Ten Years of City of Bones: Week Three (Adaptations)

12:30 PM




I don't know what's more shocking--the fact that City of Bones is 10 or that we're on week three of the celebration already! Nuts. Completely. I'm actually in shock about this because apparently I'm easily shocked. Or just #shook. I have a busy weekend ahead of me so your girl actually wrote this ALMOST A WEEK EARLY to schedule it in. Believe me, I'm just as surprised as you are.

If you're wondering what the fresh hell (do the kids still say that?) I am babbling about now (...as opposed to whatever it is I typically babble about on here?)--to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Cassandra Clare's beloved introduction to The Shadowhunters Chronicles/The Mortal Instruments, City of Bones, I decided to host a little meme to get better acquainted with my fellow TMI fans. Which you can read more about here.

I'm not going to lie to you guys. This weeks topic is the one I've been most looking forward to. I was *almost* tempted to make it the first task/theme/topic/trumpet (???) when I came up with the list but decided to pace myself. Adaptations are on the table--including both the film and Freeform television series. Are you excited? Am I vibrating?

For starters, I didn't used to be so mellow about my favourite books being adapted for screen. From the time that Gossip Girl was first aired (honestly, I hated it) and made me flinch into my beloved pieces of trash (the books, obviously) to the Harry Potter films, whose problems were less frustrating for me than Gossip Girl because at least Harry Potter stuck to the general plots, I would analyze and nitpick EVERY LAST DETAIL of everything. Because that's what us book lovers tend to do--we love the way it translates on screen more or equal to the source material or we loath it. And that's that.

As I got older and saw more television and film adaptations of work I'd been familiar with or loved--such as The Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Game of Thrones, The Secret Circle, Pretty Little Liars, The Giver, Outlander, The Hunger Games, Divergent--I began to be able to separate the original vs. the adaptations bit by bit. I'm not saying I loved them but I'm not saying I hated them either way, I just slowly began to loosen my grip on the work in question and embraced changes with a little less stubbornness.

(Grumbles into her coffee about Gossip Girl and The Lying Game for life, though.*) 

And this--shall we say--openness to change mostly worked to my advantage when it came to both of the adaptations of City of Bones. I will clue you guys into one thing: I prefer the show when it comes to the film, even though I had SUCH a huge attachment to Lily Collins as Clary Fray and Robert Sheehan as Simon Lewis.

I thought the movie was mildly entertaining but for the most part didn't capture the entire essence of the series in the way that it should have and I think that can be said about a lot of films.


Actually to be honest, I love the cast of both the film and the show. I mean? How lucky were we when it came down to the casting decisions? Most of them, anyways. I adore both takes on the appearance of our characters. I didn't think I would but I do, I do, I do. Even if the age thing can get annoying in the case of both.

I guess what they say is true. The older you get, the easier you become.

Wait... what? 

THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES 
VS. SHADOWHUNTERS: THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS 

I think my answer was pretty clear already but to catch you up to speed, I'm addicted to Shadowhunters despite my preference of the novels and the overall flaws the series itself has. Which are a lot, if you didn't know. I am not going to lie that there are a lot of frustrating things about it (I'll get to that later) but the positives outweigh the negatives and I'm glad for it because I'll gladly take this different glimpse at these characters and the different take on the Shadow World. Shadowhunters gave us the chance to see more than we already knew and while I could do without a lot of changes, it's still been an entertaining experience seeing things play out so differently.

Would I prefer seeing a true-to-page adaptation? Of course. I'd actually cry my eyes out if that had happened but, to be fair, I cry easy nowadays and Shadowhunters gives me #ALLTHEFEELS from time to time. My heart says, "Give me a better adaptation!" but my head says, "It could be worse like Gossip Girl or the villain could have been changed entirely like on Pretty Little Liars." You can't expect too much from adaptations--but you especially can't expect too much on Freeform.

Sounds mean, I know. I love Freeform. But, well... you get the point.

