Magnus and Alec: infinite layers, two hearts – one love

 

Another year, another February, and another Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re showing yourself some love on this day or sharing it with someone close to you, Hugh Grant’s character David in Love, Actually was certainly right when he declared that love actually is all around. But what good would Valentine’s Day be if we didn’t pay some extra attention to our favorite couple? Grab some chocolate – the fancy kind, it’s on us –, keep your tissues at hand and join us as we take a look at why Magnus and Alec are a couple beyond compare.

 

The representation

How many times has it been done before? Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy and girl live happily ever after. Thankfully, Shadowhunters has helped toss that old, heteronormative stereotype aside. It has been said before, but it can never be said enough: Magnus and Alec have truly changed the game when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation on the small screen.

Speaking about the importance of tearing down archaic LGBTQ+ stereotypes and the work done by the show to work against them, Harry Shum Jr. said at The Hunters of Shadow 2 convention that it’s consistently at the forefront of his and Matthew’s minds in their portrayal of Magnus and Alec. Furthermore, he noted how it’s a joint effort between the cast and crew: “It’s been a joy to work on that. Parts of our crew come from the LGBTQ+ community, and they spoke up on it. We take that in and it becomes a collaborative effort.”

Shadowhunters has not only helped broaden the spectrum of LGBTQ+ representation, it has also been an active part of dismantling aged, hurtful tropes. While Alec’s coming out arc was a large part of the show in season 1 and a key part of his storyline, it was never allowed to be the sole defining characteristic of his character, nor was it made to be about his eventual relationship with Magnus. The viewers were taken on his journey with him, showing his path toward self-acceptance in a realistic way, with two steps forward and sometimes a few back, but always progressing. In doing so, the show delivered a healthy coming out storyline that viewers all over the world identified with and  that has been acclaimed numerous times, for example by Jim Halterman and by Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) when the show was declared the Outstanding Drama Series of 2017.

HerCampus has also praised the show for the representation presented in Magnus and Alec’s relationship, saying that two people finding each other might not be that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, but that it matters all the more in the context of representation: “Having two openly queer characters displaying a positive example of a same-sex relationship on screen will be inspiring, not only for viewers but hopefully other television writers as well.”

Looking back on previous LGBTQ+ representation, bisexuals have rarely been represented, neither on the small nor the big screen. The representation that has existed has seldom painted bisexuals in a positive light, often depicting harmful stereotypes and portraying bisexuals as morally dubious as best. Megan Townsend, director of entertainment of GLAAD, said in 2017 that bisexuals are often portrayed as “wicked, villainous characters whose bisexuality is directly tied to why the audience is supposed to understand them as bad people.” With Magnus Bane, however, Shadowhunters have been a focal point of bringing about a new dawn in terms of bisexual representation. Ever since the beginning of the show Magnus has been portrayed in a healthy, nuanced way, allowing him to be multifaceted while not making his sexuality his core trait. For the portrayal of Magnus, Harry Shum Jr. has been awarded the Bisexual Representation Award 2017 and 2018 consecutively, highlighting not only the importance of the character, but how much the show has gotten right in the depiction of him.

When it comes to the portrayal of Alec and his coming out arc, Shadowhunters’ representation is no less significant. In our interview, TV Guide Magazine’s West Coast bureau chief Jim Halterman – who is a fan of both Malec and the show –  noted that coming out stories are always necessary, particularly when portrayed right. Jim also expressed the importance of the show being devoted to making Magnus and Alec multifaceted: “I think if you see it on film, television or theater and they make it the focus of [those characters’] lives – that’s not the reality. So even though Shadowhunters has told Alec’s coming out story, we got to know so much about Magnus and the relationships he’s had in the past.”

Something that also is noteworthy is how Alec’s coming out arc has not been played out linearly. The progression of his self-acceptance has been depicted realistically, showing the bumpy road it sometimes is to come to terms with and accept oneself. After the airing of episode 3×03, where Maryse is seen finally embracing Magnus as part of her son’s life and being accepting of their relationship, Matthew Daddario told Hidden Remote: “It’s a tremendous thing for him because I think he still — and we’re going to see this throughout the season — he’s still not entirely comfortable with it because he still feels… I mean, it’s been a very short period of time. You know, coming out at all, and then also trying to realize that the world can be accepting of this, so he still has trouble with that. Now, as it goes through, and we go further along, we will see that sort of shift a little bit, and I think that this is sort of a turning point.”

Elaborating on Alec’s continued path to self-acceptance, Matthew concluded: “With his mother’s acceptance, he realizes, ‘Ok. You know? This is good,’ and I think by the end of season 3, we’re going to see that he doesn’t even really think about what other people are thinking about the situation. He doesn’t care what they think, or he knows that they’ll be accepting.” Shadowhunters has depicted a coming out arc unlike any other, shifting the tide in LGBTQ+ representation and coming out stories.

When it comes to representation, it is important not only in how Magnus and Alec are portrayed as a couple, but also individually. In the show’s exploration of Alec and him coming to terms with his sexuality, and in Magnus’ constant acceptance of his bisexuality and defying of harmful bisexual stereotypes, they depict characters fans can identify with, and offer hope and support in their own journeys toward self-acceptance. Furthermore, in having these two characters come together in a pairing as groundbreaking, healthy, and genuine as the Malec pairing is, the show is tearing down preconceived notions about LGBTQ+ pairings on screen, further providing fans with representation that is both healthy and represents hope to those struggling with their own self-acceptance. The combination of these elements highlights LGBTQ+ representation that is multifaceted and of the utmost significance, continuously helping break down stereotypes about homosexuality, bisexuality and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, and creating a paradigm shift in terms of LGBTQ+ representation overall.

 

They are their own people first and foremost

One of the biggest mistakes any show or movie can make is when they allow their characters to become no more than people in a relationship, not extending their characters beyond said relationship. One of the things that make Magnus and Alec a couple that resonates to fiercely with the audience is because they are their own people before they are part of any pairing, as well as how their sexualities have not been allowed to define them. In the context of Alec being gay and Magnus being bisexual, Shadowhunters allowing them to stand on their own two feet is another key aspect of what they have done right.

Talking to Paste Magazine, former executive producer and writer Michael Reisz emphasized the show’s dedication to maintaining Magnus’ and Alec’s individual characters, talking about how he wanted to make sure that the show’s portrayal of the characters was authentic: “Every character, whether you’re straight, gay, bi, trans — every character is a multifaceted human being with many different levels of what they care about, what they’re willing to risk, what they’re not willing to risk. I think a lot of times there’s potential for all of those levels to get washed over and that’s something that we fought very hard to protect.”

