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Love and Loss: Parabatai Edition


Short Intro

Hey, guys! I’m back again with another post! I know my posts have been sporadic thus far, and I hope to fix that soon, but I’m not sure when that’ll be. I know I created a schedule for my posts, but I’m thinking about editing that, so check back to my Home page every once-in-a-while to see if it’s changed. In the meantime, let’s get to the post!

The Infernal Devices

Recently, I have been rereading Cassandra Clare‘s series, The Infernal Devices, as some of you may know. This series was one of the first that I feel deeply in love with. It is not only an extension of the world of Shadowhunters created in The Mortal Instruments, but it is a representation of other cultures, languages, relationships, loves, and losses. It is a series that shows the love between brothers as well as the love they share for those around them. It’s the story of a family of unlikely misfits who fight for each other. This series is a world that brings me peace and contentment. It gives me hope and lets me see love.

I know that right now, I’m probably not making much sense, so I’ll try to explain. I’m at the very end of the last book in The Infernal Devices series, Clockwork Princess. I forgot how heart-wrenching this book is, not only because it’s the last book in the series, but also because there is so much love and pain in it. It’ll be hard to explain the contents of this book that pain me without spoiling it, but I will try. In the meantime, I will state that there are potentially spoilers in the next part of this post.

Jem and His Parabatai

The main reason I wanted to make a post about this series was so that I could talk about a specific scene towards the end of this book. One of the characters, Jem, went through a change in this book. This change not only affected his appearance, but it is also affecting his personality, his heart. Jem was always such a kind and caring person before. He still is, but there’s a coldness to him now. Jem’s had a parabatai before this change. In the world of Shadowhunters, a parabatai is a sort of blood brother/sister. It is a connection between two people that’s created by magic. It ties the two individuals together so that they are able to sense each other’s movements in battle, their pain, their love, and so much more. It’s difficult to explain, so I’ll include the parabatai oath below for you to read to try to understand.

Parabatai Oath

Ultimately, these words mean that parabatai will always follow and fight alongside one another. They will stay together and never part. If one dies before the other, they who are left living will be buried alongside the other when their time comes. They share the same God and people, and nothing but death can part sever their bond. If you haven’t read any of Cassie Clare’s books about Shadowhunters, then it might be difficult to fully grasp the intensity of the parabatai oath and the weight the words carry. However, I wanted to try to explain it even a bit before speaking of Jem and Will’s connection to one another.

Jem and Will: Parabatai Forever

Jem and Will are parabatai, and that is a bond that is stronger than any other. When Jem changed, it affected Will greatly. Will felt the pain when their bond was severed, and now, they won’t be able to go with each other. Jem has to go to a dark place, and Will can’t follow him. So, when they shared their final goodbye, it was especially painful to read.

Will is one of those characters who pushes people away because he doesn’t think he deserves love and he doesn’t want those that love him to get hurt. He’s one of those people that tries to act all tough, but is really broken and missing something inside. Because he is one of those people, his pain was always upsetting to me in the series. He truly has a good heart, but it’s hard for others to see that in him. Jem was one the first one to see Will’s heart, and that connected them long before the parabatai ritual ever did.

I’m going to include an excerpt from the book to show you guys why I’m so distraught over their goodbye. I’ve read this series before, long ago, but I was too young to grasp the depth of it. Rereading this goodbye made me cry, even though everything that is in this book is fictional.

Excerpt from Clockwork Princess

Jem and Will for Reference

SPOILER ALERT for The Infernal Devices

“Change is not loss, Will. Not always.”

Will pushed his hands through his damp hair. “Oh, yes,” he said bitterly. “Perhaps in some other life, beyond this one, when we have passed beyond the river, or turned upon the Wheel, or whatever kind words you want to use to describe leaving this world, I shall find my friend again, my parabatai. But I have lost you now– now, when I need you more than I ever did!”

“You don’t need me, Will.”

“All my life, since I came to the Institute, you were the mirror of my soul. I saw the good in me in you. In your eyes alone I found grace. When you are gone from me, who will see me like that?”

“Have faith in yourself. You can be your own mirror.”

“What if I can’t?” Will whispered. “I don’t even know how to be a Shadowhunter without you. I have only ever fought with you by my side.”

Jem put his fingers under Will’s chin, forcing Will to look directly at him. His touch was cold.

