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River (Leader)

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"Thank you, river, for all you've done for me. If you help me again, one last time, and get me to the bank, I will stay beside you and praise you all my life."
— River to the river in Thunder Rising: Bonus Scene, page 22
River (Leader)
Current: StarClan[1]
Past: RiverClan,[2] Rogue,[3] Cats of the Park,[4] River Ripple's Camp,[5] Loner[6]
Residence: StarClan[1]
Cats of the Park:
Early Settler:
StarClan Resident:
River Ripple,[9] River[3]
River Ripple[5]
River Ripple[6]
River,[2] Riverstar[10]
River, Riverstar[1]
Book Appearances
Living: Secrets of the Clans, Code of the Clans, Thunder Rising, The First Battle, The Blazing Star, The Ultimate Guide
Dead: Long Shadows

River,[11] or Riverstar,[10] is a sleek[12] and silk-furred,[13] stocky,[14] silver-gray tom[10] with rippling stripes, long, thick,[15] soft belly fur,[16] and bright[10] green eyes.[17]


In the Dawn of the Clans Arc

Thunder Rising

River Ripple first appears when Wind, Gorse, Gray Wing, Turtle Tail and Rainswept Flower are eating a pigeon and discussing the tensions between Tall Shadow's camp and Clear Sky's camp. When Gray Wing warns Turtle Tail to remember the tension, River Ripple questions this, sitting in the river. Rainswept Flower asks what cat would do this as River Ripple makes his way over to them. He introduces himself, and Gray Wing asks if he is a rogue. He replies that he has no labels for himself, and that the only thing any cat must know is that he lives near the river. After introducing himself and the others, Gray Wing lets him eat the remains of the pigeon. Turtle Tail comments that she has never seen someone eat as delicately as River Ripple, and Gray Wing agrees. River Ripple says that he is full of surprises and leaves with a flash of his tail. Gray Wing tells everyone back at camp about their meeting with River Ripple and the dogs.
River Ripple later helps the group when the forest catches fire. He encourages Thunder to jump the flames. Despite Tall Shadow telling him not to, Thunder does as he is told and meets the silver cat on the other side. River Ripple introduces himself to the young cat and praises him. After all the cats have gotten through the fire, River Ripple tells Thunder and Jackdaw's Cry to soak themselves again, as there are sparks in their pelts. Thunder thanks him and asks how they should get out.
Gray Wing watches the two converse for a few moments, thinking about Thunder's actions during the fire. He tries to speak, but River Ripple does first, telling him that most cats would be too afraid to jump over fire and would wait too long. Tall Shadow thanks him and formally introduces herself, before asking if he can get them home. River Ripple says that he can, though he needs their trust. Tall Shadow rebukes him when he heads for the stream, telling him that her cats won't be able to swim, and that Jackdaw's Cry and Thunder had no choice in the matter when they went into the water. River Ripple keeps going, and when Thunder says that he is walking on the river, he turns back and explains that he is only walking on stones under the surface.
Gray Wing doesn't want to leave yet, saying that he wants to look for Clear Sky. River Ripple asks him if he believes Clear Sky and his cats can't take care of themselves, and Gray Wing replies that he can. River Ripple returns to him and tells him that he must be strong for the others, as Tall Shadow is struggling. He then says that they must get to safety first before thinking about helping Clear Sky and his cats. Gray Wing agrees, and River Ripple leads the group away. Once they reach the other side, Tall Shadow once again thanks him. River Ripple joins Gray Wing as he calls for his brother, and eventually Clear Sky answers them, still close to the fire.
He helps bring Clear Sky's group across and out of the river. When Tall Shadow offers for him to leave with them to camp, River Ripple refuses, wishing them all the best before leaving them.
Later on, he appears with another cat while Thunder and Clear Sky are on a patrol. Thunder doesn't want to chase the two away, as they owe River Ripple. He and the she-cat follow as Thunder confronts a black tom, who had chased him off a distance. As the other two leave, River Ripple tells Clear Sky that he cannot keep telling other cats what they can and can't do. Clear Sky argues that he can do what he wants, silencing Thunder when he tries to speak. River Ripple encourages him to continue, wanting to hear what he has to say. Clear Sky hisses that his son doesn't have an opinion to share, hurting Thunder. River Ripple sends Thunder a hard glare before leaving. Thunder questions his actions and wonders where River Ripple and the other two cats are.
