Looking Back after 13 Years: What Warriors Did for Me by Quailflight

Quailflight shares the story of Warriors in their life. How has reading Warriors changed your life?

Official art by Wayne McLoughlin

Last fall, I took a class at my university as part of my requirements as an English major. The class was focused on the work of different authors from a certain region, but somehow, we started talking about what books we read during our childhood. My professor, who is both an author and mother of 2 children, mentioned that her daughter had started reading a book series and wouldn’t stop talking about it.

“Have you all heard of a series called Warriors?”

I exploded, and so did half the room. People were laughing over the memories that my professor had just evoked. Some started to reminisce about the titles that we had grown to love. Forest of Secrets, The Darkest Hour, Firestar’s Quest, and The Fourth Apprentice were all titles that were thrown around that day. One of the girls playfully joked with my professor to watch out for her daughter, because she might get her friends into the series and start roleplaying the Clans with them at school.

That moment has been sticking with me, and it’s especially irritating me now. As I’ve arrived towards the end of my second-to-last planned year of undergraduate studies, in a time that seems uncertain and strange, I’ve found my eyes flickering back to the entire set of the first arc that sits on the shelf to this date. They are worn. There are creases all over the covers from years of reading them over and over. The pages are dog-eared and yellowing. My oldest book, which is appropriately Into the Wild, has its cover losing its integrity, and the edges are kept from rubbing into oblivion with strips of office tape.

I’ve finally taken the time to realize that I would not be where I would be today, whether as a student or a human being, if I hadn’t been introduced to Warriors in 2007.

I had just turned 8 years old, and one of my friends gave me what used to be a shining new cover of Into the Wild as a gift for my birthday. I still remember what she told me about the series: “It’s a book about cats in the wild, and they all live in Clans, and it’s really good! You’re gonna like it.”

I did. I sat down to read it and I didn’t get up until I had finished it. It was the first time I had actually asked my mom to read my room because I didn’t want to be disturbed.

My friend eventually got me Fire and Ice and Forest of Secrets next as a surprise after I had told her how much I liked them. I bought the last 3 books on my own. Then, over the years, it turned into a mixture of collecting and borrowing from the library. I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on my own books, so I would always get the Super Editions or the manga when I was able to buy a book. I would check my library every week to see when I could get my hands on the next book of The New Prophecy and The Power of Three. I shared the books with my sister as well, and she eventually became obsessed. We even pooled our money together to buy Yellowfang’s Secret.

As a fan, I was one of those children who roleplayed as warrior cats. Along with 5 other classmates, we created our own ThunderClan. At lunch, I was Sandstorm… the medicine cat. We never argued when we were “Clanmates.” We were unified as if we really were a Clan. We would also draw cats, make up our own characters, and watch videos that other fans have made.

Many characters stick with me to this day. Bluestar, Silverstream, Cinderpelt, and Leafpool are just a few of my favorites. But when it comes to Firestar, I continue to remember his story in my daily life. He left everything behind to have a new life and made it past the insurmountable odds. He gave his all, his loyalty, and his soul to ThunderClan. He would be rewarded for all of it. By becoming leader, and having the support of his Clanmates, he had found his home.

I’ve felt like I’ve had to fight like Firestar to find my place in the world and make my way to the goals I want to reach. I am still fighting. I’m not done with university yet. Especially right now, my plans are undone. I don’t know what the future will hold and all the things I thought I’d do are uncertain.

I haven’t read a warrior book since I turned 15. The last book I read was the last book of Omen of the Stars: The Last Hope. High school and my extracurriculars left very little time for my own reading time, so after reading the satisfying, but also bittersweet farewell to my childhood hero, I felt like it was a good time to take a break. Unfortunately, that break ended being more than 5 years long.

In these uncertain times, where my time is freer, I took a dive back into them after acting on those feelings that were unlocked after that one day in class. I’ve just finished Into the Wild after countless times. It felt good to feel those worn-out, loved pages in my hands again. I’ll be going back into Fire and Ice again once I finish my final exams. After that, I’ll cycle back through the series, and make into the arcs I haven’t yet gotten to yet. Dawn of the Clans, A Vision of Shadows, and The Broken Code are waiting, but I want to do this the right way since it’s been quite a long time since I’ve followed these cats.

I’m taking the time to write this article because I’ve found that I’ve never lost the spark from reading these books, nor did I lose interest. I’m sure those “ThunderClan” classmates of mine still have the spark from it as well. I don’t know what’s become of my friend who originally introduced me to Warriors, but I do hope she would still have the spark as well. I may be the equivalent of an elder, but it surely is possible, right?

It’s definitely possible. My sister caught me with Into the Wild. As a recent high school graduate, she’s hoping to go to art school to become an animator. She started her interest in art by drawing pictures of her favorite cats. She’s developed into a serious artist. She has a diverse range of skills, but I still see the remnants of the way she used to draw cats, especially in the way she draws faces and fur.

“If I didn’t read Warriors,” she said, “I wouldn’t be doing art. Who knows what I’d be doing.”

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Speckled leaves hiding under snow (Specklepaw/leaf)
Speckled leaves hiding under snow (Specklepaw/leaf)
October 22, 2020 5:32 pm

Can we take a minute to appreciate this article? This warms my heart to hear <3

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