Characters: Friendship Is Magic Twilight Sparkle
The protagonist of the series, a unicorn (who later
becomes an alicorn
) from Canterlot who serves as Princess Celestia's apprentice. She's less than thrilled at first about the suggestion that she should try making friends, but naturally winds up giving it a shot
. She has a natural talent for Magic that goes far beyond what most unicorns are capable of. She's also very intelligent, levelheaded, and organized, making her a great unofficial leader for the mane six. However, her neuroses sometimes cause problems.
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Characterization and Background
- Adorkable: Whenever genuinely excited about something, such as her first slumber party ever or visiting the giant library at the Crystal Empire, her awkwardness comes into focus and it is adorable. Dialed Up to Eleven during her flashback in "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" and then again immediately afterward.
- In "Sweet and Elite", she dances like such a nerd it's adorable. Possibly in a Shout-Out to Seinfeld.
- Aesop Amnesia: Just try to count all the times she's forgotten not to freak out over small things.
- Leave it to her old foalsitter Cadance to give her a long-awaited stress relief method in "Games Ponies Play".
- Agent Scully: Tends toward this despite being a lavender unicorn who can do magic.
- She justifies this in "Feeling Pinkie Keen" by explaining that true magic as can be done by all unicorns has been boiled down to a science.
- In "It's About Time", she confidently informs her own future self that she is not scientifically possible. Once her future self explains that there are time travel spells, she accepts it and eagerly starts asking questions about the future.
- All-Loving Hero: She's more cynical and grouchy than the norm, but fills this role in the places that count, moreso than Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie. She's the wielder of the Element of Magic (aka Friendship), in the two-parter episode, "The Return Of Harmony", she is the only one who didn't get Hate Plagued by Discord, and in "A Canterlot Wedding", is able to see through the fake Cadance because she knew the real Cadance so well.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Twilight shows severe signs of OCD, anxiety issues, schizophrenia, and even impostor syndrome due to her constant refusal to acknowledge all the good she has done. It's lessened in later seasons, but can still pop up every now and then.
- Anti Heroine: In the pilot, she was a Knight in Sour Armor, being aloof and unsympathetic to her future friends. She grew out of it but has occasional relapses, such as "Feeling Pinkie Keen" and "Lesson Zero" — after all, Ponies Are Flawed.
- Audience Surrogate: As the central character, to whom Ponyville and its residents are introduced at the same time as to the viewer, she is intended one.
- The B Grade: She doesn't get graded when doing assignments for her mentor, but stresses out whenever she thinks she can't do an assignment in time or pass a test.
- Badass: She is perfectly willing to risk her life for her friends, Equestria, and Princess Celestia, and, with the help of her friends, succeeds.
- Badass Adorable: She's adorable... and sure can pack a punch!
- Badass Bookworm: Her book smarts and knowledge of magic lend her an uncanny level of badassery.
- Badass Princess: She becomes this in the Season 3 finale because she proves how awesome she is over the first three seasons.
- Berserk Button: Has about four:
- Do not threaten her friends.
- Don't make fun of Princess Celestia.
- Don't mess with her books/desk.
- Perhaps the most prominent of them all, don't say the phrase "just a test".
- Beware the Nice Ones:
- In the episode "The Return of Harmony - Part 2", Twilight Sparkle battled with Gray Pinkie Pie and Applejack after they stole her book, resulting in a Big Ball of Violence.
- Part 2 of "A Canterlot Wedding" knocked this out of the park; she went into a state of Unstoppable Rage over the thought of her brother being in danger and fired several beams around the dungeon Chrysalis trapped her in that could shatter stone. She was seconds from killing the real Princess Cadance, thinking it was her imposter.
- Blue Blood:
- It is unknown if she was born into that status but she and her family are surely among the supreme elite of Equestria, with Twilight being the personal protege of Princess Celestia and her brother being at once Captain of the Guard, Husband to Princess Cadance, and Governor of the Crystal Empire.
- As of the Season 3 finale, she's been "upgraded" and is now officially a Princess, so has gone from having a relative marrying into royalty to becoming royalty.
- Bookworm: Her defining characteristic. She is often seen reading a book, always gave Spike books for his birthday (to his chagrin), and often brings up something she learned from a book that is relevant to the plot. Also, books are prevalent in all of her flashbacks, and, in the pilot, one pony asks if Twilight does anything but study.
- Born Winner: She was innately born with unparalleled magical potential, which led to her becoming Princess Celestia's only student, the bearer of the Element of Magic, and another princess of Equestria. Moderated by making her The Chew Toy in terms of social life and Butt Monkey in other cases.
- Break the Cutie: She got hit with this hard in both parts of "Return of Harmony". What starts out as the Mane Six finding the Elements of Harmony that can defeat the latest Arc Villain becomes a twisted game of Discord's design where he separately Hate Plagues Twilight's True Companions into their polar opposites which then treat Twilight like dirt. When all of them are corrupted, Discord points out it was Twilight's idea to go to the maze and claimed that her friends' corruption was her fault. When Twilight does figure out where the Elements of Harmony are, her town has already been turned into a World Gone Mad ruled by Discord where her companions get even more vicious to the point of resembling real-life bullies and after finally finding the Elements Of Harmony, they were revealed to be powerless thanks to Discord's earlier mind manipulation of the others. The result is all of Twilight's friends leaving her, making her hit rock bottom and fall victim to Discord's Hate Plague without any brainwashing. Even though the next episode treats Twilight's nervous breakdown for laughs, given all what happened during the last two episodes, it's hard not to think the poor girl truly snapped.
- Break the Haughty: A Lighter and Softer version; she starts as an Ineffectual Loner who believes she simply doesn't have time for friendship and is convinced that Celestia will naturally listen to her concerns. Then Celestia seemingly blows her off, sends her off to run mundane errands, and expects her to make friends in a town where she thinks she's the Only Sane Pony...
- Butt Monkey: Shares this role with Spike as she runs into a lot of trouble.
- Character Development: During the two-part pilot, she started out as a somewhat asocial loner who wouldn't be caught dead working with others. Over the course of that episode she learns the value of friendship and she is now often seen working with or helping her friends. Her original attitude sometimes re-surfaces but this is usually a result of stress or academic override.
