Creekdapple ponders if Mapleshade should’ve gone to StarClan instead.
Should Mapleshade be in StarClan? It’s a controversial question, and in an attempt to answer it, I’m going to be looking at some of the other villain or villain-type cats in the series whose questionable actions didn’t end up placing them in the Dark Forest, and comparing their stories with Mapleshade’s.
Ashfur got into StarClan after attempting to murder Squirrelflight’s father and (adopted) kits, under the defense that “he loved too much”. Well, the same could be said about Mapleshade, though there are some important differences in their stories that make Ashfur read as an abusive jerk, while Mapleshade comes across to a lot of people as sympathetic.
The two differences I see that might allow Ashfur into StarClan but leave Mapleshade to rot in the Dark Forest are: Mapleshade succeeded in her murder attempts, and she also broke the warrior code before by taking a mate from another Clan. (Though technically that’s not a part of the warrior code in the way it’s stated, but it’s always been interpreted that way, sooo…)
Plenty of cats have taken mates from other Clans though, yes? And most of them managed to get into StarClan. Maybe it’s the combination of forbidden love and murder that barred her from StarClan.
Yellowfang’s situation is similar, though not exactly allegorical. She took a mate as a medicine cat, was banished from her Clan (though not for the same reason), and fed Brokentail deathberries. She’s definitely not a villain, though; maybe a hero who breaks the rules and achieves her goals in a morally gray way. The key difference, I think, is that Yellowfang murdered a villain, while Mapleshade murdered three mostly-innocent cats.
But so far, I’ve only touched the surface of Mapleshade’s motives, which I think could be the key to clearing her name.
She “loved too much”, yes, but her final downfall was, not Appledusk, but her kits. She hallucinated that her kits were crying out to her to save them, and believed that the only way that they could be in StarClan was for her to avenge their deaths, i.e killing three cats that contributed to her kits’ deaths. In believing that you are murdering cats so your innocent kits can take their rightful place in StarClan, do you not believe you are following the will of StarClan?
Mudclaw started a coup against Onestar, thereby betraying his leader and breaking the warrior code, but was still let into StarClan because he believed that he was the rightful leader of WindClan, and that taking Onestar out of power would be following the will of StarClan.
It has been proven that cats who broke the warrior code and turned against their fellow Clan cats can, depending on the circumstances, get into StarClan if they loved too much or if they believed they were following the will of StarClan. The question is, is Mapleshade’s story close enough to said circumstances that she should be forgiven and let into StarClan, or were her actions just too severe?
I would argue that she truly believed she was following the will of StarClan, and they can’t exactly blame her for taking action to save her kits based on what her compromised mental condition led her to believe was what StarClan would want.
The facts are always open to interpretation, though. What do you guys think?