Flamecloud takes a look at Thrushpelt’s life throughout the series.
Howdy folks, and thank you for taking the time to check out this article! Today I am going to be discussing Thrushpelt. While I feel that he is often overlooked, he consistently proves himself to be a kind and caring cat, as well as extremely loyal, all traits that have made him my favorite character.
Thrushpelt was a Thunderclan warrior in the time period around Buestar’s Prophecy, and is probably best known for his role in her story. However, we will be looking at many different variables in his life, and his relationships with many different cats. Unfortunately, his life separate from Bluefur isn’t often shown, so some of this will delve into speculation, but I think that just makes it more interesting. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy this article and develop a deeper understanding of this lovable cat!
Beware, there are heavy spoilers for Bluestar’s Prophecy below!
Thrushpelt as a son-
Before he ever met Bluefur, Thrushpet had to be born. His parents were Rainfur and Windflight, neither of whom he is shown to interact with greatly.
In the case of Rainfur, she’s not mentioned much at all. She’s a Thunderclan warrior who was mates with Windflight, and in Goosefeather’s Curse she gives birth to Thrushpelt, Tawnyspots, and Dappletail, and later takes in Whitekit and Specklekit when their mother dies. She and all five kits survive the starvation. That’s essentially all we know about her, as she appears only in Pinestar’s Choice and Goosefeather’s Curse. However, we can guess based on her absence in Bluestar’s Prophecy that she may have passed away during the time between those novellas and the start of the super edition. Given that Thrushpelt is a new warrior when Bluekit is born, it can be inferred that Rainfur probably died while he was an apprentice.
Thrushpelt’s father is Windflight, who is also a Thunderclan warrior. He is mentioned far more in the Bluestar era super editions and novellas than Rainfur, and his father is a Windclan cat. In addition to being her father, he mentors Dappletail.
However, despite appearing far more frequently than Rainfur, he is never shown to be particularly fatherly to any of his older kits. After Rainfur’s disappearance, he takes a second mate, Poppydawn. Their three kits, Thistlekit, Sweetkit, and Rosekit, are born while Bluefur was still a kit, meaning that they are likely about a year younger than Thrushpelt and Dappletail*, (see Thrushpelt as a Brother for explanation on the confusion around when he was born). This also means that, assuming Rainfur left the picture around the time Thrushpelt was an apprentice, Windflight didn’t wait very long before taking another mate.
Additionally, while he is shown to act as the father and mate of his later kits and mate, that never occurs with his first three kits and first mate. Poppydawn also never plays a role in Thrushpelt’s life as a stepmom. This suggests that Windflight maybe wasn’t as close to Thrushpelt and company as he was with his second mate and Co.
At this point, we see Thrushpelt’s first year of life playing out with a dead/missing mom and a distant father, and potentially jealousy over Windflight’s new kits. Although Thrushpelt isn’t the type to grow too bitter over resentment, that doesn’t mean he didn’t feel left out or abandoned by this.
Thrushpelt as a brother-
Thrushpelt has seven siblings, although the series doesn’t exactly showcase his relationship with any of them.
Two of them are his full siblings, Tawnyspots and Dappletail, although there is some confusion on whether they are merely siblings or littermates. In Goosefeather’s Curse, Rainfur gives birth to all three of them at once. However, at the beginning of Bluestar’s Prophecy, Tawnyspots is an older warrior, Thrushpelt has just become a warrior, and Dappletail is still an apprentice. Additionally, although Speckletail is a warrior, One-eye (then White-eye) is still an apprentice as well.
Personally, I prefer to think that Tawnyspots was from an earlier litter, and that Dappletail and Thrushpelt are littermates but Thrushpelt just became a warrior faster. Otherwise, the age gap between Bluefur and Thrushpelt gets a little odd, and it wouldn’t make sense for Thrushpelt to have just become a warrior and certainly not for Dappletail to still be an apprentice. Plus, Thrushpelt plays a far more important role in Bluestar’s Prophecy than Goosefeather’s Curse, so I’m sticking with the former’s interpretation.
He also has three younger half siblings. Although it is not really touched upon at all, Rosetail, Sweetpaw, and Thistleclaw share the same father as Thrushpelt.
