So…Jem is a Silent Brother.
While I’m loving the book right now, I’m completely thrown by this development. I mean, I was really excited when I read that Jem didn’t actually die, but then I became majorly conflicted. This is mostly because it doesn’t seem in his character.
Jem, who loves Will, Tessa, and music. Jem, who kept insisting that there “is more to life than surviving.” Jem, who is kind and comforting, who is a gentleman and deserves a longer life than he’ll get.
This guy decided to become a Silent Brother?
I was ready for Jem to die. I knew it was coming. Will’s scene when he finds out? Absolutely heartbreaking. And yet, good closure.
Until I found out Jem isn’t dead.
I just don’t understand why Jem would choose to be a Silent Brother. Despite saying that he wants to live life, not merely survive, becoming a Silent Brother is essentially doing the latter. Everything that made his life worth living: music, his friends, his adventures as a Shadowhunter, essentially cease. Let’s put aside the fact that he can no longer talk or play music. Or even Shadowhunt.
Let’s talk about the fact that becoming a Silent Brother essentially takes all of his humanity away. The best parts of Jem, gone. Now just a body exposed to esoteric knowledge.
I might have forgiven it if Jem was planning on looking for a cure to the drug while he was a Silent Brother…but he doesn’t say that. Perhaps he hints at it, but he doesn’t say it.
And even then I can’t believe Jem would do it. He was so honest in the story up until that point. His acts were thoughtful and measured. Doing this would make everything he said about death and rebirth and life meaningless, because he took a quick save to buy time.
And if you’re wondering if I’m happy that this creates a perfect loop hole for the love triangle…not really. I liked the idea that the love Jem and Tessa share for a short period of time is just a strong as the love between Tessa and Will for the long haul. And it didn’t feel right….like having Jem hold back until it’s his turn.
To be truthful, as I worked my way through Clockwork Princess I could tell that Tessa would end up with Will. Not because Jem was dead, but because Will and Tessa’s relationship felt right. Tessa loves both of these boys because they see her—a person worth something, which was key since she was going through this whole identity crisis. Jem saw her as a thing worth living for, a person who felt lost who he could help find meaning. Will saw her a reflection of himself, his better half. And I like to think that Tessa thinks the same thing about each of these boys. And the boys think of this of each other as well.
But between those two, I think I’d go with the person who was my better half. The one I know I could talk with for hours about books and simply know that this person knew me. Not that there’s anything wrong with a relationship where two people save each other—that’s beautiful in its own way.
Readers of The Infernal Devices, did you like this development? What did you think?
And to everyone else, what choice would you make? To live short and vibrantly, or live dully forever?
mrscarstairs on tumblr pointed out to me that:
“When he makes the decision to become a Silent Brother, it’s because his circumstances have abruptly, totally, catastrophically changed. Jem was resigned to his death, but that doesn’t mean he was resigned to Tessa and Will’s deaths, which is what he was facing. […] And he’s not going to go gentle into that good night if it means leaving those he loves in terrible danger behind without doing everything he can to avert that danger and save them. If that means becoming a Silent Brother even though he doesn’t want to be one, then that’s what he’ll do.”— Cassandra Clare
“he’s not going to go gentle into that good night”…haha, I was laughing really hard at that. Because (1) I’m really dumb and (2) I love that poem.
Of course it’s in Jem’s character to stick around so that the two people he loves are safe. DUH. I’m an idiot.
I’m now keeping this post for posterity (and because it’s humbling to keep stuff showing how dumb you can be). My bolded questions to you, dear reader, still stand, however oddly framed they are now.
“Rage, rage at the dying of the light”…and at speed reading followed by reckless blogging.