- The Chew Toy/Humiliation Conga/Slapstick Knows No Gender: Expect her to be on the receiving end of a lot of accidents as soon she starts questioning facts, attempts to fit in, or figure out things, such as in "Winter Wrap Up" and especially "Feeling Pinkie Keen", and "Lesson Zero". Her Chew Toy status is played for major drama in "The Return of Harmony - Part 2".
- Child Prodigy: Even as a filly, Twilight was unusually adept at learning new spells. In the Power Incontinence scene referenced below, Princess Celestia — a physical goddess — says she has never seen so much raw talent for magic in a pony before.
- Innocent Prodigy: She took up studying magic in the first place because she adored Celestia, not for power or vanity or anything like that.
- The Chosen One: According to Word of God, Princess Celestia somehow knew she was destined to be the bearer of the Elements of Harmony, which is why she was given the test of hatching a dragon egg instead of something simpler.
- City Mouse: The pilot and a few Season 1 episodes revolve around Twilight getting acquainted with Ponyville and its traditions, with varied success.
- The City vs. the Country: Her initial plot arc is a downplayed version of this. She's sent from Canterlot to Ponyville in part to prepare for a celebration held there, but is also told to make friends while there. She resents having to do this and focuses on work instead, but by the end of the pilot, she's warmed up to her newfound friends and wishes to stay with them.note
- The Comically Serious: Anytime she attempts to look dignified and intellectual, expect it to be ruined by some other ponies' antics or her own hidden goofiness.
- Classic Anti Hero: Plagued by self doubt, check. Poor fighter, check. Frightened and cowardly, check. Crippled by many flaws, check-a-roony. By now, she has successfully subverted this in later episodes with thanks to her friends and The Power of Friendship.
- Control Freak: Though not overbearing, per se, her over attention to detail and occasional irritance with her friends leads her to be insistent on her own direction of things. She can also be quite a nagger, something Spike knows all too well.
- Cute and Psycho: Twilight is generally rational and calm, but when she gets upset... it won't end well.
- Cute Clumsy Girl: She definitely has her moments of this; "Winter Wrap Up" is the first case of her endearing clusminess.
- Cute Librarian: She takes up management of Golden Oak Library in addition to living inside of it. She fits the personality type of Hot Librarian, but is more cute than hot.
- Deadpan Snarker: Often due to her initial role as Straight Mare.
Now tell me; what exactly have you actually seen Zecora
do? Rainbow Dash:
Well... once a month she comes into Ponyville. Twilight: Ooh
Then, she lurks
by the stores
. Twilight: Oh my
And then... she digs at the ground... Twilight: Good gracious
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Non-romantic example; during the pilot, she ultimately warms up towards her new friends.
- Determinator: When she wants to do something, she'll keep trying no matter what. For better or worse.
- The Ditherer: She has her moments of this, especially when she's trying too hard to keep things in order.
- Ditzy Genius: She's so smart that she can name all the stars in the sky, and recite the square root of 546 to eleven decimal places, but so ditzy that she needs a reference guide to understand how to throw a slumber party, and doesn't know what a pillow fight is.
- Expy: Of G1 Twilight. The cartoon even (jokingly) implies that Twilight Sparkle is the daughter of the original Twilight. Her coloring also resembles that of Twilight Twinkle from G3.
- Failed a Spot Check: A recurring flaw with Twilight, who, while very intelligent, has a very one-track mind when set upon a task, which sometimes leads her to miss important but blatant points (both comically and dramatically) or act hasty or insensitive.
- The Finicky One: Of the highest order. Twilight has been known to start riots and rips in time due to her anal retentiveness.
- Flanderization: In the first season, Twilight was orderly and no nonsense, but to a fairly lucid degree, a lot of it owed to her inexperience with social life. By the start of the second season her meticulous habits are exaggerated to cartoony measures, with a lot of gags based on her Super OCD neuroses. Inverted in other aspects, she has become far less acerbic and more out going and friendly for example.
- Flat Earth Atheist: Shown to be one in "Feeling Pinkie Keen" where she didn't believe in Pinkie's Pinkie Sense, or many of the weird things that happened in Ponyville despite the fact that she uses magic (which she claims is different from other "Mumbo Jumbo") and is the personal student of a Physical Goddess. Her views changed and she became more accepting of the unexplained by the episode's end.
- Forgot About Her Powers: There are SO many moments of troubles she faces that could have easily been solved by her just using her magic it's almost painful to watch.
- Four Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic: introverted, organized, and high expectations.
- Friendless Background: In the first episode, it's shown that "she's more interested in books than friends." Some hints later on show it might not have been quite that simple. In "Look before You Sleep", she reveals she's "always" wanted to have a slumber party. In any case the first episode showed that her studies were certainly getting in the way of having a social life, even if she might have wished for one when not occupied with something else interesting as in that episode.
- Go-Getter Girl: She had always strived to be the best she can as a mage-in-training and as an apprentice to Princess Celestia over relationships with others prior to meeting the other five. On the downside, this led to her having little ability to connect with others, but on the upside, she's a natural-born leader and very intelligent and talented.
- Good Is Not Nice: While she was more than willing to save Equestria at the start of the series, she starts out as very asocial and aloof towards almost everyone, but she becomes much nicer towards others after the second episode, evolving into more of the lines of...
- Good Is Not Soft: She's normally calm, friendly, and helpful, but when Queen Chrysalis gloated that she has her brother, Twilight had no problems trying to fry her with her laser-beam attack.
- Good with Numbers: In part 1 of the season 3 premiere "The Crystal Empire", Twilight gives the square root of 546 as 23.36664289109.
- Grumpy Bear: While she's not pessimistic in general, she's cynical and no nonsense in personality, and has a grouchy temper if riled up enough. However, she can switch between cynical and naively optimistic at the blink of an eye.
- Guilt Complex: If others see fault in her, they're immediately right. She blames herself entirely for her friends' Kick the Dog moment in A Canterlot Wedding and Discord's corruption of them in Return Of Harmony, and is prone to high standards and a sense of inferiority when she doesn't meet those massively high standards.
