This article contains major spoilers for the recently released book, River. Please proceed at your own discretion.
|"No, Mistystar. I will never feel welcome in a Clan where warriors are exiled unjustly. Icewing and Harelight risked their safety and their lives to oppose the evil presence inside Bramblestar. We should be thanking them, not sending them into exile. Besides, I chose to be a RiverClan cat, and I have served my Clan faithfully, and yet you drove me away because of my birth, which I had no control over. It will be hard for me to forget that."|
|— Mothwing rejecting Mistystar's offer to rejoin RiverClan in Veil of Shadows, page 287|
Mothwing is a medicine cat and a temporary leader for RiverClan alongside her apprentice, Frostpaw. She was born as Moth to Sasha and Tigerstar alongside her brothers, Hawk and Tadpole. After Tadpole died, Sasha brought her kits to RiverClan, and Moth became an apprentice as Mothpaw with the Clan deputy Mistyfoot as her mentor. She later earned her warrior name of Mothwing and grew inspired to become a medicine cat. In order to secure power, Hawkfrost faked an omen so Mudfur would accept Mothwing as his apprentice. Mothwing initially dreamed of StarClan, but when Hawkfrost revealed he faked the omen, she refused to believe in StarClan because of it. After Mudfur's death before the Great Journey, Mothwing became RiverClan's sole medicine cat. She formed a close friendship with the ThunderClan medicine cat Leafpool, and she assisted with training Mothwing's apprentice, Willowshine, about StarClan and dreams. Mothwing was manipulated by Hawkfrost to send away Stormfur and Brook from RiverClan, though was finally free from him after his death though she did grieve for her brother.
Despite Mistystar learning about her not believing in StarClan, she demoted Mothwing as an elder; however, Mothwing retained her position after an omen. Following the Great Battle, Mothwing revealed that she believed StarClan existed, but questioned their guidance. She was named by a codebreaker by the impostor, eventually being exiled from RiverClan for her birth and took refuge in ShadowClan, becoming a medicine cat for the rebels. Although she was allowed back into RiverClan, Mothwing chose to remain in exile and joined ShadowClan under Tigerstar. She later returned to RiverClan following the defeat of the impostor. After returning, Mothwing became the mentor to Frostpaw, and begrudgingly took up leadership of RiverClan following the sudden deaths of Mistystar, Reedwhisker, and Curlfeather. She acknowledged that RiverClan needed help from the other Clans with their current situation seemingly at odds with StarClan.
Looking for a longer overview? Find one here!
- "No, Leafpool. I don't believe the spirits of our warrior ancestors come back to speak with us. Stars are just unseeing specks of light in the night sky, not dead cats looking down on us. We can keep our old friends alive with memories, but if they're not here, they're nowhere. That's what I believe. [...] Because I believe in you, Leafpool."
- ―Mothwing to Leafpool Twilight, page 102
- Mothwing develops a close friendship with ThunderClan's medicine cat apprentice, Leafpaw, and she offers to teach Leafpaw how to fish and often disregards the warrior code for her friend. When Mudfur dies, leaving Mothwing as RiverClan's sole medicine cat, Leafpaw assures her friend that she will do great. Before the Great Journey, her mother, Sasha, arrives and asks for her kits to stay with her and reveals their father was Tigerstar. Hawkfrost and Mothwing gently decline their mother's invitation.
- At their new home, Mothwing accidentally poisons the elders with tainted water and tells Leafpaw that she doesn't believe in StarClan. Leafpaw has trouble accepting this revelation, but still acknowledges Mothwing as a brilliant medicine cat. Willowpaw becomes Mothwing's apprentice, and Leafpool walks in Willowpaw's dreams to teach her how to interpret omens and prophecies from StarClan. Hawkfrost threatens Mothwing to make up an omen to drive out Stormfur and Brook and calls his sister useless despite faking the moth's wing omen for her. Her brother is killed by Brambleclaw, freeing Mothwing from his manipulation.
