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"Haven't I always been a loyal warrior, living my life by the code and leading my Clan accordingly?"
This article contains major spoilers for the recently released book, River. Please proceed at your own discretion.

The warrior code is a list of sixteen[1] different rules that should be followed by all Clan cats. It is taught from the first moons of kithood to when an elder is faced with death. It is said that as long as the Clans follow the warrior code, no harm shall come to them.[2]

History

"The code is a living thing. It changes and grows as it needs to. But perhaps we don't need to change it. Perhaps we could just reorder the rules so that the most important ones come first."
―Leafpool about changing the warrior code A Light in the Mist (book), page 301
There is a disagreement about the origins of the warrior code. On one hand, Secrets of the Clans states that the rules were invented when the Clans were founded, made up by the leaders Thunder, Shadow, Wind, and River.[3] Shadowstar's Life also implies the existence of a code following the founding of the Clans, but this could be an error.[4] On the other hand, Code of the Clans states that the rules were developed during a very long timespan, each one invented by different cats after a significant event.[5] For example, Daisytail made it law that kits must be six moons old in order to start their training after being nervous about her kit's safety.[6]
Following Ashfur's manipulation of the code, a revised code was drafted by members of StarClan and the living to reorder in terms of importance. StarClan gave the Clans three moons to formalize changes to the warrior code, including a formal provision for removing leaders who are not serving the best interests of their Clans[7] and cats who wish to change Clans to be with the one they love.[8] This also includes the removal of Rules 2 and 13, and the rewording of Rules 1, 2, and 16.[9] Two provisions were eventually approved to the warrior code to include the removal of an unjust leader and allowing cats to join another Clan to be with their mate.[10]

The warrior code

The original warrior code is as follows, prior to changes made in A Light in the Mist:[11]

  1. Defend your Clan, even with your life. You may have friendships with cats from other Clans, but your loyalty must remain to your Clan, as one day you may meet them in battle.
  2. Do not hunt or trespass on another Clan's territory.
  3. Elders, queens, sick or injured cats and kits must be fed before apprentices and warriors. Unless they have permission, apprentices may not eat until they have hunted to feed the elders.
  4. Prey is killed only to be eaten. Give thanks to StarClan for its life.
  5. A kit must be at least six moons old to become an apprentice.
  6. Newly appointed warriors will keep a silent vigil for one night after receiving their warrior name.
  7. A cat cannot be made deputy without having mentored at least one apprentice.
  8. The deputy will become Clan leader when the leader dies, retires, or is exiled.
  9. After the death, retirement, promotion (to a leader status), or exile of the deputy, the new deputy must be chosen before moonhigh.
  10. A Gathering of all [five] Clans is held at the full moon during a truce that lasts for the night. There shall be no fighting among Clans at this time.[note 1]
  11. Boundaries must be checked and marked daily. Challenge all trespassing cats.
  12. No warrior can neglect a kit in pain or danger, even if the kit is from a different Clan.
  13. The word of the Clan leader is the warrior code.
  14. An honorable warrior does not need to kill other cats to win their battles, unless they are outside the warrior code or if it is necessary for self-defense.
  15. A warrior rejects the soft life of a kittypet.
  16. Each Clan has the right to be proud and independent, but in times of trouble they must forget their boundaries and fight side by side to protect the [five]. Each Clan must help the others so that no Clan will fall.[12][note 2]

Revised warrior code

After Ashfur's manipulation, the warrior code was reordered to prioritize the most important rules, though this is supplemented by the Warrior Cats website.[8][9] The known reordering is as follows:[13][9]

