Warriors #6: The Darkest Hour

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ThunderClan's darkest hour is upon them, as Tigerstar's quest for power plunges all the Clans into the most terrible danger any cat has ever faced. In order to save his Clan and his friends, Fireheart must uncover the meaning of an ominous proclamation from StarClan:

"Four will become two. Lion and tiger will meet in battle, and blood will rule the forest."

The time has come for prophecies to unfold, and for heroes to rise ...

Curriculet Details
55 Questions
57 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in the fifth grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining characterization, imagery, and plot. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about protagonists/antagonists and symbolism. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of sacrifice, loyalty, and grief. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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The author puts you into the perspective of a cat. She makes you think like a cat. The highlighted sentence talks of monsters (cars), Twolegs (humans), and shiny pelts (raincoats). This allows the reader to become fully immersed into the culture of Clan cats. Meow! 
This first chapter is slightly confusing. We meet new cats and we are not familiar with the area. Read slowly and be patient. But, from what you have read so far, where is this unfamiliar Clan located? 

Chapter 1

This is so heartbreaking - Bluestar is dead. The descriptions used at the beginning of this chapter illustrate how her death affects everything and everyone. The author uses a flashback of Bluestar's death to remind the reader what happened in the last book. story. But, how could we forget? It's so terribly tragic. 
What literary device is primarily being used in the highlighted section? 
Doesn't this just hurt your heart? It's so bittersweet to see Mistyfoot and Stonefur finally accept Bluestar as their mother, only to have her die soon afterwards. Bluestar had suffered terrible guilt and grief during the last few months about giving up her kits to be ThunderClan's leader. A good author knows how to use emotion in their stories to make the reader feel the way the cats feel. This line is especially heart-wrenching: "...leaving Stonefur and Mistyfoot to crouch down beside Bluestar's body and share tongues with their mother for the first and last time."  
Everyone seemed to play a part in keeping the dogs away from the ThunderClan camp. Please summarize what all the cats did to help in the battle with the dogs. 
It's difficult not to tear up thinking about how Bluestar sacrificed herself for the Clan. No cat is safe from this author's pen and that makes for unexpected plot twists and situations. This keeps the reader interested and engaged to find out what happens next. But does she have to have so many cats die in the process? It's probably realistic of Clan life. Some cats survive; some cats die. It's time for the cats to mourn and remember their leader Bluestar. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 2

Why are the ThunderClan cats so angry when they enter Bluestar's den? 
Fireheart is a character that has changed so much from the beginning of the series. Some changes were his choice, and other changes he had no control over. This makes him a dynamic character - one that changes over the course of a story. Do you think there will be other changes to Fireheart? You probably can predict the next big one coming.... (This annotation contains an image)
What insult, which has haunted Fireheart since he first came to ThunderClan, is now resurfacing while discussing Fireheart as leader? 
The highlighted phrase is an example of hyperbole. This is a fancy way of saying exaggeration. If the author had said just that Cloudtail was angry, it would not have had the same effect as "his blue eyes blazing with anger." Look for more examples of hyperbole as you continue to read. 
Explain why Fireheart gives Brackenfur the job to watch Darkstripe. Use examples to support your answer. 

Chapter 3

This is such a haunting image. Fireheart feels so much pain at the loss of his leader and former mentor. He watches as she is carried through the camp tunnel and her tail drags leaving a trail of misplaced leaves behind her. 
What is Fireheart going off to do? 
Wow! This seems like progress. WindClan does not give them any trouble about passing through their territory. Maybe a new theme is beginning to emerge. Watch the video below to learn about emerging themes and then think about what theme could be developing through this situation.  (This annotation contains a video)
Fireheart shares his feelings with Cinderpelt about leading ThunderClan. What are his thoughts as compared to Cinderpelt's? 