In addition to his biological siblings, he also has two foster sisters, One-eye and Speckletail, who Rainfur took care of after their mother, Harepounce, died.
Tawnyspots was Thrushpelt’s brother, with Windflight and Rainfur as his parents as well. Again, as I mentioned earlier, it’s uncertain whether he’s his older brother or littermate, but I choose to think he was from an earlier litter.
He and Thrushpelt go on several patrols together throughout Bluestar’s Prophecy, but Bluestar never pays very close attention to any interactions those two might have had. In general, Thrushpelt goes on a lot of patrols during that book, but Tawnyspots spends a significant portion of Bluestar’s Prophecy as deputy, meaning he would be in charge of this. I like the idea of him going on patrols with his younger brother to spend time with him, but again, their relationship doesn’t receive any attention, so that’s just speculation.
In the later portions of Bluestar’s Prophecy, Tawnyspots begins to experience bouts of sickness, which get progressively worse until he is forced to retire to the elders’ den. Eventually, this sickness kills him, but it is a long and drawn-out process. After Sunstar is killed by a dog, Bluestar reflects that she takes comfort in knowing that “he had never wanted to suffer a slow death as Tawnyspots had, joining Starclan only after days of agony that even Featherwhisker’s herbs could not ease,” (Bluestar’s Prophecy, page 497.)
Thrushpelt’s reaction to his brother’s death is not shown, because it’s mentioned only in hindsight by Bluestar. However, it’s safe to say that Thrushpelt probably mourned his brother’s death, and I suspect it would have been difficult to slowly watch Tawnyspot’s strength fade while everyone else was more worried about who would replace him as deputy.
Dappletail was Thrushpelt’s littermate and sister. At the start of Bluestar’s Prophecy, she is still an apprentice while her brother has recently become a warrior, but she becomes a warrior fairly swiftly as the book progresses.
Again, their relationship is mostly unknown, but it is my impression that it was a pleasant one. When Dappletail has to see Featherwhisker about a seed she got stuck in her eye, Thrushpelt steps in to help her out and mentors her apprentice, Goldenpaw, for the day. Goldenpaw uses this as an advantage to climb high up in a tree, and when Thrushpelt realises that Dappletail wouldn’t have approved, he seems worried. “Goldenpaw seemed so sure she could do it. I assumed it wasn’t the first time……”, he says to Bluefur, who then reassures him that she won’t tell Dappletail, (Bluestar’s Prophecy, page 335.)
Later in the book, Thrushpelt and his sister are on a patrol together. When Thrushpelt keeps the patrol waiting while he eats, Dappletail teases him, saying that he would have made Weedwhisker, a particularly greedy elder, feel proud.
Thrushpelt and Sweetpaw don’t interact at all during Bluestar’s Prophecy, which furthers my theory that Windflight may have distanced himself and his new family from his older kits. When Sweetpaw dies, we mainly see Poppydawn, Thistleclaw, and Rosepaw mourning, with Thrushpelt’s feelings not being touched upon.
Since it’s never acknowledged that the two are related, let alone how they felt about each other, Thrushpelt’s relationship with Sweetpaw is entirely up to speculation. My guess is that, as the book suggests, they were never particularly close. If I had to go in and add Thrushpelt’s response to Bluestar’s prophecy, it would be mostly regret that he never bridged the boundary between him and his half siblings soon enough to know Sweetpaw before she died.
Again, it isn’t acknowledged that Rosetail and Thrushpelt are related, but while they don’t interact much on page, Rosetail does discuss him with Bluefur.
Throughout the later half of Bluestar’s Prophecy, Rosetail teases Bluefur about Thrushpelt, from pointing out his feelings for her to saying they make a nice couple. When Bluestar eventually becomes pregnant with Oakheart’s kits, everyone, including Rosetail, assumes the kits are Thrushpelt’s. Upon finding out, Rosetail is ethstatic, and says that Thrushpelt will make a brilliant father, (Bluestar’s Prophecy, page 448.) Despite Bluefur’s protests, she goes on to congratulate him.
Now, most of Rosetail’s opinions on Thrushpelt are revealed through her conversations with Bluefur, so we’re going to delve once again into speculation and my headcanons. I like to think that, after Sweetpaw’s death, Thrushpelt makes the effort to get to know his half-siblings better. While he and Thistleclaw don’t exactly get along, he forms a better bond with Rosetail. Of course, none of this is mentioned in the book, but by the time she’s a warrior, Rosetail seems to have a positive view of Thrushpelt.