- When the stress of the parasprite invasion finally gets to her and her tortured psyche (briefly) snaps.
- In "The Return of Harmony, Pt. 2" she crosses the Despair Event Horizon (though unlike most examples, she snaps out of it later, so it's more of a Heroic BSOD).
- A psychotic one over the course of "Lesson Zero".
- For a brief moment in Magical Mystery Cure she falls into one, but she snaps herself out of it quickly.
- Heroic BSOD: She suffers a huge one in "The Return of Harmony, Pt. 2", when she is finally broken by Discord and turns grey. She snaps out of it after reading the letters she sent to Princess Celestia one season earlier.
- Hidden Depths: Despite her history of not socializing by choice, she reveals in "Look Before You Sleep" that she's dreamed about throwing the perfect slumber party and is innocently enthusiastic about getting the chance to try her very first one. This being Twilight, she has a guide to ensure she does everything by the book.
- Humble Heroine: Wants nothing to do with being associated with the greatness of her deeds. Rather, she wants to be viewed as an ordinary unicorn, unlike her Shadow Archetype Trixie and her foil Rainbow Dash. On the other hoof, she sometimes can't resist acting haughty due to her role as Celestia's apprentice and very often considering herself the Only Sane Mare. See Pride below.
- This is why she makes such a great Foil to Sunset Shimmer. Twilight's humility is shown when she is content being Celestia's student, never desiring more than to learn and help others, and never thought of herself as truly better than others. Sunset's arrogance is shown when she only thought of herself, desired more and more power, and thought herself better than everypony else because of her status, and was never content with merely being Celestia's student. However, the greatest difference comes down to their thoughts on gaining the position of princess. Twilight never desired the crown yet proved deserving of it, while Sunset coveted the crown yet proved undeserving of it.
- I Choose to Stay: By the end of the two-part pilot, she decides to stay in Ponyville with her new friends.
- I Just Want to Be Loved: She obsesses over the idea that others might hate her for any reason whatsoever. This comes from her The Perfectionist tendencies, but also from a surprisingly low self esteem and a secret belief she isn't good enough for others.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: What she really wants is for others to love and accept her, and wants whichever her talent in magic will get her to. She alternately loves and hates her abilities as a mage because they distance her from others and make her a Socially-Awkward Hero but they also make her valuable and give her a higher sense of self worth. See Inferiority Superiority Complex for details.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: Defied at first; she doesn't want friends when she first comes to Ponyville and it isn't until she hears them come looking for her just as she's facing Nightmare Moon all by herself that she truly realizes how much she needs them.
- Incredibly Lame Fun:
- A bookworm through and through, Twilight considers re-shelving library books or "a crazy weekend of studying" the height of entertainment.
- Her favorite toy growing up was "Smarty Pants", an ugly pony doll with accessories so you can pretend she is studying. Not only does she think this was a great toy, she thinks it was so great that offering it to some young fillies will naturally cause them to fight over it.note
- Ineffectual Loner: Other ponies make clear efforts to reach out to her before the plot kicks off, but she blows them off.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: Twilight can be condescending and arrogant about her intelligence over the others at times, and frequently badgers others over tasks; however, it's revealed that she has brought herself up with very high standards to upkeep, and is absolutely terrified of disappointing peers or friends (and especially her superior, Princess Celestia). She had a mental breakdown when she was off schedule for a single task.
- Innocently Insensitive: She doesn't realize her feelings are necessarily feelings anypony else will share, and she doesn't realize her point-blank bluntness hurts feelings. Justified because Twilight doesn't have a lot of experience with dealing with ponies yet.
- When she was losing her grip in "Lesson Zero", it didn't occur to her that anypony else would think that her Smartypants doll, that comes with accessories for doing homework, wasn't a great toy.
- In "Secret of My Excess", Twilight is embarrassed to realize that the books she's given Spike for his birthday every year were not appreciated as birthday presents by the little dragon.
- In the episode "Baby Cakes", she offers to help Pinkie Pie babysit the Cake Twins because she states Pinkie can't handle the job alone, thus offending Pinkie despite her sincerce desire to help.
- In the episode "The Last Roundup", when the mail pony shows up at Applejack's surprise party and thinks that the party was for him because it was his birthday, Twilight takes Applejack's message from him and slams the door in his face without a second thought. Luckily for the mail pony, Pinkie gives him a slice of cake for his birthday.
- Insufferable Genius: She is the most intelligent of the main cast and (often) shows a lot more common sense. However, her neurosis can be irritating to the others, she can be a bit smug and prideful if over-aware of her logic, and she's an apt Deadpan Snarker. Overall, she does a decent job of keeping these traits at tolerable levels.
- Intelligence Equals Isolation: She's very smart, even as a child, but she didn't care that much about making new friends.
- I Work Alone: Her attitude during the pilot but after her Character Development she prefers working with others.
- Japanese Pronouns: "Watashi" in the Japanese dub.
- Just Trying to Help: She tries to say this to Applejack when attempting, and failing, to use magic to clear up the snow, and runs off crying.
- Knight Templar Little Sister: In the wedding episode, after Queen Chrysalis imprisons her in the Canterlot Caves, Twilight sees the real Cadance whom she thinks is Queen Chrysalis in disguise and tackles her to the ground preparing to attack her until Cadance proves to Twilight that she's the real Cadance.
- Kirk Summation: To Discord in "The Return Of Harmony - Part 2" by breaking down his argument against friendship.
- Lovable Nerd: She starts out as socially awkward, and after she learns to socialize, she's still depicted as being organized almost to a fault and as a compulsive learner whose joy of studying is absolutely adorable.
- Mama Bear: She is willing to stand up to dragons whenever Spike is in danger.
- Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: The antics caused by her perfectionism and Super OCD sometimes gets the better of her, causing her to abuse her magic and make the situation end in disaster.
- Ms. Vice Girl: Normally even-tempered, Twilight sometimes has problems with being grouchy and dismissive when something's bugging her. She also has an insensitive streak.
