How Warriors Ruined Bramblestar (as told by a Bramblestar fan) by Brambleheart

Brambleheart shares their thoughts on how Bramblestar changed throughout the series.

Art by MissyDakota

Hey everyone. So Bramblestar is my favourite character in Warriors. I named my cat after him! But, he is also a controversial warrior cat. A lot of people hate him because he is a “bad” leader, or an “abusive” mate. While I can see why a lot of people dislike him, and think that some things that he did were mean, I feel that a lot of people fail to understand that Bramblestar wasn’t always that way. (I’m not saying anything mean about Bramblestar haters, you are all valid). In fact, in older books, it seems that Bramblestar was a different cat, sending different messages.

I feel that Bramblestar was a good cat before his Super Edition, but after, he fell apart quick by losing his crucial development with both himself as a leader and his relationship with Squirrelflight–and here is why.

To truly understand Bramblestar, we need to see him from the beginning. In the Prophecies Begin arc, Bramblekit/paw was created to further help Firestar’s development and teach him to not judge a book by its cover. And we get that adorable scene of baby Bramblepaw playing in the snow and it’s the most wholesome scene in the entire series.

In New Prophecy, although Brambleclaw himself wasn’t as interesting as Leafpool and Squirrelflight development-wise, he was still the most important cat when it comes to the overall themes of the series. Brambleclaw’s development coincided with Squirrelflight’s, in the sense that Squirrelflight was important to develop Brambleclaw, and Brambleclaw was important to develop Squirrelflight. Brambleclaw’s impression of Squirrelflight as an “annoying idiot” was the reader’s first impression of her as well. But as we see Squirrelflight prove herself again and again as a competent warrior, Brambleclaw sees it too. It’s an extension of the “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” message we saw in his original appearences.

The latter half of The New Prophecy does this beautifully as well with the ups and downs of Brambleclaw and Squirrelflight’s relationship. It gives the reader a good message of how relationships are supposed to work. A lot of relationships in Warriors, especially before this one, aren’t realistic in the sense that there are fights. A lot of good relationships in Warriors are glorified because the cats don’t have arguments, when in real life, it’s the opposite. In fact, a relationship without any fights is an unhealthy relationship. Why?

In a relationship, there are two people (or cats) trying to work together, and it’s a two-way street. Fights are usually made when one person is struggling to meet in the middle, and a lot of the time, the fights resolve themselves and both people in the relationship grow and learn from their mistakes. If all relationships ended after one fight, we wouldn’t have any at all. This makes the relationship between Brambleclaw and Squirrelflight one of the most realistic in the series that sends a message of how they are supposed to be. This remains as a constant in later arcs, which I will get to later.

Brambleclaw also was key to broadening horizons in Warriors when it came to having new protagonists. He was the perfect blend of familiarity that we saw with Firestar, and someone new. I believe that Brambleclaw was intended to parallel Firestar at the beginning of The New Prophecy for this reason, in the sense that Firestar fans would read the new books despite not having their favourite character as a protagonist, while becoming familiar with the other unique protagonists the arc had to offer, which was essential for what was a big risk for Warriors at the time New Prophecy was being written.

In Power of Three, Brambleclaw was a loving and good father and role model for Jayfeather, Lionblaze and Hollyleaf as they grew up. And the fact that he temporarily broke up with Squirrelflight was very valid. His mate lied to him, because she didn’t trust him. Yes, Squirrelflight’s reasoning was understandable, but it didn’t stop Brambleclaw from feeling betrayed, which a lot of people would if this situation happened in real life. But the fact that they reconciled in The Last Hope continued and stayed faithful to the message of how fights are important for those in a relationship to grow and understand each other.

But Bramblestar’s Super Edition made things wary. This is where I believe the downfall of Bramblestar’s character development began. While Bramblestar developed as a great leader, e didn’t get to see a whole lot of development with him and Squirrelflight besides the manga, which in itself was more from Squirrelflight’s perspective. Despite this, Bramblestar was still developed as a competent and strong leader who was beloved by his Clan. He and Squirrelflight got a happier happy ending in kits as well, which was very nice for the two of them.

I can’t say the same about Bramblestar going on to A Vision of Shadows or beyond, as this is both when his development got ignored and when he started to get a lot of hate. I like to call this the Onestar effect: it’s when a character becomes a leader and is thrown off the spotlight, and loses all their development and become a jerk as a result. A Vision of Shadows, The Broken Code and Squirrelflight’s Hope are really guilty of this with Bramblestar, Mistystar, Harestar, and Tigerheartstar getting this treatment.

We at first see this with Bramblestar as a father. With Leafpool’s kits, Bramblestar was hands on, loving, and supportive of them throughout their lives (until the truth estranged them), but with his own kits we see him be a proper father for one book. A SINGULAR BOOK, AKA the last book that remembers Bramblestar’s development. And Bramblestar isn’t even there for the majority of it! As A Vision of Shadows progresses, we see Bramblestar be an incompetent leader for the sake of the conflict in the books dragging on; not the compassionate, loyal, and supportive Bramblestar we’ve seen before that.

While this was a mild inconvenience for me at the time, Squirrelflight’s Hope made a lot of people hate Bramblestar–including me. For the sake of summary, Bramblestar was being toxic and abusive to Squirrelflight, and a very bad leader too. He did so many bad things in that book that were completely out of nowhere and super out of character. The only development that Bramblestar got from this was from other books that ignored his other development.

Myself along with some of the other Bramblestar fans accept that Bramblestar is just a different cat now, and I personally hate this other Bramblestar. I want the old one back! I hope I gave you some light on Bramblestar, and I hope you’ve enjoyed this article! Please, please leave a comment on your thoughts on the two Bramblestars. I am excited to see your opinions!

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  • Really amazing article! You have a lot of good points.

    I use to be a Bramblestar fan when he went on the journey with the other cats to find Midnight. Here we see Bramblestar, a young cat with confidence, as he becomes the “leader” of the other cats on the journey. He was natural leader but he knew his place in his Clan.

    With Bramblestar and Jayfeather, Hollyleaf, and Lionblaze, he was a good father towards them. But after he discovered Squirrelflight’s lie, he’s hurt and treats them differently. I understand that he would be in a lot of pain, and what Squirrelflight did was wrong. But he just acts so different towards them. Even now.

    And it really bothers me in his Super Addition book- He would leave Squirrelflight for a kittypet! After all they’d been through together- Going to the mountains, moving to the lake, raising kits, becoming leader, and then just like that he goes and wants to leave her for a kittypet? I really don’t like Bramblestar and Jessy’s relationship.

    And then he begins to argue/be abusive to Squirrelflight. And then Ashfur/the imposter happens, and she does everything to save Bramblestar! And then when he comes back and is grateful for a few days and then forgets about it and doesn’t speak about it again. And he becomes a weak leader. He starts dreaming about being in the Dark Forest and it’s haunting him- And he becomes an awful leader, and just leaves all the responsibilities to Squirrelflight! She’s the one running the Clan! And then he starts snapping at his Clan, and scaring them. He’s just living in the past and not moving on. Like I know things happened, but he needs to move on and try and be the best leader he can be for the sake of his Clan. he needs to stop living in the past, and step things up. Like the book I’m on (Shadow), he doesn’t care that Tigerstar (Tigerheart) is invading RiverClan.

    Even though Squirrelflight is his Deputy, she basically runs the Clan. While Bramblestar sleeps in his nest all day worrying/being scared (Or “Haunted) by/about the Dark Forest. And if a cat challenges him, he either snaps/scares them and then gives in or just gives in right away.

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