I like to think that some of the uncomfortable teasing and pressure Bluefur endures is at least partially an attempt on Rosetail’s part to put in a good word for her half brother. It also makes me happy to imagine Thrushpelt receiving similar teasing off page. Rosetail is also shown to be happy for Thrushpelt when she discovers Bluefur is pregnant, further supporting the idea that the two of them have become friends.
Similar to Sweetpaw and Rosetail, it’s never discussed in the books that Thrushpelt and Thistleclaw are half-brothers. Additionally, despite their shared blood, their relationship is not particularly pleasant, which is not surprising given that they are more or less polar opposites.
In Bluestar’s Prophecy, they take different sides in a debate over the sunningrocks. Thrushpelt argues that it’s not worth the bloodshed, and that Thunderclan has plenty of prey. Thistlepaw snaps back at him, saying “In greenleaf! But what about in leaf-bare, when we need every whisker of territory?” (Bluestar’s Prophecy, page 248.) It’s not much, but this is the earliest documentation of their relationship. Already, they are disagreeing, and Thistleclaw is showing a lack of respect for his older brother.
Most of what we see of their relationship revolves around Spottedleaf, who is Thrushpelt’s apprentice before she becomes a warrior, and their disagreements over her training. Their training methods vary greatly, and Thistleclaw has no qualms about making it clear that he thinks his ruthlessness is more effective than Thrushpelt’s patience.
When Spottedpaw falls from a tree and is injured, Thrushpelt blames Thistleclaw.
“She should never have been up a tree in the first place. She’s barely learned the hunting crouch!” he says upon discovering the results of leaving Thistleclaw and Spottedpaw alone together.
“Then you are training her too slowly. Tigerpaw was climbing trees after a quarter moon,” is Thistleclaw’s reply, showing the early stages of his contempt for Thrushpelt’s mentoring skills, (Spottedleaf’s Heart, page 25).
Later, Thistleclaw asks Spottedpaw “Is Thrushpelt training you to be an ‘okay’ warrior? Just good enough to catch mice and renew scent markers?” when he is frustrated that she does not approve of his treatment towards Tiny, (Spottedleaf’s Heart pg 48).
Despite his irritation towards Bluefur whenever she critiqued his training of Tigerpaw, Thistleclaw is almost constantly implying that Thrushpelt is not as good of a mentor as he is. While Thrushpelt is not overly hostile towards Thistleclaw, it is clear that Thistleclaw does not have much respect for his half-brother’s gentler demeanor.
Speculation wise, I think the dislike is mutual between both of them. Besides the conflict of personalities, perhaps Thistleclaw held a grudge against Thrushpelt for not making an effort earlier to be a part of his life. Or, perhaps, Thrushpelt didn’t try to become friends with him like he did with Rosetail, due to Thistleclaw’s arrogant and violent tendencies.
One-Eye and Speckletail:
Like with Sweetpaw, Thrushpelt doesn’t really interact with his adopted sisters at all. I like to think that he considered them as family, but that’s based solely on Thrushpelt’s personality.
Thrushpelt as a mentor-
Before she became a medicine cat, Spottedleaf was filled with ambition about becoming a warrior. When she became an apprentice, she was assigned Thrushpelt as a mentor. Throughout his time as her mentor, Thrushpelt is supportive and a dedicated teacher, although as Thistleclaw argued, it’s possible that he was not pushing her hard enough. Whether or not he was aware of the unhealthy relationship between his half-brother and his apprentice, Thrushpelt was wary of Thistleclaw’s influence and disapproved of how he encouraged Spottedpaw to take risks.
When Spottedpaw shows interest in the role of medicine cats, he approaches her respectfully and voices his acceptance of whatever choice she makes. “Would you like to train as a medicine cat? I’ve seen how good you are at recognizing herbs, and you probably saved Stormtail’s life today. I know Featherwhisker has asked you before, and I want you to know that would be okay. I like having you as my apprentice, but if your heart lies elsewhere, then I won’t stand in your way,” he says, (Spottedleaf’s Heart, pg 79). Spottedpaw did inevitably become a medicine cat, and although Thrushpelt never got to train her into the warrior she could have been, he was a safe and supportive influence for her during an uncertain time of her life.
