Alec Lightwood is many things: partner, brother, parabatai, son, leader, Shadowhunter. With the impact Matthew Daddario’s depiction has had, the praise and awards Shadowhunters has received for their portrayal of Alec’s coming out storyline, as well as the countless fan accounts of how seeing themselves in Alec and his journey has affected them, there is no denying that he truly is an inspiration. Take a look below at some of his most prominent, impactful moments in season 1 and 2.

1x12: Choosing his own path

Who can forget one of the show’s so far most iconic moments? With a staggering 2 million views on the ‘Wedding Kiss’ video, its reach far extends any of the other shared scenes on the official Shadowhunters YouTube account.

In the second to last episode of season 1, fittingly titled “Malec”, Alec’s coming out arc comes to its head when he is intending to marry Lydia. Just as they are about to place the permanent wedded union runes on each other, Magnus bursts through the door.

At this moment, Alec realizes he is stuck at a crossroads, not knowing which route to follow. On one hand, Alec could deny himself and live the life his family wanted him to, but on the other hand, he could follow the new road Magnus helped shed light on when he pushed Alec off his predestined path.

Ultimately, Alec listens to his heart, courageously tearing up the ground beneath him as he strides down the aisle, declaring “Enough” as he storms past his mother, coming out to his family and some of the most important members of the Clave by grabbing Magnus by the lapels and pulling him in for a kiss that won’t soon be forgotten.

“This isn’t about you,” Alec tells his mother after the interrupted ceremony. “I’m the same person I’ve always been. Now everything’s just out in the open,” he continues determined, delivering a stand out line of the episode as it emphasizes that coming out doesn’t fundamentally change who you are – it just brings it into light.

Despite nearly two years have passed since this episode originally aired in March 2016, the kiss still moves us as much as it did the first time. The significant kiss touched fans from all over the globe – #Malec trended worldwide on Twitter – and also welcomed a whole new group of viewers to the show. In the episode, Alec not only chooses Magnus and the potential of them as a couple but he more importantly chooses himself, telling the world his truth in courageous, unspoken words louder than thunder. By doing this, Alec showed members of the LGBTQ+ community from all around the world that no matter your sexual orientation, you should never be ashamed of who you are – inspiring them for years to come.

2x13: Standing up for what is right

Season 2 highlighted many of today’s most significant issues in society, such as homophobia, supremacist ideologies and racism. The latter was especially touched upon in the thirteenth episode of the season, “Those of Demon Blood”. With Inquisitor Herondale momentarily in charge of the Institute and a murderer on the loose stripping Shadowhunters of their runes, the Clave decides that all Downworlders should be chip marked in order to be traceable. Confronting Imogen’s homophobia and the Clave’s tyrannical rule, Alec loudly protests against the measure. In reply, she accuses him of being partial because of his relationship with Magnus. “You know what, maybe [my personal relationships] have everything to do with it because it was a Warlock who told me to always follow my gut,” Alec answers, not backing down, “and [using the GPS chips] is just plain wrong,” he continues, comparing her to Valentine and his racist beliefs.

While certainly not an easy feat, Alec’s objection followed by his first decision as head of the Institute to revoke the GPS chips, as well as establishing the Downworlder-Shadowhunter cabinet shows his unswaying stance against injustice. Alec constantly reminds us that we should always stand up to wrongfulness and fight for what we believe to be right. As a certain Warlock once said, Alec would blow up the very ground he stands on to make something right. In Alec lays a fire blazing with the desire to improve the world. His resilience and his determination to do what is right all push him to actively work toward and fight for a better tomorrow – for himself and for all of the Shadow World. These are just a few of the countless reasons why he is such an inspiration to so many people, including us.

2x01: Working on his mistakes (and his apologies)

Over the course of season 2, the words “I’m sorry” became a highly familiar phrase to hear from Alec’s lips. In “This Guilty Blood”, the very first episode of the second season, Alec apologizes to Magnus for taking his frustration out on him. “Look, with Jace missing, it’s like… the ground has shifted and I can’t keep my balance. I didn’t mean to take it out on you. I’m sorry,” he says, holding Magnus’ hand in his own and maintaining eye contact. “You’re forgiven,” is Magnus’ reply as he reaches up to adjust Alec’s collar. “Also, you’re great at apologies.” Smiling bashfully, Alec says one of the defining lines for his character, showing his willingness to make things right when he’s messed up: “Thanks, I’ve been working on it.” Probably for quite some time, too – when Alec left to go to Magnus’, it was broad daylight but once he arrived, the New York skyline glistened above them.

It wasn’t the first time Alec made amends, nor the last as the season progressed. Alec was shown several times apologizing when he was in the wrong. He is not without flaws, nor does he never mess up – as our very own Matthew Daddario once put it, he is prone to make mistakes, even though he has good intentions. What is important, refreshing and also incredibly inspiring about him is seeing a character so willing to do better and learn from what he’s done wrong. Alec owns up to his shortcomings and goes out of his way to apologize for them, showing that the two simple words “I’m sorry” can go a long way in mending fractured relationships. His willingness to learn from his mistakes and make amends certainly inspires all of us to follow his example and utter the words more freely.

