Viperfrost takes a look at Ashfur and Thrushpelt, two toms who were unlucky in love.
(POSSIBLE SPOILERS ACROSS ALL ARCS EXCEPT AVoS, ESPECIALLY BLUESTAR’S PROPHECY AND BOOKS INVOLVING ASHFUR)
Good morning/afternoon/evening, BlogClanners! Last time, I talked about Yellowfang and Leafpool. Today, it’ll be Ashfur and Thrushpelt, two toms with similar stories up to a point. I bet you can guess what that point was. I’ll be comparing their early lives and contrasting their reactions to rejection, and then providing an analysis of Ashfur and his placement in Starclan.
(strong) Early Lives: (/strong)
We’ll start with backstory, up until the points at which Thrushpelt and Ashfur fell in love with Bluestar and Squirrelflight. Both led lives with a lot of loss.
1. Thrushpelt was the son of Windflight and Rainfur, and the littermate of Tawnyspots and Dappletail. His brother Tawnyspots died during the course of the book (Bluestar’s Prophecy). Dappletail was mostly devoted to being sassy and flirting with Stormtail. He wasn’t shown to have a close relationship with his parents, perhaps because his father Windflight ditched his mother quickly to become mates with Poppydawn and sire Thistleclaw, Rosetail, and Sweetpaw. This parental separation may have made him feel lonely. Thrushpelt’s half-sister, Sweetpaw, died because of that mouse she shared with Rosetail and Bluestar. His half-brother, Thistleclaw, was rather ambitious and may not have been very interested in hanging out with his peaceful older brother. Thrushpelt never had an apprentice that completed her training; he temporarily trained Dappletail’s apprentice Goldenflower, and then his apprentice Spottedpaw(leaf) decided to become a medicine cat instead of a warrior. This may have made him feel like he wasn’t a very good mentor, or that he was inadequate. In reality, he was an excellent warrior who was kind and considerate to the members of his clan.
2. Ashfur’s mother Brindleface was murdered by Tigerclaw’s pack of dogs. His alleged (I know there’s controversy here) father Whitestorm was murdered by Bone during the battle with Bloodclan. His foster-brother Cloudtail was, for a time, taken away by Twolegs. Two of his littermates died as kits, and his remaining littermate, Ferncloud, was more interested in spending time with Dustpelt than hanging out with her brother. Ashfur strived to be a great warrior, and started out wanting to protect his clan. I feel that we’ve established that Thrushpelt and Ashfur both suffered in their lives, in one way or another, and were good warriors to their clans.
(strong) Relationships: To Summarize (/strong)
1. Thrushpelt is friends with Bluefur. He does sweet things for her, like cleaning out her nest, but doesn’t pressure her into choosing him to be her mate. After Rosetail discovers that Bluefur is expecting kits, she automatically assumes they are Thrushpelt’s and congratulates him. Thrushpelt now knows that Bluefur has taken a different mate, and since she hasn’t shown interest in the eligible toms of Thunderclan, he has to be from somewhere else.
2. Ashfur becomes friends with Squirrelflight. He is then involved in a love triangle with Squirrelflight and her other suitor, Brambleclaw. Squirrelflight fights with Brambleclaw, so she hangs out with Ashfur more. Squirrelflight repairs her relationship with Brambleclaw, and spends all her time with him now. She chooses him over Ashfur, though she’d like them to remain friends.
(strong) Reactions: (/strong)
1. Thrushpelt is saddened, but remains close friends with Bluefur. He even offers to pretend to be the kits’ father, if she wants. He treats the kits as though they were his own, and is the embodiment of a grieved father when they are “stolen by a fox”. He stays friends with Bluestar until he died (probably after she arrived in Starclan, too), and never told anyone that he wasn’t really the kits’ father.
2. Ashfur flips out, and becomes psychotic. He murders his clan leader, Firestar, in order to hurt Squirrelflight. When her “son” Lionblaze is apprenticed to Ashfur, he is aggressive and occasionally cruel to him. His rage culminates in a scene where he corners Squirrelflight and her foster-kits so that they can’t escape from a (em) fire (/em), so that Squirrelflight will feel his pain as her kits (em) burn to death (/em).
