City of Bones Quotes


She wasn't even sure why it was that she liked it— the clothes, the music made it like a dream, someone else's life, not her boring real life at all.

Narrator, Chapter 1

The line found in the first chapter foreshadows one of the main themes in the book: the search for one’s true identity. Even if Clary tries to convince herself that the alien feeling is just a desire to get out of her boring life, she unconsciously knows that the life she has is a lie. Her attraction to the Shadow world and their way of life becomes a conscious thing even if she is not aware of the hidden. She is attracted to the style and life that they have but doesn’t recognize that she is also meant for that life. For Clary, this represents the beginning of her struggle concerning her place and her true identity.

"This is Hugo," the man said, touching the bird on his shoulder. "Hugo is a raven, and, as such, he knows many things. I, meanwhile, am Hodge Starkweather, a professor of history, and, as such, I do not know nearly enough."

Hodge Starkweather, Chapter 5

The raven is a common symbol used in literature. Most of the times, a raven is used to make reference to one’s intelligence and cunning nature. Ravens are also considered as being bad omens and are linked to death. It can be said that when Hodge talks about the raven knowing many things, he is actually talking about Valentine who is the master of the raven.  Just like Hugo, Valentine is an intelligent man who pulls the strings from the shadows and knows more than the others think. When Hodge talks about himself about knowing too little he also talks about the others not realizing the imminent danger and that they lack the knowledge necessary to observe Valentine’s presence.

I hereby render unconditional obedience to the Circle and its principles…. I will be ready to risk my life at any time for the Circle, in order to preserve the purity of the bloodlines of Idris, and for the mortal world with whose safety we are charged.

Hodge, Chapter 8

The loyalty oath represents the Circle’s view regarding those they consider as being pure or linked with protecting. The oath is the starting point of Valentines hatred against Downworlders and the motive of his actions. He considered the Shadowhunter race as a superior one, a blood that is pure above all and must be protected and the human race that needs to be protected but is not necessarily considered superior. Valentine is willing to sacrifice human children if that meant creating more Shadowhunters and that points to the belief that humans are disposable when the idea of creating Shadowhunters possible.

Her stomach dropped out from under her as the silver river spun away and the spires of the bridge slid under her feet, but this time Clary kept her eyes open, so that she could see it all.


Clary’s acceptance regarding her new life and her desire to discover a world that was hidden from her is underlined in the last line of the book. In the first chapters Clary was reluctant to accept that her life is not what she thinks it is and they it may have been built on lies. In the beginning she also struggles with her identity, her place in the world and how she interacts with those close to her. The end of the book symbolizes her desire to see everything, her willingness to learn as much as she can about the Shadow World and also her acceptance of her new identity.

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