i sure have been talking about queens a lot. let's jump right in.
a review of queen behavior in my au
alright, if you're new here, i should introduce you to queens and queen madness. if you want to read the posts about it, the introductory essay is here, and a related post that ironically goes into more detail is here.
but if you just want the quick summary, basically, queens have extremely strong protective instincts for the moon surrounding birth (i.e., one to two weeks before until about when the kits open their eyes — the timeline is very varaible), and those can manifest harmfully.
they're also not exclusive to who actually gave birth to the kits, and that's the topic of this post.
some disclaimers re. the nature of adoption in warriors
adoption is handled...inconsistently, in warriors.
to be polite.
it ranges from cloudpaw and brindleface in tpb, where fireheart is surprised by how much cloudpaw grieves for her, and then is like "well makes sense she was his mother" (altho cloudpaw's relationship to ferncloud and ashfur is chronically underdeveloped...
cloudtail and ashfur are brothers. squirrelflight is his cousin. oh, the drama)
all the way to po3 kiddos just kind of...well, rejecting both their adoptive and birth mothers. and if it stopped there, i'd say that's actually a take on keeping adoptions secret, but...
then we get to twigbranch and violetshine. twigbranch is iffy because while she seems fine and loved, she doesn't really have a relationship with lilyheart. that said, family relations usually only matter if it's for dynasty purposes, so that's really fine
and violetshine is...well, she's basically a victim of the system, if warrior cats had a foster to adopt system.
and you know, both this and the po3 would be fine, but we don't really focus on any of the good examples of adoption, and there's the whole brokenkit nonsense, and really, can we stop putting the bad adoptive parents in shadowclan?
anyway, i'm going to say it's not as easy at it seems to go "warriors adoption bad" because there are definitely good examples, and...well, basically, i have given myself permission to chuck out whatever i don't like.
cloudkit and brindleface are, hands down, the best adoption in warriors. they will be my model of adoption moving forward. it's not a well-developed relationship in the eyes of the audience, but what's there is fantastic.
next up would probably be riverclan's adoptions in crookedstar's promise. so that's leopardkit and silverkit. both of them are raised kind of by the clan at large, without particularly strong ties to their adoptive mother, but not in a malicious way.
i think violetkit (and brokenkit, but ugh) are also good examples, just of adoption gone wrong. the fact that they both occur in shadowclan makes me want to find an explanation in the culture.
holly, jay, and lion...i'm mixed on. i hate leafpool's wish with a vengence, and i wish i could scrub it from my memory, but...we're not going to look at them in general because the issue is complicated by questionable story decisions.
twigkit's relationship with lilyheart, similarly, will be disregarded because she doesn't say anything cloudkit and brindleface didn't already say. however, we will look at twigkit and alderpaw.
there are definitely more canon adoptions, those are just the only ones i can remember off the top of my head that had any development. e.g., i think lilykit and brightheart have an adoptive relationship, but it was only mentioned in relationship to twigkit.
critiques and commentary
everytime i outline a post i have the audacity to think i won't be finishing it at 1am.
cloudpaw's grief over brindleface is good.
a lot of stuff is meh.
the handling of the three is bad.
brokenkit bad, everything bad, fuck that book.
violetkit has a good story but i want to explore the reasons why she ended up in that situation and that's for another post.
leafpool and squirrelflight
alright. i waited a whole like, 9 hours to write this part so i could be a little more sane but then forgot i have a midterm in two hours so this is procrastinate lord save my soul.
leafpool and squirrelflight, vis-à-vis leafpool's wish, suck so much i can't even ignore it.
if you haven't read leafpool's wish, i strongly urge you to consider just skipping it. it's not worth it. what's good about it is so small. i'll give you the best part for free: squirrelflight calls the kits "poppet." and that's just so adorable i can't.
i don't have anything against this "you lied to us" arc, and it makes sense, more or less, with jayfeather and hollyleaf's characters. (lionblaze, who doesn't really have a character, doesn't matter.)
i very strongly feel that this isn't as "warriors says adoption bad" as it seems. a lot of the surrounding material focus on lionblaze and jayfeather rebuilding their connections, with both leafpool and squirrelflight. brambleclaw/star is quick to affirm they are his sons.
if we ignore leafpool's wish, then this is actually a good arc. i don't think we can fault the three for rejecting squirrelflight. it's actually a pretty understandable reaction. they were, after all, lied to for their entire lives, and they're the product of a very dishonorable relationship.
talking about the first/strongest human comparison that came to mind would 100% break my "pg-13ish" rule, but you know, use some empathy. imagine your mother told you that no, actually, you're not her child, you're her sister's child, who gave you up to not wreck her career.
it's not your mom's fault, of course, but you'd be understandable angry at her.
why i hate leafpool's wish so much is because it really hurts that arc, despite happening before it.
