StarClan vs. The Dark Forest: Judgement of the Afterlife by Mistlepaw

Mistlepaw wonders who draws the line between a cat going to StarClan or the Dark Forest.

Art by EndlessScreaming

a new article after more than a year woo

Hi! Mistlepaw here, and today I’d like to talk about a topic that I have wondered about often while reading the Warriors series and has been glossed over during the majority of the books. Who or what decides whether a cat goes to StarClan or the Dark Forest?

As you all may know, there are several cases of “questionable” judgement on the afterlives of certain cats. Ashfur is a popular example of this, as many people believe that he didn’t deserve StarClan for the things he did. A less known example, Lilywhisker, was sent to the Dark Forest for simply being bitter about her injury that permanently crippled her. Obviously we don’t know all the details of her story since she was only a minor character, but that reason provided seems a bit too far-fetched.

This has led me to wonder who or what exactly makes these decisions, and are they really a reliable source? One possible theory is that the cats of StarClan decide the fate of each cat, but if they had known or heard about that specific cat during their lifetime, they might be biased for or against them. As it has been pointed out several times in the books, StarClan cats don’t automatically become rational decision-making Mary Sues when they die. Even if it’s some unknown all-knowing force that judges the afterlife, is there a specific scale from good to bad that determines where you go? How many bad and good deeds you do during your life? Take Ashfur, who went to StarClan because he only “loved too much”, even though he attempted to murder Jayfeather, Hollyleaf, Lionblaze, and Firestar intent on hurting Squirrelflight with no concern for other cats. If you think about it, Mapleshade isn’t much different and probably only went to the Dark Forest because she succeeded in killing her victims.

The most likely possibility right now in my opinion would be judgement from StarClan cats, but as I stated before, there isn’t really a clear line between good and evil. I think all cats believe that what they’re doing is good, twisted in whatever way to bend to what they want. Brokenstar believed that he was making the Clan stronger and helping the kits prepare for being a warrior early. Hawkfrost and Tigerstar I believed that the Clans needed strong leadership, with no room for the weak as they would only drag the other cats down. Even though, admittedly, their decisions sometimes caused more problems than they solved, many thought that what they were doing would be beneficial for the greater good and were sent into eternal exile by others with different beliefs, opinions, and a higher position in playing ruler over others’ fates.

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  • I think Ashfur did deserve to go to the Dark Forest. Like you said, he tried to kill four cats, just because Squirrelflight didn’t love him back! I disagree about Mapleshade. She killed three cats, and, (this is the part most people miss) she was happy she ended up there. I think Mapleshade is a cool villan, but she deserved what she got. I didn’t know Lilywhisker ended up in the DF, where did you read that? I think that’s kind of unfair, from what we saw of her, she didn’t seem evil at all. The DF is for cats that have given themselves to evil. It’s interesting to wonder who exactly is the judge if cats go to StarClan or not. Nice article! 🙂

  • I agree, there are lots of inequalities that are just plain inconsistent and random, I mean seriously who even deserves the DF for being BITTER? About a leg injury? I’d be upset too.

  • Cool article 😺! I also find myself disagree with the Starclan cats’ decisions sometimes, especially the case which lets Ashfur going to Starclan 😾. He should be in the Dark Forest. Mapleshade goes there, so why not him too?! In my opinion, he’s actually worse than Mapleshade, and she should go to Starclan instead of him, but I’ll talk about that somewhere later. And btw, the Warriors Wiki no longer list Lilywhisker as a Dark Forest cat, but not as a Starclan cat either. So maybe there’s really somewhere that’s in between 🤔?

    • Maybe she’s part of those “lost spirit cats” like Needletail, Beenose, etc. were (unless they still are lost).

    • I agree! What is it with “Ashfur’s so innocent and Mapleshade’s so evil”??? *shakes head, why starclan, WHY!!!

  • Totally agree! I never understood how come Ashfur was in Starclan, but Mapleshade wasn’t while the only difference between their acts was that Mapleshade did kill three cats while Ashfur only tried to kill Lionblaze, Jayfeather, Hollyleaf and Firestar.

  • It’s my theory that, it’s not actually Starclan alone or some unspoken higher power that decides where a spirit goes. Rather it’s the ‘collective consciousness’ of both Starclan and the Living Clan Cats which decides, even if it may be subconsciously. However the more faded a spirit, the less influence they have. So the modern generations of Starclan, like Yellowfang and Bluestar, do have a some say, but the majority of power goes to Living cats.

    So it’s decided by what others think of that character. So sadly, even if they haven’t done any crimes, if they’re unpopular/hated enough, they’ll go to the Dark Forest regardless. Unfair, yes. But it’s meant to explain inconsistent and often unjustified judgment of cats, other then it’s ‘bad writing’. This would be the in lore explanation.

