"Darkness we saw born like littermate alongside the light. Now all must stand and fight."
—Midnight, The Last Hope
"It's Tigerstar's destiny to destroy us all. It's my destiny to stop him."
—Jayfeather, The Last Hope
Why is this series so popular? Part of it is definitely the high degree of PURE UNDILUTED AWESOME it offers.
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The Original Series
In Into The Wild, Rusty defeating Graypaw, who was much stronger and more experienced than him by using his I surrender suckers tactic! He showed how badass he would be from the first chapter!
Later, when Tigerclaw flees from the Moonstone in terror, Firepaw just sits around wondering why he was so scared.
When Yellowfang, the injured, old, and out of practice she-cat takes on Blackfoot, ShadowClan's deputy and rips him a new one. This was so awesome, it got Yellowfang formally admitted to ThunderClan!
Yellowfang's fight with Brokenstar at the end. Not only does she hold her own, just when it looks like she might lose, Firepaw jumps in to save her. They then defeat Brokenstar and drive him out of ShadowClan.
In Fire and Ice, when Fireheart figures out Brokenstar's gambit to get rid of all the warriors and then attack, how does he respond? By gathering up all the apprentices and elders so that they can beat defeat Brokenstar.
All four clans going to battle! Especially Tigerclaw's fight with Crookedstar and when Fireheart and Runningwind fight Nightstar!
In Forest Of Secrets when Tigerclaw is raging about Graystripe's kits Cinderpaw tells him to shut up and lick one so it will survive. He does.
And when Yellowfang feeds her own son deathberries so that he won't be able to threaten the forest anymore!
The ending of Rising Storm features a massive villainous one. All hail Tigerstar!
Cinderpelt healing Littlecloud and Whitethroat despite the possibility of punishment.
The end of A Dangerous Path, in which Bluestar sacrifices herself to save Fireheart from the Pack Leader, then uses her dying breath to tell him that he is the fire that will save the Clans.
The Darkest Hour
The Darkest Hour has its own folder because it's just that awesome. Behold the awesome moments!
Warrior Cats deserves a mention here, particularly this bit from The Darkest Hour: Stonefur has the audacity to defy Tigerstar himself when surrounded by nearly two full Clans of Tigerstar's supporters. Ordered to prove his loyalty by murdering his own apprentice, he instead challenges Tigerstar to kill him. Darkstripe attacks on Tigerstar's orders, but Stonefur, who, it should be pointed out, is starving and greatly weakened, defeats the well-fed and rested warrior in combat, and is only killed when the strongest warrior on Tigerstar's side steps in to help.
The Darkest Hour contained a lot of these, from Bramblepaw publicly announcing that he would rather die than join his tyrannical father, to Firestar fulfilling his prophecy and defeating Scourge, the cat that killed Tigerstar nine times with one blow... after already having died at Scourge's claws.
Scourge: "How!? I killed you!"
Firestar: "You did. But I am a leader with nine lives who fights alongside StarClan. Can you say as much?"
Scourge gets a CMOA when he rips out ALL NINE OF TIGERSTAR'S LIVES AT ONCE, and followed with this in the Rise of Scourge manga: "My littermates said I was too small... too weak. But I've proven them wrong. I've learned how to be strong...how to live for blood. Because that's the key. The only answer. I am leader of BloodClan. I am Scourge. AND I HAVE WON!"
Tallstar refusing Tigerstar's offer in the Darkest Hour.
Tigerstar: "Tallstar, I understand. These are important matters, and an older cat like yourself will need time to see that what I'm suggesting is for the good of all our Clans."
Tallstar: "I'm not so old that I've lost my wits, you piece of fox dung!"
Graystripe's deputy ceremony on the field of battle.
Morningflower kicking BloodClan's ass.
Morningflower: " Gorsepaw! Gorsepaw! Gorsepaw!"
The New Prophecy
Feathertail kills a mountain lion with a stalactite.
To be more specific, she impaled it with the stalactite.
