[Juniperclaw looks over his shoulder while sitting down]

Where Does Juniperclaw Belong? by Patchcloud

Patchcloud wonders what afterlife Juniperclaw should be in by now.

[Juniperclaw looks over his shoulder while sitting down]
Artist unknown
[Juniperclaw looks over his shoulder while sitting down]

StarClan is my least favorite Clan for a reason, mostly for the way they judge cats in the afterlife- and their lame excuses when making mistakes. I’m not going to rant about them this time, though. Today, I’m going to be discussing one of the most unfairly wronged cats in the series: Juniperclaw.

1. A quick history of Juniperclaw
Juniperkit was born to Dawnpelt and Crowfrost alongside Strikekit and Sleekkit. He was apprenticed to Stonewing. Like the other ShadowClan apprentices, Juniperpaw challenged Rowanstar’s leadership. When most of the apprentices, such as Needlepaw and Sleekpaw, left to join Darktail’s Kin, Juniperpaw joined them, ev turning on his Clanmates and fighting beside the rogues many times. Later, like Needletail, Juniperclaw realizes what a cruel, terrible cat Darktail is and leaves with his brother, Strikestone, though his mother, Dawnpelt, was killed by the vicious rogue leader.

Fast forward a couple moons, Rowanstar gave up his position as leader, joining his Clan to SkyClan. They settle in, and all is mostly peaceful, until Juniperclaw’s sister, Sleekwhisker, and another former ShadowClan cat, Yarrowleaf, turn up in ShadowClan territory. Yarrowleaf is expecting kits. When brought to SkyClan’s leader, Leafstar, they are turned away, Tawnypelt encouraging the tabby she-cat to do so. This causes resentment towards Leafstar from many former ShadowClan cats, including Juniperclaw. Many of them go behind Leafstar’s back to help Yarrowleaf and Sleekwhisker. Juniperclaw is part of this. We’ll discuss this part later.

Later, Tigerheart returns to the Clans and rebuilds ShadowClan. Juniperclaw is selected as deputy after Tawnypelt does not want the position upon having one apprentice, Whorlpaw. Due to ShadowClan’s territory divided between two Clans, hostility between the two Clans could lead to war. Trying to prevent a battle, Juniperclaw poisons one vole in the SkyClan fresh-kill pile. A SkyClan warrior, Sparrowpelt, eats the vole, but luckily, he doesn’t die. However, this is enough to drive SkyClan away, and the Clan heads back to the gorge.

Juniperclaw’s action is eventually exposed by Alderheart and Bramblestar. He was removed from deputyship, and Tigerstar, as well as the rest of his Clan, was horrified. At that moment, Tigerstar’s son, Shadowkit, was missing. Juniperclaw tracks the kit to the lake, where it is flooding. He springs into the river and saves the kit, then finally sacrifices his life for Violetshine, a SkyClan queen.

From what he did, you’d expect that Juniperclaw went to StarClan. Major problem: he didn’t.

2. Juniperclaw’s many good deeds, and explaining them
Throughout his short life, plus when he was in the Dark Forest, Juniperclaw did many things. He’s made some bad choices, however, he’s also done good. We’ll get started with that, then.

Juniperclaw was firmly loyal to his family, shown when he disobeyed Leafstar so he could help a queen, Yarrowleaf, and Sleekwhisker. Along with Snowbird, Scorchfur, and Juniperclaw’s own apprentice, Whorlpaw, they harbored the former ShadowClan cats, risking their place in SkyClan because of this. Because of what they believed to be right. Juniperclaw could have been exiled from SkyClan to live as a rogue, or punished badly, but nevertheless he chose to ensure their safety. 🙃

Next, Juniperclaw saving the two cats! It was a very brave thing to do, especially since he doesn’t know exactly how to swim. He didn’t merely watch, like Frecklewish from Mapleshade’s Vengeance; Juniperclaw leaped straight into the water, endangering his own life to save a kit. What’s more, Tigerstar had just stripped him of deputyship and was obviously distrustful of him. Yet Juniperclaw still rescues his kit. He also expressed remorse for his actions- shown in the scene when he died:

“Tell Tigerstar I’m sorry.” -Juniperclaw, The Raging Storm. 😿

Following that up, he could have just kept his own life by climbing out of the water. Did he? No. In the end, Juniperclaw gave his own life for two cats.

