If you’ve been poking around on the theory articles lately, you could probably see me debunking a couple theories and maybe debating a bit. Now I’ve decided to do my own post on this topic, because I feel it can be considered relevant. I’ve seen some fan theories on this site about Ashfur fathering Dovewing and Ivypool, and while neither sides of the party can be sure, it’s pretty unlikely. I’ll be stating why. Needless to say, minor spoilers for PoT and OoTS, so be warned.
Counterclaim: Many people who write articles about this specific subject use the argument that Whitewing and Ashfur seem to be close and have a few moments in PoT (Sharing tongues, feeling sad about his death.) Also, they are not closely related (if I must draw the family tree Whitewing – Cloudtail – Firestar – Sandstorm – Brindleface – Ashfur) so it may seem plausible that they could be mates and have kits.
Rebuttal: It was imposed on us by Whitestorm in one of the first chapters of Into The Wild that sharing tongues was a tradition for the clans to share news of the day and to groom each other. While it is shown that some characters who later become mates are seen sharing tongues (such as Whitewing and BIRCHFALL) it wasn’t stated that sharing tongues wasn’t a guarantee that a cat becomes a mate. If I weren’t so lazy, I’d go back into the books to get some examples of cats who never turned out to be mates sharing tongues. I think you can take my word for it that it happens, unless you think all of those cats were secretly mates as well.
To address her feeling sad about Ashfur’s death, all of the clan was sad and confused. The toms in particular were upset and angry about it, especially Thornclaw who later leads the interrogation against Hollyleaf. That doesn’t mean Thornclaw and Ashfur were mates, so why should it mean that Whitewing was? Even if Whitewing seemed particularly stricken, it probably was due to the friendship they had of being mentors at the same time, with Ashfur helping her out.
Why would they say Birchfall was the father if he wasn’t?
This is the largest piece of evidence that Ashfur wasn’t the father. There are some clan relationships where a character or multiple characters act as a mother and father for cats they didn’t raise, such as Thrushpelt, and Brambleclaw and Squirrelflight. And may I also note that that was caused by half-Clan relationships? Respectively Bluefur and Oakheart, and Leafpool and Crowfeather. So why would Whitewing lie about Ashfur being the father? And if Birchfall knew he wasn’t, why would he pretend he was? At the time, they were both completely unaware of the emotional conflict Ashfur had at the end of Long Shadows, so there would be no reason for Whitewing to feel compelled to hide her kits’ true parentage. People who support AshXWhite might think that it would be to protect Birchfall from knowing the truth, but when cats say things like “Oh, Ivypool and Dovewing are Birchfall and Whitewing’s kits,” You’d think there’d be an accompanying sentence like “Whitewing stiffened.” Because that’s similar to what happens with the revelation that Leafpool mothered The Three (Two) instead of Squirrelflight. There would be hints added in that Whitewing would act slightly strange when she receives compliments about her kits. I feel like there would be at least some kind of hint, some kind of inclination if there were a plotline about this the Erins would want to pursue in the future.
There’s not much need to address the pelt colors, Dovewing and Ivypool probably got the gray from Ferncloud, their grandmother, assuming that Birchfall was actually the father. And if it was Ashfur, they would have probably have specks of gray instead of it spreading across their whole body.
Either way, we’ll never know for sure because the Erins left out the actual details of their conception (which I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s grateful.) That’s just my opinion.
-Stay tuned for future articles! Sunpelt