Siblings with Untapped Potential by Flamecloud

Art by maryvirgin

Flamecloud analyses some siblings with untapped potential.

Warning, this article contains spoilers, including spoilers for A Light in the Mist and (minor) spoilers for River!

One of my favorite things to read and write about is the relationships between siblings. For better or worse, siblings grow up together, meaning they can be anywhere from best friends to enemies depending on how life shapes their relationship.

Warriors does have some interesting siblings. For instance, Leafpool and Squirrelflight, or Lionblaze and Jayfeather. However, while the series shines some light on siblings, in most cases romantic relationships end up in the spotlight instead.

I think there is a lot of untapped opportunity in the bond between siblings, and I fully believe they could potentially be just as plot shaping as any romance. Today, I’m going to tell you about some siblings whose relationship had potential to be fascinating, but unfortunately got swept under the rug in the actual books.

Dustpelt and Ravenpaw:

Ravenpaw and Dustpelt are brothers, and the sons of Robinwing and Fuzzypelt. Unfortunately, their kinship was established through author statements, not the actual content of the Warrior’s books. Why is this unfortunate? Because, friends, they have so much potential!

First of all, if you unpack the implications of the Into the Wild’ allegiances, Ravenpaw and Dustpelt were orphaned sometime during or before their apprenticeship. Their parents both appear in Bluestar’s prophecy, but are nowhere to be found once Rusty enters the woods. Their cause of death is unknown (of course, this is never addressed in the books, because when the Erins wrote Into the Wild, they probably hadn’t thought up Robinwing and Fuzzypelt yet.)

By the time Rusty meets Dustpaw and Ravenpaw, it is very clear that they are essentially opposites. Ravenpaw is jumpy and anxious, while Dustpaw is hostile and arrogant. Given the fact that they literally never interact as brothers, it can be assumed that they probably don’t get along very well. Perhaps, instead of bonding together when they lost their parents, the two brothers grieved separately and grew apart. Perhaps they never got along. We’ll never know.

The story gets even more interesting when you consider the very different experiences the two brothers have in the clans. For Ravenpaw, Thunderclan is a terrifying place, full of cats who want him dead. Dustpelt, on the other hand, tends to align with the very cats Ravenpaw is afraid of. Up until Tigerclaw’s true nature was revealed, Dustpelt was close with him, Darkstripe, and Longtail.

This makes me wonder quite a bit. How much did Dustpelt know about their prejudices towards his brother? Did he share them, or worry over them, or did he simply not care?

Then, at the end of Into the Wild, the two of them part ways. Firepaw informs the clan that Ravenpaw has died a tragic death, while Ravenpaw goes to the farm to hang out with his future husband. In the books, Dustpelt doesn’t have much of an opinion on this, but surely the death of his brother would have some impact. His sorrow or distatchement could be equally interesting.

Later, Dustpelt learns that Ravenpaw is not dead, as the loner returns to visit Thunderclan several times after that. In Ravenpaw’s Path, when Ravenpaw comes to Thunderclan for help, Dustpelt accuses him of being a spy for Windclan and calls him a traitor, so it’s clear that time has not healed the wounds between the two.

Clearly, the relationship between Dustpelt and Ravenpaw is complicated. Yes, they’re brothers who went through a lot together, but they’re clearly not friends. Dustpelt seems to hold a grudge against Ravenpaw, probably due to their many differences. Imperfect as it is, I think their dynamic and the drama between the two of them would be very interesting to explore.

Ferncloud and Ashfur:

Like Dustpelt and Ravenpaw, Ferncloud and Ashfur are very different cats, who took drastically different paths for life. However, despite Ashfur’s significance in the Broken Code, their relationship does not receive much attention.

When they were young, it was not yet clear how much their destinies would vary. In fact, before they became warriors, they seemed quite close. Fireheart notes seeing them together many times as kits, often on adventures with Cloudkit. They were apprentices together, and trained beside each other.

At that point, they weren’t so different. When Bluestar refused to make them warriors because of their mentors, Ashpaw and Fernpaw both declined to go on Swiftpaw’s ill fated mission. This is pretty typical for Fernpaw, who grew into a gentle cat, but it’s a stark contrast with Ashpaw’s violent end. At this point, he was still content to stay by his sister’s side, without the anger that would later cloud his judgment.