River Ripple is the focused cat in the bonus scene. The Call of Awakening wakes him up, and he admires his surroundings as the other cats in the Park welcome the day along with him. They all begin to wash, and Ripple recites the order in his head. As he rushes over for his Morning Meal, he finds his mentor, Arc and greets him. Arc brings on a dark mood as he reminds Ripple to thank the sun and earth for their treatment of them, and when Ripple says that he does, he tells him that he should not let it make him soft, as life can be hard for them. After he finishes eating the food Twolegs put out for the cats, Arc tells him it is time for Morning Meditation. He says they will practice hunting later as he enters the meditation position. Ripple copies him, thinking that their good life in the Park will never change.
As Ripple is relaxing, Arc's yowl brings him to attention. Arc panics as Twoleg monsters begin destroying the Park, and Ripple asks what is going on. As the two race through the Park in a panic, Ripple looks all around him, seeing nothing but destruction. They spot several cats, including Dart, Shine, and Arc's sister, Flutter being taken by Twolegs. Arc leads him up onto the wall, but a loud noise from one of the monsters startles Ripple, and he falls into the river. He gets onto a log and tries to lunge for the bank when Arc calls to him, but he is unable to reach it and returns to the log. He watches until Arc and his home vanish out of sight, and the river carries him past Twoleg gardens. He thinks that he might be able to get home once he finds shore, and his life will go back to normal.
When the log runs into Twoleg rubbish, he wonders if he can jump to the shore. He sees multiple Twolegs and, thinking that they may help him, calls out to them. However, instead of helping him, the Twoleg kits make his situation worse by throwing rocks at him. He falls into the water while trying to dodge one rock, and he dislodges the log from the debris and gets back on it. Ripple crouches as he passes by a Thunderpath and under another. Black-and-white animals watch Ripple as he passes by fields on either side of him. Night begins to fall, and Ripple starts to get hungry, thinking that, if he could reach the bank, he could catch a mouse. He spots fish under the surface of the water and thinks about how different it is here.
He tries to catch a fish, but he fails, feeling as though they were mocking him. Eventually the log snags on a stick caught on the riverbank. As Ripple tries to free it, a splash surprises him, and he turns to see brown creatures swimming in the current. After they finish eating a fish, they head for Ripple, seeming angry. He tries to warn them off, but this only angers them more, and he decides that he has to fight them. But the leading one accidentally knocks his log free, taking him away, and the two animals don't try to follow. Ripple thinks of how the creatures he meets try to harm him, and how he is hungry.
Ripple refuses to sleep, fearing that he will fall off his log and drown. He finds several more fish, and he manages to catch one when it lands in front of him. As he eats his prey, he realizes that, just as the sun and earth do, the river has protected him, and he gives thanks out loud before going to sleep. He awakens later on to find that the sun is rising, and he craves its warmth. He remembers that there will be no morning caterwauling, and he wonders what happened to Arc and the others. Despite his wanting for it, the sun gives off no warmth due to being covered by clouds. He hears a distant roar, and he is confused until the log topples down a waterfall.
He struggles to stay on the surface, but the water drags him down constantly. Eventually he finds his bearings and begins to swim, soon coming across a boulder. He climbs up onto it and lays down, falling asleep. He later awakens to the sun's warmth, and he soon spots a mouse. Its closeness to him makes his stomach act up again as he drinks from the river. After several failed attempts, Ripple teaches himself to fish and manages to catch one. He thinks about his old home and admires his surroundings, fighting a decision as to whether not he should try to swim to shore. After remembering the river's help, he thanks it again before swimming across the river to the bank.
He meets a black-and-white she-cat and greets her, asking if she and her group will allow him to stay. She tells him that she has no group, and that the cats there hunt alone. Ripple becomes lonely at the thought of hunting alone, and the she-cat tells him they can hunt together, and she will let him meet her brother. Ripple agrees as she tells him they can give each other tips before asking his name once she gives hers, Night. Looking back at the river and reminiscing on all it had done for him, he realizes he is no longer a Cat of the Park, but a Cat of the River, and tells her his name is River Ripple.