- Modest Royalty: While we haven't seen much of her role as a princess, Twilight has already been characterized as a Humble Heroine several times in the series, and in "Sweet and Elite" she loves the simple dress Rarity made for her saying that the simple and practical outfit was a perfect match. Both characteristics are a good fit for this trope.
- Season 4 shows that Twilight more or less refuses to dress for the role, at least when she can avoid doing so.
- My God, What Have I Done?:
- In the first part of Canterlot Wedding, she realized that she made the bride cry, and was afraid that no one was going to forgive her. In this case she was right.
- Quoted in "Lesson Zero" after her "Want It Need It" drives everyone into a brainwashed frenzy.
- In "Magical Mystery Cure", when Star Swirl's unfinished spell switches the destinies of the rest of the Mane 6.
- She has lighter Jerkass Realizations in other episodes, eg. after almost wrongly spearheading a vendetta against Zecora in "Bridal Gossip" or almost losing Spike as an assistant after obliviously brushing him off in "Spike At Your Service".
- My Instincts Are Showing: In My Little Pony Equestria Girls, while human, she tried to eat an apple without her hands, because that's what she did as a pony.
- Nerds Love Tough Schoolwork: In Spike at Your Service Celestia assigned her 12 books to read over the course of one weekend. Instead of anxiety, she settled in for a great weekend.
- Nervous Wreck: When her neurosis reaches its worst it correspondingly shows in her appearance.
- Nice Girl / Knight in Sour Armor: Usually depending on whether or not she's in Grumpy Bear mode. She's never truly mean, but she can be rather sarcastic when stressed or casually insensitive. Lampshade this, and she'll immediately become horrified and begin begging you not to hate her.
- Nice Job Breaking It Heroine:
- Her attempt to use magic to stop the Parasprites from eating all the food in town causes them to start eating the town instead.
- When she tries to use magic to clear a field during the Winter Wrap Up, it results in the plow going out of control and causing the part of the field already plowed to be covered up again.
- In "The Return Of Harmony - Part 1", she figures out Discord's riddle...only to fall into his trap. It turns out she took it too literally and as a consequence, she leads her True Companions on a wild goose chase that results in all of them getting broken and Brainwashed by Discord. In her defense and knowing Discord, figuring the riddle correctly would probably not have made a difference.
- In "Lesson Zero", she decides if she can't find a friendship problem to solve, she'll make one to solve. Cue the whole town fighting over her old Smartypants doll she enchanted with a "Want It, Need It" spell she isn't able to disenchant.
- In "Magical Mystery Cure", she tries out an unfinished spell and messes up her friends' Cutie Marks and destinies.
- No Social Skills: Because of her solitary life, she starts out like this.
- She returns to form in "Look Before You Sleep", running her first slumber party straight out of the book to ensure success. It works, sort of.
- In "Baby Cakes", she casually tells Pinkie Pie that she knew Pinkie wouldn't be up to babysitting the twins by herself and fails to pick up on the fact that Pinkie is offended by this statement.
- Obsessed Are The List Makers: Most notably her slumber party and in "Lesson Zero", in which she makes a list of the things she needs to make a list. It comes in handy in "Winter Wrap Up", as she's the only pony there who knows how to prioritize.
- Only Sane Pony: Generally the voice of reason compared to her friends. Most obvious in the pilot where her first impression of Ponyville comes from Pinkie Pie. Made even more obvious in "MMMystery On The Friendship Express" when Twilight, relegated as The Watson to Pinkie's Sherlock Holmes role, shoots down Pinkie's ridiculously wild accusations so often that they exchange roles with no argument from Pinkie.
- Personality Powers: You might not think that the bearer of the Element of Magic and one of the most powerful magic users in the show would be a logic-based skeptic, but here magic is logical because it works how you expect it to work.
- Philosopher Queen: She effectively becomes this after attaining alicorn-hood.
- Plucky Girl: When her neurosis doesn't get the best of her she can be astoundingly determined and optimistic in grim situations.
- Pride: Clearly takes a lot of pride in having Celestia as her mentor. However, she's afraid of being seen as too prideful after witnessing how ponies react to Trixie's bragging. By the end of "Boast Busters", she explains to Celestia and Spike that she's learned it's fine to take pride in your talents and put them to use when appropriate, as long as you aren't a braggart or a show-off about them.
- Properly Paranoid: The only one who thinks the behavior of "Princess Cadance" is suspicious. On one hoof this is Justified, as none of the others knew Cadance well enough to know her behavior was unusual but on the other hoof, if the others had taken her concerns and accusations more seriously as they learned in "Lesson Zero", then all the chaos that followed could have been prevented.
- Proud Scholar Race Girl: Unicorns have a reputation as being intelligent magic-users, and Twilight takes it Up to Eleven since she's the apprentice of Celestia.
- Resigned to the Call: Played with at the first episode; she's ready to stop Nightmare Moon when she reads about a prophecy about her return, but when Celestia told Twilight to make friends, she was against it, but went along with her orders while expecting her to realize Nightmare Moon is more important. It eventually turns out that making friends is required to defeat her.
- Rightly Self Righteous: Sometimes, but often deconstructed. Twilight is one of the saner ponies of the group, and is very vocal about it. However, most instances she gets particularly arrogant or pushy about it are a sign she'll end up Not so Above It All.
- Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training:
- Twilight's magical skill is off the chart, but she's a social misfit and painfully incompetent at basic manual labor.
- Downplayed later on. In the first episode of Season 2, she lifted a huge rock ("Tom"), and in the last episode, she pushed a mine cart by herself.
- She also showed her physical abilities when she placed fifth in "Fall Weather Friends". Yes, she used Awesomeness by Analysis to give herself an edge, but she needed to be in decent shape to keep up. Plus, it was her first race.
- Sanity Slippage: Gets hit with this more often than the rest of the mane cast. Particularly in "Lesson Zero" when she was paranoid about not having a friendship problem to solve and ends up creating an Apple of Discord with her Smarty Pants doll.
- Schedule Fanatic: Most notably seen in "It's About Time", where she's obsessed about how she's going to make time to make next month's schedule because she didn't leave any room to do so in this month's schedule.
