of collecting 33 disciples for her ritual, she intended to kill Jace as revenge for killing her son.

Lilith instructed him to go after the nurse and infect him with a possessor-demon, This possession made the chosen disciples demonic, changing their cells as well as enslaving them to blind loyalty to her, driven to kill loved ones and thus corrupting their souls. Jace, in his owl form, was quick to gather many disciples for her. She called each of them back to her church after their kill and slit their throats over the alter, letting their demonic lifeblood drip and flow onto the carved spaces and into the center to nourish Jonathan and prepare him for his rebirth.[2][12][11][6]

Her plan hit a minor setback when the ley line corruption caused by her ritual spread throughout the ley lines in the city, alerting the warlocks to the corruption when their magic malfunctioned. The Shadowhunters of the New York Institute, in concert with the warlock Magnus Bane, used the angelic energy from the Institute's power core to purge the demonic corruption from the ley lines.[12]

"The Owl" bowing down to Lilith.

Jace failed only once to bring back a disciple when the Shadowhunters interfered and captured her.[11] Recognizing the risk it posed—possibly being tracked when her possession was identified—Lilith ordered Jace to handle it, for which Jace removed the demon possessing her.

When her hold over Jace was lost because of his contact with Clary—with Jace telling her that his love for her was stronger—she decided to deal with Clary so that Jace's loyalty and love for Lilith could be whole and undisturbed. She went to Magnus's,[6] posing as a friend of the late Ragnor Fell, and asked Magnus for a spell to make someone fall out of love. Convincing Magnus that it was for an ex that she was worried about, Magnus made her one—the potion would make the recipient lose all feelings for someone specific, but it required a sliver of the person's soul.

Lilith taking a sliver of Clary's soul.

Lilith summoned a demon to collect a sliver of Clary's soul, letting it track Clary by scent. The demon ended up tracking Isabelle Lightwood, who had been wearing Clary's dress, instead. She soon felt the death of the demon, prompting her to make a move on Clary herself. She searched for Clary and found her on a farm speaking to the angel Ithuriel. In her true form, she brutally killed the angel by ripping out his heart and took a sliver of Clary's soul. She completed Magnus's potion with Clary's soul and gave the drink to Jace, its effect on him instantaneous.[13]

Lilith summoned him the next day and ordered him to bring her the 33rd and final disciple. Lilith sensed the real Jace within her loyal Owl struggling for release and informed him that once he was was finished serving her, she would unleash the Owl on his friends and family before finally releasing and then executing him. She then fed him a jolt of demonic energy through a kiss to strengthen him before sending him on his way.[14]

The following evening, Lilith received Ollie—the last disciple sent her way by Jace—and did to her what she did to all the other disciples: asked her which she'd killed, slit her throat, and let her blood spill onto the altar. With the blood from 33 disciples, the ritual was close to completion. With Jonathan fully nourished, Lilith moved Jonathan to a sarcophagus in another room. She instructed Jace to go to Alicante's Cemetery of the Disgraced to fetch her flesh from Valentine's corpse.

Later, the werewolf Luke and the Daylighter vampire Simon entered her Church. Three of her disciples moved to stop them, two of whom were disintegrated by the Mark of Cain on Simon's forehead, causing Lilith to scream in agony and Ollie to rush to her side. Disorientated and horrified, Lilith demanded to know how her disciples had been destroyed so easily. Ollie told her of Simon, causing Lilith to deduce his Daylighter status and therefore the origin of his powers.[15]

Fearful of Simon's powers, Lilith hurriedly transported her suite and Jonathan's sarcophagus to a different building to escape. She deployed her disciples out into the city to find Jace, who had failed to return from his mission. Though Ollie feared for her safety due to Simon's powers, Lilith decided to attack the root of the problem by confronting the one responsible for Simon's powers: the Seelie Queen. Lilith single-handedly attacked the Seelie Court, massacring dozens of Seelies effortlessly before confronting the cowed monarch. Lilith demanded that the Queen remove the Mark from Simon, but the Queen defiantly refused. Enraged, Lilith raised her hand to kill the Queen but spared her and her people in exchange for being given the whereabouts of Jace.

