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Recap / Warrior Cats Dark River

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Dark River is the second book in the third Warriors series, Power of Three.

Tropes appearing in this book:

  • Attack the Tail: A WindClan warrior bites Brightheart's tail. Although not a major injury, it's one of the more notable ones of the battle.
  • Author Catchphrase: Hedgehogs are used as a comparison an unusually large number of times in this book: a couple characters' fur is spiked out like one at different points, one character is "no bigger than a hedgehog", a sleepy character is claimed to be hibernating like a hedgehog, and one character's difficulty in talking to her sibling was compared to picking fleas off a hedgehog.
  • Cassandra Truth: When a crisis on RiverClan territory forces the Clan out of their camp, the other Clans all start preparing for invasion, since they believe that RiverClan will now try to steal territory. Hollypaw is seemingly the only cat on the lake that notices that all these fears are founded on nothing but paranoia, and that by preparing for a battle, everyone is making it that much more likely to happen. Naturally, nobody listens to her when she says they should try to help RiverClan with their problem, or at least get more information about it before jumping to conclusions, because she's just an apprentice and they are all "more experienced".
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  • Cat Up a Tree: Mousepaw gets caught in a tree while chasing a squirrel and is too scared to come down. So Cinderpaw has to go up there to get him down... and ends up breaking her leg in the process.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Rock's stick. It appears in the prologue, when he tells Fallen Leaves that it represents the cats who have succeeded or failed in their sharpclaw initiation, and Jaypaw finds it later. It becomes important in the climax, when it shows Jaypaw that they can still escape the tunnels, because it floated through them to where he'd first found it.
  • Companion Cube: Jaypaw is obsessed with the stick he finds in this book, and is horrified when he nearly loses it in the lake: he practically drowns himself trying to pull it out.
  • Covered in Mud: When Hollypaw is stuck with RiverClan, she has to roll in mud so that if she encounters a WindClan patrol, they won't realize she's a ThunderClan cat.
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  • Creepy Hairless Animal: Rock is an incredibly ugly, hairless cat with bulging, sightless eyes, who haunts the tunnels where Fallen Leaves died in ancient times and has been around since then.
  • Cultural Rebel: Millie, Daisy, and Brook decide to keep their given names rather than taking on warrior names. This causes some uncertainty in the Clan.
  • The Dissenter Is Always Right: Hollypaw is the only cat who doesn't panic and think that RiverClan will start a war for territory once they can no longer live at their camp. The other warriors ignore her, not helped by her age and inexperience, so she sneaks out to talk to Willowpaw from RiverClan and discovers the truth about why the Clan moved onto the island, but for her trouble, she gets confined to the new camp for a few days and a battle between RiverClan and WindClan nearly breaks out anyway thanks to everyone else's paranoia.
  • Distant Prologue: The book's prologue is in fact the earliest chronological scene in the series: a good two or so generations before the Clans were created, and even a couple seasons before the Tribe of Rushing Water was formed.
  • Dream Spying: Jaypaw has the ability to do this. When Hollypaw goes missing, Leafpool tries to make him do this to figure out where his sister is.
  • Drowning Pit: The tunnels underneath WindClan territory flood whenever it rains, threatening to drown any cats inside. Fallen Leaves dies this way while traversing the tunnels in a ritual to become a Sharpclaw (the ancient equivalent of a warrior), and the same nearly happens to Lionpaw, Jaypaw, Hollypaw, Breezepaw and Heatherpaw while trying to rescue three WindClan cats.
  • Ear Notch: Lionpaw gains one in a battle against WindClan, and is pleased to have his first battle scar.
  • Ensemble Cast: The Power of Three arc features three protagonists: Jaypaw, Hollypaw, and Lionpaw.
  • Fake Action Prologue: Chapter 1 begins with what appears to be the main characters fighting off an invasion by the fierce rival Clan ShadowClan, only for it to be revealed that it was only a game they were playing, and that there's no real invasion.
  • Gender Bender:
    • Pouncepaw was a she-cat in The Sight, but is a tom starting in this book.
    • Sedgekit is a she-cat in The Sight and later books, but is a tom for Dark River.