Commending Shadowhunters for its portrayal of Magnus and Alec, ScreenSpy noted in March 2016 that their characters were written in a way that allows them to be their own people first: “Alec and Magnus have remained fan favorites as a result of a purposeful effort to use each character’s personal stakes and the plot’s organic drama to connect them to [one another]. It’s how their straight counterparts are predominantly delivered and developed – with nuance, sensitivity, creativity, and intent.” ScreenSpy also went on to note that Magnus and Alec “aren’t devices, thrown in to advance another’s plot,” but instead the “heroes and love interests of their own stories,” before concluding that their relationship is changing the way LGBTQ+ relationships are portrayed on screen.

Magnus and Alec could easily have become devices used as nothing more than plot mechanisms to further the Malec relationship. In doing so, many defining aspects of their relationship would have been lost, falling into archaic, harmful stereotypes. Thankfully, cast and crew of the show have made sure to avoid those pitfalls since day one. Through their dedication to represent Magnus and Alec as authentically as possible, they have presented an unique and genuine portrayal of a couple that is quite literally breaking ground in terms of LGBTQ+ representation, and giving members of the LGBTQ+ community all over the world characters, and a pairing, to see themselves in.

 

It was instantaneous, yet slow burn all at once

Let us take you back a few years: On Tuesday February 2nd, 2016, sometime after 8 pm, season 1 episode 4 of Shadowhunters aired, showing Magnus and Alec’s first fateful meeting. The connection was instantaneous: Magnus was already drawn to Alec from having noticed him earlier, and Alec was so stunned by the sight that greeted him that he momentarily lost his ability of speech, and his footing – but who can blame him?

While viewers witnessed Magnus and Alec’s instant chemistry and the immediate connection between the two, it would be a long while before anything were to further develop between them. It cannot be said to have been love at first sight, but is all the more cherishable for it. The connection was there from the start, but the feelings and the eventual love was something we were allowed to watch them develop, sometimes stumbling into it all. Their developing relationship was portrayed in small increments over time, highlighting the critical events that brought them closer, the growing trust between them, and the undeniable feelings underlying everything else, no matter how hard Alec tried to fight it. It wasn’t until the first season’s penultimate episode – appropriately titled “Malec” – that Alec pulled Magnus in by the lapels for the kiss heard around the world, and well into the second season’s first half before they even had their first date.

This is a fresh spin on the typical relationship development often seen in other television series, as well as a stark contrast to the development of Shadowhunters’ other couples. Seeing two characters fall in love is definitely not a brand new concept, whether it is in a novel or a tv show. Shadowhunters’ depiction of Magnus and Alec’s relationship does not only offer a fresh spin on this ancient arc, but gives us yet another reason to love these two.

 

They make each other happy

There is an old saying that happiness is best when shared. Whether that’s true or not, happiness is certainly a key aspect of any healthy, lasting relationship. It is unsurprising, then, that the moments we have seen Magnus and Alec the happiest have been shared between them.

Take the very first time Magnus and Alec met, for example. Up until then, what we’d seen of Alec had mostly consisted of his stoic, somewhat grumpy self, offering up a snide remark to anyone he deemed deserving of one. When he met Magnus in season 1 episode 4, it was one of the first – and up until this point, few – moments he genuinely smiled, something the showrunners were keen on making happen. Since then, the majority of Alec’s blinding smiles have been aimed at Magnus and/or a direct consequence of something Magnus did.

As for Magnus, Alec did not only bring happiness back into his life. Speaking to Alec on the fateful night after Alec helped Magnus heal Luke and shared his energy with him, Magnus reverently admitted: “For almost a century, I’ve closed myself off to feeling anything for anyone. Man or woman. You’ve unlocked something in me.” In the decades before Magnus met Alec, Magnus had distanced himself from creating any sort of intimate bond, coming close to stagnating completely. Upon meeting Alec, though, something inside of Magnus loosened, allowing him to finally take in life’s any and all emotions again, including happiness. With everything that Magnus has been through, the least he can be said to be is carefree. With Alec, however, his heart heals a little more with every moment, and his smile softens at the edges, his laughter echoing loud, clear, and happy. One of the most prominent examples of this can be found in season 1, episode 12. After Magnus and Alec’s kiss at the wedding, Magnus shows how constantly amazed he is by Alec, smiling heedlessly to himself as he ponders what might lie ahead for them.

Even in their darkest of times, Magnus and Alec manage to make each other smile, even when the barest movement feels like an effort, even when every laugh seems like too much. In finding each other, they have found a light to help them through even the darkest of moments in their lives, a beacon of hope to always call them home – again, and again, and again.

 

They let each other be their own people

The phrase ”You complete me” is certainly a popular one among romantic couples across both the small and big screen. However, it also reveals a potentially dangerous outlook on relationships. No person may be an island, but a person also doesn’t need anyone else to complete them, and fiction should reflect that. The phrase should rather be ”You complement me,” highlighting the importance of finding someone who brings out the best in you. Doesn’t roll quite as easily off the tongue, but is all the more significant.

Enter Magnus and Alec. Throughout the two and a half seasons that have so far aired, neither of them has ever been depicted as a tool for the other’s accomplishments, or as the puzzle piece the other needed to find. The Malec arc has of course been one of the core aspects of the show, but both Matthew Daddario and Harry Shum Jr. as well as the showrunners have taken great care to establish and develop the characters beyond the relationships.

Once again, representation becomes relevant in the depiction of Magnus’ and Alec’s characters. For Alec, Magnus is his first relationship, whereas Magnus has centuries of experience behind him before Alec. While neither the show nor Matthew Daddario prefer to emphasize Alec’s lack of experience as a core trait, a show depicting one of its main male characters in their early twenties as inexperienced is somewhat of a rarity, and yet again something Shadowhunters has done right in terms of representation.

As for Magnus in this context of representation, the show has taken major steps toward deconstructing stereotypes. Bisexual representation has a longstanding history of showcasing characters as promiscuous. With a powerful delivery by Harry Shum Jr., Shadowhunters made sure not to fall into that trap when Magnus told Dot in season 2 episode 13 that he’s always been a ”one soul at a time kind of guy.”

Magnus’ and Alec’s differing experiences is one of the many examples of how they are their own people first and foremost, before being part of any relationship. During their first date when their differences in experience is brought up when they discuss past partners, Magnus tells Alec: ”Look. I am who I am, and you are who you are. And all the magic in the world can’t change that.” And nor should it. One of the most beautiful aspects of Magnus and Alec’s relationship is that they are their own individual persons, coming together to form a solid unity without compromising their own characters. In one of the defining moments of their relationship, Alec is about to walk away from the possibility of him and Magnus on the basis of their differences when he pauses and exhales for what feels like the first time in forever, along with the rest of us. ”I don’t care how many people you’ve been with,” he turns around and declares to Magnus’ surprise, who echoes the sentiment before they mutually agree that the possibility of them is worth the effort. They met while they were both on different paths in life, and neither of them have lost that since becoming a couple – the paths have merely altered, intertwined, strengthened, become irrevocable parts of each other. Alec and Magnus are two individuals who consistently and constantly choose each other, time and time again – not completing but complementing each other, bringing out the best in the other and helping each other be the best versions of themselves – individually and together.

