[a stylistic full-body design of Firestar]

Why is Warriors so Appealing? by Ospreysplash

Ospreysplash wonders why and how we all became fans of Warrior Cats.

Art by Ospreysplash

I know I could read another book if I wanted. But every time I go to the library, I find myself trying to nonchalantly wander towards the shelves that house the Warriors books, before picking out the books I hadn’t read and heading out of the children’s section quick-smart. Whenever I get a new Warriors book, I throw aside my books on cat breeds and domestication, and sit, reading Warriors for hours on end, bookmarking pages for articles, then thinking about the story. I could probably be reading something else, developing my Animal Crossing island, doing a sport, but no, I need to finish A Light in the Mist first.

My question is, why Warriors? Why is a silly little book series about cats capturing me and so many readers around the world? Why am I still in a fandom who dedicate their time to animating battle cats or starting dramas? (BlogClan is lovely, though. I’m talking about the YouTube community and stuff.) Why is thinking about why Snowtuft is a good character taking up more of my time than learning how to make 3D models on the computer?

In this article, I’ll look at why Warriors is such an appealing series, and why we can’t help but rush to the bookstores to buy River when it was released rather than wait 2 months to buy it half the price as a paperback.

I asked some people on the Polls Page, and found some very interesting trends among responses.

First up:

THE AMOUNT OF CHARACTERS
We may complain that the amount of characters in Warrior Cats is ridiculous, but recently, the Hunter team hit the perfect formula for the number of characters who appear in the Warriors allegiances. Per Clan, there are about 20-30 cats, and overall, there are about 150 cats around the lake. What’s so special about these particular numbers?

As you know, Warriors is a middle grade book, and majority of the middle grade humans go to middle grade schools. The number of cats in a Clan is similar to the mean number of students in a class in many countries, and the number of cats around the lake is around the average number of students in each year/grade at school in America. If you go to school, especially primary/elementary school, when you may start reading Warriors, you stick with the same class the whole time, and you may know only a few people outside your class on a personal level. Thinking of a Clan as a class, where your closer relationships are nurtured, and your year group as every cat in all the Clans is a subconscious connection some readers of Warriors make. Obviously this changes in older years, and this whole anecdote does not work if you are out of school or homeschooled, but these numbers hold meaning in communities and such as well. 20-30 is the number of people who may be in a large sports team, a club, a group of family-friends, etc. 150 is the ideal number for a well functioning community, business group, and is called the ‘magic number’ for relationships.

As readers of Warriors, we can not only connect these numbers of characters to experiences in the real world, we can also know 150 characters by name and a bit about them, have our opinions on them based on that 1 time they went on a hunting patrol, and weave ourselves into this warriors community with realistic relationships with the cats. We know most of these characters by name, and only a few really well, and one or two you would count as your favourites. Imagine yourself in a group of 150 people that you’ve been around for about a year, say. This is a similar structure, with knowing almost all of them by name, knowing a few on a personal level, and only being able to call about under 10 of them your closest friends. Heck, this is even what happens on BlogClan. You can connect these 2 numbers to so many aspects of life, and having them as the magic numbers in the past 3 series of Warriors is nice. (ThunderClan is getting a bit too big, though)

On the other hand, though, having over 1.3k warriors who have been named in the books gives us 1.3k opportunities to find a character we connect to or like, meaning that almost everyone gets to find one character that they can cheer for every time a sentence about them is written.

Expanding on that final statement:

OUR FAVOURITE CHARACTERS AND US: THE SIMILARITIES AND THE DIFFERENCES
Almost everyone in the Warriors community has a character that they are too attached to for their own good. I wanted to find out what makes our favourite characters, well, our favourite characters.

I had two questions when it came to the link between us and our favourite characters.
Do we choose our favourite characters because they remind us of ourselves/an idealised version of ourselves?
How do we choose our favourite characters?

I’ll focus on the first question to start.

There were some very interesting responses from my questions, showing the link between our favourite characters and us.

You know what:

EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. Who answered my question had some link in personality/life goals to their favourite character!

So, it seems like we like characters that remind us of ourselves, right?
Well…
Not always.
The thing is, no one’s personality or goals aligned 1 to 1 with their favourite character, and there were certainly other Warriors Characters that would suit their personalities more, and we’ll get into that later. But still, this is a pretty interesting discovery! Maybe us, as reader, feel attached to characters that we feel like we could know in real life. Humans are (mostly) social animals and often surround themselves with people with somewhat similar interests to themselves, so maybe the same logic applies to characters.