The First Battle

River Ripple approaches Thunder and Jackdaw's Cry, carrying a lizard. The two question why he is here, and he responds that he wants to see how far the fog goes, adding that it has overflowed their camp. Jackdaw's Cry asks if his prey is a gift, and he says that he had caught it earlier, wanting it for later. He offers it to them, but they refuse it. River Ripple comments that it is quiet, and Thunder asks how he can eat the lizard. He replies that he will eat what he can, adding that it isn't much with Clear Sky taking all of the prey. Jackdaw's Cry tells him that they are going to Clear Sky's camp, and the silver tom asks if that's the reason his fur is pricking. Shaking it out, he says that it is just damp. River Ripple questions their motives, and Thunder answers that they are going to confront him over his taking more and more territory.
River Ripple wishes them luck and asks if they really don't want any of the prey. Again they say no, and he stands up, saying that he will use it to attract other prey. Thunder questions this, and he replies that small prey will bring bigger prey. Jackdaw's Cry warns that he has to be careful on the moor with that tactic. As he is leaving, River Ripple tells them to let him know if they get Clear Sky to stop taking land, though he doesn't think he will hear anything of it.
When Lightning Tail falls into the river, River Ripple helps Thunder drag him out. Thunder asks if he is dead, and River Ripple replies that he is not as he pumps out the water. Lightning Tail coughs up the liquid and gets to his paws. River Ripple says that the tom will be fine, and Thunder thanks him, asking what he would have done otherwise. River Ripple replies that he would have had to learn to swim or die trying. Lightning Tail thanks the silver tom as he shakes the water out of his pelt, soaking Thunder. River Ripple purrs that they really don't like being wet, and asks what they do in the rain. They then discuss Turtle Tail's kits, who were taken away by their father. After River Ripple confirms having smelled Turtle Tail and been at Twolegplace, he agrees to help them find the kits and Turtle Tail.
After leading them a ways, River Ripple tells them they are close to Twoleg dens. Thunder tells Lightning Tail that he can go back, but he refuses, as does River Ripple, saying that they will need him if they have not been around Thunderpaths. River Ripple leads them to a gorge between two nests, comforting Thunder on the way. Thunder checks up on Lightning Tail, who confirms that he is fine. Thunder asks if he thinks they came here, and he replies that he has not caught their scents. River Ripple tells them that the way they are going is the way most kittypets use, as it is easiest. Thunder spots a monster and asks if it is one, and River Ripple says that it is asleep.
River Ripple takes them to the monster and says that they must check all the nests along the Thunderpath, and that there are more to search if Turtle Tail and the others are not here. When a Twoleg gets into the monster, River Ripple leads them away in a panic as it comes to life. He says that they should probably keep from monsters. A few moments later, they find Turtle Tail dead on the Thunderpath. River Ripple tells them that a monster had killed her, explaining her claws. Thunder tells Lightning Tail that she is dead, but he refuses to believe it. River Ripple carries her body to the bush outside a nest and asks them to help him get her hidden. Lightning Tail refuses at first, but Thunder helps anyway.
After discussing how to find the kits, River Ripple tells them there is a kittypet named Flower who could help. He leads them to Flower's nest and beckons her out, telling the two to keep out of sight so they don't frighten her. River Ripple explains the situation to her, and she is horrified. She becomes scared as Lightning Tail and Thunder come out of hiding and express their urgency. Flower leads them to a few nests, where she claims Tom lives. She leaves in fear of angering Tom, and they find the nest Tom is keeping the kits in. They can hear the kits' complaints of hunger and Tom's claims that food will come. After lying about Turtle Tail knowing they are here, he tells them to hide when a Twoleg comes.
River Ripple questions why Tom is hiding the kits, and when the Twoleg pours round pellets into a stone, Lightning Tail asks if it is food, and River Ripple says it is and that it tastes horrible. The three prepare to steal the kits, and after a long argument, Lightning Tail takes Thunder back to River Ripple, a plan in mind. He wants to distract the kittypet, and while he tries to figure it out, River Ripple stays silent, grooming his belly. Soon he speaks up, asking why they should make it a choice between parents when it is really between kittypet and the wilderness, adding that it isn't hard to make the kits see that a kittypet is not a good life to live. Lightning Tail agrees as River Ripple goes back to grooming himself.
They agree that he will distract Tom while Thunder and River Ripple talk the kits into leaving. River Ripple agrees to help them, and he and Thunder begin talking to the kits as Lightning Tail distracts Tom. Thunder tells them that he knows Tom will teach them to hunt, and that they will miss the kits. River Ripple asks if the Twolegs will give them different names, like Tom's. Tom wants them to stop, but the kits want to say goodbye. Lightning Tail goes up to the Twoleg when it comes back. River Ripple and Thunder watch on in sheer confusion and bewilderment, questioning Lightning Tail's actions. Tom gets jealous and demands him to stop, but Lightning Tail suggests that they might want him to stay. Thunder tells the kits they will have to let the Twolegs touch them if they stay as well, and they refuse.
Eventually, seeing the true life of a kittypet from their father makes the kits want to back to the moor. River Ripple leads the kits away, planning to take them to the crossing stones. Later on, after the fight with Tom is over, Thunder and Lightning Tail find River Ripple and the kits at the river. River Ripple praises Lightning Tail's bravery as the kits drink from the water, and Lightning Tail returns it. Thunder thanks him as well, and River Ripple says goodbye to the kits before leaving.
Much later, River Ripple arrives when the Great Battle is just ended. He says that he had watched the battle, and Thunder asks why he didn't help. He replies that the battle was not his to share, and asks Clear Sky if leaving the mountains was just to find something to fight over, adding that he brought death upon the forest. Clear Sky argues that he wanted prey for every cat, and River Ripple replies that there will be enough now, looking down at Fircone's body. He says that the battle is done.
When the spirits of the dead cats arrive, River Ripple is seen shaking his head. Turtle Tail thanks him for finding the kits, and he replies that Thunder could have done it alone, just that it would've taken longer. Turtle Tail tells the other cats that River Ripple is more than a rogue, that he has been there long before the mountain cats, and that he has seen a lot of life, enough that he can imagine what he hasn't seen. She then asks him if he imagined their coming, and he asks who would. A few moments later, Storm asks him if he knows their message, and he replies he does. He starts by saying that the fighting has to end, but Clear Sky angrily interrupts him, telling him he is not one of them and does not belong. This comment infuriates Storm and she retorts at Clear Sky angrily. Once the spirits go away, River Ripple asks if the dead walked with them in the mountains. Tall Shadow answers that only Stoneteller saw their ancestors, and he says that maybe they hadn't needed to.

