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Author Topic: The Ideal Starclan  (Read 1450 times)

Offline Darkforestwarrior

The Ideal Starclan
« on: June 19, 2016, 07:47:07 PM »
I've been wanting to make this topic for a good while but wasn't really sure what to write for the opening post, so I'll be keeping it simple. Starclan is something a lot of fans seem to have their complaints about, but I am curious to know specifically what everyone thinks would make for an "ideal" Starclan.

Should they have more power? Less power? How about sending signs? How much do they know? And anything else you can think of, of course. I am curious about what people think would be the best way to handle this! (I have my own ideas too but to keep this post short I'll write a separate post about them)

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Offline Rabbit

Re: The Ideal Starclan
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2016, 06:46:09 PM »
I think maybe less power and limited ability to see in to the future.

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Re: The Ideal Starclan
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2016, 07:47:23 PM »
Personally, I don't think they should be able to do anything. Most of the cats in the series (with the few notable exceptions- Cloudtail, Mothwing, Sleekpaw, to name three) rely on StarClan to give them the answers to everything, and it annoys the everliving daylights out of me. These characters act so helpless and lost whenever StarClan can't "guide them", and they treat StarClan like this perfect and shining light. StarClan has made mistakes before, and the fact that these dead cats are still given the utmost authority just really makes me want to throw a book.

Sol's line in Long Shadows is one I fully agree with. The StarClan cats are dead, and they really should not have anywhere near as much power over the living as they do. Added to the fact that a cat just becomes this omnipotent know-it-all once they die is another thing that I wish wouldn't happen. They shouldn't know any more than they did when they were alive, imo. Getting vague prophecies or something along those lines doesn't make much sense either. If danger is coming, why are they unable to just tell the living cats that, instead of being cryptic and hard to understand?

To me, the ideal StarClan is one that stays out of the business of the living cats and lets them do what they think is right, not what some dead cats in the skies think could possibly be the best solution.

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Offline Darkforestwarrior

Re: The Ideal Starclan
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2016, 08:31:02 PM »
Both of you feel exactly the same as I do, honestly haha

For me, I think the one "magical" sort of power that Starclan should have is the ability to grant leaders nine lives. Other than that, I personally think they shouldn't be able to physically grant signs in the real world, nor do I think they should be able to see into the future. Like at all. I'm really not sure why they get that ability, and the nine lives thing to me can make some amount of sense because they are essentially passing the essence of their lives onto a living cat, whereas there is just no reasoning they can see into the future other than them just being magical.

I would be ok with Starclan having the ability to appear in dreams of cats as well, maybe. As long as they don't have any ability other than perhaps the ability to speak.

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Offline hyperadam

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Re: The Ideal Starclan
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2016, 11:38:38 AM »
I kind of agree with the consensus here too, but although I don't think StarClan should be all-powerful they should have some degree of power, such as granting nine lives and prophecies, but for the most part don't have any influence on the real world.

I just really like the idea of StarClan overselling their influence to try and keep some kind of order among the living cats, but when it comes down to it they can't really do anything about more serious threats. I see them as trying to be well-meaning spirits that guide the Clans down the right path, but the reality is their is meddling often ineffectual. Stories about characters that feel forsaken by some higher power, and eventually learn that they have to rely on themselves are more interesting than conflicts that are resolved by Deus Ex Machina.

Offline Jayfeather

Re: The Ideal Starclan
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2016, 11:35:03 PM »
The best iteration of StarClan in my opinion was how it appeared in the original series. It wasn't blatantly just another life after death, the exact same as the living world, but instead was this... mystical and mysterious place that subtly guided mainly medicine cats, which would be similar as a human religious figure. They didn't interact that strongly, unlike the later books that made them a strong physical force.
The main complaint I have is that they can die yet again while in StarClan, as I feel this completely voids the point of StarClan in the first place and makes its existence pointless.