 

They support each other

Another significant aspect of any relationship is supporting your partner, in professional endeavours as well as personal matters. Even before Magnus and Alec were in an actual relationship, they had this part on lock.

One of the earliest and subsequently most significant examples can be found in episode 1×04, ”Raising Hell”. After a demon summoning goes wrong and the memories of the people Alec, Jace and Isabelle love most have been revealed and lost to a Greater Demon, Alec’s misplaced feelings for Jace are exposed. Finding Alec in a solitary moment, Magnus reached out a metaphorical hand of comfort, emphasizing that there’s nothing for him to be ashamed of. While Alec initially denies his knowledge of what Magnus is referring to, Magnus insists, maintaining his support.

Later on in the season in episode 8, Magnus’ unwavering support of Alec is exemplified further. When Alec’s world starts to crumble after he finds out his parents were part of the Circle and his belief of doing everything ”right” and being the perfect son to his parents is shaken to its core, he understandably questions everything around him and what actually is the right path for him. Distressed, he tells Magnus: “Magnus, it’s like… my whole life has been a lie. Everything I’ve ever known is…” “Not what you thought,” Magnus supplies. “I’ve done everything for my parents, for the Clave, and… I’ve done everything that they’ve asked.” Magnus remains calm and composed opposite Alec, offering no insignificant platitudes but instead telling Alec that perhaps it’s time he follows his heart: “Maybe you should start living for yourself. Do what’s in your heart.” How Alec chooses to follow Magnus’ advice can definitely be discussed both back and forth, but the fact remains that Magnus remained a present in Alec’s life while everything else around him was unsteady, encouraging him to listen to his heart and let its compass steer him right.

In a professional aspect, Magnus and Alec’s support for one another has remained constant throughout the show’s seasons. This is for example seen in the previously mentioned eighth episode of season 1. In season 1, Alec lingers on the thought he’s done everything that his parents have asked of him, and worked his hardest to be the diplomat needed to one day be the Head of the Institute, only to have it all be in vain. Seeing Alec’s distress, Magnus offers an act and words of support that resonated louder than anything ever could. “Why are you giving this to me? This should go to the Head of the Institute,” Alec says when Magnus hands him the autopsy report of the Forsaken that previously attacked the Institute, and gives them back. ”And it is,” Magnus says, pushing them toward him once more. In doing so, Magnus shows his ever-present belief in Alec and his ability to one day lead the Institute with his blatant honesty and a courageous heart, in a moment when Alec needs it most.

Magnus’ support of Alec’s leadership endeavors does not stop once he actually becomes Head of the New York Institute. When Alec establishes the Downworld Cabinet, Magnus accepts that Alec needs him there as the High Warlock of Brooklyn rather than as his boyfriend. While his tone is flirtatious, Magnus’ sincerity is unmistakable when Alec welcomes him to the Cabinet and Magnus says that he wouldn’t miss it, pointing out his ”tremendous respect for the new Head of the Institute.”

Magnus’ and Alec’s respective leadership roles have been the main source of strain in their relationship, causing a conflict between their professional and their personal roles. It was even one of the primary reasons behind their break (not break-up, if you ask Matthew and Harry) in episode 2×18. ”[A]s a leader, there are difficult decisions I have to make. The only thing stopping me from doing that… is you,” Magnus says, tearfully telling Alec that he can’t have both him and the Downworld while Alec insists that they can and that they can work it out. Later, in the season’s final episode when Valentine has been defeated once and for all, Magnus tells him: ”I thought I had to choose between you and the Downworld… but I don’t.” A key factor in Magnus reaching this realization was Alec’s unyielding support and belief that they could manage anything and everything, as long as they are together, believing in enough for the both of them when Magnus didn’t see it.

Whether if it’s in a professional or personal capacity, Magnus and Alec have shown their support of each other ever since they first met, providing a safe haven and someone to lean on for the other when they needed it most.

 

They’re there for each other

Continuing the topic of support, Magnus and Alec are not just supportive of each other but physically there for each other, too. No matter what one of them is going through, they always have the other to help them through it in any way that they can, be it as a quiet source of comfort or as a key element in helping them see things in a different perspective.

While the show has had many dramatic episodes so far, season 2 episode 4 is at the forefront of these. When a demon manages to get into the Institute, it possesses multiple people, thereamong Alec, who in his possessed state ends up killing Clary’s mother Jocelyn. When the demon has left Alec’s body and Alec is the one left with the blood on his hands, he’s unmoving as he asks himself what he’s just done. His coping strategy, as we see in episode 5, is to isolate himself on the Institute’s roof and nocking and releasing arrow after arrow, injuring his hands further with each one. Unable to stay at the Institute and trying to escape not only what’s happened but also himself, Alec retracts to the only place he wants to be at: Magnus’ loft. Despite Alec’s insistence that he is fine, Magnus sees right through him. ”You’re hurting. Badly,” he says, gesturing to Alec’s hands as he continues, ”You hope the pain here will overpower the pain there. I wish it were that simple.” Magnus encourages Alec, telling him that what happened wasn’t his fault. When Alec says that he doesn’t know how to face Clary again, Magnus is convinced otherwise: ”But you will. Because that’s what you do, Alexander. It may take you a minute, but I’ve seen it up close. (…) You will blow up the very ground you stand on to make something right.” When Alec is blinded by his own judgment of what he did while possessed by the demon, Magnus is there to offer a clear minded view of him as opposed to Alec’s cloudy one. Magnus’ loft and subsequently Magnus represents solace to Alec, a harbor where he he can always find a place to rest his head and release some of the weight of the world from his shoulders.

Magnus and Alec being there for each other is not merely a one way street. After Magnus is trapped in Valentine’s body and as a result of this tortured by the Clave, he can’t stop replaying his worst memory – his mother’s death – over and over again. Initially, Magnus doesn’t want to reveal this to Alec, preferring to handle it alone, no matter how poorly he might be doing. Alec, however, is a person who wants to care for his loved ones to the best of his ability at all times, as well as perceptive, and he notices that something is off about Magnus. Reminding him of the past conversation they shared where Magnus urged Alec not to push him away, Alec now pleads with Magnus to not do the same to him. His walls crumbling, Magnus tells him about the death of his mother and how he burned his stepfather alive when he tried to drown Magnus. Magnus fears that Alec will change his opinion of him and look at him with disgust reflected in his eyes now that he’s seen this ”ugly, horrible side of him,” but Alec does neither of those things. Kneeling in front of him, Alec instead tenderly cups Magnus’ cheek and quietly but no less resolutely tells him that there is nothing ugly about him. Providing a rock for Magnus to lean on, Alec then holds him close, silently affirming his previous words. As Matthew Daddario put it when we interviewed him at The Italian Institute convention in 2017, the moment allows Magnus and Alec to be real with each other and share their history and developing their bond into something more.

