In Ashfur’s Defense… by Oakpool

Oakpool defends Ashfur. 

Many people are entirely against Ashfur, and I understand why. I don’t believe he’s totally misunderstood, I just think people don’t think about what he went through. First, we’ve never really seen couple angst in the books, even if it were about love triangles, no cat did ever lash out at the person they loved. Let’s look at it this way: Are warriors, trained to accustom to death, blood and war, really capable of dealing with an emotional issue between them and another cat? Most of the time, I’m pretty sure most of these warriors ignore it and focus on their tasks. Beside this, think of what romantic relationships are. We’ve all seen (as humans of course) people doing wild things for loved ones, and I’m sure you’ve done at least something crazy to please your crush/lover. Ashfur’s case is just one of many. He was really a cat who loved too much for his own good, which must’ve lead to personal issues, most likely self-esteem and depression. Some people, as I’m sure we’ve all seen, lash out instead of keeping it in. Ashfur really wasn’t insane, he just couldn’t keep himself quiet.
Now, let’s move onto why Squirrelflight leaving him would lead to personal issues. First, I think Ashfur really believed Squirrelflight loved him back, perhaps wanted to be more then friends; but when she left him without warning, it crushed him. It could’ve lead him to think he wasn’t good enough, that he wasn’t worthy of any kind of love. This could weigh on him with the death of his father and mother, most likely thinking he wasn’t able to save them, even if we did not see grief of any kind from him or his sister. All that results in self-esteem, which can go to darker places, like depression, anxiety and much, much more. Also, in the time he most possibly could’ve been experiencing all that I’ve previously anger, he could also be forming a dark rage, which depression can take a straight turn into.
So, yes, Ashfur was not the greatest character and he did not do the best things. Yes, he most likely did have mental problems. But this does not mean you should see him differently then you see Bluestar, for he did have most the reasons Bluestar had to fall into a spiraling depression. All that happened was he took a wrong turn and made a bad choice, while Bluestar dwelled alone.

Image Credit: Fox-Desert, DeviantArt

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53 comments

  • Tbh, I never hated Ashfur. But for the people that do, I would recommend reading this article! Very good!

  • Squirrelflight didn’t just leave without warning, she tried to let him down gently, and she never made a full commitment to him to begin with. Ashfur does not own her, and does not have the right to feel so betrayed by her leaving that he tries to kill her family to punish her. That’s more than a bad choice, that is four counts of attempted murder. I don’t think there’s any defense for that. 😛

  • There might be some leniency for the effects of depression and anxiety, but I feel that from my personal experience depression takes time to get to that point of violent anger, and it certainly doesn’t MAKE you do anything, even with those mood swings. And while one might explain Ashfur’s trying to murder Squirrelflight’s kits as the effects of depression and anger pent up for too long, I would also point out that his anger and murderous intentions started pretty soon after her initial rejection, in ‘Sunset’ when he plotted to kill Firestar.

    I’ve always been a bit confused by his being accepted into StarClan after he so blatantly tried to kill his leader and three innocent cats, but I suppose StarClan must allow that there was something unhinged in his mind. And I think honestly that it began before Squirrelflight’s rejection. His relationship with her in general was so clingy and unhealthy. He was so desperate to protect her, he treated her more like an object than another cat at times. The obsession built up over a long period of time, and I’m not sure what made him like that to begin with. It might have something to do with the losses he sustained over the course of his life, or as you said it might just be a general inability to deal with his emotions. I’ve never quite been able to understand Ashfur, but at the very least I’m glad StarClan could forgive him in the end. I hop that he works things out with the cats he hurt in StarClan and that he is able to be truly at peace.

  • I dislike Ashfur 😛
    Squirrelflight just said that she was a friend, she didn’t say that she would trash him. Ashfur got abit angry.
    I don’t see why he should go out and try to murder three innocent cats?? 😛
    Anyway, he was kind to Squirrel when he was younger and was Bramble’s good friend.
    Ashfur just doesn’t fit Squirrelflight’s personality to have a good relationship.

    Great article though, Oakpool!! 😀

  • I used to not like ashfur and call him mean names but later I started to understand. manly i did not like him because of what he did to bramblexsqurriell but when they brought the couple back i was so happy that i forgot about ashfur or at least how mad i was

  • I think he didn’t know that Hawkfrost was planning to kill Firestar with a fox trap🤔I don’t like him but I understand how he got crazy. At least Bluestar turned back to her heroic self(saving Fireheart from the dogs)

    • Ashfur told Squirrelflight in Long Shadows that he knew what Hawkfrost was doing and that he wanted Firestar to die to punish Squirrelflight.

