Thistleclaw: The Cause of Scourge and Tigerstar? by Sparktooth

Sparktooth takes a look at Thistleclaw and his possible involvement in both Scourge and Tigerstar.

Art by Vialir

Heyo again, bloggers! 😀 Sparktooth is writing the third of many, long articles to come. For this one, I’m going to be debating if Thistleclaw caused Scourge and Tigerstar to become…well, the Scourge and Tigerstar we know.

Contains Spoilers for Bluestar’s Prophecy and The Rise of Scourge!

“Thistlekit declared, ‘I’d get a Windclan warrior like this.’ He hooked up the shrew he’d been eating. ‘And shred it.’ He tossed the half-eaten fresh-kill to the ground and pounced on it, claws unsheathed. ‘Don’t play with your food,’ Poppydawn scolded. ‘It’s disrespectful. That shrew died so that we may live.’ Thistlekit sat up, looking annoyed. ‘You just don’t want me to become a warrior! You want me to stay a kit forever!’” —Bluestar’s Prophecy, pgs. 105-106.
Even as a kit, Thistleclaw was ambitious and eager for battle. His parents, Poppydawn and Windflight, were both courageous warriors. It was apparently his nature, no cat influenced him.

When he became a warrior, he was still aggressive and tried to answer everything with a battle. I’m sure this was one of the skills he transferred to his apprentice, Tigerpaw(star). As we see in Pinestar’s Choice, Tigerstar’s wretched destiny was created as soon as he was born. Pinestar believed with the right guidance, he could follow the right path. Too bad he wasn’t leader when it was time for Tigerkit to be apprenticed. Sunstar’s choice to make Thistleclaw his mentor most likely made Tigerpaw more aggressive. Thistleclaw rushed his training, teaching him advanced battle moves at a young age. Don’t forget Thistleclaw also trained in the Dark Forest. (The training was lead by Mapleshade, according to Spottedleaf’s Heart). When cats train in the Dark Forest, it seems they are taught that there is never a time for mercy in battle.

Let’s skip ahead to the scene where Thistleclaw, Tigerpaw, and Bluefur come across Tiny(Scourge) during a patrol. It’s no secret what Thistleclaw thinks of kittypets, so he taught Tigerpaw to think the same way.
“‘An intruder is an intruder, Bluefur! You’ve always been too soft on them.’ Bluefur felt sick as Thistleclaw turned to his apprentice. ‘Here, let’s put it to my apprentice. What do you think, Tigerpaw? How should we handle this?’ ‘I think the kittypet should be taught a lesson,’ Tigerpaw hissed. ‘One it’ll remember.’ Bluefur stepped forward. ‘Now, hold on, there’s no need for this-’ Thistleclaw turned on her, arching his back. ‘Shut up!’” —Bluestar’s Prophecy, pgs. 399-400.
Thistleclaw obviously didn’t have a problem with Tigerpaw’s sudden destructive tone. So he allowed him to continue. Tigerpaw, being an apprentice, must’ve thought it was ok to do things like that because he wasn’t punished. That’s probably one of the reasons he rose to be the deadly Tigerstar. If you’ve read The Rise of Scourge, that attack lead to Scourge seeking revenge all those moons.
Tigerclaw was an ambitious cat and also a bullying mentor. Sound familiar? Maybe because you’re thinking of Tigerclaw! I don’t know if you noticed, but Thistleclaw was also mean to his apprentice during training. Plus, Thistleclaw tried to become leader first! So what’s a possible explanation for Tigerclaw’s behavior in the original series? He was trying to follow Thistleclaw’s pawsteps! Only he followed them down a more blood-soaked path. And for Scourge? He became an evil tyrant, wanting nothing more than revenge on Tigerstar. And I believe Thistleclaw is responsible for it all.

What did you think? Do you agree? Leave a comment about what you thought and maybe a suggestion about what I should write an article about next! 😀

Fan Articles


  • 1
  • 2

  • I have to disagree.

    Tigerstar had been violent since the leaving of his father.

    Also, should any amount of bullying make a person a tyrant, dictator, and heartless murderer? I don’t think so.

    You should write an article about your least favorite characters

    • Well, I was just questioning if Thistleclaw’s actions lead to Tigerstar and Scourge. No one can be 100% certain. And it isn’t just bullying, Scourge had a thirst to prove he was more than just a runt. Only, he followed the path to proving it down the wrong path. Plus for Tigerstar, Thistleclaw was Tigerstar’s role model when he was growing up from kit to warrior(or leader, I guess). And in Pinestar’s Choice, Tigerstar was still a little aggressive as a kit, but the leaving of his father certainly must have something to do with the influence of his actions. 🙂

    • Sparktooth can write an article about whatever they want.

      And the thing is bullying can in part lead to a change in a person. Sure it depends on the person, some might become antagonized to the point they retaliate, some might become very upset and suicidal, and some might be able to take the high road and find ways either to show up the bully, or simply surround the self with friends and not let the bully get to them.

      It’s a question of nature vs. nurture. And the reality is it’s a bit of both. If Tigerclaw had had a mentor like Bluestar as Sparktooth said Tigerpaw would’ve been taught that attacking a kit was not okay, and that sometimes defending your borders doesn’t always need to end in blood. Or maybe if Pinestar had been there for his son and tried to teach him how to curb his aggressiveness, and teach him nobility, compassion, kindness even. Things could’ve been different.

      I was kind of disappointed with how they made it that Tigerstar was BORN evil, no one is born evil. Events, interactions and how that person interprets them and how those experiences change them is what makes a person who they are.

