[Leafpool touches the surface of the Moonpool, which reflects a crescent moon]

My honest opinion on Leafpool by Mountainstorm

Mountainstorm shares their opinion on ThunderClan’s medicine cat, Leafpool.

Art by lokidrawz (Twitter)

Hello, kits, apps, warriors, elders, med cats!

Let me start off by saying you should take all this with a grain of salt. Leafpool is a good character and it’s fine if you like her. My opinion, however, isn’t going to change.

Leafpool is one of the main protagonists in The New Prophecy, and still is a major character across multiple super editions, mangas, novellas, and further arcs. She’s medicine cat of ThunderClan, and is a pretty popular character on the fandom.
On a site called Fanpop, there was a poll tossing up the option of Leafpool or Squirrelflight. 60% picked Leafpool, 40% Squirrelflight.
On a site called WordPress, on one of the polls there were options of Firestar, Jayfeather, Leafpool, Bluestar, Dovewing, and River Ripple (or someone other) Leafpool came in third place.
On the same site in a poll about best medicine cat, Leafpool came in second place after Jayfeather. In a poll about favorite main character, Leafpool came in sixth place.
On the official Warrior cats website, there’s a poll with 14 options, and Leafpool comes fifth.
She has multiple love articles, not just on BlogClan, and won the 2021 plushie poll. On a place called Quotev, she had five pages of quizzes dedicated to her, and thousands of fanart on all sorts of different sites.
Basically, all I’m trying to say here is that a lot of people love Leafpool!

I don’t.

Here’s why.

I’m not sure what the right word is to describe her thoughts in Dawn, when the Clans are fleeing their old home and following the dying warrior to the lake through the mountains.
Cats on that journey had already died, and many more were suffering, from cold, from hunger, from fear, from minor injuries, and so on, but Leafpaw’s focus was different than worrying about how many more cats they would lose to the journey, how to prevent further tragedies, and how to protect them.

“Dustpelt lay beside Onewhisker and Tallstar. Spiderpaw stretched out beside Crowpaw. Tallpoppy and Ferncloud shared tongues while their kits played together. Even Hawkfrost looked relaxed as he watched Mothwing grooming Morningflower’s pelt for fleas. In spite of the peaceful scene, Leafpaw felt a tremor of concern. She had never seen the Clans so comfortable around each other, not even at Gatherings.” –Dawn, page 313

I understand why Leafpaw would be worried about change. Growing up in a home where cats are constantly hostile and at each other’s throats, it’s a big change that they’re suddenly so warm and convivial.
But Leafpaw should be happy that the Clans are making friends and aren’t hurting each other, especially in the current situation. That’s a good thing, not bad, and she should realize that, even more so since she’s a medicine cat. Those thoughts are also pretty selfish, considering her friendship with Mothwing and her growing affections for Crowfeather.
Leafpaw is painted out to be this peace-loving, compassionate, courteous character, yet she has notions like that.

My next objective is her relation with her son, Jayfeather. While their bond was cute while Jayfeather was a kit, it turned bitter pretty quickly as Jayfeather grew older. Jayfeather certainly isn’t the most enjoyable cat to be around. He’s ill-mannered and impertinent. But Leafpool saw how much he despised the path of a medicine cat. She saw how happy and hopeful he was about reaching his dream of becoming a warrior. Yet, instead of sympathizing with him and helping him through his emotions, she shuts him down. Once again- where did her characteristic compassion go?

“‘It’s my destiny,’ [Jaypaw] muttered. ‘Wanting doesn’t seem to come into it.’
‘Then deal with it!’ Leafpool growled unsympathetically.” –The Sight, page 260

Which leads onto my next reason, which is Leafpool’s ableist. (Warning- discussion of ableism for the next two/three paragraphs. Please don’t read if this makes you uncomfortable)
When Firestar makes Jaypaw a warrior apprentice, Leafpool still supports the fact that he can’t be a warrior because he can’t see. She doesn’t try to adapt or support him, like showing him pointers or thinking of a way he could live his dream- or encouraging him to go after it. She’s still standing by the “can’t be a warrior” claim.
She also does microaggressions by looking at him with pity, thus seeing him less competent, which Jaypaw clearly notices in multiple ways, one being the fear that Leafpool would name him for his disability.

“Suddenly alarmed, Jaypaw thought over what Brightheart had said. ‘You don’t think Leafpool might mention that I’m blind when she gives me my full medicine cat name?’ he muttered into Hollypaw’s ear.
‘Like Jayno-eyes? That’s just as stupid as Berrystumpytail,’ his sister replied.
You think it’s stupid, but will Leafpool-’” –Outcast, page 18

She also carries these prejudiced views and actions out to Cinderpaw when she injures her leg after plummeting from the Sky Oak.

