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A Reading Group Guide to The Dark Artifices: Lord of Shadows
By Cassandra ClareAbout the Book
Emma and Julian have always done whatever it takes to protect their family. For years, Julian has covered for Uncle Arthur to keep everyone at the LA Institute, and Emma killed Malcolm Fade when he was out for Blackthorn blood. Emma has even made Julian hate her in order to save them both from the curse that befalls parabatai who fall in love; the loss may kill her, but she’s deemed it necessary. So when Mark realizes that he is the only one who can save Kieran from being executed, Julian and Emma aren’t about to let him venture into Faerie alone. As dangerous as this quest may be, the two are unaware that they are leaving just as much danger behind in LA. Malcolm Fade held on to some gruesome facsimile of life, and has managed to resurrect his lost love, Annabel. The Centurions, who were dispatched to find Fade’s body, have plans to take over the Institute and advance their bigoted ideas within the Clave. And the Unseelie King, already furious with a Shadowhunter meddling in Kieran’s execution, will go to any length to get his hands on the Black Volume. With the Blackthorns split apart, will Julian and Emma be able to keep their family safe and intact? And can they continue to deny their deep feelings for each other?Discussion Questions
1. The dedication page contains a quote from Rumi: “I said: Pain and sorrow. He said: Stay with it. The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” Why do you think Cassandra Clare chose this quote for the dedication? To which of the characters could you apply this sentiment? When do we see these words again? Why?
2. Part One kicks off with the poem “Dream-Land,” by Edgar Allan Poe. What importance does Poe’s poetry play in The Dark Artifices? How does this particular poem relate to Lord of Shadows
3. Jace tells Kit that “’the Shadowhunter world is made up of families, each of which has a name that they cherish . . . We try to live up to our names, so that those who come after us will bear lighter burdens.’” Do any of the characters have heavier burdens because of the actions of their predecessors? Does Kit live up to his name? In the course of this story, does anyone manage to lighten the burden for those who will come after?
4. Mark struggles with his identity. Is he a Shadowhunter or a Faerie? What would he give up if he chose one side over the other? How does Julian’s ride with the Wild Hunt change his understanding of Mark’s struggle?
5. Both Barnabas Hale and Clary predict dark times for Shadowhunters. Who will bring these dark times upon them? Is any of this darkness present by the end of the book? Do you think it can get worse?
6. Clary says “’When people die, our dreams of what they could be die with them. Even if ours is the hand that ends them.’” What dreams die with Malcolm Fade? Annabel? Uncle Arthur? Kit’s father? Livvy?
7. Does Kit belong with the Shadowhunters, Downworlders, or mundanes? Why does he form such a strong connection to Ty? What kind of Herondale will Kit turn out to be?
8. Discuss Emma’s relationship to her sword, Cortana. How do the history and mythology that surround it inform the way she uses it? Is Emma a better Shadowhunter because she has Cortana? What does it mean that she shattered the Mortal Sword?
9. Why does the Cohort want the Cold Peace to end? How does this differ from the Downworlders’ reasons? Are there any parallels to the Cohort or the Cold Peace in our world?
10. At various times throughout the book, Zara and the Cohort, the Clave, and even Cristina are said to long for a time that never was. What is meant by this statement? Why wouldn’t they remember the past as it actually was? How do their idealized versions of the past differ from one another?
11. How is perfect Diego different from Jaime? What does the tattoo on Jaime’s arm mean in English, and what do you think it means to Jaime? How do Cristina’s feelings toward the two brothers change over the course of the book?
12. At one point, Cristina realizes that “the mere action of separating [Emma and Julian] at all was like an act of violence, a tear in the fabric of the world.” Why are the two still so intertwined, even after Emma tries to push Julian away? Why does Emma choose to tell Julian about her true feelings after killing Fal? Is there any hope for them as a couple?
13. Magnus quotes from the Bible when talking about the consequences of the Cold Peace, saying “’For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.’” Do any other characters feel this way regarding revenge? Can you understand why the Council enacted the Cold Peace, even after being warned that it would create hate between Shadowhunters and Downworlders?
14. It seems as though everyone wants the Black Volume, although for different reasons. Why does Annabel want it? The Unseelie King? The Seelie Queen? Julian? The Clave? In your opinion, who should have the book?
15. Why does Ty feel such a strong connection to Annabel? How will this affect the manner in which he deals with Livvy’s death?
16. What is Diana’s secret? How does the Shadowhunter community view such differences? How do you think Diana’s history has influenced her decision to look after the Blackthorns?
17. In the end, Julian was unable to protect his family, regardless of his willingness to do whatever was necessary to save them. In what ways did his efforts to protect the children contribute to Livvy’s death? Was there another way to achieve his goals? How did the promises he made to Annabel lead to this tragedy?
18. Which side is hurt more by the events in the Council Hall: the Cohort, or those who want equality for Downworlders? Is there any way to make up the political ground that was lost? Who do you think will take the blame for the melee?Extension Activities
1. The book’s dedication contains a quote by the mystic poet, Rumi. Read a book of Rumi’s poetry and discuss it with your peers.
2. Faeries cannot tell lies, although they are skilled in strategically using the truth to trick non-Faeries. Spend one day telling only the truth. How many times were you tempted to tell a lie, regardless of how small or harmless it may have been?
3. In order to prevent chaos, most meetings are run according to Robert’s Rules of Order, which lay out specific rules and procedures for everything that may arise. The meeting in the Council Hall might have gone very differently had these rules been followed. Read Robert’s Rules of Order, and then reenact the council meeting following these rules. How does the outcome change?
4. Jessamyn’s presence at the London Institute makes Kit think of ghost stories that he has heard throughout his life. Choose your favorite ghost story and tell it to your friends. Be as spooky as you can!
5. Diana’s status as transgender creates difficulties for her in the Shadowhunter community. Research transgender rights and attitudes toward the transgender community in the United States. Write a letter to your representative sharing your beliefs about transgender rights.Guide written by Cory Grimminck, Director of the Portland District Library in Michigan.This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.