Mapleshade was a bad mother by Mellowix

Mellowix talks about Mapleshade and her actions as a mother.

Art by GrayPillow

When Mapleshade’s parentage is debated, it’s usually about her responsibility for the kits’ deaths in the flood or whether their deaths give her leeway for her killing spree. However, this article is covering the less discussed quotes and hopefully shed light on forgotten moments.

Some argue because Mapleshade genuinely cared about her kits, that makes her one of the better mothers – However simply caring about her children, doesn’t automatically make her a good parent and there’s more to it than that. Mapleshade was reckless, to the point she endangered her kits in numerous ways.

When she first became pregnant with Appledusk’s kits, Mapleshade gave everyone unrealistic expectations by thinking they’d accept it without issue. She planned to tell the truth herself when they were apprentices – She assumed her kits were somehow so special compared to other youth, her clanmates would atomically love and accept them regardless. Despite the glaring fact that Thunderclan was still grieving the two accidentals deaths of Birchfall and Flowerpaw.

Mapleshade expected the kits themselves could somehow unit two waring Clans and have perfectly even loyalties, which is unfair: “They will grow up to be fine warriors, loyal to ThunderClan and RiverClan equally.”.

Mapleshade is shown to be possessive of both her mate and kits. She projects her selfish fantasies onto them, without considering the fact they may disagree with her.
The moment she announces her pregnancy, she starts detailing how her kits be raised and has her idealistic visions of the future, before even asking for Appledusk’s input. She never once considers if Riverclan is the safest option for her kits, as Thunderclan is faced with the dilemma of raising the children of their clanmates’ killer:

“Mapleshade: I’m expecting your kits.
Appledusk: “Are you sure? I’m going to be a father. Incredible. But these kits will be half-Clan. Half RiverClan. How will your Clanmates feel about that?”
Mapleshade: “They won’t know. At least, not at first. I will raise them as ThunderClan until they have been fully accepted. Then every cat will be able to cope with the truth. Why should it matter that their father lives in a different Clan?”
Appledusk:“You have great faith in your Clanmates,”
Mapleshade:“No, I have faith in StarClan, and in the warrior code.”
Appledusk: “You think StarClan approves of what we are doing?”
Mapleshade: “I think our warrior ancestors know that our Clans need kits and we are providing them. How can our innocent kits not have their blessing? They will grow up to be fine warriors, loyal to ThunderClan and RiverClan equally.”

With Appledusk especially, Mapleshade used her kits like a status symbol, to gain ownership of him:

Literally in Chapter 1, before Reedshine and Appledusk were even together – All she did was approach her clanmate at the Gathering and get him to listen to someone’s funny story. Mapleshade overreacts to this one gesture” Mapleshade curled her lip. Stay away from him, Reedshine. He’s mine! These kits will make sure of that!”

Her goal was to ‘average her kits’, however, Appledusk actually tried saving the kits in the flood. She uses her kits as an excuse to kill him out of her personal vendetta. To the point, she has to make stuff up: Mapleshade: You killed our kits, and now you must pay.” – Appledusk: “What are you talking about? You killed our kits, making them cross The river.

Then when Mapleshade goes for the kill, it against a pregnant Reedshine: You and your kits must die! Appledusk is mine!”

After the gathering when she announces her pregnancy – She never bothers to think of a proper plan for her cover-up. She improvises as she goes along and thinks nothing can go wrong.

At first, Mapleshade uses her right as a Queen not to name the father, when Beetail asked:

“Indeed,” Beetail meowed. “And these kits . . . their father . . . ?”
“I will be raising them alone,” Mapleshade answered firmly.
The deputy looked startled for a moment, then dipped his head. “May StarClan light your path, and the path of your kits.”

Like Beetail showed, clans are shown to respect queens on this right and don’t force them to admit anything. It was the same for Featherstorm; Sure, her clanmates may gossip behind her back, but they wouldn’t take official action against her. That was the track Mapleshade was on and she should of continued down it.

However, she made the situation way worse, by purposefully remaining silent when Frecklewish if Birchface was the father. Frecklewish was forced to move the conversation along by guessing, as Mapleshade was refusing reply to her. Mapleshade isn’t mute – She had the power to speak up and correct Frecklewish’s assumptions. This is called lying by omission, letting a false rumour spread around for her benefit.