Lilith watches over her "son."

She immediately teleported to Magnus's loft, tossing Alec and Isabelle aside and pinning Magnus against a wall. Though Magnus dared her to kill him, Lilith remarked that she did not want to become bogged down in a war with Asmodeus, released the warlock and departed with Jace.[4]

Determined to head off the threat Simon now posed to her plan, Lilith deployed the Owl to kidnap the vampire Heidi and bring her back with him. Lilith suggested that Heidi help Simon come out as a vampire to his family, preying on her desire to be with Simon, to distract him long enough to keep him away from Jonathan and the impending ritual. She sent Jace out once more to finish his original task of collecting a piece of Valentine's flesh as well as fetching Clary for her.[16]

When Jace returned with both later that night, Lilith placed the retrieved rib from Valentine's body, one of the last ingredients needed for the ritual, on top of Jonathan's tomb. She confronted and taunted Clary, further adding insult to injury by giving Jace a kiss to endow him with energy before sending her off to be fitted properly for the occasion. Afterwards, Lilith conversed with Clary on her recent actions and her fervent desire to revive Jonathan at any cost. She lost her temper when Clary sarcastically derided the notion that demons were even capable of love and snapped when Clary insulted Jonathan.

"As you live... so shall my son."

As Luke and his team infiltrated the building, Lilith deployed her disciples to hold them back. In the midst of the melee, Lilith suddenly felt a surge of familiar magic and roared with fury as Magnus Bane used borrowed power from his father Asmodeus to free Jace from the Owl demon, but the enraged Lilith pressed forward. With the ritual nearing completion, she fulfilled the last requirement by carving a demonic mark into Clary's shoulder that bound Clary's life force to Jonathan's new life.

As she turned back towards Jonathan, Simon sped in and removed Clary's bonds. Clary threatened to end her own life, and therefore Jonathan's, momentarily distracting her before being hit by the Sun rune. Lilith, in horror, realized too late that Simon was attacking the sarcophagus and desperately attacked him without thinking. The Mark of Cain activated, turning Lilith's attack back on her sevenfold. Rising to her feet, Lilith saw that Jonathan had risen from the dead and smiled, moments before her earthly form disintegrated—causing a big explosion—as she was banished, screaming in agony,[17] back to Edom.[18]


The blow from the Mark of Cain rendered Lilith and her powers weaker, giving Asmodeus the chance to usurp her crown as ruler of Edom. He confined her to a room in her palace with the magic he'd taken from Magnus. Jonathan returned to her a long while after his resurrection, making Lilith doubt his loyalty to her. Jonathan told Lilith that he would help her fight Asmodeus, and when Lilith got close enough to Jonathan, the boy took out his blade and attempted to stab her.

Why would I do that? Jonathan, that ungrateful bastard, tried to kill me. As far as I'm concerned, you two deserve each other.

–Lilith to Clary Fairchild, Stay With Me

Lilith got away only because she'd been summoned by Clary. She was summoned in the middle of a modified Malachi Configuration, one they used to torture information out of her. They demanded to know how to remove the twinning rune that bound Clary to Jonathan, and Lilith told them about the Morning Star sword and Glorious, the latter which could have destroyed the bond but which she knew to have been destroyed. When Jonathan arrived, Lilith began to seduce Cain once again, managing to convince him to protect her at Edom by promising that she would return bring back his brother, Abel. As soon as Cain released her from the Configuration, and protected her from a charging Simon, Lilith transported herself and Cain away.[5]