Cinderpelt's defense of the nursery during the badger attack is pretty awesome as well. Cinderpelt is a medicine cat, although trained in basic self-defense, she's not expected to do any actual fighting. On top of that, she's crippled by a twisted hind leg. Yet when the badgers invade ThunderClan and move in on the nursery, she barricades the entrance with herself and fights them off. She dies in doing so, but StarClan rewarded her with a second chance of life, and reincarnated her as her own niece.
Tawnypelt gets hers when she rejects Tigerstar's offer to gain power, saying she'll gain respect and power her own way.
Power Of Three
Pretty much every scene with Sol is a Crowning Moment of Awesome. Like Jayfeather getting Mind Raped when he detected his presence, how unbelievably calm and composed he is all the time, his deep, hypnotic voice, and this exchange:
Firestar: "Then why are you here?"
Sol: "I came because it was time."
Spiderleg: "Time for what?"
Sol: "Time to come."
And let's not forget how he predicted a total solar eclipse and, knowing it would scare everyone shitless, used it as an elaborate metaphor to (sort of) explain his motives.
This troper firmly believes that he specifically convinced WindClan to launch their attack on ThunderClan so that his predicted solar eclipse would occur right in the middle of the battle and allow everyone to start taking him seriously (and it certainly works, in ShadowClan's case). This would also explain why the attack had no clear motive: can you imagine Onestar justifying himself with "Well, Sol thought it would be a good idea"?
Sol is capable of making the already confusing plot even more confusing in a single sentence:
Sol: "Are you sure you have found the three?"
And in Sunrise, when a ThunderClan patrol comes to take him prisoner, not only does he figure out exactly why they are after him in a matter of seconds, but him calmly agrees to go, offerring no resistance:
Sol: "You don't need to put me under guard, you know, I'm not going to run away."
And when he forms his own Clan and later teaches them to fight just so they can fight off some dogs. When they eventually fight the dogs, most of the cats get ripped apart. Not only does he not help at all, but he calmly strolls in later and tells the survivors that it was their fault for wanting to fight, and then tells them to get him some food.
Lionblaze in the battle at the end of Outcast. He comes out absolutely covered in blood, and none of it is his.
At the beginning of Sunrise:
Tigerstar: *Lionblaze's claws held at his throat* "You'll never do it."
Jayfeather when he leads his siblings in faking a sign from StarClan to restore Blackstar's faith after he'd been led astray by Sol... and then the "fake" sign gets hijacked by StarClan and turns into a real sign. From this, Blackstar's faith is renewed, he drives out Sol, and ShadowClan as a whole is saved from falling apart.
Not just the idea of the fake sign, but the sign itself. As Hollyleaf said: "Only Jaypaw would have thought of digging up trees as a message from StarClan."
Even Leafpool (probably the last cat you would expect) gets one at the end of Sunrise when Hollyleaf tries to kill her, and she asks her whether it would be easier for her to die or go on living. The answer is obvious enough to Hollyleaf, and she lets her go.
Omen Of The Stars
The destruction of the beaver dam in The Fourth Apprentice. Special mention goes to the fact that the team was helped by kittypets!
In The Fourth Apprentice Breezepelt attacks Jayfeather with Brokentail helping him! Jayfeather manages to hold his own until freaking Honeyfern pulls a Big Damn Heroes moment and saves him!
Regardless on whether or not Jayfeather's treatment of Leafpool in Omen of the Stars is incredibly selfish and petty, but Squirrelflight calling him out on it in an undeniable crowner for her:
Jayfeather teaching himself to swim in a few moments.
From the prologue of The Forgotten Warrior:
Sol: "I have returned. Let vengeance begin."
In The Forgotten Warrior, Sol does not disappoint. He goes from the prisoner of a clan who absolutely hates him to an honoured guest in one chapter.
Ivypool's rematch with Antpelt inThe Forgotten Warrior. Not only was her Heroic Resolve amazing, it finally proved that Dark Forest warriors could be killed, and got her accepted as a warrior of the Dark Forest. A major victory for the good guys.
In The Forgotten Warrior, after Hollyleaf saves Dovewing and Ivypool, she tries to return to the tunnels so that they won't take her back to ThunderClan. All of a sudden, Lionblaze shows up and spouts this awesome line.
