may i ask why u fell out of shipping squirrel/bramble? i dont particularly like it much myself (anymore) either.
That’s a bit of a long-winded answer, and I’ll go ahead and apologize ahead for the length, and if I remember things wrong I haven’t opened any of these books in some years now so most of what I remember is either pretty vague, or been updated by reading up on the wikia - and getting rants from my friends of course, they’re my number one source on Warriors-related info these days. xD
So like, I started out REALLY liking the pairing, mainly because I have an immense soft spot for dislike-turned-like relationships, what can I say, I enjoy a good old tug-o-war between reluctant parties.
Unlike most of my fellow fandom at the time (the majority at least) I was a Squirrelpaw fan right from the start. I’m not lying if I say she’s my number one favourite character throughout the series, because she was one of few who had an actual development, and a personality that wasn’t either just lame and flat, or over-the-top dramatic. Either way, her spunk and sass and how she had traits and flaws just really appealed to me.
And I felt the “teenage crush” with her and Brambleclaw was pretty cute, they were contrasts who argued all the time but then learned to say sorry and so made up. And the Erins DID apply every known trick in the book to “sanctify” the couple as © True Love, from arguments to jealousy/rivalry to teary-eyed realizations and apologies. Even though we all realized they were headed for doom again once The Sight was published…
Now here’s my first problem: I DISLIKE Brambleclaw/star. He is, to me, a top ten disliked character of all time. BramblePAW was cute, with how he renounced his father and fought to be seen as himself rather than, what, demonic spawn?? And I honestly thought we were done with this part of his plot development when the second series rolled in, and maaaan was I wrong. This courageous kid is now an angsty young adult who’s for some reason no more over his Tigerstar-relation than he ever was. Who spends the majority of the series forever angsting over this, and going on a journey that builds up SUCH a big ego that he comes back and basically expects to be given deputyship as a form of gratitude even though he has no other endorsements to show for - and to make matters worse, the Erins send him straight into Hawkfrost le coup’s arms and turn him into an antagonist, and still expect us to nod our heads and be jolly when they proceed to “clean his slate” and instate him as a true, “good-hearted” deputy although he was -this- close to killing his leader/mentor/father figure in life. Thank you for the birth of Bramble’s ever-present hypocricy. And it doesn’t go away?? He never comes forward about this, doesn’t even tell Squirrel that unfortunately she was right about Hawkfrost all along and he’s sorry for everything, oh nope he goes on pretending nothing ever happened and Firestar was actually stupid enough to go along with it, and the only glimpses we ever see of this in the third series is when he “hints” to it like some conflicted, “woe-is-me-my-record-isn’t-clean” kind of guy. Bah.
And don’t get me started on post-Sunrise Brambleclaw, that was like upping the ante from angsty to an outright blame fest where everything awful in his life is because of others, and has nothing to do with himself or his actions and attitude whatsoever. Okay fine you can’t look Squirrel in the eye after the lie, but did you really need to reject your foster children in the same breath, and avoid them too like the plague for the following six months?? The Erins never thought to develop him far enough that he actually, you know, learned to see beyond his own nose.
This was the beginning of the end for my time as a SquirrelxBramble fan. Like, I pretended for a good while that the ship wasn’t as tainted become was it was, that things would get better again once he got over himself and realized what an ass he’d been, and she got her apology and they’d try to sew together this mangled relationship… but we never got that, did we?
“I understand” that’s the closest thing to an apology Squirrelflight ever got in the books, and that’s nowhere NEAR enough. More than a year’s worth of rejection, abuse and public humiliation, only to get this. Watching her former mate not only reject her, but reject the children that they raised together, that she hoped he would have loved enough to understand still needed him.
And then the Last Hope ends with no understanding of whether they get back together or not, honestly I thought it was over then since to me, Squirrelflight seemed really fucking tired of it all. Like who wouldn’t be? She even says it’ll never be, outright, to Lionblaze??
But noooo, the Erins see fit to give us the piece of crap they fittingly named Bramblestar’s Storm. And let me tell you, I dislike Bramblestar juuuuuuust as much as his warrior version. First of all they screw with Squirrelflight’s character again, they always did love to throw her under the bus to solidify Bramble’s “niceness.” And then they introduce Jessy and that horrid romantic triangle and I was just about ready to vomit up my innards. What we needed was for Bramble to have the time for some proper insight into his own assholeness, some self-reflection kind of time; not for him to suddenly become all torn over his ex-wife and this new, young and fresh copy of her?? That is NOT helping my growing dislike of SquirrelxBramble just saying - I didn’t feel the “nobleness” in him giving up Jessy to go “back to where he belongs.” It rather felt more like that husband who was thiiiiis close to cheating but decided it wasn’t worth it.
Also, as a romantically unrelated note, was I the ONLY ONE who was worried over Bramblestar’s “I don’t like it when the Clan opposes me” sentence?? Like what, was it a dictator’s seat you thought you’d inherited or something? And people still think he makes a good leader??
So the final note is that these authors have always sought to make Brambleclaw/star to be a better character than he actually is. They never let him admit he’s in the wrong, he never has to face up to his actions, and as a final insult, they grant him, the MALE, the one who’s behaved like an insensible jerk for the longest time, a CHOICE. Whereas Squirrel is left same as always, waiting for him, with no other options than to remain alone. I’m not even going to mention Ashfur that was so badly developed it was obvious they never considered him a choice for her, only a plot point for her relationship with Bramble. But the fact remains that she HAS to settle for him, be happy and overjoyed “yay he still wants me” while Bramble gets to continue to pretend he’s that nice guy with the troubled past, and not the sickening hypocrite he really is.
But then that is hardly news. You’ll notice that when the Erins write, there is one thing that is extremely important to their character creation; their chara MUST be one to be pitied. They have to be troubled, or abused, or burdened by something, so that the -good- that they get in the end, feels deserved. “Oh you poor thing, here have leadership and be merry.” And then you’ll notice which one of Bramble and Squirrel was the one the Erins really pitied. It’s like they always do it - make leeway for their male characters, and step all over the female ones.
So yes, I threw my hands up and walked away from the BramblexSquirrel mess, and I haven’t looked back since. ^^