  1. Defend all the Clans, even with your life. Your first loyalty is to your Clan, but all cats who follow the warrior code are your allies. Each Clan must ensure that no other Clan falls. (reworded)
  2. Nevertheless, each Clan is proud and independent, with traditions that must always be respected. (reworded; formerly Rule 16)
  3. An honorable warrior does not need to kill other cats to win their battles, unless they are outside the code, or it is necessary for self-defense. (formerly Rule 14)
  4. Elders, queens, sick or injured cats and kits must be fed before apprentices and warriors. Unless they have permission, apprentices may not eat until they have hunted to feed the elders. (formerly Rule 3)
  5. A Gathering of all five Clans is held at the full moon during a truce that lasts for the night. (formerly Rule 10)
  6. No warrior can neglect a kit in pain or danger, even if the kit is from a different Clan. (formerly Rule 12)
  7. A kit must be at least six moons old to become an apprentice. (formerly Rule 5)
  8. The deputy will become Clan leader when the leader dies, retires, or is exiled. (formerly Rule 8)
  9. After the death, retirement, promotion (to a leader status), or exile of the deputy, the new deputy must be chosen before moonhigh.
  10. If a Clan member believes that their leader is no longer leading with honor and integrity, they can challenge them. Three-quarters of the Clan members, including their medicine cats, must agree. Their objections will then be presented to the leaders of the other Clans. If the other leaders agree, all medicine cats will request that StarClan remove the leader's remaining lives and give them to the deputy. These objections cannot be raised by the deputy.[10]
  11. A warrior or medicine cat may switch their allegiance from one Clan to another but must meet a set of conditions. The cat wishing to change Clans must perform a task of their intended Clan’s choosing. If they succeed, it will be deemed StarClan’s will that they change Clans, and their request will be granted.[10]
  12. Prey is killed only to be eaten. Give thanks to StarClan for its life. (formerly Rule 4)
  13. Newly appointed warriors will keep a silent vigil for one night after receiving their warrior name. (formerly Rule 6)
  14. A cat cannot be made deputy without having mentored at least one apprentice. (formerly Rule 7)
  15. A warrior rejects the soft life of a kittypet. (formerly Rule 15)
  16. Boundaries must be checked and marked daily. Challenge all trespassing cats—but a warrior must always remember that all cats follow the warrior code. (reworded; formerly Rule 11 and possibly Rule 2)

This revised version of the warrior code does not include Rule 13, and instead a provision was implemented for cats to challenge their leader if they are not following in their Clans' best interest.[14][10] This version also does not include Rule 2, which forbade hunting or trespassing on another Clan's territory, most likely because it is implied with Rule 14 and it is also being revised.[9]

Exceptions

  • Cats on their way to the Moonstone or Moonpool are allowed to cross other Clans' territories to get to their destination—WindClan grounds on the moorland in the forest,[15] and ThunderClan grounds by the lake.[16]
  • At the lake, cats may travel on other Clans' grounds as long as they are within three fox-lengths of the lake; for instance, to go to a Gathering.[17]
  • Cats may travel on other Clan territories if they have something to report or to ask for help.[18]
  • The code is flexible about leadership challenges. Cats may challenge a weak or cruel leader if their Clan is in danger, and if their leadership threatens the Clan, the code expects a warrior to challenge their leader.[blog 1]

Additional rules

The following rules are not specifically stated in the warrior code, but are expected to be followed:

  • Medicine cats may not have a mate or kits, as they must be able to heal all cats equally.[19]
  • Kits must stay in camp until they are apprenticed,[20] and are not allowed to hunt.[21]
  • The safety of the Clan as a whole is more important than the safety of one cat.[22]
  • Clans must not unite together to drive out another Clan.[23]
  • Clans must not force another Clan to share territory.[24]
  • Enemy patrols must not attack cats if they are on a mission that all four Clans have agreed upon.[25]
  • Cats cannot eat when going to the Moonstone or Moonpool to speak with StarClan.[26]

Rejected codes

Throughout history, several other rules were proposed for introduction into the Warrior Code, however, they were turned down.[27][28] These rules were:

  • Only cats of pure forest blood can be Clan members (suggested by Featherstar of WindClan).[29]
  • Each Clan may only eat the prey they are most suited for (suggested by Robinstar of SkyClan).[28]
  • All Clan cats must acknowledge that StarClan controlled Clan life, and to deny their existence would be to violate the warrior code (suggested by Dovestar of RiverClan).[28]

Breaking the warrior code

The rules are often broken, by all five Clans. Most rules have been broken at least once.

