Harry Shum Jr.: All of Magnus Bane’s best moments in ‘Shadowhunters’
Magnus Bane (Harry Shum Jr.) is a centuries-old warlock with a whole lot of flair on the television show Shadowhunters. On the surface, Magnus is glamorous, mysterious, and hot as hell (pun intended?). His eccentric taste in clothing and affinity for guyliner positions him as the most stylish of all the characters on Shadowhunters, yet he is so much more than just a fashion icon.
Underneath all the glitter and the allure of his magic, Magnus is a dynamic character with depth & complexity that can’t be beat. Initially, he serves as the love interest of young Shadowhunter Alec Lightwood (Matthew Daddario), but it isn’t long before Magnus garners the spotlight all by himself.
People everywhere love this character, and so do we! In the words of Alec Lightwood, “Magnus is beloved”. Join us while we dive into all the reasons why we stan Magnus Bane.
He’s a powerhouse.
It’s no secret that warlocks are crazy powerful, and Magnus is clearly in the league of the most powerful of them all. Seriously, is there anything this guy can’t do? He is the High Warlock of Brooklyn, after all; he’s basically a god to us mundanes.
Need to get somewhere fast? Just ask Magnus! Having Magnus around is awfully convenient for travelling, because with just the snap of his fingers, he’s able to open portals to anywhere, even other dimensions. We imagine this is quite a perk for his Shadowhunter boyfriend, Alec, and the rest of the gang. Can you imagine a bunch of Shadowhunters taking the New York subway to fight demons? Ridiculous.
Due to his warlock magic, Magnus moonlights as a healer, too. Whenever one of the Shadowhunters or the other Downworlders find themselves injured, they’re banging down Magnus’s door so he can heal them. Geez, guys, don’t you people have phones? Magnus always obliges, because he’s that kind of guy – but seriously, the man should really get himself an assistant. Sorcerer’s apprentice, anyone?
Magnus can kill demons with a twist of his hands, too. While it usually takes a whole squad of Shadowhunters to take down a demon, Magnus is able to wave his hands and get it done instantly. No wonder the Shadowhunters want to take him everywhere – he’s practically their own personal bodyguard. Like a magic Swiss Army Knife.
Fancy a little dinner after a demon fight? Never fear, Magnus is here! With just a snap of his fingers, Magnus instantiates an extravagant feast on the table in seconds. He showers Alec in luxury meals often, and we’re always so excited to see what culinary dreams he conjures up. Maybe he should start his own meal portal service! (As if a guy this powerful even needs to think about earning dough.)
Magnus is always saving everyone.
Has anyone else noticed that Magnus is always saving everyone, like all the time? He’s like Superman to the Shadow World’s Lois Lane!
When Luke (Isaiah Mustafa) gets bitten by the wolf pack’s alpha, bossy little Clary (Katherine McNamara), who barely knows Magnus at the time, demands the Shadowhunters take Luke to Magnus’s loft for healing. When they storm his apartment, does he turn them away? No. He leads the bloody and messy group into his perfect apartment and gets right to work.
We wish we had a little domestic warlock magic to auto-clean our homes, too.
Then after Clary finally manages to rescue her mother from Valentine (Alan van Sprang), Magnus comes to the rescue yet again. The actual warlock who concocted the potion responsible for Jocelyn’s (Maxim Roy) coma is killed by a shax demon and is unable to reverse the spell.
Magnus, being the incredible force that he is, manages to find the antidote to Ragnor’s (Adam Kenneth Wilson) spell and reverse it. He’s just that powerful.
Remember when Clave representative, Victor AlderJerk (Nick Sagar), is sent to New York and tortures Raphael (David Castro) with UV light for information on Camille’s (Kaitlyn Leeb) whereabouts? Ugh, we do. We also remember Raphael throwing himself on Magnus’ doorstep, begging for help. Magnus, the softie that he is inside, embraces Raphael and gets right to work fixing the vampire’s beautiful face.
Then Madzie (Ariana Williams), under the control of Valentine, storms into the Institute and wipes out everyone in her path. Fortunately for everyone, Magnus just happens to be in the building. He convinces the young warlock that she’s being manipulated by the evil Valentine and they leave together, seeking refuge elsewhere.
Little does Magnus know, this time, not only is he saving Madzie from villainous Valentine, but also himself. Thank the Angel for Madzie; a world without Magnus Bane is a world we don’t care to live in. Something tells us Alec Lightwood would agree.
In season 3 we are treated to some of the most self sacrificing Magnus moments to date. Jace (Dominic Sherwood) finds himself in trouble again, and Malec are left to try and save him. Again. Unable to free Jace from Lillith’s (Anna Hopkins) hold, Magnus does the only thing left that he knows might help.
He travels to Edom to visit the Prince of Hell, and Magnus’s daddy dearest, Asmodeus (Jack Yang). Asmodeus strikes a deal with Magnus: he’ll give Magnus the power he needs to free his lover’s parabatai, but for payment he’ll need to give up his own magic once the transaction is done.
Talk about Deadbeat Dad of the Year, Asmodeus. Ya don’t think you could have done this one thing for your son? Jeez.
Magnus, who is total Alec trash (same, Magnus, same) and would do anything for his boyfriend, agrees to the deal. When Magnus frees Jace from Lillith’s hold, do you think Jace says thanks? Nope! No one ever does!
Then finally, in the mother of all Magnus-to-the-rescue moments, the dude comes up with a solution to fix evil Jonathan’s (Luke Baines) colossal plan to kill everyone: he volunteers to go to Edom, stay forever, and hold the rift between the two dimensions closed.
