These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Accidental Innuendo: After they whup Colt of Tirek Mooks in Amethyst Penguin, Daring tells Herpy "It's good to know you've got my back covered." The Daring/Herpy shippers had a field day.
Alas, Poor Scrappy: Despite her status as The Scrappy, you can't help but feel sorry for Short Stuff when she finally appears again, this time in the Expanded Universe-she pulls a Big Damn Heroes to save Daring... and is brutally beaten and stabbed within an inch of her life by Krastos. She would have died had Daring not been around to save her.
Alternative Character Interpretation / Depending on the Writer: One of the few faults in Tinker's Seal is that, while the multiple writers collaborating on it made it an amazing book, none of them were apparently sure whether Steam Whistle should be posthumously honored for his efforts in the fight against Krastos, or vilified for making the Assembler. This leads to some characters praising Steam, and others cursing his name.
Awesome Ego: Bravado is very smug, but he has the skills to back it up.
Awesome Music: Shortly after the release of, Breathing Weapons, a CD of character themes for Daring, Arzt, and the Greifvögel was released. It consisted of mostly of electronic and industrial tunes by artists like DJ P 0 N 3, Zer0 Divide, and Genom Screams/Sweet Psy
Better Than Canon: Though only published recently in a few Daring Do Fanzines, Daring Do and the Elements of Harmony has quickly become the most famous and well-liked fan work out there. Published under an obvious pseudonym, rumor has it it was written by Princess Celestia herself.
Most of the collaborative fanworks by two ponies with the pen names MagicSpark and Rainboom20% are praised for this as well. Except for Rainboom20%'s infamous story "Diamonds", in which Herpy goes nuts and does horriblehorrible things to Daring in his basementnote It was the first fan fiction to receive the "Grimdark as BUCK" rating on Derring Do Daily]]. Fortunately, she admits that it was just a Troll Fic and apologized after MagicSpark forced her to.
And now they have some friends online who write great fanfictions as well; SweetApple04 writes excellent action stories, Queen-Of-Fashion09 writes surprisingly good romance stories, PinkPartyPwny18 writes a plethora of different stories but specializes in fast-paced comedies and a few weirdly cute Herpy/BravadoSlash Fics, and ImmaDragon10, who writes crazy Crack Fic. StareMaster17 doesn't really write much, but she does post some marvelous fanart.
Curse You, Daring Do! The Life and Times of the Ahuizotl, a recently-published revisionist take on the Daring Do mythos. YMMV on whether it's this or Canon Defilement, though.
Well known cosplayer BerryshinePuncher has gotten a lot of praise for her well written shipping fanfics, though once she typed up an entire Bravado/Herpy ficwhile drunk and shared it on Dochan for a good laugh with the fandom, typos and all!
HandStringsGirl, despite some of her self-inserts with her and Ahuizotl, is easily one of the finest writers of crossovers between My Small Human, and the Daring Do series, to the point where she was recently given a Con Panel at Darrincon 1002.
She has since written or contributed to three Polo House New Adventures under the name L. Heartstrings.
BloodyBlueCompassRose is by no means a great fanfic writer. He is really full of himself and his OC is a blatant Mary Sue, a dashing prince with a Cutie Mark similar to Daring's. However, his works are VERY popular fodder for MST readings, and lots of writers like including his OC as a conflict-driving royal jerkass, a full-on villain, or just a plain old bucking bag.
Stylistic Suck: It turns out "his" works were written by a disgruntled ex-marefriend of Prince Blueblood, who himself doesn't pay attention to the series.
Muffin Parcels has written very well-done AU versions of Sapphire Stone, Griffon's Goblet, and Curse of the Yeti, where it was Daring who died in Ballad of Chickerufus, not Zapapple. She credits MagicSpark for bringing to her attention the cloud-walking spell she has Herpy cast on Zapapple in Goblet.