- Mothwing: "It helps to share ideas."
- Jaypaw: "Does StarClan give you good advice, too?"
- The Sight, page 278
- "They're just dead warriors! Do you think that when they die, they get clever and brave? Don't you realize that some of them may be as foolish and wrong-headed as they were when they were alive?"
- ―Mothwing to Jayfeather Night Whispers, page 217
- "I admit something happened there. But if StarClan does exist, I still don't believe in their power, or that they know what's best for us. Why do these terrible things happen, if StarClan is on our side? [...] I'm not sure they work like that. They warn us about what will happen, but it's our responsibility to act."
- ―Mothwing describing her disbelief in StarClan to Willowshine River of Fire, page 12, Bonus scene
- "I'm so sorry I was hard on you. I was grieving for my place in RiverClan and needed some cat to blame. And I suppose, in a way, you represented my worst fear-that living cats would go against their own instincts to follow dangerous instructions of some long-dead cat. But Ashfur could have used any cat. It wasn't your fault he chose you, and I shouldn't have acted like it was. If he'd chosen me, I might have been fooled too. But I don't think I would have been brave enough to follow him into the Dark Forest. Even when you were injured, you went back there to help defeat him once and for all. How could any cat be angry with you?"
- ―Mothwing apologizing to Shadowsight A Light in the Mist (book), pages 320-321
- Now a medicine cat of ShadowClan, Mothwing comes to believe that Shadowsight needs more training due to his involvement in indirectly killing Bramblestar and allowing Ashfur to possess his body, which is supported by both Tigerstar and Puddleshine, but upsets Shadowsight, who is then forced to take care of Ashfur and frequently comes at odds with the she-cat. After Willowshine is killed by Ashfur while trying to reach the Dark Forest, Mothwing blames herself for letting her former apprentice die, but comes to agree with Shadowsight when he insists he is the cat who needs to travel the Dark Forest to find Squirrelflight, with both medicine cats finding common ground and respect for each other. After the impostor's defeat, Mothwing returns to RiverClan as the Clan's only medicine cat.
- "I can't believe that I'll never speak to her again. We lost so much time while I stayed with ShadowClan. Maybe I was too proud."
- ―Mothwing grieving for her friend Mistystar River (book), page 93
- "We can't rely on our ancestors. We can only rely on one another."
- ―Mothwing's thoughts after the Dark Forest Mothwing's Secret, page chapter 8
- "I believe in the importance of learning from what has been discovered before. And in how precious health is, and how hard I must work to preserve it in all my Clanmates. The fact that the world of signs, omens, and dreams that have hidden meanings is closed to me doesn't feel like something is missing, Mistystar. I respect what you believe. You must respect what matters to me."
- ―Mothwing to Mistystar Mistystar's Omen, page chapter 10
- "Moth, keep going! You can make it, I know you can!"
- ―Tadpole encouraging Moth before he drowns Return to the Clans, page 48
- Sasha realizes the safest place for her kits to grow up is in a Clan, so she takes them to RiverClan and tells them about their father. Hawk and Moth are accepted into the Clan and given apprentice names. Leopardstar tells them about the horrors Tigerstar committed to RiverClan, and Sasha makes her kits promise not to tell anyone the truth about their parentage. Recognizing she will never belong in a Clan, Sasha leaves her kits in RiverClan to grow up as warriors.
- Mothwing is a triangular-faced, thick, sleek, and long-furred, dappled, golden she-cat. She has rippling tabby stripes, huge, amber eyes, a broad head, and a fluffy tail.
Please do not edit this gallery
|Mothpaw's apprentice ceremony|
|Mothwing's medicine cat apprentice ceremony|
- Coming Soon
- "Our father was a great warrior. Our mother is proud and strong. They shared only one flaw: that their only loyalty was to themselves above all other cats. We're not like that. We understand what it means to be loyal to our Clan. We have the courage to live by the warrior code. And because of that we'll be the most powerful cats in RiverClan one day, and our Clanmates will have to respect us then."
