Goosewing shares their thoughts on Crowfeather’s character.
So, with his novella being announced and all, I thought it would be an appropriate time to voice my thoughts on Crowfeather (it’s also a slight analysis of his character as well).
Also, before I begin, I just want to add that a lot of the stuff I’m gonna say is my own personal opinion, rather than actual cannon, and a large part of my attitude towards Crowfeather comes from head-cannons (which I’ll include below), so feel free to disagree if you think I’m misreading something! I’m not trying to push my opinion of Crowfeather on anyone, just stating my thoughts on him 🙂
Let’s start with the Crowpaw we met all the way back in the New Prophesy arc:
Initially, I really liked his character. He came off as a angsty tween boy, not unlike myself at the time. Despite being (presumably) older than Squirrelpaw, I often got the impression that he was treated like the “baby” of the prophesy gang (likely because everyone tiptoes around him, not wanting to deal with his grump and sarcasm). I got the impression that this was likely how he was treated back in WindClan as well: he was the son of the deceased deputy, Deadfoot, and Ashfoot’s only surviving kit. I’m sure his mother, grieving for her lost mate and kits, coddled him and anyone that upset him had to face her wrath.
So, he was put on a pedestal above the other cats his age–effectively isolating himself from his peers. He was even made apprentice to WindClan’s new deputy, Mudclaw! I’m sure he was very aware he got special treatment, and that this special treatment separated him from the other kittens/apprentices, which caused him to become mistrusting of others because he could never tell their true opinions of him (I’m sure there were a lot of cats in WindClan who gossiped about him behind his back; not necessarily bad gossip, maybe just commenting on how he was/wasn’t like his father, but either way it would have made him feel isolated). It must have also made him think (if it wasn’t being stated to him outright) that the other WindClan cats had high expectations for him. Because the other cats treat him special and let him get away with a lot he’s often testing his boundaries: talking back to his mentor or older warriors, getting into fights with the other apprentices, leaving camp unsupervised, shirking his apprentice duties (it would explain the seemingly strained relationship between him and Mudclaw). But he also has a lot of pride in his clan, which I’ve always believed came from Ashfoot (I’ve always head-cannoed that she and Crowpaw shared a very close bond, and she was likely his best friend growing up).
So, Crowpaw’s home life isn’t the best, but he still loves WindClan, and is ready to follow the prophesy in order to help his clan (although he doesn’t really act like it, I think Crowpaw was thankful to be chosen as a prophesy cat since the beginning; he has a chance to help his clan and prove that he’s more like his father than his clanmates give him credit for, all without having to be stuck in camp and getting to experience what life is like without all of WindClan judging his every step). But, he’s still hot-tempered and mistrusting and only really knows how to act like a isolated, self-pitying, edgy tween. Which is understandable, he’s young and hasn’t had a lot of positive experience interacting with cats his age–at this point in his life it’s normal for him to be rebellious and to lash out.
At this point I’m viewing all the prophesy cats of the New Prophesy arc as tropes in a typical high school coming of age story: Stormfur is the cool senior “older brother” type that’s there to crack jokes and make sure the kiddos don’t get into too much trouble, Feathertail is the mysterious and beautiful senior “big sister” type who’s kind of mature for her age, Brambleclaw is the junior jock kid whose still trying to figure himself out, Tawnypelt is the down-to-earth junior tomboy that’s a little hot headed and always on her own, Squirrelpaw is the spunky sophomore girl-next-door to Brambleclaw, and Crowpaw is, like I’ve stated twice before, the edgy emo sophomore boy who was voted most likely to have daddy issues.
Crowpaw, by fault of his own bratty nature, manages to isolate himself from the rest of the group all on his own. Feathertail, a half-clan cat who has most defiantly faced isolation in her clan at various points in her life, is able to see this. I’m sure she relates to Crowpaw on some level and, being perceptive, can probably pick up on any anxiety he has. Feathertail approaches Crowpaw and is probably one of the first cats to treat him like his own person. Crowpaw finds not only his first crush, but what I believe to be his first friend, in Feathertail. It would explain why his feelings for her are so intense. Not only that, but she’s a RiverClan cat, a relationship that’s clearly forbidden, and I’m sure to a rebellious teenage mind that has to be a appealing.
Also, as a side note, I’ve always believed that leaving the clans and living on his own has always been a fantasy of Crowpaw’s, but he’s too attached to his mother and his clan to actually follow through (well, until later, of course).
I never got the feeling that Feathertail recuperated Crowpaw’s crush, rather that she loved him as a friend or as a little brother (she was quite a bit older than him after all). Also, I alway had the impression that Crowpaw was very reliant on Feathertail in an almost unhealthy way–which could undoubtedly stem from the fact that he’s never had a friend before and didn’t have a developed sense of personal boundaries. Either way, the two grow close over the journey and she helps Crowpaw become more mature and reasonable–almost like a mentor, in a way. Which is why he’s absolutely crushed when she dies.
