herondalectable said: I have a couple questions about a very important character… Church. The most important is, of course, HOW IS THIS CAT STILL ALIVE?! Is he immortal? If so, how did he become immortal? Was it the Dark Sisters or Magnus? I he somehow tied to Jem’s life force? Also, in now Magnus brought him to New York, but how did he wind up at the NY Institute? Magnus always seems to want a cat, so why didn’t he just keep Church? Was Church too moody for him? Thanks for all the cats to love!
Church is all I LIVE FOREVER. VICTORY DANCE.
I’ve been asked about Church so often it’s on my FAQ page.
"The necromantic magic practiced on him by the Dark Sisters has made him immortal."
(The FAQ page actually answers a ton of questions. I recommend checking it out.)
Church will live forever. One day he will inhabit space.
Church doesn’t really care if most people live or die, except Jem. He may remember Jem saved his life. He is not, however, tied to Jem in any magical way.
Magnus actually only has the two cats whose names we know, Chairman Meow and The Great Catsby. He spends The Bane Chronicles and TID mostly catless. He probably suspects Church might try to kill him, which is true.
We will eventually find out how Church wound up at the NY Institute. Patience!
itsveritylove said: I want to thank you for writing such beautiful books, but I do have one question regarding Clockwork Princess. Tessa ends up with Will until the epilogue during which she rekindles her romance with Jem. I could never wrap my head around the fact that she seems to be in love with two people. Her relationship with Jem always seemed to be simply a friendship to me. Is this something you believe: it is possible to be in love with two people? Or did I misunderstand something in the books?
Thank you for your kind words about the books. As for Jem and Tessa having simply a friendship, here is the “bedroom scene” from Clockwork Prince. I thought it might be fun to do a sort of DVD commentary in brackets.
“Tessa,” he said. She looked up at Jem. There was nothing steady or reliable about his expression. [Here Tessa is realizing that she is not thinking of Jem as a steady, reliable friend, but as something else completely. She’s realizing she has feelings for him, and not friendship feelings.] His eyes were dark, his cheeks flushed. As she raised her face, he brought his down, his mouth slanting across hers, and even as she froze in surprise, they were kissing. Jem. She was kissing Jem. Where Will’s kisses were all fire, Jem’s were like pure air after a long time of being closed up in the airless dark. His mouth was soft and firm; one of his hands circled the back of her neck gently, guiding her mouth to his. With his other hand he cupped her face, running his thumb gently across her cheekbone. His lips tasted of burned sugar; the sweetness of the drug, she guessed. His touch, his lips, were tentative, and she knew why. Unlike Will, he would mind that this was the height of impropriety, that he should not be touching her, kissing her, that she should be pulling away.
But she did not want to pull away. Even as she wondered at the fact that it was Jem she was kissing, Jem making her head swim and her ears ring [They are kissing and Tessa is physically reacting. She desires Jem. She is turned on by kissing him!] she felt her arms rise as if of their own accord, curving around his neck, drawing him closer.
He gasped against her mouth. He must have been so sure she would push him away that for a moment he went still. Her hands glided over his shoulders, urging him with gentle touches, with a murmur against his lips, not to pause. Hesitantly he returned her caress, and then with greater force—kissing her again and again, each time with increasing urgency, cupping her face between his burning hands, his thin violinist’s fingers stroking her skin, making her shiver.
His hands moved to the small of her back, pressing her against him; her bare feet slipped on the carpet, and they half-stumbled backward onto the bed.
Her fingers wound tightly in his shirt, Tessa drew Jem down onto her, taking the weight of him onto her body with the feeling that she was being given back something that had belonged to her forever, a bit of her that she had missed without knowing she was missing it. [This is an intensely profound feeling. She feels as if she is being completed by being with Jem in a loving, sexual way. This is more than desire; it’s eros, love and desire.] Jem was light, hollow-boned like a bird and with the same racing heart; she ran her hands through his hair, and it was as soft as she had always in her most buried dreams thought it would be [Here, we find out that Tessa has previously fantasized about what it would be like to touch Jem in an amorous way. She’s wondered about touching his hair. She’s longed for him.] like pinfeathers between her fingers. He could not seem to stop running his hands over her in wonder. They traced their way down her body, his breath ragged in her ear as he found the tie of her dressing gown and paused there, with shaking fingers.