These stories earned the attention of her idol Steeplechase Moffat, who asked to collaborate with her on what would become Universal Cracks as he wanted to include her version of Zapapple Tock. As a result, she now has a deal with Polo House to revise and publish her original fics over the next year, with an option for further, wholly original, books in the line if these are successful.
AAAAAppleoosan and StampedingPrincess have co-written a series of heartwarming fics depicting Banizacherla as Laurentia's mother.
Temple of Nightmare Moon is considered by most fans to be either the best or worst book in the series due to it's Darker and Edgier nature. Either the reduced comedy and added drama make it more mature, realistic, and focused, or the reduced reliance on Rule of Cool and Rule of Funny robs the story of the charm that the other books have.
Fans of the book are divided over the movie thanks to Adaptation Decay, most of which is the result of Mareton's absence. One side wants the entire movie remade - especially after seeing the trailer for Alicorn's Shadow - while the rest are willing to accept the workarounds and just enjoy the unquestionably good performances - especially Hairerion Trot, Shia La Buck and Samuel Hawkson - and well-directed action sequences.
The Shipping Wars: Daring/Herpy vs. Daring/Bravado and in at least one case Bravado/Herpy.
There's a fanfiction by Rainboom20% (see above) that parodies this; Daring finds herself caught in the middle of a love triangle which eventually comes to blows... and then she smacks both boys, tells them that she's Married to the Job and flies off in a huff.
Some fans are more than a little irritated that such a dark character exists in the books with overtly stated evil actions, rather than leaving the horrifying actions to reader interpretation.
And now the Steelclad Sorceror's getting this treatment, too. Part of the fanbase feel he's a hilarious yet awesome character who needs his own spinoff, another part would have preferred him to stay locked in his crypt where they wouldn't hear his yelling, and the rest enjoy the show put on by the former two.
The announced Ultimate Universe comic books are causing a Broken Base with one side believing the series will be ruined, but the other side is interested in how they'll handle the mythos.
Fans can't decide whether or not Shia LaBuck was the best choice to play Herpy, or the worst.
A small but vocal part of the fandom wants Ahuizotl to be done away with entirely, leaving more room for original villains. Other parts of the fandom consider this to be borderline sacrilege. You are not allowed to only want Ahuizotl's appearences to be reduced.
The Blood Diamond series is a bold and gritty revolution and the future of any other new Daring do spin-offs, or it's a grotesque defilement of the previous canon that sweeps everyone but the title character under the rug. The other interpretation is that it's just a grim orginal story with its own merit, but with a popular icon brought in to ascertain some degree of commercial success in case the original story by itself was too much for the public to handle.
Cloudfall Conspiracy is extremely controversial for retconning in the death of Masra between two Core 16 books. While nothing in Cove of Candles or subsequent books actually contradicts it, Ropers has said that she had retired and was still alive by the time of Ring of the Marengeti.
To say nothing of some extremely non-kid friendly elements in the story, such as Serpentine's death, and the politics surrounding Masra's decisions to end the war.
Breathing Weapons is one of the darkest entries in the series, featuring talks of anarchy, unethical experimentation, and the deaths of nearly every antagonist introduced. Many fans also didn't like taking Daring out of jungles and temples and putting her into her a Germaneigh's capital city, with almost the entire book taking place in a single building.
Some ponies had problems with the plot too. One particularly scathing review said, "[The Book]'s not quite certain just how much of a Metal Deer Solid ripoff it wants to be." Though it was later learned that this assumption was based on the fact that the Greifvogel were a group of super-powered terrorists, like Trots-Hound, and nothing else.
The ending to Crimson, Black, and Blue, where we are uninformed of what will happen to Black Bloom after all the trouble he's caused, with only some community service-esque punishment hinted at before Daring heads off to find some treasure in the epilogue. Fans either claim it was open-ended so readers' can interpret the ending for themselves, others claim it was a cheap and lazy cop-out.