Chapter 4

We have had to wait a long time to find out what really happens at Moonstone. Because the author has used third-person limited point of view, we could only experience things through the eyes of Fireheart. Finally, he is here and now we can know what communicating with StarClan is like. 
Summarize how Fireheart receives his nine lives. How do the cats from his past play a role in the ceremony? 
What a beautiful ceremony to give Fireheart his nine lives! Now, it all makes sense. Each cat gives him something, from their own lives,that will help him as leader of ThunderClan. Do you have a picture of what it all looks like? (This annotation contains an image)
How does each life get passed into Fireheart? 

Chapter 5

Oh no! The ritual was interrupted? Did Firestar get everything he needed from StarClan? The image of the pile of bones and blood is terrifying. There never seems to be a situation where this author just lets something good stay good. There is always another conflict and another challenge to face. Perhaps this is why the book series seems new and exciting with every book. 
How long has Firestar been having dreams that predict the future? 
Barley and Ravenpaw have come to be good companions for each other. It's also nice to see Firestar has kept the connection with both of them. There is just something about having those types of loyal friends. The picture below is of Ravenpaw and Barley.  (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 6

How does Firestar feel about the naming ceremony? Be specific and give examples to support your answer. 
When a character does something unexpected, you need to pay close attention. It might reveal a potential conflict or theme. It is unexpected that Sandstorm would not come and greet Firestar when he returned to camp. Ask yourself "Why would she do this?" Make some predictions. This is what good readers do. 
What is the main emotion Graystripe feels when he talks to Fireheart about the Clan deputy position? 
Whitestorm is a terrific choice for deputy of ThunderClan! Fireheart made a careful decision comparing and contrasting all the cats, and in the end goes with the warrior he says "...is experienced, wise and brave." Congratulations Whitestorm! (This annotation contains an image)
To figure out what unknown words mean, one strategy is to break down words into parts for even part of the meaning. The word malignant, in the highlighted sentence, describes Darkstripe's stare at Fireheart. The first part of the word mal means "bad." See if that helps you to determine the meaning from the choices below. 

Chapter 7

It seems like Firestar is doing some reflecting on his life now that he has been named ThunderClan's leader. Looking back to see where you came from and how much you have changed is a great thing to do for anyone - human or cat. Do you think Fireheart regrets his decision to become a Clan cat or does he miss his kittypet life? 
Why is this section of the chapter important and what does it contribute to the story? 
It's sometimes difficult to put yourself in the perspective of a cat, but, in this scene it's easy. Can you imagine yourself seeing snow for the first time? You might have been too young to remember, but if you live in a southern state - you might not see snow until you are older. Through all the challenges the Clan cats face, it's nice to see they still take joy in the simple things. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 8

Why are Graystripe and Darkstripe fighting? 
In a series of books, where the story continues from one book into the next, the characters and their relationships will change. In one book, Firestar is friendly with one cat and in the next he could be an enemy. We have just seen where Darkstripe might not be a loyal cat to ThunderClan. Watch the video below about protagonists and antagonists. Who is the protagonist and who could be a new antagonist?  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter 9

Which action indicates to Fireheart that the other cats are beginning to accept Graystripe back into the Clan? 
A magpie is a type of bird. It's a social bird that is very vocal and feeds on carrion (dead animals.) The magpie doesn't kill the prey, but they will eat the animal. Below is a picture of a magpie. They are very flashy!  (This annotation contains an image)
What does Fireheart mean when he says "Not a chance, Dustpelt. You wouldn't be nearly tough enough with her"? What situation is he referring to? 
A cat's sense of smell is their most important tool. They use it to smell food, locate a mate, establish territory lines and to sense danger. They have about two million scent receptors in their nostrils and mouth. What things have you seen Clan cats sense with their smell in the story so far? 
What theme in the story does the highlighted section emphasize? 
The name Lostface had been a symbol for Bluestar's anger to StarClan. Bluestar wanted StarClan to always remember how Lostface was injured when she thought that StarClan was at war with ThunderClan. But, now that Bluestar has made peace with StarClan and joined them, the symbol is no longer appropriate. Watch the video below on symobolism and look for more symbols as you continue to read. (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter 10

