When I started reading Lady Midnight, by Cassandra Clare, last month, I noticed that Clare wrote this in the dedication: “For Holly / Elven, he was.” Two years later, Holly Black wrote a similar dedication to Clare in The Cruel Prince: “For Cassandra Clare, who was finally lured into Faerieland.” These dedications place their books in conversation with each other, at least to the extent of what they have done with faeries. They’ve also been friends for over a decade, they collaborated on the Magisterium series, and they go on book tours together, as this MTV interview talks about.
The two characters I’m going to write about are Jack Gordon and Mark Blackthorn, who are both fae love interests for the main characters of their respective novels. I should write about one of the Faerie love interests in The Cruel Prince since there are human characters who are similar to Mark, but I’m going to side step it and write about one from The Darkest Part of the Forest, which is in the same universe and has members of the Fae that I like.
The first fae love interest I’m writing about today is Jack Gordon, the local changeling in The Darkest Part of the Forest. The human woman who forced his faerie mother to return his human lookalike refused to give him back, risking the wrath of the fae. She raises them as twins. By the time Jack’s a teenager, he is the primary love interest for Hazel Evans, who happens to be a knight for two opposing faerie rulers and has romantic interest in one of those rulers and Jack.
As he and Hazel grow closer, it’s revealed that he’s stayed in communication with his faerie family. For having a human life, he is a faerie at the end of the day. He is bound by the rules of telling the truth and sometimes having to give cryptic warnings. He can also get wrapped up in the faerie magic and forget that he was supposed to lead a certain human into a party. This is characteristic of Holly Black’s faeries: they have human traits, but they are also not human. They’re otherworldly.
In some ways, he’s more interesting than Hazel, and he definitely needs to have his own book written about him. Besides the story of how he finally started dating Hazel, he has all this drama for being a member of the Fae (with some royal blood?), for having a crazy faerie mother who pushes him to leave human life behind, and for living in a town full of fickle humans and choosing to live a human life for a time. I also love the human family that actually treats him like their son and brother. Of course, I would like to see where his and Hazel’s relationship has gone a few years down the road.
In Lady Midnight, Mark Blackthorn is half-fey and half-Shadowhunter (half-angel, half-human hybrids who kill demons). He first appeared in The Mortal Instruments series where we actually see him forced to become a member of the Wild Hunt, which is indicated by his eyes changing to two different colors. He is forced to survive the Wild Hunt alone because other Shadowhunters abandon him. He returns in this book, several years after that event, and it causes a lot of drama for himself and the family members who had to survive without him. Because Cassandra Clare has a habit of writing from a lot of different perspectives in each Shadowhunter book, I choose to count Mark and Cristina Rosales, a Mexican Shadowhunter who is visiting L.A., as main characters, even though it might not have been her intention.
In his first moments after being kidnapped by the fey, he tries to send a message for help, which only his family tried to answer, by using a traditional message acorn. The Wild Hunt traumatizes him. His appearance and strength are altered, and he generally can’t stand fighting like a Shadowhunter or bearing the runes of one. At one point, he had a special steed that could turn into an awesome motorcycle. It’s beautiful how he describes living in the Wild Hunt, like explaining how he learned to look at his reflection in the eyes of others because mirrors weren’t available.
What I’m trying to get at here is that the novel retains a bit of Black’s faeries by keeping their inhuman traits, but Clare added an element of wonder to it. After all of the betrayal and evil in the Seelie Courts, I wasn’t sure I cared to know more about the fey of the Shadowhunters universe until Mark Blackthorn returned.
I also love him in his moments with his family. Even though it feels a little cliche to have the younger siblings glom onto him while the parental sibling has hurt feelings and worry, I liked seeing how the kids took to him, especially Ty. Those two get each other.
I love Mark, and I’m torn about which love interest I’m rooting for for him. I liked Cristina and Kieran. Yes, there are some clear betrayals and love triangles, but Cassandra Clare made both characters very sympathetic characters. I want my marshmallow here to find someone. He deserves happiness and peace.
I haven’t read the rest of the series, so my opinions about him might change. However, he is such a spellbinding character. I want to see him have a happy ending that extends beyond reuniting with his family.
I love that two authors who are friends encourage each other. I like that Holly Black and Cassandra Clare are having a conversation about faeries, in whatever form, through their books. For faerie love interests, I like Jack Gordon and Mark Blackthorn the best. Some of it is that the authors allow the faery characters to have inhuman traits, but some of that is the detail that makes me want to keep exploring an urban fantasy universe.
This post was written for the I Heart Characters meme, hosted by Dani @ Perspective of a Writer. The meme was started for book bloggers to share their love of characters. If you would like to know the upcoming prompts, follow the link to her blog.