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MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES: Clary will turn 18, not 16 in film adaptation

Lily Collins and Robert Sheehan Clary Fray Simon Lewis The Mortal Instruments City of Bones

With book-to-film adaptations the one thing that is obvious is that there are going to be changes. And sometimes the changes can be good.

In a new interview with RTE, Robert Sheehan (Simon) revealed one of those changes coming in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.

While describing the film, Robbie mentioned that Clary (Lily Collins) is turning 18 instead of 16, the age she turns in the book.

“The lead character, when she turns 18 at the beginning of the film, she believes she’s going crazy. But what’s happening is she’s discovering her own magical ability. Then she discovers this ancient Institute of demon hunters. And the demon hunters are part human, part divine and their whole thing is to fight the war against the ever-increasing demon population. She realizes that she has, what’s called, Shadowhunter blood. It’s a great big adventure.”

Robbie also talked about playing Simon.

“My character is her B.F.F. He’s harboring feelings of love for her secretly and gets dragged along for the ride. He won’t leave her side because he’s very protective of her.”

Listen to the interview here

What do you think of the age change? Do you think that the two-year age difference is good for the film?

About Alyssa Barbieri (2801 Articles)
Alyssa is the Managing Editor for Bears Wire. You can reach her at or follow her on Twitter @AlyssaBarbieri

55 Comments on MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES: Clary will turn 18, not 16 in film adaptation

  1. I personally think this is a good change. 15-to-16 is a bit young

    • in my opinion, her turning eighteen ruins everything, that would mean if there are movies leading up, Jace can’t be saved in city of fallen angels when Lilith creeps into his dreams, because he will no longer be considered a child, they’d have to change things even more than they already have, I personally think, they are ruining it, the actor/ess are GREAT! but the detail are being skewed and that small thing changes everything. Also, the whole 16 year old in love teenage televised taping of love thing is what we love, isnt it? almost all of us have boyfriends before that, anyway.

      • Well I do agree with you because then they cant save Jace, because he will be considered an adult and cant be saved, but i hate the actors Jace is a lil less sarcastic and life-full that i thought and when i see him i see twilights voltory. Clary is ok, but i imagined her green eyes and freckles. Other that tgat i thought it was fine

  2. Not sure how I feel about the age change. I figure maybe 17 is good enough, but then again they did say they’re seriously trying to attract a more adult age group instead of going for a typical supernatural teen movie franchise. So, I guess it’s all good.

  3. well i can tolerate this kind of change, but i hope that there aren’t going to be huge changes to the movie that could transform the entire book. I had that expirience with books turning into movies before and that was a big disappointment. I have hope for this movie and all the other ones ahead

  4. I always thought Clary was a little too young in the books for everything that happens to her (especially her epic romance with Jace), so I’m glad they changed it 🙂

    It doesn’t impact the story that much and it actually makes Alec a little older as well (he was 18 in the books and two(ish) years older than Clary so I guess he’s 20 in the movie) which is cool, since I secretly thought Kevin looks a little too old to play a teenager.. But he could easily pass for someone in his early 20s.

  5. Of course it’s a GREAT change! In fact, it’s the one thing that really bothered me when I first read CoB. It just felt so weird reading about 15-year-olds turning 16, when the genre is called “young-adult”, meaning for people 18+, not necessarily teens, no?
    I never got why so many young-adult authors choose 16 as a starting point (other than marketing reasons). Turning or being 18 doesn’t mean the end of personal exploration and doesn’t necessarily goes with solid personality conclusions. (?!) In fact, I think that the inner search never ends and has no age limit.
    So, I would’t mind reading about actual young adults, in fact I’m hoping for a Shadowhunter trilogy with the main characters being around 18-24. Just a suggestion.

    • No, YA is actually 13+. 18+ would be “Adult” genre. I agree that Clary was *too* young. When I first read CoB, and found out her age, I felt a little weird because 15 sounds kiddish. I’ve yet to read a YA book where the protagonist is 15-16 at the beginning of the book… Most of the characters I’ve read about are always over 17 years old. I wish Cassie had had made the characters older. I find it hard to believe that Jace is 16 all through 5 books. He acts so much older than 16.

      • My reply to you was posted as a new comment instead of a reply further down 😦

      • Actually Jace is 17 going on 18 in early 2008 in all the books 😉

      • No, he’s 16. Cassie says so. Remember Jace thought he was Jonathan Morgenstern? So he also thought he was 17. If you don’t believe me then check the family tree in CP2, and you’ll see his DOB. He was born in 1991, and TMI was set in 2007, so he’d be 16 then.

  6. While it would make it a better change, like in how she deals with learning about who she really is and the relationship and stuff, and like mentioned, Kevin would pass better for a 20 year old, how will this affect the other books when made into films? Like the fact that shadow hunters are ‘adults’ at 18 like (possible spoiler) when only Alec is allowed to know the Clave’s business (like when he was asked to escort Simon) because he’s 18? If they change that to 20 or something, then it’s all good. Personally the age isn’t going to interfere that much, as long as they don’t change too much of the books and change it into something we won’t recognise.