 

They communicate

Another saying that you’re bound to have heard a million times is that communication is key. Its repetitiveness does not make it any less true, though. For any successful relationship, communication and actively listening to your partner needs to be a core aspect.

While there are incidences where Magnus and Alec’s communication skills can certainly be brought into question – such as when Alec withheld the information about the Soul Sword from Magnus – their relationship has overall consisted of healthy communication.

One example of this is in the aforementioned season 2, episode 5. Alec asks Magnus about handing his former partner Camille over to the Clave. Instead of avoiding the truth by giving Alec a generic answer, Magnus’ response is honest: ”Honestly? It was awful. We had a lot of history, she and I.” Apologizing to Alec for the potential weirdness, Alec clarifies that there’s nothing odd about it, encouraging Magnus to always be honest with him and tell him how he feels and silently affirming that he’ll always listen to what he has to say.

Taking it back further, Magnus and Alec’s honesty and communication dates back to season 2, episode 1. When Alec apologizes for previously pushing Magnus away, Magnus says: ”When things get crazy, don’t push me away.” This sentence becomes a staple of their relationship, as Alec repeats it to Magnus in the season’s fifteenth episode, begging Magnus to let him in. This shows a willingness and openness within their relationship, where they’re willing to help carry any and all burdens together, with an open mind and open heart, all the while maintaining an honest line of communication.

Going back even further, their level of honesty can also be seen in the 2×18 flashback from season 1, episode 7. ”I trust you,” Alec admits when Magnus asks him why he spent the night. ”I don’t know why, but I do.” While Alec might not have yet known the reasons for trusting Magnus, he spilled his heart out to him in the golden morning light of the loft, unbeknownst to him already working on improving their honesty.

Their habit of casual honesty also extends to their first date. While most people would probably avoid the topic of past partners on a first date, Magnus and Alec tackle it head on, even if they may stumble a bit at first. Though it may be an uncomfortable topic, they both hear each other out, realizing that communication is something they need to work on together.

Speaking of their communication skills being a work in progress, this is further showcased in season 3, episode 1. While Magnus initially tells Alec how thrilled he is for him when he hears about him being offered a position as a delegate to the Council in Idris, he doesn’t want him to go. He also doesn’t tell Alec how he really feels about no longer being the High Warlock of Brooklyn. When Alec later asks him about it again during a round of pool at The Hunter’s Moon, Magnus gives in, honestly admitting: ”I just didn’t want you to see me like that.” Alec reminds Magnus that he never has to pretend how he feels, especially not with him, and Magnus reflects: ”As far as we’ve come, I suppose the art of communication is still a work in progress.” Upon his realization, he admits to Alec that he doesn’t want him to go to Idris, putting effort into the work he just mentioned.

Magnus and Alec’s honest communication is one of the main aspects that helped them develop the trust between them so quickly, as seen in the season 2, episode 18 flashback. Being honest sometimes means exposing vulnerability, and it can be a foreign, uncomfortable concept. Magnus and Alec give each other little parts of themselves every single day, one of the ways they do so being with honesty, trusting the other to keep those pieces safe. They value the honesty and attention they give each other, using it to further the develop the constant work in progress that is their relationship.

 

They’re authentic

One thing that both showrunners, directors as well as Harry Shum Jr. and Matthew Daddario have always been diligent about is ensuring that Magnus and Alec’s relationship is as authentic as possible. This is in stark contrast to the show’s supernatural scenery and the fact that in all aspects of the word, Magnus and Alec’s relationship is nothing short of extraordinary. Magnus is a centuries old immortal Warlock, one of the most powerful ones in the world, and Alec is a young Shadowhunter who keeps New York safe from demons for a living. It’s not a combination often seen. Despite the surreal and magical aspects of their relationship as well as the world they live in, the show has always paid great attention to making Magnus and Alec authentic.

Matthew and Harry have both spoken about the importance of portraying Magnus and Alec as authentically as possible. In a joint interview, Harry told Empire: “The show is all about the relationships; that’s what really holds it all together. (…) People just want to connect and see two people connect at the same time.” Elaborating on the sentiment, Matt added: “We took a lot of time to work on scenes with Magnus and Alec; we spent a lot of time reviewing those and trying to make sure they’re being honest and we’re not shoving something forward. There’s no scene with the stereotypical, ‘Look at this!’ It’s handled really subtly and that’s kind of nice, especially for this kind of relationship.”

This was also later on discussed by Matthew and Harry at the 2017 GLAAD Awards, where the show won Outstanding Drama Series for its portrayal of Alec’s coming out storyline. Matthew talked about the responsibility he feels to his character and the relationship, explaining: “[W]e spent a lot of time, Harry and I, working on it to make sure that we weren’t doing anything that was maybe false. We didn’t want to do false. That was very, very important. Honesty in the character and believability, truth to the character and something that people can relate to and look at and say ‘Oh, maybe that’s me’ even though we are a Warlock and a Shadowhunter. I mean, very you know… unreal creatures, but very real, real people. Honest people.”

Harry also highlighted this at AOL Build in May last year, saying: “For Malec, it’s really important that it’s played as honest as possible. Matt Daddario – big ups to him – I think he does a wonderful job and it’s really fun playing opposite of him and really kind of breaking down the scenes as much as possible.”

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight about Magnus and Alec’s relationship, Harry said: “Well, I think what’s particularly important is Matt and I always wanted to make sure that there is some normalcy in this [couple]. I think a lot of times when you see a lot of couples, you just see all the drama constantly happening. I think it’s nice to see some normalcy when you see a couple – specifically being an LGBT couple, which does not get portrayed on television as much as it should. So for us, we just always try to make sure to go, ‘What would really happen? Let’s try and go for that to ground it as much as possible.’ And also the fact that there’s all this craziness – one guy does magic, the other one fights and kills demons – and on top of that madness, there’s drama, so we to try and find that balance. I feel like the fans are so amazing and they love it and the fact that we try and give them what they want.”

Once again, this ties into the importance of a representation that is heartfelt and genuine, and not merely for the sake of popularity. In crafting the relationship between Magnus and Alec, the show has developed two characters whom people recognize the genuinity and honesty in, characters they relate to, see themselves in, and find comfort in. The beauty of Magnus and Alec’s relationship is that they are two individual characters, both with their separate strengths and weaknesses, who in their relationship are allowed to thrive both together and apart, in a way that is entirely genuine and real. Even when the world is all but crashing and burning around them, Magnus and Alec never fall into stereotypes or feel forced in the show’s setting, remaining heartfelt and genuine as one of the core aspects of the show.