Offline Darkforestwarrior

Re: The Ideal Starclan
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2016, 03:03:44 AM »
I kind of agree with the consensus here too, but although I don't think StarClan should be all-powerful they should have some degree of power, such as granting nine lives and prophecies, but for the most part don't have any influence on the real world.

I just really like the idea of StarClan overselling their influence to try and keep some kind of order among the living cats, but when it comes down to it they can't really do anything about more serious threats. I see them as trying to be well-meaning spirits that guide the Clans down the right path, but the reality is their is meddling often ineffectual. Stories about characters that feel forsaken by some higher power, and eventually learn that they have to rely on themselves are more interesting than conflicts that are resolved by Deus Ex Machina.
I definitely agree that Starclan having the ability to grant some prophecies is okay (and let's face it, an important part of the story's premise!), but it does raise interesting questions. What is important enough to warrant a prophecy? How much does Starclan know? Why do they only talk in riddles if a prophecy is extremely important? Or is everything set in time, and prophecies are sort of self-fulfilling?

We don't really have a good answer to any of these questions and to me it just seems best that they don't interfere too much. As you put it, meddling, which they seem to do too often sometimes. I do like your take on it though, and agree that kind of story makes for a far more interesting tale.

The best iteration of StarClan in my opinion was how it appeared in the original series. It wasn't blatantly just another life after death, the exact same as the living world, but instead was this... mystical and mysterious place that subtly guided mainly medicine cats, which would be similar as a human religious figure. They didn't interact that strongly, unlike the later books that made them a strong physical force.
The main complaint I have is that they can die yet again while in StarClan, as I feel this completely voids the point of StarClan in the first place and makes its existence pointless.

Yeah I agree the first series was definitely the best version of Starclan, they weren't too overpowered and only showed up on occasion, and all the main action took place among the living characters.

Them dying in Starclan bothers me too (being killed by Dark Forest cats and all), but I guess I can accept them very gradually fading out of existence...it's like they can finally be at peace and that's nice because current Starclan just seems like a continuation of their lives, just much much easier.

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Offline hyperadam

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Re: The Ideal Starclan
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2016, 12:27:08 PM »
Them dying in Starclan bothers me too (being killed by Dark Forest cats and all), but I guess I can accept them very gradually fading out of existence...it's like they can finally be at peace and that's nice because current Starclan just seems like a continuation of their lives, just much much easier.
I actually really liked the idea of StarClan cats fading when no one is around to remember them anymore. The whole concept of StarClan is cats that have died staying behind to watch over their descendants, so it just makes sense for them to fade away to be at peace when the cats they watch over no longer need them.

One of my favourite parts of Firestar's Quest was that one old cat (I can't remember his name right now...) who tried his best to keep SkyClan's traditions alive long after the Clan itself had died out, and because he kept the idea of StarClan alive until Firestar came along they were able to properly rebuild the Clan. I thought that was a very touching little story-line.

Offline amberstripe

Re: The Ideal Starclan
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2016, 06:11:42 PM »
I. I've thought a lot about StarClan, sorry if this goes long.
Honestly, I think StarClan as it is in the books could be good, if the concepts were handled better. I see their future powers as something like Garnet/Sapphire's Future Vision in Steven Universe- if you don't watch the series, basically the power means they can see the future in near infinite iterations, and see what things are likely to happen or unlikely to happen if a certain person does or doesn't do something. Basically, seeing what's possible in the future and being able to predict some, or guide other things towards a probable good future.
Another series that has entities like this is DMFA, a webcomic. They have Phoenix oracles that can see all possible futures in this way as well-- and thus when people come to ask them advice, give very vague answers, to guide the people to basically, better probabilities of finding their answers, since they can't just tell them exactly what will happen- anything could happen, it's just probabilities.
That series also has something happening to the oracle's abilities in the current timeline that messes with it- called a void event. Basically, something more powerful than them is clouding out a point of time in the future from their sight- as that time gets closer, their predictions get less accurate, since they can't see into the void event itself.

