Shadowhunters, also known as Nephilim, are a race of beings who are humans born with angel blood. They have fought the demons that threaten the world and have created their own culture and civilization within human society over the years, at the same time keeping the Shadow World a secret from the mundane world while protecting both.
Their angelic blood endows them with special abilities that allow them to achieve feats beyond what's humanly possible through the application of angelic runes.
In 1998, a group of dissidents called the Circle and led by Valentine Morgenstern the Uprising occurred during one signing of the Accords. They intended to steal the Mortal Cup that was put on display that day and kill the attending Downworlders. The day ended in bloodshed, with deaths on both sides.
- Main article: Idris
Government and Politics
This section covers a topic that has not been fully explored on the show and thus contains some information taken from the books, in addition to information from the TV series.
|“||The law is hard, but it is the law.||”|
Clave, Consul, Council
The Clave is the general organization of all active Nephilim. Members of the Clave all have rights to contribute to any Clave issue under discussion. They keep and interpret the Law and have the right to help decide on important matters that affect the Nephilim.
The Clave's governing body is the Council, and the Consul is their highest appointed official. The Consul holds little executive power but presides over the Council. The Council may represent the larger Clave when making decisions that don't require a vote—matters of immediate import that are not large enough for the entire Clave to become involved in.
The Clave is divided into smaller groups in different countries and cities of the world. These regional groups are locally centered around an Institute, and every active Shadowhunter residing in the area under their jurisdiction answer to them. These local groups coordinate their own local decision making and organizational structures as they see fit, though the Clave may still interfere in some cases.
The Accords acts as the law of the land by all of the Shadow World, a treaty that ordains how Shadowhunters and Downworlders interact with mundanes and one another, as well as each group's rights, responsibilities, and restrictions. With the Accords, groups of Downworlders also in peace with the Accords agree to the same oath to never reveal the truth of the Shadow World to mundanes.
Ceremonies and Rituals
- Main article: Runes
Shadowhunters are trained at a very young age and may attend lessons at other Institutes or in Idris. When they complete their training, they receive their first rune, which is performed by a Silent Brother in a ceremony.
- Main article: Parabatai
Parabatai is the term for two Shadowhunters who fight alongside each other. These Shadowhunters are partners and are particularly close to one another.
The runes drawn by one's parabatai are stronger than those used by another. Also, there are some runes that can only be used by parabatai, such as parabatai tracking.
The color of marriage is gold. A tradition in Shadowhunter weddings is having a suggenes. During the wedding ceremony, which may be officiated by a Silent Brother, the Shadowhunters will mark each other with the Wedded Union: one on the hand and another on the chest, over the heart.
The traditional color of mourning among the Nephilim is white.
During funerals, if the deceased left behind family or someone close to him/her, the person may stand by the corpse, covered by a white cloth, and will call out the deceased's name(s). The words "For we are but dust and shadows. Ave Atque Vale, hail and farewell" are spoken. After this, those "left behind" may leave the deceased's side and join the others gathered, and a Silent Brother will touch the tip of his stele to the corpse(s). In front of a mourning rune close to the body, the Silent Brother and any other official figure will raise their hands in unison as the souls of the deceased depart their bodies and visibly drift into the air.
To honor a Shadowhunter's death, most of them are buried in the City of Bones. Those whose deaths are not considered honorable, such as suicides, criminals, monsters, and traitors forfeit their right to be buried in the Silent City; they are instead buried at the Cemetery of the Disgraced in Idris.
The Nephilim's motto is "Facilis descensus Averno," or "Descensus Averno facilis est," which means "The descent into Hell is easy" in Latin. It was taken from Virgil's poem, The Aeneid.
Shadowhunters were once allied with all of the ancient religions because they used to recognize demons, until the religious systems began to ignore the threat of demons as the Shadowhunters protected them. Nonetheless, the Shadowhunters of that time were able to stash caches of weapons in different places of worship.
Known Nephilim surnames
- In an alternate dimension reached through the Seelie realm, demons have been wiped out and Shadowhunters have served their purpose and are no longer demon-hunters.