Here’s some excerpts from some responses I gained.

My favourite cat is Thrushpelt! I would describe him as kind, trusting, loyal, and supportive.

(I’m) Introverted, kind, intelligent, responsible, but cowardly. 😛

I wish I had more of a backbone and that I was more embracing of change.

Flamecloud

It seems like a Thrushpelt-like personality is what Flamflam wants have heading into the future, perhaps part of the reason why she likes Thrushpelt – because he in some ways reminds him of herself! At the same time, though, Flamecloud shares a good number of traits with Thrustpelt.

Dewtail, though, has a wildly different response to Flamfam:

My favourite cat is Jayfeather; I’d describe him as being an aloof, sharp-tongued cat that truly cares about his Clanmates and kin.

I’d describe myself as a bookish and artistic intellectual who fights for her beliefs.

I’d like to improve my art style and get better at animation.

Dew and Jayfeather share close to nothing personality-wise (apart from being very caring), nor does Dewtail aspire to be like Jayfeather (I hope), which seems to disprove on my theory earlier.

Dew did answer my question on why you like certain warriors cats, though, and this was her response:

(I determine how I like a character on) How interesting they are/ interesting they are to read about. I personally could’ve liked Clear Sky more if the Erins weren’t trying so hard to give him a redemption arc throughout the back half of DoTC (which makes him more irritating) but Tigerstar is one of my favourite characters to read about.

That explains it 🙂

Pinestripe like Flamecloud, brings me back to my theory that you enjoy cats that are more like yourself or how you want to be. She gave me a wonderfully detailed response on why she likes Honeyfern, and what sort of characters she likes! Thanks Pine!

My favourite Warrior cat is Honeyfern! I would describe her as super kind and sweet, and a caring, supportive friend. The kind of cat who is always there to comfort others, and wouldn’t refuse to help a friend in need. I find Honeyfern’s personality to be very pleasant, as she is very gentle and sympathetic, and never mean to any cat. She’s a bit shy and often anxious, but at heart is a very brave cat with a selfless courage, as well as the ability to stand up for someone. She also has a sense of humour, and is super fun to play and chat with.

Right off the bat, Pine talks about Honeyfern as if she is someone she knows in real life, especially in the sentence “She is super fun to play and chat with.” Pine doubled back on this in her response as to how she determines her favourite Warrior Cats, which I’ll get to later.

As for Pine’s personality and what she wants to be like into the future:
I’d say I’m kind and I definitely care a lot about being the best person I can be- sometimes to the point of worry. I’m devoted to my family. I love animals and I’m very gentle and patient with them. Because of how socially awkward I am it’s probably not all that easy to guess that I’m super extroverted despite my quiet nature- I love being in crowds and meeting people! I’m very affectionate with my friends and always grateful for the smallest acts of kindness. When spending time with friends I’m agreeable, but when it comes to topics I’m passionate about you’ll find I’m very stubborn and feisty- eager to debate for hours.

I’m super socially awkward and, being an extrovert, I really need to work on learning to be outgoing so I can content my desire to socialise.

Taking Pine’s personality and aspirations into account, you can see the support behind my theory on people liking characters that remind them of themselves. Backed up further in Pine’s response of how she chooses favourite characters:

For me it’s entirely about their personality and how nice they are. They have to be a morally good character who I feel would enjoy being friends with in real life.
Some qualities that attract me are a comforting, gentle nature, cute small details to their personality, a sense of humour, and the ability to enjoy quality time with other characters.
Characters don’t really have to be complex or interesting for me to like them, nor do they have to be plot-important as the plot isn’t as important to me as the characters anyways. In fact, such things sometimes actually turn me off, as a character written to be interesting is often developed through questionable actions or a morally grey stance, and since those are not the kind of people I would trust or feel comfortable being around I can’t really imagine them as my friends.
And it’s often the side characters who have the best simple, sweet, and innocent personalities, which makes a lot of minor characters pretty high on my favourites list.

Yes, Pine likes characters that are like people she’d want to be friends with in real life. This makes sense, as if you can relate characters to people you do know and you do have a positive connection with, you’re probably more likely to enjoy them. In my case, I really loved Icewing as a character right off the bat, and she does sound like someone I’d love to be friends with in real life.