In terms of casting, I think both the film and show do an excellent job in nabbing the right actors to play specific characters. Sometimes, the acting can be shaky and overly dramatic (I've cringed on MANY occasions) but that--I think--is mostly because of the sometimes inconsistent scripting that is going on. You know, the typical television mishaps that don't necessarily impact the general vibe of the show but still, somehow, get under your skin.

(AND THOSE EFFECTS. JESUS, NO.) 

Even though I love Shadowhunters, there's SO MUCH I WOULD CHANGE. I'm not being overly picky, I swear, but being as these books have been such a huge part of my life for ten years... I find myself cringing at various changes from the books. My vision is not their vision and that's okay. I really do respect it and what they've done.

WHAT I WOULD CHANGE 


  1. Jocelyn Fairchild must-not-die. I mean that. I can't even begin to understand the logic behind this decision and that's coming from someone who isn't even much of a Jocelyn fan to begin with. Call it a problem with killing off characters that aren't technically yours to kill off or a nervous tick of mine, it just bothers me. And this one bothers me more than anything because it was choppy, unnecessary, sudden and without closure even now--half of a season later--it is just so stupid. UGH. It pains me knowing we won't ever see her and Clary truly make up (think how well it could have been developed!) or to hear more of her side of things or to see her marry Luke or see Jonathan one last time or find out that he isn't Jace or see her in Idris. There's nothing worse than wasted potential and Shadowhunters did something truly criminal in killing off such a prominent character in such a cheap way. 
  2. The way the Institute is set up. I really get what they were trying to do with the sets to make it look more technical and magical but that's not what the location is nor is it the lifestyle of the Shadowhunters. Yuck. Talk about overdoing it. 
  3. Clary constantly running around in heels. AGAIN, I understand there's got to be this certain aesthetic on the show. Especially on a network like Freeform, but Clary is not Isabelle. Clary is Clary. I love high heels. In fact, I wear them more than I wear flats because I love pain apparently. And while the former fashion student in me can appreciate the look, I can't look past the fact that that isn't Clary when we first meet her.
  4. The Seelie Queen randomly being a child and then an adult. The novelty of that wore out really quickly. Just bring Sarah Hyland in full time, already. It'll get tiresome and dull fast if we keep on having the switch go down. Snooze. 
  5. Valentine and Sebastian's hair colours. I'm just saying. 
  6. Isabelle and Maryse not having a close bond. It's time to stop playing into the trope of mom vs. daughter. At least, in a show like Shadowhunters. Isabelle Lightwood being a Daddy's Girl feels a bit awkward and frankly lazy. I loathed Robert Lightwood in the books and he is a lot more tolerable here than his source material but that doesn't make me appreciative toward this change, however minor it is. 
  7. Raphael and Camille's roles as Simon's sire being reversed. No thanks. Plus, I get a little bit put off by Camille in the show--the actress is gorgeous and works the material the best she can, but everything else in the way the writers pen her is cheesy as hell and can do so much better. I hope they give her better material one day. 
  8. Ragnor Fell's appearance. HEAR ME OUT. I love the actor who plays him. The casting isn't bad in any way. I just... felt weird seeing him and Clary interact and for him to not be visibly, well, Ragnor Fell. I'm going to pass on that one. HARD PASS. 
  9. While we're on appearances--again--let's talk about that one second glimpse we have of Tessa actual-fucking-angel Gray. First of all, why?! I want for her to be on the show and know that this image of her was more or less a placement that doesn't mean anything (see: the original Toby on PLL, Elena's parents pictures on TVD) but it still bothered the actual heck out of me. Don't fuck up the casting, kids. That's all I'm saying. Tessa does not look like that. Ugh. 
