The warrior code is a list of sixteen 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.
- 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. 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. 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.
The warrior code
The warrior code is as follows:
- 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.
- Do not hunt or trespass on another Clan's territory.
- Elders, queens, 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. If any warrior or apprentice is sick or injured, they may eat while the elders, queens, and kits are eating.
- Prey is killed only to be eaten. Give thanks to StarClan for its life.
- A kit must be at least six moons old to become an apprentice.
- Newly appointed warriors will keep a silent vigil for one night after receiving their warrior name.
- A cat cannot be made deputy without having mentored at least one apprentice.
- The deputy will become Clan leader when the leader dies, retires, or is exiled.
- After the death, retirement, promotion (to a leader status), or exile of the deputy, the new deputy must be chosen before moonhigh.
- A Gathering of all four 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.
- Boundaries must be checked and marked daily. Challenge all trespassing cats.
- No warrior can neglect a kit in pain or danger, even if the kit is from a different Clan.
- The word of the Clan leader is the warrior code.
- 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.
- A warrior rejects the soft life of a kittypet.
- 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 four. Each Clan must help the others so that no Clan will fall.
- 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, and ThunderClan grounds by the lake.
- 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.
- Cats may travel on other Clan territories if they have something to report or to ask for help.
- 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.
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.
- Kits must stay in camp until they are apprenticed, and are not allowed to hunt.
- The safety of the Clan as a whole is more important than the safety of one cat.
- Clans must not unite together to drive out another Clan.
- Clans must not force another Clan to share territory.
- Enemy patrols must not attack cats if they are on a mission that all four Clans have agreed upon.
- Cats cannot eat when going to the Moonstone or Moonpool to speak with StarClan.[source?]
- Only cats of pure forest blood can be Clan members (suggested by Featherstar of WindClan).
- Each Clan may only eat the prey they are most suited for (suggested by Robinstar of SkyClan).
- 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).
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. This rule was also broken by Bluefur when she fell in love with Oakheart, becoming his mate.. This was also broken by Fallowtail and Reedfeather when the two became mates and later had Graypool and Willowbreeze.
- Rule 2 is one of the most frequently broken, with many Clans crossing boundaries to catch prey or apprentices not acknowledging the boundaries.
- Rule 3 was broken by Firepaw when catching prey for Yellowfang after she was exiled from ShadowClan. 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. It is rumored by Graypaw that Sandpaw and Dustpaw did this every so often.
- Rule 4 was broken by Tigerstar and his warriors when he killed prey only to raise a hill of bones.
- 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. This rule was also broken when Bluestar apprenticed Cinderpaw and Brackenpaw before they were six moons old.
- 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. This comes into conflict with her story in Code of the Clans, where she gives vigil tips and shares experiences from her own vigil.
- 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. This rule was also broken when Hawkfrost was appointed temporarily as deputy, since he hadn't mentored an apprentice.
- Rule 8 was broken by Tallstar when he appointed Onewhisker leader, even though Mudclaw was still deputy.
- Rule 9 was broken by Bluestar when she waited for too long to name a new deputy, and when Firestar refused to name a deputy when Graystripe disappeared.
- Rule 10 was broken by all Clans when they fought numerous times at Gatherings.
- Rule 11 was broken by ShadowClan when they stopped believing in StarClan and stopped patrolling their borders.
- 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. Also done by Tigerstar when he was an apprentice and tried to kill Scourge while he was a kit named Tiny.
- Rule 13 was broken by Fireheart when he refused to attack WindClan when Bluestar planned an attack.
- Rule 14 was broken by Brokenstar, Hawkheart, Tigerstar, Hollyleaf, Lionblaze, and Clawface when they killed cats to win their own battles.
- Rule 15 was broken by Cloudpaw when he took food from Twolegs.
- Rule 16 was broken by WindClan who refused to help ShadowClan with their yellowcough epidemic.  It was also broken when ThunderClan, WindClan and RiverClan refused to help either ShadowClan nor SkyClan when the two were competing for territory.
- 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 mateand Yellowfang took Raggedstar.
- These can be a scolding,[source?] giving a warrior apprentice duties, or giving an apprentice an unpleasant task.
