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Reel Thoughts: The Mortal Instruments- City of Bones

I was completely excited for this movie- I really like the books (I am in love with Magnus and Alec, and Simon and Isabella). I admit, I went to opening night. Wednesday night after work, IMAX. And the theater was DEAD. According to the ticket taker it was 8% full. That Guy was with me, and had him repeat it because we weren’t sure we heard right- surely he meant 80% from all the buzz (spots on MTV, hype everywhere, clothing lines through Hot Topic, music videos) but no, it was 8%. We scored seats in the middle of the row in the middle of the theater, got our movie theater dinner, and settled in to watch. And I picked up some interesting differences between the movie and the book, things which threw me for a loop and out of the fantasy. Did you catch them? Follow the break below, but if you haven’t seen the movie, or haven’t read The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, be warned, there are spoilers….

Movie: Jace, Alex, and Isabella live in the Institute with Hodge.
Book: Jace, Alex, and Isabella live in the Institute with Hodge, their parents Maryse Lightwood and Robert Lightwood and their other son Max.
Commentary: It’s a huge thing that Maryse and Robert are in charge of the New York Institute while Hodge is cursed to the inside- they were also in league with Valentine, yet their punishment was not nearly as severe. It also sets up a huge family that was caring for Jace and it’s much more crushing in the late books. Max bonds with Clary in the first book, and his destiny is heartbreaking.

Movie: no cat
Book: Church the cat is ever present in the Institute, and seems to be able to understand the Shadowhunters.
Commentary: I was looking forward to Church, and disappointed that he didn’t make the theatrical cut. If you read both series (The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices) he’s even more important.


Movie: There’s “The Vampire Leader” but not named
Book: Raphael Santiago, de facto head of the vampires in New York in the absence of the true leader
Commentary: Raphael plays a huge part in the sequels, especially City of Ashes. Why is he just “The Vampire Leader”?

Movie: Simon gains perfect eyesight and starts showing symptoms of being turned into a vampire (including bites), yet nothing is ever mentioned or talked about it in the rest of the movie
Book: Simon was turned into a *rat* at the party, then bitten, but wasn’t showing symptoms or turning until City of Ashes
Commentary: Why show things and then drop them? And why add them in this movie when it’s not going to be followed through?

Movie: Jace kills the dog demon after Clary in her apartment, and the demon that takes the place of Dorthea after they first find the Mortal Cup
Book: CLARY kills the demon in her apartment, and SIMON kills the Dorthea demon
Commentary: WHY does Jace need to do all the killing? I mean, seriously? Clary killing the demon showed that she did have Shadowhunter blood, and Simon killing Dorthea got him on Isabella’s radar and made him more believable about staying in this world. It wouldn’t have hurt to have them stay true to the book.

What did you see that was different/changed from the book/movie? Or what did you think of the movie? Share in the comments!


  1. (This comment contains spoilers)
    One thing in the movie that really struck me as inconsistent was when Hodge told Valentine to convince Jace and Clary they were siblings. It took three books to clear that conflict, so bringing it into the first film was a mistake.

    Great post! Thanks!

  2. I only read book 1, and to be honest it was a while ago and I remembered very little of it. So I appreciated them saying in the movie that it was a lie because it would have squicked me out. Also, I am impatient. In fact, after walking out of the theater I called Christie to ask her a bunch of questions about things that happen in the later books. Very impatient.

  3. I was upset that they made Valentine into this crazed, on-edge kind of bad guy when he was really more of like the GQ, super powerful and in charge kind of bad guy. And the whole screw up with the portal I didn't get the point of either.

  4. Yes she did. And poor That Guy, who has only read book 1, was all WHAT?!?!?!?!? They AREN'T SIBS? Does she have a brother then?!?!?!?! *sigh*

  5. S
    I liked him as kinda nuts, but that was me; what I didn't like was the portal screw up and then Clary *keeping* the cup. SO doesn't work with the rest of the books. IMDB and the actors all say the second movie is set for 2014, so we'll have to see what happens.

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