During the summer of 2009 (I believe), the library in my hometown added on to the building. The library is an old building with several stairs leading up to the doors, so, naturally, I hadn’t been able to go in since I was a young child and my father carried me. As I was finishing up high school, they started the add-on. They were building a small, ground-level building that would attach to the basement of the original building — a completely wheelchair accessible addition. I was ecstatic to say the least! I even got to be the first person to go inside on opening day.
I have always loved books but didn’t read a whole lot due to not knowing what to read or ask for, among other things. So, when I was finally able to look around for myself, it was like a whole new world had opened up.
One of the first books I remember getting was City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. At the time, the first three books were already out. I read all three that summer and, not to be dramatic, but they changed my life. Until then, I had read Harry Potter and Twilight, as well as some lesser-known series, but that’s about it. These books made me truly fall in love with reading as an adult.
The following summer, I came home from college and almost immediately checked all three out again. This time, Clockwork Angel was there – the first book of the prequel series that had just been released. Sure enough, I loved it, too. Eventually, I got my own copies of the first three books, and then as Clare continued to release books, my collection continued to grow. Nine years later, there are three series. I have an entire Cassandra Clare shelf and they are still my favorite books. In fact, I am currently doing a reread of all the books in chronological order via audiobook.
On to the point of this long, drawn out story! The Mortal Instruments movie was released in 2013. At the time, I was disappointed, but overall it actually did a lot of things right, in my opinion. There was just one detail at the end that I was really upset about because it spoiled a significant part of the following two books. It didn’t matter to me that I knew what was going to happen, but I didn’t want it spoiled for those who hadn’t read the books. It turned out to not matter because they didn’t continue with the movies.
In 2016, Shadowhunters began airing. I was beyond excited to hear that they were making the books into a show instead. I felt like this would enable them to truly get it right and do a better job than the movie. The show started and within 10 minutes, I was upset. Without giving too much away, the book is about a girl named Clary whose mother goes missing. Clary is thrown into this world of Shadowhunters, or demon hunters, and basically finds out there is a lot about her life and her mother that she didn’t know. Throughout the first few books, Clary deals with these secrets and lies and it’s a big deal that her mother hid so much. To me, this is a very significant part of the story; it helps Clary evolve into who she needs to become. Well, in the show, in the very beginning of the first episode, her mother is seen explaining everything just before she’s kidnapped. I feel like this took out a lot of the mystery of the story, as well as the internal struggles Clary deals with in the series.
This change was huge and upsetting, but I tried and succeeded to get past it. But the changes didn’t end there. The Institute, where the Shadowhunters can live and train, was decked out in almost futuristic technology. Clare points out several times throughout the books that they do not use modern technology. In fact, it’s a big deal when one of them gets a cell phone in a later book. Then there was their trainer, Hodge. In the book, he is an older man, the same age as their parents. In the show, he is a young, fit man who reminded me nothing of the tweed-wearing father-figure who spent most his time in the library. I understand the need for changes when adapting a book for the screen. Most I can live with (I do watch the Harry Potter movies all the time, after all), but there were so many that it felt like the story was changing, this story that means so much to me, that I love so much.
Needless to say, I stopped watching it after a few episodes. However, I have kept up with it in a way. I follow the actors on Twitter and see others post about it frequently. I may have also watched a compilation of “Malec” scenes on YouTube. (They are my favorite and I honestly considered trying the show again, multiple times, just to see them.) So, when the show was cancelled this year, I knew immediately.
If you remember, I wrote about Brooklyn Nine-Nine being cancelled a couple months ago. This happened around the same time. But where Brooklyn Nine-Nine was picked up by another station within 24 hours, Shadowhunters wasn’t so lucky. The people of the internet are not happy. My Twitter feed always has a couple tweets about saving the show, but it wasn’t until last week that I realized how big of a deal this was.
Last week, I saw a tweet about an improvised line in the show followed by some pictures. I retweeted it saying:
“I don’t even watch #Shadowhunters and this broke my heart… I may not watch the show (The books are my favorite and I had a hard time with some of the changes), but I want them to #SaveShadowhunters so that people still get to enjoy this wonderful world and story!”
Within 24-hours, it had almost 150 likes and over 60 retweets. For me, that is a lot! Especially considering I didn’t know or follow any of them. I then started receiving replies. Complete strangers were reaching out and thanking me for this tweet that I hadn’t really thought anything of. Then people started being more specific, saying that they were grateful that someone who loves the book tweeted that. It hit me then that there have been others, like me, who didn’t like the show because they love the books, and they were probably not responding in the same manner to the cancellation.
This article is for them and for those who love the show.
To those who look down upon the show, think of it this way: People are still getting this story we love so much. Yes, it’s in a different format with changes, but the overall story is there. We should be happy that people are getting to experience the love that we have for this magical world. So, why does it matter if it isn’t found in the same way? Perhaps it will convince a few to check out the books.
To those who love the show, I hope it is saved. I truly do. I hope you get to see the story played out. These characters mean a lot to so many, and I hate that it is being taken away from so many. Hopefully, one of the other networks or streaming services will see how loved it is and pick it up!