Thrushpelt as Bluestar’s friend-
This is by far Thrushpelt’s best known role. The earliest hint of his feelings for her is when he thoughtfully cleans her nest while Bluefur is going to the Moonstone with Pinestar, knowing that she’d be tired when she gets back. He continues to look after her and spend time with her, until it is widely assumed by the rest of the clan that they will one day become mates.
Unlike many other tom’s whose feelings are not returned, Thrushpelt does not grow bitter or overly pushy. The closest he comes to pressuring her is when, after discussing her relationship with Whitekit, he says “I think you’d make a great mother.” This proceeds to turn into an awkward moment, with Bluefur feeling uncomfortable. Evidently, Thrushpelt picks up on this, because Bluefur notes that he “shifted his paws as though he was regretting what he’d said,” (Bluestar’s Prophecy, page 382.)
While this rings similar to things Bumblestripe says to Dovewing, Thrushpelt is more in tune with his crush’s feelings. While he remains hopeful and his feelings persist throughout Bluestar’s Prophecy, the pressuring and assumptions come from other cats.
When it is revealed that Bluefur is pregnant, everyone automatically thinks that the kits are Thrushpelt’s. He finds out through Rosetail, who congratulates him on being a father. He reacts neither with jealousy to whoever the actual father is, nor with irritation that Bluefur did not set Rosetail’s assumption straight, but instead by offering to support Bluefur and her kits.
“I’m not going to ask who the father is. I’m sure there’s a reason why you’ve kept this secret…You can tell the Clan I’m the father, if you want. I mean, if it makes things easier…You know how I feel about you, Bluefur. I’d do my best to make you happy, I promise. And I’ll love your kits as though they were really my own,” Thrushpelt says, (Bluestar’s Prophecy, page 456).
This is a stark contrast to some other toms who’s crushes don’t react the way they want them to, (*cough cough ashfurbumblestripefinleapespeciallyashfurdontcookthechildren cough cough*). He follows through on his word, and for the short time Bluestar’s kits are in Thunderclan, he raises them as if they were his own.
Thrushpelt is kind and caring to Bluestar, even when she doesn’t return his romantic feelings. He also supports her while respecting her boundaries, as illustrated by the fact that he didn’t even ask who the biological father of the kits were. In contrast, while Bluestar frequently thinks of him as a friend, in practice their friendship seems largely one sided.
Now, this isn’t an article on Bluestar, and my main point isn’t to debate on whether or not she should have given away her kits. However, I feel like several of her actions suggest that while she’s fine with Thrushpelt pretending to be the father to save her and her kit’s reputations, she doesn’t trust him and still considers the kits to be entirely hers.
After the kits are born, there are little things. She doesn’t let him name any of them. When he brings them prey as a present, she doesn’t let them eat it, saying “I’m your mother. If I say you’ve had enough to eat, then you have,” (Spottedleaf’s Heart, page 97). While it’s completely fair to not let the kits eat the prey after they’ve already eaten, the wording of it is what really struck me. Yes, she’s the mother, but isn’t Thrushpelt the father? Thrushpelt being Thrushpelt, he respects these boundaries, but I think that as the kit’s stand in father, he should have more say.
And then comes the big one. As Tawnyspots grows weaker and weaker, Bluefur wants to be deputy to protect her clan from Thistleclaw. However, the kits complicate matters. I don’t blame her for wanting to follow her ambition and protect her clan, but her lack of communication with her fellow parent makes me offended for Thrushpelt’s sake.
After much consideration, Bluefur decides she has to give her kits to Oakheart. She goes out alone, in a blizzard. On the way, Mosskit freezes to death.
I think Mosskit’s death could have been prevented if she had told Thrushpelt about her suspicions about Thistleclaw. At this point, he’s already volunteered to be a parent with her, so I think it would have been wise to at least suggest the idea of him staying in the nursery with the kits while she became deputy, like what Fernsong does with Ivypool. The worst thing that could have happened is that he could have said no. At best, she could have become a deputy without having to give away her kits.