Then, they lost their parents. Fernpaw and Ashpaw avenged their mother’s death together by leading the dogs that killed her away from the clan. They appeared to be sticking together in the wake of their loss.

At some point, though, we all know Ashfur stopped being that caring apprentice that appeared in TPB. By the next arc, he was already set on his path to become an antagonist. Despite how close he was once with his sister, by the time the Broken Code rolls around, he is orchestrating the downfall of Starclan without any regard for her safety.

Ferncloud, on the other hand, goes on to create a loving family and be a loyal clanmate. While she’s alive, she never seems to doubt her brother, as she is shown to worry for his safety and testify his innocence after his death, claiming he had no enemies.

I think it would be very interesting to see Ferncloud’s perspective on Ashfur’s actions. When she died, she probably would have become aware of Ashfur’s infamous fire fiasco. How did she take that? In Squirrelflight’s hope, it seems like most of Starclan has opted to ignore his first crimes. Maybe Ferncloud would have gone along with that.

Or, maybe not. Somehow, Ashfur goes from a loving brother to a cat willing to destroy the afterlife and his sister with it. Perhaps Ferncloud was not accepting of the fact that he tried to burn his crush’s kits to death, and that was enough to lose his interest. Regardless of how she reacted to the first round of villainy, Ferncloud couldn’t have seen TBC Ashfur in a positive light. At some point, she would have had to realize that the brother she grew up with was no longer a cat she liked.

Featherwhisker and Sunstar:

Featherwhisker and Sunstar are confirmed to be brothers in Goosefeather’s curse, where Goosefeather accidentally reads their future’s and notes that they will become a medicine cat and a leader, respectively.

In Bluestar’s prophecy, where they play their biggest role, their relationship is not acknowledged. Since they’re both kind, level headed cats, I suspect this would be more that Bluestar simply didn’t make note of it, and not that they had a fued like Ravenpaw and Dustpelt did. After all, their personalities seem pretty compatible.

While there wouldn’t be much drama, I do think they could have had a very sweet dynamic. Think of how kind Sunstar was to Bluestar, and how supportive Featherwhisker was of Spottedleaf! I think it would be a fair guess to say they would exchange the same kindness to each other.

Sunstar has been implied (confirmed?) to have been love with Bluestar’s mother, Moonflower. However, he was forced to watch Stormtail turn his back on his family time and time again, until eventually Sunstar takes over as Bluestar’s father. This would clearly have been a very emotional and frustrating time for him, and I love the idea of him confiding in Featherwhisker about it when no one was around.

Another interesting aspect of their lives is the parallelism of their career path. At the start of Bluestar’s prophecy, we see Sunstar as Sunfall, the deputy, and Featherwhisker as the medicine cat apprentice.

Fairly early on, Thunderclan doubts Goosefeather’s credibility, and in general, rightly so. This must put Featherwhisker in a very awkward position. We never do find out if he agreed with Goosefeather on the “omen” that told Thunderclan to attack Windclan. As the books goes on, Goosefeather does his job less and less, and Featherwhisker ends up serving as the lead medicine cat, all while taking care of Goosefeather.

As for Sunfall, his rise to power is triggered by Pinestar leaving the clans to become a kittypet. Generally, the deputy and leader are supposed to work as a team, but it’s clear that Pinestar prevented that from happening during his last days of command. He snuck out of camp without letting Sunfall know, leaving the deputy in charge of everything. On the day Pinestar leaves, Sunfall has to manage a battle all on his own, because the actual leader is nowhere to be found. Then, without warning, Sunfall is informed that he is now the leader. There is no communication.

I think both of them could feel some betrayal over their partners essentially abandoning them. Also, between Goosefeather and Pinestar, they would have plenty to talk about. They could confer with each other, and give each other confidence that they can do their respective jobs without their respective bosses.

Then, of course, we have Featherwhisker serving as Sunstar’s medicine cat. This could have the potential for some very cute scenes. Wouldn’t it be sweet to see Sunstar asking Featherwhisker for advice or help with interpreting Starclan’s omens? In general, I think these two had the potential to have a very supportive relationship, which I always love to see.

Thistleclaw and Thrushpelt:

Did you know these two were half-brothers? If you didn’t, you’re not alone, since it’s something that’s never really mentioned. In Goosefeather’s curse, Thrushpelt is born to Rainfur and Windflight, then later, in Bluestar’s prophecy, Thistleclaw is born to Poppydawn and Windflight. They have the same father.

