"You were always brave and clever and loyal, and you always helped any cat who needed you. You died saving me, and there's no way I can thank you properly for that."
Thunderstar mourning Lightning Tail in Thunderstar's Echo, chapter 7

Lightning Tail is a black tom[2] with green eyes.[11]

He was the first deputy of ThunderClan under Thunderstar's leadership. Lightning Tail was born to Jackdaw's Cry and Hawk Swoop alongside Acorn Fur with Thunder as his foster brother. The two toms developed a friendship that lasted through their adulthood. Lightning Tail stood by Thunder's side when he left Clear Sky's group to form his own in the forest. Thunder dubbed Lightning Tail his successor, and officially became his deputy. After he was killed protecting his leader from dogs, Lightning Tail promised to watch over his friend from StarClan, and Thunderstar named his daughter, Lightning Stripe, in his honor.


Looking for a longer overview? Find one here!

Dawn of the Clans

"We need to train. Those cats wouldn't have stolen our prey so easily if we'd known what to do. We must practice fighting moves. We must learn new skills so that we're always prepared. We're strong and we're smart. If we practice, we can win even when we're outnumbered. Slash's rogues are just kittypets nobody wants. If we train hard and grow strong and learn fighting moves they've never seen, we will always be ready to defend what is ours."
—Lightning Tail Path of Stars, pages 90-91
Lightning Tail is born in Tall Shadow's group to Jackdaw's Cry and Hawk Swoop, and is named because he is always following his foster brother, Thunder, around. He and his sister, Acorn Fur, gleefully welcome Thunder back to the moor when he returns from his father's camp. He and Thunder track down Tom after he stole Turtle Tail's kits. They discover Turtle Tail's body on the Thunderpath, and Lightning Tail makes sure Tom knew the latter was responsible for her death. He participates in the battle at four trees, and mourns for the death of his parents.
Thunder begins to pad after Star Flower, and Lightning Tail suspects something off, and expresses his worries to Thunder who dismisses them. When Tall Shadow's group splits off, he chooses to live in Clear Sky's group with his sister and Thunder. Lightning Tail bitterly warns Clear Sky about Star Flower when she joins the group, still hurt after she betrayed Thunder's trust. He and Thunder spy on Clear Sky and discover him meeting with Star Flower and wonder if she was attempting to use his power for herself. Thunder confronts his father and decides to leave and form his own group in the forest, and Lightning Tail immediately joins him.
Leaf discovers a ravine for them to live in, and Lightning Tail helps to make dens and hunt for prey. He helps to rescue Star Flower when she is kidnapped by Slash, and poses as bait for their ambush. When Slash's cats raid their hunting patrols, Lightning Tail decides to organize battle training sessions for everyone, and suggests pairing one kit with each adult to work together. Before Thunder leaves with the others to confront Slash and rescue Black Ear, he names Lightning Tail his successor in case he died.


This section summarizes Lightning Tail's significant Novellas appearances. If you're looking for a full list, find one here!

In Thunderstar's Echo, he is now officially the deputy of ThunderClan and mentors Apple Blossom. Lightning Tail reassures Thunderstar when the latter discovers that Violet Dawn is expecting, and Thunderstar is relieved to have Lightning Tail around. Dogs terrorize the Clan, and he and Thunderstar track them to their camp near the Carrionplace. They are quickly attacked, and the two outrun the dogs and collapse, both dying from their wounds. They both wake up in StarClan and Gray Wing welcomes them, but states Thunderstar must return to ThunderClan. Thunderstar agonizingly mourns for his friend, and returns to his Clan with the grave news. He names Owl Eyes as his successor, and names one of his kits, Lightning Stripe, after Lightning Tail.

