We see in the beginning that Celestia and Luna overthrew King Sombra after he made the Crystal Empire vanish for a thousand years. There is only one problem: Princess Luna was also gone for a thousand years, and from the fact that she returned two years before the Crystal Empire did, we can conclude that she disappeared two years earlier as well. So how could she have been around to vanquish the king?
Was it stated to be exactly a thousand years, or was the thousand year disappearance just an approximation?
Celestia was rounding to the nearest millenium.
Perhaps "one thousand" is used in the sense of "an undefined large number", like the Greek "myriad".
Previews for the Season 4 premiere seem to confirm that the entire show up to that point (the first three seasons and Equestria Girls) happened over the course of a single year. So if we assume that the fight against Sombra and Luna's fall happened in the same year, the math checks out.
Is the Crystal Empire a city-state or something? It seems pretty small.
I just assumed that it was a city-state, but they just used the Crystal Empire name because a) it rolls of the tongue easier and b) younger viewers might not know what that is.
Maybe it was an empire when King Sombra ruled it. The word "empire" implies conquering, so it's possible he took over a bunch of surrounding areas, and when Celestia and Luna defeated him all the areas he conquered reverted to their previous owners and only the capital remained. The name is just a holdover.
What was with the cold looks Luna kept giving to Twilight?
She doesn't really have Celestia's experience being a social animal in modern times; that's probably still how she thinks royalty should act. The unspoken matter of what they're trying to see what Twilight's ready for probably keeps things more formal, too.
Luna was also very annoyed with Celestia over using the situation as a test. Some of that annoyance spilled over in Twilight's direction.
I personally think it was concern, Luna knowing Celestia is sending Twilight into terrible danger but unable to vocalize it.
Simple... She works the night shift. She is not a Morning Pony. Have you ever seen someone who got woken up from a dead sleep? They hate everyone.
In addition to what's already been mentioned, it seems less that Luna is displeased with Twilight herself and more that she doesn't approve of the overall situation. Her mindset is probably something along the lines of "The Crystal Empire is a big enough deal that we should handle it ourselves rather than subcontracting the job." The reasons for that could be anything between doubt for Twilight's ability to handle it to displeasure at the fact that Celestia is endangering her pupil when she could probably solve the issue quickly herself. Also Celestia probably dragged her out of bed really early to have her there. Anybody would be grumpy after that.
This is probably more something of a WMG, but since it's a question: Who put a bee in Luna's metaphorical bonnet? Her mood seems absolutely foul in this episode?
Wild speculation, but isn't Luna all about making people face their fears? Here Twilight Sparkle faces down her fear of failure. I suspect given the friendship between Luna and Twilight Sparkle, "the next level" of training will be studying under Luna, reframing their relationship. On that note...
What is that book Luna conjures up at the end of the episode?
A User's Guide to Defeating Dark Magic Wielding Evil Emperors by Luke Skywalker?
So...just what caused the Crystal Empire (and King Sombra) to suddenly reappear anyway? There isn't really any attempt to explain it at all. The only possibility I can come up with is some sort of thousand year time-lock on King Sombra's curse, but that doesn't really hold up well to scrutiny...
I think that the curse was set so the Crystal Empire would reappear when Sombra regained the power to conquer it once more. He likely spent the last thousand years regenerating his form and strength, and finding a way to break free. Once he did he broke his curse so he could re-enslave the crystal ponies.
Who builds a train station in the middle of the pony equivalent of the arctic?
Perhaps a research station meant to keep an eye on the former location of the Crystal Empire('s capital), and maybe try to figure out a way to bring it back without necessarily returning King Sombra to power.
Someone who makes plans many, many years in advance for the stuff she knows is going happen in a thousand years.
So, King Sombra is threatening the Empire. Why didn't they use the Elements of Harmony against him? They might not have worked when he was a normal unicorn, but now that he's a shadow... thing, they should have a good chance of beating him. Granted, there's no guarantee that they would have worked against him, but they could have at least tried.
As of this writing...we just don't know. The exact powers and limitations of the Elements have never been spelled out, and until that happens we can only speculate. For example: even if the Elements of Harmony had defeated King Sombra, that would still have left the Crystal Empire without its Crystal Heart. (It might even have simply resulted in the same outcome as the last battle, with both Sombra and the Empire gone for yet another thousand years afterwards.) So it's not outside the bounds of possibility that Celestia secretly sent Twilight there specifically in hopes that she would manage to find and recover the Heart — and once that was back in place, there was no more need for the Elements in any case.
Because Celestia wanted to leave Twilight no option to but to use the dark magic she just showed her. The whole point of the exercise is to test Twilight's ability to learn and use it, without getting corrupted by it.
Why do the crystal ponies speak in a manner befitting a pony of the era of the Mane Six, and not in the tongue of the time from which they (and Luna) hailed? True, Princess Luna was using the formal speech, but I was under the impression that the majority of how she spoke was normal for her time, and that once she "toned it down" she spoke in as informal a tone as a thousand-year-gone pony with crippling social anxiety could speak.
A thousand years ago, Luna was already royalty. By contrast, we don't even see a single distinct lesser noble among the crystal ponies — they all seem to be "commoners". So different speech patterns make sense even if both sides hail from the same general era. (This is setting aside the simple possibility that Luna's archaic ways of expressing herself were simply a one-time gag to underscore her Fish out of Temporal Water issues in "Luna Eclipsed", of course.)
So, in "Sisterhooves Social", sheep are sentient beings, capable of speech (even if their treatment was a bit...disrespectful). But in the Crystal Empire, they're of low enough caste that their young can be relegated to petting zoos. What's up with that? Are Crystal Sheep non-sentient creatures, a distinct species from normal sheep? Are sheep in all of Equestria a slave species, who just have to be thankful their pony overlords aren't carnivorous? Or are they totally cool with the petting zoo thing? Like, is it like an afternoon of free backrubs for them? What's the deal here?
1) Livestock have been shown to be client races of the ponies and generally pretty cool with the arrangement 2) The sheep looked perfectly happy to take part in the petting zoo. Honestly, a lot of people would volunteer to stay in one place and have people pet them for a day.
This could be attributed to the animation budget, but this episode is clearly after Canterlot Wedding, what with Twilight knowing Cadence and her brother in one room. The technical question is in regard to the fact that neither seem to be wearing their wedding rings on their horns. Were they just ceremonial? Did they take them off while at work?
A lot of married couples don't wear their rings all the time.
Plus, the unicorn horn is hard and conical; the ring would probably fall off at the first opportunity.
Everything's made out of crystals, so why isn't Spike chowing down like it's the Land of Chocolate? You'd think he'd show at least some interest.
The crystals throughout the empire may not have the same mineral makeup that gemstones have, making them worthless as food.
Give Spike some credit, he has more restraint than that.
I get that Shining Armor and Princess Cadance now rule the Crystal Empire, but is Shining Armor still the Captain of the Royal Guard in Canterlot? I really need to know.
Really unlikely, as he lives in a totally different place now.
3.02 The Crystal Empire - Part 2
Does anyone else think this was one of the lopsided morals? This entire show is about the power of FRIENDSHIP, and yet Celestia decides that Twilight has to do this ALONE. And when she decides to throw Spike the heart, (or actually, he just picks it up), Celestia says that letting Spike get it shows ability to look past self-interest.. UM, WHAT? SHE WAS ONLY DOING THIS TO SAVE HER BROTHER, HIS WIFE, AND A FREAKIN' EMPIRE!
Twilight doesn't think like that, and Celestia knows it. She congratulates Twilight on breaking her trust and the rules of the test because although it's very justified from anyone elses' perspective, doing so is a very big deal for someone as rules obsessed as Twilight. Twilight remember is generally of the opinion that Celestia will exile her to the moon for using the wrong color pen on her test sheet.
Actually, Twilight never breaks the rules of the test. The rules were that when the time comes, only Twilight can do what needs to be done. What needed to be done was handing over rescuing the Empire to the only person who could actually do it, even if it meant jeopardizing her chances of passing the test... and Twilight was the only one who could do that. You're using the exact same misinterpretation of the instructions Twilight used. Celestia likely didn't predict the exact course of events, but knew that Twilight would eventually be forced to accept help to succeed... so the test was giving her instructions that sounded like saying she had to complete her test alone, when they were actually saying the opposite — that when the time came, she had to accept help from others.
Celestia was also likely hoping that Twilight would say screw that and involve her friends anyway. Being able to tell when your teacher is giving a deliberately bad lesson is an important test in itself, and hopefully Twilight has reached the point where she would understand that she needs her friends (and indeed, she used them well to buy her some time and took Spike along without much convincing).
As mentioned above, Celestia wasn't deliberately giving a bad lesson. She was giving a good lesson (You should put others first and rely on your friends), but disguising what it actually was. The test was to see, when it came down to it, whether Twilight would realize the real lesson and do whatever it took to save the Empire, even if it meant "failing" her test, or be so wrapped up in passing this test that she'd fail to do what was necessary to pass it.
Kind of the entire point of the test was that Twilight sacrificed the "Looking out for number one" mentality for the greater good of the kingdom. That, and as noted, Celestia actually says that Twilight's friends are going to go with her anyway. She never could have done it without them, so I don't think that really breaks the moral, when the moral is "One should be willing to sacrifice one's own interests to help out those who truly need it".
Am I the only one who's kind of mad at Celestia for the test thing? Granted, it is perfectly in character for her to show circuitousness, but here it doesn't make any sense. First, there's no reason for her to test Twilight right that very second. She could easily put it off until the crisis was over. Yet she does it right then and there, despite there being no apparent reason for her to do so. Which brings me to my next point: pulling that kind of test in that kind of situation is very counter-intuitive. This is a crisis that very well could have ended with Equestria and the Crystal Empire/Kingdom/whatever being destroyed or worse. To stop this, you will need to have everyone giving their all to solve the problem. But then she hands out a test with the worst timing imaginable, thereby adding a completely unnecessary problem and keeping Twilight from working at her best. So all that she really accomplished was making the whole thing much harder then it had to be.
To be fair, we never are given any indication that Celestia knew King Sombra had returned. She probably thought he was still sealed in that icy crevice she and Luna sealed him in.
Except that it was obvious that she knew that the Empire, and thus Equestria, was in danger. Why she knew that when she didn't seem to know Sombra was back, I don't know, but she knew that there was a serious threat.
She [Twilight] saved Equestria THREE TIMES, IS THAT NOT ENOUGH?!
Celestia (offhandedly, but still) mentions to Luna that if Twilight passes, they will know that "she is that much closer to being ready". So perhaps Celestia needed Twilight to be tested in such dire situation, in preparation for something possibly even worse. She also seems to have an unwavering faith in Twilight, for better or for worse. Luna disapproved, as you could see. And it was never supposed to be an academic-style test and Celestia said as much, it's just that Twilight couldn't let got of that idea.
King Sombra was also as close as they would get to an ideal stress test. He was powerful enough to put pressure on Twilight and her friends, while still be weak enough that Princess Celestia and Luna could defeat him without the Elements of Harmony. Additionally, having fought him before, Celestia and Luna knew what he was capable of. It was a dangerous situation, of course, but not so much that they couldn't keep it under control if Twilight failed.
I'm less mad at Celestia and more confused as to why Twilight seemed to view the whole situation as just a test all the time. I mean, gee, the crystal ponies face potential enslavement for a millennium, but Celestia forbid Twilight fails her test! I guess we can all agree that it was a weird set-up. It would have made more sense to just send her on a mission, or to "interrupt" her test for the mission and then reveal that in succeeding, she also passed the test.
In Twilight's defense, she'd unquestionably be more affected emotionally by losing her friends and Celestia as a mentor; a bunch of ponies she doesn't know personally (other than as a bunch of sadsacks), not so much. That and Celestia seemed to place a lot of emphasis on the fact that the situation, while serious, was nothing that the Princesses couldn't handle should Twilight fail (and Celestia was utterly confident she wouldn't). Compare her demeanor here to her very troubled mood when Discord returned.
It's also possible Celestia wasn't even aware King Sombra had escaped his imprisonment, since Shining Armor and Cadence were on their way when she dispatched Twilight and they didn't seem to know Sombra was going to be waiting for them. It's also possible King Sombra turned out to be more dangerous than she thought he'd be, since he may not have been able to prepare for two gods attacking him and thus didn't put up as much of a fight against her and Luna as Discord did. Celestia's not infallible.
I thought the whole test was actually to see whether Twilight would put herself first or other ponies who were in danger first. What was more important to Twilight, that she pass her test or that she save the ponies? The whole purpose seemed to be to shift Twilight from an academic view of her studies to a real world view.
Their hair is different to sell toys. Pure and simple. (Toys of the Mane Six as crystal ponies exist and, as of when I write this, still on toy store shelves.)
Am I the only one who felt that Rainbow Dash was a bit harsh on Fluttershy during the jousting part? She should really know by now that her friend isn't cut out for rough, competitive sports. What's worse, rather than check if she was ok, Dash criticized her for asking if someone else could do it, using the old "don't you want to help them" guilt routine.
On the one hand, it is pretty harsh, especially the guilting. On the other, somepony has to be Rainbow Dash's sparring partner, and the rest of the Mane 6 are occupied. Rainbow Dash was dismissive, but to be fair, there was more at stake at the moment than Fluttershy's personal comfort.
It's still kind of jarring to see her act that way, especially after what happened in a certain episode.
Rainbow Dash isn't really a 'good' pony. She fits the category for a good friend in that she'll help bury a body, but that's as much because she doesn't put 'bury a body' as that tricky a thing as it is that she's very loyal. Moreover, unlike Rarity, she doesn't really struggle to rise above her base impulses. It's not that she's a bad pony. She'd say, and believe, that she was doing what needed to be done, and she's not evil, but empathy's not the highest priority.
My personal take on that scene is that RD realized there was kind of a lot at stake, and she couldn't really put Fluttershy's personal foibles ahead of the larger mission. It was kind of important to keep the Crystal ponies distracted; if they realized Sombra was returning, they'd return to their depression and the Crystal Heart wouldn't be able to activate. Yes, she was harsh to Fluttershy, but it wasn't like she was bothering Fluttershy for no reason. It's just that in this particular situation, she prioritized the overall mission over Fluttershy's shyness. It was harsh, yes, but not without reason. RD really does care about her friends, it's just that she's also really prone to taking the "Suck it up, we have work to do" approach to situations.
It's one thing for Rainbow Dash to tell Fluttershy to suck it up for the mission of saving the Crystal Empire; it's another when Rainbow Dash "twists the knife" with making Fluttershy feeling worse about herself by using the "it must not be important to you" guilt-trip routine.
Well, Rainbow Dash does have a history of being brutally honest and not being good at remembering that not everypony is as tough as she is. See her "Well, she kind of is" bit in Suited for Success.
Maybe RD was just trying to get back at Fluttershy for what happened at the beginning of "Dragon Quest"?
Does Pinkie have full-size suits for every other one of the Mane Cast?
There is no possible answer to that question that will help you sleep at night. Anyway, she obviouslydoes, but I'm more worried about why you asked that question in the first place.
Do not seek to explain Pinkie Pie. To do so will only bring confusion, frustration, and possible mental scarring. Simply accept that she is Pinkie Pie, and be grateful for this fact.j
Pinkie Pie has Fluttershy costumes stashed all over Equestria. In case of Fluttershy costume emergencies.
Including places that haven't even existed for a thousand years. Why? Because she's Pinkie Pie.
Hey, Twilight, thanks for handing off the Crystal Heart to someone who was not really capable of handling the sitaution due to his lack of physical capabilities. We know you could have used magic, so why didn't you teleport the Crystal Heart out of the castle and within plain view so someone could have caught it with more ability-like any of the Alicorns or Pegasi on the field-to bring it to the altar? At least Spike would not have been at risk then and it would have been far safer. Also, the lesson would have still applied. Bad enough that Shining Armor barely had a chance to show his stuff.
One does not hurl the irreplaceable magical artifact needed to fend off the vengeful ghost out the window of the tallest tower in the land. Also, since Twi only tried to use short-range teleporting it's safe to infer that she had a good reason not to try it for longer distances.
Furthermore, since Sombra's trap includes an anti-teleportation effect that snatches Twilight right back inside the crystal prison when she winks out, it's likely that trying to teleport the Heart away would not have worked either.
Yeah, Sombra had magically warded the heart to trap anyone who tried to grab it, and teleportation was explicitly shown to be useless. Giving it to Spike was a much better option than just hurling it somewhere, because he can actually take care of the thing. He managed to keep it away from Sombra long enough to return it to it's rightful place.
How exactly the tower in the center of the Crystal Empire is constructed puzzles me. On the ground floor, there's a place for the Crystal Heart, and a few floors up is the balcony and throne room. Below the throne room is a shaft with a staircase leading down to that door, all placed by King Sombra. Go out that door, and at first you're outside in a weird nothingness area, at the base of a different-looking tower with a lot of steps. At the top of those steps, suddenly you're at the very top of the tower outside and able to see the entire city. This is also where the Crystal Heart was being hidden, and by the end of the episode, the whole tower/castle is acting as a radio tower broadcasting signals of positive feelings all across Equestria (while looking like the Northern Lights).
That, and the fact that the throne room might be either high enough in the castle that there was room for the basement below it, or else when Twilight exposed the stairwell in the floor, she was actually opening a portal into a subterranean cavern; same with the scary nightmare door. It was a portal to the top of the castle rather than a physical gateway.
The door moves around the chamber and hypnotizes anyone who tries to open it. I don't think it's possible to explain how the path to the Crystal Heart works using rational means.
Do the coats of the crystal ponies remain all shiny and crystall-y after the fair has ended? We see that the effect doesn't work permanently on the mane six, but the crystal ponies return to their houses in the same state they have been in when the Crystal Heart began to work. Is the effect just elongated on them? Or is it bound to the Empire, and leaving its territory results in being transformed to a normal, non-crystallized state?
Given that it seems to wear off on the Mane Six just as they're leaving the Empire, it's probably indeed tied to the territory. Or at least it seems to be as far as visitors are concerned — technically, whether and how the coat of a 'proper' crystal pony who decided to leave the Empire for the world outside would be affected hasn't been established yet.
Looking at later visits to the Cystal Empire, yes.
If Princess Cadence is ruler of the Crystal Empire shouldn't she be known as Empress Cadence?
Celestia and Luna rule a kingdom. They're both princesses.
3.03 Too Many Pinkie Pies
Why didn't Twilight simply ask the clones about something like the Canterlot Wedding or Crystal Empire? Pinkie only gave the clones some basic details on Ponyville and it's inhabitants, so they couldn't know anything about that. As we will probably see in endless crappy fan fics to come soon, there was the risk the real Pinkie couldn't handle the paint drying, quizzing them about something like this doesn't have that risk.
