'Shadowhunters': Alec Lightwood is a stark portrayal of the boundaries people can cross and the limitations they can overcome
it's not that difficult to deduce that the character played by Matthew Daddario has pretty much hunted his own demons while slaying supernatural forces of evil on the outside
The name Alec Lightwood might resonate some deep 'Malec' feels among fans of the 'Shadow' world, but regardless of the impressive impact the character has on fans of Freeform's fantasy show 'Shadowhunters', there is so much more to be inspired, amazed, and picked up from the eldest Lightwood sibling. Played by Matthew Daddario in the ongoing series, the character was created by Cassandra Clare in her widely popular young adult books, 'The Mortal Instruments'.
And now, on the brink of what might be the last season of the three-year-old show, it is remarkable how Alec Lightwood — with all of his suspicions, doubts, and insecurities — has evolved into a shining beacon of hope for the LGBTQ+ community, and pretty much anybody struggling with acceptance.
As an openly gay Shadowhunter, it is worth mentioning that Alec wasn't always the confident, strong person he is. He was, in fact, quite skeptical about coming out because their community initially shunned queer members. Right from his childhood, despite having grown up shrouded by love and care from both his parents — which is a rarity for the rest of the Shadowhunters — Alec still suffered from self-doubt and worried about acceptance as the realization of him being attracted to men dawned on him at an early age. Struggling with his sexuality, he spent a childhood hooting secret glances at fellow members of his sex, trying to be as discreet as possible, even from his sister Isabelle (Emeraude Toubia).
Agreed, coming across as the bold character he is now, makes his past seem a little too far fetched, but that only goes further to prove that no matter how dark situations might seem, there is always hope. Having his first male crush at the tender age of 11, Alec's life has been mostly about keeping his sexuality hidden — a struggle that is relatable even in the contemporary climate. The reason, why the character has grown to be so widely adored and deeply regarded in more recent episodes, is probably because Alec went through the milestone of officially coming out to his parents and introducing them to his current boyfriend, Magnus Bane (Harry Shum Jr.) and that's pretty legendary.
What is also remarkable about Alec is how his extremely personal opinions about fellow Shadowhunters, and his dynamic with them, also underwent a gradual change over the last three years. We meet Alec through Clary Fray's (Katherine McNamara) narrative and right from the start, he comes off as arrogant and a bit snobbish, frankly. In the initial phases of the show, he was pretty much a stubborn character, not ready to give people a chance at all. He saw Clary as a potential threat because of the troubles she had found herself in the midst off and even blamed her for disrupting the life and peace of other Shadowhunters.
The fact that his adopted brother, and the 'parabatai' his soul was linked with owing to Nephilim philosophy, was also quite taken with Clary didn't help much either, and something tells us it is this inherent insecurity about his sexuality and his fear of being shunned is what held him back from giving others a fair chance. But even with the world's scrutiny crashing on his person and people being not that openly accepting after he came out, he somehow found a way to be the bigger, better person.
It is quite possible that perhaps this was a result of Alec finally finding a home without inhibitions in the arms of Magnus Bane. Magnus' love, his unfiltered affection, and willingness to offer both unconditional support and guidance to Alec was bound to change the latter's cold perspective towards the planet.
But in the recent past, viewers have seen him follow not only Clary on her mission to retrieve The Mortal Cup, or rescue her captive mother, but also agree to help rescue her 'mundane' friend Simon Lewis (Alberto Rosende) — whom he hadn't trusted for the longest time.
Speaking of Clary, it is also noteworthy how she directly aided Alec in his final steps at coming out to his parents. Using her runic magic to create new runes, Clary helped Alec with the 'fearless' rune — something that allowed him to shed all his inhibitions and be able to directly walk up to his parents and come out about his sexuality.
That sounds exactly the kind of thing his other half, Magnus, would do, but that is just the beautiful dynamic of their relationship. On one hand, we have the flamboyant, snarky, stylish Magnus, unafraid to own his sexuality, while on the other hand, we have the dark, closeted, and toned down Alec who literally walks up to his parents and bares it all. Unflinching and undaunted. This is probably why him and Magnus together as Malec, have become such a worldwide phenomenon. There's no predicting these two, especially because they blend in so perfectly together.
So two and a half seasons later, it's not that difficult to deduce that the tall, lean, black-haired boy with piercing hazel eyes has pretty much hunted his own demons and fought his own internal wars while slaying supernatural forces of evil on the outside. Alec Lightwood might be armed with ancient runic magic, parabatai bond, and of course, the superhuman abilities that come from Nephilim philosophy, but take all of that out, and he is still one of the most enduring Shadowhunters of his time. It wouldn't be wrong to conclude that Alec is a stark portrayal of the boundaries one can cross and the limitations they can overcome, only if they allow the light of other loved ones to penetrate their soul, and with everything going in today's world, that is the kind of assurance we are looking for.