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"I'm not ashamed to say it. If we'd questioned our leader earlier, we might have avoided a lot of trouble."
— Thornclaw to Squirrelflight about ThunderClan's leadership in Graystripe's Vow, page 35

Thornclaw is a golden-brown tabby tom[6] with pale blue eyes.[14]

Thornclaw is a ThunderClan elder who has served under Bramblestar's and Squirrelstar's leaderships in the lake territories, and previously served as a warrior under Firestar, Bramblestar, the impostor, Squirrelflight, Lionblaze, and Graystripe in the forest and lake territories. He was born to Lionheart and Frostfur alongside Cinderpelt, Brackenfur, and Brightheart. He and his siblings were captured by ShadowClan, but were later rescued by a ThunderClan patrol and ShadowClan's elders. He was apprenticed to Mousefur as Thornpaw. After becoming a warrior, Thornclaw mentored Sootfur, Shrewpaw, Poppyfrost, and Briarlight. As a senior warrior, Thornclaw was recruited by the Place of No Stars; however, he fought for the Clans during the Great Battle and was forgiven by his Clanmates. He became mates with Blossomfall, his fellow Dark Forest trainee, becoming the father of Eaglekit, Plumkit, Shellkit, and Stemkit. Noted to be bossy with eyes on ThunderClan's leadership, Thornclaw sided with the impostor during his crackdown on the codebreakers. Following the impostor's defeat, Thornclaw grew frustrated with ThunderClan's leadership, and briefly decided to leave the Clan to wander, unsure if he wanted to remain in ThunderClan, but eventually returned after a quarter-moon. He later retired to the elders' den.


Looking for a longer overview? Find one here!

The Prophecies Begin[]

«Thornclaw, the newest warrior of ThunderClan, [was] looking tense and eager at the prospect of his first battle.»
—Firestar's thoughts about Thornclaw The Darkest Hour, page 286
He and his littermates are abducted by Clawface of ShadowClan, but rescued by ShadowClan elders and a ThunderClan patrol. He later goes into apprenticeship, his mentor being Mousefur. During this time, he grows frustrated that Cloudpaw gets to become a warrior before him, despite him being older. However, he disagrees with Swiftpaw's plan to try and find out what was taking ThunderClan's prey, and is devastated when Brightpaw is maimed and Swiftpaw is killed by dogs. He and Cloudtail try to console his sister as often as possible. When Firestar becomes leader, Thornpaw is the very first cat he makes a warrior. Thornclaw later participates in the battle against BloodClan.

The New Prophecy[]

«Thornclaw's nostrils flared minutely as he let out a patient sigh, and Brambleclaw admired his self-control. If Squirrelpaw had spoken to him like that, he would have been tempted to rake his claws over her ear.»
—Brambleclaw's thoughts on Thornclaw Midnight (book)
Thornclaw's apprentice, Shrewpaw, is killed on the Thunderpath trying to catch a pheasant for his starving Clan during the destruction of the forest. Thornclaw makes the Great Journey with the rest of his Clan, leaving his mother, Frostfur, behind with many other elders. He voices his displeasure with ShadowClan trying to move borders and takes part in a battle as one of Onewhisker's loyalists during Mudclaw's rebellion. His sister, Cinderpelt, is killed when badgers attack, protecting Brackenfur's mate as she kitted.

Power of Three[]

"Ashfur was killed by a WindClan cat! It's the only possible answer."
―Thornclaw Sunrise (book), page 10
Now mentoring his niece, Poppypaw, Thornclaw objects to Millie keeping her kittypet name. He falls sick to greencough during the epidemic that ravages ThunderClan, but recovers. When Ashfur is killed, Thornclaw says that there is a need to stir up trouble because a ThunderClan warrior is dead and tries to make plans to attack WindClan for revenge, but is shut down almost immediately by Firestar.

