Flamecloud takes a look at one of the worst couples in the series.
Warning, the following article contains some spoilers from Bluestar’s Prophecy, as well as regarding various couples in the Warrior’s series.
Warriors has a fair amount of couples who aren’t exactly a perfect match. Some, like Bumblestripe and Dovewing, didn’t respect each other’s boundaries or communicate well. Then, there’s cats like Spiderleg and Daisy, who barely seem to have feelings for each other at all and the former of who was not very interested in being a father. And, of course, you have the questionable age gaps like with Blossomfall and Thornclaw, creepy manipulation like with Thistleclaw and Spottedpaw(leaf), and the good ol’ uncle/aunt x niece/nephew and cousin x cousin matches, like Dustpelt x Ferncloud and Hawkwing x Pebbleshine.
But which couple is the worst? I think I have an answer for you, and it’s not listed above. The pairing that takes the prize is Pinestar x Leopardfoot, the parents of the well known villain, Tigerstar.
There are a lot of reasons why this ship should have sunk before it even began. The first being the absolutely atrocious age gap and unhealthy power dynamics these two have.
Just how big is that age gap, you ask? Well, let’s find out. I like to use the timeline on the warrior’s wiki for things like this, feel free to follow along if you’d like. https://warriors.fandom.com/wiki/Events_timeline
As revealed by his novella, Pinestar’s Choice, Pinestar is born at the beginning of 16 YBF (years before Firestar.) Fast forward a tiny little bit of time, and you find Leopard and her brother, Patchfoot’s birth at the end of 7 YBF, during Bluestar’s prophecy.
That makes the age gap between them almost 10 years.
Let’s put that in prospective real quick, before we move on. This is far longer than the commonly hated gap of Thornclaw x Blossomfall, which is “only” about 6 years, along with Spottedleaf x Firestar, which is 5 years. Quite a few cats don’t even live that long. According to google, warriors usually retire around 8 years old. This seems like a reasonable number, given the age of well known elders throughout the books. Mousefur, for instance, is 12 years old when she dies. Firestar only lives to be 8. So, can we agree that by the time Leopardfoot is born, Pinestar is plenty old enough to be an elder?
To make matters worse, we can’t even be sure that they’re both adults when their relationship starts. In Pinestar’s Choice, while talking to Jake, Pinestar tells his friend that “There is no other cat I can talk to like this.
To which Jake replies, teasingly, “What about Leopardpaw? You’ve mentioned her often enough.”
Ah yes, the joy of a friend teasing his (elderly) friend about his crush, who happens to be a minor.
Additionally, Leopardfoot was still an apprentice during the battle with Windclan, which happens at the end of 6YBF, during Leaf-fall. By the next time we see her in Bluestar’s prophecy, she’s a warrior. My guess would be that her ceremony occurred sometime during the leaf-bare of 5 YBF. Sometime during the season after that, Doestar informs Pinestar that Leopardfoot is expecting his kits, one of which might destroy Thunderclan. Meaning that Leopardfoot was a warrior for around 6 moons at best before becoming pregnant with Pinestar’s kits.
Now, we don’t get to see any of their interactions at all before Leopardfoot moves to the nursery, but no situation I can imagine makes this less creepy. For this reason, I feel like this pairing has the potential to be even worse than the terrible Spottedleaf x Thistleclaw ship. I am by no means defending that ship (I hate that ship, it’s definitely another creepy ship), but while Spottedpaw was indeed a minor being manipulated, she and Thistleclaw only have about a 1 year age gap. (Although it should be noted that Spottedleaf’s Trust doesn’t line up quite right with Bluestar’s Prophecy.)
At least Thistleclaw was not the leader of Thunderclan.
Imagine what a horribly unbalanced power dynamic that must have been. We have the 10+ year old leader of Thunderclan showing interest in a <1 year old apprentice. He very easily could have pressured her into a relationship with his status, be it intentional or unintentional. In fact, theoretically, he could have ordered her into a relationship. Leader’s word is law, right? Regardless of how much pressure he purposefully applied to her, Leopardfoot might have still felt like she couldn’t say no to being his mate since he was leader.
Even if we set aside the age gap and power dynamics, they still don’t make a good couple, because Pinestar is a horrible mate.
