10 Ways Shadowhunters is So Different from the Mortal Instruments Books

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With the premiere of Shadowhunters, Season 2 airing today(!), some of us are refreshing our memories by re-watching Season 1 — while others are convincing our Mortal Instruments-virgin friends to test out joining the fandom as well.

By this point, we all know (hopefully!) that the show was based on a popular six-book YA series called The Mortal Instruments written by Cassandra Clare between 2007 and 2014. A a lot of the diehard Shadowhunters TV show fans have obvs read the fantasy novels (sometimes over and over again), but don’t you think it would be a little too predictable for them to have a series that follows the book exactly? It’s a lot more than just a name change that makes the show different from the books it was based on. The creative freedoms that TV creators make in their book-to-screen adaptation can actually make the story just a little bit better — even making the television series potentially better than the OG tale!

The executive producer of Shadowhunters, Ed Decter, said before S1 premiered, “We love the books, and that’s what got us involved with the project to begin with. But, we still have had a version of it out there.” (He’s talking about the 2013 Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie that didn’t exactly live up to its expectations in the box office or among fans.) Ed continued, “We wanted to have surprises both for the real hardcore fans and then we also want to introduce the viewers that have never been exposed to the world carefully and slowly.” While staying true-ish to the books, the writers of Shadowhunters have made quite a few changes to the story, so keep reading to see the 10 biggest differences: