Feathersplash shares their thoughts on Onestar’s Confession and the leader himself.
It’s not often that a children’s series constructs such an elaborate world, and uses it to tackle such serious concepts. And yet Warrior Cats does it, time and time again, and so brilliantly well. I’m continuously amazed by the immense cast of characters, each so well fleshed out and full of viable flaws. Onestar, one of the most hated characters in the Warriors universe, is a prime example of this.
He started in the series as a fan favourite, forming a strong connection with the original protagonist, Firestar. I, myself, loved him. As an 8 year old reading these books for the first time, I couldn’t wrap my head around where it had all gone wrong. Why had he decided to abandon such an old friend for seemingly no reason, and turn into a cold hearted tyrant? Why did he keep accusing my beloved ThunderClan of being nosy when they were only ever trying to help? Why couldn’t he see that? Why did he have to go and mess everything up? I began to resent him deeply for it. Things only went further downhill when his long forgotten half-kittypet lovechild showed up, hellbent (or should I say ‘Place of No Stars bent’?) on destroying the clans. I HATED Darktail for brutally torturing Needletail and Dawnpelt to death. I hated him for everything he did. The Erin’s made one thing clear. It was all Onestar’s fault. Even after his ultimate sacrifice, drowning himself in the lake to take his estranged son down with him, he continued to be widely despised. But can we really write off this cat for a collection of idiotic misjudgements which concentrated to cause his downfall? Does he deserve his place in StarClan after all that he did?
The Mudclaw arc of this book bored me to death, but I understand they couldn’t just skip it, given they needed to cover Onestar’s struggle in his rise to leadership. It did clear up his motives for icing Firestar and all of ThunderClan out, and it made me understand where the behaviour that turned me against him had stemmed from. It was his stubbornness and unwillingness to look weak that pushed him to continue making the wrong decisions. I believe he suffered a bit from imposter syndrome, being chosen as leader completely out of the blue just minutes before the death of one of his mentors and father figures. As he states many times in this book, he never wanted to be leader and felt he wasn’t up to the job. Most deputies have moons of co-leadership to get used to the idea they may one day have to take their nine lives and lead their clan. Onewhisker never got this, and this lack of preparation for the role could’ve easily made him feel like he didn’t belong with the other leaders. Additionally, his leadership got off to a rocky start, with Mudclaw there to voice the doubts that he himself was having. That he wasn’t fit to lead a clan, that this had never been his destiny, and WindClan would simply be safer in Mudclaw’s paws. Everything was a constant battle to prove his own doubts and those of the others around him wrong. His desperation not to disappoint the great Tallstar was his own undoing.
While unlikeable due to his unwarranted snappiness and hostility towards ThunderClan, he plummeted to all new depths after we all found out about his lovechild with kittypet Smoke, whom he cruelly abandoned while pregnant, leaving her to give birth alone on the moors, and leading the to death of all their kits except one, Darktail. Or at least, that was how Darktail told it. In this book, we saw that maybe that wasn’t quite exactly how it had gone down. Onewhisker had been a young tom cat, already with ties to the Twolegplace through deceased childhood friend Brushpaw, when he met pretty she-cat Smoke. She hung onto his every word about his adventures as a brave and strong warrior of the moor. He continued to visit her to fuel his ego, until one day he decided it was time to cut ties with the Twolegplace and take a mate within his own clan instead, Whitetail. Whitetail was the reason for most of his reluctance towards admitting what had happened with Smoke, and taking responsibility for his son. Once he had very much moved on, it was a nasty shock to find out his old sweetheart was pregnant with his kits. Knowing that there was no chance Smoke and her prospective kits could join the clan after what had happened with Brushpaw and Tansypaw, Onewhisker sent her away, and on the way back to her house, she went into labour. Although Darktail portrayed the death of his littermates as all Onestar’s fault, personally, I’m not sure what else he could’ve done about this. Smoke then approached him again, pleading for him to take her and the surviving kit with him to the clans new territory. He denied her request, partly for his own selfish reasons of not wanting to jeopardise his relationship with Whitetail, and partly because the clans couldn’t afford to deal with it while they had just been driven from their home of many moons. However, he ALWAYS intended to come back for Smoke and his son, but the surprise of the leadership he never wanted meant this was impossible. He genuinly believed that for the time being, they would be safer with the twolegs (people), and I’d say he was right. And eventually, he did return, far too late to redeem the situation though.
I greatly question the fundamentals of the system that decides who gets to go to StarClan, and who is condemned to rot in The Place of No Stars (Heaven and Hell). I still want justice for Juniperclaw. Sure, he tried to poison the SkyClan fresh kill pile, but he believed it was the only way to save his clan. And he gave his life to rescue Shadowkit. He deserves better than being stuck for a literal eternity guarding the tunnel between heaven and hell. They let ASHFUR into StarClan after he tried to burn his ex’s kits to death out of jealousy! And I’m OUTRAGED that Leafpool had to go on trial before her acceptance into StarClan. So what, she ran away with someone from another clan and ended up pregnant? She was kind and pure of heart and acted selflessly time and time again, who cares about the warrior code! (Also, two of the cats on her jury were Bluestar and Yellowfang, who made the EXACT same mistakes she did!). Despite his annoying personality and constant frostiness towards the other clans, which made me hate him, Onestar himself never acted out of pure evil. He never should’ve been put on trial either.
In conclusion, Onestar fell into the trap of running from his mistakes. As someone who struggles with taking accountability, I found myself relating to this cat instead of hating him. Yes, he was selfish. Yes, he was stubborn. But aren’t we all? Although boring in places, this book helped me understand Onestar as a whole, and forgive him for everything he did. It hammered home the importance of perspective in every situation. He took StarClans will in his paws, accepting the role of leader and constantly acting in what he thought was WindClan’s best interest, we should stop judging him for moments of weakness as a young and egotistical tom.
These books feel like my second home. I know all the lore to such an extent that the fundamentals of their world feel like the fundamentals of mine. And here I am again weeping just at how accomplished these books are. I love this book series, even at 15, and will forever defend it with my life. I would reccommend it to literally everyone. May StarClan light your path.