I think what happened with StarClan in the third and fourth series, where people usually complain that they stopped being mysterious and started being mundane and not able to do things they used to be able to, was the authors were trying to depict something like a void event. The Power of Three prophecy wasn't from them, and they couldn't see what would happen at the end of the fourth series, or what would happen after it, so their power of foretelling wore thin and their ability to see the clans wore down as well, as mentioned in the books themselves.
There's also good hints to their version of foresight being like the examples I described- I seem to recall one of the leader ceremonies (brokenstar or tigerstar's?) they warn the new leader that they could bring their clan to greatness or ruin depending on their choices- meaning starclan has some ability to see alternate futures.

I honestly like StarClan with these powers- I just wish the later series wrote the crisis in StarClan better, or didn't have it, because while I like them having the power of foreseeing various futures, and trying to push the clans towards a better future with their prophecies, the mystery and degree of separation they had from the viewer made them seem more awesome or worthy of respect- whereas in later series they seemed just like normal cats, bickering in the sky. Which is sorta uninteresting to read about, and feels a bit disappointing.

Especially it annoyed me when they depicted in the latest book Firestar recieving a prophecy from another cat- where are the prophecies even supposed to be coming from? Depict Firestar having a vision of the possible futures or something, that would be way cooler.
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Offline Darkforestwarrior

Re: The Ideal Starclan
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2016, 08:46:58 AM »
That's actually a really good interpretation of how a sort of "future vision" could work, I really like it! Make it consistent and that would definitely be a solid Starclan power. Void Events is also a nice way to limit power (and adds intrigue/plot possibilities, of course)

Adding another thing because I just thought of it- I don't like when it's implied that Starclan sends actual physical signs of things? Spoilers for Moth Flight's vision
(click to show/hide)

That's the biggest example I can think of, but I'm sure there are other instances of this that I'm forgetting. It's not as common at least.

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Offline amberstripe

Re: The Ideal Starclan
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2016, 11:55:33 AM »
There was also the Fire & Tiger prophecy in the beginning of TNP! Where Cinderpelt and Leafpool saw literal fire, though since it didn't actually burn anything I guess it was more a vision than a physical sign. The medicine cats sure act like physical signs happen- both Hawkfrost using a Moth's Wing to get his sister to be a medicine cat and Jaggedtooth (i think?) pulling a claw to make Tigerstar shadowclan's leader were accepted as StarClan signs without question
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Offline Spellmaster

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Re: The Ideal Starclan
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2016, 10:11:37 PM »
I don't have Strong Opinions about starclan, but I've been thinking about this a lot
and having a lot of trouble coming to a real conclusion so I hope this makes sense :P

my initial thought was similar to what dfw said about the questions their powers raise, because I'm not sure how consistent they are, or at least come off as? which I kind of understand, given how the story has evolved - they started out as more belief than fact, but have appeared more and more until we could confirm that they're real (eliminating the mystery), and also not all-powerful (eliminating the awe). so for people who enjoyed them as a vague mysterious belief system, that change alone isn't appealing

but more than that, it might have left starclan in this middle ground where they sometimes can/do and sometimes can't/won't help the living cats, and without set rules about what they can/are allowed to do, it's easy to feel like they're being used just to fix things or screw stuff up, which of course comes off as cheap. uncertainty about how much power they really have can easily lead to dissatisfaction with what they do - if they CAN help but don't that's cruel, if they can't help but won't go away that's obnoxious, etc.

so I guess what I'm saying is, the authors may have been better off picking a direction and sticking with it - making starclan relevant characters governed by clear rules, or mysterious ancestors who don't get very involved, but not both.