Detailed description

Lightning Tail is a wiry,[12] black tom[2] with a broad forehead and shoulders,[7] a torn ear-tip,[13] and bright[14] green eyes.[11]


Interesting facts

  • Lightning Stripe is named after him.[10]
  • He was originally called "Lightningtail".[5]

Author statements

  • Kate says Lightning Tail was was named for his speed,[15] although this is contradicted by Thunder Rising, which says that Lightning Tail got his name from always following Thunder around.[16]


  • He has mistakenly been called "Lightning",[17] "Lightening Tail",[18] and "Lighting Tail".[19]
  • Despite being called an adult in the previous book,[7] and being old enough to participate in battle,[20] Lightning Tail is listed as a kit in The Blazing Star.[21]
  • He is mistakenly called a warrior,[14] despite being ThunderClan's deputy at the time.[8]

Character pixels

Please do not edit this gallery

Killed Victims

This list shows the victims Lightning Tail has killed:

  • One Eye[22] (Along with Thunderstar, Cloud Spots and Gray Wing)


"Lightning Tail got his name because he's always hanging around with Thunder. They're our own little storm in the making!"
—Gray Wing on how Lightning Tail was named Thunder Rising, pages 16-17

Lightning Tail: "I wish Thunder could be here to see this. At least now there are new cats here in the hollow who will help to lead the group."
Gray Wing: "Lead? I thought that was my job now."
Lightning Tail: "I didn't mean—"
Gray Wing: "Then what did you mean? Gorse Fur and Wind Runner aren't even part of our group yet, and you talk about them leading?"
Lightning Tail: "I only meant... Well, the more strong cats we have, the better, right?"
Gray Wing: "What do you mean by strong?"
Lightning Tail: "Look, there's Acorn Fur! I have to talk to her."
Gray Wing: "You haven't answered my question. What do you mean by strong?"
Lightning Tail: "I mean cats who can stand up to Clear Sky! There, I've said it! I can't believe Thunder went away with him, after all the stories we've heard. Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about. Every cat knows that Clear Sky is trying to push other cats around."
—Lightning Tail and Gray Wing arguing over Clear Sky and Thunder Thunder Rising, pages 205-206

Lightning Tail: "I'm the best stalker on the moor."
Acorn Fur: "He can stalk a hare from the moortop to the gorge without it scenting him."
—Lightning Tail bragging of his hunting skills The First Battle, pages 50-52

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Lightning Tail: "Come on, Turtle Tail!"
Thunder: "She's dead, Lightning Tail."
Lightning Tail: "No! She's hurt, that's all. Cloud Spots will be able to make her better. If we get her home, she'll be okay."
—Lightning Tail, devastated over the death of Turtle Tail The First Battle, pages 170-171

"Never come near the moor again. You'll regret it. Your kits will remember you as the cat who killed their mother. They won't follow you next time, and if any of us see you again, we'll shred you."
—Lightning Tail threatening Tom should he come onto the moor again The First Battle, page 208

Clear Sky: "I know, but if One Eye were still here, he might be able to advise us. He—"
Lightning Tail: "Yes, but at what cost? He's killed one cat and nearly killed another. How many more would have to die, just so that we could listen to his words of wisdom—if he has any wisdom to offer?"
—Clear Sky and Lightning Tail's opinions on One Eye The Blazing Star, pages 132-133

"I just don't trust her. There's something about her that makes my fur stand on end. She's just... not real. I can't explain it but..."
—Lightning Tail's opinions on Star Flower The Blazing Star, page 161

Leaf: "She's a traitor."
Lightning Tail: "She lied to Thunder last time. She'll do it again."
Clear Sky: "Thunder's no fool. And what would she lie about? There's no cat left for her to betray us to. One Eye is dead. She has no one else. Would you have left her to fend for herself all leaf-bare?"
Lightning Tail: "Yes."
Clear Sky: "Don't you think I have a reason for taking her in? Having her close means we can keep an eye on her. That way, if she is our enemy, we'll know it before she can harm us."
Leaf: "I guess."
Lightning Tail: "I'm watching her every move. Especially around Thunder."
—Lightning Tail and Leaf confronting Clear Sky about Star Flower A Forest Divided, pages 140-141

Lightning Tail: "Let's take it back to the camp so the others can have a bite while it's still warm."
Thunder: "You just want to boast about how you caught it."
Lightning Tail: "I might mention that I swooped on it like a hawk."
—Lightning Tail wanting to boast about his impressive catch Path of Stars, page 16