  • Hypocrite: Squirrelflight berates Hollypaw for sneaking off and for not listening to her superiors and leaving the decision-making to them. That's fair... except this is something Squirrelflight often did in her youth, and still occasionally does in her adulthood.
  • Innocuously Important Episode: Dark River is one of these. At first it seems to be an interesting romp based on forbidden love, but looking back on it with Omen of the Stars and Dawn of the Clans completed it's far more important than it first appeared. It introduces the Ancients (the shared root of the Tribe and the Clans), Rock (who is revealed in The Last Hope as the cat who gave StarClan the prophecies), Dark Forest cats entering the real world, and the Tunnels (a massive Chekhov's Location).
  • Island Base: RiverClan is temporarily forced to shelter on the Gathering Island while they deal with Twolegs attacking their camp.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Apprentices occasionally call each other by their kit name as an insult.
  • No Antagonist: The Sight and Dark River are mainly about the conflict between the Clans and don't have a driving enemy behind them, unlike the other books.
  • Odd Name Out: Daisy and Millie decide to keep their original names, rather than taking Clan names like all of their other Clanmates. The ThunderClanners worry that this will make it seem like they don't belong, and that it will make ThunderClan look weaker, since having their cats reject Clan tradition makes it seem like their warriors are less loyal.
  • Past-Life Memories: Cinderpaw has memories of her past life as Cinderpelt, but she has only ever shown signs of remembering them in her dreams, or recalls her past life subconsciously.
  • Prophet Eyes: Rock is described physically as having bulging, "sightless eyes" in his physical description when Fallen Leaves meets him, so we can assume the only way a cat could tell by sight that another is blind is because the blind cat has eyes that look like this.
  • Puppy Love: Lionpaw and Heatherpaw (who are both young apprentices) become friends and begin to sneak away at night to play with each other, and they start to realize that they have actual feelings for each other.
  • Sabotutor: Lionpaw claims that Ashfur (who has a grudge against Lionpaw's parents, as he was part of a Love Triangle involving them) has been teaching him to do everything the wrong way. Brambleclaw (Lionpaw's father), is shocked at the accusation because he knows it could possibly be true, but he also scolds Lionpaw for blaming others.
  • Secret Relationship: Lionpaw/Heatherpaw, due to being from different Clans.
  • Secret Underground Passage: The tunnel system between ThunderClan and WindClan, where Lionpaw and Heatherpaw secretly meet and where the WindClan kits later get lost.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • It claims that "The tip of [Berrypaw's] thick cream tail stirred the surface of the lake." Berrypaw no longer has a "thick cream tail" since he lost all but a stump in Sunset.
    • The tree-bridge to the Gathering island is described with the top of the tree and its branches on the island. This is backward from how the tree fell in Starlight from the island to the mainland.
  • Sneaky Departure: Dark River is basically "Sneaky Departures, the Book". First, Lionpaw and Heatherpaw are constantly sneaking away at night to meet each other. Then, Hollypaw sneaks away from ThunderClan camp and goes to RiverClan to find out what the huge problem impacting them is. Then, a battle starts when three WindClan kits sneak away from their Clan to explore the tunnels they heard about and WindClan thinks they were kidnapped. In order to stop the battle, two separate groups composed on Lionpaw, Hollypaw, and Jaypaw, and Breezepaw and Heatherpaw sneak away to find the kits.
  • A Storm Is Coming: In the prologue, cats feel that rain is coming. Fallen Leaves then goes to the tunnels to take his test, and lies to Rock that there are no signs of rain. Turns out there is an underground river there that floods the tunnels during the rain.
  • Switching P.O.V.: Hollypaw, Jaypaw, and Lionpaw.
  • Tunnel Network: The cave system, which has tunnels linking ThunderClan and WindClan's territory.
  • Watching Troy Burn: RiverClan faces this when a group of Twolegs attack their camp. However, they eventually get it back.
  • A Way Out of a Cave-In: While trapped in a flooding cave with his littermates and some young WindClan cats, Jaypaw has a vision that shows him that Rock's notched stick had originated from the cave. Since he'd found the stick by the lake, he realizes that the subterranean river must lead out of the cave to the lake, and they use it to successfully escape.