You know what’s boring? Lazy character analysis that thinks one troubled hero automatically equates to another troubled hero. With that sort of analysis then every character who has ever had problems is just ‘the same’ as the previous ones. Or is it other things that make them them ‘the same?’ If we’re doing that, then Angel = Simon right (cause they are both vampires who like music - admittedly Simon’s is bad punk rock and Angel’s was Barry Manilow - but you see - ‘the same’), Batman = Wolverine, Harry Potter = Frodo, Hermione Granger = Thelma from Scooby Doo, and I guess to throw back to my favourites Angel Clare is the same as Darcy? Cause you know, they are both good men who kinda made some mistakes and try and make good in the end so, clearly…the same, right? No…I don’t want to talk about different circumstances, or actions, or reasoning’s, or level of mistakes - because that doesn’t matter. They are close enough that if you squint there are some similarities, so that’s good enough for me!
Ugh…it’s just lazy. ‘Will and Jace are related and were written by the same author and there are some similarities there, so clearly that’s it’ when in reality, if anyone looked a little deeper than just surface snark and good looks they would see two very, very different characters despite the fun similarities they have going on.
Will had a happy childhood until he left for the Institute after his sister was killed and he was cursed. Jace had a miserable childhood where he was routinely abused until he left for the Institute after believing that his father had been murdered. Will, believing he was under a terrible curse, routinely pushed people away and only allowed Jem to be close to him. Jace, being fostered with the Lightwood family, became part of the family - so much that they consider him another son, another brother and he considers them his family as well.
Are we seeing some differences already?
Personality wise - Jace doesn’t lie (he makes a point of mentioning that, even though he does lie a couple of times, of course. Honesty is his big thing) whereas Will had to lie out of necessity. He never truthfully represented himself since he was 12 years old to anyone, not even Jem.
Jace admits that sometimes when he feels bad about himself he will wilfully hurt the people he loves and doesn’t apologise (the conversation with Alec about Magnus), Will hurts people out of necessity to keep them alive and torments himself afterwards because of it. (That is not a criticism of Jace because everyone does it - I’m just trying to point out some differences.)
Are we comparing angst? Because if we’re doing that - Will thinks that anyone who cares for him will die and that since no one around him is actually dying, clearly he’s doing a good job and no one really cares. Jace’s angst comes from being told he was in love with his sister by the sociopath that is his father. As tragic as that situation was for Jace (and us readers) I’m not sure they measure up. If you were an outsider looking in, I’d think you’d say Jace got off easy for three books tbh! Now if you want to go COFA onwards…that’s more suitable angst for someone who is apparently the same character as Will because dreaming about and then actually stabbing your girlfriend while being haunted by your dead foster brother, before being possessed by a demon and reanimating your girlfriends demon brother matches up far more favourably. He may even have the edge now - beat that, Will Herondale!
Admittedly they both share the same sense of humour - but as we find out in Clockwork Prince, that is a Herondale trait that Will forced himself to possess…oh, and we also know that when they fall in love, it tends to be a one-time thing. Again, Herondale trait - if we’re going to hang them for it, then we should probably get rid of the whole line (if it wasn’t that most of them are dead already - seriously cursed family!)
So…if we’ve looked at their backgrounds and their personalities, what then? Ok - their love lives, right? Because Jace = Will and Clary = Tessa in this lazy thinking. I have a question - does Jace really love Clary? I’m serious - does he love her for who she is, or is it just a ‘she’s new - I kinda dig the red hair, the cool Rune vibe she’s got going…’ It’s a ridiculous question right? What if I was to swap Clary with a more sensible, bookish girl - you think he’d be interested? Because you see, when you say that Will and Jace are the same, you’re basically saying that Tessa and Clary are the same. Now maybe you want to look through the tags from a few nights ago to see the abuse that was getting thrown at Clary for not being like Tessa to see how ridiculous that statement is.
Will likes bookish girls who can live with him intelligence wise and understands the things he finds funny and who makes him laugh and dream and want to fix himself. Jace likes someone who exasperates him, and calls him on his BS and who is forgiving enough to not smack him around the head when he’s earned it and who he can be himself with - whoever that is. See, Jace is going through a bit of an identity crisis because he’s had a lot of people putting ideas about who he should be in his head, Will on the other hand, only has his own thoughts in his head about how he can’t let anyone get close enough to be who he really is.
I could go on about this, because to be honest - it really pisses me off. ‘Oh, they are so good looking and snarky so they are the same and I immediately judge everyone who thinks that jerks are all that matters.’ It’s lazy, and wrong and I get that not everyone likes complex characters who have a lot of layers and stuff going on (most of which I didn’t even mention!) but at least try and look beyond a few similar characteristics and lines and see what’s really there.
Ugh - this has become an essay, and I’m sorry - but I have seen so much crap making these same lazy comparisons that it really annoys me. I wish I could make a more reasoned post on it (and I might do that with quotes and the like, once I have time) but it seems to me that some people WANT to believe they are the same character and say it often enough hoping it makes it true. Here’s a hint - Jace isn’t Draco from the Draco trilogy, Will isn’t Jace - you do everyone (including yourself, because how can you enjoy the two series if you think you are just reading a rehash) a disservice by not realising it.