I've decided to grow up, remember?

–Isabelle, Major Arcana

Isabelle "Izzy" Lightwood is a Shadowhunter of the New York Institute. She is the only daughter of Robert and Maryse Lightwood, is the sister of Alec and Max, and is the adoptive sister of Jace.


Early life

Born the middle child and only daughter of Maryse and Robert Lightwood, Isabelle is the sister of three brothers: the eldest, Alec, the youngest, Max, and is like a sister to Jace Wayland, who was taken in by the family when they were young.

Raised in the New York Institute, Isabelle trained side-by-side with her older brothers and forged a close bond with them.

New friends

One evening, Jace managed to track a shape-shifting demon's activity to the Pandemonium. Isabelle decided to go in disguise, with an all-white outfit and a platinum blonde wig. Once inside, Isabelle distracted the other demons while Jace confronted the one that was peddling mundane blood. She managed to keep them busy until the fight broke out.

TMI101 Isabelle02

When Jace brought Clary Fray to the Institute, Isabelle was with her when the latter woke up. Isabelle even lent her some clothes after Clary's had to be burned.[1] Later, her mundane friend Simon Lewis was also welcomed into the Institute, and Isabelle volunteered to look after him and cooked him breakfast. She also briefed him about the Shadow World and the dangers Valentine Morgenstern and the Circle posed for all of them.

Outside the Silent City, Isabelle, again volunteering to stay with Simon, was flirting with Simon and was alone with him by his van when she heard sounds. She left to investigate, and Simon was gone when she returned. She told the others, and when everyone rushed back to the van, two vampires revealed themselves to be Simon's abductors, negotiating for the Mortal Cup.[2]

To contribute to Simon's rescue, Isabelle contacted the Seelie Meliorn, with whom she maintained a sexual relationship with—a connection she often used to her advantage to gather intel. In this case, Isabelle knew that Meliorn was also sleeping with the vampire Camille Belcourt and that he might be sneaking into the Hotel Dumort to do so. After getting the information she needed, she immediately told Alec and Jace.

She and Alec served as the distraction, going into the entrance she learned from Meliorn, while Jace and Clary went to a more direct route in hopes of finding Simon sooner. She and Alec managed to keep the vampires occupied and beat most of them in battle, and they eventually regrouped with Jace and Clary. Together, they all found Simon with Raphael. Raphael went on to help the group escape.[3]

Mortal Cup

When Isabelle's parents returned from their trip to Idris,[4] Isabelle realized that their family was under the Clave's scrutiny. Deciding to put her family ahead of herself, Isabelle decided to take her mother's words to heart and began a process of self-transformation, beginning by changing her manner of dressing, completely stashing her clothes away, and ending her relationship with Meliorn.[5]

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She discovered from her father that in order to reaffirm their trust from the Clave, a tremendous sacrifice would have to be made. Robert and Maryse planned for Alec to marry a Shadowhunter woman for a political alliance. Though he was angered by this, he later proposed to Clave envoy Lydia Branwell, who was sent to take temporary control of the Institute, which Isabelle was completely against, believing her brother should not have to forfeit his happiness. Her dislike of Lydia further evolved when she arrested Meliorn, believing he had information on Valentine's whereabouts. With the help of the others, she was able to save him from being taken to the City of Bones where he would have been tortured and possible killed. Before Meliorn escaped with Jace and Clary, she gave him a kiss goodbye.[6]

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Because Isabelle was the only other Shadowhunter who knew Meliorn would be taken to the Silent City, she was arrested by Lydia, who believed she was involved in his rescue, for high treason. Inquisitor Imogen Herondale was set to arrive at the Institute for Isabelle's trial, which would begin immediately. During her trial, Magnus Bane agreed to be her defense attorney, stating the case that Isabelle was only arrested because the Clave wanted the Cup. After listening to Isabelle's statement, Lydia decided to drop the charges, however the Inquisitor still deemed her guilty. She would only be freed if the Cup was given to the Clave. Later, Jace and Clary returned with the Cup, thereby saving Isabelle.[7]

On the day of Alec's wedding, Isabelle was shown to be choosing the decor and reminded Alec once again that he did not have to get married. Nonetheless, she stood by him when he decided this is what he wanted and planned him a bachelor party. After consulting with Simon to ask what bachelor parties consisted of, she made it so Alec's would require for him and Jace to make up. She also invited Magnus to the wedding, though believed he would not come. When Magnus did show up, and Alec chose his own happiness over duty, and Isabelle was the first to run up to him to express her pride, being fully supportive of him.[8]