Omen of the Stars[]

"Enough! The battle is won, the clearing is ours. Do you concede or shall we fight for it again?"
―Thornclaw taunting Blackstar Fading Echoes, chapter 24
He becomes the mentor to Briarpaw, who unfortunately gets her spine crushed by a falling tree. Thornclaw often visits her in the medicine cats' den and is happy when she gains a warrior name, Briarlight. He later takes part in the battle of the ShadowClan border, leading ThunderClan with Brackenfur to outflank ShadowClan and reclaim ThunderClan's old strip of clearing. Lionblaze discovers him to be training in the Place of No Stars, but despite this, Thornclaw fights for the Clans during the Great Battle, leading a battle patrol to assist ShadowClan.

A Vision of Shadows[]

"He might be a senior warrior, but this is his first litter of kits, and it made him as nervous as an apprentice on his first hunt."
―Leafpool about Thornclaw Shattered Sky, page 47
Thornclaw has become mates with Blossomfall, who bears his kits, Stemkit, Plumkit, Shellkit, and Eaglekit. He participates in the fight to drive out the Kin and disagrees with SkyClan staying at the lake and Tree's role as mediator. His kits later become apprentices.

The Broken Code[]

"I admit I don't always understand StarClan, but they'll explain themselves sooner or later, you can count on it. […] You're young, and of course you worry about these sorts of decisions. But after what I experienced in the Dark Forest—well, I'm willing to do what's necessary, and now I'm sure things will settle down. StarClan will be back soon, you'll see."
―Thornclaw reassuring Bristlefrost about StarClan's absence Veil of Shadows, pages 52-53
His littermates, Brackenfur and Brightheart, have now retired to the elders' den and Thornclaw is now ThunderClan's eldest warrior. His kits are now warriors with the names Stemleaf, Plumstone, Shellfur, and Eaglewing. He is stunned with several of Bramblestar's new rules to the warrior code and disagrees with the punishing of the codebreakers. He reassures Bristlefrost that StarClan will return sooner or later when the latter is worried, reciting his time in the Dark Forest. However, Thornclaw's faith in ThunderClan is shaken after the impostor is defeated and revealed to be Ashfur. Squirrelflight becomes ThunderClan's acting leader, and Thornclaw displays his displeasure for the nepotism in ThunderClan's leadership, citing how Squirrelflight and her temporary deputy Lionblaze are kin of Firestar and Bramblestar. He challenges Lionblaze as ThunderClan's deputy and questions if ThunderClan's troubles would even exist if they had challenged Ashfur sooner. He, Graystripe, Flipclaw, Flywhisker, and Snaptooth decide to leave ThunderClan on a wander to reflect about being a Clan cat. Squirrelflight allows them, but only giving them a moon to decide if they wish to remain ThunderClan warriors. However, Thornclaw returned to ThunderClan after a quarter-moon.

A Starless Clan[]

"That's just typical ShadowClan! Who do they think they are? Talking like they're the best Clan in the forest!"
―Thornclaw at a Gathering River (book), page 207
Thornclaw is now an elder, though still participates in Clan discussions as a senior warrior. He debates on the changes to the warrior code with his Clanmates, recalling the days of Brokenstar and Nightstar in the old forest, and Bramblestar's decision to step down. He recalls his time training in the Dark Forest.

Super Editions[]

This section summarizes Thornclaw's significant Super Editions appearances. If you're looking for a full list, find one here!

"Yes, he's very keen. It's time he had an apprentice. Sootpaw will do fine with him."
―Longtail about Thornclaw taking over Sootpaw's training Firestar's Quest, page 103
In Firestar's Quest, after Longtail's eyes are injured, Firestar believes Thornclaw should take over Sootpaw's training after seeing how well the two work together on a dawn patrol. He brings it up with Longtail, who agrees and he believes Thornclaw will be a fine mentor.
"I didn't leave the camp to listen to more petty squabbles. I left to think about what I want to do next. I left the Clan so that I could be alone. Maybe I'll see you all again if I decide to return to the Clan. Or maybe we'll meet in Flipclaw's imaginary territory. But I'm not going to stay here and waste my time arguing. I'm off."
―Thornclaw to Graystripe and the others Graystripe's Vow, pages 66-67
In Graystripe's Vow, following the impostor's defeat, Thornclaw adamantly challenges ThunderClan's leadership under Squirrelflight and Lionblaze and cites continual nepotism in the leadership lineage. Thornclaw believes if they had challenged the impostor earlier, then the Clan wouldn't be dysfunctional. He decides to go on a wander along with Graystripe, Snaptooth, Flipclaw, and Flywhisker and abruptly leaves the group to go on his own to reflect if he wants to stay in ThunderClan.


