Major spoilers for New Prophecy and beyond (Just the plot pertaining to Firestar's kits) in this blog.
Alrighty, I've touched on Squirrelflight before, and I thought I'd like to elaborate on my opinion of her and her sister and get the opinions of others. And I'd like to point out right here and now that I like both of these cats, if only because they provide interesting conflicts and are fascinating to read about.
I'll start off with listing their wrong-doings for consideration.
Leafpool's gotten away with a lot. She seemed to be an ideal medicine cat apprentice: she learned quickly, she received and interpreted signs from StarClan with greater ease than even Cinderpelt could, and she was completely dedicated to her Clan and the Warrior Code. Her telepathic link with her sister only helped her to help her Clan even more. But then she met Crowfeather, and it all went down from there.
For a cat she'd barely shared a few words with, she abandoned not only her Clan, but all the Clans, and took a mate. These two interacted with each other three times before deciding that they loved each other: once, when Crowfeather just snapped at Leafpool rudely, once in Crowfeather's dream when Leafpool told him to get over his dead girlfriend, and once when Crowfeather, after dallying about long enough that Leafpool could have easily died anyway, saved Leafpool's from falling into the gorge (which, I might point out, probably wound not have killed her as it did not kill Squirrelflight or Jaykit when it happened to them). These two mated out of pure lust and, on Leafpool's part at least, rebellion.
However, in Leafpool's defense, she did go through what many young adults do. She was stupid and acted out of lust, getting herself knocked up in the process. It, sadly, happens to a good chunk of the population. However, had Leafpool admitted the truth and left her post as medicine cat as soon as she discovered her pregnancy, she would have saved the Clan, along her kits, a lot of grief.
Then there's Squirrelflight:
I've already discussed what she did wrong by Brambleclaw in my other blog, so I won't go repeating what I've already ranted about. However, Squirrelflight didn't just lie to Brambleclaw. She lied to her Clan, right along with her sister. However, I must concede that Squirrelflight was acting out of worry for her sister, and was a good mother to Hollyleaf, Jayfeather, and Lionblaze.
How much pain a little honesty could have saved...
It's been about a year since the lies were unfolded, but has the Clan forgiven the two?
I'd say no, personally. Both cats have earned the animosity of their former mates and the three kits whose origins they hid. Leafpool has lost her place as Medicine cat (though, knowing Erin Hunter, I don't see this sticking).
However, I see many crying out against those that would criticize Firestar's kits, saying that they've "been through enough." Looking back at every punishment ever dealt, though, I was surprised at how little punishment these two received. Leafpool voluntarily left her position as medicine cat, and I'm willing to bet she'd be allowed to take her position back up if she wanted. Besides her self-induced exile from medicine, she'd received no formal punishment when other cats (Mothflight for instance) have been exiled for far less. Squirrelflight has also received no official punishment for her blatant lies whatsoever.
They aren't being punished, their actions have only been accepted by their Clan. No cat has treated them differently save for their mates and kits/foster kits. Being the daughters of the current Clan leader must have its perks, after all.
In conclusion, I say that these two can never be completely forgiven, but it's not like they've been exiled or are even being looked down on in their Clan. They've been through enough? Everyone goes through something in their lives, everyone does something stupid they regret and have to live with for a time. The fact that what these two did was exceptionally stupid just means that they're going to have to live with it for an even longer period of time. Frankly, I think these two deserve any derision they might receive from their Clanmates.
I welcome all discussion on this topic. Does anyone think these two deserve formal punishment for what they did? Should they just be forced to go on with their lives knowing that they did horrible things that hurt their loved ones and themselves? Or should everyone just move on and forget it all ever happened and live all happy and together as a big family?