Analysing Minor Characters 7 : Larkwing by Mapledrift

Mapledrift takes a closer look at Larkwing.

Art by Mapledrift

Hello ! I’ve taken a break from writing these articles for so long now, and I thought I might as well get back into it with one about my favourite character Larkwing.

So first let’s talk about the basics, who is Larkwing ?

Larkwing is a WindClan warrior, likely born in mid to late Omen of the Stars. Her parents are Sedgewhisker, one of the two WindClan warriors who went on the journey to the beavers and Emberfoot, who has very little information about him. She has a sister called Featherpelt. Probably the most notable thing about her is that she was a dark forest trainee when she was an apprentice.

Throughout the books, Larkwing gets very few appearances, so we can only theorise her reasoning for training in the Dark Forest. Yet with the information we have about her, there is one idea that really stands out. Larkwing’s mother was clearly a well respected WindClan warrior, being one of those who journeyed to save the clans from a drought. Naturally this would create a lot of pressure for her to live up to in the clan. Being a young apprentice at the time the Dark Forest was recruiting it is unstandable that they could prey on her innocence and perhaps lack of knowledge about the evil cats in the past. A need to prove herself to her clan would definitely have created that desperation which the Dark Forest so often preyed on. With the information we have about her character, I think it’s safe to assume that a combination of a need to prove herself and naivety were likely the cause of her Dark Forest training.

The second part of Larkwing’s character arc that is especially striking when I was doing more research into her, is one of her early appearances in Crowfeather’s Trial. When going to sit down from a clan meeting, Larkwing heads towards her parents, Emberfoot and Sedgewhisker, but as the two give her a chilling look, she heads over to sit with another Dark Forest trainee, Whiskernose. Here we get a glimpse of the severity with which WindClan treats former Dark Forest trainees, even those who fought against the Dark Forest in the Great Battle. In my mind this is even more revealing about WindClan’s attitudes than any of Breezepelt’s arc, as Larkwing was a young cat who made mistakes, and in the end she even got her warrior name for her bravery in the Great Battle.

Yet even with her apparent heroics and the change of side, she is even cast aside by her own parents. WindClan’s treatment of Breezepelt is entirely understandable, and to me shows logic more than cruelty, considering his standpoint in the Great Battle. On the other hand there is Larkwing, who drives home the cruelty of WindClan when dealing with those who trained in the Dark Forest and regretted it.

Personally I feel a lot of sympathy for Larkwing in this situation, she’s constantly tried her best to rectify her mistakes (which I will talk about more later), but her parents push her aside anyway. The lack of forgiveness in WindClan really contrasts what we see in ThunderClan as whilst there is some opposition there, it isn’t as long lasting or widespread as it appears to be in WindClan. Her parents’ reactions also add to the theory that it was a desire to live up to their expectations that pushed her to turn to the Dark Forest, as it feels like this reflects an idea of conditional love and strict parenting that she tried to rebel against with her actions.

Larkwing’s desperate urge to make things right in the clan is highlighted by her excitement when the stoats are first discovered. She suggests that the white creatures in the tunnels might be a sign that the cats who died in the Great Battle could come back to life, and may be trying to return to the world of the living. This not only highlights her naivety and hopefulness, but also her guilt about the deaths in the Great Battle. Although she fought on the side of the clans and wouldn’t have played a role in the deaths, there could definitely be an element of guilt caused by this experience. As she does swiftly think of the dead it is a clear indicator that those who died are at the forefront of her thoughts a considerable amount of the time.

To further add to this idea of guilt and wanting to make up for her actions in the past, we see that Larkwing repeatedly puts herself in harm’s way throughout Crowfeather’s Trial.For example, signing up for the patrol to go and investigate the stoats. Each time it is heavily implied that it is in a desperate effort to prove herself to her clanmates as she is having an incredibly hard time fitting in with her clan in the aftermath of the battle. To go to this amount of effort really shows the loyalty and kindness of Larkwing, even when her parents turn away from her she tries her hardest to prove herself.

There is a common thread about an urge to prove herself throughout everyone of Larkwing’s appearances in the books, which is incredibly revealing of how vital this idea is to her character. Her whole life Larkwing wanted to prove herself, and in that desperation she put herself in a situation where it actually set her back, and denied her the praise she may have wanted from her parents. We don’t know for sure if the bond between Sedgewhisker, Larkwing and Emberfoot was ever fixed, only that Larkwing was praised for her bravery in the battle with the stoats.

In conclusion, Larkwing is an incredibly fascinating character who really highlights the hardships WindClan Dark Forest trainees had to go through to return to some sort of normal clan life. Whilst we don’t know much about her, the small glimpses we get of Larkwing’s life reveal somewhat of a bigger picture, describing a character who was desperate to prove herself, and had her ambition manipulated by the members of the Dark Forest.

I hope this article was interesting, thank you so much for reading !!

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