Mousefur takes another look at Mapleshade’s character.
It’s time to take a look into Mapleshade to truly see if she is, in fact, evil. Fans are quite split on whether or not Mapleshade was in the right. With that said, will read into this she-cat to see if she does deserve to be in the Dark Forest. Warning: There will be spoilers.
𝗣𝗮𝗿𝘁 𝟭 | 𝗠𝗮𝗽𝗹𝗲𝘀𝗵𝗮𝗱𝗲’𝘀 𝗩𝗲𝗻𝗴𝗲𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲
Mapleshade’s Vengeance, where it all started. Mapleshade gave birth to her kits, and Thunderclan thought the father was Birchface. When Oakstar saw the kits, he said, “Birchface was my son. These cats are my kin…If only Birchface could see them…We will raise them to be great warriors like their father.” Frecklewish said, “They are my brother’s gift to the Clan…And the most precious creatures in the whole forest!” She let them believe it, even though it wasn’t true. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 2, showing her thought process:
Mapleshade fought down the urge to bat Frecklewish away. 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘴𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘮𝘺 𝘬𝘪𝘵𝘴, 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴! She knew that the ginger she-cat’s friendship would go a long way toward her kits being loved by all of ThunderClan. By the time the kits were ready to be apprenticed, the truth about who their father really was would be unable to shake the loyalty of their woodland Clanmates.
In this excerpt, we learn two things:
‣ Mapleshade is willing to lie about her kits’ heritage
‣ She plans on using Frecklewish and her hospitality to keep her kits in Thunderclan, even after they know the truth
In Chapter 3, Mapleshade takes Patchkit, Petalkit, and Larchkit outside of camp (which isn’t directly against the warrior code, but is still an unspoken rule in every clan). She takes them to the border that separates Thunderclan and Riverclan territory. The kits start to swim in the river. Everything is going fine until a Riverclan patrol appears, made up of Spiketail, Milkfur, and Appledusk. They take the kits back onto land. Here is another excerpt:
Appledusk leaned forward until his muzzle was almost touching Mapleshade’s cheek. “They are wonderful,” he breathed. “Strong and brave, and as confident as any RiverClan cat in the water. I am so proud of you.” He straightened up and raised his voice. “I don’t want to see you or these kits anywhere near the river again,” he meowed. The longing in his eyes told a different story.
This tells us two things; Appledusk is in on the secret, but he also loves and cares about his kits. But wait, there’s more! When Appledusk and his patrol leaves, Ravenwing shows up. He saw everything. Then, he asks Mapleshade a few questions, before telling her an omen. According to Mapleshade’s Vengeance:
Ravenwing stared at her without blinking. “A tiny stream appeared in my den, in a place where no stream has run before. It carried with it three pieces of water reed.” He swept his paw over the ground as if he was tracing the path of the rivulet. “Water reed doesn’t grow in ThunderClan territory,” he went on. “It doesn’t belong inside our boundaries. Do you understand?”
He then tells her this, “I think this omen means that the river has washed three strange cats into ThunderClan—three cats who don’t belong there…Birchface is not the father of these kits, is he?” He then assumes that the father is a Riverclan cat, and guesses it to be Appledusk. Mapleshade responds with, “The truth will be
revealed at the right time. It’s not my fault that everyone assumed Birchface was their father.” This is a bad move on her part. She admitted to lying about the kits, and then shifted the blame onto others.