The real Pinkie is the only pony who knows that the clones don't have all her memories, so Twilight wouldn't think of that unless the real Pinkie told her, and she wouldn't know if that information was reliable. The other thing is that the Pinkies were utterly laying waste to the town and they were basically scrambling for a solution. They'd probably have stumbled across it eventually, but they likely didn't want to wait that long.
Which is odd because Pinky only told her clones a few important names. Considering how many of them were running around the rest of Ponyville should have noticed that if you weren't a member of the Mane Six that Pinkies were forgetting your name. I know they were destructive but between the Ursa Major and the Parasprites we know whoever Ponyville contracts out to rebuild is VERY good at their job.
So you're telling me they couldn't tell her apart from the rest based on her intelligence and mannerisms alone? She is the only one capable of making a cognizant sentence without repeating herself and had proper social acuity. There's your real Pinkie right there; the one who isn't jumping around and being simplistic. Twilight, of all ponies, I expected to realize that. Because hey, Spike certainly did.
Considering they dismissed the Pinkie Pie who was acting very VERY differently than the others (and admittedly also very un-Pinkie-Pie-like), this seems to have been Played for Laughs. In addition, the goal was to find the original Pinkie Pie, and there are so many of them running amok that it'd be incredibly difficult unless you gathered all of them in one place.
Let's sum up the test: Whoever looks away from the paint is instantly banished away (and/or possibly killed, depending on the nature of the Pool). That's it, you're gone forever. Why wasn't there a secondary test to be 100% certain Pinkie wouldn't meet a fate possibly worse than death such as a place in which those that failed were nevertheless kept in case the remaining one turned out to be an unusual copy (like the one they ADMITTED TO BE AN ANOMALY BEFORE THE TEST BEGAN) that simply "malfunctioned" during the test?
Well, it was Pinkie herself who suggested the test (well, a vague idea of the test, but still). It was far from perfect, but did fit with what little the others knew about the clones (i.e. they're more manic than normal for Pinkie). Still, you'd think Twilight would be logical enough to come up with a more definitive selection process than "pick the one who wants it the most".
We also don't know about "gone forever". From the way the first clone appeared, it's possible that the pool is actually some kind of dimensional gateway and the clones just went back to their home dimensions.
Or they're just dormant inside the pool again, waiting for the next pony to summon them. The episode raised a lot of fascinating questions, but in true franchise tradition, ignored them all.
Well, it's not like they really had time to cover everything in 22 minutes.
Twilight did seem oddly trigger happy during that part. So much as looking away, because another Pinkie talks to you, was enough for the ZAP! Only real explanation I can think of is that Twilight knows that the real Pinkie will resist the urge to look away because of how important this is (which she does).
What about if she, say, had to sneeze? Even the slightest movement caused you to die.
For the love of, it was not like that! Every clone who got zapped clearly got distracted either by fooling around or by watching others fool around.
Maybe sneezing doesn't count? It IS involuntary, after all.
If you sent a pony with a saddlebag full of bits into the pool, would the clone have a saddlebag full of bits?
My guess is that either the gold would be fake (the fake Pinkies didn't seem to be exact copies of the real deal), or only the pony themself would get cloned.
Unicorn horns can overheat? That's certainly more dramatic than the usual nosebleed or fainting one would use to show overexertion, but have any unicorns been burned from it?
It's likely just a sight gag. Twilight's used more magic in shorter time frames without that happening.
Maybe. But she hadn't used that particular spell before, and intense spell casting does run a lot of energy through the horn... Celestia did have singe marks on her horn after her fight with Chrysalis. Maybe they didn't come from the Queen?
Well, the first time we see Rarity, she's wearing a new dress design. It's possible that she's getting a new fashion line ready and Fancypants might have come to Ponyville to see what she had so far. From what little we know of him, he's certainly the kind of guy who would be willing to make the trip himself rather than force her to drag all of her stuff to Canterlot.
He's commenting on how charming and rustic everything is.
Twilight Sparkle completely reorganizes her books every now and then, how could she have not noticed a secret compartment? The only explanation is if someone recently installed it in secret, but why would someone do something like that just for a book about a mirror pond? And how did they manage to avoid getting caught by Spike and/or Twilight?
They might have actually known about it but just never bothered to actually press the horseshoe until this episode. (That's my best guess at least.)
The book contains a spell that can at the least banish, maybe even murder, a real pony. Spike doesn't stumble across it, so it's possible that Twilight and Spike knew about the book, but kept it hidden.
It's enchanted with an illusion that only lets you find it if that's specifically what you're looking for. Pointless plot convenience magic 101, really.
Given that the hidden button was on the bottom shelf, it's possible that nopony, or Spike, bothered to bend down and look at the back of the shelf while it was empty before.
Twilight can turn an apple into a carriage and mice into horses, yet she struggles in this episode to turn an apple into an orange?
Eh, everyone knows apples are more closely related to carriages than oranges. Also semantics, but she didn't exactly turn them into horses; she made them more similar to horses.
Twi's just sweating the small stuff again.
Oranges are the complete spiritual opposite of apples, of course it's difficult. Birds and frogs into oranges? That's easy. But changing something into its natural antithesis? Even Celestia herself would have trouble with such a spell.
Actually it's relatively easy to turn one thing into it's spiritual opposite, so long as you know how to do it. You can turn water into fire by separating the hydrogen and oxygen, igniting the hydrogen, and use the oxygen to keep it burning. She just hasn't figured out the apple to orange conversion equation.
The transformation part works well enough on a bird and a frog (which the spell may or may not even have been designed for in the first place). Twilight's clearly working on improving her control here — imagine how embarrassing it would have been if one of those stray zaps had hit an actual pony...
Twilight is probably working on a spell to permanently transmute things while that carriage would revert ala Cinderella. Besides, the transformation of those mice was pretty darn flawed
Does anyone think it would have been funnier if Rainbow did not find the real Pinkie Pie before the test started, but then she wanders in after everyone else has been zapped?
This episode was a Take That at Flanderization but am I the only one who thinks Pinkie was flanderized herself? She seemed more eccentric than usual and her voice seemed higher.
This is a common part of animated sitcoms: Since they have to begin with some sort of conflict, the only options are to either introduce a new character, object or event; or make one or more characters behave somewhat differently than normal to create said conflict. For example, the Gravity Falls episode "Carpet Diem" couldn't happen if Dipper and Mabel weren't suddenly mad at each other for sharing a room. The Simpsons episode "The Boy Who Knew Too Much" required Principal Skinner to relentlessly track down Bart when he normally stands in the schoolyard shaking his fist whenever Bart pulls something. South Park commonly begins at the school bus stop when one of the main four boys (usually Cartman) walks in making a fuss over something. The Fairly OddParents LIVES on this sort of premise, to where the only consistent personality traits Timmy has is that he's loud and has low self-control. In this case, Pinkie Pie, only for this episode, felt that she was rushed for time, convinced she ought to be at her friends' side all the time. You can see this storytelling trait in past episodes of this very show too. "Stare Masters" had the Cutie Mark Crusaders be more hyperactive than usual, "Sisterhooves Social" threw in tension between Applebloom and Sweetie Belle when the two normally get along pretty well (maybe Scootaloo keeps them from exploding on each other?), and the third act of "Sweet and Elite" required all of Rarity's friends to be really awkward. There are way more examples in this show, but to act somewhat out of character is necessary for animated sitcoms (and definitely some live-action sitcoms too) for some premises to work, lest you overcrowd the series's universe by only resorting to introducing something new every episode.
Was anyone else bothered by the ending? The Pinkie Clones were annoying the townsfolk, and generally had some half-baked versions of the original's personality, but since their creation, all of them have developed as real people on their own. They were all breathing, walking, talking, feeling, thinking living sentient ponies. What right did Twilight and the others have to blatantly murder them?!
This is a common issue some people have with the episode.
Or they were just looking like ones and were in fact just that, imitations. Thin of it, none of them even care when they get zapped one by one. They clearly have no regard for each other or their own lives. Besides, there's no indication, that Twi is actually killing them - she's just sending them back to where they came from.
The only Pinkie I felt sorry for was the other one left at the end of the test. She was actually trying & suffering just as much as the real Pinkie, something that the worried expressions on the other faces seemed to show. She was most likely the original clone & had developed just a tiny bit more than the others thanks to the Real Pinkie showing consideration for her & comforting her when she had her breakdown. But this of course brings up the really sad thought that the clones had the potential to develop into real Ponies if they were allowed to, which they weren't.
This is fiction...people have been known to pick up the Idiot Ball in order to keep the plot moving.
When she got distracted though, she reverted to her usual "FUN FUN FUN" mode. If she really did develop any, her expression would've been more conflicted.
The entire conflict of this episode was stared by Pinkie's inability to hang out with Applejack and Rainbow Dash at the same time. Except... she can! She's already demonstrated an ability to be in multiple places at the same time, most notably in "Baby Cakes". Why couldn't she just do that?
Every time she's done that it's been in the same room; her fourth-wall powers are short range.
OK, this is admittedly a minor quibble, but Fluttershy promises Pinkie Pie she "won't do anything fun at all". Next time we see her, she's having a tea party with her animal friends. Did she lie or does she secretly hate tea parties and is just trying to make her friends happy?
I think she's using Pinkie's high-energy definition of "fun" when she's making that promise. I like to believe that even if the Mane Cast don't like them, there are people enjoy who themselves at the Grand Galloping Gala or the Canterlot Garden Party, even if they would probably be considered "not fun" by Pinkie's definition.
3.04 One Bad Apple
Why didn't Applejack tell Apple Bloom and the other Cutie Mark Crusaders about Babs Seed's bullying problem back at Manehatten from the very beginning? Sure, I understand it was meant to build drama for the episode, but I still don't quite get it why Applejack decided to tell of Babs Seed's backstory so late in the episode and at such an inconvenient time when it was almost too late for the CMC.
Sometimes it's better to let relationships grow on their own instead of giving too much details. Babs Seeds still has her privacy, Applejack likely understood she'd talk about it whenever she felt like opening up.
If that's the case, why did Applejack tell the CMC about Babs Seed's bullying problem anyway?
The idea was that she didn't want to make Babs feel like a loser by informing her cousins that she was a bullying victim, because then she might feel like the CMC were just including her out of pity. By the time the parade rolled around, AJ probably assumed (due to Babs being the one driving the float) that they had grown close enough that she could tell them about Babs' background without making it awkward.
The show has already done "jerks who are just jerks" before. Normally I hate the "bully was a victim herself" cliche but I thought this episode did a decent job with it in that it's a bit clearer with her reason. Instead of just saying "Babs was mean because other ponies were mean to her", they said "Babs was mean because other ponies were mean to her, and she wanted to avoid becoming a victim again". Though I think it would've been nice if they more clearly established that Babs being bullied was an explanation and not an excuse for her behavior toward the CMC.
So, is Babs the child of AJ's/AB's Aunt and Uncle Orange, or actually a member of the Apple family?
Aunt and Uncle Orange are members of the Apple family, just with a different name. It seems likely that Babs is their child, since having more than one branch of the family in Manehattan would allow them to just send her to the other family, rather than all the way to Ponyville.
I find it highly unlikely that Babs Seed would be the child of Aunt and Uncle Orange. For one thing, the Oranges live like Aristocrats (if we were to take anything away from Applejack's cutie mark story) and Babs doesn't seem to possess any form of "high-class" mannerisms (unless she hides it very well, which is unlikely).
It's a cliché because it does happen a lot, and it's something many people either do not know or overlook. It's long known by criminologists that victims of violence tend to become more violent themselves. There are many other explanations for why bullies behave the way they do, but I get the feeling most would not get past the network censors.
If Manehattan is the equivalent of Equestria's New York, why is Babs' accent closer to a Boston accent?
Accents can float over from region to region really easily; I live in the Tri-State area and there are people with all kinds of different accents around here. Alternately, Manehattan is just a conglomeration of cities in general, mashing the different aspects together.
It sounds like a Bronx accent. I assume Manehattan is supposed to be a stand-in for all of New York City, not just Manhattan, so it makes sense.
Who here would have liked to see other subtle hints of Babs Seed's true personality? I know we had other hints like her hiding her flank in shame at times and the face she makes when Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon first make fun of her, but I would have liked to see quick shots of Babs Seed looking sad at what she does to the CMC. Nothing too overt, but tiny hints to show that she regrets what she does, but does them anyway.
That might have been nice, but assumes that she did in fact regret what she was doing while she was doing it (rather than only afterwards) — which may genuinely not have been the case, considering that she's only a filly and thus still learning her lessons about life herself. For all we know this episode was her very first real exposure to, say, evil feeling good...
Honestly, I feel kinda the same way. As it is I think it's very hard to sympathise with Babs. As a bully, her behaviour was completely out of line. If she had only verbally abused the CM Cs like Silver Spoon and Diamond Tiara generally do, you'd get over it; but the very first thing she does is mock them, then attacks their float and resultingly destroys it(accidentally, granted) and essentially gloats about it. Not okay! It gets worse from there, if anything. But at the end it's all "Oh it's okay you had a reason". I get that this is horribly true to real life, but that doesn't absolve what she was doing.
There are two things to keep in mind, though. First, the episode never treats her actions as justified. Her background is an explanation for her behavior, not an excuse. The reason she didn't get punished isn't because her history made it okay, but because the CMC were willing to forgive her, and since she learned her lesson there was no reason to punish her further other than for retribution, and as a whole the episode discourages that. The whole point of the episode is that being bullied doesn't mean it's okay to bully others. Second, you have to keep in mind that this isn't a pattern of behavior for Babs, it's an isolated incident. The episode takes place over the course of maybe a week tops, and it's likely the only time in Babs' life that she's ever acted like this. If her bullying were habitual behavior (like DT and SS), then yeah, she'd need some more punishment to get the message across, but that isn't the case. At the end of the episode there's zero indication that Babs is going to revert into a bully, so again there's no need to punish her more other than just for the sake of punishing her.
She still should have been called out on her behaviour, though. I can tell you this...she's frankly lucky the CMC took her back and that she wasn't given a mouthful. In real life, I don't think anyone would have done what the CMC did, or heard her Freudian Excuse and just thought "Hypocrite!"
The fact that she was doing it over the course of a week, even when she was at home (forcing Apple Bloom out of her own bed, even!) means that it was not an isolated incident. She spends a week torturing the CMC to save her own hide... and never suffers any negative consequences. I know bullying is a hard topic to cover no matter how you present it, but what Babs did was wrong. A Freudian Excuse is not a get out of jail free card. Not to mention the CMC getting away with booby-trapping the float just to get Babs possibly seriously injured. Personally I think all four of them should have been punished, and bonded over a day of Applejack making them do hard chores around the farm.
Except that the episode doesn't necessarily treat it that way. Babs doesn't get out of punishment because she had an excuse, she gets out of it because the CMC (who are the only ponies she victimized) were willing to let bygones be bygones and forgive her. That said, yeah, the group as a whole should probably have been punished somehow for the whole deal with the float. Then again, Equestria in general seems to be far more prone to massive property damage, so maybe they don't take stuff like that so hard.
On reflection, there's something else to consider: that the audience sees Babs being just as bad as the CMC think she is may well have been a deliberate choice. The episode clearly means to deliver an aesop about bullying; would it really be a good idea to also include the message "but if you know what to look for, you can magically easily tell the bullies who aren't as bad as the rest from the others"?
Some would say that...
Also, put yourself into Babs's hooves for a moment. You're an unhappy kid in school, getting picked on as an uncool loser for something that isn't even your fault. You go off to spend your vacation with distant relatives to get away from all that for a while...and the first thing that happens when you arrive is that the local Uncool Losers' Club gets into your face and badgers you to become a member...with the local alpha bitch bully squad dropping by to heckle, even. Um...yeah, no. (Of course, we already know how the CMC were founded and what they're really like, but Babs meets all these strange new fillies for the first time in her life.)
Even then, when Babs did that, my first reaction was to Face Palm. As overzealous as they were, she flat out turns on people who are in her shoes, and people reveal themselves as Not So Different than the Alpha bitches at home.
Well, yeah, that's because it was a purely emotional decision rather than a rational one. We can tell that it was a terrible call because we're sitting outside the show and know all the factors. All Babs knows is that this week is going to be hell for her unless she can find a way to escape it.
Even if it was an emotional decision over a rational one, where's the family loyalty? Or the fact that, had she joined up with the CMC to begin with, they would have outnumbered Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon two to one? I'm not saying it's necessarily a numbers game, but I get the impression Babs doesn't have any friends back home. Having three people willing to accept her and back her up— or that she could protect, being the toughest of the four of them— could have been her escape. If Babs has a tragic flaw in all this, it's cowardice.
That's all still applying out-of-character knowledge and, perhaps worse, "adult" logic. Babs is a filly — we can't expect her to be or act all "mature" and have a ton of "obvious common sense" yet, any more than we can really blame Apple Bloom for not talking to her sister about the problem despite fear of Babs considering her a "snitch" (which isn't really very rational either — why should Apple Bloom care at that point what the obvious jerkass thinks of her?). So Babs made what is to us an obviously bad snap decision about who she wanted to be buddies with ("family loyalty" doesn't necessarily mean a lot if you're young and your relatives obviously annoying) and then between the obvious relief of havingothersto torment for a change and probably a dose of plain old stubbornness stuck with that until her Heel Realization finally hit.
I don't think it's asking too much of a filly to side with a friendly cousin she's never met over a couple of jerks she's never met. It's one thing to fear the retribution of one's peers, it's another to be a Jerk Ass to the person who's literally providing you a place to sleep at night. I don't like the "she only does it so other bullies won' pick on her" because Babs mistreats Apple Bloom in her own home; she just gets off on picking on them. But that's never addressed, the CMC just forgive her because she has a Freudian Excuse.
Maybe it's actually just because a big part of the reason the CMC wanted her was because of her blank flank? It was like a constant reminder of her "flaw". Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon were essentially negging: first they put her down, then they act interested in the fact she's from Manehattan. It's no surprise that a (previously) quiet kid with a bad past, already pretty intimidated by the CMC's over-enthusiastic welcome, chooses what she perceives as the powerful group, who, and this is key, seem to want her for something other than what Bab's sees as her worst attribute?
How come Diamond Tiara & Silver Spoon were so quick to accept Babs Seed as their friend despite her not having a cutie mark? I thought they only bully people who don't have cutie marks!
They seem to never go out of their way to torment any character that isn't Applebloom or immediately associated with Applebloom. It seems that the "Blank Flank" thing is just their most effective rhetoric to get under Applebloom's skin, and going after anyone she's friends with or is related to is just another tactic. Getting Babs on their side is much more effective at antagonizing Applebloom than would just calling Babs a Blank Flank while she's with Applebloom. Note when Applebloom got her hoop Cutie Mark through artificial means, they were quick to dismiss it.