Skills and abilities

  • Immortality: As a Greater Demon, Lilith's age stretches across eons; she does not age nor will she ever die of natural causes or disease.
  • Mind control: Lilith is able to bend mundanes to her will and can command from them their blind loyalty and love for her. Her ability to do so is powerful enough that she can put even a Shadowhunter—at least one susceptible like Jace Herondale—under her control. However, she can only control Jace when he is asleep, and she is unable to completely command him due to his love for another.
  • Necromancy: Lilith is capable of conducting a ritual designed to revive the dead. The ritual itself is extremely dangerous, difficult, and takes a long time to be enacted fully.
  • Magic: As a Greater Demon, Lilith is capable of harnessing and utilizing demonic magic for a variety of purposes. She and Asmodeus are two of the few Greater Demons powerful enough to corrupt the ley lines with demonic energy. She is also capable of extracting a portion of a person's soul.[13]
  • Shape-shifting: Lilith has a winged, demonic form.[13] She is also able to take on the appearance of an ordinary human while on Earth that even experienced warlocks cannot see through.[6]
  • Clairsentience: Lilith is psychically linked to the demons she employs and feels the pain from the destruction of these demons.[2][13]
  • Flight: In her true form, Lilith is able to fly.
  • Super strength: In her demon form, Lilith is strong enough to punch through someone's chest and even armor with one hand.[13]

Personality and traits

Soft-spoken and eerily calm, Lilith carries herself with an air of supreme authority and power but also with a deceptive innocence that keeps those who meet her from seeing her as a threat until it's too late. She rarely displays great emotion except for when she is talking about her "son" Jonathan or her hatred for his killers. Lilith has a fixation on children due to her being barren.[2]

Lilith cares about the safety of those who serve a purpose to her but would not hesitate to rid herself of them when they became a liability.[6] She is seen only truly caring for her son. She is willing to kill and destroy for her desires and for those she loves, showing no remorse for the deaths she may cause.[12] She is personally offended and angered by those who would dare hurt her son and would see to their destruction, but she wouldn't be above using even those she loathes if they could help her achieve her goals, albeit temporarily.[6]

Lilith can also quite wise, creative, and efficient, able to think ahead and adjust her plans accordingly in case of an unexpected predicament. Though she doesn't exactly try to be subtle with her activities,[12] she is able to avoid detection, letting others do her dirty work for her but hides in plain sight, showing herself in some other form even to those working against her.[6] If pushed far enough however, she is not afraid to take matters into her own hands and deal with a problem personally.

For all her supposed love for Jonathon however, truly Lilith was a hypocritical monster who both physically and psychologically abused Jonathan, burning him frequently and condescending to him, telling him that he was worthless, that no one would ever love him except for herself. She is bitter and spiteful, as it was she who swayed Cain, the son of her former husband Adam, to kill his brother Abel out of utter spite and even turned Cain into a vampire.

When Jonathan attempted to kill her, Lilith angrily called him an ungrateful bastard, disregarding her monstrous treatment of Jonathan and refusing to acknowledge the suffering she'd caused him.


Season Two (2B) appearances: 1/20
Mea Maxima Culpa:
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: 14/22
On Infernal Ground:
The Powers That Be:
What Lies Beneath:
Thy Soul Instructed:
Stronger Than Heaven:
A Window Into an...:
Salt in the Wound:
A Heart of Darkness:
Familia Ante Omnia:
Lost Souls:
Mentioned only
Original Sin:
Mentioned only
Beati Bellicosi:
Mentioned only
A Kiss From a Rose:
Mentioned only
To the Night Children:
Mentioned only
Stay With Me:
Heavenly Fire:
Flashback only
The Beast Within:
Mentioned only
Aku Cinta Kamu:
Mentioned only
City of Glass:
Mentioned only
All Good Things...:


  • Lilith is believed to have been portrayed by stand-in actress Tara Westwood in Beside Still Water. The official actress, Anna Hopkins, was cast during the early stages of the third season's production.[19]
  • In Jewish folklore, Lilith is known as Adam's first wife, who was created at the same time and from the same dirt as Adam.[20]


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