Astersong predicts the future of inter-clan relationships.
Spoilers for A Vision of Shadows and Broken Code.
Hey guys, gals, and nonbinary pals! Astersong here. I’ve been tearing through the Broken Code series right now, because at this point, what else am I going to do? And so far, I’ve noticed that the Warriors series is going in a new direction. We are going away with making Thunderclan the only focus and moving towards a narrative that encompasses multiple clan cultures, and because of this, I think inter-clan forbidden romances aren’t going to be so forbidden anymore. And I think this is a good thing for all cats, and the fans too.
Let me backtrack. Throughout the first couple arcs, we established that clans were very tightly knit and that breaking the loyalty of the clan by having other friendships was breaking the status quo. It’s literally the first commandment of the warrior code: “Protect your clan even with your life. You may have friendships with cats of other clans, but your loyalty must remain to your clan.” Breaking this law was frowned upon from a warrior’s point of view but intriguing for readers — for a time.
After Leafpool and Crowfeather, the spice of a forbidden romance was growing stale, and the fan base became very aware of the continued use of this trope. Not that the characters were bad, but the use of forbidden romance to drive the plot just for the sake of it didn’t quite sit so well. It felt like the Erins were running out of ideas.
The Vision of Shadows spurred a shift in the way the clans were written. We have protagonists not restricted to Thunderclan: Needletail gives us input into Shadowclan, Violetshine gives us the point of view of the new Skyclan, and Twigbranch shows us what it’s like to teeter between clans. By broadening the narration to cats of other clans, naturally the story takes on a wider scope. Suddenly, it’s not just about Thunderclan or Shadowclan or Skyclan. Heck, even Starclan makes it clear that the survival of the clans depends on them all coexisting and helping each other out in times of turmoil — cough cough, Shadowclan — and that requires cats of other clans to be able to be on good terms with each other. We see Alderheart and Needletail become friends. Twigbranch and Violetshine continue to have contact with each other even when seperated by clan borders because they’re sisters, for Starclan’s sake. And even though it’s not particularly encouraged, these characters are not severely punished for it. It’s nice to see some human decency from these… er… cats.
Next comes Dovewing and Tigerheart, the famous forbidden lovers who return after exile near the end of A Vision of Shadows, with Tigerheart on death’s doorstep. Instead of this turning out like some sort of Greek Tragedy (which probably would have happened in the first arc), Tigerheart becomes Tigerstar II. A clan leader. Unlike Bluestar, who covered up her affair, Tigerstar II’s romance is well known and generally accepted.
Next comes Broken Code, which, if the name should suggest anything, means we are in for a revolution of clan law as we know it. Rootspring and Bristlefrost seem to be along the path to a relationship, and we are yet to find out what happens. But as Rootpaw was dealing with his (very obvious) crush, the critiques were: “It happens, dude, but get your head out of the clouds.” Not: “How dare you even fathom feelings for a non-clan member?” It’s much less of a big ordeal.
However, the biggest thing that proves my theory is how the Erins wrote the Imposter. He’s very clearly the antagonist — doing things like killing innocent cats, using manipulation, and possessing Bramblestar’s body. He also strictly enforces an ideology of close adherence for the code with severe punishments for disobedience. This would essentially cripple the clans with medicine cats, leaders, and warriors all suffering punishment. This makes it feel like inter-clan romance, to counter the very evil code-adherence, is good and welcome. If the Imposter wants the first code followed, it is easy to predict that Rootspring, Bristlefrost, and Shadowsight, as his narrative foils, will break this code in some way. And it would be seen as a good thing.
I hope this trend continues because then we could see completely new narratives and spins on the clans. Instead of relying on forbidden romance for shock value, the narratives could emphasise teamwork, compromise, and communication.
All in all, I think a Broken Code is a very exciting addition to the Warriors series, and I can’t wait to read more!
What are your thoughts? Is inter-clan romance good? Bad? Overused? Underused? Do you have any predictions? I’d love to hear it all! Thank y’all and have a wonderful day/night!