Why Firestar Isn’t As Bad As You Remember by Faithpaw

Faithpaw takes a stand against the negative opinions of Firestar.

Official art by Wayne McLoughlin

Alright everyone, I just had to make a defense article for Firestar. He’s a character commonly attacked for being too “perfect.” But let’s take a closer look…
First: His plot relevance. Firestar is seen as having an outsized role in the books than what seems necessary. But think about it. In arc 1, Firestar would have to be important, given that he’s the main character. In arc 2, Firestar actually takes a back seat. He’s Squirrelpaw’s protective father and ThunderClan’s wise leader-not nearly as major of a role he had in arc 1. Of course he shows up a lot, given that he’s Squirrelpaw and Leafpaw’s father and ThunderClan’s leader, but otherwise the story doesn’t really focus on him. In arc 3, the spotlight shifts off him even more-Jayfeather, Lionblaze, and Hollyleaf have issues of their own. Yes, he shows up a lot, but that’s mostly for ceremonies and announcements- he’s not the hero of this arc. In arc 4, he becomes the fourth cat in the prophecy and kills Tigerstar-this is where he comes back into significance. There’s a lot of debate over whether making Firestar the fourth cat was really necessary, but I think that it was. Tigerstar was Firestar’s nemesis from the very start of Into the Wild. The entire story up to this point had been hinting at a final confrontation between the two of them-one that would make or break the Clans. Firestar’s destiny was always to destroy Tigerstar, and in that sense, he was always the fourth cat-the protagonists just didn’t realize until the very last moment. When Firestar defeats Tigerstar, that plot line is finally wrapped up and his destiny is fulfilled. Of course, after he kills Tigerstar he dies, and then he fades out of view.
Next: His relation to one POV in every arc. This actually makes sense, if you think about it. Firestar was the original POV, so obviously he’s related to himself. Brambleclaw was the tie between arc 1 and arc 2, as a character who appeared in both. Squirrelpaw made sense as a second POV, since she has plot significance before arc 2 (Firestar’s Quest). And if Squirrelpaw goes on the journey to the sun-drown place, it makes sense that her sister Leafpaw should also be a POV, since she would be worried about Squirrelpaw and have to stay behind in the ThunderClan camp. In arc 3 and 4, the POVs all have to be kin of Firestar’s kin, so as a result all of them are related somehow to Firestar. Like in arc 2, arc 5 is rebooting the series, so the POVs have to be characters who already have plot significance-and a good way a character can be significant is to be a) related to another significant character (Alderheart) or b) a major player in the plot (Twigbranch, Violetshine). The same is true for arc 6. So the only way a POV can be not related to Firestar is for them not to be related to any ThunderClan POV-which usually means picking someone random who only shows up once or twice, like Sunbeam and Frostpaw.
Finally: His lack of flaws. This is true in a sense, but not entirely correct. The definition of a Gary Stu is a character without any flaws, or a character which everyone likes and doesn’t receive any repercussion for mistakes. But the idea that a character can not have any flaws is flawed in and of itself. If a character has a trait, they have a flaw. There is no such thing as a character trait that is universally “good”-one that never comes back to hinder the character. I’m just going to use my fanfic A Moonless Night as an example, because advertising and also I know my characters better than anyone. There’s one character, Stormpaw, who is witty, driven, and clever, the flip side of which is being disrespectful, stubborn, and prone to shadier habits like spying and trickery. Fernpaw is energetic, optimistic, and sweet, but also naive, people-pleasing, and easy to manipulate. Mistypaw is smart and excellent at critical thinking, but can be judgemental and cold. Emberpaw is polite and kind, but easily intimidated and noncommittal. The same rule is true for Firestar. Every trait has a good and bad side. If a character seems Gary Stu-ish, that doesn’t mean the character has no flaws, it means that they haven’t been thrown in a situation where their traits show their unhelpful side. After arc 1, Firestar hasn’t ever been in a situation where his flaws show. The closest he’s come is when Onestar takes advantage of Firestar’s loyalty and attacks ThunderClan. So it might seem like Firestar has no flaws, but really, it’s just because his role in the Clan is right up his alley. Firestar isn’t universally liked, either. In fact, most of the other Clans remember him as bossy, nosy, and soft-hearted. But until arc 5, all the protagonists have been in ThunderClan, where his reputation is strongest.

What do you think? Has your opinion on Firestar changed? Is there anything else you’d like to point out? Please comment!

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7 comments

  • I think that Firestar isn’t a Gary-Stu, but like a great BlogClanner said in their article, he has “main character syndrome”. He appears way too much, even though, like you said, the POV isn’t his. But he’s still there. But in the first arc, I think it was quite un-natural that he beat Longtail in a fight. I mean, he never had any fighting experiance. But, there was pretty much only one problem about Firestar in that arc for me. The rest of it shows his development. But I also think that Bluestar should have been leader for longer, and they shouldn’t have moved out of the old forest right away. But I’ll get to that later. Anyway, after Firestar’s development arc is over, he should be done with. But you know what? He’s not. But what really makes me hate Firestar is that he just HAD to be the fourth cat. I belive he took Hollyleaf’s place. She thought she had powers for so long, and she sacrificed herself to save Ivypool’s life. And I think that’s much braver than what FIRESTAR did. He just killed himself killing Tigerstar. He impacted everyone now that Tigerstar was gone, but I think that Hollyleaf’s sacrifice should be noticed more. Anyway, great article overall, Faithpaw, and I agree that people shouldn’t call Firestar a Gary-Stu. However, I disagree that he stopped appearing in arc 2 and arc 3.