His uncertainty made Tessa’s heart feel as if it were expanding inside her chest, its tenderness big enough to hold them both inside it. She wanted Jem to see her, just as she was, herself, Tessa Gray, with none of the Change on her. She reached down and undid the tie, sliding the dressing gown off her shoulders so that she was revealed before him in only her white batiste nightgown.
She looked up at him, breathless, shaking her loosened hair out of her face. Propping himself over her, he gazed down, and said again, huskily, what he had said in the carriage before, when he had touched her hair. “Ni hen piao liang.”
“What does it mean?” she whispered, and this time he smiled and said:
“It means that you are beautiful. I did not want to tell you before. I did not want you to think I was taking liberties.”
She reached up and touched his cheek, so close to hers, and then the fragile skin of his throat, where the blood beat hard beneath the surface. His eyelashes fluttered down as he followed the movement of her finger with his eyes, like silvery rain.
“Take them,” she whispered. [Jem waited for her consent, and Tessa gave it enthusiastically. She absolutely wants to be with him this way. There is no indication she feels anything remotely like hesitation or lack of enthusiasm.]
He bent down to her; their mouths met again, and the shock of sensation was so strong, so overpowering, that she shut her eyes against it as if she could hide in the darkness. He murmured and gathered her against him. They rolled sideways, her legs scissoring around his, their bodies shifting to press each other closer and closer still so it became hard to breathe, and yet they could not stop. [It’s not “Jem couldn’t stop.” It’s “They couldn’t stop.” They are desperate with longing for each other.] She found the buttons on his shirt, but even when she opened her eyes, her hands were shaking almost too hard to undo them. Clumsily she worked them free, tearing the fabric. [She’s ripping his shirt off!] As he shrugged the shirt free of his shoulders, she saw that his eyes were lightening to a pure silver again. She had only a moment to marvel at that, though; she was too busy marveling at the rest of him. He was so thin, without Will’s cording of muscle, but there was something about his fragility that was lovely, like the spare lines of a poem. Gold to airy thinness beat. Though a layer of muscle still covered his chest, she could see the shadows between his ribs. The pendant of jade Will had given him lay below his angular collarbones.
“I know,” he said, looking down at himself self-consciously. “I am not— I mean, I look—”
“Beautiful,” she said, and she meant it. “You are beautiful, James Carstairs.”
Tessa is wildly attracted to Jem. It’s there on the page. Characters don’t lie or hide things in their own thoughts. When Clary kisses Simon, we know what she thinks. City of Ashes, when Clary and Simon make out:
This was the first real long kissing session she’d ever had—and it wasnice, she told herself, safe and pleasant and comfortable. Of course, she’d kissed Jace, on the night of her birthday, and that hadn’t been safe and comfortable and pleasant at all. It had been like opening up a vein of something unknown inside her body, something hotter and sweeter and bitterer than blood.
That is what it looks like when in fact, you just love someone as a friend but you’re trying to make it work as something more. It’s pleasant. It’s comfortable. It’s boring. You can’t help comparing it to something that actually was passion. You can’t help noticing the difference.
Tessa never does that. She never compares kissing Jem unfavorably to kissing Will. She loves them both. She desires them both. You can see it in the scene above, which is part of why I thought the scene was important and picked it to DVD commentary on — before Clockwork Prince was published, one of my publishers actually requested the scene be removed. It was “too racy” and Jem was “too nice” to do something like that. I wrote back:
“There is one thing I did want to address and that was your heartfelt plea to take out the Jem and Tessa “bedroom scene.” After some thought, I did leave it in, and here’s my heartfelt plea as to why it should remain.”
