Why did Midnight lead a rebellion against the Guard?

I’ve skimmed through some fairly-descriptive summaries of the books, but never actually read them myself. I’m having trouble understanding why Midnight chose to turn cloak and lead the Territories in a rebellion against the Guard. All I ever see written about the subject was he was “unhappy with the way the Guard was being run”, but that doesn’t seem like a very good reason to break a solemn oath. I don’t like the way a lot of organizations are run, but I don’t raise an army and march against them. I’ve also read that he wants to rule the Territories with an iron fist (paw?), but is there any more depth to the situation than that?

It seems like Midnight should be an incredibly charismatic character. Gwendolyn even admits that out-right executing him for his crimes would turn him into a martyr, which is why he’s sent beyond the boundaries of the Scent Border when the Axe is broken at Lockhaven.

Speaking of his army, I’m reading, over and over, that the vast majority of Midnight’s surviving soldiers simply returned to their lives throughout the Territories. Only a handful, according to this wiki page I’m reading, were punished by local magistrates. These are characters that members of the Guard are likely to meet. Perhaps pockets of isolated resistance yet remain, waiting to ambush Guardsmice as they travel through the Territories. Maybe the mouse you’re haggling for information with once wore a black cloak, and he still holds a bit of a grudge with the Guard.

I’m curious to know, if Midnight’s only complaint was that “the Guard isn’t running things very well”, and that his solution was to be a tyrant … why would anybody join his army? Is the Mouse Guard seen by the rest of the Territories as an organization that meddles in affairs that aren’t any of its concern? If so, is someone who plans to rule with an iron paw any better?

I’d love to create a character with a troubled past. Maybe he was a member of the Axe, but following the Midnight’s defeat, and witnessing Gwendolyn’s mercy, perhaps decided to throw away his black cloak and join the Guard. It’s kind of trope-y, I suppose, but I like it. I don’t feel like I have all the information I need to write a character that’s properly three-dimensional, though, because I just don’t understand Midnight’s issue, or why others would flock to his cause.

Any ideas?

Your question (in terms of canon) is best answered by reading the comics. They’re good, and pretty cheap in TPB format.

You can also get the original six issues of Fall 1152 (which covers Midnight’s story) in e-format (PDF) from Drive Thru Comics for only $2 each:


Its also on Comixology - $9 for the whole collection. You can also read the first issue for free.

I appreciate the information. There’s at least one store in my area that sells Mouse Guard material. I’m sure that I’ll pick them up when I’ve got some disposable income. At this point, though, I’m really only interested in learning more about Midnight’s motivation for stirring up a rebellion against the Guard, to be honest. All of the “definitive sources” online are pretty vague, which I suspect is because it’s never completely illustrated, but I’d like to know for sure.

It’s dealt with directly in the comics. The Fall 1152 collection is about Midnight’s uprising, including his motivations and all that.

No worries, I’ll ask around some other sources.

To his defense, i have read the comic now 3 or 4 times and still am not sure what his reasons where…

He betrayed the guard because he felt the territories needed a strong centralized government and that he was the mouse to make it happen. With that central leadership the predators would not be endured, they would be exterminated. The weasels would be hunted down and crushed. He viewed the guards as maintaining a deadly status quo that was getting mice killed and he was sick of it.

Awesome. Thanks, Jack.

My pleasure. He goes off on a rant or two in Fall. I appreciate the nuance that Gwendolyn admits he was right about his complaints, but that his solution was worse. Nuance; it is what makes a world realistic. Very little in life is actually simple and villains tend to view themselves as champions. Midnight was no exception.