After the wedding, the group found out Hodge Starkweather stole the Cup and was on his way to hand it over to Valentine. Isabelle went with Clary and Simon to the Hotel Dumort where Camille was being held to get the Book of the White from her. While she distracted Raphael, Clary and Simon break Camille out of her imprisonment. Before the vampires of the Brooklyn vampire clan can kill them, Isabelle was able to save them and get them out of the Hotel. However, they were all too late to leave Camille's apartment in time and Jace left with Valentine.[9]

Saving Alec and Jace

When Alec showed signs of stress and frustration over Jace's departure, Isabelle was the one who suggested he take a break. She also defended Jace from the new Head of the Institute, Victor Aldertree, a representative sent by the Clave to turn the New York Institute around, when he declared the missing Shadowhunter a traitor. Despite Aldertree banning the group from the hunt for Jace, they continued to do everything they can to get him back.[10]

When Valentine began raiding fight clubs for strong candidates, Isabelle and Alec decided that they can get information from a Circle member if they capture one in action at the dojos. Clary wanted to go with them, although she was banned from leaving the Institute. However, Alec is against the idea of her being on their team. Isabelle was torn between wanting to help both her brother and Clary, however before leaving, Isabelle comforted Clary and let her know she was on her side as well as her brother's.

At one of these dojos, Isabelle used the shape-shifting rune to turn into Mark, one of the known fighters of that club, luring a Circle member to her when he arrived. Before she or Alec can take him down, he slit his throat, showing that Circle members would rather die than give up secrets about Valentine. Upon losing this Circle member, Alec grew even more frustrated and discouraged of finding Jace. When Jocelyn Fray approached them with a way to find Jace using Adamas, a heavenly metal used by the Iron Sisters, Isabelle was against the idea when they are warned of the risks.[11] When Alec went through with it anyway and fell into a comatose state, Isabelle stayed by his side while Magnus tried to heal him.

TMI203promo Aldertree & Izzy 01

Jace contacted Isabelle and together, they made plans to get Jace and Alec to Magnus' loft, where they could awake Alec. When Aldertree refused to let Isabelle and Magnus take Alec from the Institute, they used the shape-shifting rune on an unconscious Raj to disguise him as Alec, and portal Alec to Magnus'. Aldertree discovered this when he deactivated the rune on Raj and warned that now Jace was being hunted by the New York werewolf pack, who believed he killed their member Gretel Monroe. Isabelle made a deal with him: if he provided her with a portal, she could save both Jace and Alec, however, she would then have to turn Jace into the Clave. The plan worked, and Jace was taken to the City of Bones to await trial.[12]

Yin fen

When the Institute was attacked by a demon Valentine experimented on, it possessed Isabelle's body, causing her to attack Alec. To get the demon out of Isabelle's body, Clary stabbed her back, then killed the demon once it left her body. The stab left her with a wound that hindered her fighting abilities. While sparring with Jace, she found out that a mission was being planned to go to the Iron Sisters to ask about the Soul-Sword's abilities. As a little girl, Isabelle admired the Iron Sisters and wanted to be one until she found out it meant giving up on boys. She approached Aldertree about going on the mission herself, in spite of her injury. He gave her a salve of yin fen that would help speed up her healing. She was warned by him to use it sparingly, and asked to spy on Clary, who went on the mission with her.

When they arrived, they were prompted to participate in a purity trial in order to enter the Adamant Citadel. While Clary passed the trial, the water turned black and bubbled when Isabelle took part. Sister Magdalena deemed her blood was tainted with demonic impurities, meaning she would not be allowed inside the Citadel. Sister Magdelena then revealed that Yin fen, an addictive substance made from diluted vampire venom, was coursing through her veins, and will not cure her. However at this point, Isabelle was already addicted. Isabelle overheard Clary talk to Sister Cleophas about a rune she saw in a vision that allowed her to shoot sunlight out of her hands. When she and Clary go back to the Institute and Aldertree prompted her about the mission, she refused to tell him about Clary's new rune ability, despite being tempted with another tin of yin fen.[13]

While Aldertree was back in Idris, Isabelle sneaked into his office to take the other tin of yin fen, only to find that it was gone. Growing increasingly desperate for more, she went to the Hunter's Moon to find a Downworld drug dealer. She found the warlock Rufus and asked him for yin fen. Magnus, who was at the bar speaking with bartender Maia Roberts, noticed this and approached the two, chasing Rufus away by reminding him about his ban from North America. Magnus believed Isabelle was lying to him when she told him she was there on business to crack the Downworlder drug trade, however he chose to believe her in the end. Through him, she found out that the source of yin fen was vampire venom. When she was unable to get Simon to bite her, Isabelle went to a vampire den. Before the vampires there could kill her, Raphael stepped in and sent them away. She began convulsing and shaking in pain from withdrawal, and she convinced Raphael to bite her, just once, to make it go away.[14]

