Mellowix shares a theory on Berrynose in The Broken Code. Spoilers for Omen of the Stars and Thr Broken Code!
Whether you consider him annoying or likeable, I don’t think anyone could call him evil. Right? Well, this theory questions if Berrynose has committed any crimes, including in the arcs, Omen of the Stars and Broken Code. Spoilers ahead. Hope you enjoy!
In the recent arc, Broken Code, Berrynose showed his villainous side when he supported the Imposter. Some fans have said this is out of character, however I’d argue Berrynose’s true nature has been hinted at much earlier. What I’m specially referring to, is Dovewing’s silence.
Thought out this novella, Berrynose was the most vocal accuser against the trainees. He also indoctrinated his mate and kits into having similar beliefs.
1) Bramblestar pointed out.“When they learned the truth about their new allies, they showed nothing but loyalty to the Clans. There is little to forgive, in my opinion.”Dustpelt didn’t look satisfied, and Berrynose hissed something into Poppyfrost’s ear.”
2) “Are we really supposed to forgive and forget?” Berrynose protested. “If they hadn’t given awayall our secrets, the Dark Forest might never have attacked!”Dovewing couldn’t believe that any of her Clanmates would think this was true, but Poppyfrost was nodding. “Those cats need to prove they can be trusted,” she growled. She glanced around fearfully as if she thought Birchfall might be inviting Dark Forest cats into the camp at that very moment.
He made sure his family were isolated from the trainees. This made it easier for Berrynose to influence them into his one-sided view:
– “The warriors’ den is kind of cramped,” he mewed to Bramblestar. “Poppyfrost and I would behappy to sleep in with Purdy, if he’ll have us.” […] Ivypool narrowed her eyes. “Do you think so? Or are they just desperate to get away from thoseferocious Dark Forest cats who sleep too close to them?” […] “We’ll sleep in the elders’ den too,” piped up Cherrypaw, nodding to her brother, Molepaw. That makes sense, since Poppyfrost and Berrynose are their mother and father, Dovewing thought.”
Berrynose thought that the trainees should be executed:
“Berrynose was muttering to Toadstep,close enough for Dovewing to hear, “I can’t believe Bramblestar wants to take Blossomfall and Thornclaw with us. Does he want todraw attention to the traitors in our own Clan?”Toadstep flicked his thick black-and-white tail. “The other Clans managed to kill most of their traitors,” he hissed back. “Maybe we should have done the same!”
Cherrypaw and Molepaw showed an eerily similar sentient, who Berrynose had been influencing:
“Stay back, traitor!” hissed Snowkit, fluffing up his white pelt. “You say you’re aThunderClan cat now, but we know the truth! You just want to kill us!” Molepaw arched his back. “Aha! It seems you do not trust me, even though I swore an oath! Well, you’re right! I am your most dangerous enemy!” He pounced toward the kits, his tail lashing.
Then, Cherrypaw and Molepaw falsely reported to a patrol of mostly trainees, that fox scent was on the border. However, they didn’t inform them, that the fox was crazed and in a trap. This meant the apprentices were purposefully making the situation more dangerous for the patrol, endangering them:
Bramblestar: “Cherrypaw and Molepaw said they found traces of a fox inside the border. Did you chase it into the trap?”
Dovewing: “No, This fox was already trapped when the first patrol found it. Wasn’t it?”
Bramblestar: “That’s not what they told me.”
Dovewing: “Nor us, I think they wanted my patrol to find it when it was alive and crazed with pain.”
Squirrelflight:“Why would they do that?”
Dovewing: “Becausemy patrol was made up of cats who once trained with the Dark Forest. Cherrypaw and Molepaw feel no loyalty toward them, and were willing to send them into great danger.”
However, when they’re confronted about this, they seem genuinely confused and unable comprehend the true danger they’d placed the warriors in:
Molepaw shifted his paws. “We didn’t know they’d attack it!” he whined. “We just wanted toscare them!”There was a blur of movement, and suddenly Lionblaze was looming over the apprentices. “Youn early killed them!” he hissed. Cherrypaw shrank to the ground. “We didn’t mean to!” she bleated.
If they simply wanted to prank/scare the warriors, there’s less elaborate ways the apprentices probably could have gone for; liking putting thorns in nests, hiding something foul tasting in fresh-kill, etc. Up until that point, Cherrypaw and Molepaw hadn’t done any smaller jokes like those. It seems like an abrupt jump to make, to go from no jokes to a gamble with a crazed beast which literally risk cats’ lives.
