- For details about his other identity, go to Brother Zachariah's page.
|Full name:|| James Carstairs |
Ke Jian Ming
|Significant Other/s:||Tessa Gray (ex-fiancé)|
|Mother:||Ke Wen Yu|
|Relatives:||Elias Carstairs (uncle)|
|Hair color:|| Black |
Silver (while ill)
|Eye color:|| Dark |
Silver (while ill)
|First appearance:||Clockwork Angel|
|Latest appearance:||Clockwork Princess|
- "There's nothing you could have done that would cause me to cease loving either of you. Will is myself, my own soul, and if I am not to have the keeping of your heart, then there is no other I would rather have that honor."
- —Tessa and Jem, Clockwork Princess
James "Jem" Carstairs is a Shadowhunter and a former Silent Brother. He was once an orphan living in the London Institute, along with his parabatai, Will Herondale. He was engaged to Tessa Gray, who he has recently reunited with.
Jem was born in Shanghai, China. He is of Chinese and British descent. His father was an Englishman and his mother a Chinese woman, both were Shadowhunters. He was raised in the Shanghai Institute that was run by his parents and lived there until their murder. He speaks both English and Mandarin.
His mother was responsible for finding and killing the offspring of a Greater Demon called Yanluo, in the town of Lijiang. Yanluo never forgot and found a hole in the wards that allowed it to tunnel into the Institute. The demon killed the guards and captured the Carstairs family. It tortured his parents by feeding Jem demon poison in front of them and making him delirious and start hallucinating. The entire time his mother called to him, using his birth name, Jian. On the second day, Jem only heard his mother calling for him, as his father has been killed. The Shanghai Enclave broke into the Institute but found both of Jem's parents dead.
They rescued Jem and brought him to the Silent Brothers who tried to cure him, but could not fix his body's dependence on demon poison. He became addicted to the demon blood and he would die without regular doses of it, but it only prolonged his death. It was slowly killing him, and there is no cure.
Jem first meets Tessa when she walks into his bedroom after hearing him playing the violin, he mistakes her for Will at first but he doesn't seem to mind when he finds out it's her. The two of them talk for a while, mainly about losing their parents. Will tells her to go and leave him alone when Jem bursts into a fit of coughing.
While inspecting The Dark Sisters house, Will and Jem find a clockwork automaton, wrapped in human flesh with the initials 'dQ' engraved on the metal.
When Tessa runs off into the London Institute after being upset by Will, Jem finds her and takes her for a walk. He takes her to a bridge that isn't visited that often because it doesn't have a great view, he tells her that this is his favourite place to visit when he needs to get away. They are suddenly attacked by two clockwork people, one of them being the Dark Sister's coachman. Jem fights them off, but becomes ill and starts coughing when suddenly they are attacked by a whole army of the clockwork people. He and Tessa make it back to the Institute, by the time they get there Jem is extremely ill and won't respond to Tessa. Tessa cannot open the Institute doors because she is not a Shadowhunter and so the two of them are attacked by the clockwork army. Will and the other Shadowhunters come out just in time and kill the clockwork army, some of them escaping. However, Jem is injured and is taken back into the Institute.
Jem is treated and has to rest in bed, however, Will tells Tessa that Jem would like to speak with her. He tells her not to blame herself and then explains that he is addicted to demon blood and becomes ill when he needs more of it.
Jem shows Tessa the silver powder made from the demon blood called Yin Fen that satisfies his body's need for demon blood. Will buys the drugs for Jem, because Jem doesn't not want to buy it himself, guilty of the fact that he needs the drugs in the first place. Without the drug, his natural Shadowhunter powers are weakened until he takes more of the drug. Jem also has said that he takes as little of the drug that he can as possible. Tessa notices that after taking the drug, Jem's face seems to have a light flush to it and his eyes seem brighter and that the powder has a sweet smell to it, as she accidentally knocks the box where Jem keeps the drug over while she and Jem are kissing. It is presumed that Jem snorts or sniffs the drug as opposed to smoking it as Will says that the smell of burning Yin Fen that a pack of werewolves were taking as sweet-sour scent to it as opposed to just the regular sweet smell. Jem witnesses the werewolves dying from taking too much of the drug, and simply stands back and watches frightened. It is unknown how long the drug will take to take it's final effect on Jem.
While the Shadowhunters are attacking Alexei de Quincey's clan, Axel Mortmain visits the Institute. Will and Jem go out to hear what he has to say. He tells them the location of the remaining Dark Sister that is supposedly going to help the Magister raise his clockwork army. The two of them leave immediately, although Jem is unsure whether it's the right thing to do.
When they arrive they are attacked by the Dark Sister. She uses her powers to collapse the building around them but they manage to kill her. Jem grabs a cat that has been locked up in a cage. Once they have escaped they realize that it must have been all a trap and that Tessa and the group are in trouble. Will rides on ahead of Jem and begins attacking the clockwork army. Jem arrives a little later and helps Will until the rest of the Shadowhunters arrive.
Jem, Will and Tessa visit the York Institute to find out more about Mortmain's history and why he is determined to kill Shadowhunters. Jem gives Tessa the Carstairs family ring as an engagement ring so she can pretend that she is a mundane who is preparing to Ascend and become a Shadowhunter. They meet Aloysius Starkweather who shows them his spoils of war from killing Downworlders, making Tessa faint after seeing heads and body pieces of warlocks.
Jem proposes to Tessa, she accepts and he gives her his jade necklace as an engagement present. Sophie Collins is happy for them, because although she previously had liked Jem, she wants him to be happy.
It is revealed after a fight that Jem has been taking twice as much of the drug to make Tessa believe that he is getting better. Jem becomes extremely ill, and there is no more yin fen for him, due to Mortmain stealing it all; Mortmain blackmails Tessa into doing her binding until she does what he want: transform in John Thadeus Shade.
Later, after Will goes out to find Tessa, Jem falls more ill and tells everyone that it's over, meaning that they should stop searching for a cure. It is thought that Jem died because Will's parabatai rune was broken and he felt their connection die.
It is revealed that he became a Silent Brother at the end of the book, and he is in fact Brother Zachariah. And as Brother Zachariah, he meets Tessa once a year in the Blackfriars Bridge.
At last, 133 years later, they found a cure for his disease and he becomes mortal again, going with Tessa to explore the world.
Jem comes across as being kind and quite quiet, despite his bad past. He seems gentle and seems to be an unlikely Shadowhunter. However, he is a good fighter and extremely intelligent. He doesn't like to have people worrying about him and is especially secretive about his 'illness'. Will Herondale is usually the one to help him out and he tells Tessa Gray not to tell anyone how ill Jem was when she saw him become sick.
Jem is described as being quite pale and having odd bright silver colored hair, like an untarnished shilling. His eyes are said to be the same silver but with a gentle curve that hints at his parentage, and he has a fine-boned angular face, with a slight curve of his eyes. He looks youthful, partially because of his slightness. He is also tall, very slender and handsome too.
- Superhuman Strength
- Superhuman Agility
- Superhuman Stamina
- Superhuman Coordination
Silent Brother AbilitiesEdit
- Speaking without using their mouth
- Stele: Jem uses a stele to draw runes on his skin for healing, etc.
- Blade: Jem keeps a blade hidden in his cane.