As a bonus, here are some of Pine’s headcanons on what she and Honeyfern would do if they were Clanmates:
Many of my headcanons for Honeyfern are about what we would do together as Clanmates- like I headcanon she would help me with training, we would go for walks together a lot, we’d whisper in our nests at night… I guess you can say I relate to some because I imagine her having most of the same likes as me, but it’s mostly based on what relationship I would enjoy having with this character.

Once again, thanks Pine!

As if Pine didn’t prove my theory, Ravenpaw (Foxi) came along and reinforced it. I’ll show you what I mean:
(I like) IVYPOOL!!! She’s feisty yet really caring and helpful very strong and powerful and just so awesome :DD

My personality? well i am pretty shy, I don’t like talking alot unless im only with my friends, aloof 😛 a bit blunt and i’ve been told i’m aggressive 😛 and other stuff like thatt :p

Yeah i do wanna be able to talk moree yknow not be so shy,, and to develop an art style i really like :DD

It does seem like the key word in Ivypool’s personality is awesome, which is exactly what Foxi is 😀

The other words that stand out are “blunt and aggressive,” (which I don’t think you are Foxi!), both of which Ivypool is in OotS.

Foxi did state that likes characters they relate to in her response to how she determines her favourite cats:
Usually if i can relate or if i admire them? ive noticed that, reviewing all these characters i like :p

Jumping ship to a new aspect of Warriors:

THE STORY THAT IS ALWAYS CONTINUING
Of course the lengthiness of Warriors would be brought up. With a book released about every 3 months, you always have a chance to continue the journey of the cats, and almost all loose threads are tied up eventually, whilst still leaving an aura of mystery while we wait for a book to be written about a character who we know nothing about. The sheer amount of different perspectives within the series allows the reader to make our own judgements on both characters and situations within the plot, rather than having a one-sided judgement that most other series offer us. Almost no one in Warriors is a pure bundle of evil, and the villains we like the most are the ones who we can understand. With books like Mapleshade’s Vengeance, Rise of Scourge and Tigerclaw’s Fury, we get to delve inside the minds of villains.

Some very interesting character have had points of view in Warriors, that give us a perspective that can’t be seen from very character (eg. Firestar, Jayfeather, Ivypool, Violetshine, Shadowsight, Dovewing, and much more recently, Frostpaw), and having more individual storylines and backstories to explore is an important aspect of Warriors.

Last, but not least:

THE BLOGCLAN FAMILY
Yes, you guys all get a special mention for being the reason so many people on the Blog stuck with Warriors for so long.
There aren’t many forums where you can get the chance to talk to a bunch of awesome, friendly people, write articles, play games and find a bunch of people who also think that cats fighting in the wild is the coolest thing ever, AND have an opportunity to occasionally speak with one of the authors of the series! Many people on here don’t even read Warriors anymore, so all my points beforehand don’t apply, but what does apply is that the community on here is gold. Thank you for sticking around guys, I appreciate it!

(And no, this article wasn’t a big appreciation post, I promise)

Thank you for getting through this elephant of an article! Do you agree with what I said? What makes you love Warriors?
See you next article!

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66 comments

  • I found this article very late, but….

    “….But every time I go to the library, I find myself trying to nonchalantly wander towards the shelves that house the Warriors books, before picking out the books I hadn’t read and heading out of the children’s section quick-smart”

    SAMEEE

    (except it never takes long as the libraries I go to have the most awful sekection of Warriors :()

  • Hey! I don’t know if I’ve ever read one of your articles, but I sat and read this even though I’m not part of BlogClan and had originally intended to read something else, that I couldn’t find (yet). But this popped up into my search history, and I was going crazy over how good that Warrior name is, A) because I love ospreys, and B) b/c that suffix works so well I kid you not. I loved this article! And I’d have to agree. I stopped reading warriors a while ago but I keep updated in the art community, so I have a lot of WC on my YouTube feed. I can’t remember who’s my favorite anymore, if I really had just o n e specific favorite. But I always, despite it being a very generic answer, loved how Firestar was the perfect protagonist for the first series. Hooked me immediately. I stopped reading at Last Hope, OotS, cuz I found that finale perfect. My favorite character in that also had to be Ivypool, because I’ve started relating to her a lot more (which is funny to me b/c I’m an only child and don’t have a sibling). Well, very long rant aside, what I guess I’m trying to say is, thanks for this article! Even if my reply may be far from the publishing date 😅. Keep making awesome stuff like this! ❤️

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