    • TheFirstEvil // March 30, 2013 at 11:07 AM // Reply

      I don’t think we have to worry about the ages changing too much of the story. Like you mentioned, if they just changed it so that you have to be 20 to know about the Clave, it won’t change the story that much. They could even leave it out completely!

  7. I always thought Clary was kinda young. I read the books when I was 15, I kept thinking how I was mature for my age but still couldn’t have handled what she did.
    Her and Jace seemed older and Simon was debatable about if he was a bit to mature for his age also.

  8. I think it’s a good change, because all the actors are in their twenties, so it’s more realistic. I’m happy with it. Also, it’s not a huge change that transforms the entire story, so again I’m happy:)

  9. Yeah it’s not that realistic to have her be 15… Although when I first read city of bones I was 15, and now almost 20 but I still relate to it, so I don’t think age matters too much.
    Plus the actors look way older, and it’s more interesting when you have young people and romance not in high school. There’s enough of that as it is…

  10. I think that it would’ve been better if she was still 16 because in the book it made her seem really mature and made it like she had to grow up faster. And also what about the age to go to the Clave meetings. It’s 18 so are they going to increase the age or whatever?

  11. I think it is good and bad in a way. Good because they actors playing them are older than the book characters (and I didn’t think they could quiiite pull off the younger ages), but BAD because Shadowhunters are adults at 18, so they would have to change that also, or it wouldn’t make sense. Guess the adult Shadowhunters will be 21 now??

  12. OK, though I was referring to the term “young-adult”, which logically should apply to (around) 18-21. (The movie rating PG-13 which many movie adaptations from young-adult books get-even the more violent ones, like The Hunger Games-is also justified for commercial reasons.)
    Yeah, I know what you mean, though Jace is 17 troughout TMI and it’s not just him who doesn’t feel like a teen, but it’s Isabelle that really bothers me with the whole age issue. I mean, I love her, but she acts, walks and talks like a woman and it just feels wrong for a girl her age.
    In my head everyone is older when I’m reading the books, but I would want that to be the actual deal.
    Beautiful Creatures, Divergent, The Maze Runner to name a few young-adult books with 16 year-olds protagonists, if you’re interested, though Cassie and her Shadowhunters beat everyone and everything else!

    • I forgot The Fault In Our Stars and The Perks of Being a Wallflower

      • I get what you mean, but I suppose it means something different in the publishing world.

        LOL, everyone likes to point out that Jace’s 17. Remember he *thought* he was Jonathan so he also assumed he was 17. But he’s actually 16. He was born in 1991. Poor Jace, because everything he believed was a lie.

        Oh dang, I forgot about BC and Divergent. I’ve read those books. Katniss is also 16. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the books I’ve read for the past year, the protagonists in those books have been over 17. 🙂

  13. At first when I began reading the post I was a little sceptical and was surprised that they were changing her age but when I started reading other fans comments it occured that if they did fix everyone elses age and tweak other things to make it work, the story would end up flowing a little more easier. Clary’s age of 16 never bothered me much in the books because generally a characters age in a young adult doesn’t necessarily show how young and immature they are…. For example, some people just grow up faster than others.

  14. I don’t mind the change, i guess being 18 would give her more freedom than what she might get if she’s portrayed as a 16 years old.

  15. I am totally fine with the age situation. But i am most concerned about is how they are going to sort the greenhouse scene because as we know (spoiler) that jace takes clary to to green house for HER BIRTHDAY. And since robbie says she turns 18 at the beginning of the film. Im just wondering like is jace going to tell her he is bored or soming (not likely) im pretty sure sony has a way to do the green house without it being clary’s birthday.:)

  16. i’m fine with it and it’s really only a two year age difference. technically clary is 16 in the books but starts off 15 but i’m fine with it! it’s still awesome! loving all the interviews though!

  17. teamedwardjace // March 29, 2013 at 10:31 PM // Reply

    and hey it’s kind of suitable change. she’s stilla teen but also an adult and now everything’s changing for clary!

  18. so, if she will be 18 how will they justify all the temper tantrums she trowns in the first book?

  19. It’s only 2 years, so I dont’ mind it. I kind of get it since it’ll be easier it is easier to keep the movie at a rating for the intended audiance. Books can get alot more spicey then movies can, so it’s understandable.

  20. Moving everyone’s age up a couple years was a great idea and won’t affect the plot really — it probably made it immensely easier to cast.

  21. Surprisingly this doesn’t bother me…if Cassie is ok with it so am I.

  22. I’ve never had a problem with movies scaling up the ages of characters — so long as the age-change doesn’t significantly impact the story. For example, in the Ender’s Game movie they’re making Ender something like 14 years old — but that’s fine, because it won’t REALLY change anything.