 

Because Alec is a goddamn poet

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away also known as 2016, one Isabelle Sophia Lightwood told Magnus Bane that her brother Alec wasn’t exactly “warm and fuzzy.” While that certainly might have been true then, the Alexander Lightwood of 2019 would beg to differ. Before meeting Magnus, Alec was closed off and reserved toward others, maintaining his tightly sealed bubble of family members that he kept at a comfortable distance of himself. Upon meeting Magnus, Alec slowly starts to open himself up, not just to Magnus but to others around him. While Alec’s blunt honesty has always been one of his defining traits, it takes on new forms as his relationship with Magnus develops.

Talking about Magnus’ impact on Alec while shooting season 1, Matthew said: “For him to have any tenderness in his life is something new. It’s not until he meets Magnus that he sort of starts to figure out what exactly it is to love someone.” Alec is seen becoming more comfortable with himself and around Magnus, growing into loving him. The development of their relationship not only highlights this new level of comfort, but also how Alec’s honesty is manifested in terms of his feelings for Magnus.

There are many examples of why Alec could rival just about any and all poets out there, but one of the most prominent ones is showcased during their break-not-break-up. While Magnus is adamant that they can’t go any way but apart, Alec insists with tears in his eyes that they can work things out between them: “You and me, we always seem to find our way back to each other.”

This is also highlighted early on in their relationship. Upon Magnus’ reluctance to host a party for Alec’s brother Max due to his mother Maryse, Alec poetically notes: “This, us, it’s not going away,” showing no hesitation about their relationship. In an interview with TV Insider, Harry noted the importance of this moment, saying: “I think it’s just cool that the fact that they’re acknowledging they’re boyfriends and the fact that Alec came to Magnus and was like, ‘Look, this, what we have right here, it’s not going anywhere,’ and for someone to say that, I think that’s a big deal in any relationship.”

Another example of Alec’s poetic honesty is during their reunion scene in season 2, episode 20. While others may be scared to lay it all out on the line in front of someone when they’re unsure of how their feelings will be received, for Alec, there has never been any other way but all in and head first. “I don’t think I can live without you,” he quietly states, putting his heart in Magnus’ hands.

Throughout season 3, Alec’s poetic streak continues. Upon being offered what Magnus assumes is a job position he can’t turn down, Alec declares “I’ve always dreamed of meeting someone like you,” showing his choice of which dream to fight for. When Magnus worries that finding out about Magnus’ father will change Alec’s perception of him, Alec is quick to refute it: “I don’t care who your dad is. I care who you are. And you’re the furthest thing from a Greater Demon,” echoing the “There is nothing ugly about you” from season 2 and reassuring Magnus of all the extraordinary qualities he sees in him, one word at a time.

Alec’s emotional declarations could put even the most skilled poet to shame, his heartfelt utterances more beautiful than most poems. Even when he doesn’t explicitly say the words “I love you,” his feelings for Magnus are intertwined with every other word he utters, showing his emotions the only way he knows how: with utmost sincerity and putting all of his heart and soul into it.

 

They argue

Listen. We know that it might sound counterproductive to list Magnus and Alec’s arguments as one of the reasons why they’re the best couple out there. But hear us out. Not only does it add to the level of realism in their relationship: While fighting is often seen as something negative within relationships, science has showed that arguing can actually be beneficial for a relationship. The reason behind this is that the conflict and arguing enables discussion and an perceptiveness of the other person’s perspective.

Furthermore, a significant distinction when it comes to Magnus and Alec compared to other relationships is that their conflicts haven’t been inner conflicts, such as jealousy or a love triangle, but rather the result of external conflicts, such as the hardships stemming from their leadership roles in season 2. Their love for each other has never been put into question, but rather highlighted as they’ve struggled to overcome the external obstacles in their path. Particularly in terms of representation, this has been an important factor. For example, the show didn’t make Magnus’ past relationship with Camille or any potential jealousy stemming from it a dividing factor between them. Noting this, GLAAD wrote: “This storyline refreshingly subverted a trope so often seen in stories of bisexuality, where someone dating a bisexual person is solely concerned that they will leave them for a person of a different sex, thus reinforcing tired stereotypes of bisexual people being inherently incapable of monogamy.” Touching on what this meant for the LGBTQ+ community, they continued: “The avoidance of this overused story is significant not just for Shadowhunters, but because it defies so many real life assumptions people even within the LGBT community have about bisexuality.”

One of Magnus and Alec’s most significant fights is the one after Magnus finds out that Alec lied to him about the Soul Sword. While science would tell us that they were both too emotionally vulnerable to get into an argument right then and there, it allowed for a realistic insight into their relationship. Emotions can sometimes get the best of us, especially when it comes to the people and matters we care most about. Talking about this with TV Guide, Matthew said: “What I saw was people recognizing their feelings are so intense, and they can’t just go by without really expressing those feelings with that intensity,” touching on the short time in which they’d known each other and the growth occurring within that time. Having Magnus and Alec argue in such a vulnerable moment not only highlights some of the core aspects of their relationship – trust, honesty, and an ability to keep their professional and personal lives separate when necessary – it also shows us that beneath it all, they are humans who sometimes feel things intensely and with a love for each other underlying everything else. The latter is exemplified even further in season 2, episode 18. When Max is in a critical condition after being attacked by Sebastian, Magnus sets their previous differences aside and goes to stand by Alec, aiding in any way he can.

Furthermore, one of the main sources of conflict between Magnus and Alec is the fact that Magnus is immortal while Alec isn’t. While this topic has been brewing under the surface for some time, it comes to a head when Magnus rejects Alec’s suggestion of them moving in together and Alec finds a box Magnus keeps of old mementos from his past relationships in episode 3×05. With Magnus emotionally admitting that he doesn’t want to think about Alec being gone and Alec confessing to not wanting to be just another memory in Magnus’ box, they initially agree upon Magnus’ request to live in the here and now. The topic continues to simmer just below the surface, though, and in episode 3×06, their breakfast escalates when Alec once again brings up of the box and Magnus accuses Alec of acting childish and inexperienced.

This part of the article wouldn’t be complete without us mentioning the importance of reconciliation. After all, it is the unresolved conflicts that can lead to the dissolvement of a relationship. Magnus and Alec have a tendency to resolve their conflicts after dramatic external event that showcases what truly matters to them. For example, the activation of the Soul Sword in episode 2×09 after Magnus and Alec’s fight about Raphael and Isabelle. When Alec finds Magnus alive and safe, all thoughts of their argument disband. This also happens later on in episode 3×07. After it is revealed that Magnus accidentally helped Lilith create a potion to help Jace fall out of love with Clary, Magnus and Alec find a quiet moment alone. They embrace, melting further into each other as they each apologize for their argument in the previous episode. Director Joshua Butler said in our interview with him that the moment where they both lean further into the embrace is “a true moment of reconciliation” and that it “solidified the characters’ apologies to one another.”