Moving on to Act 2: Crowfeather:
So, we have the newly-minted Crowfeather in a state of distress. His best friend and “love” (I use this term loosely; while I don’t doubt Crowfeather loved Feathertail I’ve always seen it as more of a “puppy love” than a real, deep love) just sacrificed herself and he returns to his clan even more isolated than before. While less arrogant and entitled than he was an apprentice, he’s still a little mistrusting and isn’t the best at making connections with others, which isn’t helped by the fact that there are sure to be cats in WindClan who (even if it was StarClan’s will) weren’t pleased about his leaving. He finds himself more isolated from his clanmates than he ever was before. Plus he’s spending all his time brooding over Feathertail, which furthers himself EVEN MORE from WindClan, because after his naming incident most cats have guessed that they had some sort of close relationship.
Then he meets Leafpaw/pool. She’s beautiful, intelligent, kind–she shares a lot of Feathertail’s qualities. And, not only that, their relationship was one of the few in the Warriors universe that was destined to happen; two of their children ended up being part of prophesy that had been around for ages. I’m sure there was some sort of cosmic thread that tied them together. So, Crowfeather has all this pent of love for Feathertail that’s just brooding inside him, and it finds an outlet in Leafpool. He starts paying a lot of attention to her (almost romanticizing her), feeling conflicted because the loss of Feathertail is still fresh, and because what he feels for Leafpool is intense (while his feelings for Feathertail were rooted in friendship his feelings for Leafpool are different, rooted in attraction).
I’m going to come forward and say that I actually don’t like this whole relationship–I felt like he moved on from Feathertail way to fast, and that their whole relationship started and ended in an instant (especially for “true love”). But, even though I’m not a CrowLeaf fan (or a CrowFeather or CrowNight fan, for that matter), I can still see why they ended up together.
Between Leafpool starting to fully realize the life she had given up and Crowfeather looking for someone to comfort him, AND a unspoken prophesy tying them together, it’s not all that surprising that their relationship blossomed. Leafpool is experiencing romantic love for the first time, maybe even regretting her choice to become a medicine cat because of what it’s keeping her from, and Crowfeather, feeling absolutely alone in this new WindClan, the wound from Feathertail’s death still open and bleeding, can envision a new life with Leafpool: they can run away together (and subsequently, all their–or, at least, his–problems), just like he’s always dreamed about. And they do! After a couple of exciting secret dates that convince them both that what they have is “true love”, that is.
At first it’s wonderful. Crowfeather’s in love and away from his clan; he feels happier and more comfortable than he can ever remember being. But it doesn’t last long. Neither of them (I would assume they have the mentality of 18-21 yr olds at this point) really know what their doing, and are mostly going off instinct and adrenaline. The relationship starts to crumble, Crowfeather starts getting frustrated, and Leafpool, fully realizing the decision she’s made, knows that she needs to turn back and make sure that leaving was really the best option for her. Crowfeather convinces himself that as soon as Leafpool lays eyes on ThunderClan territory she’ll want to leave with him, because he knows that’s what would happen with him and WindClan. But Leafpool doesn’t feel the need to leave ThunderClan–she had a place there, she’s always had a place there. And with Cinderpelt gone her clan needs her help more than ever. So she breaks up with Crowfeather in order to fulfill her duty as a medicine cat. Crowfeather feels betrayed and returns to WindClan bitter and defeated, having lost confidence that he’d be able to survive on his own and not knowing where else to go.
This is where his character starts to decay, for me at least. It’s a turning point in his life. He returns to WindClan defeated, feeling like he betrayed Feathertail for a romance that didn’t even last, feeling betrayed by Leafpool because she chose her clan over him, and feeling embarrassed for having to return home with his tail between his legs. But, any secret hope of ever leaving his clan and finding a better life dashed, he gives in to living the rest of his life in WindClan (he starts to grow a resentment towards Leafpool because of this).
Around this time Nightcloud, who never really knew Crowfeather (I believe she was born right before the great journey, but I could be wrong), starts to take an interest him. A lot of WindClan cats died on the way to the new territories, leaving Nightcloud without any eligible toms her age. She had almost given up hope on ever become a mother (something I’ve assumed she’s wanted since being a kit herself) until Crowfeather shows up. Maybe he isn’t the ideal candidate for a mate, but Nightcloud can see that WindClan hasn’t accepted him, and knows that he’s her one shot at motherhood (unless she wanted to look for a mate outside the clan, which defiantly wasn’t an option). I’ve always believed that she was the one that approached Crowfeather about their mateship; she’s a smart cat, and could see that it would benefit both of them. She could be a mother and Crowfeather could regain some of his clan’s trust by showing he had moved on from Leafpool. Crowfeather, seeing her point, and a part of him childishly wanting to hurt Leafpool after she “betrayed” him, accepts.