3.05 Magic Duel
If Twilight had destroyed Trixie's career to the point she was working in a rock farm where did she get all of the gold to pay for the Alicorn Amulet?
Maybe she had her life savings stashed somewhere, but had to raise the money to get to the hiding place.
Spend nothing on self, live in crap conditions to cut back on expenses, save up for however long, sell any remaining valuables, empty her life savings, and possibly even resort to theft and prostitution.
I'd worry more about how she was eating, since she was shown to not be able to do that.
Could be an invisibility spell and the magical equivalent of duct tape. Illusions are Trixie's specialty, after all...
Maybe there was air in the trashcan-dimension, and the separated snout could breath it?
A few years back this troper figured out that it's possible to breath through your GI track. . .
The GI tract? Please, please explain.
Is it me, or did this episode really flanderize Fluttershy? Threatening Twilight, being too timid to speak up, too cowardly to be the one to leave Ponyville...
I noticed that, too. I'm a little worried that Fluttershy will only get worse and worse from this episode one. In fact, it almost seems that Fluttershy's been getting the shaft since this season, starting with her being forced to compete with Rainbow Dash in jousting, and now this.
It's also worrisome to see her threaten Twilight when she seemed fine with her using magic on the mice from the Gala episode.
That could be the very reason she's so worried. That didn't really end well after all. Who knows if she even saw those mice ever again.
I'd hardly call having enough courage to warn Twilight flanderization. Not to mention that Twilights magic is powerful and unpredictable (she made Spike hatch from his egg and grow supersized without even realizing it).
Fluttershy has an odd slope with character development. She should be more assertive after the training in Season 2 but she seems even more timid than she was in Season 1.
Shyness takes a long time to get over. Fluttershy may be able to be assertive sometimes, but not all the time. Everyone has their up days and down days. Not to mention that the situation with Trixie had her extra terrified, Trixie clearly was not stable and Fluttershy had very good reason to fear her if she got on her bad side.
What the heck was up with Fluttershy's attitude in the beginning, when she threatened Twilight? It irked me a little to see her act that way. I know she tends to be protective of her "critters", but, she was perfectly fine with Twilight using magic on them at the Gala, which seems more dangerous than just levitation (which she can do very easily, as seen and mentioned during "Failure Success" in The Crystal Empire Pt. 1).
See my post above. While she did seem concerned for Twilight during the episode, her attitude during the beginning and when she was sent to find her bothers me a lot. We can only hope she gets a more supporting role in Wonderbolt Academy.
The spell wasn't just levitation, as Twilight was spinning them around at a high hight. If she messed up, the animals could be hurt, which could be why Fluttershy was panicking. In regards to the Gala episode, I recall Fluttershy being nervous about the mice, just not threatening Twilight. And maybe the mice changed back at midnight or something, since that scene was inspired by Cinderella.
Don't forget that this is Twilight, a unicorn who is extremely skilled with magic. Fluttershy had the right to be scared, yes, but why would she need to threaten Twilight, since Twilight knows what she's doing and has successfully used far more dangerous spells (i.e. replicating King Sombra's magic after having only seen it be used once; time travel)?
I agree that the threatening thing was uncalled for; I was just saying that, based on what the spell looks like (and the fact that Angel Bunny appeared to be a participant), Fluttershy was definitely more scared than if it was just levitation. Also, this could have been the first time that Twilight performed the spell on living creatures, so maybe Fluttershy didn't know what to expect and panicked.
The issue for me is that Fluttershy's supposed to be in tune with her animals. She communes with them on a level no other pony can. But here, she makes a big deal, shrieking, "LOOK HOW SCARED THEY ARE!" when they're clearly perfectly cool with everything. Fluttershy's always been skittish but never at the cost of her relationship with her critters.
The sad fact is that they did it for the sake of a good joke, rather than find a way to make it funny while keeping her in character.
She was too busy being scared to pay attention properly.
She believes they're scared. It's a textbook example of psychological projection.
Well, just two episodes ago, Twilight accidentally turned two animals into oranges. I'd be more concerned than usual, too.
Except, Twilight wasn't working on turning apples into oranges (the reason she "turned two animals into oranges" in the first place is because Pinkie bumped into her and and her aim was thrown off), she was levitating them.
Fluttershy behaves strangely in the Crystal Empire too. When the apathetic Crystal Ponies ignore her, for a moment she looks like she's gonna lash out at them. She has something of a Jekyll/Hyde personality, and isn't prepared to cope with her repressed darker impulses. This bodes ill for her impending confrontation with Discord. Beware the Nice Ones, indeed!
Trixie takes over a rather prominent town (it is kind of prominent considering this is where the Elements of Harmony live), surrounds it with a magical barrier, more or less terrorizes the populace (if rather mildly), and nopony on the outside notices? Couldn't Spike just send one letter to Princess Celestia to end the entire situation?
Seeing as the dome was able to contain several large stormclouds, it would probably block the smoke from Spike's fire. Also, as a magical barrier, it may be attuned specifically to block magic. Otherwise Twilight could have just teleported back in.
This really bugged me. Why couldn't Twilight have just walked to Canterlot? It's not like it's -that- far away. From what I can see from the opening movie, it's about the distance from Riverwood to Whiterun, like maybe a virtual mile, maybe two. Why don't you just -walk-? Failing that, if indeed Canterlot is actually hovering over the earth (Wouldn't that be Pegasi turf?), couldn't she have written the letter, and smuggled spike along with Fluttershy?
One) Ponyville is repeatedly said and shown to be a podunk town right next to the forest of death. The only reason that Celestia cares about it is because her star pupil lives there. It would take a while for anyone to notice anything had happened to it. Two) Spike's only penpal is Princess Celestia, who was in Saddle Arabia at the time. Not really close enough for fast action. Three) the episode take place over maybe two days, possible just one. Trixie's clouds made it hard to tell. Even if he did send a scroll out, and he might have, Celestia might not have had enough time to do anything.
No one seems to actually go to Canterlot without a vehicle. We have so far seen a chariot ("Friendship is Magic Part 1"), a carriage ("The Best Night Ever"), and a train ("It's About Time," "MMMystery on the Friendship Express," and "A Canterlot Wedding"; and in that second example, it seems to require at least from daytime to the following morning). All this leads me to believe that Canterlot is either much further than it looks due to stylization of the backgrounds (The Powerpuff Girls and Dexter's Laboratory played with perspective in landscape shots in similar ways—shots within downtown Townsville look much, MUCH bigger than is depicted on each episode's opening wide shot, for intance), or an actual safe path to Canterlot is actually incredibly long.
So if Celestia really was too far away to take action, why didn't Twilight try contacting Luna?
Does Twilight even know where Luna lives? And even if she does, does Luna live somewhere that Twilight could contact quickly? A Canterlot Wedding strongly implied that Luna didn't live in Canterlot, and nothing has contradicted that.
How the bucking hell did Trixie get off completely scott free? Princess Celestia sends people to the moon for not liking bananas!
Celestia let Twilight off from hypnotizing a good chunk of the town with a slap on the wrist,note Actually the name of that part of equines and gave Spike no punishment for rampaging across town. The lesson? As long as your depredations are restricted to Ponyville, she doesn't care.
Wait, when did Twilight hypnotize a good chunk of the town?
Lesson Zero, the "Want-It-Need-It" spell.
The notion of a "ruthless, tyrant Celestia" is pure fanon. Celestia's a kind, forgiving character. Plus, the alicorn amulet was said to corrupt whoever wore it, so she definitely understood.
If Celestia's even prepared to rehabilitate Discord, we can put this "ruthless tyrant" notion to rest.
Sadly, the fans would likely take it as her trying to create an attack dog out of him.
Look at how fast the Amulet corrupted Trixie. She went from 'get revenge on Twilight' to 'take over Equestria' in the course of a day to two days tops. It's quite possible that Trixie's original intention WASN'T that bad, maybe beat Twilight in a Magic Duel to restore her reputation and get her life back, but by the time she got to Ponyville, the Amulet had corrupted her significantly. It'd be like punishing something someone did while controlled by Discord.
Contrary to popular belief, Celestia only managed to banish Nightmare Moon to the moon with the powers of the elements. Not to mention, if we are considering Friendship is Magic Bitch as canon here (I don't understand why you would), please note that she never actually banished anyone to the moon in that video, she just launches them off into the distance.
Why didn't Twilight just shoot Trixie? If she was able to give Trixie that mustache, the amulet must not boost it's wearer's magical defenses that much. There must be plenty of spells that could have incapacitated her. Failing that... imagine what the amount of telekinetic force she used during Trixie's last appearance would do to a pony. Yes, it's preferable to avoid using lethal force, but torturing foals by fusing their bodies together is definitely over the Moral Event Horizon (and at the time, Nopony knew Trixie was corrupted by the amulet).
From the looks of it, a magic duel is more about showing off who has the more powerful magic, not hurting the opponent. For all the nasty spells Trixie performed, she did undo them (except Pinkie), so it's possible that Twilight didn't think that Trixie really intended to permanently hurt anypony other than her.
Logically, if Twilight couldn't beat Trixie in a show-off contest, she would fare no better in direct combat. Twilight would have to incapacitate Trixie with exactly one spell, that gives the target no chance to react. Her magic's probably not that lethal. It was safer not to escalate things.
Plus, lethal force wasn't really called for. Trixie hadn't really harmed anyone or threatened them with significant harm.
While I disagree that establishing a tyranny isn't real harm, "lethal force" isn't done in Equestria. Their culture believes, rightly or wrongly, that the Windigos will freeze the crops if hatred and fighting become pervasive.
Zecora tells Twilight to "use the six". If she means the Mane 6, then Twilight is one of them, so she can only use five at most. And she ends up using her friends' family members, more than six ponies in total. So what was that number about?
The six elements of harmony- Friendship is magic (duel).
Spike is the sixth. Zecora was just telling her to rely on her friends while saying it in a way where she'd have to figure it out on her own.
Why did Twilight need to use Fluttershy's critters in her magic show? It's not like the animals were dancing or performing tricks in the air, she could have been juggling rocks to the same effect.
Well, cute animals are a lot more fun to watch than rocks.
It could have been in order to make the trick harder. When holding animals with telekinesis, Twilight had to be careful not to squeeze any of them so hard that it would hurt. What Trixie did to Spike basically confirmed that telekinesis can apply more or less outside pressure to the affected object. Since the animals were of different sizes, she had to adjust the grip strength for every one of them individually, in addition to moving them independently. The trick was meant to show off the precision with which the magician can control her magic.
How did Fluttershy get back into the town? If she did when Trixie removed the dome, there wouldn't be enough time to prepare for the duel, and I seriously doubt Trixie would be in the mood to lift the dome for the beavers again (besides, why would they be carrying the log inside).
Misdirection. Trixie lifts the dome to let the beavers back in, Fluttershy sneaks in in another part where Trixie isn't paying attention. Or Twilight teleports her while there's an opening.
Yeah, that's the point. Why would Trixie lift the dome again - she could barely be bothered to do it the first time, and the talisman was supposed to make her ever nastier.
Simple. When Trixie lifted the dome to let Twilight in, Fluttershy went around through the back. It may have been an effect of the clouds, but it looks like some time passed between Twilight re-entering Ponyville and the rematch.
But Fluttershy had to go in before Twilight so she could put on the Rainbow Dash disguise. Though perhaps we can assume that Fluttershy used her animals to sneak back in.
Twi probably teleported her in. She didn't do it herself since before she had a plan there was no point, and after she had her plan she needed to distract Trixie to let the others set up.
Why did the rock Trixie broke look hollow like an egg?
Furthermore, why are there rock farms in the first place? Now that we know that they exist outside of Pinkie's tall tales we have to wonder how they work, and what purpose they could possibly serve.
If rock farms are really farms in the sense that rocks are grown, it's possible that different types of rocks are grown for different purposes. Some for building, some for tools, etc.
There's a common bit of fanon floating around that Rock Farms are Equestria's main source of gems, ponies manipulate the land in some way that produces geodes, which are then harvested. Remember that gem-filled rock that Rarity finds in "Cutie Mark Chronicles"? Rock farms might produce those. The reason the rock Trixie broke was empty is that it wasn't mature yet; hence why Mr. Pie wasn't happy with her efforts. Alternately, a rock farm is the Equestrian equivalent of a quarry.
Take a look at the opening. See that part where a smile forms on Trixie's shadow? Since it looks like light is shining on Trixie from behind, there's no reason for a smile to be visible unless the light is passing through a mouth-shaped hole in her head. So... what the hay?
That's more of a storytelling or visual thing than actual facts. It's sorta like having characters in a dark room, with only their eyes illuminated to show who's who and who's there. In this case, when Trixie first looks upon the amulet and smiles, the details of amulet shows through her teeth, make her teeth look sharp and jagged. This is meant to give the audience the impression of big trouble ahead.
That works as a Doylist explanation, but I was looking for a Watsonian one.
It's been a couple of weeks, but if I recall correctly I thought the light was reflecting from the amulet onto her teeth (By The Lights Of Their Teeth always bugs me, so I took notice and was surprised when it seemed like there could have been an explanation for once).
This is a cartoon. It doesn't need a Watsonian explanation. Trying to explain everything away with that technique for any animated work, regardless of genre, country of origin, or somesuch, results in many unnecessary headaches. This show uses toon physics—a milder variant than those made famous by Bob Clampett or Tex Avery—but it does exist, even outside of Pinkie Pie, and that alone means many things exist in this show for Rule of Funny, Rule of Symbolism (like this one), Rule of Cool, and other Rules Ofs. There's a reason this show seems to get compared to John Kricfalusi a lot (even though I'm certain he hates this show with a fiery passion).
What is it about Trixie being forgiven and not being punished on-screen after losing the amulet that is a problem? She didn't kill or maim anybody on-screen, the amulet was said to be something that corrupts who wears it, and Princess Luna/Nightmare Moon didn't do any less on-screen damage than Trixie did while not being punished on-screen after what happened in Friendship is Magic Parts 1 and 2.
She did actually mutilate in a sense multiple characters (Rainbow Dash's wing, Pinkie's mouth, Snips and Snails... a lot). That said, characters cause major disasters all the time and they're forgiven pretty easily. Princess Luna with the apocalypse, Applejack poisoning numerous ponies in Applebuck Season, Twilight mind controlling the town in Lesson Zero, Spike's rampage in Secret of My Excess, Snips and Snails bringing in the Ursa in Boast Busters... the show seems to treat an apology like it's a cure-all. Why should this be any different.
The show is generally pretty forgiving of characters making honest mistakes (and as often as not getting in over their heads because of it). Trixie wanting to show up Twilight in the first place was in fact settled by her apology to the latter, and most of the blame for how far she ended up going falls on the Alicorn Amulet.
It seems to me like Trixie would know stage magic when she sees it, since that's her talent. Granted, she uses actual magic to perform it, but you'd think she'd still be aware of how her profession normally works.
Either the corruption was blinding her, or her talent might not actually be stage magic.
Think about it. Trixie, a stage magician, uses the Alicorn Ammulet to beat Twilight Sparkle, an actual wizard, with overwhelming magical power. Twilight then uses a fake amulet to beat Trixie with exactly the sort of misdirection and sleight-of-hoof that she would have recognized instantly if she wasn't crazy from the amulet's influence and obsessed with power at any cost.
Of the top of this troper's head, Trixie's talent could be telling stories, traveling, or working on stage. Fireworks seem to be her signature magic trick as well. In short, unless the pony says what their talent is, don't assume that you know it.
Also, Trixie would probably be out of practice by that point. It seems like it's been two years since the events of Boast Busters, and most of that time would be spent either getting run out of town, working on the rock farm, and maybe researching spells to trump Twilight Sparkle with.
Two years? It seems unlikely that a season takes entire year, since the Crusaders haven't aged at all and Spike's first birthday in Ponyville is almost halfway through the second season.
Illusionists never reveal their secrets, even to each other. If these are tricks Trixie doesn't know, she'd have to figure them out herself, and she is certainly no Penn Jillette. That being said, there are two factors to keep in mind: Twilight has consistently used magic whenever she says she'll use magic and Trixie herself is now using powerful magic, so there's no reason to believe otherwise (especially as Twilight opens with an act Trixie previously performed); and Twilight's tricks involve usage of her acquaintances. Trixie has no companions, and thus the sort of tricks that require voluntary accomplices to prepare beforehand would be foreign to her.
3.06 Sleepless in Ponyville
Why was Luna in Scootaloo's dream? I know she's popular and she's helping Scootaloo, but why put focus on her? What about all the other ponies, and by extension other creatures, in Equestria that are suffering nightmares. Does she randomly go around helping them when she likes?
Perhaps she's capable of distributing her consciousness among multiple ponies.
It's possible that she just sort of roams around the dream world and helps out whenever she sees somepony having a nightmare, and then helps them. Just because she's capable of entering the dream space or whatever doesn't mean she automatically knows about all the nightmares. On this particular occasion it just happened to be Scootaloo that she stumbled across.
Likely something along these lines; Luna can probably somehow tell when somepony needs her help, and appears accordingly. Anypony could have a nightmare, but it wouldn't be a huge deal normally. Scootaloo on the other hoof needed someone to actually talk her through the problem that was causing the nightmares in the first place, and dream-Luna was perfect for that.
You can see her briefly during the first nightmare, so she was just strolling through dreamland and only chose to intervene when she saw someone having basically the same nightmare two nights in a row.
So, she just walks through everyone's dreams every night till she sees something interesting? That seems as invasive as it is impractical.
We don't really know the limitations of the Princesses at all. It seems just as likely that Luna can simply see dreams as part of her powers. Unless Equestria really is flat (which many of theorized that it is) Luna and Celestia can't possibly watch the whole of their kingdom from the single tower and telescope we've seen.
Split the difference; she only investigates nightmares. This mirrors Applejack's "I know something's wrong but I'm not going to force you to admit it" attitude, and it's a pun.
Well, there's always the Doylist explanation: if Luna had been doing anything else, then she simply wouldn't have appeared at all. We see her because, well, she obviously has to be somewhere and the episode's focus just happens to be on the very pony she's decided to pay a visit. (Besides, if the creators want to give Luna some more airtime, an episode that's set mainly at night and deals with fears and nightmares — pun fully intended — is the perfect opportunity.) But if we really need an in-universe reason for what makes Scootaloo "special", it makes some sense that Luna would concern herself just that bit more with ponies who actually spend her night outside instead of in the safety of their own homes and that she'd have a soft spot for foals (being a younger sister herself and all and keeping "Luna Eclipsed" in mind). And in the end she doesn't even spend all that much time with Scoots.
It's possible that Dream!Luna wasn't actually Luna at all. A perfect facsimile of Rainbow Dash appeared in Scoot's dream at the end. Maybe Dream!Luna was just her subconscious telling her what she already knew?