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

"No ThunderClan cat finished the battle fighting for the Dark Forest. When they learned the truth about their new allies, they showed nothing but loyalty to the Clans. There is little to forgive, in my opinion."
―Bramblestar about Thornclaw and the other trainees Dovewing's Silence, chapter 5
In Dovewing's Silence, Thornclaw and the other Dark Forest trainees are resented by the other Clans, though they fought for them during the battle. He, along with the other trainees, take a new oath of loyalty to their Clan, and are forgiven.

Character pixels[]

Main images[]

Alternate images[]

Official art[]



Thornclaw's parents are Lionheart and Frostfur and his littermates are Cinderpelt, Brackenfur, and Brightheart. His mate is Blossomfall, and Stemleaf, Eaglewing, Plumstone, and Shellfur are their children. For more of Thornclaw's family, click here!



Interesting facts[]

Author statements[]

  • Vicky has commented about the possibility of Lionheart fathering Frostfur's kits,[15] and at least once that Lionheart never fathered kits.[16]
  • Vicky doesn't think that he and Brackenfur are identical twins.[19]


  • He has mistakenly been called dark,[20][21] a dark tabby,[22] ginger,[23][24] depicted as a solid-colored cat,[25] and called light brown.[26]
  • He is shown speaking to Blackstar at the end of Fading Echoes;[27] however, in Night Whispers, Brambleclaw is speaking instead.[28]
  • Despite not earning his warrior name until The Darkest Hour,[7] Thornclaw is shown as a warrior in Tigerclaw's Fury, which is set before then.[26]
  • Despite Thornclaw being listed as an elder in River,[9] he is not shown with the other elders or having a nest with them[29][30] and is acting and referred to as a warrior throughout the book.[31][32] This was changed in Shadow when Thornclaw is specifically called an elder.[33]
  • In the audiobook for Squirrelflight's Hope, he is mistakenly referred to as “Thornclan” by the narrator. This error is not present in the text.[34]


The following information is from sources considered non-canon or retconned.


"I didn't see Thornpaw show much respect for that squirrel he dragged back to camp yesterday. He said it was so dopey, a kit could have caught it."
―Cloudpaw about Thornpaw's lack of respect for prey Rising Storm, page 8

Cinderpelt: "Here, press on this."
Thornpaw: "Me?"
Cinderpelt: "It's your paw! Hurry up, or you'll have to change your name to Nopaw."
—Cinderpelt to Thornpaw about his paw wound Rising Storm, page 195

"What did you find out? When do we attack?"
―Thornclaw suspecting that a WindClan cat killed Ashfur Sunrise (book), page 31

See more
"You left not long after Ashfur was killed."
―Thornclaw accusing Hollyleaf of Ashfur's death The Forgotten Warrior, page 188

Alderheart: "You should have seen Thornclaw last night. We had a hard time keeping him calm while Blossomfall was giving birth."
Leafpool: "True. He might be a senior warrior, but this is his first litter of kits, and it made him as nervous as an apprentice on his first hunt."
—The medicine cats after Blossomfall has her kits Shattered Sky, page 47

"'Clouds from the mountains…' I think the message is clear. These cats bring trouble. We must send them away."
―Thornclaw about Jayfeather's omen and the Sisters Squirrelflight's Hope, chapter 9

"Who cares what they want? Did they care what we wanted when they held you captive? Who knows what they'd have done to you if we hadn't turned up and threatened to shred them!"
―Thornclaw about the Sisters Squirrelflight's Hope, chapter 10

