Rating Canon Warriors Couples – The Prophecies Begin

One of the best activities for Warrior Cats fans to participate in is rating and debating the couples of the series. While there are plenty of non-canon ships, I’ll be focusing this article series on the canonical relationships between characters. With the sheer mass of books, each article will focus on a certain arc or section of Warriors. Starting from the top, this article includes couples that started their relationship in The Prophecies Begin. I will consider the entirety of the couple’s relationship, but they’re organized in the series they became official or expressed mutual affection. While I’m not going to rate every single relationship from the arc, I will focus on the more popular or prominent ones with a couple of less noticeable ones thrown in.

Firestar and Sandstorm
Firestar and Sandstorm in a Russian illustration for Rising Storm. Art by Natalia Sokolova.

Rating: 9.5/10

The golden couple of my heart, I’m a sucker for this OG relationship from the first series. Rarely does the Warriors series use an enemies-to-lovers approach to their relationships, but they used this trope in regards to Firestar and Sandstorm. In the beginning, when Sandstorm and Firestar were apprentices, Sandpaw was snide and against Firepaw for originally being a kittypet. She was a duo with Dustpelt (Dustpaw then), sticking their noses up at the newest apprentice from outside ThunderClan. After becoming warriors, Sandstorm begins to stick closer to Fireheart. Her change of heart initially comes when Fireheart saves her life during a fight with RiverClan, proving to her that he has the instincts and care of a real warrior. Despite a few instances where Firestar underestimates his mate, they are seen as equals throughout the series, all the way up to Firestar’s death. I wish that we could have seen them raise their kits Leafpool and Squirrelflight if only to see them enjoy the new parenthood, but their love for their daughters in their later years was something I looked forward to reading. The only reason this couple loses half a point is because of the strange instances of Firestar being hung up on Spottedleaf, which I will be discussing in the next pairing.

Firestar and Spottedleaf
Firepaw/star and Spottedleaf in a Russian illustration for Into the Wild. Art by Leonid Nasyrov.

Rating: 1/10

This “relationship,” if it can even be called one, is uncomfortable at the very least. Spottedleaf is a medicine cat when Firepaw joins the Clan and the young cat quickly develops feelings for the pretty healer. If the relationship ended there, with no reciprocation from Spottedleaf, I would have understood the sweet crush of essentially a teenager on a young woman. However, after her premature death, it is clear that the two characters have feelings for each other, as she continues to visit and guide Firestar through his dreams. This is particularly apparent as Spottedleaf gives Firestar a life for “love” and in Firestar’s Quest, she whispers to him that she wishes things could be different. The series even kills Spottedleaf’s spirit in StarClan, so that Firestar wouldn’t have to “decide” between his life-long mate Sandstorm and the potential to be with Spottedleaf in the afterlife. Not only is the age gap plain wrong, but the messiness of Sandstorm essentially being Firestar’s second choice hurts my heart and brain. I was tempted to give this rating a zero in total, but I allowed one point because of the way it could have, should have, gone with an unrequited crush.

Graystripe and Silverstream
Graystripe and Silverstream (Fireheart/star in background) on the Polish cover of Fire and Ice. Art by Zilven.

Rating: 7/10

Though Bluestar and Oakheart were the first forbidden ThunderClan-RiverClan it-couple when considering chronological order, Graystripe and Silverstream were the first forbidden couple in the entire series based on published order. As someone who eats up the forbidden love trope, I remember loving this couple when I first read the books. They are hopelessly in love and it shows in their dedication to work around the Clan rules, even losing sleep, only to spend time beside one another. The goofball Graystripe is balanced out by the sharp-and-sweet Silverstream, though their relationship is short-lived and impactful in its ending; Silverstream dies while kitting her and Graystripe’s kits. The devastation in Graystripe still hurts to this day. I don’t doubt that if Silverstream had lived, one of them would have switched Clans for the other. On re-reads, I find myself still enjoying them, but they’re rated lower because of a few reasons. For one, Graystripe doesn’t end up being the best father to their kits, Stormfur and Feathertail. While he leaves them in the capable paws of their mother’s Clan, RiverClan, his returning to ThunderClan essentially cuts him off from them regardless. Another consideration is the shortness of their relationship, not giving much to review for a rating. In later arcs and books, I also think the forbidden love trope is done much better since it’s typically shown through the POV character.

