City of Bones is plagiarism
After the publication of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, young adult literature once again became a viable genre. New fantasy fiction became popular, one of these series being The Mortal Instruments, written by Cassandra Clare. It’s an elaborate series with incredible fantasy elements and fleshed-out characters that has gripped millions of readers.
Too bad the series is allegedly plagiarized. Clare started writing under the moniker Cassandra Clare in a Harry Potter fan base. She was popular in those circles because of her fan fiction, The Draco Trilogy, which paired Draco and Ginny from Harry Potter — a moody bad boy paired with a feisty redhead. Do the characters sound familiar to those from The Mortal Instruments?
Of course, this similarity isn’t inherently bad. Basing a story off of characters that have already been written about is not a crime. It traverses into gray areas, though, when an author’s characters are based off of interpretations of another author’s characters that have already been used in another franchise.
It gets worse. One day, Harry Potter fans awoke to find Clare’s story removed from the Internet. Slowly, the news got around: Huge chunks of her story had been copied and pasted from other works that weren’t even Harry Potter. The characters were hers, but the witty, snappy writing that her readers fell in love with was not her own.
Fan fiction is a gray area for copyright anyway, because the source text is someone else’s work. Some authors have spoken out against fan fiction based on their works, but J.K. Rowling is not one of those authors. She has made it clear, though, that she doesn’t want money being made from Harry Potter fan fiction. And while what Clare did with The Draco Trilogy was wrong, she wasn’t making money off of the Harry Potter series or the other books she had allegedly plagiarized from — until she published The Mortal Instruments.
When her first book, City of Bones came out, Clare’s fan fiction readers were excited, until they actually started reading the book and experienced déjà vu. The protagonist Clary was Clare’s interpretation of Ginny in The Draco Trilogy; Jace was her Draco interpretation; Luke was her idea of Lupin and some of the writing seemed lifted off of the pages of her fan fiction, most of which she had allegedly plagiarized from other sources. Now she is making money from a series based off of fan fiction that was based not only off of Harry Potter but of other source material she liberally borrowed from.
With a movie now out, this woman keeps making money with recycled writing and characters that are not even hers, and she won’t listen to anyone against her. Authors who plagiarize do not deserve the profits and acclaim that Clare has received, and definitely not the promotion of her work in the form of a major motion picture.