Should Thistleclaw have gone to the Dark Forest? by Darkfang

Darkfang discusses whether or not Thistleclaw deserved to go to the Dark Forest

Hi guys, Darkfang here with my first article. This seems like a popular topic so I wanted to add some thoughts. I know I wasn’t the only one who, when reading Omen of the Stars, thought, “why is Thistleclaw in the Dark Forest?” Thistleclaw was the the antagonist in Bluestar’s Prophecy but, in my opinion, had never committed any huge crime, certainly nothing like Tigerstar or Brokenstar had. This got me thinking and thus, this article was born!

So, let’s start with possible reasons why Thistleclaw would go to the Dark Forest.

1. He was trained in the Dark Forest

In Crookedstar’s Promise we see Thistleclaw being trained in the Dark Forest and surely any cat that gets excited about learning how to kill deserves to be in the Dark Forest? Perhaps, however, not all cats who train in the Dark Forest go there with ill intentions. In Omen of the Stars we see plenty of Warriors training vicious moves in the Dark Forest with the hopes of becoming better Warriors. Whose to say that Thistleclaw isn’t doing the same thing?

2. He is a vicious Warrior

There are several occasions where we see an aggressive side to Thistleclaw. One that immediately comes to my head is the treatment of Tiny when the kit sets foot upon ThunderClan territory. There is no doubt that he was a little harsh, especially on a cat that posed little threat to the clan. Furthermore, Thistleclaw attacked Oakheart when he was found trespassing on ThunderClawn territory and caused some nasty wounds.

However, there are plenty of other cats throughout the Warriors series who protect their boundaries fiercely and do not end up in the Dark Forest. Many cats are injured or even killed in border skirmishes or battles, yet the killers never go to the Dark Forest. An example of this can be seen in Fading Echoes, when Russetfur takes one of Firestar’s lives in a battle over territory. Russetfur is then killed in that same battle by Lionblaze. Another example is when Hawkheart of WindClan kills Moonflower of ThunderClan in a battle. These cats all went to Starclan despite having killed a cat from another clan when defending territory.

3. Goosefeather’s Prophecy

One of the main reasons we dislike Thistleclaw is because Goosefeather tells Bluefur essentially that he cannot be trusted: “Beware a cat with blood on his paws.” Bluefur sees a vision of Thistleclaw with blood on his paws which turns out in reality to just be muddy water. Prophecy’s tend to always come true in Warriors so who are we to doubt this means bad things?

But, on the other hand, have Goosefeather’s prophecy’s always been that reliable? He was, after all, the one who caused a battle with WindClan which turned out to be unnecessary. Perhaps this is just another unreliable prophecy that he misread.

Reasons why Thistleclaw shouldn’t be in the Dark Forest.

1. He was a loyal Warrior

Thistleclaw undoubtedly didn’t like Bluestar. He made that very clear. Yet, when she became deputy and then leader, Thistleclaw remained loyal to ThunderClan and in fact died on a border control, defending ThunderClan territory. Although we don’t see much of him when Bluestar is leader, we would have likely heard if he tried to murder her or anyone else.

There have been many instances of disloyal warriors going to Starclan. The obvious example is Hollyleaf who killed a clanmate and then tried to get her own mother to eat deathberries. Furthermore, there was Ashfur who was involved in a plot which successfully took one of his leader’s lives. He then tried to murder four other clanmates. Then there was Mudclaw who tried to kill his own leader, Onestar, when he was demoted from being leader at the last minute.

In truth, we don’t really know what went on with Thistleclaw after Bluestar became deputy, so it is possible that he did do something dreadful.

2. He was a good father

Thistleclaw clearly loved Snowfur and was devastated when she died. He also made a massive effort to be in his son’s life, especially after Whitekit’s mother died. Thistleclaw looked after Whitekit when Bluefur was neglecting him, even though they were likely both experiencing grief for Snowfur. Thistleclaw continued to make an effort to be in his son’s life as he grew older.

Now Thistleclaw could be seen as a little harsh with his son’s training, like training him early in deadly battle moves. However, this could be because Thistleclaw wants Whitekit to be safe and to be able to defend himself. Also, if Thistleclaw sees these skills as essential in being a warrior – which he clearly does – it’s only natural for him to want to pass on these skills to his son so that he can be the best warrior he can.

3. He wasn’t a ‘bad’ cat

He wasn’t really a bad cat – not that we saw anyway. He didn’t kill anyone, even from another clan. He also thoroughly committed himself into warrior life and being a part of Thunderclan.