Thornclaw: "Haven't the hunting patrols left yet?"
Lionblaze: "We're waiting for Squirrelflight."
Thornclaw: "I was looking forward to fresh prey when we got back. Don't expect much excitement when you go out, the forest is quiet today. But there are plenty of signs of prey on the WindClan border. It won't take long to restock the fresh-kill pile."
Lionblaze: "It should be full by now."
—Thornclaw and Lionblaze on the lack of prey The Silent Thaw, page 18

"Surely a cat must do more than break the code to be exiled."
―Thornclaw disagreeing with Squirrelflight's exile The Silent Thaw, page 205

Thornclaw: "...the only reason you're the one making decisions is because you're Squirrelflight's kin."
Lionblaze: "Take that back!"
Thornclaw: "How can I take back the truth? Since Firestar's time, there's been no question about who ThunderClan's next leader might be."
Lionblaze: "ThunderClan's leadership has always passed from leader to deputy, as the warrior code says it should!"
Thornclaw: "So it's just a coincidence that Firestar made his daughter's mate deputy?"
Lionblaze: "Bramblestar was the strongest warrior in ThunderClan!"
Thornclaw: "And Bramblestar named his own mate deputy. And now—"
Lionblaze: "She deserved to be deputy!"
Thornclaw: "And now Firestar's kin—a cat Squirrelflight and Bramblestar raised as their own kit—is ThunderClan deputy. Are we supposed to believe that only one family in this Clan can raise kits to be leaders? Are the rest of us just here for them to order around? Who will you name deputy? Sparkpelt? Flamepaw?"
—Thornclaw and Lionblaze's argument Graystripe's Vow, page 33

"StarClan will never come back if we don’t do things right!"
―Thornclaw to Lionblaze Darkness Within, page 31

"I suppose you mean we should support all your choices without question. However unfair they seem."
―Thornclaw arguing with Squirrelflight Darkness Within, page 35

External links[]

Notes and references[]

  1. Revealed in Into the Wild, chapter 20
  2. Revealed in The Place of No Stars, page 9
  3. Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 286
  4. Revealed in Into the Wild, page 248
  5. Revealed in Forest of Secrets, page 63
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Revealed in Forest of Secrets, allegiances
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 105
  8. Revealed in Eclipse, page 163
  9. 9.0 9.1 Revealed in River, allegiances
  10. Revealed in Firestar's Quest, page 89
  11. Revealed in Midnight, allegiances
  12. Revealed in The Sight, allegiances
  13. Revealed in The Fourth Apprentice, allegiances
  14. Revealed in The Silent Thaw, page 283
  15. Revealed on Vicky's Facebook (screenshot)
  16. Revealed on Vicky's Facebook (screenshot)
  17. Revealed on the Warriors website family tree (screenshot)
  18. Revealed in Blackfoot's Reckoning, chapter 6
  19. Revealed on Vicky's Facebook
  20. Revealed in Squirrelflight's Hope, page 126
  21. Revealed in The Silent Thaw, page 204
  22. Revealed in The Silent Thaw, page 28
  23. Revealed in Forest of Secrets, pages 61-62
  24. Revealed in Rising Storm, page 36
  25. Revealed in The Lost Warrior, page 8
  26. 26.0 26.1 Revealed in Tigerclaw's Fury, chapter 5
  27. Revealed in Fading Echoes, page 295
  28. Revealed in Night Whispers, page 6
  29. Revealed in River, page 80
  30. Revealed in River, page 233
  31. Revealed in River, page 6
  32. Revealed in River, page 209
  33. Revealed in Shadow, page 298
  34. Revealed in Squirrelflight's Hope, chapter 12
  35. Revealed in The Clans Decide
  1. Graypaw says that Frostfur's kits are three moons old when they are captured by Clawface, which would put the their season of birth in late newleaf three moons prior.[4]

Author references

  1. James Barry, June 18, 2021. James confirming the ThunderClan patrols in Winds of Change, revealed through a Twitter private message.