Izzy Lightwood said it herself: her brother is not exactly warm and fuzzy. This is certainly true, but instead, he is something else: funny – in a totally unimpressed, broody way of course. Alec’s dry, sarcastic humor has made us laugh many times and since we’re grateful for that (and kind of miss him), here’s an assortment of his best and saltiest moments.

When he was absolutely not okay with Clary Fray coming into his life…or the general idea of her existence.

1×01: “Am I the only one who finds this unusual?“

Let’s face it, the entire first season of Shadowhunters was a feast of salty Alec moments, and one of our favorites happened right in the very first episode. Clary wakes up in the Institute, disoriented and confused about well…pretty much everything, and the Lightwood siblings are right there with her. Two of them, at least. The other one shows up complaining about Clary’s arrival at the Institute and makes a point of letting her know how little he trusts her. While this behavior may have seem pretty rude at first, in hindsight he was actually the only sensible one in that situation. Even Shadowhunter parents probably tell their kids not to talk to strangers, right? And Alec was right to be worried – for all they knew at that point – Clary could have been a spy. Are we reaching for straws here? Yeah. Will we still keep trying to make Alec’s behavior in 1×01 at least a tiny but justified? You bet we are.

1×02: “I can’t be here anymore. So, Jace, I’m gonna mind the perimeter.”

If Alec thought the arrival of Clary alone was already a catastrophe, episode 1×02 must have felt like the end of the world to him. Not only did Clary stick around, but she brought reinforcements – in the form of a nerdy, easily excited, very talkative mundane. Simon Lewis may have been a fan-favorite ever since he first appeared on the show, but as far as Alec is concerned, the world could not have sent him a bigger punishment. His situation only turned worse when Clary and Simon not only annoyed him by simply existing, but started to cause problems as well. Problems that Alec had to a) fix and b) take the blame for. Considering this, we slowly start to understand why Alec seemed so miserable most of the time in season one.

1×05: “You were engaged? I’m almost certain I don’t want to hear this story.”

Season one didn’t start out all too rosy for Alec Lightwood altogether. And in episode 1×05, things went from bad to worse. Valentine was on the loose, the Lightwood name was at risk of being tarnished and they had to make a deal with some shady Warlock Alec had never even met and disliked as a principle (oh, the irony!). However, all of these problems didn’t seem so significant anymore when Alec was faced with his most difficult personal challenge of this episode: babysit Clary and Simon while they were trying to find new clues on what happened to Jocelyn – only for them to get kidnapped by Luke’s pack. This resulted in even more trouble as soon as Jace realized that his precious – not quite yet – girlfriend was missing. Honestly, how Alec didn’t kick both Clary and Simon out or lock them up in the City of Bones the moment they set foot in the Institute again is beyond us.

When people were interfering with his plans and he was not having it

1×02: “I don’t approve of this mission.”

Izzy was right – their lives used to be pretty dull before Clary showed up: Go on missions, kill demons, go on new missions. Clave-approved operations only, that is. Therefore it’s not really a surprise that season one!Alec – who stuck to the Clave rules so much he was ready to sign himself off to a lifetime of unhappiness – did not like his siblings ignoring his words and doing their own thing. They, however, seemed to have big fun doing just that – so much that Izzy was taking bets on Alec not approving their plans. Good thing Jace didn’t take her up on that – he would have owed her fifty bucks if he had.

1×06: “Screw the rules. Screw them. Screw all of this.”

This moment was one of the few times where we’ve seen Alec not only grumpy or pissed – but really angry. Hurt, even. Apart from that, it was the last straw for Alec to finally start questioning the Clave and eventually turn against them. Unfortunately, in his aim to make things right “on his terms”, he made all the wrong choices. Without a certain Warlock interfering, he would have gotten himself into much bigger trouble than just a rogue, insane former Shadowhunter. Thank God for Magnus Bane and his flare for the dramatics – who knows where we might be today if Alec had actually stuck to his plan.  

1×06: “I knew Clary Fray would come back to bite me in the ass.”

Alec is good at making decisions. Most of the time. One of the few exceptions: when he just heard that he is going to be married off in order to restore his family’s reputation and storms off to propose to the charming Clave envoy. Not his finest moment, let’s be real. But we forgive him for this short-circuit in his judgment of good decisions. For one, because we’re talking about Alec Lightwood here – that guy was ready to sacrifice his own happiness just to please his parents, how could you ever be mad at him? But also because his reaction made us snicker, even though the entire situation left no room for laughter. We will leave it to Alec to not explode with anger, but underline his dislike of Clary Fray before anything else. Nevertheless, that didn’t change the fact that we felt like yelling at Alec until he woke up and realized what a huge mistake he was making. In the most loving way, of course.

When he just wouldn’t admit he was falling for Magnus

1×05: “You’re in love with Jace.” – “Forget it. You know what? You’re in love with Jace.”

The fifth episode of the first season proved to be another hilarious installment of the epic saga that is Alec Lightwood’s aversion against everything Clary Fray. This time, some extra drama was added when Clary snuck out of the Institute and all hell broke loose because of that. And while we really felt sorry for Alec that he had to take the blame for something that wasn’t his fault yet again (we were starting to recognize a pattern at this point), we had the time of our lives watching Alec finding Clary and talking to her. What had us crack up the most, was the expression Alec sported after Clary confronted him about his supposed crush on Jace. The second she brought it up, and Alec started staring over her head and into the distance, he looked like he was regretting every single decision in his 20+ years on the planet that led up to this very moment. Hilarious.

