Crowthroat wonders what’s going on with Snaketooth.
First off, I have a confession to make. I haven’t read A Starless Clan or even A Light In The Mist and therefore take anything expressed here with a grain of salt. I’ve learned about ASC mostly through BlogClan comments and Tumblr, so do what you will with that.
As far as I’ve gathered, Berryheart’s little group of Tigerheartstar haters (mentioned first in Sky? I’m not sure) consists of Grassheart, Whorlpelt, Sparrowtail, Snowbird, Stonewing (maybe?), Yarrowleaf, and Snaketooth. And while in general I don’t have a problem with some of our favorite background characters being a bit casually cat-racist (every good radical needs some supporters, after all), there’re some discrepancies here that I’d like to point out, mainly in the case of Snaketooth. (Of course, this is Warriors, so inconsistencies and discrepancies are not an uncommon occurrence)
Sunbeam, one of the main protagonists in ASC and a decided hater of whatever the heck Berryheart’s doing, attends this little club’s meeting upon her mother’s request. While Snaketooth doesn’t make a lot of substantial comments and is kinda just… there, it’s really interesting that Sunbeam doesn’t really acknowledge her presence as anything out of the ordinary. For context: Snaketooth was Sunbeam’s mentor. And while mentors and apprentices certainly can have different views, I feel like that relationship could have at least been explored a bit. Sunbeam hasn’t mentioned any rifts she and Snaketooth had during her training, so I can only assume Sunbeam’s apprenticeship was pretty normal. So that brings up the question… if Snaketooth is really on Berryheart’s side (and for the sake of being incredibly attached to her despite her being a background character, I hope she isn’t), then how did she and Sunbeam grow to view their Clan so differently?
Honestly, I can’t really see a good reason why Snaketooth would hate outsiders so much. She was born to Grassheart in AVOS and trained under Tawnypelt, who has been seen as ShadowClan’s only voice of reason for no explicable reason for decades. As someone who was trained by an adept cat originally born in ThunderClan, Snaketooth doesn’t have a firm foundation for any outsider hatred. Though it could be argued that witnessing other Clanmates suffer at the hands of outsiders during AVOS triggered something that was only brought to the surface once Berryheart started going on political rants, most of her appearances in that chunk of the series revolved around her being deathly ill, so I’m going to assume she doesn’t remember the whole Darktail thing very well. In The Broken Code, Snaketooth did change her opinion on Shadowpaw rather quickly and substantially after his treatment of Bramblestar, but that doesn’t really have to do with this situation at all, and for the most part she’s been a steady Tigerheartstar/Dovewing supporter, or at least tolerator.
If Snaketooth somehow just spontaneously spawned these beliefs, then good on her for not letting them influence her mentor-apprentice relationship with Sunbeam, I guess. But my original point still stands: it just doesn’t make sense for Snaketooth to be adamantly anti-outsider when Tawnypelt, an outsider, helped her succeed as her mentor and she’s been fine with outsiders coming into ShadowClan for a while (she even defends Dovewing in TBC after she is listed as a codebreaker). And if animosity towards outsiders was present before ASC, at least some of that should have rubbed off on the impressionable then-apprentice Sunbeam. This brings me to the only logical reasons that Snaketooth could have joined Berryheart’s little anti-Clan-hoppers-club:
1. Grassheart pulled a Berryheart and wanted her kits, Snaketooth and Whorlpelt, to sit in on the meetings and see if they liked it. I can’t speak for Whorlpelt, since he seemed more into it than his sister, but given Snaketooth’s wobbly foundation for believing this, it could be possible that Snaketooth is just pretending to go along with this so she doesn’t become an outcast within her own family. Based on all the mommy issues present in ASC this doesn’t seem too unlikely.
2. She just doesn’t like Tawnypelt. When she heard some of her family members were starting a club to kick out Clan-hoppers, she joined because Tawnypelt annoyed her when she was an apprentice and does not want her in the Clan anymore. This one’s mostly a joke.
3. Some of her mother and father’s ideologies rubbed off on her. Grassheart and Stonewing very much remember everything that went on with Darktail, and she, Whorlpelt, and Flowerstem were probably subject to that biased prejudice against all outsiders. This is a situation where Snaketooth’s familial upbringing believes one thing while her professional upbringing (mentor and figures of authority) believe another. Though she’s shown to be snippy and occasionally rude, Snaketooth has consistently shown that she doesn’t fall for whatever radical ideology a ShadowClan sect has formed in the past. To her, both sides make some valid points, and she doesn’t quite know what to believe. Since her character before ASC wasn’t extremist by any means, she doesn’t completely fit on one side or the other. This also relates to the first scenario in which Snaketooth is torn between supporting her family (especially Whorlpelt, who she’s shown to have a very strong bond with and spend a lot of time with), or her superiors, who follow the principles of what she’s believed in the past.
So there you have it. A very long article detailing potential motivations of one very unimportant background character who I hope gets some kind of canonical redemption or explanation. I also hope she doesn’t die. Because the Erins have a very annoying habit of killing off my favorite random background characters (justice for Sunstrike). This is my first ever article; I hope you enjoyed it! Feel free to correct me on any mistakes I’ve made and share your opinion! Have a great day!