Post Mortems
Shadowhunters Jocelyn Death

Shadowhunters EP Defends [Spoiler]'s Surprise Death: 'We Knew We Were Messing With Canon in a Deep Way'

To say that Shadowhunters went off-book with its latest death would be a grave understatement.

“Jocelyn doesn’t die in [the Mortal Instruments series],” showrunner Todd Slavkin acknowledges to TVLine, though she did on Monday’s episode. “When we came up with the idea, the first thing we did is call [author] Cassie Clare, because we knew we were messing with canon in a deep way.”

Not only did Clare approve of the twist, but Slavkin says that she “thought it was a cool way to execute Clary’s journey as a hero’s journey.”

“In order for someone to become a hero, they need to go through adversity, and the death of parents is part of becoming a true adult — a true soul unto yourself,” he explains. “And we felt like that was something that was a really powerful thing that could push her character through 2A in a really compelling manner.”

As for what comes next, Slavkin says we can expect a “powerful, emotional journey for Clary. With her being able to create her own runes, we thought this was an interesting idea in terms of telling that story. We wanted this to be a cause for it, or at least something she can wrestle with. It wasn’t something we did lightly at all.”

OK, time to weigh in: Where do you stand on Jocelyn’s death? Drop a comment with your thoughts below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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83 Comments
  1. Lydia says:

    If she isn’t brought back then her death was anti climatic. Maybe if we saw her actually killed.

  2. Taylor says:

    I think the thing that upsets me about this has less to do with the show itself and more to do with the fact that this is a pattern in our media. Women reach a certain age and they’re quite frequently killed off. People can go through the hero’s journey without losing their mother. They could have killed Luke, who was the other father figure Clary really knew. We could have seen mother and daughter bond over that loss. Or, conversely, we could acknowledge that grief isn’t something to be romanticized. There are other kinds of trauma. I appreciate wanting to push Clary’s character, but considering older women are so frequently killed in TV and media, it makes me sad SH decided to go with this too often used choice.

    • Iris says:

      I clicked because although I don’t watch this show, I bet with myself that it was a forty-something character who was offed…oh, and of course, a woman.
      As always in Hollywood, I was right. Sad, indeed.

    • Would you have preferred they go down the route of killing the Black guy first?

    • Natalie says:

      Regarding killing off Luke instead…there would have been a much bigger and justified outcry. He is part of the main seven characters while Jocelyn never was. And I’d still rather have Luke for black representation when people of color are so frequently (and brutally) killed off on tv. So at the end I’m very glad they came to this decision instead

    • Lina says:

      It didn’t bother me. I didn’t find Jocelyn to be an overly compelling character. Not a great actress either. Plus valentine loves her so maybe he will feel some humanity and remorse for his actions

    • Robbie says:

      I think you’ve made a very important point. In breaking the canon they could have just as easily killed of Luke and had the same effect but there’s a pattern of killing off women who aren’t young sexy things. I agree that this would have been an excellent way to then bring in the mother daughter bond.

      I’m so glad you also brought up the idea of the romanticizing of grief because I never thought about it before but now that you bring it up I 100% agree with you. It is not something to be romanticized and I’m disappointed to see this being done in this show too.

    • Em says:

      They couldn’t have killed Luke, they know I would hunt them down if they did 😂

  3. sam says:

    I think they should of stuck closer to the book – since it was such a hit.

    • Victoria says:

      Agreed! The novels were so great and well rounded. I can’t believe the author sold out and was like ya sure throw this change in! If I was the author I’d be like oh because I didn’t spend years writing a great series, just go ahead and change it.. ::complete sarcasm:: and this is why I like BOOKS OVER MOVIES/SHOWS!

  4. Larry says:

    This is a TV show. Thus it has only so many resources regarding characters and the cost of juggling a large cast. As Freeform dedicates a majority of its time to teen and young adult characters -Jocelyn was the easiest sacrifice to service a more primary Shadowhunter character. That’s the hard truth TV producers have to deal with and fans have to accept. Fidelity to source material is not an issue. Anyone who says otherwise isn’t dealing with the reality of producing a television show.

  5. Kelly says:

    Fans are already dealing with a lot changes, you don’t just kill off a man character.