- Serious Business: Since her teacher is Celestia, aka the ruler of all Equestria herself, Twilight takes her studies very, very seriously. As seen in "Lesson Zero", the mere idea of failing an assignment and disappointing her teacher (which would surely be cause to send her back to... MAGIC KINDERGARTEN!) is stressful enough to unhinge her. Spike and the others lampshade this now and then.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Not to an excess, but she has a more advanced vocabulary and more correct grammar than her friends. This makes her a Foil to Rainbow Dash and Applejack, both of whom tend towards Buffy Speak, and to Pinkie Pie, who is a Cloudcuckoolander. The one time she plays it straight is "Hurricane Fluttershy"; complete with Spike providing a Layman's Terms punchline.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Done to Nightmare Moon in "Elements of Harmony", with a blast of Holy Hand Grenade.
- Slasher Smile: Twilight gives a very frightening one in "Lesson Zero"; made worse in that she was spying on the Cutie Mark Crusaders at the time, which gives the impression that she's a... yeah. Let's put it into perspective. Remember Pinkie's slasher smile? Twilght's is from ear to ear, and she's looking right at you.
- The Snark Knight: She's a lighter example due to being new to maintaining friendships and being generally nicer than other cases of this trope.
- Super OCD: On and off; often whatever happens to be funnier. Alternately leaves her library in an unholy strewn mess and then applies neurotic meticulousness rivaling Rarity's in cleaning it.
- When given materials to make a bird's nest in "Winter Wrap Up", in the two seconds it takes the camera to pan away and back, she's already laid out all the ribbons and sticks into neat rows and sorted individual strands of straw by hue.
- "Lesson Zero" shows just how bad this can get when she fails to keep a schedule.
- She makes checklists for everything. Including checklists of items she needs to make checklists. She then lists "complete making a checklist" on those checklists, and at the bottom of the checklists includes reminders to double check and triple check them to make absolutely sure she didn't miss anything.
- In "It's About Time", she stayed up all night worrying about not having left time in this month's schedule to make a schedule for next month.
- Season 2 appears to make it consistently 'on', now that she no longer has to be the star.
- In "Spike at Your Service", she gets so wrapped up in reading specially assigned books that she doesn't hear Applejack enter the room and yell at her. Then Applejack nudges one of her ink wells out of place, behind her back, and she instantly freaks out. Applejack apologizes for scaring her and Twilight forgives her while moving over to the desk to nudge the ink well back into position.
- Temporarily A Villain: In the episode "Lesson Zero" due to unhinged sanity.
- Tempting Fate: Twilight seems to have an unfortunate habit of asking whether things could possibly get worse. They almost always do.
- This Explains So Much: When she told the CMC that her favorite toy as a filly was a doll with homework accessories, they weren't surprised.
- Tomboy Princess: As of Season 3's finale.note
- Tsundere: Type B. She was a Nice Girl around Celestia, Spike, and her family, but her newfound friends set her off.
- Turn the Other Cheek: Twilight isn't the type of mare who holds a grudge towards anyone. Prominent examples include her brother, her friends, and her mentor nearly abandoned her in "A Canterlot Wedding" or to Trixie in "Magic Duel". Justified as Queen Chrysalis tricked them all for the former, and the latter was Drunk on the Dark Side from the Alicorn Amulet.
- Undying Loyalty: Princess Celestia's "most loyal and faithful student". In "Crystal Empire", it's revealed that her greatest fear is Celestia abandoning her.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: If "Winter Wrap Up" is anything to go by, she is terrified of snakes and bats.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Sort of. She's a young adult, but she has been shown to be much more effective at leading than the old gray mayor of Ponyville.
- Anti-Magic: Her force fields can cancel out other magic.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: Twilight places fifthnote in the annual Running of the Leaves race, despite knowing about racing only from having read books about it.
- Badass Bookworm/Magic Knight: Not only talented at magic, but perfectly capable and willing to lead a charge.
- She ran right at Nightmare Moon and is clever enough to turn this into a feint and teleport past her.
- She places 5th in a marathon despite it being her first, using mostly her book-smarts.
- She tussled against brainwashed Applejack and Pinkie Pie, both Earth Ponies (which possess greater strength and endurance than a Unicorn). She won.
- Barrier Warrior: She can create force-fields that she can move as seen in "Return Of Harmony - Part 2", "MMMMystery on the Friendship Express" (at around 1:18) and "Ponyville Confidential". She seems to have gotten that spell from her brother. At least some of them include Anti-Magic.
- Beam Spam: She can fire beams of destructive magic at enemies practically at will; Pinkie Pie even used her as a living machine gun in "A Canterlot Wedding - Part 2".
- Benevolent Mage Ruler/Empress Scientist: As of Magical Mystery Cure.
- Black Magic: She used King Sombra's hate-based magic after watching Celestia perform it.
- Elemental Powers: She has non-weaponized versions:
- Enlightenment Superpower: She gains her alicorn form by realizing how to complete Star Swirl's unfinished spell, which came from realizing how much her friends meant to her.
- Equippable Ally: She's been used as a machine gun in fights.
- Forgotten Phlebotinum: She fails to use her teleportation for most of the first season, starting after "Applebuck Season". Averted in Season 2, which has her putting it to regular use.
- Flight: As of "Magical Mystery Cure".
- Frickin' Laser Beams: One of her offensive spells is a beam of destructive magic.
- The Gift: Her special talent is magic itself, thus she can learn any type of magic.
- Good with Numbers: "Recites decimals with ease" as seen in "The Crystal Empire part 1"
- Gravity Master: She can reverse gravity for herself.
- Guile Heroine: She outwitted Nightmare Moon with a feint, unraveled all of King Sombra's Crazy-Prepared protections on the Crystal Heart, and used smoke and mirrors to deceive a professional magician.
- How Do I Shot Web?: The season 4 premiere shows that she has trouble flying with her new wings.
- I Can't Dance: "Sweet and Elite" shows us that dancing is one of the many social activities she's yet to master, though she doesn't really seem to care.
- Jack of All Trades/The Red Mage: She can learn any type of magic, but she doesn't specialize in any discipline.