The announcement Humanestrian University, in which Daring Do travels to the human world and becomes a human herself. Some fans find the idea interesting as it opens up possibilities of learning more of humans beyond the evil Krastos. Others, who never really liked the idea of humans in the first place despise the idea. On top of that, in one of the few excerpts released, Daring Do says "Sorry" to a human boy (who fans are calling "Drab"). This led many to believe that Daring will be getting a new human love interest. Considering the Shipping Wars with Daring/Herpy and Daring/Bravado, the reaction came as no surprise.
Canon Defilement: Some fans claim that Blood Diamonds does this on account of Daring being the only established character to show up, and only doing a little archeaology in the beginning, despite the author stating he didn't include other past characters to avoidCanon Defilement and pointing out that Daring flies solo and does other activities all the time.
Some of Masra's fans consider her portrayal in Cloudfall Conspiracy to be disrespectful to the character, as well as a blatant attempt to make a supporting character more dark and edgy.
Starlet in Ruby of the Blank Village. Greyhoof and most of the village are stated to have done what they did based on the village's past experiences with Cutie Pox. But Starlet combines this with an outright horrifying degree of prejudce towards Unicorns and Pegasi, and after she plays her part in sacrificing Ruby, she quickly gets a Cutie Mark of a flint knife, covered in blood. Interpret that how you will.
Though by Tinker's Seal, the town appears to have embraced her philosophy of "No Freaks".
Krähe. Full. Stop. He kidnaps griffon children, subjects them to horrible experiments in order to turn them into super-powered bio-weapons, all so he can use them to take down Celestia and instigate anarchy.
While it's easy to sympathize with the other members of the Greifvogel, considering they're all victims of Krähe's experiments, it doesn't really excuse some of the things they do. For example; Spottdrossel. He willingly goes against orders to finish off targets quickly and efficiently, instead choosing to slowly take them down shot-by-shot, simply because he enjoys watching them writhe.
The Expanded Universe provides a lot of ground for Shipping, so a few of these are bound to appear. Particularly popular is Fuergott/Claddie. The former hates the very concept of love and the latter is a crazy golem, but the fans don't seem to mind.
If you take the short stories as canon, apparently, Mareton and Swinn used to date.
Crazy Awesome: Krastos. Among other moments, he rides a teleporting tricycle to Chineigh and then uses magic glue to turn into a minotaur. No, really.
There's even a subset of the Daring Do fandom that call themselves "Ahuizotl's kittens". They're his fangirls and one of them (with the username Handstringsgirl) that claims to be his bride on an astral plane. Whatever that means...
Even more disturbing, there are actually Krastos fangirls. Let that sink in. Krastos, the Eldritch Abomination who tortures ponies to death and steals their souls... has fangirls!
Commandant Rex gets a fair bit of love. It helps that unlike Krastos and Ahuiztol, there actually is a twistedsenseof nobilityin him. And being voiced by Pony Jay also helped increase his popularity. But some ponies forget he's still a cruel slaver who eats live animals and is intensely loyal to a war criminal.
Blood Diamonds villains Colonel Talonus and Wou-Ban are adored by some fans, the former for his charisma, the latter for his antics. This is ignoring the fact Talonus tried to start a war (and his Mooks destroyed Kimmy's mind) and Wou-Ban tortures people and forces them to fight each other for fun.
Steam Whistle gets huge amounts of this. Yes, he gets a ton of Woobie points, and wanted to help everypony, but you have to keep in mind, this was a pony who believed the Assembler was a good idea.
Sebastius Mareton has a sizable fanbase as well. Perhaps more understandable than others, due to him being described in-universe as being "somewhat handsome", despite being described in literally the same sentence as being "too morally repulsive to even consider being civil to."
The Wooden Mask, despite never speaking (aside from radio adaptations) or being confirmed to be sentient, managed to become popular in the fandom for the mysteries behind it. Also because of Evil Is Sexy, see below.