Time for Crowfeather’s senior years:
Breezekit is finally around and Crowfeather’s become a stagnant character. He can’t move forward with his life, and he can’t move back either. His mateship with Nightcloud achieved what he wanted it to, temporarily hurting Leafpool until she seemingly moved on from him (he likes to believe he’s moved on from her, although in reality he hasn’t). The problem is he now has a son he never really wanted. Nightcloud, starting to develop faint but real feelings for Crowfeather, tries to get him involved with their child. Crowfeather doesn’t want to get attached to Breezekit and distances himself from him, devoting all his time to his warriors duties and only hanging around Nightcloud and Breezekit to keep up the appearance that they’re a happy (or, at least, content) family. WindClan’s resentment towards Crowfeather has dissipated, but, while he feels more comfortable in the clan, he’s still not happy. He romanticizes the relationship he had with Feathertail to the point that no other relationship would be able to live up to it, he resents Leafpool for their failed relationship and keeps any feelings he still has for her repressed, and he resents Nightcloud and Breezekit for “trapping” him in a family he never wanted.
He watches his son to grow to be unnervingly like him and, unable to control Breezekit/paw, just becomes more frustrated–his tension often ending in a fight with Nightcloud, hating how she spoils him and trying to force her to be stricter (all traits that she shares with his mother), some part of him afraid that Breezepaw is going to end up just like him. But, as Breezepaw gets ready for warriorhood and becomes more mature, things in the family start to settle down. Crowfeather starts feeling a little more in control of his life; he still fights with Nightcloud, but it’s much less often and more civil; he doesn’t have anywhere near a loving relationship with Breezepelt, but they can go on patrol without igniting a hostile atmosphere; he only thinks about Leafpool at gatherings, Feathertail even less; it’s not perfect, but he can envision himself having a somewhat normal life.
Then the Lionblaze/Jayfeather/Hollyleaf bomb is dropped.
He can feel his clan turning on him, his relationship with his family immediately takes a turn for the worse, he’s forced to face any lingering feelings he has for Leafpool. It’s all overwhelming, and in the spur of the moment he rejects “his” kits. He claims that Leafpool’s kits aren’t his because it’s easier to pretend his feelings for Leafpool are behind him, and, with his life inevitably tied to WindClan, he can’t afford anything else that isolates him from his clanmates. Of course, no one really believes this, but it’s easier for him and the rest of WindClan to pretend it’s the truth. Also, I think up until that point he still had fantasies about getting back together with Leafpool, and that shattered when Leafpool once again “betrayed” him by not telling him about their children.
So, after this incident, he decided to try and move on from Leafpool and be happy with Nightcloud. Of course, that never fully worked out; he and Nightcloud continued to fight for a long time (Nightcloud fueled by jealousy, scared that Crowfeather would abandon their family to be Leafpool and their kits), until they got to where they’re out now–they coexist with each other in a not-quite-loving, not-quite hateful relationship. Nightcloud has something akin to love for Crowfeather and Crowfeather sees a lot of his mother in Nightcloud, and while he doesn’t love her he’s grown some affection for her. At least, that’s how it is in my mind (I still think they should break up though, they obviously aren’t happy together). Nightcloud continues to coddle Breezepelt and Crowfeather doesn’t acknowledge his son’s shortcomings, nor does he attempt to reach out to him. He just sort of lives ignorantly, choosing to believe what he wants and devoting his entire life to his clan because all attempts to have a successful personal life have been massive failures.
So, as a recap, this the evolution of Crowfeather as I see it:
Crowpaw —> tweenage angst, outspoken, childish, entitled, eager to prove himself, mistrusting, an outcast, anxiety over not meeting the expectations of his clan, rebellious, proud of his clan, and hot tempered.
Crowpaw (Feathertail era) —> teenage angsty, less eager to prove himself but still tries to keep up a strong front, childish, rebellious, learning to be more mature, feels like less of an outcast, a hot-and-cold temper, proud of his clan, a little more reserved, and very reliant on Feathertail.
Crowfeather (post Feathertail) —> once again an outcast, childish, repressing a lot of emotions, longing for a positive relationship, hurting from Feathertail, mistrusting, and quick to turn on others.
Crowfeather (Leafpool era) —> a little rebellious, a little childish, reserved, idealistic, guilty about Feathertail, romanticizing Leafpool, still repressive, and almost completely excluded in his clan.
Crowfeather (post Leafpool) —> reserved, a little childish, resentful towards Leafpool, repressive, romanticizing Feathertail, unhappy with how his future looks, trying to fit in with his clan, mistrusting once again, and short tempered.
Crowfeather (Nightcloud era) —> reserved, anxious about Breezepelt, short tempered, unhappy, resentful towards Leafpool, resentful towards Nightcloud, proud of his clan, skeptical of others, and has a hot-and-cold.
Crowfeather (Current) —> reserved, complacent with his place in the clan, willfully ignorant, repressive, complacent with Nightcloud, devoted to his clan, skeptical of others, stern, hot-and-cold tempered, and stagnant.
So, this is how I believe we ended up with the Crowfeather we have today. He’s a controversial character in the fandom, and for many good reasons. It was fun to put some thought into his character and how he turned out the way he is, and (while I would’ve liked to see other characters to have novellas first) I’m eager to see what we’ll learn about him in Crowfeather’s Trail.
Do I think Crowfeather is a good person? No. I think he had a lot of potential, but displaced anger and a stubborn streak have created a stagnant, dysfunctional adult. Do I think he’s a good character? Absolutely.