- The Leader: Leadership is one of Twilight's main secondary abilities, thanks to her organizational skills and levelheadedness. She serves as a Mastermind Type and Level Headed Type leader for her group of friends, and even for the whole town of Ponyville at times.
- Magical Girl: She fits a lot of the criteria (being a prodigy in magic and using powers over friendship) of a traditional version of this trope.
- Magic Librarian: She's a powerful magic-user and the librarian and a resident of Golden Oak Library which holds books about magic and monster lore.
- Mind over Matter: A particularly strong telekinetic. She can simultaneously levitate a humongous bear and a huge water tower.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Justified, as she is usually studying and learning new things (magical and otherwise). She can improvise spells as well, though this does not always work out so well.
- Not Quite Flight: Her magic force-fields can do this. "The Crystal Empire" shows her suspending herself in midair with magic, similar to what's previously been seen with Pumpkin Cake.
- Upgraded to true flight in "Magical Mystery Cure".
- The Paralyzer: Uses her telekinesis in "Castle Mane-ia" like a mass paralysis spell, freezing each her panicking friends' bodies in place but allowing their eyes and mouths to move.
- Pintsized Powerhouse / Waif-Fu: Telekinetically, anyway. Physically occasionally.
- Power Copying: Unicorns use magic spells associated with their special skill. Twilight's special skill is magic, allowing her to learn spells used by any other unicorn.
- In the pilot, she uses teleportation right after being subjected to it by Nightmare Moon, notably making her the only non-alicorn capable of it. It gets better and better through the show; In "Ticket Master", her second subsequent use, it leaves her and Spike a bit charred, but by "Dragon Quest", she's able to pop around within the library without a thought, and has but a little difficulty in moving herself, Rarity, Rainbow, and Spike, all running at full speed, safely away from danger.
- In "A Dog and Pony Show" when she copies a spell used by Rarity, though Rarity did teach her how to do it.
- Her "Want It Need It" spell used in "Lesson Zero" may play on Princess Cadance's love-infusing magic that she saw as a filly. Alternatively, if Cadance merely made them remember that they loved each other and why, then the spell she used to un-Discord her friends could be derived from it.
- Within both "MMMystery on the Friendship Express" and "Ponyville Confidential", she's seen to have a shield spell, which appears to have come directly from her brother, Shining Armor.
- In the Season 3 premiere, she learns what can best be described as unicorn dark magic simply by watching Celestia do it once.
- Season 3 also shows that she has limits to what she can copy. While she can figure out how to cast a spell from seeing it once, that doesn't mean that she has the magical clout to make it work or cast it successfully.
- Power Incontinence: A flashback reveals that the awakening of Twilight's magic immediately turned her into a immense danger to everyone and herself. Her attempts at using magic to rectify a problem have about a 50% chance of going this way.
- Psychic Powers: Has telekinesis like all unicorns, and also has limited telepathy, as seen in "Swarm of the Century" and "The Return of Harmony".
- Reality Warper: She's not on Discord's level (yet) but this appears to be part of her magic and magic of sufficiently powerful unicorns in general. She's just the most explicit about it.
- Sorcerer's Apprentice Plot: Sorta. Sometimes she performs amazing feats of power, but she often also spectacularly messes up spells and makes everything much worse.
- When she tries to stop Parasprites from eating all the food in Ponyville, the spell makes them eat the buildings instead.
- In another instance, enchanting a plow to clean up snow on its own made the plow go out of control, making the mess worse when it ends up causing an avalanche that ruins everyone else's work.
- In "Lesson Zero", Twilight tries to create a problem she can solve using the "Want It, Need It" spell on a doll, which quickly affects every pony in town. The ensuing riot prevents her from disenchanting the doll.
- Squishy Wizard:
- "Winter Wrap Up" openly displays how much weaker she is than an average Earth Pony and that she is rather klutzy with her hooves (unable to ice skate well or construct a bird's nest without the help of magic). Applejack and Rainbow Dash also state she is physically unfit for the race in "Fall Weather Friends". She gets the last laugh by coming in fifth while they tie for last.
- She seems to have averted this by Season 2 as she can carry a boulder twice as large as herself, push a minecart, and holds her own against an army of Changelings.
- The Changeling bit is debatable as she was still relying on magic rather than physical abilities in battle, but carrying the boulder and pushing the minecart are valid examples.
- Story Breaker Power: Played with. She can learn any kind of magic and has amazing strength magic-wise, but her lack of practicing and an over-reliance on analysis over battle skills can leave her vulnerable. See her example on the trope page to read more.
- The Strategist: Twilight tends to make The Plan for the others and is an excellent fighter when she plans out her fights.
- Summon Magic: Is seen summoning a Parasprite to eat up Trixie's pies in "Magic Duel". As soon as it did its job she banished it before it could multiply out of control.
- Superpower Lottery: Short of Celestia and others like her, Twilight is the single most powerful pony in the series. For bonus points, she isn't limited by a specialized discipline and instead has magic itself as her skill. The Power Incontinence mentioned earlier balances it out so that she doesn't completely overshadow the rest of the main cast in capability.
- Swiss Army Superpower: Her magic. Sure, spells have some vague rules, but she specializes in every kind of magic and has an enormous amount of raw power. The only story-wise limit for her magic might be that she can't do an outright Deus ex Machina.
- Telepathy: One of her powers.
- Care Bear Stare: She uses this ability to show the memories she had with her friends to cure them of the Hate Plague that Discord inflicted on them.
- Teleporters and Transporters: Unlike previous My Little Pony series, she is the only unicorn with the ability to teleport that we've seen so far. Strangely, when she teleports Spike with her, he comes out slightly singed. She says she did it by accident in that instance.
- Since "Secret of My Excess", it has been shown that Twilight is capable of teleporting others to her and with her. She teleports long-distance in "Dragon Quest", and it also establishes that her teleportation is not a Story Breaker Power because long-distance and group teleportation takes too much energy to do regularly or rapidly.
- Teleport Spam: Twilight has a tendency to warp around erratically or excessively when flustered. In "Applebuck Season", her frustration grows to the point that she stops walking to keep up with her friend and serial-teleports instead. In "Lesson Zero", she gets so stressed that she teleports across her room several times.
