*Spoilers for Mapleshade’s Vengeance*
Originally on the Warriors Website
Go here to see the original version
As you know, the Warriors Family Tree was updated with the Dark Forest section in November 2021. We here at Warriors HQ can see from various videos, forum chats and social media posts, that the placement of Frecklewish in this section is a topic of debate. To show that the opinions of our fans are very important to us, we would like to address this issue and have asked the Story Team to share details about why this decision was made.
We would also like to confirm that the website team, Story Team and authors are very much aligned and regularly communicate about such decisions.
Does Frecklewish really belong in the Dark Forest? The Story Team believes she does. As the warrior code says, “No warrior can neglect a kit in pain or danger, even if that kit is from a different Clan.” Mourning her brother Birchface’s death, Frecklewish adores Mapleshade’s kits, who she thinks were fathered by Birchface. When she learns that their father was actually the RiverClan tom who killed Birchface in battle, all her love turns to hate and rage. She is the first to call for Mapleshade and the kits to be driven off ThunderClan territory, and she secretly follows to make sure they really leave. She watches as the flooding river sweeps Mapleshade and the kits off the stepping stones, as all four struggle in the river, and as Larchkit clings to a branch, yowling for help, and is eventually swept away. All three kits drown, and a nearly unconscious Mapleshade is pulled from the river by a RiverClan cat.
Frecklewish returns to ThunderClan and says only that Mapleshade fell off the stepping stones and that there were RiverClan cats on the other bank who she assumes saved her and her kits. She doesn’t bother to even watch to make sure that the kits—who until that day, she had claimed to love—are rescued, much less make any attempt to save them herself, or to call for help. When a vengeful Mapleshade later confronts her, Frecklewish merely says that she didn’t mean for the kits to die, that she thought they would be saved, and immediately snarls that she wishes Mapleshade had died. She shows no guilt or sense of responsibility for having watched the kits struggle while doing nothing.
Despite Frecklewish’s rage and grief, every Clan cat is responsible for the well-being of any kit.Frecklewish is careless with the lives of kits because she is angry, and she assumes that someone else will take the responsibility of trying to save them. While Mapleshade’s later crimes (including causing Frecklewish’s own blindness and death, several other murders, and long revenge-driven scheming from beyond the grave) are far worse, that doesn’t mean Frecklewish’s actions are excusable.
Not everyone agrees. It can be argued that, because Frecklewish assumed some other cat would help the kits, she doesn’t bear any responsibility for their demise. Or perhaps she was punished enough through her blinding and painful death. As we’ve seen in other cases, the members of StarClan have their own opinions on who should join them, and their choices aren’t always perfect. (Should Ashfur, for example, have gone to StarClan or the Dark Forest? Many would argue StarClan made the wrong call.) But in this case, we agree with StarClan that Frecklewish’s callow negligence toward three kits in danger, and her lack of remorse for their eventual death, means she belongs in the Dark Forest.