Lionblaze: "Hollyleaf, I won't let you run away again!"
The Last Hope has several moments, including:
In the prologue, the cats of StarClan are squabbling as usual, only this time they are with the Tribe of Endless Hunting. Then Rock and Midnight show up, and it's revealed that all the prophecies come from the reflection of the first sunrise at the dawn of time in the lake. Midnight then says that the Final Prophecy is coming. How do StarClan and the Tribe respond? By snapping to attention and vowing to die for the Clan cats. If that wasn't cool enough, Bluestar gives this Badass Boast:
Bluestar: "And I will die a tenth time to defend ThunderClan!"
In Chapter 2, after spending almost the entire arc being an irritable prick, Yellowfang goes back to her old self and tells Jayfeather off for keeping the secret of the Fourth to himself. She promptly goes back to being a prick, but it's the thought that counts.
Jayfeather goes to the Moonpool and meets none other than fan-favorite Brambleberry. The utter trust she puts in him as she tells him to unite StarClan is beyond awesome.
Jayfeather's vision of the Dark Forest. It's horrifying, but incredibly effective.
Jayfeather wakes up and meets Mothwing at the Moonpool. And she promises to help fight the Dark Forest. It's as awesome as it sounds.
In Chapter 5, Dovewing runs into Firestar, who gives her this awesome boast.
Firestar: "Remember, the final responsibility is mine. You don't hold the whole Clan in your paws. I just need you to do what you can. I'll take care of the rest."
Briarlight showing off how much mobility she's regained.
Nightcloud saves Jayfeather from a group of Dark Forest cats. Sure it was accidental, but it's Nightcloud. She utterly despises Jayfeather.
What Jayfeather says right here to Tigerstar:
Jayfeather: "You'll never win! You can kill me! But that won't stop me! Iīll find you beyond my death, and I'll stop you!"
Rock throws down the stick to Jayfeather and tells him that it symbolizes hope. It records the struggles of many cats to enter the darkness and make it out again. When Jayfeather snaps back that not everyone made it, Rock replies that they tried, and now it's time for the three to do so.
Midnight telling Jayfeather to find his own strength.
Chapter 12 has a minor one when Hollyleaf makes an epic leap to catch a squirrel higher than any ThunderClan cat has ever done so before.
In Chapter 14 Beetlewhisker finds out about the true goal of the Dark Forest, and is given the option of either dying or aiding them. He chooses death, and stares down Brokenstar, showing the basic goodness in all cats.
Mothwing verbally owns Crowfeather, then calls him out for his behavior in the past two arcs.
Mothwing single-handedly restores Jayfeather's faith by showing him a flaming reed. It is completely and utterly amazing.
Jayfeather stares down a patrol of ShadowClan cats who won't let him cross the border. And they give in.
Spottedleaf saving Jayfeather's life and convincing Flametail to fulfill his destiny.
Flametail finally fulfills his destiny by uniting the medicine cats.
In Chapter 17, Brambleclaw starts to forgive Squirrelflight, which convinces Lionblaze to finally accept his destiny. Doubles as a heartwarming moment.
Jayfeather managing to gather and unite all of StarClan.
Midnight showing up in the battle and owning Dark Forest cats.
Daisy taking a level in badass to actually fight the Dark Forest.
Blackstar taking out Redwillow, despite being severely weakened from recently losing a life.
Mousefur reuniting with Longtail and kicking some Dark Forest ass as they invade the elder's den. Sadly, it was short-lived.
Scourge has another scary-yet-awesome one in The Rise of Scourge [paraphrased]:
Ruby: "But Scourge! We're your kin!"
Socks: "Doesn't blood mean anything?"
Scourge: "Oh, yes. Blood is everything. But the only blood I'm interested in flows from my enemies. Look around you! These cats are bathed in blood. It soaks their fur and laps at their paws. We are BLOODCLAN!"
Thistlepaw in Bluestar's Prophecy fighting a fricking dog. Over PREY. And WINNING, thus earning his warrior name, Thistleclaw.