For today’s edition of our Unsung Heroes article series we are putting the focus back on Freeform’s Shadowhunters and with that, the character of Isabelle “Izzy” Lightwood. She’s a weapons specialist who excels in so many things at the Institute — many of these make her someone worth watching, but her real heroism also extends to something so much deeper than that.
Let’s put this in basic terms — while many Shadowhunters characters may possess superhuman or supernatural abilities, their biggest strengths come via their humanity. While they may be able to conquer demons and protect the world, none of this would be possible without their moral compass, their care for others, and their understanding of the extreme differences between right and wrong. Izzy encapsulates these elements in a way that very few other characters do. She understands how to help those close to her, whether it be Alec, Jace, or others, through difficult times in their lives. She’s outgoing, welcoming, and open in a way that others would not be in an untrusting world. Many of these sort of qualities are wonderful to see in a world that is often defined by its coldness.
What also makes a hero such is also their flaws and their setbacks. No one person is perfect, and if someone pretends to be that tends to mean they are hiding a greater secret. We’ve seen Izzy struggle many times over and one of the biggest examples of that was with the Yin Fen storyline. Addiction is a powerful thing and that storyline proved that no matter how powerful you are, there are still forces that can take you out and devastate you. With that in mind, there are also times in which you need to ask for help and that’s important. Real heroes cannot always permanently internalize; they have to find a way to reach out to others and understand just how okay that is. Working through difficulties not only makes you stronger, but it aids everyone around you and allows for a stronger, better world. Unity is something that any hero covets and seeks.
Without a great performer in the role, perhaps none of these traits would be anywhere near as apparent. Luckily, Emeraude Toubia is fantastic in every single scene as she finds a way to alternate the fearsome and vulnerable sides to Izzy. She is one of the most loyal, caring characters within the Shadowhunters world; yet, she also knows when there is a time to battle and is perfectly prepared for that. She is the perfect example of a character who knows the right time to fight and the right time to operate in peace.
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