[a design of Goosefeather laying down]

Analyzing Characters #2: Goosefeather by xxravenshadexx

Art by Warrior-Junkie

xxravenshadexx shares an in-depth look at ThunderClan’s former medicine cat, Goosefeather.

Goosefeather’s always been interesting. In Bluestar’s Prophecy, many cats are shown not to trust his judgement to the point where most of the Clan thinks he’s crazy, due to the fact that none of them know about his “curse”. It is clear that his several visions and ability to see the spirits of the dead has caused him to think and feel differently than the rest of ThunderClan, as well as pretty much every cat in the entire forest. This is obviously comparable to Spiresight as well, although I’m saving that for another article on another day. While all the other characters thought he was just insane, I always thought he was an interesting character, even before reading Goosefeather’s Curse, where his reasons behind his strange behavior is revealed. The sign to attack WindClan wasn’t his fault, and he interpreted it the best he could. In truth, I think ThunderClan had always been too judgmental against him, even since he was just a young kit. He had been bullied by the other kits, who continued to act mean toward him even when he grew up. These factors are all simply because he is different, as Moonflower even gets annoyed with him when she’s an apprentice simply due to that fact: he’s different, and different is weird. His dislike of Stormtail is appropriate, I believe. Not only due to his vision, but because how he is revealed to act throughout the two books he is in. However, I’m not completely sure he’s off the hook just yet. He is the cat who caused the horrible accident to Crookedstar, and he also seemed to…well, far gone to care about Bluestar’s suffering. There are a few things I have to say about him, I suppose.

I’m going to now base Goosefeather on four factors that I like to use for discussing characters: personality, backstory, actions, and character development.

1. Personality: Goosefeather’s personality is shown as distant, along with curious and stubborn. However, due to its circumstances, for the most part it’s just…unpredictable. He seems like a very confused cat, and nobody can really blame him for it. After all, when he was a kit he just sees all the spirits of his former Clanmates as though they were still living cats. He hadn’t even talked to them enough to realize they were dead yet! He is shown to be somewhat constantly scared or frustrated, due to his powers, and the cursed knowledge that comes with it. Although he is portrayed as “crazy”, he seems very wise, but the wisdom seems somewhat hidden, due to all his other worries and visions getting in the way, causing him to just be confused with too much pressure put on him, even from a young age. When he’s younger, he also reminds me as Jayfeather, and has similar traits as him, up until he’s old.

2. Backstory: The way he was teased by his denmates as a kit was a bit sad, and they thought he was weird, especially Moonkit. The fact he can see dead cats from a young age makes him very different from his Clanmates, and he grows up feeling like an outsider among them. His only friends appear to be the dead cats who talk to him, and he is often lonely among his own Clan, being portrayed as “crazy”. When he’s an apprentice, he even states that his Clanmates treat him like a rogue. Growing up like this eventually DID cause him to actually go a bit crazy, and it’s no surprise why. The dead cats wanted him to try his best to help his Clanmates, none of which treated him with respect, and saw nothing in him but strangeness. The only cats who show him any respect seem to be StarClan cats, Doestar, and Cloudberry. When he gets the omen wrong in Bluestar’s Prophecy, he loses not only his sister, but the tiniest ounce of respect the Clan had for him. He still is right about many other things, though, even though the Clan things he’s a nutcase. His visions of Stormtail didn’t help him either when he was a kit, causing extreme fear whenever he saw him. Cats looked to him for advice for StarClan, though they seemed to simply choose what they wanted to believe, and ignored the not so nice things StarClan was trying to tell them through Goosefeather.

3. Actions: There are four different things that Goosefeather did, which I think are worth discussing. These are what will help drive me to make a decision on him as a character.

-Apologizing to Moonkit for becoming an apprentice early: I think this shows his empathy when he was a kit, and how he was just simply confused. He didn’t want his sister to feel bad. Event though their relationship for the whole series was rocky, it is shown that he cared for her. She accepts his apology and says it’s fine, and that she’s proud of him.

-Chasing Stormkit and ultimately causing him to break his jaw: When he chases Stormkit off the Sunningrocks, I was horrified. Even though the young tom kit and his brother were taunting him, it’s obviously wrong to hurt kits, or even threaten them, whatever they’re doing. I thought that he of all cats should know better, but by that point he seemed to already be slightly mad, and slowly losing the proper wisdom he had developed from when he was a kit due to the madness.

-When he goes to the Dark Forest to speak to Crookedpaw while he’s with Mapleshade: He still seems to be wise enough to deliver news to young cats, even in his own cryptic way. Even though he chased Crookedstar, causing him his injury, I think he really wasn’t malicious, just a tiny bit mad. After all, he had lived through a lot, and seen dead cats throughout his whole life. I believe this part, where he tells Crookedpaw he could be a good warrior and warns Mapleshade to leave the apprentice alone, almost redeems him for that.

-Delivering the prophecy to Bluestar: When Goosefeather delivers this prophecy to Bluestar, she thinks he’s crazy. Even after he hints about it multiple times, she thinks he’s nuts. When he enforces it, though, and warns her about Thistleclaw, she listens to him, though blaming him partially for having to give up her kits to fulfill the prophecy. He does what’s best for ThunderClan, though, and it’s clear he was plagued by horrible visions of death that would happen if Thistleclaw were to have become leader.

My final conclusion:
He couldn’t help turning out the way he did in the end. He had simply been plagued and overstuffed with visions, getting more than any single cat before and after his lifetime. Unlike Jayfeather, his powers were overwhelming. He saw dead cats and horrid visions CONSTANTLY. He tried to do what was right, and ended up being frustrated because his Clanmates generally didn’t listen to him as they should have. They thought he was different, and as such he was just…crazy in their eyes. He hated the way they treated him, but still pressed on. I think in his lifetime, more respect was deserved. I know most cats didn’t know of his powers, but he seemed to rarely be wrong, and even if he was wrong ONCE, it was stated that he was usually right before and after the incident, and that ThunderClan was just too shallow at the time to properly acknowledge his importance to the Clan. I think them losing respect for him and not listening to him all was what REALLY caused him to go crazy, as he wasn’t really needed to the living cats after that. Instead he only really tried to communicate with Bluestar, since she was the only cat with any relevance to his life anymore, as well as warn the Clan about Tigerstar when he was a kit (of course coming off as insane). Other than that, though, my guess is that when he was rolling around muttering to “himself”, he was really just talking to dead friends, as the living cats seemed to shun him.

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