“‘[Cinderpaw’s] going to be okay,’ Jaypaw reassured [Hollypaw]. ‘She’s got a strong heart. And it’s only her leg that’s broken.’
Only her leg!’ Leafpool’s sharp mew took him by surprise. ‘A warrior needs four good legs!’” –Page 104, Dark River

Leafpool never openly says she dislikes disabled cats, but her air of pity and not supporting accommodations for cats like Jayfeather while still getting frustrated with them is something a lot of disabled people have to deal with in their daily lives. Leafpool stands for and represents these things, and helps regularize them as well.

Not only that, but she’s also fussy over Cinderpaw just because of the whole Cinderpelt business. While it’s understandable that she’s guily and depressed over the death of her mentor, it still wouldn’t really hurt to give the apprentice some space and let her breathe a little and live her own life. However I guess StarClan has to take blame in this situation as well because they were the ones who sent Cinderpelt back to the Clans to be a shadow of Cinderpaw.

After Cinderpaw’s broken leg is relatively healed, Leafpool rushes her to pass her assessment without even making sure Cinderpaw is fully ready to use her leg again. Leafpool did this so Cinderpaw doesn’t end up like Cinderpelt. It’s because of this that Cinderpaw gets injured again– her leg wasn’t fully healed and she wasn’t ready to go scampering about the forest.
All that is extremely illogical, however we view it. Staying in the medicine den to have time to heal, or doing a small checkup before letting her return to apprentice duties wouldn’t have made Cinderpaw follow the same path as Cinderpelt. On the other paw, Leafpool’s actions might have caused her to do just that.
Focusing on herself and her emotions instead of medical facts and duties is irresponsible of her in this situation.

Stepping back a few moons, when Cinderpelt was still alive, Leafpool was already involved in her romance with Crowfeather, thus she kept mixing up herbs while thinking of him, e.g. almost giving Firestar nettle seed instead of poppy, basically sleep-walking through the waking hours because of her meetings with him at night, etc. etc. Cinderpelt, already anxious for her predicted death and ThunderClan not having a medicine cat who’s always there and always prepared, hooked in Brightheart to help, which made Leafpool feel jealous. It’s definitely acceptable for Leafpool to feel jealous, yet she should also realize she’s not competent at the moment to be a proper medicine cat, and Cinderpelt needs help, and she should not be cold to Brightheart because of this.

What she does with Squirrelflight; this is my next case for disliking Leaf.
Twilight was difficult to read. Squirrel and Leaf’s relationship was put to the test with all of the Crow x Leaf drama. You can read their quarrel on pages 237 and 238. Squirrelflight is to blame in the argument as well, however not as much as Leafpool. Leafpool had been looking to apprise someone about Crowfeather. She nearly told Sandstorm, but Sandstorm was caught up at the moment and wasn’t able to listen. Well, Squirrelflight was concerned, prompted Leafpool to tell her what was wrong so they could talk about it, and Leafpool snapped.

Not just in Twilight- Leafpool’s Wish just made me cringe so many times. From Leafpool asking Squirrelflight to lie to her whole family instead of facing the music herself, passing the blame and weight onto her and pressuring her to lie to Brambleclaw and the rest of the Clan, to being picky and snobbish about where to kit when Squirrelflight was trying her best to find a safe space.

“‘It looks dry in here,’ [Squirrelflight] called, her voice muffled.
‘Not if it rains again.’ Leafpool replied. […] ‘What about underneath this thicket?’ Squirrelflight suggested as she helped Leafpool free from the prickly tendril.
‘Do you want my kits to be full of thorns?’ Leafpool mewed.
Squirrelflight said nothing, just walked on. ‘How about next to that fallen tree?’ She pointed with her tail to an oak that lay on its side.
Leafpool wrinkled her nose. ‘It smells bad.’” –Leafpool’s Wish, page 167

In the same novella, just a page before her distaste in den options, Squirrelflight was famished,
yet Leafpool wasn’t, thus she was relieved when Squirrelflight didn’t suggest hunting. I would have understood it more if it were a question of where to rest while Squirrelflight got some fuel for herself, but just because Leafpool herself wasn’t hungry?

“Leafpool could hear Squirrelflight’s belly rumbling with hunger but was relieved when her sister didn’t suggest stopping to hunt. Leafpool didn’t think she could eat a mouthful.” –Leafpool’s Wish, page 166

While on the topic of Squirrelflight following Leafpool and Leafpool being extremely disgusted about that- Leafpool did the same thing. She stalked Brambleclaw. She was so upset when Squirrelflight did it to her…so why did she do it to Brambleclaw?

Another thing that irritated me about Leafpool was how she punished herself without waiting to see what Firestar would say or do. Maybe Firestar would have given her a different punishment. Maybe he would have helped her out.
Leafpool isn’t in an important enough position to punish herself- yet she did. If she would have done something like offered Firestar to resign and explained why she couldn’t be a medicine cat anymore, then waited until he confirmed, added, or took from the punishment, it would have made more sense and made it seem less awkward and selfish.
Of course, Leafpool maybe, probably wanted to take the pressure of punishing his own daughter off Firestar…we can all theorize, but I’m judging based on what’s written down on paper.