  6. V.J. says:

    Well, let’s wait until next week and see if this death sticks. If so I would agree that it was pretty anti-climatic. But this may answer a question I had for some time now because of the network they are on. [i don not spoiler anything but I allude to something that happens in the book so be warned]
    If they move away from the books in terms of who lives and dies they could scratch a death that actually happens in the books.

  7. Melly says:

    I’m interested to see where they’re going with it to say the least. Jocelyn was among the top 3 I expected dying this episode so it definitely wasn’t a shock. I don’t particularly agree with the notion that killing off a teenager’s parent will make them into a ‘true adult’ or something but Clary’s actions and storyline will sure be an emotional one to watch now

  8. lena says:

    i’m torn because she was such a terrible actress that her scenes were so painful, but the explanation from the writers that her death was needed to drive clary’s storyline forward makes me sad. it’s the same format used on almost every other tv show ever, still! to this day an important woman in the lead’s life dies so that they somehow become stronger through their grief. and it’s a shame that instead, we couldn’t have had clary learning from her mom and going through great struggle without yet another powerful female character dying at the whim of the writers.

    • PatriciaLee says:

      Right, I bailed from 24 and never watched another episode when they killed off the wife the last episode of season one.

  9. Complete bollox and utterly unjustified and an abject failure if the idea was to give Clary a push to ‘coming into her own’. Anti-climatic showing the death via CCTV after the fact, adding unneccesary drama to a show which already has enough in the source material and getting rid of a character the audience hasn’t even had time to develop a proper relationship with.

    If you’re going to divert from cannon in such a way then make it worth while. This wasn’t and instead is just going to piss off book fans who know how important Jocelyn is to the story long term.

    What are the show runners going to do now with her role throughout the rest of the books, who is going to take over that narrative in the show’s cannon?

    • Meika says:

      I completely agree I’ve read each book at least 10× over they are screwing the whole show up for me going all the way back to the second episode when the silent brothers told clary that valentine was her father… I would like to c them stick to the storyline of the book before they end up having to cancel the show for loss of fans

    • nebia92 says:

      I completely agree with you… more than just being anti-climactic and poorly executed, I feel like there are just so many interesting storylines and facets of the mother-daughter/family dynamic left to tell (the whole Sebstian-twist is just the tip of the iceberg). They should have at least given the viewers a chance of getting a little attached to the character. That way killing her of would have had more of an emotional impact.

      And another thing that keeps bugging me is that we never got to see what a fierce warrior and powerful shadowhunter Jocelyn really was. When confronted by the Circle members in the series’ premiere she fought two of them and then just had a little chat and kinda gave up; and all she did in these recent episodes was uselessly hanging around the institute and then getting killed by the demon without even having a chance to defend herself or looking like she was fighting back. Not to mention that the “younger” version of Jocelyn in the flashbacks was just terrible.
      Last but not least it also would have been interesting to have seen a few more instances of Jocelyn using her powers. It would have given us a better insight into Clary’s heritage. Showing us where part of Clary’s powers come from would have not just provided us with a better understanding of the scope of her abilities, it also would have helped fleshing out her personal journey and development (showing how she “unlocks” new aspects of her abilities, how she differs from and in the end maybe even surpasses her mother etc.).
      It would have tied the story together.
      This way we just had Clary continuously fighting and risking everything to get her mother back. Then disagreeing with her. And loosing her again.
      Unless they find a way to bring her back later on. You never now with these shows.

      • Cddestiel says:

        I agree entirely and I am honestly upset with Cassy for allowing this because Jocelyn’s death is going to screw up a lot of the story line. I knew it was going to be messed up when they woke her up early but I didn’t expect this. This is going to effect the Sebastian storyline a lot because in the last book he kidnaps Jocelyn and brings her to the other hell which is in part what causes Clary to go there with the others to save her. I’m still going to watch the show for now but I’m not going to lie, the changes from the books are really starting to bother me.

  10. Amber says:

    I’m kinda pissed because I’m very big into following the books and never straying from canon, but this show has always said that things would change along the way, so I knew from the outset that things would be different. And then last night when I saw it, oh I was livid. But only because I realize that they did this because they woke her up too soon and had nothing left to do with her character. So if they would have followed the books, she would still be asleep right now and this wouldn’t have happened. That’s the only reason why I’m mad. So I understand why, but I’m really disappointed.