Commandant Rex, especially after the film adaptation of Daring Do and the Shrine of the Silver Monkey. This has resulted in petitions for Rex to be written into future adaptations of books he wasn't originally present in, or alternatively, for the filmmakers to skip ahead to Daring Do and the Vaults of Celestia (despite there being no official policy on adapting Expanded Universe works). The former looks to be a reality, as David Bowwow and David Haye have been announced to play Rex in Trials of Unity.
The Greifvögel are very well-liked, with the cold, calculating Krahe and the spastic, clownish Papagei being the most popular.
Eichelhäher in particular. In fanfiction, she's often written back into existence (explained or otherwise), as a lot of fans thought she didn't deserve to die in Breathing Weapons.
Despite only being in Breathing Weapons, Arzt seems to have a sizable fandom, mostly by ponies who find his occasional cowardice and nervousness around Daring to be somewhat cute.
With Dynamite Highs being a jazz-playing thief with a great sense of humor, the fact he succumbed to this surprised nopony.
Evil Is Sexy: Daring's slow but gradual corruption in "The Wooden Mask" is described in... Interesting detail. There are some fanfic writers who make her evil again to get her back into this look.
It's widely considered a major faux-hoof among fans to bring up the spelling error of Ahuisotl in the first-print run of the Wooden Mask.
Ironically, the first-print runs themselves are collector's items and sell well at auctions specifically because of the spelling error.
Fan Dumb: One of the worst, bordering on the insane. There's even been an incident of a crazed fan breaking into the injuries ward of a hospital so she could finish reading a specific copy of The Sapphire Stone (though there are conflicting reports claiming she was actually trying to steal a patient's slippers).
Fan Nickname: The first book in the series is more often referred to as Daring Do and the Sapphire Statue, than its actual name of Daring Do and the Sapphire Stone.
There is also the renaming of Koloktos to "Tauroktos" in "Daring-Do and the Redhorn Cult".
Claddie for the Steelclad Sorceror
Fan-Preferred Couple: Daring/Herpy has a large following, it is teased rather heavily in Ring Of The Marengeti
One popular subset of these has Herpy breaking his horn instead. Most Writers Are Unicorns is averted in real life, if these fics are any indication.
The mask salesman coming back with a different mask. Made popular by Daring Do and the Clay Mask, which has the titular mask as the Wooden mask's Good Counterpart.
Fanon Discontinuity: The recent book Daring Do and the Legacy of Nightmare Moon has suffered this treatment for straying from the core principles of the franchise, including neither Ahuizotl or ancient artifacts. Instead the book focused on thwarting the plot of the draconic Inti to use the magic of the stars to conquer Equestria.
It is still considered an excellent story by some though.
Most ponies consider Blood Diamonds to be in a universe all its own, because of how dark it is, and that Daring is the only nonoriginal character in the books.
While reviews of it are mostly positive, Breathing Weapons receives a lot of flak, either for being too dark, or set in too modern a setting.
In regards to the Expanded Universe, there's more than a few fans that just refuse to accept Swinn is dead, discounting the entire book from canon.
Foe Romance Subtext: Daring and Ahuizotl can get a little bit obsessive about beating each other sometimes. It's not helped that in Universal Cracks, one of the universes does have them as a couple.
Foe Yay Shipping: Herpy/Swinn is surprisingly popular. You have to admit, though, it would make Swinn's over-the-top reactions to Herpy forgetting her name make quite a bit more sense.
Pferd Was Right: In the Temple of Nightmare Moon movie, that one stalactite. You know the one.
Freudian Excuse: Black Bloom stole years from Scarlecache, Ink, and Glacial, turning them into children and making himself an adult, because he was sick of them treating him like a helpless child and ruining his chances of becoming a royal knight.