  23. I feel very troubled about this. Cuz Jace’s age is very attached to Clary’s. Think about it. If Clary was 18 in COB Jace should be a few months older meaning, about 18 and a half or 19. Now that IS a big change, because being an 18 year old shadowhunter means that Jace is practically an adult, needless of the institute’s beholders’ help or his own father. Also if they were willing to go on with the sequels they will find a certain plot key that is strongly dependent on Jace’s teenage hood (Jace HAS to be a 17 year old shadowhunter child or else a certain greater demon wont have the chance to manipulate him) I swear I pray every night for this movie to be true enough to the books.

    • Agree! Really strongly agree!

    • I see what you mean. But the age difference really is only 2 years. I think they can make some tiny changes to make it fit without changing too much.
      And just remember the majority of film adaptions have some small and big changes. Like half blood prince. It wasn’t the best but it was still good.

  24. No! I don’t because there are something’s in the books which may come out in the movies that an 18 year old would be allowed to do vs a 16 year old wouldn’t. So they will have to do some tweaking.

  25. Just no no no! People don’t realize that age actually impacts the books! It’s under the radar but it still impacts things through other things! So therefor you may not realize it but it does impact things that could be in the movie!

  26. I’m MOST DEFINITELY not okay with this. Usually I’m not so uptight about the whole novel-into-movie-changes thing, like the change of slight details such as eye colors or clothing, but the age makes a huge difference in the Nephilim world, specially being 18. Being 18 means: 1. Clary should be able to attend the Clave’s meetings, which we never see her do, not even Isabelle or Jace, only Alec. 2. Clary should be living alone and making her own decisions for herself without any reference to Jocelyn, which is not true here; Jocelyn is described to be a quite controlling mother. 3. It is mentioned you can’t have a parabatai ceremony after the age of 18. Do we know for sure Cassie won’t give Clary one in CoHF? Nope. Now they’ll have to do something about THAT if it ever happens that Cassie gives Clary a parabatai, perhaps never mention in the TID movies this detail about the age thing.

  27. am i the only one who doesn’t like this change..? i’m angry, cause if it’s a movie BASED on a book, it shouldn’t be much changed. i mean.. if there is something they can’t show or something, just SKIP it. but if they’re changing something written by the author, they shouldn’t call the movie with the same tittle, because it is not the same, but just SIMILAR. and it is a difference they should mind. i love the books to much to watch a completely different movie with the actors who don’t suit (for me), and with many little changes, that finally it doesn’t really look like it looked in the book.
    sincerly, a huge books fan.

    • Ok. Everyone relax for a second. Take a deep breath and try to think of how small these changes can be. Think of the HP movies. This is my opinion, but maybe you guys feel the same way….
      Sorcerer’s stone and chamber of secrets are exactly like the books and since I love Harry potter I can’t say I was actually bored, but I don’t watch them as often.
      Then there is the order of the Phoenix and half blood prince. They are NOTHING like the books and it pissed people off. ( we still watch them anyway just because its HP)
      But the other 4 are perfect because the differences are not that small or large. I think this age difference won’t make as big of a difference as u think if that’s the only one.

  28. Thank you for making Clary an 18 year old woman, these books are not for babies and and it’s aiming to draw the adults more the sequeling tweens, Thank you, thank you.

  29. i wish they were 17 years old!

  30. Well, even when the storyline doesn’t quite fit to the characters’ age, the fact that Clary falled in love with Jace in, I don’t know..two months top (CoB-Cog) is more likely to happen to a sixteen years-old than a 18 years-old, so it may make her seem a little childish or silly, not that it really matters…in any case, I don’t feel bothered by this change…

  31. changing the age is the stupidest thing iv ever heard. There are different things in the book that are based around her age. I have read all 5 books and if they ruin this movie…… I think they will screw it up big time from the trailer and cast I have seen.

  32. Changing the age actually changes a lot, the whole thing in the books is that the characters have to do things on their own because they are under 18, so they are considered children, and in book 3 and 5, their ages are especially important, for the battle and a ceremony where being under or over 18 means you can or cant be in the battle or have a ceremony performed, and the storyline is built around them being under 18.
    But, if they change the shadowhunter adult age to higher, they might be able to fix this, although in the books shadowhunters are supposed to grow up fast, like marriage and children young, because demon-hunting isn’t good for living for a long time, so making them adults at a later age will get rid of a fundamental difference between humans and shadowhunters

    And also there are normal human problems that simon and clary have to deal with because all this craziness is happening while they are so young, like parents giving permission for or forbidding things

    if you are really a fan of the series, than this age difference will affect the storyline significantly if they make more than one movie, since their age and being seen as children is a main part of the story from book 2 on, they should have just kept the ages, at least for the shadowhunters

  33. people need to relize they could make shadow hunters meetings 21 and over and alec could actually be 21

  34. I always thought Jace was 17 throughout the books. Could someone please tell me where to go for all of this stuff about him being 16 BESIDES the family tree itself in CP2 because I can’t find it and I really want to be sure.

  35. Clary turning 18 ruins everything. In the books the only one allowed to go into the clave meetings is Alec because he’s 18 and they barely let him in. In that case when Alec takes Simon to get back to New York it could just as well be Jace taking him. The point I dthe story was for Alec to take him due to his age. This clary turnjng 18 kills it honestly

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