- Time Travel: She had this as a one-shot power in "It's About Time".
- Time Master: She was also able to do this very proficiently considering it was her first time.
- Unskilled, but Strong: She's the most magically powerful unicorn in the whole show, as is repeatedly pointed out. The "Unskilled" comes from the fact she often only practices a new spell until she can pull it off right in practice once, and then moves on to the next, more difficult spell. This practice severely limits the practical and effective use of her stronger spells in helping her with her day-to-day problems, which sometimes comes back to bite her in the plot when the obstacles she faces require high-level magic and her power backfires or falters on the field. The 'strong' portion of this trope refers to her magical abilities; she is the physically weakest of the six, but can often use her intelligence (or magic) to help in situations where strength isn't an option.
- Walk on Water: She can use her magic to stand on still water.
- With Great Power Comes Great Perks: Like all unicorns, she uses magic for just about everything (where appropriate) and she gets more perks than most unicorns, because she can use any type of magic.
- The Worf Effect: Despite being a powerful sorceress, she is occasionally defeated by the Monster of the Week so that another one of the main characters can defeat it, or fail a spell to make way for someone more powerful like Discord.
- Anime Mane: She has one for the majority of the episode "It's About Time".
- Burning with Anger: Sometimes does it, such as in "Feeling Pinkie Keen".
- Cheated Angle: Twilight's Skunk Stripe sometimes switches which side of her mane it's on from shot to shot.
- Color-Coded Characters/Color Motif: Her name is Twilight, so naturally she's lavender. She also tends to dress up in blue, which reflects the color of the night sky.
- Color-Coded Wizardry: Her horn and objects affected by her magic glow when she uses it. It was at first lavender and matched the color of her coat, but it is later a magenta color that matches the center of her Cutie Mark and her mane's Skunk Stripe. Her mother and big brother have the same magenta magic aura, so it may run in the family.
- Cool Car: The Twilight Sparkle RC Car from the Pony Wedding toys.
- Cool Crown:
- Unlike the other five Elements of Harmony (which are necklaces), her Element of Magic is a "big shiny crown thingy." Later retooled when she is crowned as a princess of Equestria.
- In the season four premiere, after the Mane Six give their Elements back to the Tree of Harmony, she gets a new crown.
- Curtains Match the Window: Both are purple.
- Dark Is Not Evil/Light Is Good: Her first name is Twilight, a time period of night, and she can use magic that's more or less Black Magic, but she can also use magic to create light like most unicorns and she's a decent girl most of the time.
- She is colored lavender, which can be symbolic of either. Also, the name "Twilight" might also be an ironic pun on the fact that she is on the good guys' side.
- Funny Afro: Twilight temporarily has one◊ after Rainbow Dash messes up her mane in the first episode.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: A side effect when she uses especially powerful magic, such as her Power Incontinence episode in her flashback in "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" and any time she uses the Elements of Harmony.
- Hime Cut: Sort of. Her mane looks a lot like this, which despite lacking the sidelocks, is drawn in such a way that it evokes the same effect. Her human form/counterpart however, has a true Hime cut.
- Madness Makeover: Typically, she's the Only Sane Pony. However, when she has a bad case of stymied OCD... you get the trope image.
- Motifs: She tends to be associated with stars to go along with her name.
- Symbol Motif Clothing: Her dress for the Grand Galloping Gala is decorated with stars, and she has a star around her chest at the Canterlot Wedding.
- Multicolored Mane: Dark indigo with a purple and pink streak.
- Princesses Prefer Pink: The gown she wears when crowned Princess is mainly pink.
- Purple Is Powerful: She's a lavender unicorn, has purple eyes, and is one of the most powerful magic users in the show.
- Requisite Royal Regalia: Unique among the princesses in that she chooses to forgo wearing it after her coronation.
- Skunk Stripe: The purple and pink streak in her mane.
- Slasher Smile: Gets one in "Lesson Zero" when she goes off the deep end.
- Supernatural Is Purple: She is mostly lavender and she is a powerful sorceress-in-training.
- Tarot Motifs: In "Magic Duel", she uses telekinesis to levitate a bunch of animals above her head in the form of an infinity symbol, bringing to mind the Magician card which symbolizes not only The Protagonist, but also trickery; fitting, considering that's what she used to stop Trixie from using the Alicorn Amulet in that episode.
- True Blue Femininity: Both her Grand Galloping Gala dress and her cape use this trope. Her early concept would've also had dark blue hair with a light blue Skunk Stripe.
- Tsurime Eyes: More prominent on her toy and she is certainly strong willed.
- Twitchy Eye:
- Gets this in "A Bird in the Hoof" when she panics about Celestia's presence.
- Also in "Swarm Of The Century" for the same reason.
- In "Lesson Zero", she's worried about letting Celestia down by being late with her Friendship Report, and gets this, twitchy ears, a teeth-grinding slasher smile, and a mussed up mane due to really, really losing it.
- Vertebrate with Extra Limbs: After becoming an alicorn.
- Winged Unicorn: She becomes an Alicorn Princess in the Season 3 finale "Magical Mystery Cure", with a toyline centered around it.
- A Young Lady and her Baby Dragon: With Spike. She hatched him as the entrance exam for a magic school but he's more like her sidekick/little brother/son.
- Badass Family:
- She is a certified Badass Bookworm/Magic Knight, her brother is the captain of the Royal Guard who possesses one of Equestria's most potent defensive spells. Then he he marries Princess Cadance, a Badass Princess (who he saves the country with) and Princess Celestia's niece, making her now part of Celestia and Luna's family too. If the Mythology Gag about her mother Twilight Velvet being the G1 Twilight is correct, she counts too.
- Spike, her adoptive brother/son, can take on three opponents who each outweigh him by a factor of five or more, and NOT get curb-stomped.
- Twilight herself is now a Princess like Cadance, Celestia, and Luna are.