Examples of breaking the warrior code

  • Rule 1 was broken by Graystripe when he was torn between his loyalties to ThunderClan and RiverClan due to his romantic relationship with Silverstream, and refused to fight her.[30] This rule was also broken by Bluefur when she fell in love with Oakheart, becoming his mate.[31]. This was also broken by Fallowtail and Reedfeather when the two became mates and later had Graypool and Willowbreeze.[32]
  • Rule 2 is one of the most frequently broken, with many Clans crossing boundaries to catch prey or apprentices not acknowledging the boundaries.[33]
  • Rule 3 was broken by Firepaw when catching prey for Yellowfang after she was exiled from ShadowClan.[34] It was also broken by Longtail and Darkstripe, who ate prey on a hunting patrol instead of bringing it back to the elders and kits.[35]
  • Rule 4 was broken by Tigerstar and his warriors when he killed prey only to raise a hill of bones.[36]
  • Rule 5 was broken by Brokenstar of ShadowClan when he forced kits to become apprentices before they were old enough. He also trained them too hard, killing some of them. Some were made warriors before they were even six moons old.[37] This rule was also broken when Bluestar apprenticed Cinderpaw and Brackenpaw before they were six moons old.[38]
  • Rule 6 was broken when Squirrelflight was named a warrior, but did not sit vigil that night, as ThunderClan did not yet have a camp.[39] This comes into conflict with her story in Code of the Clans, where she gives vigil tips and shares experiences from her own vigil.[40]
  • Rule 7 was broken by Firestar when he appointed Brambleclaw as deputy because he had no apprentice, even though he was going to mentor Berrykit when he became six moons.[41] This rule was also broken when Hawkfrost was appointed temporarily as deputy, since he hadn't mentored an apprentice.[42] This rule was again broken by the fake Bramblestar, when he appointed Berrynose[43] and later on Bristlefrost as his deputy,[44] despite the two never having trained an apprentice.
  • Rule 8 was broken by Tallstar when he appointed Onewhisker deputy right before he died,[45] even though Mudclaw was still deputy.[46]
  • Rule 9 was broken by Bluestar when she waited for too long to name a new deputy,[47] and when Firestar refused to name a deputy when Graystripe disappeared.[48]
  • Rule 10 was broken by all Clans when they fought numerous times at Gatherings.[49]
  • Rule 11 was broken by ShadowClan when they stopped believing in StarClan and stopped patrolling their borders.[50]
  • Rule 12 was broken by Russetfur and her patrol, watching Berrykit struggle with his tail caught in a fox trap, and making no move to help him.[51] This was also broken by Tigerstar when he was an apprentice and tried to kill Tiny when he was a kit.[52]
  • Rule 13 was broken by Fireheart when he refused to attack WindClan when Bluestar planned an attack.[53]
  • Rule 14 was broken by Brokenstar,[54] Hawkheart,[55] Tigerstar,[56] Hollyleaf,[57] Lionblaze,[58]Lionheart,[59] Clawface[60] when they killed cats to win their own battles.
  • Rule 15 was broken by Cloudpaw when he took food from Twolegs.[61]
  • Rule 16 was broken by WindClan who refused to help ShadowClan with their yellowcough epidemic.[62] It was also broken when ThunderClan, WindClan, and RiverClan refused to help either ShadowClan or SkyClan when the two were competing for territory.[63]
  • The rule about medicine cats being forbidden to have a mate and kits was broken by both Leafpool and Yellowfang, when Leafpool took Crowfeather as a mate,[64] and Yellowfang took Raggedstar as a mate.[65]

Punishment

General

These can be a scolding,[source?] giving a warrior apprentice duties,[66] or giving an apprentice an unpleasant task.[67]

Losing their rank

Breaking the code can also result in a cat being stripped of their duties. One major example of this is Firestar punishing Leafpool. She was forced to surrender her medicine cat duties, due to the truth about Jayfeather, Hollyleaf, and Lionblaze's parentage, and also taking a mate.[68]

Exile

In severe cases, the cat may be exiled from the Clan. This has happened in the series multiple times, and some examples are:

After-death punishments

Cats who would murder for no reason, or have caused pain to others for nothing other than their own enjoyment would also go to the Place of No Stars upon their death.[76]
Examples of these cats are:

Trivia

  • Kate thinks that few things were ever rules in the Warriors universe, as the cats change their "rules" depending on their attitudes at the time.[blog 2]
  • She also thinks the warrior code would allow a warrior to challenge their leader for leadership if it's done in the best interest of the Clan such as a weak or cruel leader.[blog 1]

See also

External links

Notes

  1. This would have been changed to include SkyClan after A Vision of Shadows.
  2. At the time of Bramblestar's Storm, SkyClan had not yet joined the others at the lake. Upon their arrival in A Vision of Shadows, this code would be augmented to include SkyClan.

