Official icon of RiverClan with a blue metallic texture

Who Should RiverClan’s next leader be? by Mallowpaw

Mallowpaw takes a look at the candidates to be RiverClan’s next leader.

Official icon of RiverClan with a blue metallic texture
Official icon of RiverClan with a blue metallic texture

Hello, Mallowpaw here! A Starless Clan, the current Warriors arc, has been going on for four books at the time of me writing this article, with the most recent book in that series being Thunder. One of the main conflicts in the series is the unexpected deaths of Reedwhisker and Mistystar leaving RiverClan without anyone in authority except the medicine cats, therefore causing Frostpaw, the only medicine cat able to communicate with StarClan, to have the massive responsibility of choosing someone to lead RiverClan. She has chosen several cats who failed miserably and several cats have stepped up to the leadership without her approval so far, and in this article I will decide who I think would be the best leader for RiverClan and who I think probably will become leader of RiverClan.

First I will talk about cats who have already been leader or deputy after the deaths of Mistystar and Reedwhisker. Mothwing and Frostpaw, being the medicine cats, took over immediately after they died while they were deciding who would lead RiverClan after them. Mothwing, being one of the oldest cats in RiverClan, showed herself to be extremely wise and capable of leading, and did way better than a lot of the leaders to come. I would not at all be surprised if the Erins decided that Mothwing is so important that she deserves to become leader. She seems to be doing a good job and is obviously a fan favorite of the authors. But I do think that the Erins have enough sense to not let their favoritism of certain characters do something this drastic and ridiculous, so I think that Mothwing will not become leader, but she might help Frostpaw decide the leader.

Frostpaw ultimately decided that the best leader for RiverClan was Owlnose, to succeed her and Mothwing’s temporary reign, which ended up being completely incorrect. Frostpaw noted that Owlnose sometimes has fits of anger, but this wasn’t really how Owlnose acted. He was somewhat reminiscent of Rowanclaw in AVoS, being completely incapable of leadership, and Mothwing was his Tawnypelt, supporting him and acting as if he were a good leader when in reality she was way more capable of leadership than him. Owlnose could hardly even organize a patrol without stuttering and losing control of the Clan. He ultimately stepped down from leadership when he was supposed to get his nine lives because he realized how incapable of leadership he was. Owlnose made it clear that he would not like to become leader of RiverClan.

Icewing was put in charge of RiverClan (along with ShadowClan’s deputy Cloverfoot) by Tigerstar after he took control of RiverClan and after Owlnose failed miserably at leadership. She was shown to be wise, reasonable, caring to her Clanmates, capable of leadership, and helpful to Frostpaw during her reign. She also is not as xenophobic as most of RiverClan is, as ShadowClan helped her in the previous arc and she hasn’t forgotten that. However, she is not a plot-important character in the grand scheme of things, and however much her actions point to her being a very suitable leader, the books tell us that somehow she is inferior to other choices.

Duskfur was somehow decided by RiverClan to represent them after Frostpaw supposedly died, and while we don’t know exactly how this occurred, or if any less-than-fair methods were used to secure this, Duskfur was implied to be part of Splashtail and Curlfeather’s power scheme in previous books, due to being Curlfeather’s mother and being somewhat power-hungry. She doesn’t like ShadowClan, is old and seen as wise by her Clanmates, and seemed somewhat domineering to Frostpaw. Thunder kind of proved that she is part of the Splashtail-Curlfeather scheme, as she gave her position to Splashtail after securing it for him. But she is an elder now, because she retired after Splashtail took her position. So she is unable to become leader of RiverClan.

Splashtail, as of Thunder, has taken over RiverClan after Duskfur helped him take it. In recent books he has been made clear to be completely evil, and he attempted to murder Frostpaw, very likely murdered Curlfeather, his ally, is confirmed to have murdered Reedwhisker, and was shown to be power-hungry and overly ambitious. Obviously the arc will not end with Splashtail as leader, as he is a villain.

So that covers all the cats that have taken up leadership positions of RiverClan. There are a lot of other cats in RiverClan, though. First I will make a list of cats who are minor/background characters and therefore have no chance of becoming leader:


And some cats who cannot become leader regardless:
Mosspelt (elder)
Havenpelt (queen)

Another cat that I don’t think has a chance is Podlight. He is pretty much confirmed to be a part of Splashtail’s power scheme, as he has taken up the medicine cat role suspiciously and claims some things about Riverstar that aren’t true. He is also a mostly minor character other than his antagonistic role now.

Graypaw and Mistpaw were said by Frostpaw to be about ready to become warriors two books ago, so I imagine that in Wind they will become warriors. It is possible that Frostpaw will make one of them the leader but I doubt it to be honest. They are both mostly minor characters and follow the classic ‘flawless, one-dimensional friend to the main character that the fandom loves for some reason’ formula. And those cats always end up either dead or fade into the background in later books.