      Tigerkit was agressive, saw some cats looking at him uneasily his father even, and that changed him. His father leaving to be a kittypet changed him. Being Thistleclaws apprentice and his actions in attacking Tiny changed him. All until it led up to him being the evil cat we know today Tigerstar.

      So let’s return to the point of the matter how Thistleclaws actions changed Tigerpaw and Tiny. Well as Sparktooth said Tigerpaw was able to viciously defend his border against a tiny kit, hardly a threat. Which showed them, that there was no room for compassion, (as that was a sign of softness and weakness), and that anything that crossed the border was an enemy regardless who they might be.

      What if this lesson had been given to a different cat? We saw how Ravenpaw became terrified under Tigerclaw’s tutelage eventually forcing him to see enemies and danger everywhere and that kindness was seemingly a myth in the clan thus he had to leave. Firepaw took in the vicious words when Tigerclaw taught him, processing it but still holding his morals. But he’d have prolly clashed with Thistleclaw if Thistleclaw was his mentor and told him to do this. Which would’ve led to a very dysfunctional apprentice -mentor relationship. (These are just examples of characters being placed in this sort of situation purely for examples sake).

      Anyways, it’s a mixture of nature and nurture, I’m sure if Tigerkit had been shown compassion, and kindness maybe he’d have taken a different path. But Thistleclaw confirming and encouraging his violent behavior in the name of loyalty to the clan, did not help.

      As for Tiny this was a turning point in his life. That moment scarred him for life because he was so close to death, it was something that haunted him for the rest of his life. Before we saw him struggle with being the runt, and being disliked and had his siblings tell him he’d get drowned if he was unwanted by twolegs. Tiny already didn’t have the greatest beginning and once he was thrown into the harsh life alone in twolegplace and managed through a stroke of luck/brilliance with the dog came to rise to the top of the food chain, becoming the most powerful cat in twolegplace. And of course finally, finally being the powerful one, finally HAVING power corrupted him into the tyrant he was.

      But what if he hadn’t gotten mauled by Tigerpaw on Thistleclaws orders? Could Tiny have been added to ThunderClan or any of the clans maybe? Unlikely given the time, but perhaps he’d have one less thing that haunted him and it could’ve made him less likely to be a tyrant because at that moment he was shown how weak he was how the strong could step all over him.

      He’d had that his whole life and that point where he almost DIED because of it, was enough to make him think to himself I will NEVER be that weak ever again. And his thirst for vengeance plus his rise to power were all causes that helped Scourge make himself into who he was.

      I’m not saying Thistleclaws actions alone set things in motion, and that had this moment not happened either cat would’ve suddenly been on a better path. But this event was definitely a turning point for Tiny/Scourge and one justification of many that helped build Tigerpaw into the Tigerclaw/Tigerstar who was willing to use violence and kill anyone who got in the way of his vision for a greater ThunderClan.

      • I made a What if article about scourge that may appear in the future. Also when I was reading the Tigerclaw novella once I learned that I think Mapleshade fed his ambition. It’s been awhile so that why I said I think

  • I’m on both sides of this debate. What I think is that Thistleclaw wasn’t evil, he was just way too loyal. He was so loyal that he’d kill a kittypet or Clan cat for trespassing on territory or threatening his Clan. He taught Tigerclaw this, that you must be loyal above ALL things and you will stop at NOTHING till your Clan is avenged/safe. Both of these cats were extremely loyal, but because of this, they were both determined to be deputy/leader so that ThunderClan would become the most loyal, brave and ambitious Clan so that no cat will ever challenge them. Idk how this even relates to your article but I’m just talking right now, haha. It seems as if Tigerclaw was born to be evil so either way he might have become bad. Thistleclaw just influenced this.
    But great article! 👍🏽

    • Thistcleclaw was way too loyal. Hmm, that’s one I’ve never heard before!

      I’d hate to contradict such a well made point, but even though Thistcleclaw was loyal, he was cruel. Cruel to what depth? Well, he would savage a tiny kit to protect his boundaries. The warrior Code says to show mercy to all kits, regardless of origin. Thistle broke the code.

      Yes, loyalty is important, but when loyalty turns to cruelty, then, no…

  • I don’t think he completely caused the turn of events, just helped them get as bad as they were. Maybe he did cause Scourge, but cats are responsible for their actions, and I don’t believe we can completely pin something on one character.

    • I wasn’t pinning Scourge and Tigerstar’s actions and choices only on Thistleclaw. I was debating if he had a big role to play in them becoming who we know them to be.

  • I agree that Thistleclaw might have been one very little reason for Tigerstar to become evil, as kits/apprentices are easily influenced by their mentors, but Tigerstar was just a really coldblooded cat. Scourge is a different matter. Not amount of bullying would make you murder that killed so many cats.

  • Nice article!

    I wouldn’t say that Thistleclaw was just born like that. Sure he messed around as a kit, but I’d say thats the normal behavior of some little kit or hot-headed tom. If I’m remembering correctly, Thistlepaw’s mentor was Adderfang. I wouldn’t say he was bloodthirsty, but he was arrogant, hot-headed, and always ready to get into a fight. Nothing too wrong with that, but Thistleclaw seemed to take this to a new extreme, and of course under the teachings of the Dark Forest it all went south.

    Other than that, I think you’re totally right. Thistleclaw influenced Tigerstar’s behavior, and of course egged on the whole Tiny thing, which scarred the poor kit.

  • I completely agree with this article! Thistleclaw is blood-thirsty and has trained Tigerpaw to follow in his pawsteps!