Flowerleaf compares Mapleshade and Crookedstar’s stories.
Mapleshade and Crookedstar are two very different characters whose stories collide in unexpected ways. In Crookedstar’s Promise, Crookedstar is manipulated by Mapleshade because she is bitter about him being a descendant of Appledusk and Reedshine, the cat she loved and the cat she loathed.
However, their stories are more similar than they may seem.
Mapleshade fell in love with Appledusk, a RiverClan warrior. In Mapleshade’s Vengeance, we learn that he caused the deaths of Birchface and Flowerpaw. Birchface was Oakstar’s son as well as Frecklewish’s brother. Keep that in mind.
Mapleshade bore Appledusk’s kits. They were completely unlike any ThunderClan kits and spark suspicions with some of the Clan’s members. Frecklewish is particularly keen on helping raise the kits, as she believes that they are Birchface’s. Mapleshade does nothing to say that Birchface isn’t the kits’ father and lets Frecklewish be overjoyed over a lie that her brother’s legacy lives on through her kits.
I won’t be writing the whole spoiler of Mapleshade’s Vengeance here, though. Through a spiral of events, Ravenwing, the ThunderClan medicine cat, finds out that the kits are half-Clan. He tells this to Oakstar, and the whole of ThunderClan finds out.
Frecklewish is betrayed and outraged. Oakstar exiles Mapleshade. It may seem extreme, but yet again, Mapleshade had kits with the cat who caused his son’s death.
Mapleshade tries to take her kits across the river to RiverClan with an expectation that they’d unquestionably let them in despite having broken the warrior code, but the kits drown. Mapleshade is torn with grief.
Darkstar, leader of RiverClan then, denies her entry into RiverClan and turns her away. And even Appledusk turns on her. He takes another mate in Reedshine.
Mapleshade’s solution? Murder.
She kills Ravenwing and causes Frecklewish’s death. She tries to kill Reedshine, too, but instead accidentally kills Appledusk.
Mapleshade lost her Clan, her kits, her mate, her honour, and she decides to further ruin it by killing cats. Ravenwing was only being loyal. Frecklewish was lied to. It really shows how close she was to her brother in the rage she had when the truth was revealed. Mapleshade tried to kill Reedshine out of bitterness and jealousy and rage. But Appledusk defends her and gets killed in the process.
Let’s look at Crookedstar.
He was an average kit and was very close with his brother, Oakheart (then Oakkit). His mother was Rainflower. At the time, she loved them equally, praising their looks and stuff of that sort. But then he fell in the river and broke his jaw after a scare. And it spirals downward from there.
His name, then Stormkit, is changed to Crookedkit. Rainflower turns her back on him because he isn’t handsome anymore. After he runs away to find the Moonpool, he ends up at a barn and stays there for a few moons. After he returns, he isn’t even fully accepted by many of his Clanmates! His apprenticeship is held back for many, MANY moons. He was almost warrior size when he became an apprentice! Bluepaw (Bluestar) was even taken aback at how old he looked to be a new apprentice.
He is manipulated by Mapleshade who tells him he is unique and special. She told him she was StarClan, and he believed her! Out of his want to prove himself and his fragility, he is convinced. Mapleshade then uses him. She knew his ambitions to be the leader of RiverClan. She knew how he felt useless because of his injury. She convinces him to listen to her and train with her. She manipulates him into doing what she wants.
Time skipping, Oakheart, Silverstream, Willowbreeze and their other kits, and Shellheart all die, and Mapleshade tries to convince him it is his fault. She says she is satisfied that she has “ruined his life.”
Quotes from the manga at the end of Crookedstar’s Promise: “You have lost everything.” and “I have destroyed you!”
What does Crookedstar do? Does he go mad with rage that StarClan has taken all who he loves from him and turn his back on them? Does he resort to killing EVERYBODY?
No, he doesn’t. He knows that his loved ones are watching over him and will always be there.
What would have happened if Mapleshade didn’t go mad? I believe she would regret her mistakes and live her life as a rogue, isolating herself from the Clans. What do you think?
Crookedstar had every reason to go mad, too. He could have committed a Bluestar and turned on StarClan like she did in TPB. He could have easily let his resentment for Rainflower turn murderous. He could have been jealous that he was outshined by his brother. He could have been furious that HE was the one that was manipulated by the Dark Forest on top of all this (and he was, but not in a “life is unfair and I will kill everybody way”), but he wasn’t. He learned, he lived, he loved.
Crookedstar is a really interesting character and Crookedstar’s Promise is one of my favourite Super Editions.
Mapleshade and Crookedstar were both cats who lost what they loved. Only one chose the right thing.
That’s all for me. I hope you enjoyed my article. Flowerleaf signing off!