What personality trait of Sorrelkit got her into trouble and almost causes her death? 
Not all of Firestar's duties as ThunderClan leader are as happy as a warrior ceremony. Now, he must deal with a potentially difficult situation of questioning and punishing Darkstripe. What do you think will happen to Darkstripe? (This annotation contains an image)
Summarize the Clan meeting about Darkstripe. Use details of the meeting in your summary. 
The highlighted sentence contains a simile. Firestar claims exhaustion "hit him like a badger's paw." Badgers are known to be incredibly tough, strong and tenacious. Even if Firestar wanted to try and fight the exhaustion - he would be unable. Below is a picture of a very ferocious badger. (This annotation contains an image)
Quiz: Chapters 1 - 10 

Chapter 11

What potential conflict does Firestar fear the most? 
When a character asks a question that may not have a clear answer, as a reader, you should pay attention. It reveals potential conflicts and situations. What is the potential conflict Firestar now must think about? 
What is Fireheart's decision about Tigerstar's request to have his kits come to ShadowClan? 

Chapter 12

Even after all that has occurred, maybe the Clans can get along. Perhaps Bluestar's death will soften the grievances between the Clans.  (This annotation contains an image)
Do you believe that StarClan appointed Tigerstar to prepare every cat in the forest for this great change? What do you think is the truth? 
Remember, when something unexpected happens, you need to stop and ask yourself "why is this happening?" While it sounds good, we know that Tigerstar is capable of terrible evil and betrayal. Could this be another trick? (This annotation contains an image)
What does Tigerstar consider a symbol or sign from StarClan that his plan is best and Firestar should not have shared his information about him? 

Chapter 13

It's interesting how Whitestorm interprets the sign in a different manner. It's kind of like horoscopes. They are written to cover groups of people, but all of those people cannot have the same "future." Everyone interprets things in a different manner. What do you think? Was it a sign that StarClan was angry with Tigerstar or Firestar? 
How is Bramblepaw like what his father should have been? 
Do you believe that Brightheart could become a warrior? It is certainly looking like she could make the necessary changes to help her in that direction -- thanks to Cloudtail.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why has Firestar seen a lions' image in the water in his reflection? What is it telling him? Use examples from the text to support your answer. 

Chapter 14

It must be difficult to be Tawnypaw and Bramblepaw in situations where someone brings up their father. And it isn't always in such a nice way. Both apprentices are not only in conflict with other cats (man v. man), but, probably with themselves (man v. self) trying to determine what comes from them and what comes from their father. (This annotation contains an image)
Who shows up in ThunderClan camp just as Firestar and Graystripe are ready to go on a mission? 
When an author wants to increase the tension, he or she will often slow down the pace, making the reader anxious for what will happen next. In this section, the author does that with Firestar and Graystripe waiting for the hunting patrol to pass and flashbacking back to when they helped RiverClan and then smelling the crowfood. We need to find out what is going to happen next! 
What does Firestar discover as they spy on the RiverClan camp? 

Chapter 15

Clearly, Tigerstar is NOT about finding peace and doing what is best for ALL cats. It seems like he is just up to his usual ways - but, maybe even worse than ever. Every time we think he MIGHT be a dynamic character capable of change, he proves the reader wrong - again and again and again... (This annotation contains an image)
What would happen if Firestar and Graystripe jumped out and stopped them right now? What would you do if you were Firestar? 
Tigerstar is what is called a dictator. A dictator is someone that has TOTAL power. It doesn't look like Leopardfur is co-leading with him at all. A dictator rules through fear and power by controlling the masses - in this case - the cats. They begin to get rid of any threat to their power. Tigerstar saw the half-Clan cats as threats and subsequently made them prisoners and killed Stonefur. Let's hope Graystripe's kits have a chance to escape. 