TMI208promo Izzy & Raphael 01

Isabelle quickly learned that while getting yin fen directly left a stronger effect, it wore off much faster. She began to feel withdrawals once again, just as she was heading to Magnus' loft for Max's rune ceremonial party. Raphael initially refused her request, explaining that Shadowhunter blood was equally as addicting to him, but once again, she convinced Raphael to bite her so that she could make it through the party.[15]

After the party, Isabelle began to spend more time with Raphael. They began to learn more about each other, however it became clear that they are becoming dependent on each other due to the high of Raphael feeding on her. Raphael left for a meeting with other Downworlder representatives on how to deal with the possible activation of the Soul-Sword, and sided with the seelies on executing Clary. Raphael was in the middle of drinking her blood once again when Alec arrived at the Dumort, having learned from Magnus that at the Downworlder meeting, Raphael and Isabelle have been seeing each other. He tried to get her to go with him, but she refused, claiming that Raphael had been there for her while Alec had not.[16]

Isabelle returned to Raphael, who expressed that he truly did have feelings for her. She tried to get him to kiss her, however he revealed that he was not interested in sex, that he was asexual and had always been this way. To keep Isabelle from finding out that the seelies and vampires plan on killing Clary, he hid her phone and told her he was off to meet with another vampire clan. She eventually found her phone and saw messages from Alec about Valentine's attack on the Institute and rushed there to help, killing four Circle members before they could get to Alec and Aldertree. In the aftermath of the Soul-Sword's destruction, Raphael found Isabelle. She let him know she never wanted anything from him ever again.[17]

Road to Recovery

After Valentine's attack against the Downworlders, Isabelle was determined to get the vampire venom out of her system. She hid out in her room with Alec checking in on her, and he told everyone she had the flu so they would not find out about her addiction. Due to withdrawals, she was shaking and sweating. She promised Alec that she will remain in her room while he was out on a hunt for a demon, however she eventually could no longer take the pain and went to Raphael. She apologized about how she treated him, however he refused to give her anymore venom causing her to lash out at him. She left the Dumort and found the nearest vampire den.

The Greater demon Azazel found her and wanted the Mortal Cup, although she did not have it. Before he could kill her, a Shadowhunter arrived and drives him away. He revealed himself to be Sebastian Verlac. He took her to where he was staying and gave her a drop of medicine from a root extract, something he discovered would help with the withdrawal of yin fen. He was from the London Institute, however he left and found himself in New York to defeat his own addiction to yin fen. To help her, he convinced Isabelle to stay for a day to get the venom out of her system, as the medicine only had short lasting affects. Upon his request, she also called Alec to let him know she was safe.[18]

Simon came to her requesting help on how to speak to Raphael, thinking her relationship with him would provide some insight. Isabelle suggested they pay a visit to his family to urge him to reconsider his threats toward Simon's. While discussing and doing this, Simon planted the idea that Izzy should go to a mundane meeting for addicts, as they greatly helped his mother with alcoholism. At first she refused, but by the end of the day, thanked Simon for his advice and said she would give it a go.

Training Max

Alec appointed Isabelle responsible for completing Max's Shadowhunter training. Now that her brother had his first rune, he could be trained for combat. Isabelle at first expressed uncertainty that she was ready for this, as well as stating she was not sure she was completely herself again. After Alec encouraged her, she began to train Max. [19]

Weapons master

Shortly after Valentine's death, Isabelle was named the new weapons master of the Institute. With this position, she oversaw Clary's choosing of her signature weapon. When Clary chose a pair of kindjals, Isabelle commended her decision, telling her that it complimented her fighting style, where she noted that she used her left arm for balance, and dual-wielding would allow her to use that to her advantage.

When Luke came to the Institute and told them about a recent murder case that involved a possessed mundane, Isabelle went with Jace and Alec to ask Catarina Loss about the mundane at their workplace, Saint Ambrose Hospital. After speaking to Catarina, Isabelle bought a snack from the vending machine and interacted with Dr. Charlie, who helped her get the candy she bought that got stuck in the machine. Though she didn't plan to give it, the doctor asked for her name and she obliged.[20]


Isabelle is compassionate, warm, charming, and is generally welcoming to new friends. Despite her beauty and kick-ass combat skills, Isabelle is seen to be the moral compass that keeps her brothers Alec and Jace in check in tense situations, though she is also seen to have a bit of a defiant side. Isabelle is not afraid to speak her mind and isn't afraid to break rules, a trait she shares with her adoptive brother Jace. She is able to stand up to higher ranked individuals for what she believes in and fights and argues to get the point across whenever necessary.

