Director: Harold Swart
“You have an incredible gift and we need you…I need you”
Jace Wayland in City of Bones
The book ending of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was rather confusing and we think that the director tried to streamline the ending to make it clearer, but this back-fired (badly!). The movie ending of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was even more confusing!
In the book, Clary retrieves the Mortal Cup and gives it to Hodge. Hodge summons Valentine and hands the cup over to him in exchange for his (Hodge’s) freedom to leave the Institute. Valentine kidnaps Jace and Clary is knocked unconscious. When Clary wakes up, Luke explains to Clary that Valentine is her father. Together, Clary and Luke, along with Luke’s werewolf pack ambush Valentine’s lair. Most of Luke’s werewolf pack dies in the ambush and only Luke and Clary make it inside. Clary finds Jace who tells her that Valentine is also his father. After a fight between Valentine and Luke, Valentine escapes to Idris where he has hidden the Mortal Cup, the first of three mortal instruments needed to create an army of Shadowhunters. Clary takes her mother, who is in a coma, to a hospital to recover.
In the movie, the ending is rather different. Clary retrieves the Mortal Cup and gives it to Hodge. Hodge opens up the portal in the Institute to allow Valentine in. Valentine then summons his army of demons by embedding a series of swords and things into an emblem on the floor of the Institute. This allows the demons to enter the Institute which was supposed to be impossible because the Institute is on hallowed ground and demons can’t step on hallowed ground. This just didn’t make sense. There was no explanation as to how this worked, the audience was just supposed to accept that it worked.
Valentine tells Clary that he is her father and tries to make her drink his blood from the Mortal Cup. We really have no idea why Valentine tries to make Clary drink his blood from the Mortal Cup. As far as we know, the children of Shadowhunters are born Shadowhunters and the Mortal Cup is used to make new Shadowhunters. This just seemed random and creepy, and his mentioning that she did this as a child doesn’t fit with the timeline of events from the book (i.e. Clary’s mother left when she was pregnant with Clary, so Valentine has never met Clary before).
Clary manages to put the Mortal Cup back in the tarot card, keeping it from Valentine, and she escapes by jumping through the portal, landing at Luke’s place. In the book, this would have been fine because you simply have to imagine where you want to go and then enter the portal. In the movie, only those who have had training in how to use the portal are safe to use it because untrained people can end up stuck in limbo. Clary somehow manages to use the portal without any consequences.
Luke confirms that Valentine is Clary’s father and there is a cut-away to explain Clary’s family history. This is fairly consistent with the book, although there is no mention of Luke and Clary’s mother’s relationship/friendship. Luke then takes Clary along with his werewolf pack to the Institute and they break in.
In the meantime, before Hodge leaves to lurk around the Institute (we don’t know why because in the book he just leaves), Hodge tells Valentine to pretend that Jace is also his son in order to hurt Clary and Jace, and make them submit to Valentine. Hello! Spoiler Alert! We had only read book one of the Mortal Instruments series, so as far as we knew, Clary and Jace were siblings. It is not until the third and final book in the Mortal Instruments series that we find out that this isn’t actually true (with hints in the second book). Way to spoil an entire trilogy!
Isabelle and Simon head down to the basement for weapon when they realize demons have entered the institute, and Jace heads off to find Hodge and Clary (not knowing what has happened). When Isabelle and Simon arrive in the basement, they find Clary’s mum in a coma, floating in the air. We have no idea how Clary’s mother’s body got there because Valentine didn’t bring her through the portal with him. We assume he has cast a summoning spell, but this is not mentioned. She could have been there the whole time for all we know. There is also no mention as to why she is floating, and why she suddenly stops floating.
Simon and Isabelle run into Clary, Luke and the werewolf pack just as the demons arrive in the basement. They manage to barricade themselves into a room, but it’s only a matter of time before the demons break through. Suddenly, Clary steals Isabelle’s stele and begins drawing a rune on her hand. She then uses the rune to freeze the demons. We have two issues with this scene. First, Clary is suddenly able to write a powerful rune that Isabelle, a well-trained Shadowhunter doesn’t recognize (a spoiler for the next book). Then, the casting of the rune takes forever, with Clary’s hair dramatically flowing out behind her. They then slowly walk past the demons, which were slowly beginning to wake up from the rune. We expected some more action once the demons were frozen, rather than slowly sneaking past them.
Simon and Isabelle head up to the conservatory to try and close the portal. Isabelle gets out her flame thrower and this somehow keeps the demons at bay. Simon flails around trying to fix the lever to close the roof. Luckily, Hodge has been lurking in the shadows watching and he decides to help fix the lever, which he broke allowing the demons to enter. He takes over and Isabelle and Simon leave…we don’t know where.
Clary heads to Jace and Valentine and learns that Jace is also Valentine’s son. This is hard to swallow for both Jace and Clary because they are in love. Valentine tries to convince Jace and Clary—Jace in particular—to join him. Clary immediately refuses, and Jace eventually also refuses. Jace and Valentine then fight while Clary…we don’t know what she did. Watch? Talk to her mother’s prone body, which we can’t remember how it entered the room?
Clary does manage to outsmart Valentine while he is distracted. She gets hold of a fake Mortal Cup and holds it in the portal. Valentine tries to take the Mortal Cup from Clary, but he has no idea where she is thinking of. This is where things get hazy… Clary gives the fake Mortal Cup to Valentine and manages to kick Valentine into the portal. Then, somehow, Valentine starts to come back and Jace then attempts to stab Valentine. This freezes the portal and it smashes. Then it snows as the frozen pieces fall to the ground…this goes on way longer than that would have taken so essentially, it snows. Clary has the real Mortal Cup still inside the tarot card.
In the end it is rather a blur and not a lot makes sense. The final bits are cheesy and try to wrap things up. Clary and Jace have an awkward sort of love scene at the end where they try to figure out how to feel about actually being siblings (As they believe they are). There is an especially cringe worthy moment where Jace implies Clary is an angel. Then she awkwardly hugs him as they ride off on a normal motorcycle (it was supposed to FLY! Lynne is still mad about this!).