Of course, it's just as possible that both Dream!Luna and Dream!Rainbow Dash were real in that last dream...that Dream!RD was just a figment of Scootaloo's imagination is an easy assumption to make, but not 100% a given considering that stranger things have happened in dreams in fiction before. (Also, Luna being just a dream doesn't quite seem to mesh with her brief appearance in the moon when Scootaloo is awake and facing Rainbow Dash. Which can't be readily dismissed as a flashback, either, because the vision's words aren't simply an echo of anything Luna said in the dream before...)
We first see Luna wandering through Scootaloo's dream, but not intervening. She probably looks through the dream world looking for ponies having nightmares, not through EVERY dream, but able to sense if someone is having a nightmare or at least otherwise see it. She sensed Scootaloo's nightmare and same to help, as it is her JOB, but didn't find her the first night. It only makes sense she'd keep an eye on her during patrols the second night and noticed what was going on, so she helped her. Same reason for why she came the third time; to make sure it was really fixed. Does there NEED to be a more complicated explanation?
Is there anything canon to suggest that Luna's job goes beyond raising the moon and co-ruler of Equestria? Frankly the second seeming to be much closer to fanon than canon since she's only been seen in four or five episodes since then, had a Canterlot Wedding gone off as planned she would have missed it entirely instead of JUST catching the very end and perhaps saying Celestia pulled her punk card in The Crystal Empire that didn't look to me like a conversation between equals.
There is her telling Scootaloo that it's her duty to "come into your dreams" — whether that's "you" as in Scootaloo in particular or pony dreams in general isn't quite clear — right in this episode, as well as her throwaway line about "guarding the night as always" in the first part of the Season 2 finale. So, yeah, there actually is some evidence that she does in fact do a bit more than just raise the moon and play at being "Celestia, only during the night when there's not actually much to do because most ponies are asleep anyway"...it's sparse, to be sure, but we can to some extent blame that on her limited spotlight time.
Well, how common are recurring, real-life-problem-borne nightmares in Equestria? I'm guessing not very; Fi M can get pretty grim on occasion, but it's still My Little Pony, I'm sure most of them have really adorable dreams. Something like what Scootaloo was going through would stand out to someone watching the tapestry of dreams.
There are many Emotion Eaters in Equestria. The Windigoes feed on hate. The changelings feed on love. Surely something feeds on fear, and Luna's doing her best to ward such things off.
If you'll excuse me wandering off into WMG territory here, perhaps the "dream-scape" is just that, a landscape, similar to Equestria that is a consistent place, and the Ponies merely "appear" in various places, and Luna was just taking a walk in dreams, and happened across Scoots. Alternatively, perhaps when you start to dream, a "land" appears in the "Dream-scape", and Luna was checking it out as a quick patrol type thing. That's why we love this series, if you ask me. The ability to theorize on stuff like this.
What was up with Rarity? I feel as if this episode flanderized her even worse than Fluttershy in the last episode. I understand that her cleanliness is a distinguishing trait, but do you let that take priority over being a good sister? Rarity was actually content with Sweetie Belle, half her size, towing all that luggage without any help. Rainbow Jerk may not be Scootaloo's blood sister, but she came off as a better big sis than Rarity.
Be fair to Rarity, Sweetie Bell just tried to unashamedly manipulate her into doing something she explicitly stated she hates doing, and she can't keep saying no or she'll really come off as the bad guy. Siblings tend to make life hell for each other, if Sweetie's gonna jerk around with Rarity, Rarity will jerk back.
First, can we not make 'character X seems to have been flanderdized' a thing? This is a place to ask questions about things that puzzle us or that we have questions about not a place to complain about the writing. (Just thought I should point that out considering I've seen similar entries for "Too Many Pinkie Pies" and "Magic Duel.") Second, it's as the above troper says, annoying your siblings is pretty much in the job description. Getting your little sister to the unfavored chores is part of the fun in being older. They fact that Sweetie Belle was pulling so much was simply an exaggeration for the sake of Rule of Funny.
That, and knowing what we know about Sweetie's packing habits, half the crap in the wagon was probably hers anyway. She certainly wasn't complaining about towing it or anything. In addition, she does get more into the trip as the episode goes on. Like on the first night she's all dolled up and sitting on her fainting couch, but the next night she forgoes that and sits on the log with her sister.
Rarity has never been a terribly good sister, as a contrast to the extremely loving and supportive relationship of Apple Bloom and Applejack. She's visibly uncomfortable interacting with Sweetie Belle on numerous occasions, and has little patience for her childish mistakes. She improved after the Sisterhooves Social, but problems like that won't be fixed overnight.
As this was a CMCs sister (and sister figure) bonding episode, we do not even see the other half of the mane cast. They may not have that intimate bond with the CMCs that the others have, but they are all True Companions and the CMCs also seem to hold them in high regard. With her behavior in the previous episode, maybe it was a good idea that Fluttershy wasn't there, but did Twilight and Pinkie really have better things to do?
Yeah, the cast are good friends, but it doesn't mean that they do everything together. The camping trip was more or less for the sake of the CMC, so it doesn't make sense for the other mane cast members to come along. I mean, we've seen in plenty of episodes that they do things with each other that don't include the whole group (RD and Fluttershy going to the butterfly migration, Fluttershy and Rarity's spa days, Pinkie and Rarity doing whatever they were doing in "A Friend in Deed"). They aren't going to feel left out over something like this.
I understand that the Mane Cast will go off and do things in small groups, if not on their lonesome, but those tend to be either niche activities (i.e. the RariShy spa trips) or spur of the moment happenings (i.e. that sleepover in season 1, which was really just Applejack and Rarity seeking shelter from the storm and Twilight making a big deal about it.) But this was a camping trip, which tend to be kind of a big deal, have to be planned well in advance, and offer a plethora of things for everypony to do. It was almost like the message being sent to the other three was "Yeah, we're taking this totally awesome camping trip, but those without a filly who idolizes themnote Pinkie does have Pumpkin Cake, but she's just an infant for now. need not apply."
What needs to be remembered about this specific camping trip is that is was originally between the Apple sisters. It just happened, at the same time, Scootaloo's dream (being noticed by Rainbow Dash) was coming true. So Apple Bloom, good friend that she is, uses the trip to bring the pegasi closer. Naturally, Sweetie Belle did not want to be left out and, reluctant as Rarity may have been, nopony could ever take the place of her sister in this aspect. It was this reason that the other three got swept under the rug, but, for all we know, there could be other trips for anypony who desires.
Thing is, the camping trip isn't a "Mane 6 oriented activity". The point wasn't that "if you aren't idolized by a filly you aren't worth bringing along", but that the entire trip was being taken for the benefit of the fillies. The trip was about the CMC, and the fact that their sister figures just happened to be good friends already was a happy accident; if Sweetie Belle was somepony else's sister, Rarity wouldn't have come along. And honestly it would have been rather out of place for the other members of the mane cast to come on the trip anyway; it was explicitly a sisterly bonding excursion and having the rest of the cast around would have defeated that purpose by sidelining the CMC. Also, I'd kind of doubt that a camping trip is really that enormous of a deal that the other ponies would really feel all that slighted. AJ and Apple Bloom may have planned in advance, but it really seems like the other four coming along was kind of a last minute thing. Lastly, there's no indication that the rest of the cast wasn't invited. It's entirely possible that they couldn't have gone but just chose not to for whatever reason.
Why did Sweetie Belle sound horrible when she was singing in this episode, when back in The Show Stoppers, it was implied that Sweetie Belle's cutie mark would be for singing?
Presumably because One Hundred Bottles of Beer on the Wall (or buckets of oats) is a song that is impossible to sing well.
Rule of Funny?
Maybe she's going through puberty; you just can't tell. Or the writers forgot.
3.07 Wonderbolt Academy
What exactly happened to Lightning Dust? Was she only demoted? Expelled? Sent to do manual labor?
Implied to be kicked out of the school.
All we know for certain is that she was demoted, at the very least. Beyond that we don't really know. Although Equestria in general tends to be quite forgiving to those who feel remorse, so if Lightning ends up turning over a new leaf she might get a second chance.
Do you really think she only pulled all those stunts just because she was team leader? Spitfire said she didn't have the right mentality for a Wonderbolt, not just team leader, Wonderbolt period, and she was being escorted off the field. And what about her attitude makes you think she was sorry about the tornado?
She was definitely kicked out. It's not stated, but the scene very obviously and deliberately borrows imagery reminiscent of dishonorable discharge and being escorted away by Military Police.
According to a removed scene that was leaked by a writer, she was demoted to wingpony and thanked Dash for calling her out on her actions. Only time will tell whether that actually happened.
I am admittedly a bit cynical, but did anyone else feel that Dash, while having shown reservations about Lightning Dust's behaviour, wouldn't have done anything had the twister not threatened the other main ponies?
It's possible that had the rest of the mane 6 had not gotten themselves involved (and nearly killed), Lightning Dust would still be doing more and more reckless things, and Rainbow Dash would go along with these schemes for chance to prove herself to Spitfire. That is, until Lightning Dust does something else to set Rainbow off.
Chances are that Lightning would have kept up her reckless behavior until Rainbow got fed up with her. Either that or Spitfire would have recognized that Lightning was dangerous and stepped in herself.
True enough, that thought had occurred. At least as it is this does explain the amount of screentime Pinkie got, since it was necessary for them to be the straw that broke the camel's back.
Before anyone asks, I'm gonna put this down. Why did the mane 6 bounce on the cloud instead of fall through it if only Pegasus ponies can touch clouds? Well one, Fluttershy is already a Pegasus and two, we know Twilight can cast a walking on clouds spell. She probably cast it before heading out. And before anyone points out the academy is on a plateau, and thus solid ground, it still is high up and is centered around flight. Cloud walking would be useful for ground based ponies in such an environment.
Either that or it's possible for non-pegasi to temporarily walk on clouds if the clouds are compressed tightly enough. It would explain why RD sucked a bunch of clouds in and jammed them together into a spring rather than just catching them all on a single cloud. This image sums it up pretty nicely.
It's probably not the cloud-walking spell for one simple reason: even if Twilight had cast it before liftoff, Rainbow Dash would have had no way of knowing that (at least, not for certain). And yet she zipped down and started putting that cloud together right away. That rather suggests that she did in fact have at least some faith that that trick would work...
Why didn't Spitfire make Rainbow Dash in charge, after everything she's done? She's helped save Equestria about 3 times! Heck, she saved Spitfire once, and not once is it brought up. Did she just forget about it, or is she just doing all this to Rainbow Dash, for fun?
Just because Rainbow Dash managed to do great deeds, it doesn't automatically make her exempt from going through academy at the beginning level. If it were the case, it'd be like a student at a school being exempt from classes, because he/she saved the principal from a fire once upon a time. It'd also make the other cadets/students upset and jealous of Rainbow Dash, and cause dissension.
Yeah, but good deeds aside, her doing the Sonic Rainboom should have been enough to make her a wonderbolt. The Sonic Rainboom was mentioned to be a difficult thing to do, and she did it three times (the first time when she was just a filly, and again, the second time was when she saved the wonderbolts, the third time she just did it casually at the wedding, with hardly any trouble). So it shows that she's already a great enough flier to be a wonderbolt.
While the Sonic Rainboom does make her exceptional, being a Wonderbolt is almost certainly about more than skill. Like the ability to work as a team, willingness to take orders, etc. Hence why Spitfire made Lightning Dust the lead pony and Rainbow Dash the wingpony, she outright admitted that RD was faster but made LD the leader because she was more willing to push herself.
Imagine going through the Wonderbolt Academy is like going through a job interview; the interviewer may be impressed by your accomplishments and skills, but what they're really looking for is a "people person": a person who is likable, disciplined, works well with others, and has life experiences. They'll hire someone who has minimal work experience, but plenty of people skills, over someone who is skilled in the field of work, but is also not very friendly. Just like with the case with Lightning Dust; she is very skilled, fearless, and daring, but because of her poor attitude and recklessness, she probably won't become a Wonderbolt. Going through the academy is about determining character as much as it does skill.
Exactly. Spitfire could secretly be an outright squeeing Rainbow Dash fanmare and it wouldn't matter one whit because she'd still be expected to maintain enough professional detachment to treat RD the same as the other candidates. If anything, it's to her credit that she does exactly that. (For that matter, how happy would Rainbow Dash really be about her instructor playing favorites if she ever found out?)
A very subtle thing that I noticed during the episode was that when Spitfire was chewing RD out at the beginning and RD stayed stone cold giving the correct response, she gave a small smile; I'm sure she never forgot that RD saved her live. This isn't a change in character, just another facet of her character.
Yet, she feels inclined to be Drill Sergeant Nasty to all ponies involved, despite all those points. She can't have forgotten this, because it would be a detraction of her character because she's literally questioning RD's abilities right to her face. To be fair, Drill Sergeant Nasty is becoming a trope used far too often nowadays, and showing a little pullback and character change can only improve the character without making them nasty, especially towards someone who has literally proven her worth in earlier seasons.
The short answer: just because RD did one or two cool things doesn't mean she gets to jump the process, and as an authority figure, Spitfire can't show favoritism because simply put, it isn't her job. Not to mention that if Rainbow Dash really is Wonderbolt material, she should be able to pass through the academy without much difficulty. In addition, Spitfire's treatment of RD actually shows that she remembers Dash's flight ability. She never really doubts Dash's ability as a flier (she knows Dash did a Sonic Rainboom) or as a leader (she oversaw the cyclone in Hurricane Fluttershy), but what she doesn't know is whether Dash could function as a team member who wasn't in a position of leadership. As such, she focuses on testing that aspect of Dash's abilities.
We should get confirmation from pilots, but I understand playing wingman is actually the harder position, making Dash's assignment a vote of confidence. Moreover, Spitfire already saw Dash's impressive leadership abilities in "Hurricane Fluttershy" (which lends support to the theory she's got her eye on Dash.) But how good a follower is Dash? Spitfire's job is to ask such questions. So far, she's a tough Reasonable Authority Figure, as I'd expect from somepony named after one of history's most magnificent aircraft.
What does the academy need a runway for? Pegasai are not planes, they can take off and land vertically.
They can, but that doesn't mean they always do. There were a couple of times shown in show where they come in at a high speed and skid down the runway rather than slowing down in the air.
Okay, but wouldn't skidding across pavement be extremely painful?
Yeah, but there are times they'd have to land/take off from the ground to do their shows and stuff. Might as well get used to it now.
Is it just me or were Dash and Dust the only ones who actually wanted to join the Wonderbolts? The others acted like this was a summer camp and were genuinely surprised after they realized that begins a Wonderbolt means hard work. Ok RD and Dust are natural talents so it’s no surprise that the other cadets looked bad in comparison. but it still felt like they weren’t even trying. And they were the ones that got an invitation. Makes you wonder how bad the rest was.
They were probably weren't expecting anything this harsh for joining a stunt flying group, not realizing that the Wonderbolts (like the Blue Angels they're modeled on) are actually part of the Equestrian military with similar requirements for joining up.
When did the episode imply that the Wonderbolts were military? This episode made it pretty clear that civilians could join.
It takes place on what is to all appearances a military air base, with Spitfire and other Wonderbolts being in military dress uniform with medals and insignia. That's... a pretty obvious implication that it's a military organization. Plus, we saw the Wonderbolts being mobilized against Spike during "Secret of My Excess", which once again suggests that they're a military organization in some capacity, not just a civilian stunt group.
Equestria has a military? Even against threats like Chrysalis and Discord, We've seen only Canterlot's royal guard and a stunt-flying team, Celestia, Luna, and Twilight Sparkle's special group. It looks to me the Windigos made Equestria abolish the Pegasus' military long ago.
It's true that we haven't seen much in the way of a 'proper' Equestrian military to date. However, it's possible that something like an Equestrian army beyond just the Royal Guard does in fact exist...and is busy primarily guarding Equestria's borders against intruders, which would keep them mostly out of sight in a show that tends to focus on the area surrounding Ponyville and Canterlot.
Plus, a Royal Guard is a military organization. One dedicated to bodyguard duty for heads of state and dignitaries, but still.
The Wonderbolts academy installation was a training course for a stunt group using civilian equipment. If it was supposed to be military, they would have focused on combat in some way, instead of just stunt flying and weather duty. Dash is never mentioned or implied to be joining the military in this or any other episode. The Wonderbolts were also absent during the Canterlot wedding episodes, instead of patrolling the skies, and have never been shown or implied to work with the Royal Guard, who are treated like Equestria's military. People outside of the military use uniforms, so that isn't the best proof of anything.
Rainbow Dash's every comment about the Wonderbolts makes them out to be a civilian athletic team. No mention or implication that they are supposed to be military, and quite a bit of implication that they are just a group of athletes, with no responsibilities beyond any other citizen of Equestria.
Why is Lightning Dust considered an antagonist? I feel like I'm the only one who doesn't see Lightning Dust as an antagonist, just a selfish, Lethally Stupidjerkass, since she didn't intentionally cause any harm to the other flyers. The only thing I felt she did wrong was when she showed a lack of remorse for her actions and how she ignored Rainbow Dash's pleads of her being too reckless. Her goal is to be #1, not to injure others. I am in no way trying to justify her actions though. I just see her as an anti-hero. I mean granted she got her just desserts and (may have) gotten expelled, but still...
An antagonist is a person who hinders the progress of a protagonist in the story. Going by that definition, she shows Rainbow Dash up, needlessly endangers Rainbow Dash and injures her wing, encourages her to do things outside both her comfort zone and safety protocols, and puts the rest of the Mane Cast at risk due to her own recklessness. Remember, antagonist doesn't mean "villain", nor does protagonist mean "hero".
3.08 Just For Sidekicks
I'm going to ask what we're all thinking. Why on earth, wasn't Spike invited by Cadance, to the Crystal Empire. He helped save it! And for that matter, why didn't any of the other ponies just tell him, he could come along anyway, since he deserves to?
I can't give you a plausible in-universe reason, but I can give you a meta reason. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is a Slice of Life show that occasionally makes forays into High FantasyMagical Girl stories. As a general rule, the Mane Cast rarely get acknowledged as saviors of the world, simply because that would interfere with the Slice of Life plots. (For example, Rarity's attempts at social-climbing, even though plenty of people should logically know who she is.) The only exceptions I can think of are Luna Eclipsed and Keep Calm and Flutter On, simply because the plots can't work without acknowledging their deeds. Personally, I just accepted it as a general rule of the show and moved on a while ago. I realize this isn't the most satisfying answer, but I think it's the most reasonable one.
IF the rumors of Shining Armor and Candence having a baby are true, it's probable the mane six were invited to a Baby Shower
Why would that stop them from inviting Spike? He seems mature enough, for his age, to join. Even though he didn't really do the bachelor party for the wedding, he still appeared as the ring bearer. So if they could still find a place for him there, they could certainly find it easy to fit him in at the party.