  10. At times, the way they stray from the source material feels incoherent at best. A lot of changes feel more like stalling or as if they were made by me while I've had to much tequila on a late Saturday night. That's only a compliment if it's early Saturday morning. Saturday night is just messy. 
  11. Isabelle's addiction to Yin Fen, her introduction to it and the changes they made to it. Can we pretend this never happened? Bye. 
  12. The season two finale of Simon going to the Seelie Queen. Also, the obviousness of her betrayal to both the Shadowhunters and the Downworlders. That should have been developed much better. Also, her taking Maia. Stop doing dumb things. 
  13. Tying into the DUMB THINGS theme we have going on here--I don't mind Luke as a cop. It fits the tone of the show. I miss my Luke, but I love the way he was cast for the show. My problem is his partners--the messy end of the first one (which I was quite sad about) and the sudden adding on of the new one who's name I can't even remember. You know, the one who now knows he is a werewolf--and so does her girlfriend. Such a random plot. I'll see where it goes but for now, it belongs on the list.
  14. Maureen Brown. I don't mind them aging her up. What I do mind is them not utilizing her damn character now that they made her such a prominent part of season one only to never really bring her up again. I hope they do. Seeing her get changed, though, if the show goes the way of the books, will be heartbreaking because I actually am attached to TV!Maureen. 
  15. Why is Aldertree hot? I like him even less in the show which is surprising because he was a piece of crap in the books too but UH? Excuse me? Can we not? 
  16. The constant use of glamour runes is a bit cringe worthy. Honestly, don't. Pace yourselves. 
  17. More Maia on her own. Integrate her into the world beyond Simon, Jace and Luke. Having some of her first appearances be dedicated to killing Jace and/or Clary was weird. Build onto her backstory A LOT BETTER. I'm glad they improved it as her appearances went on and think they will do more in season three, but it still was a problem.
  18. Hurry up and bring Jordan for the angst. I'm not a fan of him by any means but I'm ready for the plots to develop a bit better and since we're already mixing up the stories and changing them to fit a different timeline/mold, we should have met him by now. 
  19. The scenes dedicated to the Circle members were so bad. I'm just saying. Not flashbacks. Well, actually that too--the flashbacks are SO BAD, I don't think they even tried to cast people who look like the actors. What was the point in those? LIKE TEENAGE IZZY, JACE AND ALEC? MY DUDES, IT WASN'T THAT LONG AGO. Back on track--for the circle members I mean, the ones that Valentine still had with him throughout the series run. (Simon Cowell voice: it's a no from me.) 
  20. Cleophas being Luke's older sister instead of mother. Her being a former member of the circle and no appearance of Amatis yet. Is Luke's moms name also Cleophas, in the show? I can't remember. Also, she is basically a composite character of book Cleophas, Amatis and Magdalena. It's a bit underwhelming and blah. 
  21. The way it's revealed that Jace is not a Wayland or Morgenstern but a Herondale. I really liked the way it's revealed in the books because it packs a huge emotional punch. 
  22. In the pilot episode, while out with Simon and Maureen, Clary is able to see things the other two don't. I like the call-backs to the books despite all the changes (in particular, Maureen being there) but what bothers me is that she is able to run to her mother and the craziness ensues. Part of the time, I didn't mind this subtle change--Clary still is clueless as to what is happening but I preferred the thrill and shock and discovery of it all that the books had. #ANGST  
  23. Valentine not raising Sebsastian/Jonathan and Jace from different locations. It's weird thinking that he didn't really raise show!Sebastian. 
  24. Bat's introduction. 
I probably forgot a ton of things that I would change but that's the upper level of "what would you do?" and the stuff that I would fix up in a heartbeat. Basically, let me run the show. No, on second thought, don't let me run the show. I'd probably do badly.