    • Tan says:

      I was livid because they did wake her up too early. I knew something like this was going to happen and I’m pissed. I love the books and have read and re-read them many times, and I really don’t mind the TV show direction. I knew there were going to be changes, but Jocelyn had a major role later on. So now what? Who’s going to take her spot? It just makes me sad. I was upset originally when they changed the style of the church and made it more techno than it should have been, but I got over it. I hope they don’t make anymore major changes like that have. At least be somewhat true to the books.

      • Sara Watson says:

        Thanks mainstream media, for ruining what could have been an epic adaptation. It is Queen of the Damned all over again. Why is it so hard to follow a storyline?! Not only did they kill jocelyne but they killed Hodge early too. Where was the fear demon? Why the institue and not rhe city of bones? C’mon! Oh well, just another rip off just like the movie was.

  11. ScottJ says:

    In a classical hero’s journey the hero must always carry on alone. So that is why, for example, Dumbledore had to die in Harry Potter. There will be a huge number of other examples in literature, although there’s probably fewer cases in TV and movies.

  12. Crystal says:

    Horrible- the story was perfect how it was written!

  13. anonymous says:

    Well considering that this show was supposed to be a continuation of the movie not an all together different thing this isn’t surprising to me at all. People need to realize that just because a show maybe based off of a movie or comic book series or a book series doesn’t mean that they are going to be carbon copies there are going to be major changes because they are 2 different things with different people who have different ideas

  14. courtney says:

    This doesn’t make sense to me… I disagree with them killing off Jocelyn. There’s so much that is still there for them, especially with Sebastian on the way! I was already mad that they had Jocelyn believing Jace was her son; in the books, she knew that he wasn’t instinctually. She knew Sebastian/Jonathan had black eyes and was mean spirited- things that Jace isn’t/doesn’t have. This to me is just as much of straying. I watch this show because I loved the books and this is so much better than the movie. But I think they cut themselves from a lot of future storylines that would’ve been really rich.

  15. Haylscat says:

    I haven’t loved the portrayal of Jocelyn in the show, nothing against the actress, so I won’t particularly miss the character, per se, but I think the whole losing-your-family-is-the-great-springboard-for-character-growth has become a bit lazy and cliche for lots of shows. It wasn’t as shocking as they think it was and I feel kind of meh about it. Honestly, my first thought was for Luke, not for Clary when it happened (well, my second thought, after, ‘this death is probably a fake out and/or won’t stick’). I’m kind of bothered he wasn’t mentioned in this article- I know the show is its own thing from the books, but Luke’s devotion to the two of them and his love for Joc always felt like a bigger plot point to me than the mother/daughter bond.

  16. Sara says:

    I’m interested in seeing how this changes the story, if the death sticks. It will certainly change things when Sebastian comes into play if Jocelyn is dead. I loved the books, but I am loving the show as well. It keeps me on my toes, even as a fan of the books, which I appreciate.

  17. Gift says:

    They did an unexpected thing one we didn’t imagine I think it’s tough but it’s great. They don’t have to Stick to the book at all times. This is TV we need to watch something different nd not the same things in the book. I love the book but I also want something unexpected from this show. This is not about race or colour. Clare needs to be independent, be her own hero. With her mother there she isn’t going to be that so……… Besides if they killed Off Luke she wouldn’t be affected like if it were her mother. It was best to kill off Jocelyn.

  18. ralphsnt69 says:

    It baffles me that a TV show based on an amazing and successful book series has to mess with the already printed and loved story, which is perfect as it is. If it, at least, would have kept on track with the books, I could have continued watching the show and ignore the attrotious acting…but the changes to the story are not making the story better. On the contrary!! So, I can’t keep on watching these people rip apart this story that has become so dear to me. In the words of our President, “disgraceful!!”

  19. cassidy says:

    bring jocelyn back plz

  20. Alec says:

    I’m a huge fan of the books and I’m really loving Shadowhunters. I don’t care about the changes, they have to change stuff otherwise will be uninteresting for people who read the books. I am loving what they’re doing with the story and can’t wait for the rest of the season!