Ring bearers are traditionally young boys, so he fits the role there. Baby showers are traditionally women only. Nothing says men can't go, but alas, that's the decision of the hosts, and Spike still qualifies as a Baby. Somehow.
It's called "Games Ponies Play" silly, not "Games Dragons Play."
I figure it's for this reason: this is an inspection for a possible location for the games, not the actual games. The Games Inspector is just scouting out the new Crystal Empire stadium to see if it's good enough, with possibly a few games played for demonstration purposes. It's the same reason only you and some close personal friends would look at a venue for an upcoming birthday party instead of taking every friend you have to look around. He'd be bored just sitting there while adults do stuff, so Cadance assumed he'd find more fun things to do at home.
Also, Cadance is probably familiar with Spike, and knows that Spike is horribly addicted to eating gems, which is bad when you're in charge of the Crystal empire. Remember how Spike was eyeing the houses in the season premiere? Even if Spike won't eat the Crystal ponies, he'd probably take a bite out of benches, statues, decorations, fences, and other stuff. If Cadance is trying to make the Empire presentable to the games inspector, having the statues missing their hooves or benches missing their legs won't be good.
Spike didn't really have this problem when he first went there, or even when everyone became crystallized. It seems that he had self-control, when it came to crystal beings, and their crystal homes. But maybe the inspector would've still been nervous around the dragon, and to spare both Spike and the inspector's feelings, Spike wasn't invited.
While the possibility of Spike getting bored is reasonable enough, it is no more apparent than the fact that the main reason the Mane 6 were invited to help welcome the inspector is so they could convince her to arrange for the Crystal Empire to host the games. Judging from what they went through, Cadance not inviting Spike more or less seems understandable and justified already.
What happened to Spike teaching peewee about being a pony? Why suddenly give him back to his parents, after that setup?
Perhaps the writers really couldn't figure out just what to do with the character. So rather then shoehorn him somewhere, they decided to write him out and be done with him.
Not to mention, it helps to resolve the fact that Spike technically brought Peewee into his possession by stealing him.
Can it really be considered stealing if the alternative was to let him die?
There's not really any indication that was the case — it's not as though the rest of the phoenixes had vanished or otherwise made it impossible for Spike to return the egg in the first place. In fact, judging from Spike's photo, it seems as though they were still living in the exact spot that Spike originally found them.
... We see Peewee's family fly off into the distance after escaping from the dragons that destroyed their nest. There's no explanation given for how Spike could have found them.
Plus, didn't Twilight instantly teleport them home while they were running from the dragon teens? He'd have to make the several day journey, only likely without the massive dragon migration serving as a landmark.
It's possible they had found him. How? Eh, mother's heart will manage, and besides, magic.
Why did Applejack leave Winona with Spike when Big Macintosh, Granny Smith, and Applebloom were in town? She's a well-behaved dog, the rest of the family would be familiar with her habits, and they weren't supposed to be gone that long.
Spike probably begged her to give Winona to him. For a jewel of course.
Spike basically volunteered his services to get the gems, and Applejack didn't turn him down for whatever reason. It's really the same deal with Rarity and Pinkie; there's no reason Rarity's parents couldn't keep an eye on Opal, or for the Cakes to watch Gummy while Pinkie is gone.
While I enjoyed the episode, did anyone else think the lesson was a bit too similar to "Baby Cakes"? Both had a similar Aesop about responsibility and whatnot.
"Baby Cakes" had the lesson of being responsible by growing-up and that growing-up and responsibility isn't all about fun and games, while this episode had the lesson of responsibility of putting duty and the needs of others before your own wants.
Not to mention that both episodes happened to two separate characters. Spike was barely in Baby Cakes while Pinkie didn't play a big role in Just For Sidekicks.
Why did Spike wait until after all the pets were dropped off to make his cake? He had an entire day to use the five gems he'd conned out of the ponies for his baking, yet didn't do anything with them. If he'd just finished his baking early, he'd have a five-gem cake to snack on while dealing with the animals instead of trying to split his focus and lose them all.
Easy, he was a greedy dragon and wanted that sixth gem for the cake.
Why didn't spike just look for gems? The way equestrian geology works, not finding gems would be harder than a game of mine sweeper.
It's possible he needs a very refined kind of jewel, just grabbing one out of the ground might result in something not even he would eat.
Dog and Pony Show has perfectly cut gems come straight from the dirt and Spike was eager to eat them.
The last time we saw Spike jewel hunting, he was with Rarity whose signature spell lets her find jewels. Without her, he'd have no idea where exactly to find cache of gems. Gems are common in Equestria, but it's not like you can just trip over random piles of them in a minute. Sure, he'd find some eventually, but it'd take hours of digging up an entire area. Unless he's able to get Rarity or Twilight to come with, it'd be much less work to get them from the pony girls.
Also, speak for yourself. I suck at mine sweeper.
Gems have never been particularly common in Equestria. Remember, Rarity has to go prospecting in the mountains to find anything with her magic spell, that only her and Twilight Sparkle know, and it still takes her hours to get a decent amount. For everyone else, they have to find them the hard way, and there aren't any close to Ponyville. The reason that viewers think that gems are common is because a living gem finder is one of the mane characters.
Dragons use them as their main food source, there are lots of dragons and they are big, The only way an ecosystem could suport such creatures is if there is an infinite amount of gems.
Spike describes gems as his favorite food, but Dragons are shown to be able to eat just about anything. That said, gems have some capacity to be grown, since he's mentioned having done that in Secret Of My Excess. Alternatively, it could be that gems are more often found deep underground, out of easy access to ponies, making them rare and potentially valuable on the surface, but common in places that dragons can get to. Also, we see in "Hearth's Warming Eve" Princess Platinum stumbling on some gems out in the open.
We've never seen adult dragons eat jewels, and Spike doesn't have gems as his normal food source. No reason to think that other dragons eat them all the time, either.
It looks to me like there are many different types of gems with different, erm, scarcities. For instance, that ruby in "Secret of My Excess" was implied to be not-at-all common and quite valuable. Most likely, the gems given to Spike are highly sought-after and worth a bunch, at least to varying degrees. If they were all common, the Cutie Mark Crusaders would not have been able to trade their tiny shard for an industrial pet cleaner.
Why was Spike carrying the bucket of jewels with him everywhere he went, anyway? Certainly, they helped to get him out of a variety of pinches, but you'd think it'd be a bit safer to stow them back at Twilight's treehouse rather than take them while looking all over for Angel.
He's a greedy little dragon, and wants to keep an eye on his little hoard at all times. His common sense seems to dissapear whenever gemstones are present, after all.
Zecora tricking Spike out of some of his payment for watching the pets seemed like something of a dick move, never mind if she did give it to charity. Yes, he was very greedy once. A full season ago. Which was a temporary affliction that wore off long ago. Is Spike just not allowed to own anything ever again in Zecora's eyes?
Well, he did destroy her house back then. Not to mention that she was right; it was Spike's greed that got him into this situation. She did not object to him having the jewels, she objected to his attitude.
There's also no proof that it was a temporary thing; Zecora saw signs of Spike starting to relapse and decided to nip it in the bud before he turned into a monster again. Which would have been even more disastrous this time around because his friends aren't around to help him revert.
There's also the fact that Zecora never really told Spike to never own anything ever again, and since Zecora did mean well by donating one of his jewels to charity, you might say that she had high hopes for him to learn this lesson all over again.
Wait wait wait, are you guys saying that giving to charity is a bad thing?
No, fraud is. She made it seem like she'd help him for a jewel, took the jewel for whatever purpose, then left him there.
She helped him... To not become a greedy little monster again. Granted it was not what he wanted help with, but it was help nonetheless.
Still trying to process how learning his lesson is a bad thing...now I've got a headache. Now I remember why I've been trying to stay off Headscratchers.
Why is there an actual, published recipe for a jewel cake to begin with? The only creatures we know of that can actually eat gems are dragons and they don't seem likely to publish a baking recipe.
It could be that the original recipe calls for something else, but Spike substituted the original... say... chocolate chips with gems. Or there are other lithovore species. Or ponies can eat gems if they've been treated.
The illustration for the cake showed them being used as decorations on top. Given that he considered even one gem enough for the cake, it seems that he was just adding gems to the batter rather than them being a normal ingredient.
The Cakes also made a sapphire cupcake for his birthday, so there is at least precedent for that.
Fluttershy asked Spike to take care of Angel,but what about all the other pets sha has at her cottage?Who is watching them?
They can take care of themselves. Realistically, there is no way Fluttershy can manage all of the animals at her cottage all by herself—she'd not only have to spend all her time there and never get to do anything else during her waking hours, she'd need a full staff. Thus, the alternate explanation is that these animals are somewhat more sentient than they are for real and can get along and subsist in safety. Angel was brought along because, well, Angel is a real troublemaker, as seen in this episode.
3.09 Apple Family Reunion
Were those stars supposed to represent Applejack's parents? If so, is it now safe to say they've kicked the bucket?
Sibsy confirmed via Twitter that those stars were supposed to represent Applejack's parents. Take that as you will, but few thought that they were alive before this episode.
Probably reinforced by the fact that the episode otherwise didn't refer to them at all — not even in the RSVP scene, where you'd think that if they had been invited and simply couldn't come, Apple Bloom wouldn't have been quite as excited about everypony showing up...
It's been confirmed: The stars were supposed to indicate they were dead.
During a few of the crowd scenes, background ponies from Ponyville are hanging around. Are they actually cousins that just happen to live in Ponyville, or are they party crashing?
Could be ponies that are dating/married to members of the Apple clan.
First time we/Twilight met Applejack back in the first episode, there were a bunch of other apple family members around at the time, so unless that happened to be a previous reunion, it would seem there are indeed other apple family members living nearby.
Applejack said they were just in town for a reunion in Applebuck Season which is why they couldn't help her with the apple bucking.
Yup, you're right, I just saw that ep. One could probably chalk it up to the standard background ponies being used again
Applejack said that they held a family reunion every 100 moons (around eight years). There was also a family reunion in the very first episode, but the characters seem to be the same age as they were in the first episode.
There are three possibilities:
Granny Smith has a terrible memory and was just approximating the time.
A "moon" is a different length of time in Equestria.
Considering there's a pony controlling the dang thing.
The reunion we saw in the pilot was due to the Summer Sun Celebration being in town and wasn't the "official" reunion.
Or maybe each official reunion really is about every eight years; the way AJ talked, it sounded like she wasn't in that many of them. Maybe the last one really was eight years ago when she was a baby (nothing points to ponies aging like humans.)
I admit this is from memory, but I could swear she just said the last one was "100 moons ago", not that they were only held that often. Either way, it's possible that she was just being hyperbolic because it had been a while. The first one was the first thing that happened in the series chronology, with the exact span between that and this episode being virtually impossible to determine thanks to Anachronic Order and an unknown amount of time passing between episodes.
Doesn't Luna raise the moon every night? If so, saying "N moons" is just a fancy way of saying "N days".
"Moon" as a length of time usually means phases of the moon, from new moon to new moon. About 28 days on Earth.
Why are the other ponies still friends with Applejack? She forced Rarity to eat Spike's aweful pie, even though AJ knows that happens when ponies eat really bad food, and that was even her own fault! I personally would hate being friends with someone who has tried to poison me twice, not to mention all of the other times AJ did potentially lethal things to her "friends".
Wait, if saving Spike's life puts him in debt to his saviors for eternity, why didn't he do the same when Cadance and Shining Armor when they saved him from King Sombra?
Maybe because he didn't know about/ create the Noble Dragon Code yet? Maybe he learned about/made it prior to the whole Timberwolves incident.
He was saving them (and everypony else) at the same time by recovering the Crystal Heart, so it evened out.
What is keeping the Uberwolf from coming back to life?
Spike threw a stone in to it's throat. It was choking, when it was smashed into pieces, so we can assume that it actually died, or didn't have enough time/focus to regenerate.
Or perhaps, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. By that, I mean giant timberwolves require more time and energy to regenerate than regular timberwolves do.
Could also be that getting smashed to pieces several times in a row (first the individual wolves, then the same mass of timber as the giant) is harder to regenerate from. Since for all its sophistication we're still talking about a kids' show, we can probably assume that it didn't stay dead for keeps, just remained conveniently out of it long enough for everypony to wander off and then slunk back into the forest in turn. (As scary as the Everfree Forest may be, it seems that most of its native monsters prefer to stay there, averting the Super-Persistent Predator trope in at least that regard.)
Alternatively their regeneration ability is tied to the forest and they are losing it if they stay out of it for too long.
Why didn't Spike just burn the Timberwolves? He breathes fire. They're made of wood. Do the math.
Perhaps it's for the same reason why unicorns like Twilight don't use their magic to get themselves out of situations most of the time (such as fleeing from monsters): maintaining drama for the episode, and magical abilities aren't used that often when in emotional distress, such as terror.
He doesn't burn paper/wood, he sends it to Celestia. Imagine sitting there on your throne chilling when suddenly TIMBERWOLVES HUNDREDS OF THEM..
He can burn paper, and instantly bake pies. Probably not enough. He's only a baby.
There's also the fact that green wood doesn't burn easily; unless the timberwolves are formed out of dried wood, they might not be that flammable.
Considering the timberwolves had green leaf ears, they were most definitely green wood.
The timberwolves are most likely an enchantment rather than biological creatures(Wood Golems). Whoever or whatever created the enchantment most likely had the foresight to make them flame resistant.
He could have at least tried. Even if the fire didn't burn them, it might have scared them off.
If being saved by someone puts a dragon into debt for eternity, shouldn't Spike, and by extension, every "Noble Dragon" be in debt to the entire Mane Six, as they have saved Equestria about three times by this point?
Dragons are pretty badass. With Nightmare Moon, eternal night wouldn't be much of a problem, since they can generate their own warmth, bathe in lava, and might be able to eat literally anything, possibly getting oxygen from eating material containing it. Discord... is hard to tell, we don't know if the chaos he brings could muck them up, or if his powers are geographically limited (he's always talked about as having ruled Equestria, not beyond). In fact, Spike wasn't really affected by the chaos, though that might be Discord not yet getting around to him personally. With Chrysalis... you're kidding, right? A changeling invasion against dragons would last about as long as an extended lunchtime. In draconic circles, such an event would be referred to as "The War of Hors D'Oeuvres"
A third possibility is that it only obligates them for saving them from immediate threats. Discord might be a problem in the long term (see above for why Chrysalis and Nightmare Moon aren't considered threats at all to dragons), but the Noble Dragon Code only applies to those who save their rumps right then and there, lest some jackass claim their farming technique ensured the long-term survival of the dragon in question in order to claim eternal servitude.
Plus, they might consider it the work of the Elements of Harmony, the literal artifacts the Mane Cast used. They are transferable objects that without which, the Mane Cast would have been completely incapable of handling these threats.
There's also the possibility that most dragons either are unaware or don't believe that the Mane Six have saved Equestria repeatedly.
Or perhaps with Spike (due to his upbringing with Twilight), he takes the Noble Dragon code very seriously, while other dragons would most likely treat it as some sort of suggestion than obligation.
Spike's "Noble Dragon Card" is pretty obviously home-made, and his last attempt to connect with his draconic heritage went really poorly because all the other dragons were jerks. The other dragons aren't indebted to the main six because Spike made the Noble Dragon Code up himself as a way to create a culture he can believe in and grow up with that won't end in rampant, destructive greed.
How can Spike be so clumsy in the Apple household when up to this point he was quite competent helping Twilight with all the books and stuff? It seems a bit forced.
A combination of possible factors:
Overenthusiasm: he's so dead set on helping that he isn't really paying attention
He's not that competent. Even in the library, he occasionally drops stuff or sets books on fire or whatever. It's possible that he's only so effective in the library because he's literally been doing it his whole life. When he gets pulled out of that zone, he has no clue what he's doing, and he's too young to realize it. This results in him not knowing what he's doing, but doing it with his usual amount of gusto.
As minor as this is, this is a source of bafflement for me: how is Rainbow Dash able to perfectly imitate another species? The whinny in "Sleepless in Ponyville" is understandable, but this is an entirely different animal she's replicating. Plus, it seems more like a Pinkie Pie moment, being completely random, against the norm, and unexplained. As it seems slightly inconsistent with her character, Rainbow Dash requires more explanation. I sincerely hope the show clarifies this in another season.
If Fluttershy said that the stare just happens - as in, she can't control it - then why did she threaten to use it on Discord? Has she gained control over it?
That's probably why it didn't work; she was trying to do it.
I think she's either lying, exaggerating or mistaken. She certainly seems to have control over it when she used it on her chickens in season one. She also reassured Rarity that she would never use it on Opalescence which means at the very least she doesn't HAVE to use it if she doesn't want to.
Maybe it's a reflex; Fluttershy's Stare is more effective when she has little or no control over it, as she was forced to use it on the cockatrice to save the Cutie Mark Crusaders' lives, and it worked. Here, she purposefully tried to use it on Discord, which didn't work.
Rainbow Dash used to not be able to pull off a Sonic Rainboom at will. Now she can. Perhaps The Stare is similar.
So, what exactly does a "reforming spell" entail? Brainwashing Discord into being a good guy?
Something like what Discord does, that turns them against their true self?
Now that Discord is free, and on the road to redemption, where is he going to take up residence? Will he remain at Fluttershy's cottage? And seeing that John De Lancie isn't a regular on the show, will give us some off screen mentions of him?
He could create his own house. He has the power to do so.
Princess Celestia's appearance implies that he'll be going to Canterlot. Wherever he stays, it's unlikely that he'll be hanging around Ponyville.
Why was Celestia making that awkward, slightly apprehensive facial expression at the very end of the episode? Was it in reaction to Fluttershy's comment about Discord or Discord title dropping the show's title?
She still doesn't fully trust Discord (let's face it, she shouldn't at this point) and while his realization that he cares about having friends is an encouraging start, it's still only a beginning. And if everything should in fact come crashing down in the end (I don't think it will, but even if I'm right Celestia can't know that), whose fault would that be for coming up with this silly plan to "reform" him in the first place, again?
What kept Discord's statue from falling over and breaking on the way to Ponyville? There wasn't anything holding it in place, all it would take is one clumsy guard and *SMASH* !
It was probably better secured than it looked. Princess Celestia and a good chunk of the royal guards can use magic, after all.
Maybe it did fall off. Celestia was running late, after all.
Can it even be smashed? Is it relative to how powerful the being that was turned to stone was? Is it just an outer prison and he was actually trapped INSIDE of stone?...After having re-watched the scene where they free him, it honestly looks like it's an outer shell.
Be a bit small to fit him, in that case. Stone flaking off is a standard effect for when someone is restored to flesh, so it's just a non-plot related visual like the spell auras.
What does God need with a friendship?