And I'd probably steal Isabelle's wardrobe and makeup.

POSITIVE CHANGES I APPRECIATE 

There are a lot of changes that I don't mind in the show! Which surprised me in the long run. Some of them I didn't want to like but somehow ended up loving because of how different it is from the source material. I think there are a lot of surprises in the show that really make it fresh and in its own world. Again, I would rather see the show be more like the books but that doesn't mean there's nothing positive in the show.

  1. Clary and Isabelle's friendship is full of more depth and a whole lot of support. This is by far my favourite *massive* change from the books. You see, I always thought they had that spark that could lead to a genuine friendship in the books, if only it had been developed further. That isn't to say it wasn't because Cassie kills it when she writes. The shows platform manages to build on that spark because there is more time to explore it and that's probably my favourite thing about the show. When I read City of Heavenly Fire and we had lost Simon (or at least, Simon had lost his memories) I was completely gutted for both Clary and Izzy but was also warmed by the scene they had towards the end of the book. Our girls had a potential for a great friendship all along and while it was there, it's far more prominent in the show. 
  2. Max doesn't die. Honestly, it was one of those moments that just destroyed me in the books. Like with Jocelyn's in the show, Max's death felt a little off-putting and was altogether rough. Whereas Jocelyn's feels rushed and nonsensical in the show, Max's did and didn't. Cassandra Clare knew what she was doing and pieced it together far better than the show managed the death of Clary's mom, but it was still a painful experience. No one wants to see a child die. While it's a world of war, I'm just glad we haven't had to see this explored on the show just yet. Seeing it portrayed on screen would be too much. Especially with how much it would effect Izzy. 
  3. More on Magnus and Alec's relationship. I'm always a slut for more Malec and the show really seems to love me when it comes to these two. They're angsty, they're romantic and honestly I can't stress how perfect the actors are who play them. That's not a tear in my eye, it's allergies. I really like that we are able to see them as they develop and not just from the sidelines. They are such an OTP. 
  4. I enjoy seeing the minor characters being explored more, too. Adding that depth that we couldn't from only Clary's POV. I also appreciate seeing the mains being developed further without straying too far from their original roles. We get so much more Isabelle, Magnus, Alec, Simon and Maia. We get more glimpses of Raphael and Meliorn, too. We see more of how Valentine operates and eventually the same can be said about Sebastian. I'm always interested in the exploration of these characters. Clary and Jace are undeniably the center of the series even now but the balance is pretty even in the show and I'm frankly here for it. 
  5. Lydia Branwell. I don't think it was entirely necessary to have her be a Branwell--it just doesn't make sense and seemed cheap--and I certainly didn't like the marriage plot between her and Alec when you knew it wasn't going to happen/shouldn't happen, but I love Lydia. She'd make a great character if developed further and I'd love to see her return one day. Season three, make it happen. For a moment there, I thought they might make her a main character (think: Jessica in True Blood... a character made only for the show) and I would have totally been here for it. ESPECIALLY with the introduction of Maia. I'd like a girl squad between Clary, Isabelle, Maia and Lydia... thanks.
  6. The casting as a whole is so on point. I even like the subtle changes in appearance. The core group of characters--Clary, Jace, Simon, Alec, Isabelle, Magnus, Maia, Luke, Jocelyn, Sebastian--are all FANTASTIC. 
  7. ISABELLE'S LIPSTICKS. I'm sorry, I wasn't going to put this in there because its not really a change but I am a lipstick junkie and seeing Isabelle Lightwood's deep shades makes me swoon every episode. 
  8. Raphael and Isabelle's friendship or connection. I was REALLY skeptical about this. (1) I hate the Isabelle addiction storyline. (2) I was concerned they were going to make Raphael not be asexual (I wasn't trusting them because of the experience of Jughead on Riverdale) and (3) Me being the massive Book Stan that I am, I just wasn't feeling it at first. I can't help but to love the scenes they share though and I'm so glad that they didn't make Raphael anything other than asexual. I'm so glad I gave them a chance because they really are great around each other. 
  9. I'm going to be in the small majority of this one but I really love the changes they made to Madame Dorothea. Don't get me wrong, it's troublesome that they felt they had to age down and sex her up in the form of Dot. I just really liked the idea of Jocelyn and Clary having this close bond with someone other than Luke and Simon. Dot was an older sister to Clary and I think it really fits well with the path they took in the show. I also am not opposed to her being a Warlock. She doesn't always fit but I still found it to be a fun way to change things up a bit. 