While Magnus and Alec’s arguments are often initially fueled by raw emotion, they also more often than not reach a point where they hear each other out and take in the other’s feelings, ultimately reconciling and forgiving each other for the original argument. In doing so, their arguments become obstructions that eventually help them evolve their relationship and grow together. The art of reconciliation isn’t always easy, but Magnus and Alec time and time again show that for them, it is worth it – especially because they know just what they are ultimately fighting to maintain.

 

They’re a package deal

All great things are known to come in twos. Just ask Magnus and Alec. Where one goes, the other is bound to follow, distance never being anything to separate them for too long.

Magnus and Alec have long since established their position as one of the power couples of New York. Magnus was up until recently one of the mightiest Warlocks in the world while Alec runs one of the most influential Institutes. Not to mention the fact that Magnus is actually royalty (of Hell, but bear with us here – it counts). Separately, they are powerful people within the Shadow World. Together, they’re unstoppable.

Naturally, they also wouldn’t be found far from each other’s side in battle. When the Edomei demons infiltrate New York and wreak havoc in season 2, episode 20, Magnus and Alec were technically on a break. And while it took some reluctance on Magnus’ side to once again aid the Shadowhunters, it was exactly what he ended up doing. Complete with snarky remarks and long glances, Magnus and Alec team up to help close the rift the demons are escaping from. With Alec covering Magnus while he uses his magic so close the rift and Magnus ultimately killing the last Edomei before it gets to Alec, it shows the power couple in their natural habitat, despite the unresolved issues between them. The power of love, and all that.

Someone with first-hand experience of Magnus and Alec’s team work is (albeit reluctantly) Lorenzo Rey. After the ley lines are corrupted during his initiation party as the new High Warlock of Brooklyn (don’t even get us started), Magnus and Alec decide to swap their bow and quiver and magic for an evening of mundane detective work. To this day, they are some of the most humorous scenes between the two. Alec’s look of genuine panic while Magnus motions at him wondering what the hell he’s going on about is a sight we won’t soon forget. Alec’s ”Needless to say” still echoes in our minds late at night. While their detective skills might need a bit of work if they ever were to pursue new careers, they had the team work down to a T, showing once again why they’re an inseparable duo.

Even in the earlier stages of their relationship, Magnus and Alec made it clear that they are a force to be reckoned with. When it is time for Max to officially be initiated as a Shadowhunter, Alec asks Magnus to host the party with him. Magnus is reluctant seeing as he doesn’t exactly have the best history with Alec’s mother, but Alec insists on the importance of the party to show his mother that what they have isn’t going anywhere. When Alec’s mother declares her disapproval of the party, Alec isn’t swayed: ”Anyone who cares about Max should be there. And that includes me and Magnus. Together.” In standing up to his mother, Alec shows that there’s no part of his future that Magnus isn’t a part of, solidifying their status as an inseparable pair.

Whether if it’s in front of the whole Shadow World, on the battlefield or to their friends and family, Magnus and Alec have proven to be a force to be reckoned with. Their individual traits and backgrounds coming together in their pairing creates a truly unstoppable, inseparable force – one that even the depths of Hell cannot keep apart.

 

They have a genuinely healthy relationship

Another significant aspect of Magnus and Alec’s popularity and why they are such a good couple overall is because they’re a healthy couple. The points in this article highlight that. The fact that the show allows them to be their own people to the fact that they both are shown as layered, flawed people are just a couple of examples showcasing this. How happy they make each other, the support they show one another, their honest communication – the list could be made infinite.

In particular, this is especially important seeing as Magnus and Alec are an interracial, LGBTQ+ couple.The healthy relationship between them has been noted by several media outlets. In terms of representation, Nerdophiles highlighted how Magnus and Alec contribute to showing “healthy queer relationships that no longer are restricted by prejudices that are placed within our own society.” SpoilerTV has also brought attention to this, noting how Matthew and Harry’s portrayal helps eliminate some of the stigma surrounding LGBTQ+ couples.

Magnus and Alec’s relationship is layered with aspects that contribute to making it a healthy one. The dedication and hard work put into the portrayal of them by Matthew and Harry, as well as the work of the showrunners and crew has led to a beloved couple that is healthy in all senses of the word. The healthiness of their relationship is even more significant seeing as they are an LGBTQ+ couple. In this form of representation, the show depicts a healthy relationship between a bisexual Asian man and a gay man that is playing a major role in breaking down barriers of television portrayal of LGBTQ+ couples. The love shining through in everything they do, how much laughter they share, their ability to communicate, and how they rely on each other are just some of the reasons why they are one of healthiest couples on television.

 

They’re best friends

While Magnus and Alec’s romantic connection is unmistakable, it is also important not to forget the friendship aspect of their relationship. Beyond Isabelle for Alec and Catarina for Magnus, they are one of each other’s best friends, something that is proven to be of importance to lasting relationships.

Before they were in a relationship, Magnus and Alec developed a rapport born out of mutual trust. Magnus provided emotional support while during Alec’s coming out journey, and Alec unconditionally gave Magnus his strength when Magnus needed it most. Through these instances, among others, they were friends before they were anything else.

In any relationship, it’s important to take take care of one another. And be it be it platonic or romantic, this part is yet another one that Magnus and Alec have always managed. When Alec needs him, Magnus is always there to offer a helping hand, whether if it’s literal or metaphorical. Particularly in terms of mental health, Magnus is a crucial support to Alec. This is seen for example in season 2, episode 5 when Alec goes to Magnus’ loft to escape his own head, and in the season’s ninth episode after Max’ rune ceremony when their darkest fears were revealed and Alec nearly jumped off the loft’s roof. In the episode, Magnus makes sure that Alec knows he always has someone to turn to.

Another instance where this is highlighted is in season 3, episode 4. When Alec is at a dead-end in searching for ways to help Jace, Magnus offers his help. Beyond that, he several times over tries to make sure that Alec is eating properly, helping him take care of himself when it’s difficult for him to manage it by himself. ”We’ll make it through this,” he promises, ”One step at a time.”

When it comes to Alec taking care of Magnus, it is also significantly visible. Even when Magnus is not always ready to talk about things, such as in season 2, episode 15, Alec is a steady presence at his side, wordlessly taking care of him and reminding him that he’s not going anywhere. Furthermore, when it is revealed that Magnus accidentally aided Lilith in her quest, Alec is quick to remind him that it is not his fault, trying to halt his process of self-blaming.