  • One thing I do appreciate about Ashfur is that he had a legitimate reason for being evil. (Same with Mapleshade.) Not all of the other villains did. I don’t think he’s misunderstood, though. (Also, if you believe his actions are inexcusable (which I do), then Hollyleaf’s were just as bad. If not worse. First degree murder gets a harsher sentence than attempted. Don’t forget she tried to force her own mother into committing suicide too. That was . . . psychotic and wrong on a million levels.) It’s actually why I kind of agree with Ashfur being in StarClan. Yes, he did terrible things. Yes, you can’t justify them. However, I believe the Dark Forest is a place where cats go who are beyond insane and /want to continue/ killing others and being monsters. There’s almost no going back from it. (Unlike our judicial system, where you’re thrown in jail for a certain amount of time.) In the Warriors universe, there’s either heaven or hell. No in between, which he might fall under. Therefore, I like to think StarClan may accept cats who aren’t black-and-white, and be willing to forgive them, if they work on redeeming themselves and never do anything bad again. (Like Mudfur. He tried to overthrow WindClan, which could easily result in multiple deaths.) Ashfur has eternity to get better, even if we never see it. If Hollyleaf had died before redeeming herself, I could see her going to StarClan too. Now don’t get me wrong . . . I would love if the Erin’s had made him a major villain in the Dark Forest instead. That would be awesome. Since he’s no longer a major focus of a books, I don’t think it’s a big deal either way.

    • I think what Ashfur did was way worse than Hollyleaf. She killed a cat who had tried to murder her and who was going to reveal something that might have really bad reprocusions for a lot of cats. He tried to kill four cats who had never done anything wrong to him in order to punish a she-cat for breaking up with him, like she doesn’t have the right to decide who she wants to be in a relationship with. 😛 I don’t think there’s any shade of gray with Ashfur, either. He tried to murder four cats, never seemed to regret what he’d done, and thought he was totally justified in punishing someone for not wanting to be in a relationship with him.

      • True, Ashfur could have attempted to kill them again or commit another crime, so Hollyleaf is somewhat justified in murdering him. She was fueled by the exact same rage he was, in addition to a desperate need for revenge. So despite the fact that she hated him for exactly that reason (understandably, of course) they had it in common, ironically. 😛 Hollyleaf’s was more blind rage for a moment in time, one outburst and gone, whereas Ashfur’s grew over time and didn’t regret it, which is definitely worse. Again, trying to force your own mother into suicide is pretty sick, though. And for an even stupider reason than Ashfur. (Whenever a woman dies, the number one suspect is the husband, after all. Never heard of anyone killing their real mom because they found out they were actually adopted (though I’m sure it’s happened sometime in history.) Hey, if Ashfur had ended up being in the Dark Forest and fighting in the big battle, who would you want to kill him? 😉

        • Agh, forgot to reply to this. I don’t think it was so much revenge as self-preservation, but I see your point. But Hollyleaf’s revenge, if it was that, was mostly justified – she killed a cat who tried to murder her. Ashfur tried to kill cats who had done nothing wrong to him in order to get revenge for something that there is no excuse for trying to get revenge for. Squirrelflight had every right to leave him if she wasn’t happy in the relationship anymore – he has no excuse for trying to “punish” her for it. 😛 I agree that her trying to kill Leafpool is awful, but she did get better and try to make it up to her mother.

          Hmm… maybe Squirrelflight?

          • While I’ve never aggressively hated Ashfur, I agree Jayfrost that his actions are and always will be inexcusable. I don’t blame other people for trying to understand him and find some redeeming quality still, because I liked him as much as any reader before all the Squirrelflight crap went down, but at the same time I feel that no cat should feel this betrayed over a she-cat (or tom) deciding not to be with him (or her) in any scenario. I understand disappointment is a thing, I know heartbreak is real, but look at Crowfeather. He’s had his heart trampled on basically, but he doesn’t seem all that bitter about it. He just sucks it up and goes about his life. Maybe not the best example. There’s also Bumblestripe and Thrushpelt I guess. Examples of toms who respected the she-cats they loved and seemed to want what was best for them. They never expected anything. Ashfur’s love was entirely too selfish. He felt that Squirrelflight owed him something. And no she-cat owes a tom her heart if she isn’t willing to give it.

            • Thrushpelt and Bumblestripe are definitely good examples. Crowfeather certainly seems bitter to me – he moped over Leafpool so much that he neglected his son. 😛 But yeah, Ashfur reminds me too much of those guys you hear about who stab or shoot a girl because she refused to go out with him, because they feel like they’re entitled to a girl’s love.

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