I won’t talk too extensively about these two, because while they’re one of my favorites to speculate about, I’ve already discussed their relationship in depth in my article about Thrushpelt:

A Closer Look at the Life of Thrushpelt by Flamecloud

Many of the siblings I’ve discussed so far have been very different from each other, but Thrushpelt and Thistleclaw are about as different as things can get. On one paw, we have Thrushpelt, who is kind and supportive, and on the other, we have Thistleclaw, who is a creep. Every time they interact, they are arguing. Thistleclaw is openly disrespectful to Thrushpelt, who does his best to be civil.

There are so many interesting aspects that could be developed here. For instance, was Thrushpelt involved in his younger brother’s childhood? Either he never was, or the two grew apart. Both could be interesting. Additionally, did Thrushpelt ever have suspicions about the inappropriate relationship between his half-brother and his apprentice? Did he ever confront him about it?

One thing that could be really interesting is how their dynamic might interact with Thrushpelt’s relationship with Bluestar. It seems likely that Thrushpelt didn’t trust Thistleclaw, given their unfriendly interactions, so he probably wanted Bluestar to be deputy as well. It would also be interesting to see how both toms reacted to the kits being taken to Riverclan. Both probably would have been devastated, but for different reasons.

Alderheart, Sparkpelt, Lionblaze, Hollyleaf, and Jayfeather:

Mostly, I’m referring to Alderheart and Sparkpelt relationships with their older siblings, not their relationship with each other. While it is not focussed on too much, we get to see some of the sibling dynamic between those two. However, with the older sibling, we don’t get much at all, which is very disappointing considering how important they all are.

In general, it’s not touched upon how Lionblaze and Jayfeather feel about become older brothers, which I think is very sad. There could be conflict around them wondering if their adopted parents still see them as their sons once they’ve acquired biological siblings, or worries that they might lose them like they lost Hollyleaf. Even if there’s no drama stemming from it, I would absolutely love to see Jayfeather secretly get excited about being an older brother.

Jayfeather and Alderheart do interact a fair amount, but the fact that they’re adopted brothers doesn’t really get touched upon much. Luckily, mentor/apprentice dynamics are sort of similar to older/younger siblings, so it’s pretty inferable how that would play out.

However, Jayfeather doesn’t interact with Sparkpelt in any sort of brotherly way. These two, if anything, have the potential to be very interesting because of how drastically different their personalities are. I can 100% see Sparkpelt stealing his herbs as a kit, or otherwise being a nuisance with her energy, whilst Jayfeather reluctantly tolerates out of fear of Squirrelflight’s wrath.

Lionblaze doesn’t interact much with either of the siblings, although he does go on some patrols with Sparkpelt. I feel as though Sparkpelt and Lionblaze could have a decent amount in common, enough that they could bond over terrorizing Jayfeather or just being good warriors. Alderheart and Jayfeather, however, are about as different as Jayfeather and Sparkpelt. In fact, Alderkit even notes that he doesn’t want Lionblaze as a mentor because he’s scary. That could be very amusing! I would imagine that Lionblaze would feel uncomfortable with this, but that the two would probably bond more once Alderheart grew up.

One of my favorite ideas for this group of siblings is Jayfeather introducing Alderheart to Hollyleaf in Starclan, and then Hollyleaf being one of Alderheart’s main Starclan contacts. Alderheart was very jumpy as an apprentice, so perhaps he could have confided in Hollyleaf whenever he visited the moonpool. It would probably be difficult for Hollyleaf to get to know Sparkpelt since she’s not a medicine cat, but I still think she’d watch over her from Starclan.

Brightheart, Cinderpelt, Brackenfur, Thornclaw:

What could be interesting about these four, you may ask? While all four are solid background characters who live fairly normal lives (save for Cinderpelt being reincarnated), I think they have some serious potential here.

First of all, the litter is apprenticed in two halves. Cinderpelt and Brackenfur are apprenticed too early, and Thornclaw and Brightheart are apprenticed too late. This could divide them and breed jealousy between the two groups, and make two closer to each other than the other. Thornclaw and Brightheart could very easily feel like there was something wrong with them.

