An Analysis of Mapleshade: Antihero or Antagonist? by Mistlesnow

Mistlesnow takes a look at Mapleshade.

Art by DrakynWyrm

Wow, it’s been a really long time since my last article! I’m also writing this at 11:00 at night so it might be a little weirdly written.

Mapleshade is definitely one of the most popular, and controversial, characters in the Warriors universe, being both hated and loved. Regardless of what your opinion of her may be, there’s no doubt that she’s made an impact in the events of the story as well as the fandom.

Most people are already very familiar with her backstory, so we’ll just do an extremely brief recap(well, as brief as I can make it). Mapleshade learns that she is pregnant with her RiverClan mate Appledusk’s kits, and gives birth to them under the assumed pretense that their father is Birchface, who was accidentally killed alongside his apprentice by Appledusk. Ravenwing, the medicine cat, reveals the secret to the Clan once he finds out, and Mapleshade is subsequently banished. Her three kits end up drowning in the river in a failed attempt to flee to RiverClan, with Appledusk blaming Mapleshade for their deaths and turning his back on her. The latter is banished from RiverClan as well, and, out of her grief and anger combined with hallucinations of her dead kits, turns to murdering Ravenwing, Frecklewish, and Appledusk, and swearing vengeance on all of his descendants and ThunderClan.

There is viable reasoning on both sides. Personally, I believe that Mapleshade did deserve to go to the Dark Forest for her crimes, even if I can sympathize with her. Her actions can be understood, but not excused. Furthermore, it was made clear in the books that she had wanted to go to the Dark Forest, presumably out of her hatred for StarClan and desire for revenge.

In Mapleshade’s defense:
Her Clan and everyone she had known had turned their backs on her. Ravenwing had refused to even listen to Mapleshade’s side of the story, not even giving her a chance to explain. The ThunderClan warriors do nothing to help as the kits are swept away by the river, and Appledusk betrays her and blames her for the deaths of their kits, despite her efforts to save them, and refuses to show any sympathy for also having part in the relationship. Mapleshade is banished from both ThunderClan and RiverClan with no consideration to her or the kits. They refuse to let her stay, not even for a single night. Yes, she broke the warrior code, but so have many other cats in the series(this is why I’m getting sick of forbidden relationships), yet she was the only one to have a punishment as harsh as this with absolutely no sympathy.

In ThunderClan and RiverClan’s defense:
Appledusk did have some fault in Birchface and Flowerpaw’s death, which is why Frecklewish, Oakstar, and the rest of ThunderClan would have been especially angry to find out that he was the father. Ravenwing was simply doing his job as the medicine cat by reporting the omen he had seen, presumably sent from StarClan. Appledusk

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