She is a skilled seductress who can seduce any man, both Shadowhunter and Downworlder, into either complying with demands or maintaining confidential information. She enchants pretty much anyone who meets her. She is incredibly comfortable with her body; in the past, she wore revealing outfits with no qualms—a way of standing up to her mother's strict rules. During that time, she often acted as the bait or distraction to lure demons.

Isabelle is also equally skilled and deadly in battle, particularly when using her weapon of choice: her whip. Isabelle is feisty, talented, intelligent, and well-educated.

As Maryse and Robert's only daughter, Isabelle is seen as a daddy's girl, having a loving and trusting relationship with her father, while she has a more strained and tense relationship with her mother, who did not approve of Isabelle's decisions and lifestyle. As a result, Isabelle is often maternal toward others, fulfilling a role that was lacking in her life. She is supportive of her brothers, urging them to do what makes them happy. Isabelle often seeks to comfort those around her, although she also has a strict and disciplinarian side, particularly when it comes to training. She worries about her family a lot, and had a hard time accepting that Max was ready for his first real mission after training him for it.

She is fiercely loyal to her family and loved ones, willing to let go of her own happiness if it will make things better for them. Despite this, she will fight for what she believes is right even if the odds go against her, and would only cede and make the necessary sacrifice or adjustments when she sees the sense in it and how it would contribute to the greater good.

Skills and abilities

  • Nephilim physiology: Being Nephilim, Isabelle possesses a variety of enhanced physical and mental abilities granted to her by the angel blood of Raziel in her veins and also by the angelic Marks of the Gray Book. This includes enhanced strength, speed, agility, stamina, and coordination, which continue to improve over time and practice.
    • The Sight: As a Shadowhunter, Isabelle is able to easily see through most magical illusions and layers of glamour over reality.
  • Runic magic: Due to the angel blood in their veins, all Shadowhunters are all able to apply runes on their skin without any real danger. These Marks, in turn, give varied effects that serve to benefit the wearer.
    • Use of heavenly weapons: As a Nephilim, Isabelle is also able to perform tasks unique to their species, such as the ability to use and call on the power of angels for their seraph blades, as well as to handle any heavenly weapons or objects with effect, which would normally not work for other species. In particular, these are tools made of adamas and forged by Iron Sisters.
  • Expert hand-to-hand combatant: Isabelle is highly skilled in armed and unarmed combat.
  • Whip master: Isabelle is highly skilled in using a whip, able to use it to exert power and control over her enemies.
  • Forensic pathology: Isabelle is shown to be skilled in the study of forensic pathology and is referred to by Jace and Alec as the best in New York. She was even able to perform an autopsy on a strange new form of Forsaken and was able to successfully deduce what made it special. She is an expert, well-versed and highly-trained in studying the bodies of both mundanes and all creatures of the Shadow World.
  • Bilingual: Isabelle fluently speaks English and is shown to also speak Spanish.



Season One appearances: 13/13
The Mortal Cup:
The Descent Into Hell Isn't Easy:
Dead Man's Party:
Raising Hell:
Moo Shu to Go:
Of Men and Angels:
Major Arcana:
Bad Blood:
Rise Up:
This World Inverted:
Blood Calls To Blood:
Morning Star:
Season Two appearances: 20/20
This Guilty Blood:
A Door Into the Dark:
Parabatai Lost:
Day of Wrath:
Dust and Shadows:
Iron Sisters:
How Are Thou Fallen:
Love is a Devil:
Bound By Blood:
By the Light of Dawn:
Mea Maxima Culpa:
You Are Not Your Own:
Those of Demon Blood:
The Fair Folk:
A Problem of Memory:
Day of Atonement:
A Dark Reflection:
Awake, Arise, or...:
Hail and Farewell:
Beside Still Water:
Season Three appearances: 1/20
On Infernal Ground:
The Powers That Be:
Will be featured
What Lies Beneath:
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Thy Soul Instructed:
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Stronger Than Heaven:
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A Window Into an...:
Will be featured
Salt in the Wound:
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A Walk Into Darkness:
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Familia Onte Omnia:
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Lost Souls:
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Original Sin:
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Beati Bellicosi:
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A Kiss From a Rose:
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A Heart of Darkness:
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To the Night Children:
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Stay With Me:
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Episode 3018 TBA:
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Episode 3019 TBA:
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Episode 3020 TBA:
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  • Through Izzy's AA meetings, she found that one way to deal with her cravings for vampire blood was consuming sugar.[20]

  • She is portrayed by Emeraude Toubia, and Romy Weltman portrayed a teenage Isabelle in the Season 2 episode Parabatai Lost.
  • Her casting press release described her as an exotic-looking, model-beautiful Shadowhunter who, as an expert with her whip, is as lethal as she is attractive; is a trained fighter who can kick-ass in high-heels; and whose one weakness is her choice in men—always going for the bad boy.[21]