Will bit at his lip. This was the last time Jem, as Jem, might ever touch him. The sharp memory went through him like a knife- of years of Jem’s light tap on his shoulder, his hand reaching to help Will when he fell, Jem holding him back when he was furious, Will’s own hands on Jem’s thin shoulders as Jem coughed blood onto his shirt. “Listen to me. I am leaving, but I am living. I will not be gone from you entirely, Will. When you fight now, I will be still by you. When you walk in the world, I will be the light at your side, the ground steady under your feet, the force that drives the sword in your hand. We are bound, beyond the oath. The Marks did not change that. The oath did not change that. It merely gave words to something that existed already.”

“But what of you?” said Will. “Tell me what I can do, for you are my parabatai, and I do not wish you to go into the shadows of the Silent City alone.”

“I have no choice. But if there is one thing I could ask of you, it is that you be happy. I want you to have a family and grow old with those who love you. And if you wish to marry Tessa, then do not let the memory of me keep you apart.”

“She may not want me, you know.” Will said.

Jem smiled, fleetingly. “Well, that part is up to you, I think.”

Will smiled back, and for just a moment they were Jem-and-Will again. Will could see Jem, but also through him, to the past. Will remembered the two of them, running through the dark streets of London, jumping from rooftop to rooftop, seraph blades gleaming in their hands; hours in the training room, shoving each other into mud puddles, throwing snowballs at Jessamine from behind an ice fort in the courtyard, asleep like puppies on the rug in front of the fire.

Ave atque vale, Will thought. Hail and farewell. He has not given much thought to the words before, had never thought about why they were not just a farewell but also a greeting. Every meeting led to a parting, and so it would, as long as life was mortal. In every meeting there was some of the sorrow of parting, but in every parting there was some of the joy of meeting as well.

He would not forget the joy.

“We spoke of how to say good-bye,” Jem said. “When Jonathan bid farewell to David, he said ‘Go in peace, for as much as we have sworn, both of us, saying the Lord be between me and thee forever.’ They did not see each other again, but they did not forget. So it will be us. When I am brother Zachariah, when I no longer see the world with my human eyes, I will still be in some part the Jem you knew, and I will see you with the eyes of my heart.”

Wo men shi sheng si ji jiao,” said Will, and he saw Jem’s eyes widen, fractionally, and the spark of amusement inside them. “Go in peace, James Carstairs.”

They stayed looking at each other for a long moment, and then Jem drew up his hood, hiding his face in shadow, and turned away.

Will closed his eyes. He could not hear Jem go, not anymore; he did not want to know the moment when he left and Will was alone, did not want to know when his first day as a Shadowhunter without a parabatai truly began. And if the place over his heart, where his parabatai rune had been, flared up with a sudden burning pain as the door closed behind Jem, Will told himself it was only a stray ember from the fire.

Clockwork Princess, pages 504-508, by Cassandra Clare

I did leave out some parts that weren’t relevant, hence the ellipses in the excerpt. Also, I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to figure out how to indent the first lines of the paragraphs in the excerpt, but WordPress considers the entire excerpt one paragraph since I used single spacing. I don’t want to make each individual pargraph of the excerpt a separate block, so we’ll just have to deal with the non-indented paragraphs in the excerpt for now. I might come back later and try fix it, but for now, I’m just fed up with messing with it..

Now, I don’t know if that helped any of you understand why this scene hurt me so much, but I hope it did in some way. This scene made me shed tears, and I’ve only ever cried reading one other Cassandra Clare book. That was City of Heavenly Fire, also the last book in a series (The Mortal Instruments). The fact that the two men had been blood brothers and best friends for five years, yet had to part ways made my heart hurt so much. I like to think I’m a compassionate and empathetic person, and that is why I connect so much with books. I think those traits of mine are why books toy with my emotions so easily.

The End… of this Post

My point in this post was mostly to sort of vent. I was getting overwhelmed with emotions, as I’d been reading for three hours straight and needed a break. Being that it’s currently 11:48 P.M. as I’m typing this, though, I didn’t exactly have the choice to talk to one of my family members about it.

I don’t know if my blog has been what anyone has expected, even myself, so far, but I do hope that I’m able to get it to the point where I want it to be. Hopefully, those of you who have already decided to follow my blog will continue to do so, even if my posts continue to be random and/or filled with rants. I also hope you guys will continue to be patient with me as I come up with a suitable schedule for posting and a proper template for creating my posts. In the meantime, I hope you have been enjoying my blog so far.

Thank you all for taking the time to read this post, I know it was long. Be sure to leave a comment if you have any questions about the series I’m reading (The Infernal Devices) or if you want to add your own thoughts. Also, leave a comment letting me know who your favorite author is and what your favorite book/series by them is. See you guys next time!

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