Second, even if she couldn’t have him stay in the nursery, he could have helped her take the kits to Riverclan. With two adults, they could have moved faster, and they would have been better prepared to keep the kits warm. All three of the kits could have made it to Riverclan.
The fact that she doesn’t do either of these things, or even think about doing them, cements her view of Thrushpelt for me. She views him as a friend. She likes that he’s keeping her secret. But, in the end, she still doesn’t trust him. And why? What reason does Bluefur have not to trust Thrushpelt? All he has done is support her and respect her secrets. I think that he would have been willing to help her, and that he would have respected her decision to take the kits to Riverclan.
I also feel that giving away the kits backs up the idea that she doesn’t consider Thrushpelt to be her partner in raising the kits. While they’re not mates, he’s making a huge commitment for her, and showing her nothing but support. And yet, she doesn’t fill him in on what’s going to happen to the cats that he loves as his own children. Essentially, Thrushpelt can be the father, but only when it’s convenient for Bluefur.
The last thing that really upsets me about their relationship is that in addition to not trusting him, she allows him to believe his kits are dead. After Bluefur tells her clan that a fox or badger has stolen her kits, she describes that Thrushpelt “was grieving as a father would grieve. He’d worked harder than any other cat to reinforce the nursery…Bluefur wished she could tell him that two kits lived on, safe and cherished, across the river,” (Bluestar’s Prophecy page 489.)
That’s a lovely wish, but why couldn’t she tell him? Again, it comes down to her not trusting him. Bluefur would rather break her friend’s heart for a second time than risk him not reacting in a way she wants him to. While it’s possible that Thrushpelt would have betrayed her and marched over to Riverclan to get his kits back, I once again really don’t think he would have. He might have felt betrayed and angry, feelings he would have been justified in having, but I doubt he would have given away her secret after all the time’s he supported and respected her. Basically, she could have told him.
Bluefur doesn’t even tell him after she’s leader. At that point, it would have been too late to get Stonefur and Mistyfoot back from Riverclan, and too late to harm Bluestar’s position in the clan, if by some slim chance Thrushpelt was interested in doing so. Instead of telling him, she allows him to go to his grave believing the kits he loved as his own were eaten by a fox. While looking back at his death, Bluestar remembers that “Her faithful old friend had kept her secret till the end, only ever speaking of the lost kits with the fond grief of a father. Bluestar still carried the guilt of never telling him that two of them lived on. He’d know about that now; he’d see them from Starclan,” (Bluestar’s Prophecy, page 505.)
While it’s nice that she has the decency to feel guilty about it, it’s not as telling as the thing she didn’t have the decency to do. I’d imagine that the emotions Thrushpelt would feel from hearing it from her would be nothing compared to the betrayal of knowing that the cat he loved didn’t trust him to help her, and didn’t even trust him enough to tell him the truth herself.
All of this said, I don’t necessarily dislike Bluestar, but I find it hard to understand why she couldn’t trust Thrushpelt after all of his actions show him to be trustworthy and loyal.
Thrushpelt as a father-
Despite Bluefur having kits with another tom, Thrushpelt puts aside any jealousy he has to be the best father possible to Bluefur’s kits.
In addition to wanting to support the cat he loves, Thrushpelt also seems to truly wish he could have been the biological father. Shortly after they are born, he tells Bluestar that he “would have been very proud to have been their father,” (Bluestar’s Prophecy, page 466.)
Thrushpelt is also shown to be very affectionate with his kits, and treats them no differently than if they had carried his genes. “Is there any cat more important to feed than you?” he says to them, after he brings them a piece of prey as a treat, (Spottedleaf’s Heart page 96). The kits, likewise, consider him to be their father, and are startled when Bluefur reveals that their biological father lives in Riverclan.
You have reached the end! Congrats! Everyone still alive on the other side of that screen?
I’d like to formally apologize for the length of this article. Essay might be a more appropriate label for it. I would have warned you at the beginning, but I figured you might read more of it if you thought it would end at a reasonably length 😛 hopefully a few of you made it to the end, or at least read some of it, because I put a lot of work into this, but Thrushpelt deserves no less.
Quotes and plot content are from Bluestar’s Prophecy and Spottedleaf’s Heart, and the Warriors Wiki was used for additional guidance.
Once again, thanks for reading!