In Chapter 4 of 𝘔𝘢𝘱𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘥𝘦’𝘴 𝘝𝘦𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦, Ravenwing told Oakstar and the current deputy, Beetail, about the kits. Oakstar then made Mapleshade tell the truth about her kits. At first, Frecklewish defended Mapleshade, but when the truth was revealed, she was outraged. She stated, “You have betrayed us all with your lies and your disloyalty. You don’t deserve to be called a warrior and nor do those… those half-Clan creatures.” Mapleshade responds with, “I have given ThunderClan three fine kits. I am a queen and I should be treated with respect.” Both Mapleshade and Frecklewish were in the wrong. Frecklewish shouldn’t have insulted Mapleshade’s kits, due to them not having any control over who their parents are. However, Mapleshade completely missed the point as to why she was being exiled. She broke the warrior code, but still thinks she should be free of punishment. This is incredibly entitled on her part. But it’s about to get much worse…
Mapleshade takes her kits to the same border as earlier. Mapleshade wants her kits to swim, even with the high risk. Petalkit, her daughter, says that she doesn’t want to go into the river. Despite this, Mapleshade makes her and her brothers swim across anyways. While they were swimming, a big wave came down on all of them. “Mapleshade glanced sideways to see a wall of water bearing down on her, sweeping branches and debris ahead of it. She paddled furiously but the current was dragging her away from the stones, not toward them.” Patchkit, Petalkit, and Larchkit’s bodies are found, but they are all dead. Mapleshade is devastated. She tries to wake them up, but to no avail. Here is an excerpt from that chapter:
“What are you talking about?” Appledusk sounded stunned. “Do you mean that you deliberately tried to cross the river? In the middle of a flood?” Mapleshade twisted around to look at him. “ThunderClan threw us out,” she explained. “We had nowhere else to go.”
Here is the thing: Mapleshade did have options. Mapleshade could have easily gone to Twolegplace. Or, she could have waited until the water was calmer. Mapleshade made a major mistake, one that ended up taking the life of her kits. She is taken to Riverclan, where Appledusk admits to being the father. He apologizes to Reedshine and asks Darkstar for forgiveness. Darkstar is dubious at first, but Reedshine stands up for him. He is then forgiven, and Darkstar orders some warriors to bury Mapleshade’s kits. When Mapleshade asks if she can stay, Darkstar says, “No, you may not. You will leave this territory at once and never set foot across the border again. Like Appledusk, I believe that the loss of your kits is punishment enough. Otherwise, rest assured my warriors would have clawed your fur off for what you have done.” Before Mapleshade leaves, she tells Appledusk how he will regret this day.
After Mapleshade is banished, a Thunderclan apprentice named Nettlepaw finds her in a ditch. He tells her how Frecklewish saw her kits down in the river, before giving her some herbs for strength. This will be important later. Later, Mapleshade realizes she can attack Ravenwing at the Moonstone. She then waits for him to arrive, before following him into Mothermouth. Mapleshade kills Ravenwing, and hides when the other medicine cats arrive. They take Ravenwing’s body and bury it in stones, but Mapleshade removes them so the hawk above her can eat him.
This was obviously not right. Ravenwing told the clan because Mapleshade was lying to everyone’s faces. He wouldn’t just let her go after knowing the truth.
Then Mapleshade appears while Frecklewish is alone at Snakerocks. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 7:
Mapleshade took a step closer to the rocks. “Too scared to fight me yourself, Frecklewish?” she hissed. “You prefer watching helpless kits drown, don’t you?” The brown she-cat stiffened. “I thought your kits would be saved,” she rasped. “I never meant for them to die.” Mapleshade sniffed. “I don’t believe you! You’re a fox-hearted coward. I bet you’re glad they are dead!” Frecklewish bounded toward Mapleshade, her eyes flashing with anger. “I wish you were dead!” she spat. “You betrayed my brother’s name!”
After this, Frecklewish tried to attack Mapleshade, before an adder came out and bit her eye. Before this, Mapleshade had led Frecklewish to Snakerocks with the scent of a mouse. Mapleshade knew that an adder would bite Frecklewish, and left her to die when she was bitten. Was this justified? No. Even if Mapleshade didn’t directly kill Frecklewish, she did plan her death. The adder might have murdered Frecklewish, but that’s exactly what Mapleshade wanted.
Then Mapleshade goes to Riverclan to kill the final cat: Appledusk. She catches Perchpaw and waits for Appledusk to come. When he arrives, she lets Perchpaw go and challenges Appledusk to a fight. Appledusk doesn’t want to, and Reedshine appears. Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 9:
There was a crackle of stalks behind him and Reedshine appeared. “What’s going on?” Her gaze fell on Mapleshade. “What’s she doing here?”
Half-blind with fury, Mapleshade hurled herself at the orange she-cat. “You and your kits must die!” she screeched. “Appledusk is mine!” She unsheathed her claws, aiming for Reedshine’s face. There was a thud of paws, then silence, and a solid brown shape flashed in front of Mapleshade. Her claws struck home, piercing fur and flesh, and a spurt of blood leaped out at her. With a grunt, Appledusk dropped at her feet, blood pouring from his throat.