This is the most self-sacrificing moment of any character in the show, as it means leaving everything and everyone he loves behind. It pained us greatly to watch Magnus leave his newly proposed to fiancé crying on the steps of Alicante.
These are just a few of the incredible sacrifices Magnus makes for the Shadowhunters and his fellow Downworlders throughout the series. When Malec get the spinoff they deserve, the Shadowhunters need to throw Magnus a thank-you party and break into song to show gratitude to the warlock for all the times he saved their lives. It’s really the least they can do!
Magnus’s commitment to Alec
If it wasn’t for Magnus, Alec would have (barf) married Lydia (Stephanie Bennett) and lived out the rest of his life miserably in the closet. Alec would have remained cranky for all of eternity and we’d have no Malec to feast our eyes on. So thanks, Magnus. The Shadowfam owes you a big one.
Magnus’s commitment to and relationship with Alec is one of the parts of Shadowhunters we enjoy watching the most. We’d still be all aboard the Magnus train even if there was no Alec, but let’s be honest, watching Magnus guide Alec through his emotions is absolutely lovely.
Maybe it’s because he’s so stinking old, but Magnus knows exactly when he should push Alec and when it’s better to pull back and let him figure things out on his own. Remember when Alec tells Magnus he’s marrying Lydia, and Magnus tricks Alec into coming over to his apartment for a little chat?
“I know you feel what I feel,” says Magnus, circling the Shadowhunter and breathing all over him while he magically messes with Alec’s heartbeat. Even though Alec leaves Magnus’s apartment without quite succumbing to the warlock’s charm in that moment, Magnus doesn’t give up. We all know how that ends: Malec end up with their lips all tangled together in the middle of Alec’s wedding. Hooray!
Yet, even after that dramatic public start to their relationship, Magnus then takes a back seat while Alec takes way too many episodes to find the courage to move things forward with the warlock. Magnus is acutely aware of the fact that Alec is afraid of his feelings for Magnus and waits patiently (far more patiently than we) for him to figure it all out.
Magnus also fends off interest from others, remaining completely faithful to Alec, regardless of circumstance. “I’m a one soul at a time kind of guy,” he tells Dot when she tries to make out with the warlock after a whiskey-fueled dance session. Insert standing ovation.
This is such an important moment for Magnus’s character development, thwarting as it does any stereotypes that bisexuals are promiscuous. Magnus is the exact opposite of that and his dedication and monogamous commitment to Alec is evident from the moment they lay eyes on each other, and we stan! Malec are total relationship goals.
Magnus stands up for what he thinks is right.
Even when it’s hard, Magnus always does what he believes is right, even if it means he could lose something as a result. Remember when Magnus helps Izzy (Emeraude Toubia) and Jace steal Alec’s stele to open the safe holding the Mortal Cup? Magnus knows that if Alec finds out, any chance the warlock has with the Shadowhunter will disintegrate – but he does it anyway because it’s for the greater good of everyone.
When Camille goes on a murderous rampage, despite his affection for her and their romantic history, Magnus makes the very difficult decision to turn the vampire over to the Clave. It’s painfully obvious Magnus doesn’t actually want to do so, but he swallows his feelings and gets it done anyways. Camille is bad news, Magnus. We’re not sure what you saw in her anyway.
Always putting others first, Magnus spares no thought for his own safety. “I don’t care what happens to me,” he tells Clary before the enter the Institute. It’s unclear here whether he’s talking about saving Alec, or the Downworld, or even just Clary herself, but it doesn’t matter. In that moment, Magnus “Selfless” Bane is a hero!
Magnus is relatable
Clearly, Magnus Bane is a lot of things, but at the end of the day, the best thing about him is that he’s so relatable. Forget about the magic and how glamorous he is for a moment; forget that he’s a bazillion years old and has done it all. When you strip all that away, Magnus is just like the rest of us: vulnerable, emotional, funny . . . and he just wants to be loved.
When Magnus learns that Alec has been talking to Underhill (Steve Byers) about their relationship drama, his inner green-eyed monster sets in. He tells Alec he doesn’t want the Shadowhunter discussing their drama with Underhill, but it’s clear from the exchange that Magnus feels threatened by Underhill’s sex appeal.
Watching Magnus stumble through this scene as Alec adorably delights in calling his boyfriend out is heartwarming. One would think that, after centuries and 17,000 relationships, Magnus would have all the confidence in the world and be completely aware of just how much stock he holds – but no. In this moment his vulnerability is on display for all to see; Alec loves (and we love) every minute of it.
The unspoken words that hang between the warlock and the Shadowhunter in this moment echo sentiments that Magnus is worried maybe Alec doesn’t love him enough, and we swoon. Come on, Magnus. We know it took him a minute, but the boy is hopelessly devoted to you. We also recommend you take a moment and just look in the mirror. That might help the confidence just a bit!
Without even trying, Alec has the ability to bring out Magnus’s vulnerability often. When Alec “Chaos” Lightwood charges into Magnus’s loft shooting pent-up sexual energy from every orifice, Magnus tries to halt the Shadowhunter in his tracks. Magnus says he’s worried that, if they have sex too early on, Alec will be done and move on.
We later learn Magnus is terrified to expose his warlock mark to Alec, because loved ones before (namely his mother) rejected him for this very reason. Alec does a terrific job of reassuring him that he’s all-in, cat eyes or not, but that moment is utterly heartbreaking to watch. Imagine carrying that kind of pain with you for centuries.
At the end of the day, it’s clear Magnus just wants Alec to love him unconditionally. If that isn’t the most relatable thing about this dude, and probably Shadowhunters in general, then we don’t know what is. Magnus Bane: be still our beating hearts.