Since we know nothing about Discord's origins, it is possible that before he became an omnipotent spirit of chaos, he sought friends, but was unable to have any. Perhaps being rejected in his youth was part of his Start of Darkness. Nice Star Trek reference though.
There was a distinct lack of explanation for why Discord cared for for Fluttershy's friendship. This story really could have used a second episode to show why having a friend made a difference to Discord, especially since all she did was put up with his shenanigans, which everyone else ends up doing when he's on a rampage.
My guess is that it matters to him exactly because he won't get Fluttershy's friendship, should he go on a rampage. If you think about it, Discord actually acts very much like a simple spoiled child that whines until his parents buy him a toy. Only in his case there is a near omnipotense instead of parents and Chaos instead of a toy, which is worse. Fluttershy was ready to put up with the inconvinience of sharing her home with Discord not because of fear or being forced to do it, but on her own accord, because she considered him her friend. I doubt Discord ever had anyone actually willing to do something for him, so that made him appreciate his newfound friendship so much that he wouldn't be able to part with it and thus had to cope with inability to have the things going his way all the time. Afterall, he can create his World of Chaos any time he wants it, and he is immortal, so he might as well be patient and appreciate the moments of friendship with Fluttershy and get back to his other entertainment later.
It's similar to an event in a Q episode "True Q" - where a new Q uses her powers to make her heart's desire fall in love with her, but gets no joy from his attention as it is artificial. Discord can do ANYTHING, but the joy of friendship is that you can't make it happen, you have to earn it, so when you have it, it is all the sweeter. Your friends actually like you, you can't brainwash them, they have to choose to do it. Thus, he realized he'd lost something he couldn't just snap his fingers and restore, and THAT's why he cares about it.
Discord is Chaos incarnate, and most feelings would be technically his dominion. It's very probable he doesn't even realize WHY Fluttershy's friendship is suddenly so important to him, he just knows that it is.
I figure it's a you-don't-know-what-you've-got-until-it's-gone kinda thing. He didn't realize how much he wanted friends until he lost the only friend he has ever had. He's be around for how long? Over a 1000 years? And in all that time, he has never had a friend, never had someone who cared even a little for him. He's probably wanted friends for a long time, but didn't know it until he lost his first ever friend. He's probably wanted acceptance for a long time and Fluttershy was the first to ever do that. Losing her and her acceptance of him came as a bigger blow than he anticipated, because he's wanted it for all this time and didn't realize it.
I always imagined it was a bit of It's All About Me thrown into the mix. Discord doesn't NEED Fluttershy's friendship, but once he has something, he won't give it up just because. So he makes a few simple concessions that don't matter to him to keep something he wants. Easy peasy.
Okay, so what exactly did Celestia need Discord's help with? It's a nitpick admittedly, but it's so concerning. Is there another reality warper on the rise? Is Discord the only one who can acquire the next MacGuffin? Does she want to get laid?
It could be a precaution. Celestia is powerful but she's certainly not the most powerful being in Equestria. Having an ally like Discord would be a huge help against future threats.
While I believe the above Troper is onto something I don't think this is a precaution. I think this is a PLAN. When the Crystal Empire reappeared Luna wanted to go personally and either deal with or assist with the problem (it's not clear which), Celestia stops her because Twilight needs prove she's able to take it to the next level. Now we're freeing and domesticating Discord? I'm pretty sure that whatever is coming next is the kind of epic bad that three princess and the Elements of Harmony aren't enough to handle. Also how powerful Celestia is or isn't really is never covered clearly. It heavily implied that Discord is more powerful than she is by a heavy margin but after this episode it seems that she's perfectly capable of nullifying him as long as she makes the first move, so it's possible that she would have been more effective last time had he not effectively snuck up on her and even then she made no direct effort to enter the battle until the final step.
Celestia just says she has use for Discord's magic if he can be reformed (which is kind of a no-brainer, of course he could be a powerful asset) — not necessarily that she anticipates any immediate need for it. It might indeed just be a precaution, and possibly even just a bit of a smokescreen for trying to reform him just because she wants to (and because releasing Discord under controlled circumstances just about has to be better than just sitting there waiting for him to one day break out under his own power again).
Considering it took Discord at least one thousand years to break out before waiting for him to break out on his own again seems to be a prudent plan. Especially since he can be relocated. I want to know why they didn't banish his statue to the far end of nowhere a few hundred years ago and hope he didn't wander back.
The guy who can change reality with a flick of his finger is now one the side of the good guys. How can any villain stand a chance against that? It was already hard enough to come up with reasons why Celestia and Luna couldn’t defeat a big bad, but what kind of excuse are they going to use for Discord?
Well, Discord is the God of Chaos, basically. If he's on the side of the good guys, then he's not really using his magic to cause chaos...so he might not be nearly as strong anymore.
First, yes, he's a prime candidate for a Redemption Demotion. It's even somewhat plausible — once he starts to actually care about what effect his antics have on others, he pretty much by definition can't fling his power around quite as carelessly and freely as he did before. But perhaps more importantly, second, as with the princesses his actual power may have been somewhat exaggerated by the fandom. He may be more powerful than Celestia and Luna (whose own badassery is mostly of the memetic kind in turn), but with the boundaries on magic in the setting not particularly well defined it's hard to say where his upper limits actually are. We've seen him use mainly transmutation effects, teleportation, and his brainwashing trick — all things that, while perhaps on a slightly grander scale than usual, don't really seem all that out of bounds for a hypothetical sufficiently powerful and crazy unicorn wizard...
We've seen him have large-scale environmental effects like raising and lowering the moon at will as well as altering the geography, grant ponies reality-defying properties without much effort, and he's got a sort of omnipresence that lets him keep up with current events even when turned to stone. Discord is effortlessly slinging around mojo that would probably exhaust Twilight to even attempt, and he's doing it all at the same time. Perhaps to explain the necessary power level reduction, he's got a Power Born of Madness, and when he's not crazy, he loses power (though he'll probably still be on Royal Alicorn sisters level).
Twilight, for all her talent, is still a student in the magic department. Let her get a few decades under her figurative belt and mature to, say, about Star Swirl the Bearded level, then we can talk about how powerful Discord still is compared to her.
He's still capable of overriding both Celestia and Luna in bringing up and down the sun and moon, does it while simultaneously wrecking the landscape.
Which is kind of the point: much of the general idea the fandom has of Discord's power level seems to be based on the same fandom's likewise exaggerated opinion of the power of the princesses. There's a lot of (not necessarily even bad) outright fanfic hype going around when it comes to these three.
We may be preparing for a Unicron or Cthulu (Cthulucron?) Scale villain.
I think when they say good they mean he's not actively looking to hurt others. When it actually comes time to pick a side he'll lean more towards Chaotic Neutral with little hints of Chaotic Good. (Like Q from Star Trek.) Or they'll just Handwave it by saying that he's off fighting bigger and badder guys, like other Draconequus.
It's also possible that as strong as he seems he might have serious limitations placed on him. It occurred to me watching Disney's The Return of Jafar. Genies are ridiculously over powered but the inability to kill (or even do lasting harm it seems, I know breaking everybody's legs would have gone a long way to victory) anybody might be what keeps Discord in check. So it may be that he did that brainwashing trick to the Main Six because whatever rules/limitations he's subject to meant that was ALL he could do.
Fluttershy kept her promise of not using her element even after Discord tricked her (i.e. "fixing" the flood by turning it into ice and openly mocking her). Why? This doesn't seem like a particularly smart decision - how did she know that Discord wouldn't return to his old ways, torturing ponies and wreaking havoc for the hell of it? Would she have kept her promise then, leaving countless others to suffer?
While it is problematic, Fluttershy is the element of kindness (foolish or not), not loyalty or intelligence. Perhaps she has the ability to sense when someone is in need of kindness (like the manticore) and being kind to them will improve the situation.
That's the idea—it is risky, and there is a good chance that her keeping her word wouldn't work. That being said, if she decided to break her promise and use her Element of Harmony to attack Discord with, Discord could just poof the Elements somewhere else like he did before because he'd know exactly what would happen next otherwise. Fluttershy had to choose between possible failure and guaranteed failure.
Why did the others of the Mane 6 seem confused when Princess Celestia put her faith in Fluttershy? Did they forget who the Element of Kindness was?
Because they were expecting to band up and either collectively nicen up Discord or preparing to fight him again should anything go awry.
3.12 Games Ponies Play
The games inspector complains about never getting an honest view of what places in Equestria are really like because everyone's always trying to impress her, but after getting no welcome at all, she talks to a pony who had a wonderful welcome and that convinces her to give the games to the Crystal Empire. Except that warm, impressive welcome was meant for HER and she only didn't get it because of a mix-up. And that would be okay, except Rainbow Dash explains that in her presence. What the Hell? All the Mane Six did was prove that the Empire isn't any different from any other place competing for the right to host the games, and Harshwhinny had a terrible time on top of that. What the Hell?
Maybe Harshwhinny thought that everyone who visits the Crystal Empire gets that treatment and that she was left out for whatever reason. It's still deceptive and Twilight et al. lucked out though. Not that there's anything wrong with that sort of ending, if you ask me. The Simpsons pulls these sorts of morally ambiguous endings all the time, though I can understand why eople would get up in arms of this sort of ending on this show, which tries to be as wholesome as possible without being badly-written. It is a tough balancing act.
Why didn't the Mane 6 just ask the pony they met at the train station, they were the Inspector? That way they wouldn't get the wrong pony, who also has a flower pattern on her suitcase. This would've been avoided if they just did that.
Heck, they could have just said, "Ms. Harshwhinney?"
Near the end of the episode, the inspector complained about places in Equestria sucking-up to her to convince her to have the Equestria games in their town. My guess is that the mane 6 didn't want to appear too overt and phony with introducing their "guest" (by that, I mean appear as genuine, but still enthusiastic as possible with every visitor).
For that matter, why didn't the messenger have a more specific description of the inspector than mentioning the pattern on her luggage? It didn't even mention what type of pony she was, let alone anything personal about her appearance.
The real question is, why didn't they think twice when they saw the floral luggage HAD A TEAR IN IT? They spend the whole first few minutes talking about what a hardass she is, why would she go around doing official business with a ratty suitcase?
What, your luggage never gets a tear? They probably thought that Mistress Harshwhinny just hadn't had time to replace it yet.
And yet they never make that observation, and they all arrive at that conclusion at the exact same time? Harshwhinny's only known characteristic is that she's a hardass whose job is to judge the places she goes according to highly competitive standards; showing up <i>anywhere</i> with her suitcase in tatters when her job is literally to travel is, equally literally, the very image of being unprofessional.
How could Cloudsdale have ever been in the running to host the Games? It's made of clouds, there's nothing really solid up there. Unless they decided to exclude everyone who isn't a pegasus from entry, it wouldn't have any chance of playing host.
Why do you think it wasn't chosen?
I get that, but the problem is so obvious that it really should have been taken into account before getting their hearts up with a visit. Unless they have a stadium on a large plateau like the Wonderbolt Academy (which would still present a lot of issues for large numbers of non-pegasi, but still) we don't know about, it shouldn't have been presented as an option.
An easy way for Cloudsdale to qualify would be if the ground underneath it was city property as well. Whether or not that's actually the case is something that hasn't really been addressed yet.
It works for Las Pegasus, a hybrid cloud-ground city. It could work for Cloudsdale. Also, they could build special structures made of solid ground or provide transportation for competitors and spectators.
Why wasn't anyone from the Empire helping show around the Inspector? The Manes hardly know the place, and even Cadance isn't a native of the region.
The city was gone for a thousand years, they probably have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to modern behaviors and mannerisms.
Still, there wasn't even a crystal pony assisting them. It seems an odd choice, given that the Manes don't even know their way around the castle.
Right after they arrive in the empire, Twilight speculates that they were asked to handle the welcome because (evidently) "every pony in the empire" was already busy helping to tidy the place up. Ridiculous as that sounds, a handwave's still a handwave.
3.13 Magical Mystery Cure
Why was Applejack making dresses? Rarity's cutie mark isn't dress-making; it's gem-finding — she just happens to like using the gems in her fashion designs. Applejack could have taken the talent in a completely different direction if she wanted.
Similarly, Rainbow Dash's cutie mark was supposed to be for speed, not weather control.
IMHO, you're both wrong - why is Rainbow Dash's CM about racing? Just look at it - it's *cloud*, not finish line. Rainbow Dash got it by creating rainboom, a *weather* phenomenon. Same with Rarity - she got it making dresses. Seriously, racing and gemfinding? I'd say the new owners explanations are spot-on.
Finding gems may be her special talent, but fashion is her destiny.
Finding gems isn't even her special talent. Her special talent is fashion, with gems being her trademark. She go her mark after presenting her dazzling dresses, not when discovering gems.
The spell altered their societal role, not their personal role. Destiny is usually measured in relation to society.
To go along with the above headscratcher about talent: If the ponies' cutie marks changed, then why didn't their talents change, too? Ponies don't get a random cutie mark; they get it in something they're good at. Even if the cutie marks were swapped around by magic, this should change their abilities, too, since if the ponies think that they got those cutie marks naturally, then it must mean that they have some ability in their new talent.
The swapped cutie marks were fake. No spell can give a pony a real cutie mark, which is why they were overwritten by their real cutie marks the instant they were reminded of their true selves. Their memories were also altered, and they were implanted with an artificial compulsion, which is why they were trying to do something they disliked. They might have thought that they got their cutie marks naturally, but that was just another altered memory, as the change wasn't retroactive.
Cutiepox seems to suggest that even a fake cutie mark comes complete with the appropriate skill set.
The Mane Five didn't have the Cutiepox, which seemed to create real, but uncontrolled cutie marks. The fakes that they got were more like the fakes that Twilight tried to summon onto Apple Bloom's butt back in the first season, but still distinctly different.
The Cutie Mark swapping was a symptom, not a cause. The spell altered their destiny, their past, it altered who they were as ponies. he Cutie Marks were just reflections of these changes, not the cause of the changes. Once they were restored to their true selves, their real CM was restored.
Why not just cast the spell again to fix the cutie marks? Sure, they might just end up swapping again, but there are only so many combinations to go around, sooner or later everyone would just end up with their standard cutie marks.
The problem came about because Twilight cast an incomplete spell without knowing anything about it. There's no way of knowing what would happen if she cast it again, it might make things even worse.
With five ponies, there are 120 possible combinations; assuming each iteration is random, that means you would have to cast the mind-altering, reality-bending spell an average of five dozen times. That has "bad idea" written all over it.
It's a reckless approach it's less dangerous than her "I'll kill any Pinky that that responds to anything." plan, while it didn't do ANYTHING using the Elements against Discord when they discorded was pretty high on the toodumbtolive scale as well. I can easily see her at least trying this.
Erm... there wasn't actually any indication that she was killing the Pinkies in said episode. It's a popular Fanon interpretation, but the Canon actually seems to imply she was just sending them back to wherever they came from in the first place — still risky and dangerous, but the absolute worst case is that Pinkie is... somewhere else.
'Somewhere else' might be a place where they can see her, but can't return her from, a fate which might be even *worse* than death, especially for pony like Pinkie.
Rainbow Dash was about to get eaten alive later that day. They couldn't afford to waste a moment, much less trying to cast a spell 120 times. Granted, Twilight couldn't have known what would've transpired in that cottage, but I'm sure she knew not to waste time.
So, where was Discord?
That's not really a headscratcher, is it? It's just something you thought was going to happen turning out not to happen after all.
Sure it is: he spent his entire first appearance screwing with the weather, and his last appearance centered on his learning the value of friendship. He should have been the first person Twilight went to for help controlling the destructive weather patterns Rarity was making, instead of just retreating to her room to sing a moping song about how she screwed up.
That's if she even knew how to contact Discord in the first place.
IF? Of course she knew how to contact Discord, through Celestia. Celestia was the one who took him into custody in the first place, she would have to know where he was! At least she could have tried. Twilight spends pretty much the whole show learning how to delegate whenever possible, having her contact Discord to contain the weather while she figured out a solution would have been a better test of character than learning how to make friends because your mentor thinks a princess should understand friendship.
Discord being the first person to contact makes very little sense, especially when she didn't even consider contacting Celestia. He's insanely dangerous, and only restored his own chaos. Assuming he can magically fix a broken spell because he is him makes as much sense as Celestia doing it. Which raises the question of why twilight didn't ask her. Which I would guess was shame + the short duration of it.
I think she didn't contact Discord to solve this problem because she isn't dumb enough to think that Discord can be a reliable solution to a chaotic problem. He's a nice guy now, sometimes, but only sometimes, and its almost certain that any solution he offers will leave things entertainingly chaotic somehow. No, far better to try and do it on her own before resorting to Mr. "Status Quo is just boring".
Season 4's Opener answers this pretty well. Discord is under no apparent obligation to help if he's not in the mood and in addition summoning him to solve what from his point of view would be a harmless but hilarious prank wouldn't be wise. He'd probably just make it worse by hiding the plot coupons.
I'm not opposed to Twilight becoming a princess, but why did this trigger her coronation specifically? Why is "creating new magic" more impressive than saving the entire kingdom a few times over? Or Fluttershy taming Discord? Or any other number of feats the Mane Six have accomplished throughout the series?
It wasn't just the spell that proved her worthy. It was the accumulation of all her accomplishments and how much she has changed as a person. The spell simply proved that the Twilight we saw in episode 1 has changed and now has all the qualities that Celestia sees fit in a ruler.
Twilight's story arc is very similar to that of a typical grad student (Celestia is her thesis advisor, and she's been pointing Twilight towards studying the connection between friendship and magic the entire series). Getting a Ph.D. requires demonstrating the ability to do original research: the fixed version of Starswirl's spell is Twilight's Ph.D. thesis! (And the past episode montage with Celestia after Twilight is zapped is a very gentle version of a Ph.D. defense).
If creating new magic is enough to become royalty, why isn't Starswirl a prince right now? Doesn't he have an entire wing of the royal library dedicated to him and his discoveries?
Aside from Equestria seemingly having only princesses for whatever reason, with the particular spell in question it was mentioned that Starswirl couldn't actually finish/make the spell because he didn't understand friendship. Twilight was able to complete the spell where he couldn't.
Two explanations. First, Starswirl simply rejected the position for whatever reason. Second, he didn't exhibit qualities that made him suitable to lead a country. After all, a good wizard may not necessarily make a good leader and Celestia did say the reason he couldn't complete the spell was because he didn't understand friendship the same way Twilight did.
That hardly seems fair. The rest of the Mane Six learned just as much as she did about the same lessons she did, and they're all the best at what they do; Celestia, Luna, and Cadence don't seem to have any unique magical abilities beyond what their cutie marks denote, so Twilight's ability to create new magic shouldn't have mattered, and if it didn't, it shouldn't be more important than Rarity advancing color theory with a fashion line or Rainbow Dash being fast enough to compress clouds into a spring. Twilight doesn't even learn more about leadership, teamwork, or responsibility than the others.