The Blazing Star

Coming Soon

A Forest Divided

In a dream that the founding leaders share with the spirit cats, Clear Sky notices River Ripple pushing his way through the frosty stems, his thick gray pelt turned silver by the moonlight. While Clear Sky is talking with Storm, he gazes around and notices that River Ripple is sharing words with Fox, Petal, and Frost who are crowded around him.
Coming Soon

Path of Stars

Coming Soon

In the Power of Three Arc

Long Shadows

River meets with Shadow, Thunder, and Wind to discuss the loner, Sol, with the badger that helped saved the Clans from destruction, Midnight. River is described as if he was made of rain. River didn't want to come to the meeting in the first place, asking why they are here. He continues to complain about why they should be the ones to discuss the loner.

In the Field Guide Arc

Secrets of the Clans

He is the founder and the first leader of RiverClan, working with Thunder, Wind, Shadow, and presumably Sky, who is not mentioned, to develop the Warrior Code. It is suggested that he is the cat who thinks up a mentoring program for training the apprentices. He is known to be generous and warm-hearted with his own Clan, but not interested in the other Clans' troubles, even skipping Gatherings when possible.

Code of the Clans

River is mentioned briefly, along with Thunder, Wind, Shadow, and Sky, after the great battle at the dawn of the Clans. The spirits of those killed in the battle compel the remaining cats to be at peace. He, along with the other four new leaders, vow to create their Clans and find ways to stop the fighting.

