Home Culture Books ‘Shadowhunters’: Who is Tessa?

‘Shadowhunters’: Who is Tessa?


This week’s episode of Shadowhunters is the best one yet as Magnus Bane (Harry Shum Jr.) took center stage. As the High Warlock of Brooklyn along with his brethren were still in hiding, Jace (Dominic Sherwood) and the others attempted to lure him out by offering an enchanted necklace that Magnus had once owned (and gifted to then lover vampire Camille Belcourt). In exchange they wanted Clary’s (Katherine McNamara) memories to be retrieved.

Inside the loft, a fellow warlock named Elias tries to talk him out of the meeting, claiming that it would be too dangerous with Valentine Morgenstern (Alan Van Sprang) on the hunt for them and Clary as well. But Magnus has his mind made up and tells Elias to head to the Spiral Labyrinth to tell Tessa that they need more shields.

Who is this mysterious female warlock you may ask yourself? Fans of Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices series know her as the courageous heroine who believed she was a mundane only to discover her true heritage after being kidnapped by downworlders. A prequel to The Mortal Instruments set in Victorian era London, Tessa’s adventures are joined by Shadowhunters Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs.


Tessa Gray (Source: Cassandra Jean)

Tessa was born Theresa Gray in New York City and had come to London at 16 to live with her brother Nate after their Aunt Harriet had passed away. Upon arrival, she is kidnapped by the sinister Dark Sisters who torture her to trigger her unique ability to change into any person by touching an object they owned as well as to retain their memories. Mrs. Black and Mrs. Dark continually told Tessa that they held her brother captive and he would only be freed if she obeyed them.

Thankfully she is eventually rescued by Shadowhunter Will Herondale and he takes her to the London Institute for her safety. There she meets his parabatai Jem Carstairs. The three are in an achingly angsty love triangle and it’s awesome.

Tessa’s life is still in danger though as a nefarious figure known as The Magister wants her abilities for his twisted plans. It is revealed that it was this villain’s machinations that Tessa became the first warlock to be born from a Shadowhunter and an Eidolon demon union. Her mother Elizabeth Gray (nee Moore) had actually been Adele Starkweather, but she was switched at birth with a mundane child thanks to The Magister and his seelie accomplices. The demon in the meantime had shapeshifted into Richard Gray and tricked Tessa’s mother into believing that she had lain with her husband.

Jem Carstairs, Tessa Gray, Will Herondale (Source: Cassandra Jean)

Tessa was engaged to Jem for a short period before he became a Silent Brother (in order to be saved from a fatal illness) and eventually she married Will. They had a long and happy marriage and had two children, James and Lucie. After Will dies from old age in 1937, she stays with Magnus in Paris and eventually they both move to New York together. She even meets Jocelyn and a young Clary in time.

For a character that has had such a long history with the nephilim, it’s incredibly exciting to see Magnus mention her on the show. Her story is a beautiful one and connects the Shadowhunter world of the past to the modern age. If we’re real lucky maybe she’ll even have a cameo.


You can catch Shadowhunters Tuesdays on Freeform at 9/8 central.

For more on Shadowhunters click HERE.

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