Then it takes them only a few minutes to feel genuinely sorry and welcome back the trainees as their clanmates. For cats they were willing to endanger the same day, this change of heart seems suspicious:
Cherrypaw and Molepaw approach the cats at the bottom of the cliff.“We’re very sorry,” Molepaw mewed. “What we did was wrong, and broke the warrior code.”“It won’t happen again,” Cherrypaw added. Birchfall reached out with his tail and stroked the she-cat on her flank. “I believe you,” he meowed. He paused. “Will you patrol with me tomorrow, Cherrypaw?”She nodded vigorously. “It would be an honor to patrol with any of you.”
So what I am suggesting? I don’t think Cherrypaw and Molepaw genuinely believed in or understood in “their” fox scheme. Instead, I think a third party suggested it to them, under the cover of a prank, so the apprentices would go along with it. However in truth, it was intended to be a murder attempt towards the trainees.
My prime suspect is Berrynose, using his kits as pawns in the trainees’ unlawful executions, just like he claimed they deserved earlier in the book. This reason I point to him, and not Poppyfrost, is because he was the dominate one/influencer, always speaking first when it came to the topic of trainees. Also, his later actions in Broken Code, showed he had the capability of doing this crime back in Dovewing’s Silence.
When he found discovered what Cherrypaw and Molepaw done, he wasn’t shown to be disappointed in them. And when Bramblestar asked Thunderclan to forgive the trainees after they’d proven their loyalty by fighting the fox, Berrynose was still hesitate:
“They have proved that they are willing to lay down their lives for you. In future, you will be prepared to do the same.”Dovewing looked around and saw that several of her Clanmates seemed uncomfortable, flattening their ears and shifting their paws. Berrynose and Poppyfrost were among them”
Then in Crowfeather’s Trial, which takes after Dovewing’s Silence, it shows Berrynose’s attitude hasn’t changed:
“We should be making sure that the other Clans have been testing the cats who fought on behalf of the Dark Forest,” Berrynose went on. “As long as there are doubts about those cats’ loyalties, the forest might never be peaceful.” “But we—” Another voice, which Crowfeather couldn’t identify, tried to interrupt. “Yes, we have asked stern questions of our warriors.” Berrynose ignored the interruption. “But how do we know that the Dark Forest warriors in other Clans can really be trusted? If they can’t, they should be driven out.”
He’s so extreme in his beliefs, he’ll go as far as give out false murder accusations at a Gathering, risking breaking the truce:
“Oh, you’d like to pass the blame on elsewhere? The difference is, Breezepelt, that even after you found out what the Dark Forest was up to, you stayed with them. You were prepared to kill Lionblaze—prepared to kill your own kin! How can we just accept your word if you tell us that you’d never hurt Nightcloud?”
Spoilers for Veil of Shadows:
Even if you’re not personally convinced by the Dovewing’s Silence theory, him being involved with Shadowsight’s murder is far more likely, almost bordering on canon. While the Imposter is the confirmed physically attacker of Shadowsight, there’s still room for an accomplice. Similar to how Ashfur aided with Firestar’s attampted murder, serving as a messenger/lookout.
Moments before a possessed Bramblestar attacked Shadowsight, a yowl sounded, luring the other medicine cats away and leaving him alone:
“It sounded like the yowl came from over there”, Tree began to head along a rise. […] Puddleshine hurried after him him, “I can smell blood.”
Considering how quickly the Imposter reached his victim, he would’ve of been hiding a few metres away. If this was solely the Imposter, this would be impossible. He’d need to yowl so far away, it requires the Medicine cats to sprint to reach his location, yet he’s able to ambush Shadowsight seconds later.
Also, at no point did Shadowsight describe his attacker as being covered in blood. No, a second cat needed to involved to pull this crime off. Which in this case, would be Berrynose. As in the first chapter of Veil of Shadow, Bristlefrost spots the Imposter returning to Thunderclan camp, directly after he’s done with Shadowsight. And who is with him at the time?
“Tasting the air, she picked up another, fainter tang. Could that be blood? […] As the two cats drew closer, she recognized the imposter Bramblestar and the Clan deputy Berrynose. Her first flash of relief was replaced by unease as she wondered why they were returning to camp so late and smelling so strongly of catmint.”