I won’t inflict you with the page-long letter that came after, but it was convincing enough, I guess. I got to keep the scene and I’ve always been glad. I think of it as a piece of absolute proof that Tessa desires Jem and loves him, not just as a friend.
So, you’re not misunderstanding anything. It’s just that the narrative that we’re fed from the time we’re old enough to watch a Disney movie is that there is only one true love for anyone. So people twist their brains into pretzels trying to figure out which one of the boys Tessa loves better when the story is about how she loves them both and there is no “better.” (Glamourweaver on tumblr made a great post recently about readers saying that they read the Tessa and Jem scenes and just mentally substituted Will’s name in because that was what they preferred — and I’ve certainly heard from people who’ve said “I just skipped all the Tessa and Jem scenes; now I’m confused.” I mean, that would definitely lead to confusion! I can’t help you if you skip big portions of the book. They’re there for a reason. It works the other way ‘round, too, if you skip all the Will and Tessa bits.)
Not that I am suggesting you did that, person who asked this question! I absolutely blame the narrative that people — especially women — can only have one real “best” love in their life. It’s such a pervasive myth in media that it’s very hard to escape. People literally cannot believe that you can be in love with more than one person at a time, or even in a lifetime. But it happens, all the time.
The goal of the Clockwork series was to show that you could love more than one person, that different people could be right for you, that you could have more than one soulmate, and it they could both still be great romances. (I mean, no idea if I succeeded, but that was the idea.)
Every phrase in the Clockwork series is carefully picked to emphasize the story I was trying to tell, which was about a different kind of love triangle, one in which every love was equal. Jem loves Tessa, Tessa loves Jem, Tessa loves Will, Will loves Tessa, Will loves Jem, Jem loves Will. People ask me all the time if I’m a Wessa or a Jessa shipper. I respond “Yes.” I absolutely do not have a preference between them. I constructed the whole story knowing I never could have one. If I ever had found myself preferring one, I would have backtracked and worked to fix whatever I had done wrong to make myself feel like that.
It still amazes me that I get this question, the one that suggests that Tessa has only friendly feelings for Jem, given the passionate make-out sessions between them and the times Tessa doesn’t just say, but thinks, that she’s in love with Jem. I think it is because the narrative that we are fed by media is that Love, with a capital L, has to be fraught and destructive and catastrophic and painful. Jem and Tessa’s love is passionate but also not very painful until the end: they rarely fight, or hurt each other. He makes her feel good about herself.* So I think when people are fighting hard against the idea that Tessa just loves them both equally, which we are societally conditioned not to want to believe, they look at this relative lack of conflict and go “Oh, just friends, then!”
But we don’t really make out with our friends or tear their clothes off or fantasize about what their hair might feel like if we got to touch it. We really don’t. We don’t agree to marry them, either. Tessa wouldn’t have agreed to marry Jem if she wasn’t in love with him. She thinks that it would have been dishonorable — and as I said, characters don’t lie in their thoughts.
She loved Jem, too—loved him even more now than she had when she had agreed to marry him.
*No disrespect to Tessa and Will’s love. It is also healthy, it’s just truly f-ed by circumstances leading to Drama during Prince and much of Princess.
I’m pasting this in above a reblog of a very similar question I got about a year ago, just to give a sense of patterns in questions. It doesn’t mean I don’t get the same question from people who believe Tessa loved Jem better and that Will got done down: I get those, too. And they come in about equal numbers, so in some ways I consider that a sign that I did actually accomplish what I set out to do. :)
* * *
I was wondering what your takes on Tessa’s love for Will vs. her love for Jem were? I always imagined that she loved Jem much in the same way Will loved Jem — like that of an old friend, a close friend; someone that they would never ever want to disappoint, hurt, or let go of. I imagine that’s why she married him. But with Will, she had all the enigma, the crazy, emotional, unrequited love that most fairytales envelop. Keep in mind, I’ve just started Clockwork Princess, so that book may answer my questions. I just wanted to ask, am I on the right track with my reasoning? And what are your thoughts — what were they when you were developing the story? — chrissyrebekah
Jem and Tessa had a relationship that included intense romantic and sexual desire. For instance, in one scene in CP Jem and Tessa make out wildly in a carriage and are like, Uh-oh, we need a CHAPERON, stat! As in: we cannot keep our hands off each other and need someone else to pull us apart!” In Princess they again passionately hook up, this time on a floor, and finally decide that they have to get married not in a month but the next day. They live in a society where you’re really not supposed to have sex until you’re married. You do the math!