The Ultimate Guide

River Ripple is briefly mentioned on Thunder's page to have helped the cats get to safety when the fire raged through the forest. He is also mentioned on the page shared between Dappled Pelt and Cloud Spots. Dappled Pelt had become good friends with River Ripple and was happy when she found many herbs by the river. She later joined River Ripple and his cats and became RiverClan's first medicine cat.
River Ripple has his own page. He liked being by the river the most. He was a loner when the mountain cats first came and, though he was friendly with them, he preferred his independence and kept alone. The cats were grateful when River Ripple showed them the way to safety through the forest fire. Before the mountain cats arrived to their homes, he was a part of another group. Despite his independence, he followed the role the spirits of dead cats set him to and he became RiverClan's founder. Always willing to offer his wisdom and experience to other cats, River Ripple was the one to introduce the mentoring program. This willing expression of knowledge may have been his best legacy.


  • In an Erin Hunter Chat, Vicky revealed that Thunder, Shadow, River, Sky, and Wind did not take "-star" on the end of their names, because the tradition had not yet been established in their time.[11]
    • This, however, contradicts information in Secrets of the Clans, which shows the founders of the Clans to have the "-star" suffix.[18]
  • When asked if River would be appearing in any of the new books, Kate Cary stated on her Facebook page that River would appear in book three, and that "he establishes RiverClan's fabulousness from the start."[19]
    • However, it is said that he would first appear in Thunder Rising, and the bonus scene would be about his whereabouts prior to his time in the forest.[20]
  • When he was born at the Park, River was named Ripple for the movement of the river water.[21]
  • Kate has expressed an interest in writing more about River Ripple, saying "there's something mysterious and secretive and he’s a lovely character."[22]
  • He was mistakenly called River Rippled.[23]
  • Despite being listed as a leader of his own group in The Blazing Star,[5] he calls himself a loner in the same book.[6]

Character Pixels

Please do not edit this gallery


"There are younger cats than us in StarClan. Why bring us back from the very beginning?"
—River at a discussion about Sol Long Shadows, page 2

"The sun and earth have protected me all my life. Just like the river has taken care of me, over and over again. It gave me a soft landing when I fell from the wall. It carried me away from the danger that was destroying the Park. It saved me from those fierce creatures, it fed me, and now it has brought me to what could be a wonderful new home. Maybe it will help me to get to the bank, if I can just trust it."
—River's thoughts on the river Thunder Rising, page 22 (Bonus Scene)

"They're not buried beneath the earth; they are running with the stars."
—River Ripple, talking to Gray Wing The Blazing Star, page 24

"I'll do anything I have to. That kittypet has caused nothing but grief. He deserves some grief of his own."
—River Ripple about Tom The First Battle, page 198

"Who would I have helped? This battle was not mine. Why did you leave the mountains? Did you need something to fight over so badly? Before you came, we hunted and slept and lay in the sun. We fought over prey, but no cat ever killed another. You brought death here."
—River Ripple to Clear Sky The First Battle, page 275

"You think of River Ripple as just a rogue. But he is more than that. He has an old soul. He walked this land before the mountain cats arrived. He has seen more of life than you think--and what he hasn't seen, he has the power to imagine."
—Turtle Tail to the cats about River Ripple The First Battle, page 281

"They must see that peace and sharing and honor are good for the group, and that what's good for the group is good for the individual. We find trust in trusting, and learn kindness by being kind."
—River Ripple Path of Stars, page Chapter 17

References and Citations

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Revealed in Long Shadows, page 2
  2. 2.0 2.1 Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 51
  3. 3.0 3.1 Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 4
  4. Revealed in Thunder Rising: Bonus Scene, page 6
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Revealed in The Blazing Star, allegiances
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Revealed in The Blazing Star, page 23
  7. Revealed in Thunder Rising: Bonus Scene, page 6
  8. Revealed in Thunder Rising: Bonus Scene, page 1
  9. Revealed in The Ultimate Guide, page 187
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 52
  11. 11.0 11.1 Revealed in Erin Hunter Chat 6
  12. Revealed in The First Battle, page 88
  13. Revealed in The Blazing Star, page Chapter 14
  14. Revealed in Path of Stars, page 126
  15. Revealed in The Blazing Star, page 116
  16. Revealed in Thunder Rising: Bonus Scene, page 4
  17. Revealed in Long Shadows, page 1
  18. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 54
  19. Revealed on Kate's Facebook
  20. Revealed on The Warriors Official Forum
  21. Revealed in Thunder Rising: Bonus Scene, page 6
  22. Revealed on Kate's blog
  23. Revealed in A Forest Divided, page 209

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