Monday Musings: Unpopular Opinion: Clary Fray & Alina Starkov

Welcome to a new series–Monday Musings! For a while now, I’ve wanted to write reviews for books that I read before I started posting wrap-ups, or I’ve had topics that I wanted to talk about that maybe weren’t all that current. Just because it’s pre-2019 doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be reviewing or talking about it! These will mostly be reviews for books I read pre-end of 2017, or they will be posts about characters who aren’t “relevant” anymore (like below), or perhaps just whatever the heck I want. I’ve been feeling like there isn’t enough content on this blog currently, and I’d like to change that, so let’s get started!

Oh man, that title is loaded, so let’s get this out of the way: this is a positive post BECAUSE Y’ALL MY LOVE FOR CLARY AND ALINA KNOWS NO BOUNDS.

These two badass women have been on my mind a lot lately. I read King of Scars a few days after it came out, and I’ve been doing a The Mortal Instruments reread for the last year. This post will not contain spoilers for King of Scars, but if you’ve read it, you know why I’ve been thinking about Alina. And it’s not that I’ve recently seen hate for either of these characters, it’s that there’s always hate for these characters. No one seems to like Clary or Alina, and that bums me out because they’re fricking awesome.

Clary Drawing
Art by taratjah


Okay, but why? Let me bullet point this for you.

  • when she sees a mysterious boy heading for a back room in a club with a sword, what does she do? Run after him to stop him.
  • after being shoved into a world where demons and mythical creatures exists, she takes, like, one second to breathe and then says, “Okay, I want in.”
  • CAN CREATE NEW RUNES, which no Shadowhunter ever has been able to do
  • will plunge headlong into danger at a moment’s notice without care for her own safety as long as her loved ones will be safe
  • learned she was the daughter of basically the most evil dude ever, and instead of letting it define her, decided nah she was going to define herself
  • absolutely refuses to give up ever
  • when she finds out Jocelyn has lied to her about literally her whole life, instead of just being wishy-washy and hugging it out, Clary stands her ground and lets herself be angry
  • OH MY GOD HER EMOTIONS. Clary doesn’t care who is watching, if she’s feeling an emotion, she’s gonna damn well feel it.
  • also kind of doesn’t care what she looks like? she’s short and paint-smattered and redheaded and feels awkward sometimes, but she knows she’s a badass

Look, I know Clary has some faults. Everyone does. She’s human. But she’s also freaking awesome, and I’m sick of people hating on her. Don’t like her? It’s probably because she’s cooler than you.

This is just so indicative of her character with that hand like pfft get away from me. Ain’t nobody got nothin’ on my girl, the Sun Summoner.

Time for more bullet points!

  • literally suppressed her magic so that she could stay with Mal at the orphanage. like, what kind of strength is that???
  • did NOT let people walk all over her. Bragha? nope. Zoya? okay, maybe a little, but also nope. the Darkling? after she figured out what he was doing, Alina escaped, hunted the stag in secret, and then was like fuck youuuuuuu to the Darkling when he found her
  • literally started a revolution
  • and then fought a centuries old monster AND WON
  • was always humble (like what a juxtaposition for that asshole holy)
  • felt remorse and guilt and awful when she had to kill the stag, and for that, the stag was willing to give her his life without a fight
  • respected the heck out of Zoya even though Zoya was awful to her
  • fought for her life! after everything, she found a way to the life she wanted. LIKE YES GIRL TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE
  • speaking of ^^^, she didn’t let anyone walk all over her once she managed to break away from the Darkling
  • helped reverse centuries of warfare and struggle in her country

I feel like that last bullet point for each of these is part of the reason I love these two characters so much. Not only are they badass women, but they support other badass women. Give me female friendships, and I will undoubtedly love your book.

Do you also love Clary and/or Alina? If you hate them, don’t leave a comment about it! I don’t want to know why you think I should also hate them. It’s not going to work. Plenty have tried to convince me that Clary is boring or that Alina is whiny, and you know what, byyyyyye. They’ve got a special place in my heart. But are there any other characters that you love that everyone else seems to hate? Let me know in the comments below! Maybe we both share an unpopular love.

14 responses to “Monday Musings: Unpopular Opinion: Clary Fray & Alina Starkov”

  1. Aurora Librialis Avatar
    Aurora Librialis

    “SUPPORTS OTHER WOMEN” This is everything. Thanks for feeding my soul.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. marydrover Avatar

      FOR REAL THOUGH. A guaranteed way to make me like any female character is if they support other female characters.


  2. March Reads – Mary Drover Avatar

    […] I do really enjoy the plot, though, and Clary continues to remain one of my favorite characters (which I know is an unpopular opinion, I don’t care, I also love Alina Starkov). This also does feel like a lot of build-up for a […]


  3. […] Mary Drover wrote a passionate defense of two of YA’s most unpopular heroines, Clary Fray and Alina Starkov.  […]


  4. acquadimore Avatar

    I love this post, I agree with everything you said. These two characters are realistic portrayals of (…brave) teenage girls who are facing terrible circumstances. I feel strongly about the fact that Alina isn’t actually whiny, because who wouldn’t complain after being uprooted from everything they knew in their life and thrust in a place whose rules they don’t really know while also dealing with what read like a magical illness? Both her and Clary are unfairly hated.


    1. marydrover Avatar

      RIGHT?! Alina has every right to complain, and I’d like to see anyone who thinks she’s whiny react differently in her situation.

      They really are! Glad to find a fellow Clary & Alina lover!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. In Defense of “Guilty Pleasures” – Mary and the Words Avatar

    […] you enjoyed this and actually like Shadowhunters, I also wrote about why I love Clary Fray so much! (Spoiler: it’s because she’s the […]


  6. Greek Mythology Tag! – Mary and the Words Avatar

    […] wrote a post about how much I love Clary Fray (and Alina Starkov) because I am sick to death of reading about how people think […]


  7. Favorite Female Characters – Mary and the Words Avatar

    […] talked before (and repeatedly) about why Clary Fray is one of my faves, so this shouldn’t come as even a little of a shock. We first meet Clary in Cassandra […]


  8. A Love Letter to Clary Fray – Mary and the Words Avatar

    […] It should, honestly, also come as no surprise that I love Clary Fray. Not only have I already written something of a love letter to Clary, I’ve talked about why the term guilty pleasures bothers me so much, which is something many […]


  9. Laura Prince Avatar
    Laura Prince

    I have no idea why people don’t like these characters. I love them. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mary Drover Avatar

      It blows my mind! Shadowhunters is truly one of my favorite series ever, and Clary is someone I aspire to be. She has so much goodness & hope in her heart, much like Alina! There’s been a resurgence of the “ugh Alina why” people since the show premiered, and I just don’t get it. She’s such a fantastic character!


  10. karen Avatar

    i love this post with my life. Clary is my fav character ever, and i love how real she is. she developed her avilitys in a realistic way and is so talented. she just entered this new world and fought bravely. she almost has no time for training and stoped a war TWICE. she cares even for the evil ones and the ones that no one gives a crap about. shes kind, loyal, beautiful, talented, Smart, badass. shes anher Angel and i love.
    about Alina, i just started shadow and bone. as i read in this post shes real and powerfull, im Loving her already

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mary Drover Avatar

      Clary is truly one of my favorite characters ever written, even outside of the Shadowhunters universe, and you’ve nailed all the points why! I hope you enjoy Alina just as much!


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