My take on the Will/Tessa and Jem/Tessa relationship is this: just as I did not want to write as if there was only one possible model for a love triangle, I didn’t want to write as if there was only one possible model for romance overall.
We see a lot of one kind of romance: the kind with angst, high drama, the love where you can’t tell if it’s requited because he’s so mean/so mysterious/you’re an owl and he’s a fish and you live such different lives and bicker all the time anyway. Will and Tessa have that. You say fairytale love: you can call it that, or High Romantic Love as I think of it, or whatever you want to call it.
Jem and Tessa had/have a kind of love that readers don’t often see featured in books. It didn’t hurt all that much (the shadow of Jem’s death notwithstanding), it made Tessa feel great about herself, it was healthy and awesome. It wasn’t forbidden. That doesn’t make it lesser. (Nor does it make it more — since circumstances were conspiring to make the love she and Will had painful; I’m sure their love was easy and healthy and awesome later too.) But as we are conditioned to see romance and pain as the same thing, I think that can read to some people as “she couldn’t really love both boys equally.”
Books are about bad things happening to people: the road trip that goes wrong, the choir rehearsal that goes wrong, the zombie apocalypse that can’t possibly go right. The romances in books are usually the ones that go wrong, and usually for good reason. Books are about conflict. Elizabeth Bennet couldn’t meet Mr Darcy and think “What a lovely chap and so handsome also” because they’d be married in twenty pages and the book would be over.
Therefore because Tessa and Will’s love is the one that goes horrifically awry at the end of Prince, people are conditioned to see that as a sign that they will be together. I knew that: it’s one of the things I was playing around with in writing this triangle.
One of the things I talk about a lot in these posts is reader expectations: readers are conditioned to expect specific things from stories simply because they’ve seen them so many times before; to play around with reader expectations, as I was trying to do, you have to kind of be aware of what plot events signal what. I knew that Will and Tessa’s love is f***** at the end of Clockwork Prince and that people would see it as the likeliest pairing precisely because it was f***. That the easiest way to read it would be “This is the story of Will and Tessa’s love and Jem is an obstacle.” Except I also wanted to make it really clear that Jem and Tessa did love and desire each other because I didn’t want to wrap up the triangle in a traditional way; I didn’t want readers to be able to see any traditional way out of it. Thus Jem and Tessa have quite a lot of torrid scenes together, enough so that when one of my publishers read the Jem/Tessa bed scene in Prince, they said “Tone this down!” (And I said: “Shan’t!”)
I will say one thing, which that while I feel there are different types of romantic love, I also feel that different people can be right for you at different times of your life. Many people who get married a second time marry very different people from their first spouses, and feel it’s right for them at this time in their lives, because in many ways, as you live your life, you become a different person than you were.
That was part of the happy ending I was writing: I think both boys are good for and good with Tessa, but that the younger Tessa was best suited to wild and unpredictable and spontaneous Will—who shares her dreams and love for literature—and that the older Tessa is best suited to introspective, thoughtful, graceful Jem, who has always taken the long view, and who is one of the few people in the world who understands the burden of her immortality and how she has learned to accept it with grace, because he has done the same.
So I feel like—Tessa loved both Jem and Will, and she loved them both romantically, and I do not value either love more or less. I wanted to say: both kinds of love are beautiful.