(strong) Ashfur Analysis: (/strong)
Squirrelflight is not guilty of anything here. She should have been able to live a happy life with Brambleclaw without being stalked by her ex-mate (I think they were together for two days or so?) and without the aforementioned ex-mate trying to murder her father and her kits. She wasn’t trying to be cruel to him and wanted to stay friends, but she certainly shouldn’t have, as suggested by some, stayed in a relationship with Ashfur just to protect his feelings while disregarding her own. Imagine a future with Ashfur. Squirrelflight wanted to stay friends with Ashfur; what if she wanted to stay friends with Brambleclaw? Ashfur, with his jealousy issues, might have attempted to murder Brambleclaw. And what would’ve happened if Ashfur somehow discovered that the kits weren’t his and Squirrelflight’s? Can you honestly tell me that he would have been receptive to the idea? He might have tried to kill Squirrelflight, or Leafpool, or even the littermates in question. Maybe all three options.
As for Ashfur’s placement in Starclan, I don’t believe he deserves Starclan. To be clear about the fire scene, while Squirrelflight’s admission that they weren’t her kits stalled him from doing so, he still went into that situation fully intending to let three innocent cats burn to death to make their mother (also innocent) suffer his pain. He actually helped set up a situation to murder his clan leader, after conspiring with Hawkfrost (who trained in the Dark Forest) just to hurt the cat who rejected him. To a lesser extent, he took advantage of his mentor relationship with Lionpaw to lash out at him because of his mother. He did all of that just to take revenge on Squirrelflight just for not choosing to be his mate. And then he was accepted into StarClan, because he only “loved too much”. Frankly, that isn’t what he did; he tried to murder Firestar, his clan leader, and attempted the murder of three others. The thing is, he didn’t do any of it because he loved too much, or because Squirrelfight’s actions caused him to do so. Thrushpelt’s life shows that. Thrushpelt suffered at least as much family loss as Ashfur, perhaps more. He was also rejected, but he didn’t dwell on resentment and didn’t plot revenge against Bluefur, because he knew that it was her right to not choose him. He even wanted to remain friends with her. Thrushpelt is important, because he shows that it is not a given that rejection will turn someone into a stalker or a murderer, and that Ashfur defenders cannot justify that he did those things merely because he was rejected. Ashfur had to have had the potential for such actions BEFORE his relationship with Squirrelflight, because Thrushpelt’s case demonstrates that it doesn’t just appear out of nowhere. It shows that Ashfur’s actions were his own, and that if he loved her as much as he said he did, he would’ve accepted her choice. I can understand if he didn’t want to be friends anymore, or even if he outright ignored her (post-Gathering-Reveal Brambleclaw style), but attempted murder was not the answer, and his choices were his own.
(strong) My Verdict: Ashfur’s crimes involve four counts of attempted murder, and conspiring with Hawkfrost, a member of the Dark Forest. Ashfur should have gone to the Dark Forest, not Starclan. (/strong)
(strong) Starclan’s Verdict: If you attempted multiple murders in order to take your revenge, you loved too much. Welcome to Starclan! If your attempted murders succeeded, you’re a terrible monster. Enjoy your exile in the Dark Forest! (/strong)
Questions for Blogclanners:
1. Do you think Ashfur could’ve had a good life (senior warrior, mate, kits, friends, etc.) if he hadn’t become obsessed with revenge against Squirrelflight, or do you believe that Ashfur’s potential for obsession and jealousy would have simply surfaced at a different time, directed at a different cat?
2. Whether or not you believe that Ashfur deserved Starclan, it is a fact that he went to Starclan. It is also a canon fact that Mapleshade was sent to the Dark Forest. While these cats and their motivations were very, very different, they both sought to kill multiple cats to exact their revenge. The main difference is that Mapleshade SUCCEEDED in her murders, while Ashfur did not. Is success/failure of a warrior’s villainous plans related to their Starclan/Dark Forest placement, or was it more about who was in Starclan at the time?