- ―Hawkfrost to Mothwing Dawn, page 169
- Mothwing first encounters Leafpool when the latter is a medicine cat apprentice, and they first meet at the Moonstone. The golden tabby she-cat returns Leafpaw's greeting with a simple acknowledgement, causing Leafpaw to second-guess Mothwing's intentions, thinking that the younger RiverClan medicine cat is trying to put her in her place as an apprentice. When prying about why Mothwing was asking like she was not a proper medicine cat, Leafpaw finds out that Mudfur never received a sign, which disturbed her. The golden tabby she-cat recalls how she thought that StarClan had rejected her, but Mudfur told her to be patient. Leafpaw expresses her sympathy, but Mothwing brings up how her brother Hawkfrost encouraged her to wait for the sign, and how he reminded her not to try to prove herself to other cats. She adds that the sign came two days ago, when Mudfur found a moth's wing outside of his den. Leafpaw is about to question if Leopardstar believed the sign, but is cut off by Mudfur, who ends their conversation abruptly.
- Mothwing and Leafpool are good friends. Mothwing is not afraid to break the warrior code for Leafpool, and they often help each other in hard times.
- More Coming Soon
- "Distrust welled up inside her: Brambleclaw and Hawkfrost had planned to rule the territories together one day. Had their plan fallen apart? Had Brambleclaw decided to eliminate his rival for power instead of working with him? As she stared at Brambleclaw, the tabby tom’s shoulders slumped and he gazed past her, his eyes dark with horror. No, Mothwing decided. The ThunderClan tom did not look like a triumphant victor."
- ―Mothwing's thoughts about Brambleclaw after Hawkfrost's death Mothwing's Secret, page chapter 10
- Afterwards, Mothwing doesn't interact with him outside of official duties. Though Bramblestar respects her capability as a medicine cat to care for RiverClan, denying Leafpool's request to help. When Bramblestar acts out of character and starts a tyrannical agenda against codebreakers, Mothwing doesn't hesitate to protest it. When she discovers her half-brother is possessed, she still joins the rebels to overthrow the impostor. Despite it risking damage to his body, she does it to protect the Clans.
- "Tawnypelt, Tigerstar’s daughter, was a respected ShadowClan warrior. Of course, they were born in the Clans, she thought. Their mother was a ThunderClan cat. Things are different for them."
- ―Mothwing's thoughts on Tawnypelt Mothwing's Secret, page chapter 10
- Mothwing's parents are Tigerstar and Sasha, and her brothers are Hawkfrost and Tadpole. For more of Mothwing's family, click here!
- Return to the Clans
- A Shadow in RiverClan
- Mothwing's Secret
- Midnight (First appearance)
- Leopardstar's Honor (manga)
- Leafpool's Wish (Allegiance only)
- The Sight
- Dark River
- Outcast (Mentioned only)
- Long Shadows (Mentioned only)
- Sunrise (Allegiance only)
- Hollyleaf's Story (Allegiance only)
- The Fourth Apprentice (Allegiance only)
- Mistystar's Omen
- Fading Echoes
- Night Whispers
- Sign of the Moon
- The Forgotten Warrior
- The Last Hope
- Dovewing's Silence
- Crowfeather's Trial
- Bramblestar's Storm
- The Apprentice's Quest
- Thunder and Shadow
- Shattered Sky
- Darkest Night
- Tigerheart's Shadow (Allegiance only)
- River of Fire
- Tawnypelt's Clan (Allegiance only)
- Spotfur's Rebellion (Mentioned only)
- The Raging Storm (Mentioned only)
- Squirrelflight's Hope (Allegiance only)
- Lost Stars
- The Silent Thaw
- Veil of Shadows
- Darkness Within
- Graystripe's Vow
- Daisy's Kin (Allegiance only)
- The Place of No Stars
- A Light in the Mist
- Cats of the Clans
- Battles of the Clans (Mentioned only)
- The Ultimate Guide
- The Clans Decide
- Cherith and Kate said that Mothwing will go to StarClan, although she would be very surprised.