Matthew has previously noted that Alec “feels like he needs to take care of other people. It’s his job, it’s innate to him.” Speaking about Alec taking care of Magnus during our interview at The Italian Institute convention, Matthew said: ”[I]f you take all of Alec’s personality traits about how he’s concerned about others and things like that, Magnus is the ultimate example.” Magnus and Alec’s ability to take care of each other shows another cherishable aspect of their friendship as well as their relationship.

Furthermore, one of the key aspects of Magnus and Alec’s relationship is their ability to laugh together. This is showcased in the season 2, episode 18 flashback to their first time. In their haste to be together, they trip and stumble, losing themselves in shirts refusing to come off and boots clinging to feet. Throughout the scene, they are seen laughing and giggling. Besides showing them being head over heels for each other, it also solidifies their foundation as friends and highlights another beautiful aspect of their relationship. This was highlighted by Harry during an interview with Entertainment Tonight, where he noted the importance of laughter, silliness and the smaller in-between moments of Magnus and Alec’s relationship and how he and Matthew incorporate this: “Yeah, I mean, if it’s called for it. I think there’s also this humorous side between these characters and I think we always try to put that in there. With any couple, there’s always these hidden jokes and these things that just kind of make each other laugh and that’s the reason why it’s so special to be together, outside of being attracted to each other. There’s that top element of personality that draws each other in and those are the kind of things that we always try to infuse because the silliness of it all is sometimes what makes it work.”

Magnus and Alec’s relationship as best friends, partners, as well as leaders make up another of the beautiful aspects of their relationship, showing just why they are so lovable.

 

They’d do anything for each other

Yet another significant aspect of Magnus and Alec’s relationship and why it is so popular is seen in the lengths they’d go to for each other. There is nothing Magnus wouldn’t do for Alec, and nothing that Alec wouldn’t do for Magnus.

This is exemplified several times throughout the show. One of the earliest instances of it occurs right after the wedding that never was. Upon Jace joining Valentine, the rest of the Shadowhunters do everything in their power to try to locate and bring him back. In a line of this, Alec wants to use their Parabatai rune to track him, no matter the fact that it could be life threatening. Magnus is, naturally, wary of the idea. In a deleted scene from episode 2×01 he says: “I would do anything for you, but I won’t risk your life.” In doing so, he notes the lengths he’s willing to go to for Alec, and his willingness to go just about any distance for him.

Another more recent – and more painful – example of this occurs in the season 3A finale. In order to save Alec’s Parabatai, and thus a part of Alec, Magnus asks his father for his help and ends up giving up his magic in exchange. Concludingly, Magnus also loses his immortality. Speaking about the importance of this scene and what it means for the two of them, Harry told Entertainment Tonight: “[Alec] unlocks something in him and he wants to be able to – almost he would die for him in a way.”

On Alec’s part, this is shown in the third season’s seventh episode, “Salt in the Wound”. When Clary reveals that she used the wish from Raziel to bring Jace back from the dead, she and the others expect Alec to react authoritatively and by notifying the Clave. Instead, Alec pulls an emotional Clary in for a hug, signalling his understanding of why Clary acted the way she did. Quietly, he says: “I would’ve done the same thing.” In the background, Magnus is seen as visibly taken aback as the rest of the audience. Initially after the episode, there was debate about whether or not Alec was talking about Magnus. Speaking about it during Showtime Con 3 in Barcelona in May 2018, Matthew said: “On a grand scale, that’s a selfish thing, but from a romantic point of view, that’s pretty endearing. So when Alec said he would have done the same thing, that was half true and half false. I think he’s really saying he would’ve done the same thing because he wouldn’t have been able to stop himself if it was Magnus.” Resonating further, he added: “Would it have been the right choice, the moral choice? No.” Matthew also said that it would have been a selfish choice for Alec to make, and concluded: “But I think that’s what Alec has been learning, that process of coming from making the choice that’s good for all of mankind to making the selfish choice.” Alec has been taught his whole life that using Raziel’s wish for personal gain is just about the worst thing for a Shadowhunter to do, something that can be grounds for deruning. What he implies to Clary in this scene goes against everything he has been raised to believe, further removing him off the path Magnus originally pushed him off of in season 1. In redefining himself and his world, Alec has come to reevaluate what is right and what is wrong, and what he is willing to do. As Matthew defined it at The Hunters of Shadow 2, when presented with the choice, Alec’s instinctive response is to be “slightly rebellious.” Put in this context, it shows how much of Alec’s world that Magnus has been a focal part of helping him reconsider, and just how much he is willing to do for him.

Throughout Magnus and Alec’s relationship, they have been willing to go above and beyond for each other. Magnus would stop at nothing for Alec, even going as far as making what to him is the ultimate sacrifice. Alec, on the other hand, would move Heaven and Hell for Magnus, uprooting everything he knows for him. As long as it in within their power, Magnus and Alec would do anything for each other, showing just how strong their love truly is.

 

Because of Matthew and Harry’s portrayal of them

So much of the popularity of a couple or how great it is comes down to the actors behind the camera, the ones responsible for bringing the couple to life beyond words on a paper. While Magnus and Alec are a terrific couple, they wouldn’t be nearly as multifaceted or as popular if it wasn’t for the depiction by their actors. The work they put into portraying their characters and the coupling of them is a major factor in Magnus and Alec’s popularity.

Speaking about the 2A finale “By the Light of Dawn”, Joshua Butler told us how serious Matthew and Harry are about their craft, and that they “want to make everything they do the best it can be.” He also noted that shooting scenes between Magnus and Alec always is a collaborative process simply because of Matthew and Harry and their dedication to their characters and the couple. Elaborating on working with them, Joshua said: “I’ve been blessed and lucky to work with so many talented actors in my career thus far, and Harry and Matt are two of the best out there. They differentiate themselves by the bravery and boldness of their portrayal of Malec. They really do justice to an epic interracial gay romance that is breaking down barriers in film and television and will—mark my words—be remembered as historic and world-changing.”

Upon working on episode 3×07, Joshua once again directed a pivotal scene between Magnus and Alec where they reconcile after an argument. Speaking about Matthew’s and Harry’s craft, he said: “Matt and Harry are such skilled actors that they are intuitively aware of how much deeper their characters’ relationship has become. Directing them is always a pleasure because it is never a question of where Magnus and Alec are in their relationship. Instead, it is a question of how we can collaborate to best convey Malec’s emotional life to the audience.”

Once again highlighting the work done by Matthew and Harry and the importance of the couple, Joshua also said: “I love working with Matt and Harry because they are so fearless as actors and always welcoming to me as a director. They are both aware of the importance of Magnus and Alec’s relationship to the Shadowhunters fanbase and to the world beyond. We live in incredibly challenging times where a lot of the progress we’ve made towards inclusiveness and diversity is being challenged by small-minded, so-called ‘leaders’. To love and ship Malec as we do is not just a responsibility as fans, it is a necessary act of rebellion against the small-mindedness and prejudice that still remains on this planet.”