Notes and references

  1. Revealed in Bramblestar's Storm, chapter 35
  2. Revealed in Into the Wild, page 32
  3. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 6
  4. Revealed in Shadowstar's Life, chapter 9
  5. Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 10
  6. Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 52
  7. Revealed in A Light in the Mist, chapter 21
  8. 8.0 8.1 Revealed in A Light in the Mist, chapter 24
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 The Revised Code on the Warriors official website (backup link)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Revealed in River, chapter 4
  11. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, pages 7-8
  12. Revealed in Bramblestar's Storm, page 472
  13. Revealed in A Light in the Mist, pages 301-302
  14. Revealed in A Light in the Mist, page 302
  15. Revealed in Into the Wild, page 168
  16. Revealed in Fading Echoes, chapter 2
  17. Revealed in Twilight, page 85
  18. Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 203
  19. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 131
  20. Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, page 12
  21. Revealed in Fire and Ice, page 293
  22. Revealed in Into the Wild, page 202
  23. Revealed in Fire and Ice, pages 299-300
  24. Revealed in Fire and Ice, page 26
  25. Revealed in Fire and Ice, page 245
  26. Revealed in Into the Wild, page 174
  27. Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 73
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 155
  29. Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 154
  30. Revealed in Fire and Ice, page 309
  31. Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, page 458
  32. Revealed in Fading Echoes, page 290
  33. Revealed in Eclipse, page 68
  34. Revealed in Into the Wild, page 86
  35. Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 40
  36. Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 197
  37. Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 55
  38. Revealed in Fire and Ice, page 93
  39. Revealed in Starlight, page 27
  40. Revealed in Starlight, page 30
  41. Revealed in Sunset, page 256
  42. Revealed in Dawn, page 80
  43. Revealed in The Silent Thaw, page 312
  44. Revealed in Veil of Shadows, page 199
  45. Revealed in Starlight, page 119
  46. Revealed in Firestar's Quest, allegiances
  47. Revealed in Forest of Secrets, page 297
  48. Revealed in Dawn, page 137
  49. Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 97
  50. Revealed in Long Shadows, page 9
  51. Revealed in Sunset, page 115
  52. Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, pages 400-401
  53. Revealed in A Dangerous Path, page 162
  54. Revealed in Into the Wild, page 261
  55. Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, page 156
  56. 56.0 56.1 Revealed in A Dangerous Path, page 287
  57. Revealed in Sunrise, page 310
  58. Revealed in Fading Echoes, page 295
  59. Revealed in Leopardstar's Honor, chapter 4
  60. Revealed in Into the Wild, page 226
  61. Revealed in Rising Storm, page 134
  62. Revealed in Thunder and Shadow, chapter 14
  63. Revealed in The Raging Storm, chapter 6
  64. Revealed in Sunrise, page 305
  65. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 67
  66. Revealed in Forest of Secrets, page 151
  67. Revealed in Into the Wild, page 100
  68. Revealed in The Fourth Apprentice, allegiances
  69. Revealed in Mapleshade's Vengeance, chapter 4
  70. Revealed in A Dangerous Path, page 194
  71. 71.0 71.1 Revealed in The Darkest Hour, pages 114-117
  72. Revealed in A Dangerous Path, page 192
  73. Revealed in The Silent Thaw, page 301
  74. Revealed in The Silent Thaw, page 272
  75. Revealed in The Silent Thaw, page 247, 311
  76. 76.0 76.1 Revealed in The Sight, page 227
  77. Revealed in Starlight, page 208
  78. Revealed in Forest of Secrets, page 288
  79. Revealed in Rising Storm, page 183
  80. Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 207
  81. 81.0 81.1 Revealed in Mapleshade's Vengeance, chapter 9
  82. Revealed in Mapleshade's Vengeance, chapter 6
  83. Revealed in Mapleshade's Vengeance, chapter 7
  84. Revealed in Sunset, pages 296-297
  85. Revealed in Sunset, page 2
  86. Revealed in Yellowfang's Secret, page 465
  87. Revealed in Yellowfang's Secret, chapter 38

Author references

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