  21. chadcronin says:

    I want to watch a series because I like the book. So changing stuff ruins it for me. Sounds like more of a sad way to cut costs. #NotHappy

  22. Tanith says:

    Are you nuts killing off Jocely what about the like and Jocelyn love story you went away from the books

  23. Jean says:

    Really the death was not shocking at all. Honestly this trend has been happening so often. They always kill off the adult characters or parents etc. off. I honestly didn’t see it as a twist one bit.

    A big twist would be if the adult character survives longer than 2 seasons than if they die LOL

  24. A says:

    How about sticking with the novel. Jocelyns death seemed sensless and without cause . I was looking forward to walking through Jocelyns journey and exploring her relationship with Luke and Clary.

  25. Claire says:

    I think it was good for clary that her mum dies (This will make her strong), and I think that Valentine still loves jocelyn too much, so he may bring her back.
    And it’s a relief that Luke didn’t die <3
    But I hope that Jocelyn comes back and marries Luke, he deserves it :)

  26. Bryan says:

    I hate it. It does not go accordily to the. Book and it makes me noteven want to wait for next week espiodes.

  27. Justin says:

    Here is the problem with the death. Alec being apart of it was the “best” part. But only finding her dead and seeing it on video reply was just lazy. It should have been a fight scene between the demon, her mother, and Luke. Make it to where Luke hesitates killing the demon cause it was in Alec and make it go for Clary. Then mom saves Clary and dies in turn. Luke falls apart and Clary sees a vision of a rune that could expel the demon. She uses it, Alec is free and Luke kills it.

  28. Sheri says:

    I feel sure she will be “revived” somehow. Also, while I like when shows follow the book, I did think this twist was interesting and might lead to Alex having remorse for disliking clary and being rude to her so much.

  29. #1 fan of the mortal instruments series says:

    I don’t agree with this it was very sad to see Joslyn go. She wasn’t a main character but she played a very important role what’s even more sadder (spoiler)is that she didn’t even know that Jace Wayland isnt really her son. I mean you could’ve just killed after she knew he wasn’t her son or maybe not of killed her at all. In here end of the book (spoiler) she held Jonathan (super cute) as he died. Killing Joslyn wasn’t going to make the show any better all I have to say is good luck to the producers of the show they really screwed up, I wonder how her death is going to play out.

  30. LizzyAnne says:

    For one who has read the entire Mortal Instruments book series, I’m very upset with the development of Jocelyn’s death. As Clary’s mother, Jocelyn is involved directly and/or indirectly in the entire book series. Especially in the end of the last book. This deviation is a complete mistake on the series.

  31. L4life says:

    Two things: Firstly, they go off book quite a lot in my opinion. with Jace joining Valentine on the ship before the City of Bones scenes and then actually being judged by the sword which doesn’t happen in the book. Mixing around with Valentine coming in and ‘rescuing’ him – not a fan.
    We didn’t really get to build a liking to Jocelyn and her death felt unimportant – first I thought it was a nightmare Clary was having because it was so badly and anti-climatically done. Very weird first few episodes of the season. I really hope it gets better.

  32. Kira says:

    The plot concept of this series is terrible to say the least – all episodes so far revolved around one destable but actually good character who keeps messing things up for the main teen group. And they keep alternating between fighting with each other and proving how much they love and would sacrifice for each other – even if it’s much more sacrifice than is remotely necessary. I feel like I’m watching the same episode over and over again with slight twists to it.

    Those books have a great plot, great characters, great character relationships and great character developments – I totally get that a TV series needs to have a different dynamic than a book series, but why the heck do they need to change EVERYTHING, introduce non-book characters that make no sense and kill of characters that DO make sense just to add more (unnecessary) drama? Seriously, I was so stoked for this series and every episode I watch makes me like it less.

  33. Adelaide says:

    The mom’s death scene was far too anti-climatic. All it did was make people assume that it was a dream simulation and in the end the scene didn’t inspire motivation or attachment from the viewers which is a major part of those cliche ‘girl grows up after mom dies’ scenarios. Its what makes viewers want to watch more and see what happens or how the character develops.

  34. Olive says:

    They had already run out of room with Jocelyn character on the show, so this isn’t surprising. Book Jocelyn knew that Jace wasn’t her son, and it would have been harder and harder to justify show Jocelyn not being able to tell the difference. In the books Clary found herself without her mother’s help, so it makes sense that they had no real plan for how to work that in the show since they woke her up WAY too early.