Speaking about the importance of his and Harry’s work, Matthew Daddario told KSiteTV: “You’re entering into a world of people who identify with these characters and this world and suddenly we’re here to play these characters on screen. So it really is a lot. But we’ve been working extremely hard to make sure that we honor these characters and the fans along the way.”

In an interview with Jim Halterman, Matthew talked about the fans’ response to Magnus and Alec and how important it is to him and Harry, as well as how they strive to be the best they can be: “When we see somebody say something like, ‘Malec was extremely important to me and we want to thank you so much for what you’ve done, and for you bringing these characters to life and being honest with these characters,’ that’s tremendously meaningful to us and that drives us in a lot of ways to spend the amount of effort and time that we have on these characters and making it real.”

Matthew and Harry’s work when it comes to portraying Magnus and Alec is important in all aspects. Knowing the importance of the intimate scenes between Magnus and Alec, such as in episode 2×18,  Matthew and Harry together with director Amanda M. Row made sure to create something that would resonate with fans. While the end result was nothing short of magical, they still would have liked to do more, showing just how dedicated to this pairing they are.

Noting the importance of the Malec relationship, Harry Shum Jr. told TV Insider he and Matthew always strive be as real as possible in their portrayal of the pairing, highlighting the weight of seeing their progression. When talking about Magnus and Alec’s first date, Harry further said to Out Magazine: “We (Matt and I) knew and realized how important the scene was to both the book fans and people who’ve fallen in love with the show. Going into the date scene, we wanted Magnus and Alec to be grounded–that there’s a human element outside the fantasy.”

Speaking about their work, Matthew told E!: “I’m really happy with what we did with it, and I think I’m very proud of it and I think that we’ve done something very effective and to the story,” to which Harry added “and done with care.” Elaborating, Matthew said: “A lot of thought went into it because it’s obviously very important to a lot of people and it’s also important to us that we stay true to something that has an effect on people’s lives—at least we hope it does.”

Anyone who has worked with Matthew and Harry on bringing Magnus and Alec to life will corroborate the sentiment that they truly give their all in ensuring a nuanced, healthy portrayal of their characters and the couple. Magnus and Alec being so beloved by the audience is a testament not only to Matthew’s and Harry’s acting skills and how good they are at their craft, but also to all the work they do. We can say without a shadow of doubt that Magnus and Alec wouldn’t have been the same without them – and we wouldn’t want it any other way.

 

They love each other

At the heart of it all, the points in this article are basically about Magnus and Alec saying “I love you,” in one way or another. Whether if it’s through grand gestures like saving the other’s life or giving something up for them, or offering food in the sweeter, quieter moments in-between, there isn’t a moment where Magnus and Alec aren’t expressing their love for each other.

In all senses of the word, the story of Magnus and Alec is without a doubt an epic love story. With Alec being a Shadowhunter and Magnus a Downworlder, within the context of the Shadow World, their relationship is defying all odds. Not to mention the fact that they’re both prominent leaders within their communities, where their separate duties has been known to put everything on the line for their relationship. And while the couple is groundbreaking in itself, the fact that the show has given them this arc is in a sense revolutionary. This kind of monumental love story where the couple would go to the ends of the earth for each other is usually reserved for heterosexual couples, as noted by ScreenSpy. In Magnus and Alec’s case, they’re brought into the forefront of the story, and made an essential cornerstone of the development of the show.

The premise of Magnus and Alec’s relationship is nothing short of extraordinary. Alec had all but given up the idea of ever finding love for himself before he met Magnus, resigning himself to a lifetime of fulfilling duties and being “the perfect son.” As he puts it himself to Magnus on their first date: “I always knew I couldn’t have what I wanted. Until you came along.” Magnus helped Alec see the world in a different perspective, pushing him off his previous path and illuminating the other, perhaps more tumultuous, but all the more worth it, paths ahead of him. And as has been established on the show, when Shadowhunters meet someone, it’s for life. There is no doubt that Magnus is it for Alec, no matter what might try to come between them.

As for Magnus, his journey to finding Alec is no less remarkable. Having lived for centuries, Magnus had loved and lost countless of times, and been hurt more times than he liked to remember. This resulted in him distancing himself from others, and closing himself off to the possibility of love. Enter Alec. When Magnus met him, he was visibly intrigued right from the start. Upon spending more time with Alec, the walls around Magnus’ calcifying heart began to crumble, opening up to someone for the first time in nearly a century. For Alec, Magnus was a significant part of bringing light back into his life. And for Magnus, Alec painted his world in a brand new light, full of wonder and possibilities.

Individually, the points mentioned in this article might not be of the utmost significance. But when they are combined into the story of Magnus and Alec, they become integral parts of a puzzle that wouldn’t be complete if one of them was missing. These aspects highlight the many layers to Magnus and Alec’s relationship, and the love that exists within and beyond them, growing stronger by the day. The love between Alec, a gay Shadowhunter coming to terms with his identity and ultimately accepting himself, and Magnus, a Warlock who opened himself up to the possibility of love again despite knowing the risks, is by definition groundbreaking. Yet their love isn’t limited to the epic moments, such as Alec pulling Magnus in by the lapels and kissing him at his own wedding or them fighting side by side in battle. It also extends to the domestic, more intimate moments, the quiet mornings bathed in gold and the ones filled with the utmost concern. The love they have for each other is interlaced in everything they do and say, highlighting its strength and longevity, never a day going by without it being uttered, be it spoken or in silence through actions.

 

 

With worlds bathed in light where there previously was darkness and colors were there before was black and white, Magnus and Alec are by all definitions the epic love story the LGBTQ+ community has longed to see played out on their screens between an LGBTQ+ couple. It has never been a question of them saving each other, but instead of them leaning on each other as they worked to save themselves, a significant distinction that is important to highlight. Neither the show nor Matthew and Harry have allowed them to become pieces that complete each other, but rather individuals that have come together and complemented each other, interlacing their paths while never erasing their individual ones. Their journey certainly hasn’t been an easy one, with numerous ups and downs and moments of love and joy interlaced with ones of sadness and obstacles, but it is exactly that which makes them finding their way back to each other, over and over again, all the more worthwhile. Throughout the development of their relationship and each explored layer of it, their love has only strengthened and intensified. Magnus and Alec share a love that transcends the screen and is timeless. No matter the development of the show, it is safe to say that Magnus and Alec’s love is one of a kind, and will stand the test of time. Years from now, we won’t be surprised to still hear the talks about the epic love story that was as groundbreaking as it is beloved.