- Kate thinks that after the battle with the Dark Forest, Mothwing would believe in StarClan, because it's difficult to deny something you've seen with your own eyes.[blog 1]
- Vicky also strongly believes she will go to StarClan because "she is a Clan cat through and through."
- However, in Thunder and Shadow, it is said Mothwing doesn't truly believe they were their own ancestors, and thinks of them as rogues from beyond the territories.
- In Lost Stars, Mothwing states she believes StarClan exists, but questions their guidance.
- In a chat, Kate and Vicky think that if Hawkfrost hadn't sent the false sign of a moth's wing for Mudfur, StarClan wouldn't have sent him a sign to choose her as a medicine cat. However, Cherith contradicts them by saying that she thinks that they would have done it most likely because Mothwing has great talent in the medicinal field.
- Kate views Leafpool and Mothwing as "besties" instead of being closer than friends.[blog 2]
- Mothwing has been mistakenly described with blue eyes on multiple occasions.
The following information is from sources considered non-canon or retconned.
- In The Clans Decide, Mothwing, Jayfeather, Barkface, and Littlecloud measures the length of the line of stones used for voting on each side of the stick. They come to the conclusion that the majority of cats voted for Firestar to lead all four Clans temporarily.
- (Warrior of the Week #56)
Notes and references
- Revealed in Midnight, allegiances
- Revealed in A Light in the Mist, page 316
- Revealed in Return to the Clans, page 68
- Revealed in Veil of Shadows, pages 65-66
- Revealed in Veil of Shadows, page 121
- Revealed in Veil of Shadows, page 288
- Revealed in Into the Woods, page 1
- Revealed in Return to the Clans, page 3
- Revealed in Return to the Clans, page 75
- Revealed in Midnight, page 48
- Revealed in River, page 127
- Revealed in Midnight, page 50
- Revealed in Starlight, allegiances
- Revealed in Graystripe's Vow, allegiances
- Revealed in Mistystar's Omen, chapter 6
- Revealed in Mothwing's Secret, chapter 1
- Revealed in Sunset, allegiances
- Revealed in River, allegiances
- Revealed in The Place of No Stars, page 90
- Revealed in Veil of Shadows, page 66
- Revealed in River, page 240
- Revealed in Midnight, page 51
- Revealed in The Apprentice's Quest, page 38
- Revealed in Return to the Clans, page 78
- Revealed in Midnight, page 257
- Revealed in Mistystar's Omen, chapter 3
- Revealed in Midnight, page 178
- Revealed in Midnight, page 179
- Revealed in Midnight, page 180
- Revealed in Moonrise, chapter 4
- Revealed in Mothwing's Secret, chapter 7
- Revealed in Shattered Sky, page 109
- Revealed in Veil of Shadows, page 287
- Revealed in Mothwing's Secret, chapter 4
- Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, page 266
- Revealed in Return to the Clans, page 4
- Revealed in Erin Hunter Chat 4
- Revealed on Vicky's Facebook (screenshot)
- Revealed in Thunder and Shadow, chapter 7
- Revealed in Lost Stars, page 78
- Revealed in Starlight, page 107
- Revealed in Twilight, page 100
- Revealed in Twilight, page 167
- Revealed in Mistystar's Omen, chapter 7
- Revealed in Mistystar's Omen, chapter 10
- Revealed in The Clans Decide
|Temporary leaders||Mothwing • Frostpaw|
|Medicine cats||Mothwing (Frostpaw)|
|Warriors||Duskfur • Icewing (Mistpaw) • Minnowtail • Mallownose • Sneezecloud • Podlight • Shimmerpelt • Lizardtail • Havenpelt • Brackenpelt • Owlnose • Gorseclaw • Harelight • Nightsky • Breezeheart (Graypaw) • Fognose • Splashtail|
|Apprentices||Mistpaw • Graypaw • Frostpaw|