  10. I like the format of the show a lot--the way the stories unfold, how there's still the path towards the book plotlines (even though they've changed a lot) and how there's a little mystery in both. I like seeing the spin on the general mythology of the series. They work in their own while adding different layers from their own. 
  11. The scenes in the second season that show Simon, as a vampire, helping out Isabelle with her addiction (still hate the plot) and then again with training Max. I thought these little moments were so cute and the way it's leading into the potential show version of Sizzy makes me so very happy. 
  12. Magnus and his scenes with children. In particular, Madzie. It's so cute! It also feels like a bit of a warm and fuzzy parallel to him as a father--eventually. I really dig it. 
  13. The humor. Much of the humor is changed but it's still undeniably that same dry humor that the series always had. It wouldn't be Shadowhunters without it. My favourite moment--that just makes me laugh for some reason--is when Jace goes in to kill a demon, who's appearance is that of an elderly woman, and is like "Grandma!" before hugging/stabbing the demon. OH, and the World's Best Dad mug.
  14. I am a fan of the way they've worked that glamour rune into the Sebastian/Jonathan story. It made sense in the books that no one realized who he really was for the story Cassie wanted to tell but it would not have made since in the show. 
  15. I actually love and hate the characters being aged up. High school me is sulking. Adult me isn't. 
  16. Seeing more of the dynamic between Simon and Maia, without it being *only* background noise. We know they aren't forever and are bound to break up one day (assuming with the introduction of Jordan and the eventual relationship blossoming between Simon and Isabelle) but they are still sweet in the show. I like that in the books, they managed to stay friends after Simon did THE STUPID THING. I liked that Maia made Simon feel human. What I love more about their relationship in the show is that both Simon and Maia make each other feel human. They are genuinely good together. I like the balance. Plus, they look great together. 
  17. Maia's fear of enclosed spaces that was obvious in some of the earlier episodes of season two. I think they're going to do good things with her backstory. At least, I hope.
  18. More Meliorn. I already said this, but I want for the betrayal to cut deeper when he and the Seelie Queen further betray the Shadowhunters and Downworlders for Sebastian. 
  19. The scene where Clary has to decide whether or not she should tell Simon's mom that he is dead or a vampire or to let it go. It's very emotionally charged.
  20. Clary and Simon's friendship and relationship. I like the way it played out.
  21. Raphael's not Simon's sire, but there's something there between the two that is reminiscent of the strains they had in the books too. I dig it. A lot.
  22. Shadowhunter training. It's great seeing it so prominent in the series! I enjoy watching the way that Clary learns the physical aspects of being a Shadowhunter as well as the way the others keep up with it. It helps that the music in these scenes are almost always great. 
  23. There's a scene in the second season that gives us Clary and her desire to go back and be normal again. I think the way it was portrayed--her longing to go back to a time where getting into art school was her biggest concern--was beautifully done and felt like one of those points where book!Clary and TV!Clary were on and the same. 
  24. Jace and Alec's reactions to Robert cheating on Maryse. 
  25. I appreciate the way that Clary and Alec's initial dislike for one another is explored in the show. I also like the little bromance they have going there because they are two of my favourites and I always wanted a friendship to be explored between them after Alec started to accept who he was and the fact that she was in his life. 
Actual cupcake Lydia Branwell. 

The show really has its rough patches but it still has that bit of soul to it that is necessary to keep things alive. While the majority of my love for it is rooted solely in the books, these characters mean a great deal to me and seeing them come to life during the weeks it airs is special and addictive. I'm sure I forgot many positives and negatives in this post but to be honest, I was already getting rambly with what I did write.



BONUS: FAVOURITE SONGS FROM THE SHOW 

Soundtracks are an important thing. I'm a music lover to the highest degree and the best part about the shows that air on Freeform are the music placed during a scene. It can make or break it. As for Shadowhunters, there are so many great tunes featured by artists that are known and also from ones who are criminally underrated. Truly, it has one of my favourite soundtracks of any modern show.
 War of Hearts - Ruelle
Revolution - Diplo (S1 Promo)
Unworthy - Vancouver Sleep Clinic
Magic - Flor  
Bird - Billie Marten
Time Frame - Fractures
Straight Shooter - Skylar Grey 
Hurricane - Fleurie
Howl - Junip
Monsters - Ruelle
Ember - Katharine McNamara
Building a Wall - Fort Frances
This is the Hunt - Ruelle
Soldier - Fleurie
Heart of Darkness - Sam Tinnesz
Don't Forget About Me - Cloves
And that sums up this weeks post! Thanks for joining!

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