When Leafpool resigned her rank as medicine cat, she followed Hollyleaf back to ThunderClan. Leafpool had been expecting Hollyleaf to turn up- and she started by saying she forgave her, without waiting to hear what Hollyleaf had to inquire. That was just a little eccentric…I didn’t especially enjoy how Leafpool was expecting Hollyleaf to say sorry. (You can read this on pages 309-310 in Sunrise)

And then, back to Jayfeather- when she’s left Jayfeather alone to be the medicine cat, she doesn’t help out with any medical problems. She drops hints to him, like she did with Briarlight, but otherwise she leaves him alone to deal with everything even when it seems like he could use a little help. E.g., when Firestar lost a life.

What she did with Crowfeather is neeeext up.
So, basically two things she did with Crowfeather rub my fur the wrong way. I’ve already explained this in another article I wrote, A Detailed Analysis of Leafpool and Crowfeather’s Relationship. Basically, to sum it up quickly, I disliked how she yelled at Crowfeather not to mess up her life again, then felt jealous when Nightcloud twined her tail with his, and how she left him for no real logical reason. If you’d be interested to read the elaborated version, here’s the link to the article. https://blogclan.katecary.co.uk/2021/11/30/a-detailed-analysis-of-leafpool-and-crowfeathers-relationship-by-mountainpaw/

What she did with Feathertail…
I detest how Leafpool waited for Feathertail to leave before getting all gooey with Crowfeather in A Light in the Mist. I honestly found it a tad creepy. We can argue that it was actually kind of her to do that, but I don’t find it kind- I find it weird that Leafpool goes behind Feathertail’s back like that.
It certainly didn’t seem like Leafpool was respecting Feathertail’s emotions. Feathertail helped Leafpool out a lot in life, and it wouldn’t hurt to at least discuss the topic first before, and/or instead of going behind her back.
Of course, you don’t have to consider this a valid reason, since I’m being pretty biased here.

Lastly- I’m just not a huge fan of Leafpool’s personality as an older cat. This isn’t really a fair judgemental reason, just my personal taste in favorable characters. When Leafpool meets with Crowfeather, she lets herself get pushed around a bit. Crowfeather decides when and where to meet, and when Leafpool can’t turn up, she’s afraid he’s mad at her and pleads with him not to be. Medicine cats have duties- Crowfeather can’t be disgruntled about that, it’s fact. And when they run away, Crowfeather vows ‘he’ll take care of her’, and Leafpool accepts. I’m a fan of more feminist characters, like Dovewing, who bristled when Tigerheart told her that and claimed she could take care of herself- or, Leafpool as Leafpaw, who was indignant at the idea as well when she was in WindClan healing their sick cats.
Even later on, in most books, Leafpool is more of a character who’s soft and gentle, and ‘there to take’ other cat’s anger, even if it’s unjustified and uncalled for.

Is my whole perspective on Leafpool just hate? No, I actually liked her a lot as an apprentice. She was one of my favorites up to Dawn, but then the tides turned and instead she ended up as a disliked cat in my book. Still, though, she had her moments- I really enjoyed the part in Bramblestar’s Storm when she was kicked out of ShadowClan. Her indignance and ferocity was pretty funny. I like her a bit in Starlight as well.
She’s great at giving advice, is pretty wise, and is a talented and capable medicine cat- like when she managed to save Squirrelflight from the wound on her belly and brought her back from the brink of death. I also like her friendship with Mothwing. They had fun moments, and their friendship and support for each other is gratifying.
Honestly, sometimes I’m a little annoyed at myself for not liking Leafpool. She’s pretty much a perfect lovable character, with a big romance, an interesting story, a great family, lots of books dedicated to exploring her character…but, that’s just me, and my opinion of her! While Leafpaw is still a nice cat in my book, Leafpool just won’t get there!

*Ahem* So why not add a quick paragraph about how awesome Leafpaw is, before I conclude this article?
Leafpaw possesses the characteristic kindness and compassion she is given. She’s much smarter and more logical and understanding than in later books, like when she doesn’t press Squirrelpaw and Brambleclaw to tell her where they’re going, yet she gives them traveling herbs. She’s considerate of her mentor- she suggests a break when she sees Cinderpelt getting tired, and she doesn’t hesitate to help out Mothwing when Reedpaw nearly drowns in the river. She’s much more combust, strong, and independent, more so than her older version, and she’s really sweet yet maverick.

These are my reasons for not liking her, and not reasons why you should hate her. Most people have trouble understanding why I don’t love Leafpool that much, and I wanted to sum up my reasons and explain them a bit better and a bit clearer. I don’t mean this as a personal offense to any Leafpool fan.

Now, excuse me while I go purchase a shield to protect myself from all the flying tomatoes.

What are your thoughts on Leafpool? 😀

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