Ravenpaw and Barley
Ravenpaw and Barley illustration for Cats of the Clans and The Ultimate Guide. Art by Wayne McLoughlin.

Rating: 10/10

Never in the series are Ravenpaw and Barley called mates, directly to each other or in reference; they are “very good friends” in text. A common complaint of the Warriors series is their lack of diversity in relationships, namely queer relationships. Ninety-nine percent of couples are straight, in the sense that it’s a female character with a male character. In Ravenpaw and Barley’s sake, they are one of two semi-canon gay relationships between two male characters. I do admit that this helps in their favor with my rating, but there are more reasons why they’re my only 10/10 rating in this list. The whole aesthetic of their relationship is amazing. Ravenpaw escapes to Barley’s barn when he’s no longer safe in ThunderClan, and Barley welcomes him with open arms. They truly remind me of two old farmers being cute and gay. Yet, it’s not just that. They become close and continue to develop their relationship over the books and in Ravenpaw’s own manga/graphic novel volumes. Their mutual respect and care for one another, while also having realistic disagreements, is what boosts them up to a perfect rating. What really did it for me though, was the moment when Ravenpaw refuses StarClan’s offer to reside with them, and he decides to wait for Barley’s passing so they can be together in the afterlife. Plus, you have to consider the amount of adorable art these two have together. So while this couple will never get on-page confirmation, we all know that Ravenpaw and Barley are one of those destined-to-be couples, and deserve their perfect rating.

Cloudtail and Brightheart
Cloudtail and Brightheart in a Russian illustration for Cats of the Clans. Art by Leonid Nasyrov.

Rating: 9/10

Brightheart herself is one of the most iconic characters of the Warriors series and when you throw in her mate, Cloudtail, to the mix, everything gets all the better. Headstrong and boisterous, Cloudtail comes from kittypet parents and struggled to disconnect from his roots in his youth. Around the same age, as an apprentice, Brightheart was mauled by a pack of dogs. While she lost her good friend, Swiftpaw, she found comfort in Cloudtail. He helped her heal externally from her very visible wounds and internally through regaining her confidence. It was clear from the beginning of this new journey that Cloudtail was her ride-or-die, a cat that would train and support her as much as he needed to. They have a decent amount of content for a background relationship, given their appearances in The Prophecies Begin, the few appearances throughout other arcs, and their relationship in Brightheart’s graphic novel, A Thief in ThunderClan. There’s never been any other cat for them either. When Brightheart becomes jealous of Cloudtail’s attention to the new Clan member, Daisy, he seems completely oblivious to the idea of having a mate other than Brightheart. After the first arc, their relationship fades a bit into the background, but they can always be counted on to have charming moments.

Whitestorm and Willowpelt
Darkstripe, Mousefur, Runningwind, Whitestorm, Firepaw/star, Graypaw/stripe, and Willowpelt in a comic panel from Exile from ShadowClan. Art by James L. Barry.

Rating: 5/10

Warriors fans might be surprised to find Whitestorm and Willowpelt in a list of rating couples from the series. That’s not to say that they aren’t official, they are, but they aren’t necessarily prominent or popularly talked about. If anything, not a lot of relationships are developed in The Prophecies Begin, which caused a lot of retcons and issues later on down the line. One of those changes was Whitestorm having two mates in a weird, quick time period. Technically, he is also the father of Brindleface’s kits, and it is assumed they were mates. However, the kits of Brindleface’s first litter and Willowpelt’s later litter with Whitestorm are very close in age. This confusion lowers the rating for Whitestorm and Willowpelt as a couple, but it’s not the only reason. It’s simple, there’s not much to go on for them. We rarely see them interact in canon; in fact, the only “interaction” that’s notable is when Fireheart overhears Willowpelt telling two of her Clanmates she’s expecting, and in the distance, Whitestorm is noted to be looking on proudly. The sweet simplicity of their relationship is the main reason it gets a middle rating. There’s nothing to hate and nothing to overly love about them in my opinion.

