[concept art of Clawface for the graphic novels]

A Clawface Analysis: Loyal Soldier or Untold Hero? by Rosegaze

Rosegaze takes a closer look at Clawface.

[concept art of Clawface for the graphic novels]
Official concept art by James L. Barry
[concept art of Clawface for the graphic novels]

Clawface is quite a straight forward character in the first arc. He murders Spottedleaf, than dies by Graystripe’s paws. In Exile from Shadowclan though, things get more complicated. During the graphic novel, Clawface rescues Volepaw from Shadowclan, as Brokenstar refuses to ‘waste’ anymore herbs on him. He states :

“Brokenstar is a great leader. He’s going to make ShadowClan the most powerful Clan in the forest. But there’s no way I could just watch Volepaw die without trying to help him. I guess I’m weak that way. Maybe weakness is a family trait.”

It seems that while Clawface is a murderer and Brokenstar loyalist, he retains some sense of morality. The problem is that this behavior completely contradicts the Clawface we saw in arc 1! He is portrayed as an absolutely loyal soldier to Brokenstar, willing to commit atrocious acts just because Brokenstar asks him to. As far as we know, the Clawfaces shown in these books could be completely different cats! Let´s break both Clawfaces down and see what makes them tick. We will refer to the Clawface in Arc 1 as Canon Clawface, and the other will be referred to as Exile Clawface.

Let´s start with Canon Clawface. According to the wiki, Firestar describes Canon Clawface as a ruthless, blood thirsty murderer. This checks out, as in one book, he kills a doctor, steals 4 kits, and precedes to attempt murder like 3 more times. This Clawface has no sense of mercy, acting only as a loyal soldier for Brokenstar. As far as I know, he is only loyal to Brokenstar because he believes he can make the clan stronger again. I can find nothing else for Clawface, as his appearance in Tigerclaw´s Fury is a mistake and non-canon, as he was long dead by then.

Time to address the elephant in the room, Exile Clawface. I will also include Yellowfang´s Secret Clawface here, as they have similar characteristics. In Exile from Shadowclan, Clawface is still depicted as a loyal Warrior to Brokenstar, but with a twist. When Brokenstar orders no more herbs to be used on Volepaw, who had gotten gravely injured, Clawface and Runningnose take Volepaw to the Elders camp in an attempt to save the young apprentice. He states that he could not let the apprentice die, and calls himself weak. This shows morality and a sense of duty to save those less fortunate, the exact traits a hero would have. In Yellowfang´s Secret, he is more similar to his Canon Counterpart, but he loves and watches out for his brother, who basically has cat asthma. He seems to be much more kind, but still a Brokenstar Loyalist.

What is going on here? Clawface, the ruthless killer, suddenly having the traits of a hero? What could have caused this? Well, let ´ s take a look. The IRL reason is probably due to different writers working on the books, or that they needed a character to save Volepaw, and they just happened to decide on him. The canonical reason could be any number of things, but the most likely reason is that Clawface was a good cat at first, but Brokenstar´s ideals twisted him into a darker cat. His actions in Exile from Shadowclan could have been his conscious could have gotten the better of him and decided to save him. Really, it is anyone´s guess what happened, but maybe in the future, we will get an answer.

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