    In the Ashfur case, this could help to explain more. As the Starclan Cats seem unconfrontable with Ashfur being there, but can’t do anything about it. Yellowfang, gives a vauge excuse and carelessly places it onto Squirrelflight with the word “Maybe”, implying she made it up on the spot. And when she’s fairly asked to clarify, she snapped that Jayfeather should “figure it out” and storms away. Then later on, Bluestar sternly insistent Jayfeather can’t see Ashfur at all and gives another vauge explanation that “Starclan can’t decide everything”.

    So let’s put this theory into context:

    Ashfur – The reason he allowed into Starclan was becuase he was unexposed at the time of his death. Besides from a select few, to the majority of Clan cats, Ashfur was just a hard-working senior warrior, with no reason to think he didn’t deserve Starclan. And with such an overwhelming majority, Starclan could do little but resultantly accept him.

    Mudclaw – Probably quite a narrow one. The living cats quite divided on him. Though due to the whole event being mortally grey; with roughly half believing he was actually the rightful leader and others probably being sympathetic, it balanced it out. It seemed only a few Clan cats generally hated Mudclaw and thought he didn’t deserve Starclan. Even Onewhisker was sympathetic.

    Brokenstar’s followers – Even if they didn’t do any crimes themselves, the hatred for Brokenstar was put on them. So since basically everyone thought Brokenstar didn’t deserve Starclan, that belief went onto anyone who was close to him.

    Hawkfrost – Even if most of his crimes weren’t directly clear to most Living cats, by the time of his death, the majority of the Clan cats were suspicious, knowing he done something. With his connection with Mudclaw, some of that stigma went onto him. And alone, he had; obvious jealousy of Mistyfoot, spreading rumors and manipulation of his Medicine cat sister. Finally, when Hawkfrost’s body come back with a stake in his neck, this just confirmed it to many of his Clanmates – That he’d been doing crimes. The fact, he was also Tigerstar’s son added the living cats’ hatred of him, increasing his chances of going to the Dark Forest.

    Hollyleaf – Thunderclan thought Hollyleaf running away and ‘accidental’ (Brambleclaw’s lie) murder of Ashfur was justified/understandable, as by that time, Ashfur’s crimes had finally been exposed. (Too far past his death for his afterlife to change). Leafpool’s attempted murder was never revealed. Then after that, Hollyleaf worked overtime to rebel herself. To her clanmates, some may be been still distrusting of her (Though not proper hate) but majority forgave her. For Clan cats outside of Thunderclan, desides from publicly revealing the secret and disappearing, didn’t know about her murders, so had no real reason to think she didn’t deserve Starclan.

    Hawkheart – Despite it being strange that it was a Medicine cat, Hawkheart killing Moonflower wasn’t seen as that big of a deal. As especially in those times, warriors being slain in battle was just seen as harsh part of life. Also, since Thunderclan’s attack was unjustified and used dirty tactics, many didn’t hold it against him, even some Thunderclan cats.

    Antpelt – For cats like him, who ended up in the Dark Forest despite not exposed for training in the DF and not being universally hated – I theorize, that he wasn’t overly loved either, just seen as an average warrior. Of course, the Clan cats would think he deserved Starclan, but they weren’t overly bothered about it either. So that meant Antpelt wasn’t given much of a defense against Starclan, who still have some influence. They knew Antpelt wished to be in the Dark Forest and they weren’t going to stop him. Willing for his wish to be fulfilled, they managed to overpower the small amount of support he got from the Living, sending him to the Dark Forest.

  • Ashfur deserves the Dark Forest. He literally tried to kill four cats because HE COULD NOT GET OVER A CRUSH.

    However, Mapleshade deserves StarClan. She was technically mentally ill, as she was hearing the voices of her dead kits, so it’s not really her fault. She’s still a good cat.
    Take Bluestar. She was mentally ill for a while as well, and made some bad choices.
    Does that mean SHE should go to the Dark Forest?
    So why should Mapleshade?
    Mapleshade wanted to avenge her kits, which is understandable!
    Ashfur was just being a jerk LIKE ALWAYS.
    Honestly, if Mapleshade had just been allowed to go to StarClan with her kits, she wouldn’t be evil.
    I know people argue she is evil for killing three cats.
    Ravenwing didn’t even CONSIDER helping Mapleshade and her kits.
    Frecklewish was A JERK WHO WATCHED KITS DROWN.
    And Appledusk CHEATED ON HER!
    So yeah, if people say Mapleshade is guilty and should go to the Dark Forest, look at Ravenwing and Frecklewish and Appledusk!
    Mapleshade- StarClan.
    Ashfur- Dark Forest.
    Oh wow, this comment is longish.
    That’s my opinion on this.
    KananXHera forever ❤️

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