For starters, the two hardly interact. In Bluestar’s prophecy, Leopardfoot just magically moves to the nursery. Even in Pinestar’s Choice, which is from Pinestar’s perspective, they don’t have any chemistry. “He did like Leopardfoot, and he had been spending time with her recently, but he didn’t want to make a statement to the entire Clan about it”, followed by him imagining being a father, is about as close to a cute couple moment that we ever get.
Overall, Pinestar doesn’t really seem to care for Leopardfoot at all. When her labor begins early, all of the camp is worried for her but Pinestar. Understandably, he has been told that his son is going to destroy his clan and is therefore not thrilled about his impending arrival, but he doesn’t think of Leopardfoot’s feelings or her well being at all during that scene in Pinestar’s choice. In fact, in response to his clanmate’s stressing, he thinks “Kits were born all the time! Why was today any different?”
Meanwhile, his mate is less calm. Remember, she’s only just become a warrior, she’s pregnant, and now her kits are coming early and her mate is nowhere to be found. She is described as “tiny against the moss and bracken, her eyes wild with pain, her pelt matted and smelling as fear.” And yet, Pinestar spares her not a single thought. Instead, Bluefur tries to comfort her clanmate to make up for it.
Then, he doesn’t go and see the kits. Before meeting his children and visiting his young mate, he goes and visits his kittypet friends. It’s not until the day after that he works up the courage to visit Leopardfoot. Swiftbreeze comments “Poor Leopardfoot. She kept asking for him. What must she think?”
Likewise, when Leopardfoot sees her mate, she says “You came. I waited for you all night.”
When she expresses her concerns for her kits, all who are sickly and frail, Pinestar’s touching response is “Calm down.” He even goes as far as to hope that Tigerkit will die. It’s reasonable for him to be nervous about the kit he’s being pressured to kill, but while he fears his newborn son, he feels very little concern for his weak daughters and distraught mate.
It’s also notable that while he spends very little time thinking about Leopardfoot, he spends plenty of time missing Shanty and his kittypet friends. Although he and Shanty’s relationship is never quite romantic, the two are quite close, and he’s more upset over her death than he is when his mate goes into premature labor.
Pinestar also does not consider how leaving the clans will affect Leopardfoot, not once, nor does he even seem sad to be leaving her behind. He wants to leave without saying goodbye, and tells Lionpaw to tell Thunderclan he’s dead. Even when he does go back to the clan to say his farewells, he still nearly makes his exit without saying goodbye to his mate.
“He started toward the gorse tunnel but Leopardfoot blocked his way. “Pinestar, what about our kits?” she pleaded, her voice high with disbelief. “Won’t you stay and watch them grow up?” She had brought the kits out of the nursery; Mistkit and Nightkit were huddled together on the ground, barely bigger than the day they had been born, their eyes cloudy and unfocused.”
His response: “They’ll be fine with you, Leopardfoot.”
Wow, Pinestar, such a tearful goodbye. He does not think about how he’ll miss Mistkit and Nightkit, nor how he’ll miss Leopardfoot. He did not talk to her about his choice, he did not tell her that their son could be evil, he didn’t even consider for the briefest second to ask her to come with him. Instead, he was about to leave without even saying goodbye, let her find out of his choice alongside the rest of the clan, and doesn’t spare her a second thought once he goes to Shanty’s twolegs and spends some time feeling sad about her death.
And no, Pinestar, the kits were not fine with Leopardfoot. His young mate had to watch her two daughters grow weaker and weaker until they eventually died, and even though it’s obvious that he knew of their condition, Pinestar does not worry about Mistkit and Nightkit’s fates nor how their demise might affect Leopardfoot. He also leaves Leopardfoot to be a single mother of Tigerkit, who she does not discipline properly, probably because she’s already lost two kits.
So, in summary:
Pinestar, 10 years her senior, has a crush on an apprentice who then becomes his mate. Despite probably having at least unintentionally pressured her into the relationship in the first place, he prefers the company of Shanty, a random kittypet, to her. When she has their kits, he does not worry about her or the kits. He then proceeds to abandon her with two sickly kits and a potential future murderer, with the reassurance that they’ll “be fine with her.”
At this point, the best thing I can say about it is “At least they weren’t cousins.”
Thank you for taking the time to read this article! Do you agree? Which cats do you think make the worst couple?