Examining The Warrior Cats System: Part I by Slatepaw

Slatepaw takes a look at the governing system present in Warriors.

Official art by Wayne McLoughlin

Embix edit: This article missed its publish date, so we’re publishing it now!

WARNING: There may be spoilers ahead, so proceed with caution.

Alright, this is gonna be a long article, so strap in and let’s start!

Today, I’m writing about the various cracks, flaws, and some perfections in the system of governing/ruling that the Clans use.

Let’s go over the main thing first:

When kits are born, they are named by their parents, with a prefix. The suffix at this point is -kit.
After they reach six moons, they are either apprenticed to a warrior or apprenticed to a medicine cat, and the leader presides over this apprenticing. The suffix at this point is -paw. They keep their prefix.
After they have finished their training, whichever path it is, they are given their warrior name/suffix, which can be a variety of things. No fixed suffix here. The leader names the warriors, while the medicine cats take longer to train and are named by the previous medicine cat.
Now, if a warrior is lucky enough or good enough, they may be chosen to be deputy (after the current deputy has died or become the leader). The suffix doesn’t change here, but the cat has more authority.
If a deputy outlasts the leader (meaning that the leader dies before the deputy), then the deputy becomes the leader, assuming the suffix of -star. And that’s the top of the pyramid. The leader receives nine lives from StarClan and makes sure to choose a deputy before moonhigh/midnight, I believe, of the next day.

Here are some observations I’ve made.
First off, the system is like a “softer” dictatorship. The Clan leader is all-powerful, and according to the warrior code: “The word of the Clan leader is the warrior code.” (Quote from Warriors Wiki)
The leader assigns apprentices to mentors. The leader appoints the deputy and can change the deputy at will (although it isn’t common). An example of this is Tallstar, who changed his deputy from Mudclaw to Onewhisker at the last moment, so much so of the last moment that nobody else knew except Firestar and Brambleclaw if I’m not wrong. This created considerable confusion and suspicion, but I’ll get to that later. The leader names the warriors, and the leader is in charge of basically everything. Most of the time, this does not create any issues, because the leader had to go through such a strict rise-to-the-top system, based on merit, and by the time they’re leader, they’re pretty awesome. But there are exceptions (Case in point: Brokenstar).

The deputy is basically like the leader’s advisor. No big issues here, except when Fireheart literally had to become half-leader because Bluestar was very old, didn’t trust StarClan, and basically didn’t do anything anymore, but I digress-

Now for the real problems.

1. The deputy isn’t appreciated enough. This is your next Clan leader, cats! Well, if the current leader is still going strong, then probably not, but if something emergency happens, the deputy is the one that takes over. The deputy usually assigns patrols, and if anything is off in the Clan, reports to the leader. Cats that feel embarrassed talking directly to the leader can talk to the deputy, who will tell the leader. The deputy is basically a high multi-function railway, cats, appreciate them more!
2. Leaders get nine lives. Why?? I know this can be an article in itself, and multiple have been written, so I’m not going into detail. But it’s kind of confusing for a leader to have NINE lives. They’re the most targeted of individuals; true. And they have a much higher mental toll than other cats; true. And the Erins wanted to incorporate the “cats have nine lives” thing; true. The confusion is there, though. In each life-giving ceremony thing at the Moonstone/Moonpool, does each life literally give the leader the quality that the cat who gave it said it was for? Or is it just symbolic, like “Here’s a life, make sure to have this quality as a leader!” And does the leader literally start another life once they die? Most of us get that the leader died but just comes right back in the same situation they died in, except they have to recover. And sometimes the wound/sickness is just so bad that the leader loses multiple, if not all, of their lives. Example: Tigerstar the First. Scourge ripped open his belly, just like that! The wound was so fatal that what would have been an instant kill just ended up killing him nine times over because it could not be recovered from. But that’s enough of a point, I said I wasn’t going into detail.
3. Medicine cats. Each Clan has its own designated medicine cat(s), which perform healing and convey StarClan messages. There isn’t as much a problem with medicine cats as there is the process of StarClan signs and how medicine cats are chosen. Example: Mothwing. Was she destined to be a medicine cat? Hawkfrost cheated by putting a moth’s wing as a fake sign, but Mothwing ended up being a great medicine cat after all. What was StarClan thinking then? Did they let it happen because they thought that 1) RiverClan needed a medicine cat, and 2) Mothwing had the potential? Mothwing had believed in StarClan, but after she discovered the truth about what Hawkfrost did, she stopped. Is that still fitting the eligible-for-medicine-cat rules? I don’t know. She got Willowshine, though, so afterward I suppose it worked out. But say it didn’t work out, that Mothwing never got an apprentice. That would have been disastrous, right? I don’t know, again, how that would work.

Anyway, this is getting rather long, so I guess I’ll split it into two parts? See you guys next time then 🙂
I’ll be talking partly about what the system is GOOD for next time, don’t worry. The Warrior Code is good overall but I like to nitpick…

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16 comments

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  • Avatar 𝐵𝓁𝑜𝓈𝓈𝑜𝓂𝓅𝒶𝓌(𝓇𝑜𝓈𝑒)~𝐵𝓁𝑜𝓈𝓈𝑜𝓂~She says:

    Mothwing did say in TBC: Lost Stars that “…but with time to reflect on what happened in the Great Battle, and everything that happened with Darktail and the cats we lost . . . I no longer deny that StarClan exists.” — Mothwing, Page 77, Warriors: The Broken Code: Lost Stars

    XD this quote took me forever to find cuz I was reading through like every Shadowpaw chapter

  • Nice! I think the reason the Erins choose leaders to have nine lives was becuse back then people believed all cats had nine lives, but they don’t. 😉

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