It has been a long time since I first read The Mortal Instrument series so my memory of Maryse Lightwood from the books is pretty hazy but I remember her being a lot more motherly. Perhaps motherly is the wrong word, I don’t know but it’s the one which fits the best. However, the show’s version of Maryse has been decidedly different. This Maryse has had the weight of the world on her shoulders and it shows. She’s tired, she’s frightened, and she’s alone.
The book never seemed particularly interested in explaining why Maryse and Robert Lightwood followed Valentine and so far the show hasn’t done much better in that respect. It would be easy to say they did it because they hated Downworlders, but I suspect it had more to do with their unhappiness with the Clave. That doesn’t mean Maryse likes or even respects the Downworlders. From everything they’ve shown it’s quite obvious she has no use for vampires, seelies, warlocks, werewolves, or any of the other folks who inhabit that world.
When the show first premiered Maryse was still desperate to convince the Clave that the Lightwoods were no longer sympathetic to Valentine and that they were loyal to the Clave. She was so desperate it ended up affecting her relationships with her children because any sign of them getting out of line could mean untold hardships would be inflicted on her family. So in an effort to protect them, she went to the extreme. I can’t say I wouldn’t have done the same thing if I felt that my family’s safety was in jeopardy.
Unfortunately, by adopting such a rigid demeanor Maryse ended up alienating herself from everyone she loved and discarding people like Luke who had once considered themselves to be family. But then her eldest son went and fell in love with a Downworlder. Alexander, the one Lightwood who had shown every intention of following in his parent’s footsteps and who held the Clave above all else, had fallen in love with the High Warlock of Brooklyn Magnus Bane. And just like that her carefully constructed walls began to crumble.
By the time the dust settled Maryse realized for the second time she had to rebuild her life from the ground up. Except this time it appears that she has learned from her mistakes. Instead of pushing her children away she’s embracing them. Maryse is letting Alec spread his wings without her constant interfering. She’s starting to realize how her actions or lack thereof have assisted in creating an environment where Isabelle would become an addict. And she knows that she did Luke wrong. She knows that Downworlder or not, Shadowhunter or not, it is our actions and how we treat others that matter. Maryse Lightwood has a lot of growing to do and while she has taken her first furtive steps she still has a long way to go.