Juniperclaw was sent to the Dark Forest; it was mentioned in A Light in the Mist. It’s one of StarClan’s most unjust judgments. Nonetheless, he’s willing to help themAshfur. Juniperclaw could have helped destroy the cats who’d made the choice to make him end up in the Dark Forest. He cares about Strikestone- “My littermate Strikestone is a good cat, and he’s trapped in the Dark Forest just as I am. If I help you, perhaps he, at least, will be free to enter StarClan’s hunting grounds.” Juniperclaw has to stay in the Dark Forest, but he wants his brother to go to StarClan, because although he can’t, he wants Strikestone to have a good afterlife. 🥲

He also doesn’t grudge any cat although he’s in the Dark Forest, shown with this quote: “I don’t mind dying for the Clans.” Other Dark Forest cats want the Clans to suffer, but Juniperclaw wants to help, even if it means that he will die again- and disappear forever.

Skip a few chapters to when the fighting ends, Juniperclaw volunteers to guard the barrier between StarClan and the Dark Forest- again, StarClan refused to let him in their hunting grounds. In spite of that, he still voluntarily does the job. He’s going to spend his whole life doing it, and it’s lonely work. Juniperclaw is prepared to do that.

Before that: “I know I must stay in the Dark Forest. I have only myself to blame for that.” -Juniperclaw. He’s shown so much guilt for his actions, yet StarClan never seems to see that. 😠

3. Comparing him to other cats
Many other cats who can go to StarClan have done much worse- and here are some examples 👇

Mudclaw:
Mudclaw was the WindClan deputy, when Tallstar, in his final moments, removed him and appointed Onewhisker instead. At first, after Barkface’s orders, Mudclaw served under Onewhisker, but he began to grow increasingly irritated due to the WindClan leader’s chumminess with Firestar, the ThunderClan leader. With the support of cats, from WindClan and other Clans, Mudclaw rebelled against Onewhisker. He failed, though he ended up going to StarClan because he ‘believed he was acting for the best of his Clan’. Mudclaw’s actions are terrible, but that’s not my point. Juniperclaw thought what he was doing could prevent a war and protect his Clan- a battle could kill and wound more cats than poisoning a fresh-kill pile could. Plus, Juniperclaw only poisoned one vole, and that can’t feed much of a Clan. Hunting was going on decently for SkyClan, so it’s highly unlikely elders, queens, and kits would end up eating it. There weren’t even any kits.

Clear Sky:
Skystar has a big crime record. Including killing a tribemate. A bit after his redemption, he’s just as bad. Such as, letting Sparrow Fur, a young kit, fight One Eye. It was even noted that One Eye was a vicious fighter- when he encountered Clear Sky, when Tom tried to speak for him, the rogue violently attacked his companion. And Tom’s a full-grown cat, whereas Sparrow Fur is a kit. Skystar risked a kit’s life. Juniperclaw had no intentional victim. He only wanted to scare SkyClan enough to drive them away. Before that, Skystar led his group, in The First Battle, to kill the cats of Gray Wing’s camp. And let’s look at the ways Skystar redeemed himself: saving a kit, and Feather Ear. Juniperclaw? He saved a kit, and a queen. Skystar even wounded Arc, a trespasser, so badly he’s almost unconscious. Also, attacking Moth Flight, a medicine cat, when she called him a fox-heart, and went on his territory: not to hunt, but to collect herbs for a sick cat. With these wrongs, how come Skystar can go to StarClan, when all Juniperclaw did was poison a fresh-kill pile?

4. Conclusion
Finishing this up, I strongly believe Juniperclaw deserves StarClan. He’s done much to atone for what he did, and he’s a selfless, loyal cat who should be in StarClan’s hunting grounds with his family. He did good things in both his life, and his afterlife, and though some of his actions are inexcusable, Juniperclaw is a good cat who’s done much to pay up for his deeds.

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