the way everything is set up, the way the kits just forget leafpool in like two seconds, the way leafpool is like "whelp...i love em but time to move on..." all of that really undercuts the oomph factor of the po3 arc.
i always had this imagine of leafpool kitting alone, squirrelflight finding her and the kits, and them hashing out a plan. Leafpool struggles to say goodbye, wrestling her desire as a mother, and Squirrelflight struggles with lying to the kits, and everything works out, but they all know it's going to crumble eventually.
and i just think, storywise, that works a lot better.
so ig what i'm saying is, leafpool's wish sucks. and i'm probably going to be saying that a lot for a while.
i didn't end up talking about very much here, whoops.
uh, i was supposed to talk about protective instincts, but i decided a while ago that it basically works for plot convienence.
realistically, a queen needs to have a young litter or be very close to the queen in order to have the proxy instincts kick in.
in my squilf & leaf stuff, i always kind of imagine squirrelflight is as pushy as leafpool when it comes to leaving camp, carrying for the kits, etc. like, she probably sneaks leafpool as much prey as she can and is very anxious about kitting inside camp.
squirrelflight and leafpool already have a very close bond, it only feels natural.
and in, say, ashes, that's basically exactly what happens. it's squirrelflight who doesn't want to take the kits back right away, because she's worried, not leafpool.
i really meant to focus on this, but i kind of...don't have a lot to say and would rather critique the canon presentation of it.
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warriors genetics one: flamepaw, finchpaw, and flickerkit
so. why start with them?
simple. they’re the newest members of the firestar line.
also, sparkpelt, bb, you don’t need to keep going with the fire thing. it’s okay. we all know.
so the way this works is, we’re going to assume that flamepaw and flickerkit have the most correct descriptions. we will work out their genotypes while leaving as much flexibility as possible, but assume that they are, generally, correct.
then, we’ll conclude what we need to about sparkpelt and larksong. who are, fun fact, distant relatives through nutmeg. luckily that’s far enough away that most people wouldn’t consider them related. i mean, i didn’t know until i saw a piece of “trivia” that larkson has kittypet blood.
we're starting with flickerkit, because toms are easier (only one X chromosome), and because flamepaw is apparently black and i hate that.
flickerkit is an "orange and black" tom. credit where credit is due, flickerkit can't be a tortie...but they just described a tortie.
so, i'm honestly pretty much okay with that.
in humans, klinefelter's syndrome does result in a significantly higher rate of miscarriages, and i can assume it would be fairly similar for cats.
so, nice job! that was easy. my job here is done. flicker kit is XXoY, and none of the rest of his genes matter. because that's the smallest description of him to fit his phenotype.
presumably, he got one X chromosome from sparkpelt and the other from larksong, but until i get to them, i'm literally ignoring their existence. we can derive some info about them at the end (hi flamepaw), but until then, that's what we've got. nothing about tabbies, markings, etc.
since he's specifically "orange and black," he's not dilute, so that's D-, but i'll leave his tabby/lackthereof open to interpretation, because it's...well it's not always obvious on kits. similarly, he's got no albino, black on that locus, and probably some other stuff i'm forgetting that's all dominant. i'll backfill it in if it becomes relevant.
the only other thing is that, with the exception of the cute lil white paw thing, all other white in cats is dominant. so he has to have, very specifically, ww or wwg (w-) on his W (white) allele. this will probably be relevant because tracking white in cats/warriors is one of the things that goes wrong the most in my experience (that's not an obvious problem, like an abudance of fertile, tortie toms), but for now, it's not important.
so, those couple of extra considerations taken in, we have:
a black tom. black is tricky because it's a very simple color which means it does hide a lot, but that's why we're working backwards.
so, black. he's not a tabby, so he has aa (non agouti) for his A (agouti) locus, and he has B- on his eumelanin locus (the one that determines black pigment.)
like flickerkit, there are a few extraneous pieces of information re whitespotting, dilute, albino, that i'm going to fill in now.
she's exclusively described as tortoiseshell. i'm going to take the broadest understanding of that, which is she's black and orange (possibly dilute), with little to no white (so at best, she's Wsw or Wswg — Ws is a white spotting gene, we'll see it a lot in other families). she could be tabby, dilute, etc. she's probably not pointed, but i won't rule out sepia.
this one is a little harder to write nicely, but we have (with the understanding that she can't have W- or WsWs, nor can she have c(s)c(s)):
since flamepaw is black, sparkpelt must have the X chromosome, since he got it from her. she can be tortie, and larksong could have either, we don't need to force either of those for now.
one or both of them have the B- genotype, D- genotype, and C- genotype. they both are at least carriers of w (although one could carry wg instead) and a.
alright, that's all we know for now. these three are all fine the way they look, sparkpelt is going to be fun, et voila.
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