Chapter 16

Which two cats think that they should NOT rescue Graystripe's kits immediately? 
Ravenpaw volunteers to to go out and distract the guard so that Firestar and Graystripe can rescue his kits. Didn't you kind of suspect that Ravenpaw's story didn't end with him living with Barley alone forever? Let's see if Ravenpaw still remembers his warrior skills from his time in ThunderClan. 
With what emotion does Mistyfoot answer Fireheart when asked if she can make it back to ThunderClan camp? 

Chapter 17

Cats can smell things in their mouths, as well as their noses. They have a special organ that helps them smell with their mouth. Watch the video below to see a cat do just that.  (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Firestar call Cloudtail a Mousebrain? What does Cloudtail almost do that would have been disastrous? 
It's interesting that there could be such beauty only a short distance away from such horrible violence.  (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 18

What was the one thing Tawnypaw did NOT do before she disappeared? 
Now that we know what Tigerstar is capable of, we don't want Tawnypaw anywhere near him. Let's hope she didn't go to him on her own. She could be in grave danger. 
Which literary device is being used in the highlighted section? 
Firestar was first named Fireheart. Bluestar believed his compassion would make him a good warrior and now a leader. It looks like Whitestorm also has some compassion inside of him.  
What is your opinion of Fireheart rescuing Mistyfoot and Graystripe's kits? 

Chapter 19

Remember that a dictator rules by fear. Fireheart believes that the only reason Tigerstar attacked WindClan was to bring more fear into the forest. He is certainly solidifying all the dictator characteristics. Hopefully, Fireheart will find a way to stop him. 
Why does Firestar feel Tigerstar might have killed the apprentice Gorsepaw? 
When Tallstar mentions fighting like a lion against TigerClan, Firestar knew Bluestar's prophecy was true. It is time for him to become the lion from the reflection. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 20

Where does Firestar look to find Bluestar while thinking about the looming conflict with Tigerstar? 
Quiz: Chapters 11 - 20 

Chapter 21

This descriptive paragraph contains multiple literary devices - imagery and personification. As a reader, you can imagine the cold wind and rain pelting the cats as they made their way to Fourtrees. But, what is really significant about this description is the mood it creates - gloomy, depressing and promising trouble. Watch the video below and then be aware of how the author uses description to set the mood later in the story. (This annotation contains a video)
Please identify the phrase that contains a simile. Enter the sentence in the box below. 
Do you remember the cats from the beginning of the book? The ones that lived in the Twoleg territory, but were certainly NOT kitty pets? It looks like they are now part of TigerClan. This is a complete surprise to Firestar. It looks like he truly needs StarClan's help this time. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 22

What characteristic makes Firestar think these cats are no "ordinary kittypets"? 
Wow - teeth studded collars! These are definitely NOT kittypets.  (This annotation contains an image)
What didn't Tigerstar tell Scourge about the plan with the dogs? 
Oh my goodness! Bluestar's prophecy has come true. Tigerstar has met his end, not through the hands of Firestar, but through the hands of Scourge and StarClan. But no one can feel relieved by the dictator's end -- there is now a new enemy....BloodClan. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter 23

What were Fireheart's emotions about Tigerstar's death? Use evidence from the text to support your answer. 
The themes in this book are not simple. Take the Bramblepaw/Tawynpaw situation - Bramplepaw is dealing with the ideas of loyalty, betrayal, tradition, stereotypes, history, etc. The author has created multiple themes that complicate the situation and the characters.  
How would you describe Fireheart's manner in assigning tasks to the Clan? 