1x06: Breaking noses and accepting the consequences

One of season 1’s many inspiring moments is in episode 6, “Of Men and Angels”, in a scene between Alec and his mother. “There’s always something we can do,” Alec says as they talk about Clave matters. “You taught me that.” Alec and Maryse look back on when Alec was younger and couldn’t win over another Shadowhunter in his training. In order to finally beat him, Alec disrupted his regular, impeccable pattern, adapting to the situation even though it “went against every fibre of his training” and breaking the other boy’s nose in the process. Maryse smiles as she recalls her pride over how Alec took the punishment that followed what the Clave considered to be his disobedience. “I knew it had to be done,” Alec replies simply.

“We’re Lightwoods. We break noses and we accept the consequences,” he proudly states with his head held high, offering his mother his help in handling the Clave. Alec’s declaration shows us the importance of standing by our actions even when things get difficult instead of shying away from responsibilities and admitting guilt when necessary, although, hopefully, without breaking any noses in the process!

2x18: Opening up

In the beginning of Season 1, we saw Alec in a deeply repressed and unhappy state. He had a difficult time letting anyone new in, as seen when Clary entered Jace’s and thus Alec’s life – a redheaded storm causing chaos to his routine lifestyle.

Despite Alec’s reluctance, he can’t help but be drawn in by Magnus when he first meets him and later helps him heal Luke, going as far as putting his trust in him without fully knowing why, as depicted in one of the flashbacks in season 2, episode 18. “You’re more than just a pretty face, aren’t you?” Magnus asks Alec after Alec wakes up on his couch the morning after they healed Luke together, startled. “You shared your strength with me to help your friend. It’s rare to find a Shadowhunter with such a… open heart.” “I trust you. I don’t know why, but I do,” is Alec’s reply after a brief pause, letting his carefully built up walls down for a moment. It isn’t long before Alec’s instincts kick back in, raising his shield once more when Magnus asks him to stay for breakfast and is met with an instant “No”.

Next to the other significant flashbacks of the episode – showing Magnus and Alec happy, in love and Alec at ease with himself – this scene highlights just how far Alec has come in terms of accepting himself and opening up to others. This short yet powerful flashback not only lets us see a founding moment of Magnus and Alec’s developing connection, but also shows us the inspiring, subtle power of opening oneself up to something new – whether it be things, experiences or people who may come to change our lives for the better.

2x15: Showing openness and acceptance

As Magnus noted after just meeting Alec, his open heart made him a rarity among Shadowhunters. One of the most important scenes between Magnus and Alec in season 2 takes place in “A Problem of Memory”, its fifteenth episode. Alec, having noticed Magnus’ sleeping problems and that something was troubling him, tries to get Magnus to open up to him, offering his help and support without even knowing what is wrong. “I love you, and I know something’s wrong. Whatever it is, I’m here for you,” he says, unmoving even as Magnus tries to convince him he’s fine. When Alec has made it clear that he’s not going anywhere, Magnus opens up to him, telling him about his dark past and confiding in him things he’s never told anyone. Tearfully, Magnus admits that he never wanted Alec to see this terrible, ugly side of him. While we can see Magnus expecting Alec to turn and walk away from him in the light of his revelation, Alec does the complete opposite. Showing nothing but love and acceptance in his eyes, Alec moves closer where he is kneeling in front of him. With a gentle hand, he cups Magnus’ face, urging him to look at him as he tells him there is nothing ugly about him.

Alec’s actions and words here show a raw openness and acceptance that refuses to be swayed by whatever Magnus might tell him. These are two of Alec’s strongest character traits and this scene shows just how much Alec has evolved.

In season 1, Alec was heavily influenced by the Clave’s institutionalized oppression of Downworlders, making him less than welcoming of them.

Season 2, however, beautifully shows us an Alec Lightwood who not only has grown to accept himself but who embraces his newfound trait by enveloping others in it as well – not just in this scene but throughout the entire season. In episode 5, “Dust and Shadows”, he gets a frightened Madzie to warm up to him by complimenting her Warlock mark, offering “Cool gills” with an easy, open-hearted smile, much unlike the prejudice many other Shadowhunters would look at her with. When later on, in episode 18, Alec sees Magnus’ cat eyes for the first time in a flashback to the seventh episode of the season, “How Are Thou Fallen”, it comes as no surprise when Alec, without a moment’s hesitation, presses closer to Magnus – his love and acceptance unyielding with soft touches and even softer murmurs. “Magnus, they’re beautiful. You’re beautiful.”, Alec tells him.

Much like the real world, the Shadow World is sadly filled with prejudice. Having Alec as the leader of the New York Institute signals what is hopefully the beginning of a much needed positive change and a more open, embracing climate. These key characteristics of his are ones we definitely wouldn’t mind seeing more of in the real world, either.

There is no denying the impact and resonance Alec has had with fans worldwide. His journey to coming out and accepting himself has made him a fan favorite for many.

His courage, unfaltering defence of what he knows to be right and his willingness to learn from his wrongdoings as well as his openness and acceptance are traits that not only define him, but also are ones we’d want to see more of in the world.

And with the mentions above only being some of Alec’s many inspiring characteristics and moments, one thing is for sure: mankind could use a few more people like Alec Lightwood.