- Big Brother Worship: As a filly, she thought of Shining Armor as her best and only friend (until she hatched Spike). When she came to Ponyville and made new friends they started to drift apart. This is what makes it hard to get others to side with her when she claims that Cadance is evil (she turns out to be right when this "Cadance" turns out to be an imposter), since she did appear to be possessive of her brother in the eyes of her peers for much of "A Canterlot Wedding".
- Big Sister Mentor: Occasionally has moments of being this toward either Spike, or the CMC.
- Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: While most characters play this to Pinkie Pie, Twilight is her most prominent foil.
- Cool Big Sis: Vacillates between this and Parental Substitute toward Spike.
- Et Tu, Friends?: If there is one thing that she couldn't bear, it's the betrayal from her friends.
- In the two-parter episode, "The Return Of Harmony", she felt this way when one by one, her friends were brainwashed by Discord and refused to help fight Discord for her.
- She shows this reaction again in "A Canterlot Wedding" after her brother, friends and mentor turn their backs on her for saying that Cadance is evil. Subverted in this case since her being dismissed for accusing Cadance leads her to rethink her accusations and suffer a Jerkass Realization. Even after she was revealed to be right and the others show their remorse, with Applejack being the one to apologize on everypony's behalf, she made it clear in that she doesn't hold it against them. The real Et Tu moment came when she realizes that the fake Cadance she is apologizing to is evil, confirming her suspicions moments before she is dragged down to the abandoned cave in the underground.
- The Kirk: She's generally at the balance between being emotional and logical, hence why she's the unofficial leader of the six.
- Little Sister Instinct: Even though no one believed her about Chrysalis disguised as Cadance using her magic to control Shining Armor, she was right to be worried about him.
- Loner-Turned-Friend: To the rest of the Mane Six.
- Loony Friends Improve Your Personality: She's made a better person when forced to make new (some definitely bizarre) friends.
- Odd Friendship: Has one with Pinkie Pie who's a foil to her.
- One of the Boys: Before the pilot, Twilight had more male friends (Spike and Shining Armor) than girls (the only one being Princess Cadance).
- Pals with Jesus: She's the personal apprentice of Celestia and also became a good friend of Luna during the events of "Luna Eclipsed".
- Parental Substitute: Can be seen as a mother or sister figure to Spike knowing that she hatched him as part of passing the entrance exam at her school and also following the events in "Owl's Well That Ends Well".
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: She's the Blue Oni to the rest of the Mane Five, except for fellow Blue Oni Fluttershy.
- Renowned Selective Mentor: She was just trying to get into the royal academy. One magic overload later, she's studying directly from Princess Celestia.
- The Spock: When not being The Kirk, she takes a very logical and scientific view on the world. She refuses to believe in anything that doesn't seem to make sense.
- Straight Mare: Played with; she usually plays this role with Pinkie Pie since she often has to deal with Pinkie's antics, but there are almost as many times where she learns from Pinkie's eccentric but friendly qualities as the latter learns from Twilight's logical but blunt ones.
- Team Dad: Sometimes she takes this role with Spike and the other ponies.
- Wacky Parent, Serious Child: When Twilight switches off from Straight Mare mode such as in "Lesson Zero" and "It's About Time", she becomes the wacky parent to Spike's serious child.
- "Well Done, Student" Girl: Twilight obviously idolizes Princess Celestia and desperately seeks her approval. Her freak out in Lesson Zero is caused by a fear that she will disappoint the princess. For more than two seasons she's unaware that Celestia's approval is not nearly as conditional as she thinks it is.
- Actor Allusion: "Do I look like I speak squirrel?"
- And Knowing Is Half the Battle: At the end of most episodes, she writes a letter to Princess Celestia describing the Aesop she learned this week. It becomes a Chekhov's Gun when, after her losing faith thanks to Discord in the Season 2 premiere, Celestia sends them all back to break her out of her Heroic BSOD and motivate her to reunite her friends.
- As of "Lesson Zero", she has been given permission to pass this duty on to anyone around her that learns An Aesop.
- Famed in Story: According to Twilight Sparkle And The Crystal Heart Spell, stories of her magical ability have been spreading throughout Equestria.
- Future Me Scares Me: The entire premise of the episode "It's About Time".
- I Hate Past Me: Considering that "Past" Twilight keeps on interrupting "Future" Twilight.
- The Heroine: She's the supposed main character of the series, but, as mentioned above, she isn't more likely to be the protagonist of a single episode than the other five (in fact, she became almost a Supporting Protagonist in Season 2 due to being somewhat Out of Focus).
- Image Song: The Theme Tune Extended (included as a sing-along on the DVD The Friendship Express, and partially included elsewhere) can be seen as one for Twilight.
- In-Series Nickname: Her closer friends tend to shorten her name to "Twi", and her brother calls her "Twily."
- Meaningful Name: In the first two episodes, Twilight eventually brings peace to the two ponies representing night and day. "Twilight" is the time when night and day briefly intersect. Additionally, the book on the Elements of Harmony talks about a "spark" needed to ignite their power; this ends up being Twilight Sparkle. Plus she is responsible for reconciling night and day in the form of fixing Princess Luna, freeing her from being Nightmare Moon. Later she becomes a princess herself, complimenting the day/night motif.
- In a physical and literal standpoint; she is lavender, which is usually the perceived color of a twilight sky (the middle part where day and night intersect), and she has stars for a cutie mark, which represents the few stars that you might see during this time period.
- Out of Focus: In Season 2, compared to her role in Season 1. She had only four focus episodes, has been in more of a supporting character role in most episodes, and has been missing entirely from three. Quite odd considering that she's supposed to be the lead protagonist of the mane cast. The writers clearly reveled in not needing to shoehorn her into every story after "Lesson Zero", which is more or less a good thing considering a sign of flexibility on their part.
- Twilight appears to have lived up to her lead protagonist reputation once more in Season 3 to a certain degree.
- Stellar Name: "Twilight" is the time when day and night briefly intersectnote . During this time period, you may see a few stars in the sky. Stars are known to "sparkle".
- Unfortunate Names: Twilight Sparkle.
- What Could Have Been: Both "Twilight" and "Twilight Twinkle" were names considered, but both had legal problems (both were names of past gen ponies). She would have a dark blue hair with a light blue stripe but this design was rejected.