Mapleshade was posing as Birchface’ mate for four months- To keep up that persona, she had to lie aloud at points, with phrases such as “Birchfall would be so proud”, “I know Birchfall would…” etc.

By making her lie so much worse and personally manipulating the leader – Mapleshade made the likelihood of her kits’ exile way higher than it needed to be. She should’ve of foreseen that and used a Queen’s right not to name the father.

She also has no consideration for the long-term damage her Birchface lie could have on the kits. For most of their childhoods, they’d be raised to think their father is a dead, but admirable Thunderclan warrior. Though Mapleshade planned to tell them when they’re apprentices or older: Their father is actually the Riverclan cat they who accidentally killed their presumed father.

Worse, Mapleshade had allowed her “in-laws” of Frecklewish and Oakstar to speak to the kits about avenging Birchfall’s death – When all along the kits were being encouraged to unknowingly murder their own father.

By the way Mapleshade ideally speaks about her plans; she expects her kits to support her actions wholeheartedly and has no consideration for any issues they may have. It could give her kits emotional damage – Leafpool’s kits and Bluestar’s kits reaction are proof of that.

While raising them in the Nursery, Mapleshade puts little effort into hiding her love for Appledusk. After the kits’ birth, Frecklewish was discussing announcing the birth at the Gathering. Despite supposedly being Birchfall’s mate, this is what Mapleshade requested directly to her clanmate: “ Make sure you tell them that I’ve had three perfect, strong kits who are going to be great warriors!” she told Frecklewish. “Especially Appledusk. Tell him first.”

When an elder is being annoying, Mapleshade thinks that’s a justification to take her kits outside of the safe camp. There a reason it’s against the code, those 2-moon-old kits were endangered by any number of outside threats. Even then, she could go wherever in Thunderclan territory, yet she goes to the Riverclan border. It could get them attacked by a Riverclan patrol. She allowed her kits to swim in the river and spoke lovingly to Appledusk when he was forced to recuse Patchkit. All of which was public, knowingly doing in front of two Riverclan cats.

She carelessly exposes the evidence of her Half-clan relationship to any witnesses. Ravenwing may have still received the omen about the three reeds, but he wouldn’t have figured it out without the context of Mapleshade taking her kits to the Riverclan border. The Medicine cat even discovered her specific mate by the manner Mapleshade spoke to Appledusk.

Her defiant attitude during the trial, wasn’t helping protect her kits, it was the exact opposite. Like in real-life, someone’s attitude in courts goes a long way when deciding a sentence.

Despite knowing her clanmates knew the truth by that point; Mapleshade continued to lie and refuse to admit any wrongdoing:

Oakstar: “She let me believe that my son Birchface was their father. I cannot imagine that one of my warriors would dare to tell such a lie”
Mapleshade: “Any Clan would be proud to have these kits grow up to serve them. […] Why does it matter who their father is? I have given ThunderClan three fine kits. I am a queen and I should be treated with respect. StarClan knows we need more warriors, and here they are!” […] You were my mentor, Bloomheart! You know I would never betray my Clan!”

Mapleshade should’ve apologised or shown remorse or promise to cut Appledusk off – Anything to protect her kits from an official sentence. Yet she doesn’t. On top of that, she’s failing to separate herself from her kits. She phrases it as if anything she does, her kits are also apart of it. Despite the fact, she’s the guilty forbidden mate, who choose to lie and trespass on Riverclan land during a war. Meanwhile, her kits are innocent and have nothing to do with their mother’s chooses. Mapleshade should’ve of offered herself up for sentencing while informing her kits’ had nothing to do with her forbidden relationship.

After Oakstar gives out the official order to exile them: Mapleshade threatens all of her clanmates: “I will never forget this. You have betrayed me and my kits. You will live to regret this day forever, ThunderClan, and that is a promise.”

Mapleshade carrying on her defiant attitude, to the point she hypocritically says Thunderclan betrayed her, without acknowledging what she’d done to them first. There was a chance in the future that Oakstar may consider a retrial – Since the first time, he was hysterical due to discovering the lie minutes beforehand. Once he calmed down, he may have regretted his first choice. However, Mapleshade has thrown that chance out the window. Would Oakstar give a second chance to a cat, who refused to admit how they hurt others and threatened to harm their clanmates?

