Jace was born to Stephen and Céline Herondale. While he was still in Céline's womb, Valentine Morgenstern constantly gave Céline doses of Ithuriel's blood to mix with her food, and she took it, not knowing what it really was. Ithuriel's blood made its way into unborn baby Jace's system, thus he was born differently from other Shadowhunters.
Eventually, Valentine had his parents killed. Desperate for the baby he had been giving angel blood to, Valentine had Hodge Starkweather help him take the child from Céline's dead body shortly after—it is said that the only reason that Jace survived was because of the increased amount of angel blood in his body. After faking his and his real son's death, Valentine took off with both Jonathan and Jace and raised them separately, hoping that one or both of them would grow to become very powerful warriors—one with angel blood and the other with demon. While Valentine took the identity of Michael Wayland, Jace was raised as Jonathan Wayland, both of whom were in fact the father-and-son Valentine killed to fake their deaths.
Jace was raised by Valentine believing that they were the Waylands, and they lived in the Waylands' estate. Jace's upbringing was both loving and harsh; Valentine trained him like a warrior, strictly and with the occasional beating, but also treated him with some level of kindness. Valentine also insisted that Jace learn to play an instrument, and he taught him the piano. Jace was also taught other languages by Valentine. Despite the extremely disciplined upbringing, they shared some father-son moments and lessons that Jace cherished. Growing up, Jace always looked forward to his birthday because it was when Valentine always let Jace do or have what he wanted: horses, weapons, books, and even a bath in spaghetti on his fifth birthday.
Valentine instilled thoughts such as "to love is to destroy and that to be loved is to be the one destroyed" into his mind. In an attempt to teach him this, Valentine gave him a wild falcon to train when he was six, intending it to be a killing companion. After some struggle and a long time, Jace tamed the seemingly bird that had initially seemed impossible to train and loved it. Jace excitedly showed it to his father, but Valentine broke its neck, saying that he was supposed to train it to become obedient, not to love him.
When he was ten, Valentine realized that Jace was too soft for his plans but needed to move forward with his plans. For this, Valentine yet again staged his death as Michael Wayland, with a hiding Jace there to witness his father "killed" right in front of him, convincing Jace and everyone else of "Michael's" death. As he had anticipated when he took Michael's identity, Jace was adopted by the Lightwoods, where Valentine knew Jace would be well cared for, as well as in a good position for possible reconnaissance at a later time.
Though it took some time for the three of them to warm up to each other, Jace became good friends with the Lightwood children, Alec and Isabelle Lightwood. The eldest, Alec, eventually became his parabatai. The youngest, Max, grew to look up to Jace. The family matriarch Maryse also gave him his nickname Jace, after he told them that his full name was Jonathan Christopher, which he had seen in Valentine's journal, not knowing that it wasn't referring to him.
Personality & Traits
Jace had always been independent and somehow self-possessed, having been taught not to betray himself to emotions as a child. Jace has a sharp, defensive wit, an acidic temperament, and a very sarcastic attitude when he chooses in order to hide his insecurities. Giving the impression of holding most people in disdain, Jace is seen as extremely arrogant, self-centered, and overconfident, believing himself to be "the best Shadowhunter to ever live" and above others. True enough, Jace is superior in battle, something Jace has been training for since he was young and had grown to love over the years. He even exhibits sadistic tendencies, which he got on account of being raised by Valentine.
Despite this, Jace in fact has a strong moral core. He is dutiful and just, willing to make the right decisions, and sacrifices if it comes down to it. Though he can be, at times, vindictive, he is cruel only to protect those he loves. His conceited exterior hides a profound inner hatred which intensifies after he mistakenly believed he was demonic, blaming the demon blood for his conflicting thoughts and his, then presumed, incestuous feelings towards Clary. Even after this was disproved and contradicted by the fact that he actually is actually part angel, even more so than regular people of his kind, Jace continued to carry the weight of the lies he had lived for so long. An example of this is Jace's love for the man who raised him and whom he believed to be his father, Valentine; despite the abuse and the deceit, Valentine was at times kind and affectionate towards him, and Jace found himself missing his father figure.
Like Valentine and the Lightwoods, Jace also shared the snobbish attitude toward mundanes and Downworlders, though he lacked their extremist tendencies. Beneath Jace's flippant exterior lies a soul in constant torment, filled with a deep-seated rage that he keeps in check most of the time and channels into fighting and slaying demons and also, sometimes, his sarcastic and nasty remarks. Jace relaxes and calms his nerves by getting into fights, with Clary even noting that fighting to Jace is "what sex is to normal people."
Aware of his own beauty, Jace was also once quite chivalrous, and quite flirty, towards women before he met Clary. His charisma, good looks, and charm have made him quite the ladies' man. However, taught that "to love is to destroy" at an early age, Jace kept everyone, except the Lightwoods, at arm's length, never forming emotional attachments for more than a brief amount of time, if at all. His personality drastically changed after he met Clary, with Isabelle even stating that Jace was apathetic about everyone else beforehand, not caring about anyone other than the Lightwoods until he met Clary, whose presence shook Jace, who was revealed to be a very passionate individual, loving Clary on a very deep and passionate level when he fell in love with her and does everything in his power to protect her from harm, the extent of his love for Clary even surprising those close to him.
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