So, should Thistleclaw have gone to the Dark Forest? You can probably guess my answer already – no. I think he was a loyal warrior who never really did anything dreadful. We only ever saw the story from Bluestar’s point of view and because she didn’t like Thistleclaw, we, as the readers, automatically don’t like Thistleclaw. But, when I look at the facts, I struggle to know why he deserved to go to the Dark Forest. Anyway, what do you think? I’d love to know whether you think he belongs there or not! 🙂

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  • I’ve always loved Thistleclaw and characters like him who will never be considered the “main protagonist” or a “good” cat. Mudclaw, Russetfur, Blackstar, and Beetlewhisker are amoungst my favorite characters, and wonderful job on the article!

  • This is a really interesting article! I love a good morality discussion, so this might get a bit long, but I’m not sure that the Russetfur-Firestar-Lionblaze incident is really on the same level as what Thistleclaw/Tigerpaw did to Tiny.

    The first happened in the midst of battle – a proper battle, fought between the two Clans. Cats die in them, sometimes. It happens. But they are adult cats, who understand what they’re doing enough to make the decision to risk their own lives. Tiny was a lost kit, with no idea what he was getting himself into. He makes no hostile move towards the patrol and is terrified when he is attacked. Tigerpaw would have killed him, and Thistleclaw would have let him, when one of the few mostly-unbroken parts of the Warrior Code is that kits, no matter where they come from, should never be harmed. It’s the deaths of enemy soldiers compared to the cold-blooded murder of a child who’d wandered onto the battlefield. That, for me, is more than enough to get Thistleclaw to the Dark Forest.

    Perhaps, if he’d expressed any remorse or anything, or if the attack on Tiny had been motivated by some great emotional trauma (which would have made him more sympathetic), and he then saw the error of his ways, he’d have had a chance at StarClan (I still don’t really know what Ashfur’s doing there TBH, I see him as worse than Thistleclaw; love being his motivation doesn’t make his crimes any less wrong, but that’s another essay). After all, you’re right, Thistleclaw was a great warrior, most of the time, when the facts are looked out without the influence of Bluefur’s POV. Maybe being in the Dark Forest after death eroded any part of him that had ever been good. But, while he was loyal to his Clan, and a strong warrior, he seems to me a cat who revelled in his own viciousness. Not his only trait, of course, but that’s what makes him and many others of the Warriors villains so interesting. Looking forward to reading more of your articles!

  • Wow Darkfang. This is such a good article. Well-written and very thoughtful. But I still think Thistleclaw went to the Dark Forest for his dark nature, which overall was his downfall, compared to Ashfur who didn’t have a dark nature, just was confused. Yet in your article I feel like their are more good aspects than bad. Sooooo… I don’t know wether he should be in the Dark Forest any more.

  • Yeah, I really don’t think he should be in the dark forest. I mean, he did train there, but did he use that to hinder his Clan? No! He was still loyal to ThunderClan. Great article! Nightwhisker approves.

  • I am mad at Bluestar now. Thistleclaw was loyal to his Clan till’ the last second, and what did Ashfur do to get into StarClan? NOTHING. Yellowfang needs some talking to do of why she let him in and she didn’t let Brightflower in. What did Brightflower do? ONLY STAND BY BROKENSTAR. THAT IS NOT A CRIME YELLOWFANG AND YOU’RE SAYING THAT HELPING TO KILL YOUR LEADER AND TRYING TO KILL FOUR HELPLESS CLANMATES THAT DID NOTHING TO YOU ISN’T?

    • Who said anything about Yellowfang being the one who let Ashfur into StarClan and barred Brightflower from StarClan? I very much doubt StarClan allows one cat to determine where recently dead cats will spend all of eternity. And we don’t know for sure what exactly Brightflower did to end up in the Dark Forest. She could have acted on her anger by hurting an innocent cat for all we know.

  • Uh, I read Spottedleaf’s heart yesterday and Bluestar’s prohecy a long time ago. He is my favourite character and my opinion is… He should go to the StarClan, but I think about Dark Forest, too. Don’t be angry on me, but he had ,,friends” in the Dark Forest and wanted to train with them. He himself said to Spottedpaw he needs to have blood beneath his paws, so this is only place where he can kill. And maybe he would be sorry if he must be fine without that and live only in Starclan. I think Snowfur wouldn’t left that without answer. He also can’t hurt a kit, but he did it, even through it was a kittypet, I think it is written like that. And Bluestar was right, he can’t kill a cat because he wants to. This is really bad thing for warrior code.
    Yea, he was rough, but as he said, he wanted to defend his clan. He propably didn’t hurt Bluestar in her ladership, but if they weren’t enemies, everything could be different. He wanted everything in his way like the fight, but he really never hurt any of his Clanmates. I normally thing he should be sent to the Starclan, for Snowfur, for Whitestorm, may for an excuse for Bluefur. But if he didn’t met that Dark Forest cats and be with them, train with them, but he only trained. Is this against the warrior code? And maybe… what if he would kill Bluefur in Starclan if they wouldn’t reconcile?

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