When Mapleshade took her kits to play at the river during calm conditions, Patchkit still almost drowned, needing to rest on a branch and becoming stranded in the middle of the river. Mapleshade doesn’t want to get wet to save her own kit, so wants her other two to risk their safety as well: “Larchkit, Petalkit, go help your brother!”

Mapleshade then gets two clear warnings from Riverclan cats:

Appledusk – “I think this one’s worn out from all that swimming, You took a risk, bringing them this close to our boundary. I don’t want to see you or these kits anywhere near the river again,”

Milkfur – “Those kits are not old enough to be out of the nursery! What were you thinking of, bringing them here? They could have drowned!”

Then during the actual flood itself, Petalkit pointed out it was too dangerous: “ “There’s too much water!”.

If a kit could see the danger, Mapleshade, as a grown warrior, has no excuse. Yes, Mapleshade was exiled, but she wasn’t actively being chased. She had serval hours to leave. She should’ve used some time to calm herself down and carefully of the best route. Perhaps sheltering for the stormy night somewhere, like four trees or the borders. Yet she didn’t. She never paused once, immediately kept on travelling until she reached the dangerous flooding river. Without a minute’s hesitation, she was already going into the flood with her kits.

Mapleshade didn’t bother to go through other options: Such as an alternate path across the river, since the stepping stones were underwater. It’s confirmed she knew about a twoleg bridge All try calling for a Riverclan patrol – Again, she’s not mute, she had nothing to lose just by yowling a few times.

In general, Mapleshade proves herself to be reckless when it comes to her kits’ safety.
Now onto the second half of the article: The killing spree itself:

Mapleshade knew about the Dark Forest before her death, as she wished Ravenwing to go there:

“She had avenged her kits! Were you watching, my precious kits? I killed him for you! I hope you never see Ravenwing in StarClan. He should be in the Place of No Stars for all eternity.”

So she knew her murders could separate her and her kits in the afterlife. Mapleshade was literally in front of the moonstone when she went to kill Ravenwing. She should’ve visited Starclan before going along with her murder plan, to double-check if the voices in her head were real spirits. Mapleshade doesn’t even consider the possibility that she’s traumatising her kits’ spirits: As they helplessly watch from the afterlife, cats being killed in their name and their mother is damning herself to the Dark Forest. All while not being asked if this was what they truly wanted.

By far the worse, was Mapleshade killing her kits’ father and attempting to murder their unborn half-siblings. Mapleshade’s kits already had their lives tragically cut short – The last thing they want is their living family to suffer the same fate. Watching their loved ones having fulfilling lives could be a source of comfort in Starclan. Every death until that point was accidental and it could’ve ended there. Yet Mapleshade unnecessarily made the situation worse with premeditated murder, raising the already high death toll.

Additionally, Mapleshade going on her killing spree was selfish in another way: Her kits would’ve wanted her to live for their sake. Instead, she constantly risks her premature death as well, by going into situations where her victims could rightfully kill her in self-defence. She gets caught out on the third time, as Perchpaw is forced to fatally wound her after murdering his mentor and attempting the same on a pregnant Reedshine.

Mapleshade finally realised she’d never see her kits again – While she intentionally confused, it took her mere seconds to get over it and revelled in the fact she could continue to get revenge for generations to come. She cared more about her revenge than her own kits at that point:

“Mapleshade had found a place where she truly belonged. From here, she could cause more suffering than when she had been alive, and fighting her battles alone. For all eternity, Appledusk’s kin would mourn the day he had destroyed the life of a ThunderClan warrior.”

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31 comments

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  • Even though Mapleshade is my favorite warrior cat, you made multiple excellent points! This is a very good article. I hope you write another 😁😁

  • I disagree.
    I am not a Mapleshade fan, and for me I seriously think we shouldn’t judge Mapleshade’s actions after. She was kind of insane, but that also not justfies her actions. I think she is just a mother, neither good or bad.

  • I do feel however, that mapleshade’s kits were just pawns in her story. Connections to appledusk. To cover up the secret of her kits, she disrespects a dead warrior, who her mate KILLED, and makes Birchface the ‘father’ if the kits believe this, she is causing them to hate appledusk as well. All she did was for her.

  • Great article! You made some amazing points! 😀

    I’m neutral on Mapleshade, so I don’t have much of an opinion!

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