Lightning Tail: "What's the problem? Is Clear Sky starting another fight?"
Pink Eyes: "Why would he? There's nothing to fight about."
Lightning Tail: "Clear Sky can always find something to fight about. Why else would he bring a patrol here?"
Thunder: "He's probably just bringing news."
Lightning Tail: "He doesn't need to bring three campmates to bring news."
—Lightning Tail still having a lot of distrust and ill feelings towards Clear Sky Path of Stars, page 22

"If we agree to their demands, these rogues will think we're weak, and they'll keep pushing us around!"
—Lightning Tail, refusing to let Slash's group push them around Path of Stars, page 25

"Lightning Tail is in charge for now. He's the strongest cat in the group, and I trust him completely. Do whatever he tells you. [...] If I don't return, you must be leader. I trust you to take care of our campmates. Keep the group together. The future lies in your paws."
—Thunder before he leaves to find Slash's group Path of Stars, page 270

"It's tough hunting out there. But we're a Clan. We protect each other and take care of each other. And we're the best hunters of any Clan in the forest."
—Lightning Tail encouraging ThunderClan Thunderstar's Echo, page chapter 2

Lightning Tail: "I believe it's true. You've been the best leader I could have asked for, the strongest cat I know. StarClan will save you."
Thunderstar: "If I was a good leader, it's only because I had you to rely on. I could never have formed ThunderClan without you."
—Lightning Tail and Thunderstar before they die Thunderstar's Echo, page chapter 6

Lightning Tail: "StarClan gave you nine lives for a reason. ThunderClan needs its leader. You must go on. You'll be a good father to your kits and keep looking after your Clan."
Thunderstar: "But I can't do it without you. You're my deputy. You're the only one I can trust to help me lead."
Lightning Tail: "I expect I'll be watching over you from StarClan. And you'll find the right cat to be your new deputy. But I will always be right beside you, Thunderstar."
—Lightning Tail and Thunderstar Thunderstar's Echo, page chapter 6

"Maybe Lightning Tail would watch over the kits from StarClan. Lightning Tail had always loved kits."
—Thunderstar's thoughts while digging Lightning Tail's grave Thunderstar's Echo, page chapter 7

Apple Blossom: "Lightning Tail was a good deputy and a fine cat. He taught me how to hunt and to fight. He was never impatient with me, and when I was discouraged, he always had an exciting story to tell me to make me feel strong again."
Owl Eyes: "Lightning Tail saved me from Twolegs when I was a kit. There was no cat braver than him. He died the way he would have wanted—saving a Clanmate."
Milkweed: "Lightning Tail was one of the first cats to welcome me and my kits to ThunderClan. He was always willing to play with kits, and they loved him."
Pink Eyes: "When my eyes got too bad to hunt, Lightning Tail always made sure I was fed. He was a generous cat."
Violet Dawn: "We'll never forget Lightning Tail. He was brave and strong and good, and we were lucky to have him."
—ThunderClan mourning Lightning Tail Thunderstar's Echo, page chapter 8

External links

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Revealed in Thunderstar's Echo, chapter 6
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Revealed in Thunder Rising, allegiances
  3. Revealed in A Forest Divided, page 48
  4. Revealed in A Forest Divided, page 181
  5. 5.0 5.1 Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 22
  6. Revealed in The First Battle, page 43
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Revealed in The First Battle, page 50
  8. 8.0 8.1 Revealed in Thunderstar's Echo, allegiances
  9. Revealed in Thunderstar's Echo, chapter 1
  10. 10.0 10.1 Revealed in Thunderstar's Echo, chapter 10
  11. 11.0 11.1 Revealed in The Blazing Star, page 10
  12. Revealed in The First Battle, page 164
  13. Revealed in Path of Stars, page 81
  14. 14.0 14.1 Revealed in Thunderstar's Echo, chapter 7
  15. Revealed on Kate's blog
  16. Revealed in Thunder Rising, page 16
  17. Revealed in The First Battle, page 212
  18. Revealed in The Blazing Star, page 161
  19. This happens multiple times throughout Path of Stars, on pages 57, 58, 60, and 73.
  20. Revealed in The First Battle, page 252
  21. Revealed in The Blazing Star, allegiances
  22. Revealed in The Blazing Star, pages 239-240
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