Sunpelt discusses Tree’s role in the series and the plot of River of Fire. Spoilers abound!
Hey guys! The date is 4/10/2018 and if you’re anything like me, you’ve just ripped River of Fire out of its Amazon box, opened it up and hungrily devoured its contents. Of course, I mean this in a figurative sense. In any case, there are a lot of things that this book handles extremely well, but I found the character development of Tree to be most interesting and intriguing of all of the changes undergone through this book. Needless to say, this will contain a massive amount of spoilers for River of Fire and essentially the first four books of AVoS, and I guess the accompanying Super Editions as well. Without further ado, it’s time to analyze the character of the selfish, apathetic loner: Tree.
One of the most interesting things I consider about this character is his drastic changes that he makes for the cats he cares for. A lot of the early chapters the character Violetshine narrates are about how Leafstar, leader of SkyClan, is constantly pressing him to DO something instead of lying around in the sunshine and being lazy. As the story continues we gradually see him develop into a more annoying character, constantly irritating others in his Clan or even treating their customs with complete and utter apathy. This takes a massive change when Yarrowleaf and Sleekwhisker are found inside the SkyClan border for the second time, looking to find solace and sanctuary from the Clan that had initially turned them away. Tree intervenes with Leafstar’s judgment simply to drive away the pair of she-cats by suggesting that they stay until Yarrowleaf’s kits are weaned. He successfully manages to convince Leafstar, and in this consolation Tree tells her that he would be happy to stay with SkyClan to keep an eye on them. Now two things have been made clear to both the cats in the book and the reader. Firstly, Tree is willing to do things that he might not necessarily want to do for people he cares about (i. e. Violetshine), and secondly, he has proven an amazing amount of skill of solving problems that other cats simply can’t.
While this isn’t a huge moment in the book, at the Gathering Leafstar announces Tree as a new role in the clans: a meditator. His job is described as merely solving problems, and he’s given a trial by the clan leaders to see how he handles his new position. While this moment takes up almost three pages, it’s quickly overshadowed by Twigpaw seeing Tree and Violetshine together and wondering if they will be mates, leading to the reader having that as the last impression. It also doesn’t help that the role isn’t mentioned in the rest of the book, and if it was, it was very minor and I missed it. And if I missed it, chances are you did too.
His relationship with Violetshine is also a key component to his character arc. Being with her, Tree was able to be himself while being helpful, and it is pretty obvious that they have developed a bond by the time Twigpaw meets her on the SkyClan border. In fact, it’s because of her that he permanently stays with SkyClan, as shown through a subtle hint he gives Violetshine and the readers when he lets Leafstar know that he is interested in staying.
It’s time for random segments!
Tigerstar x Dovewing
I enjoyed the closure that the end of River of Fire gave this pair. I wholeheartedly expected the book to end with Tigerstar’s return, but we got to see ThunderClan’s reaction to Dovewing’s half clan relationship. It was also AWESOME to see how Bramblestar and Graystripe were worried about how another Tigerstar would affect ShadowClan. It felt like a nod to all the readers that made memes and jokes about “Tigerheartstar” and it also showed that the clan cats have not actually forgotten about how Tigerstar was when he was alive. I was also a little upset that Ivypool wouldn’t speak to Dovewing, or even welcome her home. I wanted a touching moment where her kits play together before she left, but Ivypool refused to even acknowledge Dovewing’s presence. It’s understandable from Ivypool’s point of view, but still very cold.
Let’s break out the tissues, but we all knew it was going to happen one day. The Erin Hunter chat said that she would live “a little longer,” so we all knew in our hearts that she was going to be the next ThunderClan cat to go. But Tui Sutherland truly is an excellent author, because even though she can get character names messed up sometimes, she understands what relationships have never been yet should have been touched on. We all knew that Millie was going to be extremely upset at her death, if she was still alive at that time, but Jayfeather’s reaction wasn’t something at least I was prepared for. His denial at the news that she was dying was absolutely soul crushing, and even more so when he was all “I’ll make her better.” And don’t even get me started on the vigil. He tried to say a few words but he COULDN’T. Jayfeather wasn’t even touched by grief like that when his sister died. Graystripe said something like “I can’t believe this is happening,” and I’m right with him. It’s really difficult to see such a memorable presence in ThunderClan gone, from a bellyache. And the reason for her death was so noble, because she refused to take food or medicine from the cats who needed it. If only she had understood that the medicine cat’s job was to care for all the cats in the clan.
Let’s face it. HC was the only people on the planet that wanted this as the warrior name for Twigpaw. Kate’s idea of the name Twigshade is much more appealing, but the way Tui handles the naming ceremony is perfect. She speaks through Bramblestar, making an analogy only I have considered for her name, but I never expected to be in the book. I don’t want to give too much away, so I won’t actually show the ceremony, but rest assured that it was the best outcome for such a lackluster name, and it honestly makes the name so much better as a result.