What Is "The Circle" On 'Shadowhunters'? This Group Of Demon Hunters Has Important Ties To Clary

One of the tough things about jumping into a show like Shadowhunters, the upcoming Freeform series about a seemingly average girl named Clary Fray who is drawn into a supernatural world, is that there's a ton of backstory to unfold from the preexisting book series, The Mortal Instruments. And while there are many lore questions that the show will have to answer, a major one will be: what is the Circle on Shadowhunters ? The answer to that isn't much of a spoiler, since it's a huge part of the Mortal Instruments backstory. But that answer will likely be revealed over the course of the show, so if you want to go into Tuesday night's premiere totally pure, don't read on. For everyone else, know that the Circle is the core of everything that will happen to Clary on Shadowhunters.

As explained in the Mortal Instruments books, The Circle of Raziel was a group of Shadowhunters — half-angels who fight half-demons called Downworlders — who decided to eliminate all of the Downworlders and other dark supernatural creatures that live in their secret world. This was all under the leadership of Valentine Morgenstern, whose father died at the hands of werewolves. But before they were able to carry out this "Uprising" in 1992, Valentine's wife, Jocelyn Morgenstern, informed the Downworlders of the evil plot and saved the peace agreement between the two peoples, resulting in the total defeat of the Circle.

But once she stopped Valentine, Jocelyn had to leave her fellow Shadowhunters behind to join the "mundane" world (that's Mortal Instruments talk for "Muggle," basically) in order to protect herself and her daughter, Clary. That's right: Valentine and Jocelyn? They're Clary Fray's parents.

While Clary grew up in the normal human world, the Circle was believed to be totally destroyed, thanks to Jocelyn's handiwork, and even Valentine was presumed dead. As Shadowhunters will show, that... may not be the case. When Clary's mother disappears at the beginning of the series, I think it's safe to assume that the work of the original Circle and her ex-husband might have something to do with it. And Clary's parentage is one of many reasons that the new, young, non-Circle Shadowhunters seek her out.

So without getting into too much potentially spoiler-y The Mortal Instruments territory, suffice it to say that the Circle is one of the key parts of Shadowhunters protagonist Clary's backstory, as well as her future.

Images: John Medland/Freeform (2)