The one key thing here... Twilight Sparkle wants to be a Princess. She's always wanted to be a Princess, ever since she saw Celestia raise the sun. Rainbow Dash wants to be a Wonderbolt (and she is getting there), Rarity wants to be a famous fashion designer (and she is). And Twilight's final test wasn't the spell, it was identifying that the key missing component of the spell was friendship, and correctly applying it. She showed that she understood friendship, and was able to apply it practically and academically. That's a pass grade for any student.
Creating a spell doesn't make someone royalty. Star Swirl made more than two hundred spells. Celestia made Twilight a princess because of Twilight's knowledge of friendship. Twilight herself was surprised by the whole thing.
The Spell that Twilight created was probably a spell to transform into an alicorn. As a matter of fact,we only know that alicorns are Princesses. And while Twilight did make the spell and turned into an alicorn, Starswirl didn't.But this raises another question: If the spell transforms one into an alicorn, what hinders someone to use the spell as well?
If the spell transforms one into an alicorn, which is kind of a big "if". All we see it do is trigger the Elements of Harmony, which then in turn only seem to transport Twilight to wherever exactly it is she's having her conversation with Celestia. Watching the scene again, the more likely explanations for Twilight turning into an alicorn are either (a) Celestia did it — it's her magic that starts the light show that's the most obvious candidate for an actual transformation sequence, after all — or (b) Twilight had the potential all along and it just needed to mature and be brought out.
Celestia didn't seem to use any magic during that scene. Even the clipshow corridor seemed to be automatic rather than under her control. The colors from the transformation scene are Twilight's colors, by the way.
Something worth mentioning is that Starswirl seems to be held in very high regard even by the likes of Celestia. (That being said, I have never seen "Hearth's Warming Eve" as I'm following this show directly on The Hub and it skips that episode, so I can only ascertain what I know about him through subsequent episodes.)
The Elements of Harmony shoot those beams at Twilight as soon as she finishes the spell, so...was it the Elements that made her an alicorn? Or was it Celestia, as all the dialogue implies? Or can Celestia control the Elements? And if she can, why hasn't she before, instead of relying on each of the girls?
I think the elements simply sent her to that universe thingy and Celestia was the one her turned her into an Alicorn.
Celestia's alicorn spell drew a glowing ball of light from Twilight's chest. That was likely the power source needed, Celestia just needed to... 'hatch' it so to speak. It could have come from the spell, some innate force inside her... it's likely left ambiguous for a reason, no need to over-explain things.
The spell that Twilight made turned her into a winged unicorn. If the spell was supposed to do that, if the Elements were supposed to be a part of that spell, Star Swirl knew that the spell would do that are all unanswered questions. All that can be said for sure is that Twilight didn't know what was going to happen.
Why doesn't anyone ever stop and ask if Twilight wants to be a princess? This seems like an awfully big thing to just thrust upon someone.
From how Twilight was reacting she seemed pretty happy to become princess. Plus, they could have just simply asked her off screen.
Twilight would likely have said no, because she's scared, because she doesn't want to be raised above her friends and alongside her mentor, because she doesn't know how to be a princess... but Celestia knows that these are false reasons, that Twilight's ready, and it was better not to even offer her that choice.
Not wanting to be raised above the friends who made it possible for her to pass an exam she didn't know she was taking and that gave her that position is a false reason for refusing a crown? This episode pretty much flies in the face of the entire rest of the series. Up until now there was always this general premise that there's no wrong way to be a girl and being good at one thing doesn't make you better or worse than someone who's good at something else... except that's exactly what happens. Twilight has a special talent in magic that makes her worthy of being groomed since early childhood to take a position of authority roughly equivalent to a god-king.
Except the series has also taken pains, albeit not quite enough, to show that the position of god-king is more of a burden than it is a blessing. Luna got CMFIS and a thousand years imprisonment for her princessly duties not being appreciated, Celestia is bored as hell of her position and its duties as shown by the Grand Galloping Gala and her general trollishness, and Cadence was a target by a terrorist infiltration/replacement due to her high-ranking and influential position. This isn't a reward, this is more duty and responsibility being heaped on the poor girl as a consequence of doing a really good job at her way of being a girl, a natural extension of what happens when you excel at a "way of being a girl" best defined as "apprenticeship to a major political figure" and just as much a burden to bear as it is a perk - but, as she is suited to that burden, and she was already working towards it, albeit unknowingly (though, really, she should have realized Celestia was grooming her for SOMETHING), she got it.
That would matter more if Twilight ever expresses those concerns, but she doesn't. And why should she? Most, if not all, of the problems with being royalty stem from a lack of power (Cadence) and a lack of friendship (Luna), both of which Twilight has in spades, and since Celestia and not she is the host of the Grand Galloping Gala every year, Twilight has all of the benefit but none of the drawbacks.
Just because those are the only examples we've seen doesn't make them the only examples there are. Like, say, holding court on a regular basis and listening to (and acting as mediator and judge in) your subjects petty squabbles and/or petitions/petty nobility issues- or serious squabbles where you can't rule without hurting one of the two parties. And unlike Pinkie Pie, she doesn't have the advantage of knowing everypony personally, so if and when she does hold court, she'll be going off of theoretical knowledge and similar experience, rather than actual situational details. Two words for how that'll be after the first month or two: emotionally draining. Heavy lies the head that wears the crown for a reason: being a political leader in a monarchy isn't JUST about military power and being pampered, its about being the executive and, in most traditional monarchies, judicial and legislative, branches of government. Look at US presidents. Look at how fast their hair turns grey after being elected. Now multiply that by adding some responsibilities of the other two branches (and divide by the increased number of leaders Equestria has).
Um, okay. That is true in the real world. But it doesn't have a whole lot to do with what's expected of royalty in a world full of magical ponies ruled by god-kings. There's nothing to indicate that the crown is going to be a burden any heavier than having to be boring at parties because magical powers are central to royal responsibility, and Twilight is already on her way to becoming the most powerful unicorn in Equestria, assuming she isn't there now. You can tell, because Celestia has been calling on her for every known major crisis since the beginning of the show and getting her butt kicked when she tries to step in herself. Even the administrative tasks of being in charge are going to delight Twilight because she's obsessed with being organized, and is actually better at telling other people what to do than she is actually doing anything herself, even if she doesn't understand how they do what they do (Winter Wrap Up, anyone?).
Fundamentally, the problem may be in assuming that becoming a princess automatically makes Twilight somehow "better" than her friends, which in turn is then (somehow) wrong. Well, notwithstanding that the show has gone out of its way time and again to demonstrate that royalty are just ponies as well in the first place...Twilight always has been just a little "extra-special" in her own way, right from the start. And there's nothing wrong with that, either — if anything, demanding that all ponies should be created exactly equal would only serve to undermine the idea that there's no "right" or "wrong" way to be one!
They were created equal!
Well...no, they weren't. On the meta-level, while each of the Mane Six has gotten her share of spotlight time, character development, and fans who consider her "best pony", Twilight is still pretty clearly the main protagonist. She's the one whose move to Ponyville gets the whole series rolling and around whom their whole little group is essentially arranged, and when there's a Big Bad threatening to make trouble for Equestria, who always takes center stage in dealing with them? Twilight Sparkle — and friends, to be sure, but it's pretty clear that the Mane Six aren't defined primarily around, say, Applejack instead. And even in-universe, Twilight already starts out as the personal student of Princess Celestia herself because of her unique magical gifts as the series opens; no matter how good the rest of the group may be at their respective specialties (and I'm very much not trying to sell them short here), that's kind of hard to top or even equal in terms of "princess potential". It'd be no more fair to deny Twilight the chance to become a new princess than it'd be to force, say, Fluttershy into the same role.
That's true, but that's part of my point: she leads, but she never does it alone, and her leading the others in times of crisis doesn't give her any sort of formal authority. They were part of a very thematically balanced team, with Twilight at the center of the circle. Celestia comes right out and says she only sent Twilight into Ponyville to make friends so she could learn the virtues necessary to become royalty. And now she is: the spell that made her a princess is the one that requires friendship to work but only affects herself, and she wears her Element crown alone: in other words, there was an ulterior motive for Twilight to befriend the Mane Six all along, and now that motive is satisfied and Twilight has nothing more to learn. I know that it's not the kind of show where Twilight would go through the typical 'forgetting where you came from' phase, but she doesn't defend the validity of her friendships outside of their educational uses or object to being manipulated. And none of her friends object to being used, either. To go back to the original point here: under the circumstances, not wanting to be elevated above her friends is exactly what should have happened, not a false reason to turn down a crown.
Because Ambition Is Evil and girls should never aspire to advance beyond their "proper" station? I think the show's done pretty well so far in providing counterexamples to those notions...if it's okay for Rarity to want to find and marry her personal Prince Charming (even if her first attempt with some dolt named Blueblood didn't precisely work out) and for Rainbow Dash to dream of one day joining the Wonderbolts, there's little reason to think it'd be any more "wrong" for Twilight to not turn down a chance to become more like her idol Princess Celestia. And by now she should know her friends well enough to realize that they'll only be that much happier for her, so that's honestly not really a big concern either.
Different troper: Actually... yeah, it kind of is bringing up an issue of station and advancement, since Twilight was born noble, or at least high-class, in Canterlot and only became Celestia's student because her parents were able to get her into an elite magic school, and she only became Princess because Celestia chose her for the position based on her application to attend that elite school in the first place. Those opportunities just don't exist in Ponyville. Rainbow Dash is a good comparison for what I'm talking about: there's no mentor figure to pave her way to ultimate success, even though she's one of the top flyers in the known world. Twilight never had any competition for her role because she only had to please Celestia to prove her worth as a Princess, and she was given permission to delegate the parts of her studies she couldn't handle to her friends, who were expected to comply with no reward than the privilege of helping Twilight because the decree came from Celestia herself. Rainbow Dash, on the other hand, has to actively compete against other flyers using only her own abilities, and if she can't handle it, she will not become a Wonderbolt, end of story. Yes, all the ponies have their destinies and their goals, but the fact remains that Twilight's ascension depended on her having help and support that none of the other Ponies are afforded, and she only has that help and support because of her elevated status.
Respond to arguments I actually make, please. No, ambition isn't evil, no, there's no issue of proper or improper station, and I never said either of those things. What I am saying, is that making friends specifically to gain a position of authority and power is wrong, and the ends do not justify the means. Although it was Celestia's machination and not Twilight's, that doesn't make it okay: she sent Twilight to learn about friendship not for its own sake, but because she wouldn't make Twilight a princess until she did. Celestia comes right out and says that Twilight's entire life in Ponyville (including all those times the rest of the Mane Six were put in danger) was just another test, and Twilight never seems to realize that her crown (and all the benefit, with no equivalent drawbacks) was gained by her mentor exploiting her friends before they even met, and in fact would have been exploiting her friends no matter who they would have been. That's even leaving aside the likelihood that she's going to move back to Canterlot at Celestia's behest: in other words, getting everything she can from her friends and then moving on when they've dried up as a resource. If Twilight's coronation didn't explicitly come from her learning about friendship just so she could be crowned, or if she at least objected to her friends being used to give the other five a chance to support her in full knowledge (since they don't have the benefit of being in whatever spell-space Twilight was in when Celestia explained all that) there wouldn't be a problem, as far as I can tell. But Celestia never tells them, and neither does Twilight.
Twilight is not leaving Ponyville. This has been confirmed by Word of God.
The problem with the above argument is that it ultimately sells Celestia way short of her usual depiction on the show as its Big Good — basically, it implies a deliberate cynicism on her part that seems rather out of character for her (although it might fit some of her fan versions). It also doesn't address why Celestia would so desperately want Twilight to become a princess when the latter could presumably have lived a perfectly happy, productive, and fulfilled life without a crown...or why, if all she wanted was a royal stooge, she couldn't have simply given the title to Twilight at any time.
I don't think there's any reason the show could give that would make it okay. Celestia's interest has been almost solely in Twilight and her progress, with the other five being considered only as far as they related to Twilight's well-being. Once Twilight doesn't need her friends to operate the Elements of Harmony anymore, that's when she gets promoted, and Celestia only explains her logic to Twilight in a space where her (now clearly unimportant, in Celestia's view) friends can't hear it. This may make a certain amount of Fridge Brilliance: Celestia wanted Twilight to realize that friendship is magic before making her a princess, because Celestia obviously doesn't understand it herself, but she understands that not understanding is a problem, and has been grooming Twilight to supplement. Otherwise she'd have friends of own instead of an endless train of subordinates, and Luna might never have become Nightmare Moon in the first place.
To add to all that, there's absolutely no indication that Twilight and her friends will no longer be friends, as clarified by Word of God. Being that Celestia is a kind and caring ruler, and also Princess Luna to an extent, it's quite evident here that Twilight, given her obvious care and love for her family and friends, will never let princesshood go to her head. Thus, Celestia's intentions for Twilight were strictly honorable to begin with, and by encouraging Twilight to make friends, Celestia has been a big help in assisting Twilight to fulfill her destiny which to me is a very responsible act on Celestia's part as a benevolent ruler.
What part of endangering five of her subjects' lives is responsible and benevolent? Celestia sent Twilight to make friends for a very specific purpose, but that purpose showed zero concern for those friends. It was one thing when they just happened to be attuned to the Elements of Harmony and therefore the job was theirs by default, but now we know for a fact that Celestia arranged any of it is because she wanted to make Twilight a princess. Essentially, it means she knowingly sent the rest of the Mane Six into danger and assigned them to do Twilight's homework for her when she made it clear she couldn't handle it (instead of disqualifying her for the crown based on the fact that she abused magic to create chaos when things were too peaceful for her comfort; Discord got turned to stone for that exact crime!), but never, at any point, intended to actually reward them for anything they did, and never even bothers to inform them of the role they played in Twilight's ascension. I don't think it's responsible or benevolent to manipulate your subordinates for personal gain.
Aside from the fact that Twilight would never turn down a task from Princess Celestia, Twilight becoming a princess wasn't about what Twilight wanted. Celestia made Twilight a princess because she thought that Twilight was a paragon, a symbol of what all ponies should aspire to. Celestia gave her that title because she thought that casting attention on Twilight would be good for Equestria, because Twilight would now teach Equestria all she had learned about friendship. Becoming a teacher is what a good student is supposed to do.
I think it's worth pointing this out again: Twilight being the best pony for a certain position, or the fact that she's been put into a position of authority does not necessarily mean that Twilight is inherently a better pony than her friends or that she views herself as such. She herself obviously recognizes that she'd never be cut out for the position without her friends. She might be better equipped for that specific role, but that doesn't mean that she's somehow better than all of them, just that out of the cast, Celestia views her as being better suited to the job than the others. And again, Twilight herself still seems to view herself as not being any better than her friends. It's why she explicitly credits them during her inauguration speech and jumps off the chariot to walk alongside them at the end. She's fulfilling a new role, but she still feels the same way about her friends that she did before.
To add to that, this episode does not teach the moral that, "being good at one thing makes you better or worse than someone who's good at something else." It teaches the moral that if you work hard at what you do, you can do great things. It's the same as telling a child that they could one day be president. And why don't characters like Rainbow Dash and Rarity also become princesses? Because that's not the goal they're working toward! Rainbow wants to be a Wonderbolt, Rarity wants to be a famous fashion designer. What does Twilight want? To meet whatever end her apprenticeship leads her to, which is exactly what happened. That doesn't make her better than her friends no more than it makes the Queen of England better than us. More power does not equate to "better than everyone else."
Not "better than", "more important" than, there's a difference. Of course they'll all stay friends, but Twilight is now explicitly more important than the others (especially in the movie, where their only purpose is to sing Twilight's praises to make her more popular) because she just plain doesn't need them anymore. All the stuff she used to need them for (the Elements in particular) she can now do on her own. And personally I think that sucks.
Being more important, at least in the sense as shown in this episode (that is, politically), still doesn't make one inherently better. No one is shown competing for importance. Everyone's goals are in different directions and at different levels of importance because that's what (they believe would) satisfy them the most. Rarity doesn't want to be a princess. She just wants to open up Carousel Boutique in Canterlot. Appljack is perfectly happy where she is tending the farm. The Cutie Mark Crusaders just want to find their true calling. The principal cast is shown to be pretty humble, and they have accordingly humble goals.
Different troper here. I think it's pretty obvious that Alicorn royalty are considered inherently better than the average pony: they're powerful, openly admired by literally everyone, plus they have Pegasus wings and Unicorn horns for flight and magic, and develop the tall, lean build that seems to be associated with supermodel-class beauty (evidenced by that one pink-maned unicorn with the fleur de lis cutie mark) but nothing to represent Earth ponies, who are clearly shown to be Equestria's laborers. And except for Luna, a reformed villain, none of them have any acknowledged flaws. There's a reason the fandom doesn't look kindly on Alicorn original characters, and it's because of that inherent superiority.
When Twilight changed the Cutie Marks, and it affected the memories of the other Elements of Harmony, does that include everyone else in the world? Like, since Pinkie Pie works on the Farm, Applebloom now thinks she's her sister? Because Twilight and Spike's memories aren't effected once the spell is cast.
There's no way to tell either way, but I just assumed it only affected the memories of those who had their cutie marks switched.
If that was the case, then a new headscratcher pops up: why didn't anyone realize that five ponies suddenly got their cutie marks swapped around? One would think the other ponies would try to help if they remembered the five of them with the right cutie marks.
The cutie marks are swapped for less than a day, and Twilight starts working on it immediately after breakfast. When something weird goes down, the townsponies go to Twilight, and if Twilight was already dealing with it... Besides, to most ponies it just looked like the Manes had decided to swap jobs for the day. Not that weird for Ponyville.
Except the consequences were rather drastic, town was filled with starved, uneducated ponies... oh, wait, those were the fantasies of a panicking filly... oh, wait no, that's pretty much what happened. Everyone was freezing and depressed, the Apple farm was in decay... and nobody seems to find it strange or unnatural.
Strange and unnatural events? For Ponyville, that's Tuesday. Rarity's bad weather was hardly the worst thing to happen this season alone.
This is supported by the fact that everybody cheered when Pinkie Pie told everyone that she wanted them to smile.
So.. what was this new magic Twilight created? Her spell is not only the completed version of someone else's work, it just does the same thing the Elements of Harmony do. She wrote two sentences based on previously-existing artifacts that require five other ponies to work, completing however much work Starswirl the Bearded did actually writing the spell from scratch.
Presumably the new spell is either a way of manually activating the Elements on an as-needed basis, rather than automatically in emergencies, or its a way of undoing mixed-up Cutie Mark shennanigans.