  35. I'm mad says:

    So who is Luke going to marry now ? How will clary do some of the things she does with her mother? Who will she go to the demon realm to save.. because now it can’t be her mother?

  36. Read says:

    Let’s say they took the alternative which some would say was to kill Luke (also couldn’t do things he did in book if killed) clarys mother would be absolutely no help at all I mean she would probably be a wreck. Although I am quite upset that they’ve killed Jocelyn bc now she can’t marry Luke and she can’t help clary with some things she didn’t in the book. But I do feel like feel like the producers have done somethings a bit diffet.

  37. tammy says:

    i love watching the show knowing that it will differ from the books but killing off clary’s mom was too much of a change for me . Not to mention all the other books with plots involving her mom . I guess shadowhiunters is going to be like the vampire diaries just the basic parts of the books such as characters with nothing more.

  38. Madeleine says:

    I am very disappointed with the decision to kill Clary’s mother off. I greatly enjoyed the books and wanted the show to almost exactly the same. Honestly I’m very let down.

  39. Ashley says:

    My only concern is how they’re going to tie in future scenes.. like Luke and her wedding when the kidnapping happens.. what does this mean? Are they going to cut out all jocelyn related future major scenes because of this decision?

  40. w says:

    If she isn’t brought back then most of the shadow hunter storyline becomes null n void n wouldn’t be the story at all… bring her back n stop changing the story.

  41. Megan says:

    With shadow hunters I was expecting to see my favorite series come to life not to have a show that just uses the characters but nothing from the book. In the book Rafael turned Simon not Camille and Jocelyn doesn’t die. Now that she’s dead there are no books 4,5,&6.

  42. Saadia says:

    Its just that in the majority of fiction stories, the parents die before the heroes have to take on full responsibility. It just signals the end of their childhood. I was glad Cassie hadn’t done that in the MI but if the series directors think that they can make Clary’s role more powerful by doing so, MI fans stand with them.

  43. Kathleen says:

    This was a big change but her mother was not a super prominent charecter in the book. I’m ready for the incest story line to end, much like in the book its gross and obviously not going to happen since they have already been romantic.

  44. Donna says:

    I think Clarys relationship with her mother made the books heart warming and the relationship with Jocelyn and Luke was a huge start lime in the books, the book series ends with their wedding!! Not a good move to kill off the mother, her character in the books is so cool and amazing, they haven’t shown that in the series.

  45. neilibido says:

    i think they should stick with the original story…

  46. Ashley Hamilton says:

    How are suppossed to get the story back on track with her death she was a big part in the series an her being in it was what lead up to some important parts. Like how joyceln an luke take clary to idirs an clary ends up meeting her real brother. Or how when luke an joyceln get married an simon is invited with the hope of he remembers who they all are. I just dont think it was thought out all the way. I thought the fact that jace dieing was what spurred clary on in her journey to becoming a hero. I still watch the show but as someone whos read all the books more than once im very dissappointed. Its like they always say the books are always better than tv. Im sure there where other ways to push clary into being the hero she needed to be with out killing her mom. Trying to find her mom was a big one when valentine to joyclen.😥

  47. Caite says:

    I really don’t think she is dead. Clary tells her mother thats she’s not going to Idris, which makes me think Jocelyn had no reason to do as the Clave asked anymore, therefore she ran, not even telling luke, and leaving luke with Clary to protect her as well as his pack, it just sounds like something Jocelyn would do.

  48. Ben Whaley says:

    The books were such a great hit and last season was great but season 2 will probably be the last because the show runners are ruining it for all the fans by eliminating characters that were a huge part of the original canon. I wish Cassandra Clare had forbid them to be making so many changes. The series is becoming a mess. Such a shame that what was once an amazing show has been reduced to such a debacle.

  49. JR says:

    I just don’t understand why this show can’t follow tighter to the book series. So are they just going to keep jack as her brother the rest of the show instead of bringing in her real brother.

  50. katc says:

    Not happy with how things are going so far this season. But I suppose maybe it all stems from not knowing for sure if they were going to get a second season?
    Woke Jocelyn up early to give us something?
    Then had to scramble to figure out the storyline.
    I’m excited to see how Sebastian will fit into all of this, the day lighter stuff and Lake Lynn. Here’s hoping 2b brings us back to the books somehow.