Harelight is also a potential candidate. He was Frostpaw’s mentor when she became a warrior apprentice, and seemed smart, kind, open-minded (ShadowClan helped him last arc), and friendly. He cared for Frostpaw and was shown to be a very good mentor to her. However, he is a mostly minor character in his scenes and hasn’t done anything important. I think this is possible to change, and that he might get some more scenes in later books, but I still think it is unlikely that he will become leader.

It is also possible that Frostpaw herself will become leader. She is wise and has experienced more hardship in her lifetime than a good portion of the RiverClan adults. Her becoming leader would also contribute to her character arc, from the shy, overburdened cat she was at the beginning of the arc. However, making Frostpaw leader of RiverClan doesn’t seem like something the authors would do somehow. I do still think that Frostpaw is a reasonable candidate for leadership of RiverClan.

That is all of RiverClan. However, there is a vague possibility that Waffle or Wasp join RiverClan and become leader there, maybe because they are wise from meditation or something. I doubt this though, as it would be quite strange to have two cats who just joined the Clan become leader (maybe they can try to beat Firestar’s speedrun).

So I overall think that there are three plausible options for leadership of RiverClan: Mothwing, Harelight, or Frostpaw. If I am correct and one of them does become leader, which one it is is really determined by the next two books. Right now A Starless Clan is at a point where the authors could turn any of those three directions and still have a fluent story arc, so I can’t tell you which of those three is most or least likely to become RiverClan’s leader. If the authors wanted to appeal to old fans and develop long-time characters even more, then they could go for Mothwing (although that would sure be amusing for Hawkfrost, to have his sister who never wanted to be leader in the first place become leader and not him). If they wanted to have a reasonable, capable leader for RiverClan and have a completely plausible and unbiased choice, they could go for Harelight. If they wanted to go full-in for Frostpaw’s character arc and have her completely transform from her character in River, they could go for her. I can’t tell you which is most likely.

But I can give my personal opinion. If I had to choose any of those three to become leader, I would choose Frostpaw. Seeing her transform so completely from her old self would be very satisfying to me and fully invest me in her character. But if I had to guess which route the authors would take, I would guess Mothwing. They seem to be focusing on characters from previous arcs (the emphasis on Firestar in Nightheart’s story, the emphasis on Darktail in Sunbeam’s story, and the return of Ashfur in the previous arc) and I find it plausible that they would continue this trend and choose Mothwing as RiverClan’s new leader.

But what do I know? They might not choose any of these cats and handpick Shimmerpelt to be RiverClan’s new leader. They might give Splashtail a redemption arc. They might have Jessy randomly show up and waltz into leadership. They might have RiverClan’s leader be that pretty feather Shadepelt found in The Apprentice’s Quest. Who knows? This is just educated guessing.

Fan Articles


  • Well, Mothwing is still a medicine cat and Frostpaw is showing some signs as being the next med cat. Harelight was killed by Splashtail and has chosen Berryheart. I’m still wondering why Splashtail became leader because he didn’t trained any apprentices as well as killing cats. This feels like Brokenstar all over again without killing any kits except for killing warriors. Also, he will break more than one warrior code. One of them being to not kill a medicine cat and the other being u must train one or more apprentices before becoming deputy.

    So I choose Icewing because she changed a lot.

  • There is another candidate no one has considered as a new Leader. Because if it’s that easy to change the clans as no we are heading towards a Sunstar or Nightstar in River Clan. Both cats have been mentors. Icewing would be a good choice but she would have to prove it. Splashtails Appointment of a Deputy is null and void because he is never recognized by Star Clan and as we learned in the very first arc. A leader not recognized by Star Clan is no leader at all. Splashtail is as good as the blood Clan leaders having zero Legitimacy at all. Therefore Berryheart is no deputy. To be state even Brokenstar was a legitimate deputy, successing in the right rituals and was deposed. It a shame that Nightstar died before he could take his nine life’s but at least he was posthomously accepted. Mothwing could lead although it’s merely impossible to hold the ceremony if one doesn’t believe in Star Clan. She is just experienced enough from Hawkfrosts plotting that she recognizes that the apprentice of Podlight is but a scam. Podlight having zero connection to Star Clan either way otherwise he would not been able to lie so easily about Star Clan. The one currently one an Redemption is Berrytail who maybe recognized the faulty ways of that Splashtail. I think she will be Splashtails Doom as soon as she discovered the Truth about his faked leadership . But I think this will be her doom too. But I think that Mothwing will be the cat leading our Protagonists to the Moonpool, escaping Icewing would be probably the one taking down Podlight. But the new Leader of River Clan will be from Thunder Clan. I think that Sunbeam or Nightheart would be the truly anointed new Leaders and Deputy of River Clan. Because Nightheart is fulfilling all the achievements to protect River Clan. He was the Cat assisting Frostpaw. He was the one Cat that actually taked on a mission by Star Clan with Frostpaw. Although changing clans for love may lead most cats to believe he is vague. Nightstar will be good new leader of River Clan basically the opposite Version of the first Tigerstar. But I think also that the Second Tigerstar may storm River Clan again for the Threat to his aunt and the appointment of Berryheart he will storm River Clan because Lightleap might be knowing the truth. That would be the downfall of the scheme