Chapter 24

Interesting that Barley has now ventured far into the forest to ThunderClan camp. Maybe he will offer up his services to fight BloodClan as well. Below is an illustration of ThunderClan camp. Does it look like what you pictured?  (This annotation contains an image)
What surprising information does Barley share with Firestar? 
BloodClan has taken up residence in ShadowClan's camp. But, who can blame them when they come from such a terrible area. Below is a picture of what BloodClan's alley nest might look like. If only BloodClan wasn't out to rule the whole forest. Maybe they could stay if they could be peaceful. (This annotation contains an image)
Put yourself in Fireheart's paws. He is watching all the training of the kits, apprentices and other warriors and feels one way. And then thinking about the upcoming battle he feels another. Re-read the highlighted paragraph and describe the two sets of emotions Fireheart is battling. 
Cloudtail shows his young age and his hot-headed temperament when he blurts out the information about BloodClan and even says their name. Firestar wants to warn Princess, but doesn't want to scare her either. Do you think Cloudtail did the right thing by letting her know the danger? 

Chapter 25

Which one of the following sentences contains personification? 
Here the author uses imagery to paint a picture in the reader's mind. Try and picture what the author is saying. After you have the picture set in your head, click on the next annotation to see if it is like what another reader might picture. Authors have tremendous power in their words to create images and worlds for their readers to enter. Pretty awesome power, eh? 
 (This annotation contains an image)
What does StarClan reveal to Firestar in his dreams that was different from what he had thought StarClan was supposed to do? 

Chapter 26

When a character realizes something they hadn't realized before, you need to pay close attention - things could change. Fireheart realizes that ThunderClan is NOT outnumbered with the cats in all four Clans united. As a reader, you have to ask yourself - how might this change things? 
Do you think Fireheart's plan will work? Why or why not? 
Firestar has always been able to see beyond a cat's misdeeds and feel for the cat himself. When Tigerstar was killed by Scourge, he felt grief. When he sees Darkstripe's condition, he does feel something. Do you think that is what helps make him a good leader? 
What surprising admission does Firestar make towards Tawnypaw? 
The Clans are all acting together. Isn't it ironic that this is what Tigerstar claimed he wanted to do? Yet, Firestar is able to accomplish this without violence, or threats or murder. Will fire save the Clans? We have to read to find out. 

Chapter 27

What is meant by the word bristled in the highlighted sentence? 
Of course Firestar is nervous - the entire existence of ThunderClan rests on his decision to go into battle. His "belly was churning." Have you ever felt your belly churn when you were nervous about something? A big test at school? A concert? A recital? A big race? If you have, then you can understand a little bit about what Firestar is going through. 

Chapter 28

The highlighted sentence contains two different literary devices. Please choose the two literary devices from the choices below. 
Wow! Do you remember a time when everyone looked down on Firestar because he was a kittypet? Now, he is being asked to lead and speak for all the Clans. While this is a terrifying moment for Firestar, it probably is very gratifying as well. Let's hope he lives to see another battle... 
The battle is in full swing! How do you think it will end? Give evidence from the text to support your answer. 
Did you predict this would happen? The author foreshadowed this event when Whitestorm kind of said goodbye to Firestar back in camp - before the battle. Goodbye Whitestorm.  (This annotation contains an image)
What is happening to Firestar in this section? 

Chapter 29

Are you itching to get back into battle as much as Firestar? This is the mark of a good author - she is making you feel like you are a part of the story. Using third-person limited point of view from Firestar's perspective allows us to experience what he experiences. And now, we need to get back into battle. StarClan - send us back!  (This annotation contains an image)
What move finally helped Firestar defeat Scourge? 

Chapter 30

The climax of the story was clearly the battle with BloodClan. Now, we are seeing the resolution - how the story ends. Firestar looks around, assesses the damage and then finally reunites with his love, Sandstorm. Fireheart saved the forest.  (This annotation contains an image)
Summarize the changes in RiverClan since the beginning of the BloodClan battle. 
Fire did indeed save the forest. All the prophecies came true. Firestar fought with determination, loyalty, courage, wisdom and with heart. How do you think he has done so far as ThunderClan leader?  (This annotation contains an image)
Quiz: Chapters 21 - 30