Goldenflower and Tigerclaw(star)
Goldenflower, Bramblekit/claw, Tawnykit/pelt, Featherkit/tail, and Stormkit/fur in a Russian illustration for Forest of Secrets. Art by Leonid Nasyrov.

Rating: 3/10

Similarly to Whitestorm and Willowpelt, Goldenflower and Tigerclaw/star don’t have a lot of content together, evidenced by the fact that I could find no official art of the couple. The main pull of this relationship is the drama that was produced due to their union: their kits. Brambeclaw and Tawnypelt end up being in the protagonist crew of the second arc, and it’s a continuous problem for the kin of Tigerclaw/star to be manipulated by the villain. Yet, that requires no participation on Goldenflower’s part; Tigerclaw/star could have had kits with anybody and those kits and their kin would have the same result. If anything, the only reason that this couple gets a 3/10 rating is because of their kits, the two characters separately, and the potential of the relationship. Goldenflower is a background character, but she’s a good one. She fights fiercely for Brambleclaw and Tawnypelt to be treated correctly, despite their father’s crimes, and she willingly suckled Graystripe and Silverstream’s kits when they were first brought to ThunderClan. I personally would have loved to see how Goldenflower and Tigerclaw interacted before he was banished, and how they came to be mates and have kits. I’m still holding out hope for a novella story from Goldenflower’s POV, and perhaps that’s another reason why this rating got any points at all.

Sasha and Tigerstar
Sasha and Tigerclaw/star on the Polish cover of Tigerstar and Sasha #1: Into the Woods. Art by Marcin Leśniak.

Rating: 5/10

After Tigerclaw’s exile from ThunderClan, he cons his way into becoming the leader of ShadowClan. A previous kittypet and now a loner, Sasha meets Tigerclaw/star near ShadowClan territory and immediately falls for his roguish power and confidence. When Sasha learns the truth about the bloodthirsty leader, she flees the forest and goes on a wandering journey of her own. Sasha herself has three manga volumes about her life, sometimes near the Clans, and had a part in Feathertail’s graphic novel A Shadow in RiverClan. Tigerclaw/star also had a heavy paw in the series. Combining these two created an interesting dynamic of a quick, forbidden love affair between a Clan cat and an outsider. I rated them higher than Tigerclaw/star’s previous relationship primarily because you see a lot more of this relationship. I also considered that Sasha loved Tigerclaw/star despite his (glaring) faults because she loved the cat she knew. She’s a headstrong cat and would have made Tigerclaw/star a formidable Clan mate if she was more aggressive. Yet, I enjoy her character as it is and don’t regret them not becoming a power couple. For me, they’re another middle-of-the-road couple that I don’t have a lot of care for, but I grant that they’re kind of perfect for what they were.

About Hailey Watkins

Hailey is a self-proclaimed bookworm and writer. While she loves to read fantasy or slice-of-life the most, their heart belongs truly to the Warrior cats book series. She has collected and read all of the books in the nearly 100-book-long (and counting) series. She's also a fan of reading Webtoons, graphic novels, and manga, as well as watching anime. When they're not writing about fandom, their day job is as a substitute teacher.

View all posts by Hailey Watkins

2 Comments on “Rating Canon Warriors Couples – The Prophecies Begin”

  1. YEAAAAAAAAH RELATIONSHIPS!!! RAVEN BARLEY MENTIONED!!! LETS GO!!!! I’m glad that you branched out quite a bit here and included some lesser-known couples that are usually overshadowed so much in other works! Gorgeous writing as per usual <3 I'm really looking forward to seeing what ratings you give to other couples later on!! Gotta say i can absolutely agree for MOST of these! 😀

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