Instead of Reedshine, Mapleshade killed Appledusk. After this, Mapleshade is dealt a killing bite by Perchpaw. She is sent to the Dark Forest, where this is said about her:
Instead of dread, Mapleshade felt a surge of triumph. If she was here because of what she had endured, then there would be other cats like her, cats who would understand what she had gone through, who knew what it was to stand up to their enemies and dole out immeasurable pain. She would find these cats, whatever that voice had told her, train them to be as strong and fearless as she was, and use them to cause more trouble for the Clans than the warriors could imagine in their worst dreams.
Was Mapleshade’s actions in her novella okay? Absolutely not. She lied to her clanmates and killed three cats. Mapleshade may have had bad things happen to her, but she had it coming. As seen in the excerpt, she does not want to go to Starclan; she is much happier in the Dark Forest.
𝗣𝗮𝗿𝘁 𝟮 | 𝗖𝗿𝗼𝗼𝗸𝗲𝗱𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗿’𝘀 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗺𝗶𝘀𝗲 & 𝗧𝗶𝗴𝗲𝗿𝗰𝗹𝗮𝘄’𝘀 𝗙𝘂𝗿𝘆
This part will be much shorter since Mapleshade isn’t the main focus of these books. You might be wondering: Where’s 𝘎𝘰𝘰𝘴𝘦𝘧𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳’𝘴 𝘊𝘶𝘳𝘴𝘦? Mapleshade played such a small role in that book, that I doubt it will have much significance in judging her character. With that in mind, let’s begin.
In 𝘊𝘳𝘰𝘰𝘬𝘦𝘥𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘳’𝘴 𝘗𝘳𝘰𝘮𝘪𝘴𝘦, Mapleshade meets with Crookedkit in the Dark Forest. She tells him to make a promise. According to Chapter 9:
“You must promise me,” Mapleshade lowered her voice, “that you will be loyal to your Clan above all other things. What you want for yourself is nothing compared to the needs of your Clan. Nothing, remember?” Her green gaze bore into his. “Do you make that promise?”Crookedkit’s heart quickened. “Yes!” He unsheathed his claws. “Yes, I do!”
This is part of Mapleshade’s plan. She wants to manipulate him into giving up everything he wants, or has. After this, she starts training Crookedkit. Here are some times Mapleshade involved herself in Crookedstar’s life:
‣ When Crookedpaw talks about Bluepaw, Mapleshade says to never care about the other clans, which influences the possible friendship to end
‣ She tells Crookedjaw to stop caring about Willowpaw
‣ Mapleshade is angry when Crookedjaw saves Willowbreeze from a Twoleg nest
‣ When Rainflower is knocked into the river by a dog, Mapleshade tells Crookedjaw to help his clanmates instead
When Crookedstar dies, Mapleshade says that his punishment is complete, and that he lost everything. She wanted Crookedstar to suffer. This is not okay.
Next is 𝘛𝘪𝘨𝘦𝘳𝘤𝘭𝘢𝘸’𝘴 𝘍𝘶𝘳𝘺. Mapleshade is the voice in Tigerclaw’s head, and she influences him to do terrible things. Here is an excerpt from 𝘛𝘪𝘨𝘦𝘳𝘤𝘭𝘢𝘸’𝘴 𝘍𝘶𝘳𝘺:
He wanted to force them to admit that their loyalties still lay with their former Clan, that he would never be able to trust them, that all his training had been for nothing. 𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘬𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘥, encouraged the voice.
Later, Mapleshade says this, “Why would you want to go to StarClan? That place is full of weak-willed cowards who clung to the warrior code like ants to a leaf in a puddle. You will find much better company in the cats here, Tigerclaw.” It’s obvious that Mapleshade felt disdain towards Starclan, and should not be there.
In conclusion, Mapleshade is not in the right here. She is responsible for the deaths of four cats: Ravenwing, Frecklewish, Appledusk, and Spottedleaf. Oh, I didn’t mention Spottedleaf? Yeah, Mapleshade killed her in the great battle. Mapleshade does deserve to be in the Dark Forest.