[starry silhouettes of three cats float in the night sky in a forest]

Are Nine Lives Really That Necessary? by Slatekit

Slatekit wonders if StarClan really does have to give nine lives to leaders.

Hi, I am Slatekit, or just Slate. I would like to share my opinion on clan leaders and their nine lives given by StarClan, to serve their clan faithfully for many, many moons until they join their ancestors. But is nine lives really necessary? The whole point of nine lives is for the leaders to lead their clan for many moons, but sometimes it did not even achieve that. Remember it is just my opinion, and feel free to say it if you disagree.

To start with, let’s just look at Firestar, the former leader of ThunderClan, and how he lost his nine lives. His first life was lost in The Darkest Hour, where he was killed by Scourge, his half-brother, former leader of BloodClan In a battle. Then we move on to his second life, where he died in a battle with rats in Firestar’s Quest, the first Warriors super-edition ever written. Also in a battle. Then, in The Heart of a Warrior, he lost another life in the battle against BloodClan, helping Ravenpaw and Barley to defend their farm against the rogues. Moving on to The New Prophecy, in the second book, Dawn, he died crushed by a tree while helping the ShadowClan cats escape from their collapsing camp, invaded by large Twoleg monsters.

So far, Firestar lost four lives either in battle or to help other clan cats. Meanwhile, take a look at the others. Take Sandstorm for an example—she also participated in the battle against BloodClan, where her mate, Firestar, lost a life. She didn’t. She too fought in the battle against the rats. She did not die. Sandstorm did not participate in the battle against BloodClan in Ravenpaw and Barley’s barn, though. She helped ShadowClan escape their camp in Dawn, as well. But she did not lose her life, like Firestar did, crushed by a falling tree in the collapsed ShadowClan camp.

Now we will move on to Firestar’s next death, in Sunrise, where he was tricked into a fox trap by Hawkfrost and Ashfur. He lost a life then, although it was interesting how easily he was tricked into believing Ashfur’s lie, delivered by his apprentice, Birchpaw (That Blackstar is in ThunderClan territory). Brambleclaw refused to murder Firestar like Hawkfrost wanted him to, and Firestar did not join StarClan just yet, instead moving on to his sixth life. That life was lost to greencough. He died another time at the very beginning of The Fourth Apprentice, in a fight with a fox. At the time, he had two lives left. The eighth life was lost when Firestar fought in a vicious border dispute with ShadowClan over a strip of land near the Twolegplace, encouraged by Ivypaw, who convinced Firestar to request the piece of territory back, like what Tigerstar intended. Firestar was killed by Russetfur, the former deputy of ShadowClan. Now he only has one life left. The last life was lost in The Great Battle against the Dark Forest, in The Last Hope, fulfilling his destiny as the fourth Prophecy cat. (“There will be three cats, kin of your kin, with the power of the stars in their paws. They will find a fourth, and the battle between light and dark will be won.”)

Now, there are three lives lost in the Omen Of The Stars, one in the Power Of Three, two in The New Prophecy, and one in The Prophecy Begins. The others are lost either super-editions or the mangas. Let’s go back to Firestar’s mate, Sandstorm. Despite being older than her mate, she was still alive by the time Firestar died, even though at a pretty old age. She died not too long after that, though. Just in the next book, The Apprentice’s Quest. Now, I will also mention somebody else who outlived Firestar. You might have guessed who I am about to mention—that’s right, Graystripe. He outlived his best friend, Firestar, by … two series. Twelve books. Most of the cats who did not receive extra lives lived longer than the leader with nine lives, who lived for up to twenty-four books, approximately eight years. There are a lot more clan cats who outlived Firestar, but I won’t be listing all of them.

Anyway, Firestar is the only leader that I can find a lot of information on, like how exactly he lost each of his nine lives, but I can’t find a lot of information on the other leaders. However, I did dig out some information about them: Bluestar lived for about seven and a half years. Sunstar also lived for about seven and a bit. Tigerstar I lived for about six and a half. Tallstar for about eleven years. Mistystar for about fourteen (although everybody knows that). Leopardstar for eleven and a bit. Crookedstar for almost eight. Raggedstar for about eight.
Now I will compare them to Firestar. Bluestar, Sunstar, Tigerstar I, Crookedstar, and Raggedstar lived lives shorter or the same length as Firestar’s. So they didn’t exactly live a super long life. Mistystar, Tallstar and Leopardstar lived longer. Most of the time we don’t even know how half of those leaders’ lives are lost. They are either lost of strange or random causes or “mysteriously” vanish. Except for Tigerstar I, of course, who lost all nine of his lives to a fatal wound inflicted by the former BloodClan leader, Scourge, when he attempted to order BloodClan to attack. Everybody knows that.

The leaders always die rather odd deaths. Sometimes, if there was a sickness, out of all cats, the leader, dies. Most of the time the chances that somebody will die is, say, one out of thirty. And that cat always happens to be the clan leader. And I am referring to what happened in Long Shadows, where Firestar dies from greencough, also when Bluestar died of the very same sickness in the original series. In Dawn, Blackstar lost a life in the monster invasion of the old forest territories, and I do not recall a lot of other cats dying at that time. Anyway, you get the idea.

My whole point is that nine lives are rather unnecessary. The point of having extra lives is to serve the clan for a long time. But as I said at the beginning, the extra lives ninety-nine point nine percent of the time did not achieve what those extra lives are for, and cats with only one life most of the time actually live even longer than a clan leader with nine. I find this part of the whole plot rather excessive, it is just added to the plot to try to make it more interesting, which, to me, did not achieve at all. Somehow, the cats who experienced the same things as the clan leader did mostly managed to escape from death but the clan leader does not. Well, the leaders do take extra risks sometimes and such, but the numbers of their risk-taking aren’t drastically above the ones of average warriors. Once some cat becomes the leader, the lives are usually just lost to some really weird causes, one by one until there are none left.

Anyway, that’s all. I hope you have enjoyed this article. These are all my opinions, and I do respect the authors and anybody who enjoys the idea of leaders having nine lives. Feel free to disagree with me, I am just expressing my own opinion. Have a nice day, and may StarClan light your path!


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  • Nine lives actually make a lot of sense, figuring that it fits with those original stories of cats having nine lives, and yes, it may suck to die nine times but it’s not like the leaders didn’t know. Imagine if Firestar literally died like two months after becoming leader. Or got killed by something else. It helps leaders get more well known, depending on how many times they lost lives during battle. ^^

    • 🗻🎶🪨DIES🎵🪨IRAE🪨🎵Slate🪨🎶🗻 llll~LINGLING WANNABES UNITE~llll | 🗯(Tchaikovsky Sym. 6 & Verdi Requiem is so good)🗯 says:

      I respect your opinion but my point is, I know about the cat nine lives stuff but it does not have to be stuffed into the books. I mean, there isn’t any “hate black cats cuz they are evil” stuff in the books, right? “Imagine if Firestar literally died like two months after becoming leader.” I don’t get this part, sorry. The reason Firestar is dying so often is because the authors have to get rid of him at some point and replace him with Bramblestar. But they can’t do that like they can kick Dustpelt because he got nine lives. And it’s always the leaders who drop dead in every greencough epidemic or invasion or whatever that’s dangerous. Anyway, my point is that, the nine lives didn’t really change anything, seeing as cats like Graystripe and Barley lived way longer than him, with only one life. (And Barley is older than Firestar.)