And this isn’t just me pulling ideas out of thin air. Both Thornclaw and Brightheart go to drastic measures to prove their worth to the clans. Brightheart almost dies trying to fight the dogs with Swiftpaw, although after that she seems to come more to terms with her position in the clan.

Thornclaw is also well known for going on essentially every patrol. Could it be that he’s trying to show up Brackenfur? He also retires later than Brackenfur, as if he’s trying to get the last word in. Also, while many of the Dark Forest trainees were insecure younger cats, Thornclaw was already a senior warrior. We never received any clarification on why he joined the Dark Forest. Could feeling like he has something to prove to his siblings have something to do with it? It might also explain why he and Blossomfall became mates, as this would be a feeling they both share.

Also, both sisters in the quartet survived life threatening accidents that left them with permanent disabilities. Perhaps they could bond over the experience, or maybe Cinderpelt would be jealous that Brightheart was able to become a warrior. Either way, both accidents would be terrifying for their family, which could potentially make the siblings more protective of each other.

One final thing (which I’ve pointed out before), is that Cinderpelt gets reincarnated as Brackenfur’s kit. Isn’t that so weird? She’s her own aunt, and her brother is now her father. Imagine approaching your dad and telling him “hey, guess what, I’m also the spirit of your dead sister.” I think it could be bittersweet, but also a little awkward as Cinderheart tried to figure out where to go from there. Additionally, we could also see Brightheart and Thornclaw reactions to the news.

Fernsong and Spotfur:

Warning: Will contain spoilers for A Light in the Mist and minor spoilers for River!

As I read River last week, I was sitting on the edge of my seat, hoping that we’d get to see these two interact. Alas, no dice 😛

This pairing is honestly my favorite on this list, because I love both characters. Fernsong is Spotfur’s older brother, although none of their interactions reflect that. It’s a crying shame because they have so! Much! Potential!

At the end of TBC, Spotfur was pregnant with Stemleaf’s kits and a bit distraught at the idea of raising them without her mate, Stemleaf. Bristlefrost assures her that she’ll help out but a certain swimming trip puts an end to that idea. This leaves Spotfur once again grappling with the prospect of being a single mother.

Unfortunately, despite her development in TBC, Spotfur barely appears in River! We receive very little closure about how she is handling her new litter of three, although it does seem like Daisy is helping out. I see the perfect Bristlefrost substitute: big brother Fernsong! He’s proven before that he doesn’t mind helping out with kits, and I’m sure his kind nature would make his relationship with Spotfur very sweet.

Also, in addition to losing the kit related support, both Spotfur and Fernsong lost a cat they cared about. Fernsong was Bristlefrost’s father, and Spotfur was her aunt/close friend. While taking care of the kits together, they could help each other handle the grief and maybe fill a bit of the void she left behind.

One other notable thing is their shared lineage. In River, Flamepaw’s whole character arc revolves around the pressure he feels as Firestar’s great-grand son, and the grand son of the leader and deputy. Well, Fernsong and Spotfur are also Firestar’s great-grand children, and are the children of a formerly invincible cat and a formerly reincarnated medicine cat. It seems as though they might face the same pressures. The fact that two of their other siblings, Snaptooth and Flywhisker, left the clans to become kittypets, supports the idea. I’d love to see them relate over that.

Conclusion:

Congrats, you have reached the end! I have already shared many sibling relationships I want to see, but what do you all think? Are there any that aren’t listed here that you want to see more of? I’d love to see them in the comments!

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28 comments

  • 🌊✨Streampaw adores reading and writing! Feather x Crow forever! 💙 I can' t wait for school to begin! ✨🌊(Streampaw/lark, she/her) says:

    Incredible article, Flamecloud! I agree – these siblings had so much potential to be very compelling in the series! Your speculations are on-point and you explained your ideas very well. Personally, I would also like to see more of the Feathertail, Stormfur, Briarlight, Bumblestripe, and Blossomfall half-sibling dynamic as well. I feel that Feathertail could be a supportive, understanding figure in Briarlight’s life as she grappled with her injury and that perhaps Feathertail would comfort her in her dreams. It’s a stretch, but I like thinking about Feathertail’s continuation as a reassuring StarClan sister. As for Stormfur, I can imagine some Clan cat on a quest to inform him that he has younger half-siblings, and I’d love to see his reaction! Maybe he, Brook, and his kits would come to visit them! These are my main speculations about sibling relationships that you didn’t include in this article.