either way, I do lean toward them having some power over no power, because the whole point of starclan is that they're supposed to guide the living cats, and if done right that's fine. the religion/faith of the clans is that they believe their ancestors are watching over them and sending them signs to help them, so if starclan didn't know anything they'd be functionally useless. which, as has been said, would make for an interesting story, having the clans' beliefs turn out to be completely untrue, but probably one beyond the scope of what the authors are going for here

but also, it's occurring to me now that starclan as we usually see it isn't necessarily one unified body? it's made up of lots of cats who may have different personalities and experiences and ideas about what's "right," and iirc when "starclan" is involved it's mostly just a few characters speaking for them, which makes me wonder if the bigger problem isn't what starclan can or can't do, but simply these starclan cats leading the living cats around. prophecies are one thing, but dead characters getting involved for personal reasons can quickly start to feel less like guidance and more like interference. so regardless of how powerful starclan is, maybe it's really an issue with life and the afterlife not being separate enough, and the dead not moving on?

Offline Darkforestwarrior

Re: The Ideal Starclan
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2016, 01:15:28 AM »
Yeah that I think is the major concern, is the consistency

As for the cats who actually do things, well personally I've always imagined that Starclan has a sort of "council" of cats who had a lot of influence (leaders, deputies, and whatnot) who do the decision making, with the rest of the cats in Starclan having less influence (or maybe some of them don't care? Which would make for some interesting plot) Also it seems medicine cats pretty much always have some sort of influence, especially towards the current living medicine cats. Would be interesting to see any of this more explained or expanded upon because we really don't know what sort of system they have going on!

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Re: The Ideal Starclan
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2016, 02:03:25 AM »
Yeah that I think is the major concern, is the consistency

As for the cats who actually do things, well personally I've always imagined that Starclan has a sort of "council" of cats who had a lot of influence (leaders, deputies, and whatnot) who do the decision making, with the rest of the cats in Starclan having less influence (or maybe some of them don't care? Which would make for some interesting plot) Also it seems medicine cats pretty much always have some sort of influence, especially towards the current living medicine cats. Would be interesting to see any of this more explained or expanded upon because we really don't know what sort of system they have going on!
Yep. Sounds cool!
I've imagined there is also different StarClans, like if a kittypet dies there'd be a place with fluffy pillows and strokes and naps and toys. If a loner dies, they can be in their own territory. Clan territories are blocked by a wall of mist but if authorised by a cat in the "Council" they can walk through the barrier. By the council deciding authorisation, they'd have an analysis and talk about what happened in their life and if this cat would be a danger. Then there would be a vote. By a vote, I guess the council would use rocks and put a stick in the middle and the cats would put their rocks on the side where you support or not support them coming in. (like how Greeks voted, actually. They used beans. White beans for support, brown for against. Put in a bag then counted after Greek "assemblies", which every free person had the right to attend.) Or going to one side or the other, like the tribe did in
(click to show/hide)
Spoilers for Po3 Book 3.
I think that that's what they did in Tallstar's Revenge manga. I also think Ravenpaw would do this with Barley often, assuming Barley is dead. In fact, I bet just a little bit after RF Barley died.
Maybe there'd be different levels of councils. Like, say, a lower council, middle council and upper council. Or maybe Clan councils then an InterClan Council. InterClan councils would have really important people, like Yellowfang, Bluestar, Firestar, Tallstar, Cinderpelt, etc etc etc. so important they can't be in just their own council.
Look at me, just building up on an idea and not really talking about the main idea established by the OP. Great.
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Offline Darkforestwarrior

Re: The Ideal Starclan
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2016, 08:58:51 PM »
I think it's pretty much canon that there are different StarClans, because the StarClan cats had to travel to get to the new lake territories, and it's also confirmed that the tribe has a different set of ancestors. I don't know if there would be a physical barrier between clans though.....I think cats sort of just stick together because it would be dangerous to go off anywhere else. Also it's confirmed (?kinda?) cats can go directly into the Dark Forest (but not the other way around? idk that part's not very clear to me)

But yeah. There are almost certainly different StarClans or groups of cat ancestors. Also voting for things makes sense to me too, it seems like something they would do.

And don't worry, you're not off topic, it's perfectly within reason to talk about slightly different things because we're still discussing how it functions!  :wink:

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