It's never explained what the original spell or Twilight's completed version do. Something to do with destiny and friends, but what was never explained. It's also unclear whether it was designed to effect the Elements, or if that just happened by accident. Given what the spell did and the words used, I think that it would have affected any group of ponies the same way if they were present, it just affected the Manes through the Elements because of their connection to their Elements.
The Elements probably just amplified the spells. "From one to another" indicates the first spell functioned as it was intended, to switch cutie marks. It worked somewhat but was conceptually flawed; it only accounted the efforts of the individual. As we've seen repeatedly in the sow, no-one can get by without help from their friends. Twilight's spell focused on friends working together to achieve greater heights; this being a magical universe, the "greater heights" turned out to be a magical plane.
So... does that mean the other five ponies/elements are just material components for the spell? Because they certainly didn't show up on the magical plane, or seem to have any knowledge of what was going on there.
To answer several of the questions above: It's possible that Star Swirl was working on an Alicorn spell, and couldn't complete it because he didn't realize that the Elements of Harmony were necessary to get it to work. Twilight filled in that missing piece: friendship. When she plugged that in, the spell kicked in for real and caused her to grow wings.
I have to ask, did the story suddenly move to Townsville or did the S St B's spell affect all the other ponies as well, making them stupid and useless? Because otherwise I honestly cannot see how it could all go to hell like this, just because six ponies got their priorities screwed. So, Rarity cannot control weather (which, as rightfully noted above doesn't make any sense, since RD's cutie mark was about speed, not weather control). Where are all the other pegasi? Pinkie cannot do chores around the farm - so why aren't the other Apples helping her? RD cannot take care of the animals, but they are wild animals. I'm pretty sure most of them can take care of themselves. And were Pinkie's antics really the only thing that kept the whole town from turning into jerks? That's really depressing, actually.
My interpretation is that Twilight was the only one without her memory affected; as far as anypony else could remember, things had always been this cruddy and they'd always had these roles, which was restored to the proper memories when the cutie marks were. Not a particularly logical-once-you-think-it-through set of false memories, but, then, that's magically induced false memories for you.
The point about the wild animals would be off in any case — it's already been pretty much established early on that no, they can't take care of themselves, or at least aren't used to it. Otherwise that wouldn't be explicitly part of what spooks ponies about the Everfree Forest.
Ok, fair enough. I do however find it hard to buy into everybody's ineptitude in general. RD cannot handle animals? Right, it's not like she had, at one occasion, whipped all the Shy's avian residents into perfect attention, from a hummingbird to a freaking eagle, oh wait. Pinkie cannot work with her hooves? Pinkie, who assembled a goddamned flying machine, cannot fix a leaking pipe? Gimme a break (and again, why aren't the Apples helping her). As for Rarity, surely RD wasn't the only pegasus in Ponyville who knew how to clean the clouds. We've seen that she had a team of cloud cleaners. Did the spell incapacitate them as well?
Rainbow Dash knows how to get a bunch of pegasi to help her with the weather. Rarity, lacking Rainbow's knowledge or skill, does not. Remember, Rainbow is the only full time weather pony in Ponyville. Rainbow couldn't control the animals because she was trying to control them the way that Fluttershy does, Pinkie was trying to fix things the way that Applejack does, Applejack was trying to make Rarity's fancy designs, and Fluttershy was trying to use Pinkie's material. They weren't just trying to do each other's jobs, they were trying to live each other's lives, doing what each other would do instead of what they would do.
And yet Rarity was trying to clean the clouds aesthetically, which gave me an impression that they retained their old skills and knacks, and they were trying to employ them at tasks they were unaccustomed to, which is why they failed. Except that Pinkie can make things and RD can handle (or at least discipline) animals. And I've yet to understand what were other Apples doing while Pinkie was running their farm into ground (in one day, yeeeeah). As for the other pegasi, are you implying that they are completely helpless and lost without RD? Ok, we've seen that complex organised effort is not their strong side, but surely they could buck a few clouds out of the sky, if their lives depend on it, full time or not.
They were trying to use talents that they didn't have. If they had been in their right minds, they would have done better at their new jobs. And while the other pegasi would stepped in eventually, Rainbow was restored by, what, lunchtime, if that late? They hadn't gotten fed up enough to take things into their own hooves. I've got nothing for where the other apples were, though. Pinkie scared them off?
To the above it raises the question of what EXACTLY the spell did and how. I assumed the spell retroactively swapped the ponies somehow and only Twilight remembered how things should be. So things at their respective jobs had ALWAYS been screwed up. Otherwise it doesn't really make sense why they didn't just go back home and explain that they had different cutie marks. It's shown that they clearly retained their own skill sets and powers and the Apples (the only real family we're shown) didn't think twice about sending Pinkie out to work the farm instead of sending her to find AJ which reeks of retroactive universe changing.
A retroactive change makes even less sense because none of the five possessed the skills needed to gain their positions. And as we saw, none of them were going to be able to continue in their swapped jobs for any length of time. Memory alteration of the swapped people seems the most straightforward explanation.
While retroactive change may not be the most accurate idea I think the five of them would have managed somehow. However the fact is if the song "What my Cutie Mark is Telling me" is an accurate depiction of what was happening the townsponies were expecting Fluttershy to be funny instead of wondering what was wrong with her Cutie Mark. There is no evidence that the Apple Family thought something was amiss with AJ being absent and Pinky Pie working the farm. The spell was clearly big enough to effect not just the five ponies destinies/cutie marks but also the expectations of those around them. The problem would actually solved itself otherwise when Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle fetched their sisters, Angel went and got the right Pegasus and anybody with a sense of humor hunted down the funny pink pony.
So Princess is a title you don’t get but have to earn instead? Then what’s a about “Prince” Blueblood? What did he achieve to earn his title?
We only know that that's apparently how it worked for Twilight...and that may just be on grounds of the ruling sisters' say-so. Whether we can infer from that that that's also how it works in general isn't clear, especially since royalty otherwise seems to follow the "traditional" pattern well enough — Celestia, Luna, Cadence and (however distantly) Blueblood are all related, and Shining Armor became prince of the Crystal Empire by essentially marrying into the royal family.
Do we forget Princess Platinum? She got her title being daughter of the king of the Unicorns. And someone, either Twilight or Shining Armor, mentions to (who they believe to be) Ms. Harshwhinny that she must meet a lot of princes doing her job. If there's a difference between princes and princesses, perhaps princes are hereditary/marriage based. And technically, we don't know what Cadance did to get her title. For all we know, she was born an Alicorn and made a Princess because they saw it as a sign from the Heavens, or was simply born to a royal family member under a lucky star. You know, Twilight becoming a princess might have gone over better if they got into some of the details ahead of time, so we can understand what the hell is going on.
Its all about the matriarchy, man. Princess actually means something significant, so it has elaborate rules, while prince just labels you as a glorified brood-stallion and descendant of a princess who mattered. Stallion's liberation movement forever!
So, are alicorns an actual race, or just sort of a...promotion? The episode treats being an alicorn like it goes hand-in-hand with being a princess — when you become one, you also become the other. Can you be born an alicorn? Can you be an alicorn without also being royalty? If an alicorn abdicates, will their alicorn-ness be taken away? Were Celestia, Luna, and Cadence ordinary ponies like Twilight at some point?
This is wild mass guessing man. We barely know anything about it, and the few bits of information we do get are from those who likely are no better informed (like Rarity). Wait until season 4, we might get some answers then.
WMGS are theories — these aren't. They're headscratchers — pesky, nagging questions the episode inspired but never answered. Maybe season four will shed more light on the matter, but until then, they're legitimate topics for discussion. The fact that we don't know anything about this stuff is a headscratcher in itself: How are we supposed to be happy for Twilight when we have no idea what happened or what it entails?
Related to above; this kinda bothered me about this being a single episode instead of a two parter like we've had before. There was too much to deal with in one episode, so we get left with a load of unanswered questions. Hopefully season 4 will answer some of them, but given this is a kids show at the end of the day, they may well not.
Alicorns are indeed a promotion. A novel reveals that Candance used to be a pegasus.
Didn't that novel contradict a fair amount of established canon?
This is a weird one to ask, but I'll ask anyway: What happened to Spike during the second act? After the True friend song, he disappeared. One moment he was next to twilight and the others, singing. And then they go the the library and he disappears. Also, when Twilight talks about the friends she's made, he isn't standing up there, with them, nor did he congratulate her or hug her in the end too? He was there, he gave her, her tiara, and sang in the final song. So why did he disappear at the weirdest times? Wouldn't he, especially want to congratulate her?
Spike not being at the library- His little legs made it hard to keep up with them, after the song. He finally caught up once twilight was disintegrated.
In her friendship speech- I thought about this one for a while, and I realized, all friendship reports involving him, were something that he himself learned. Twilight talks about how her friends taught her something. It doesn't mean she values him any less as a friend. He was her first real friend in Canterlot (not including her BBBFF), but you notice that she acts distant and cold to him. Why? Because she didn't know how to act towards a friend. It wasn't until the other elements taught her about friendship, that you see her warm up to him. So if anything, she thanks the ponies for helping her to be a better friend, especially to him.
He didn't congratulate her- Maybe he didn't want anyone to see him acting all mushy and sappy in public.
Spike singing- He never sang.
So, we learn a bit more about this Starswirl the Bearded. Putting together a lot of what we know about him, IE that not much is known, to us at least, about his past. He was a very powerful magic user in his time, to the point that he created time spells, and that he apparently didn't really understand friendship to ascend to becoming an alicorn, if that's what the spell was supposed to do. This brings up the question, why is Starswirl starting to sound a lot like Discord? Extremely powerful, the most powerful creature shown so far acting using their own power. Doesn't really get friendship until his Heel-Face Turn, and his ambiguous past with Celestia and Luna...Anyone else think there is a connection at the very least? If not outright Discord being Starswirl? Is this intentionally obvious?...Did Twilight get the short end of the stick, power wise at least?
Judging by the the wording of the spell alone, it's supposed to fulfill one's destiny, apparently requiring a power source more powerful than magic of a unicorn, even one as powerful as Star Swirl, thus changing the destinies and then ruining what was given to them instead for fuel. Perhaps the spell wasn't finished because Star Swirl the Bearded, without knowledge of the Magic of Friendship, actually wrote it that way, used it and fulfilled his destiny as a selfish reality-warping God of Chaos? Afterall, if you think about it, Star Swirl's spell did work for Twilight - without casting it, she wouldn't have her Eureka Moment, wouldn't rewrite it to use Friendship and wouldn't fullfill her destiny as a Princess.
Star Swirl being related to Discord seems extremely unlikely. While he didn't have Twilight's understanding of friendship, he had at least one student and left his knowledge for others to use, showing that he formed relationships with others. He's also viewed favorably as a historical figure, whereas Discord was dreaded by those that did remember him.
Having a friend isn't really necessary for one to have a student. And that could just be Celestia and Luna deciding that Starswirl should be remembered for who he was, and not who he became. If all of this isn't just pure fanon speculation...Though it does make a bit too much sense when you consider how much we just don't know about either Dicord or Starswirl.
Dicord does have a beard.
So does Mr. Greenhooves, yet nobody's accused him of being Star Swirl in disguise thus far. Then again, why not? If Star Swirl supposedly could turn into Discord, then pretending to be a simple earth pony gardener should be child's play for him...
Considering what the spell was apparently supposed to do based on it's wording, it isn't too far-fetched to say that Discord could have been Starswirl after completing the spell. But like you said, this is just guessing.
Why couldn't Pinkie do AJ's job a LITTLE better? She grew up on a farm, so her "true" self knows how to do basic farm chores, and we've seen her help AJ pick the apples during Applebucking Season and Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000. It makes sense that she's not super-awesome-great at it, but she should probably be at least competent.
She was clearly trying her best, but Pinkie just doesn't have AJ's endurance and persistence. As to the scene of the farm in ruins, chalk that up to visual exaggeration.
She grew up on a rock farm, which probably functions a lot differently than an apple orchard.
Take someone who grew up on a farm that only grew a few specific crops, and put them in charge of a completely different farm years later that grows entirely different crops than what they are used to, and tell them nothing about how to do it. Do you see this going well? At all?
Pretty sure fixing gutters is the same no matter where you are or what your farm grows.
Maybe she's spent so much time as a baker she forgot?
Though there was a lot more than just that going wrong.
Even if she did live on the farm, there's no indication she was ever good at it. Pinkie has a poor attention span and tends to go at things with enthusiasm in place of good planning, which is why she's trying to push a plow with her head and fix a gutter by climbing on top of it and shaking.
Yes, Pinkie (as Pinkamena) grew up on a farm. She also hated every minute of it-every minute of the plowing, harvesting, and digging. You think that her parents would send a filly on top of the roof to fix the gutter? No, there's no reason Pinkie would have experience in doing that.
Twilight's crown is modeled on the Element of Magic, but is clearly a different tiara—which makes sense, you wouldn't want her wondering around with one sixth of a super weapon on her head. What actually happened to the Element of Magic, though? She was wearing it she was blasted by the other five elements, and after an act break we see her in that etherial void thing without it. To my knowledge, it's not seen again.
It's now a part of her, as it always was. Remember that it was also absent in the premiere.
Well according to Equestria Girls, the crown IS the Element of Magic, just given a new shape. And yes, carrying it around everywhere with her is exactly what leads to it being stolen and her having to chase the thief into the alternate dimension.
Which, as I asked in the EG Headscratchers: What the fuck? WHY would would make a very important artifact/weapon into a very visible princess crown? Why wouldn't you make a replica for Twilight to wear and keep the real Element of Magic with the rest of the Elements?
Because the other five aren't necessary anymore. Twilight can use the Element of Magic by herself now, so there's no reason to store it with the others. The real problem is that Twilight left it unattended and sitting out in plain view while she slept; just having her wear it day to day should be fine.
Twilight has never shown the ability to use the Element of Magic by herself, even when it would be really useful. Even that scene in EG required five friends, and had someone else use the Element solo.
It required five friends in the sense that Twilight needed somewhere to summon them to (and she did summon them, there was no hunt for the five other elements. She had all five of them with her the entire time). They had no bearing on its use or activation. She could have used five shelves and the outcome wouldn't have been any different. The Season 4 premiere has her taking all six of them out of their settings to return them to the Tree, and she's always used the glowing-eyes-and-rainbow attack by herself.
How did Fluttershy fed the bear? Rabbits got carrots and cabbages, squirrels - nuts and seeds, but it is highly unlikely a giant bear would be satisfied with just that.
First, bears are omniverous. It could live off plants for quite a while if it had to. Though she doesn't seem to keep the bear so much as help it on occasion. Second, Fluttershy is shown feeding worms to birds and fish to ferrets (or weasels or something in that family) so she is either capable of hunting or Equestria has a fish mart. Finally as much as they try to keep it on the low low ponies clearly eat eggs and dairy products.
They also raise pigs and sheep. The latter may be for wool (not that they wear enough clothing to justify it) but there is only one reason to be raising pigs. While you asking how did Fluttershy feed, she has a hawk (which may eat fish and not delicious bunnies)and a vulture. These ponies are clearly omnivorious and simply prefer plants.
This episode put Lesson Zero in a different light; doesn't it rather strongly prove that Twilight is maybe not psychologically prepared for the task of being royalty? Missing a deadline isn't so terrible, but going to such lengths to cheat the assignment that is causes a riot is a pretty damned big deal now that we know Celestia's lessons were meant to prepare Twilight for a crown, and it's not much better that the Celestia's solution was to remove the deadline entirely and let Twilight's friends do her homework for her. It would be one thing if she was just a student learning magic, because she's a fantastic student whose stellar dedication would earn her some breathing room after however many years of uninterrupted study... but now we know Celestia's been planning on making her a princess since the beginning. Shouldn't the reaction have been a lot stronger there? And not resulting in absolving of Twilight of her responsibility and putting it on all her friends, who weren't involved in Twilight's lessons/ascension otherwise...? The whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth, especially where the rest of the Mane Six are concerned.
And Lesson Zero took place in the beginning of Season 2. Twilight's come a long way since then, and Season 3 shows Twilight being granted with more responsibilities and whatnot. As long as her friends support her, Twilight will make a fine princess.
Then we have It's About Time later in the season, which shows she didn't learn a thing from LZ. We then have The Crystal Empire, in which we see her ego expand massively as she sees a whole kingdom to save as a "Test"... for her and her only. We then have Too Many Pinkie Pies in which she shows complete disregard for safety as she fires banishment spells with reckless abandon, not even caring about hitting the real one by mistake, and finally Magical Mystery Cure, in which she fixes... yet another issue SHE caused, and is REWARDED for it, instead of being locked up in Canterlot for being a walking disaster? I'm sorry, but Cadance's "Deep Breaths" method is the only improvement she's shown. Her privileged status as Celestia's protege is the only reason she's been granted her undeserved ascension.
Several days with little to no sleep, AND a concussion on top of that. It was because Celestia straight told her it was. We still have no proof it would have really aveft the 'real' Pinkie, and given everything else, it seems highly unlikely, even then, it worked. her "privileged status" in and of itself doens't mean a damn thing, she only has that position because of the exact same traits and qualities that made her worthy of becoming a Princess.
Different troper here; I disagree. Twilight isn't any less insane about tests and deadlines than she ever was and it's pretty obvious that being Celestia's student is what stops her from being considered Equestria's equivalent of a mad scientist. Somewhere around, someone points out that Lesson Zero shows Twilight inciting chaos because things are too peaceful to suit her needs, a crime that got Discord turned to stone, but Twilight is instantly forgiven and her friendship assignment both reduced and delegated to the rest of the Mane Six, which sounds an awful lot like a reward to me. Especially considering that the letters are emblematic of the study of friendship that served to qualify her promotion to Princess. The way the show illustrates it, it sounds like "the support of one's friends" means "the one with connections gets to dump her work on the others but still gets to reap all the benefits by herself". Which, if you're cynical, is pretty true to real life at least.
There's a big difference between what Twilight did and what Discord did. Discord caused chaos for his own pleasure, and was shown to be extremely sadistic and emotionally manipulative, taking joy in everypony turning grey. Twilight was panicked she was going to be sent to magic kindergarden where she would be bullied relentlessly, along with being seperated from her friends, and was being ignored and even laughed at by her friends, which slowly broke her. Discord caused chaos for the evulz, Twilight did it out of desperation.
Something very strange is going on with Twilight's Cutie Mark. It has five "satellite" stars on her flank, before and after her ascension. But the image in the sky shows six. Is this an error, or a clue?
I'd guess "error", but if not, maybe the sixth one is Spike?
I'd also like to think that Spike is finally getting some recognition. I also suspect that the symmetry of having three stars on each side made it easier for the animators, who wouldn't have to worry as much about continuity between scenes. Twilight's cutie mark is normally oriented with three stars in front (towards her head) and the other two behind (towards her tail), but that would be harder to keep track of on the flags and banners.