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.
- In severe cases, the cat may be exiled from the Clan. This has happened in the series multiple times, and some examples are:
- Leopardstar exiling Graystripe from RiverClan, due to him not attacking his former ThunderClan Clanmates.
- Firestar exiling Darkstripe for poisoning Sorrelkit.
- Bluestar exiling Tigerclaw for treason and murder.
- 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.
- Examples of these cats are:
- 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.
- Secrets of the Clans, a guide to Clan life.
- Code of the Clans, a guide dealing with the warrior code.
- The cliffnotes for Code of the Clans, which has a comprehensive summary about how each rule was created.
- Warrior Code on the Warriors official website
- The Law That Never Was on the Warriors official website
- A Weakened Code? on the Warriors official website
- The Warrior Code: An Outdated Relic? on the Warriors official website
Notes and references
- ↑ Revealed in Bramblestar's Storm, chapter 35
- ↑ Revealed in Into the Wild, page 32
- ↑ Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 6
- ↑ Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 10
- ↑ Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 52
- ↑ Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, pages 7-8
- ↑ Revealed in Bramblestar's Storm, page 472
- ↑ Revealed in Into the Wild, page 168
- ↑ Revealed in Fading Echoes, chapter 2
- ↑ Revealed in Twilight, page 85
- ↑ Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 203
- ↑ Revealed on Kate's blog
- ↑ Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 131
- ↑ Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, page 12
- ↑ Revealed in Fire and Ice, page 293
- ↑ Revealed in Into the Wild, page 202
- ↑ Revealed in Fire and Ice, pages 299-300
- ↑ Revealed in Fire and Ice, page 26
- ↑ Revealed in Fire and Ice, page 245
- ↑ Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 73
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 21.2 Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 155
- ↑ Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 154
- ↑ Revealed in Fire and Ice, page 309
- ↑ Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, page 458
- ↑ Revealed in Fading Echoes, page 290
- ↑ Revealed in Eclipse, page 68
- ↑ Revealed in Into the Wild, page 86
- ↑ Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 40
- ↑ Revealed in Into the Wild, page 74
- ↑ Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 197
- ↑ Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 55
- ↑ Revealed in Fire and Ice, page 93
- ↑ Revealed in Starlight, page 27
- ↑ Revealed in Starlight, page 30
- ↑ Revealed in Sunset, page 256
- ↑ Revealed in Dawn, page 80
- ↑ Revealed in Starlight, page 119
- ↑ Revealed in Forest of Secrets, page 297
- ↑ Revealed in Dawn, page 137
- ↑ Revealed in Code of the Clans, page 97
- ↑ Revealed in Long Shadows, page 9
- ↑ Revealed in Sunset, page 115
- ↑ Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, pages 400-401
- ↑ Revealed in A Dangerous Path, page 162
- ↑ Revealed in Into the Wild, page 261
- ↑ Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, page 156
- ↑ 47.0 47.1 Revealed in A Dangerous Path, page 287
- ↑ Revealed in Sunrise, page 310
- ↑ Revealed in Fading Echoes, page 295
- ↑ Revealed in Into the Wild, page 226
- ↑ Revealed in Rising Storm, page 134
- ↑ Revealed in Thunder and Shadow, chapter 14
- ↑ Revealed in The Raging Storm, chapter 6
- ↑ Revealed in Sunrise, page 305
- ↑ Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 67
- ↑ Revealed in Forest of Secrets, page 151
- ↑ Revealed in Into the Wild, page 100
- ↑ Revealed in The Fourth Apprentice, allegiances
- ↑ Revealed in A Dangerous Path, page 194
- ↑ 60.0 60.1 Revealed in The Darkest Hour, pages 114-117
- ↑ Revealed in A Dangerous Path, page 192
- ↑ 62.0 62.1 Revealed in The Sight, page 227
- ↑ Revealed in Starlight, page 208
- ↑ Revealed in Forest of Secrets, page 288
- ↑ Revealed in Rising Storm, page 183
- ↑ Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 207
- ↑ Revealed in Sunset, pages 296-297
- ↑ Revealed in Sunset, page 2
- ↑ Warriors The Darkest Hour
- ↑ Revealed on Kate's blog