2×18/1×07: “Stay for breakfast.” – “No.”

We will leave it to Alec Lightwood to deny an invitation for breakfast with a gorgeous, kind Warlock who is totally into him – and to do the entire thing in his trademark blunt, straightforward way. However, what’s funny about this outburst was not the line itself, but the comparison that came with it. The scene was a flashback to season one, and it was both shocking and amusing to see how much Alec has evolved as a person since he started dating Magnus. Going back from a confident, at ease Head of the Institute to a closeted, conflicted Shadowhunter was a pretty big jump, but also a rather amusing one. We hadn’t seen Alec’s hostile side in so long – it was fun going back there. Moreover, it was amazing to see how far he has come, and how many things have changed for the better since that fateful wedding day at the end of season one.

1×07: The look when Izzy called him out on his feelings for Magnus

Alec doesn’t even have to use his voice to make sure people know what he thinks – he’s a master at pointed glares and excessive eyerolls. In 1×07, he proved this once again, when Izzy told him that she knew he was into Magnus. We have to admit that this scene was not only funny, but also kind of cute. It was the first time we saw our tough, oh-so-terrifying Shadowhunter being insecure – only for a second of course. We’re talking Alec Lightwood here, after all. What some may have missed about that moment: Alec might have sent Izzy a pretty distinct look, but at least he didn’t deny his feelings for Magnus anymore. Correct us if we’re wrong, but where we are from, this is called progress.

When he was just over mundanes in general (and Simon Lewis in particular)

1×02: “The rune energy in the City of Bones will kill any mundane who dares to enter, so, please.”

Going to the City of Bones to retrieve the memories of a stranger your Parabatai is head over heels for, does not seem all too fun. Doing the same thing while a very annoying, mundane accounting student is tagging along sounds even worse. At least if you’re moody season one!Alec, who would rather not have anything to do with either of those people. Therefore it was only understandable that he didn’t react all to well to the prospect of spending the evening with Clary and Simon, and breaking the 19th Clave rule in less than 24 hours. Unfortunately, he couldn’t do anything to avoid having to do this. But what he could do was let Simon know how annoying this was for him. So he did, in the saltiest tone we heard from him thus far, without even bothering to raise his voice. Eyeroll included, laughs at the other side of the screen as well.

1×05: “Climbing a fire escape excites mundanes. I’ll never understand these people.”

New episode, new adventures with Clary, Alec and Simon. Except there’s probably plenty of things Alec would rather do than hanging out with these two: fighting a hoard of Shax demons on his own without any weapons, for example. Or being on weapons cleaning duty for an entire week. Since Alec Lightwood has never been the type of person who beats around the bush, he let them know. Quite clearly. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to neither impress Clary or Simon nor get him off babysitting duty for the two of them. But it was fun to watch anyway.

And finally: when he showed them who’s the boss

2×09: “Who knows? Idris loves gossip.”

This was not really a grumpy or salty Alec moment, but rather a downright savage one. And we enjoyed every second of it. After Alec had to endure so many of Aldertree’s pretty questionable decisions over the course of season 2A, it was so good to see him stand his ground and take back what should have been his from the beginning: the command over the Institute. We have to admit, blackmail may not necessarily be the nicest way to achieve one’s goals, but desperate times call for desperate measures, right? Also, let’s be honest, it served Aldertree just right. When Maryse Lightwood took back control over the Institute in the season two premiere, Izzy described her as a “queen taking back her kingdom”. In episode 2×10, we learned that she extended her knowledge to the crown prince – and she certainly taught him well.   

2×08: “Thank Magnus.”

Let’s be real, Maryse didn’t exactly qualify herself for a “Mom of the Year” award in season 1 and 2A. For a while, she seemed to be going for quite the opposite title, if we’re being completely honest. Especially whenever her opinion on the Downworld came into play. Good thing her son has been over Shadowhunters disrespecting Downworlders ever since 1×12. And even more convenient he’s over listening to his mom as well. In this particular case, he even dared to make that clear to her – by turning a “solemn rite of passage, only for Shadowhunters” into a classy party at the High Warlock’s place. Slaying with style, Mr Lightwood. We are sure, Magnus was proud.

1×13: “Well, then I plan to get to know him. And if you have a problem with that, then I suggest you deal with it.”

One thing Alec Lightwood is exceptionally good at (besides archery and running an Institute): putting people in their place when they are being utterly stupid. He’s had lots of practice in that field by watching his siblings grow up, but at some point he also got the courage to dare and do it to his parents. And he was right to. We loved how he – respectfully, of course – basically told his parents to f#ck off and keep their noses out of his relationship, without even batting an eye. If 1×12 started turning Alec into the confident leader he is today, that moment was certainly a tipping point. Quite an important one, actually. And one that was an absolute pleasure to watch.

Alec has come a long way in terms of character development. He turned from a moody guy who hid his emotions behind sarcasm to someone who is not afraid to be himself anymore. We loved seeing him finally be comfortable in his own skin, but if we’re being completely honest, we wouldn’t mind a comeback of his salty remarks every now and then either. They are just too funny to go without them.


Journalism student with a soft spot for fantasy novels and dark chocolate. I’ve always loved to write and hope to make a living from it one day. On ShumDario News, I write articles for the website and help with updating and projects.