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment: For some off screen comment, Storm Talon gives Nagridge a swear-laden rant that runs through every single vulgarity in every language he could think of before making up new ones so he doesn't have to repeat himself. He went so far as to invent a new language to indulge this behavior. The rant itself is compared in length to John Colt's speech in Atlas Bucked. The whole thing is Played for Laughs. However, in Ring of the Marengeti, several books after Nagridge's death, Okpono confronts Storm and wants to know why he won't let his grudge go given how much this upsets her nephew (especially since in Vulgarian, Storm's new language, the word "Nagridge" is considered one of the most offensive words out there), when everyone else eventually forgave her, if posthumously. Storm calls back to his infamous rant and why he won't let it go when Okpono might:
Storm Talon: "She didn't tell you the world was better off without your kids."
From Amber of the Smooze, Charity's snarky comments about Princess Sparkler's "delusions" aren't quite so funny now that we know that she actually is descended from royalty, but when she tried to have it validated, she was set up to look like a liar and a blackmailer.
For that matter, Sparkler's eerily similar appearance to the actual Princess Twilight Sparkle can make some of her scenes rather uncomfortable for modern audiences.
Genius Bonus: Ahuizotl's design is based on an actual creature from ancient Hayan mythology.
Speaking of mythology, mythological references abound when it comes to Margarita and Balthazar.
Growing the Beard: The most common candidates for this are Griffon's Goblet and Wooden Mask, the former for its more complex storyline and introductions to several popular recurring characters, the latter for establishing Herpy as a mainstay of the series, and, again, introductions to multiple beloved recurring characters.
Harsher in Hindsight: In Daring Do and the Alicorn's Shadow a old griffon healer mentions the Great Beasts of Chaos and Destruction will arrive to reclaim their land. Of course, Chaos is Discord and Destruction is Tirac. Then you-know-who escaped his stone prison and tried to take over. The other hasn't happened yet, but hey it's just a story right?
Don't forget Ahuizotl's threats of eternal night in The Temple of Nightmare Moon. Then the Summer Sun Celebration happened. This is starting to get a little creepy...
And at the end of Return of the Fire of Friendship, a dying King Mayhem said that the Changelings would take Equestria. Three years later...
In The Temple of Nightmare Moon the words: "To serve in the Pageant of the Night is a Life Eternal." are interpreted by Daring to be a glorious afterlife for the followers of Nightmare Moon. However in The Legacy of Nightmare Moon it is clear that Nightmare Moon has something else in mind.
Sweeney Trot's brief interaction with one of the customers, Linnet Bird, whom he's quite rude to, isn't quite so funny after you learn that Linnet is actually his daughter.
Everything involving the Blank Village became this after the as-yet-unsolved death of author Gusty Lulamoon in the Everfree Forest.
Adding to that, Princess Sparkler was in part a hugely exaggerated caricature of one of Gusty Lulamoon's relatives. Then this happened, making it not so exaggerated.◊ Fortunately, eyewitness accounts indicate that she seems to have gotten over it.
From the Broncway musical Sweeney Trot, the factory whistle.
The deep tick-tock of the Great-Grandfather Clock in Tinker's Seal is noted multiple times by both Outback Jack and Bravado to hang over Tight Ship's inn, and to be constantly audible, even when separated from the clock by several rooms. This may have been due to the fact that the Chaos magic the Clock had been exposed to was causing the Clock to "grow" into the walls, spreading cogs and gears throughout the inn's walls. The extended radio play of Tinker's Seal made efficient use of this, adding the tick-tock of an actual antique clock into the background of all scenes in the inn leading up to when Bravado and Outback Jack tear the Clock from the wall.
Hilarious in Hindsight: The eerie similarities between Princess Sparkler from Amber of the Smooze and Princess Twilight Sparkle. Especially hilarious considering the upcoming sequel, involving Princess Sparkler, which had been in development for months before Twilight Sparkle was coronated. Not to mention the fact that Princess Sparkler's actual inspiration has met Princess Twilight on multiple occasions.
Ho Yay: Daren and Storm Talon's falling apart has shades of this. The fact that they were both married to others does little to alter this.
Desert Rose and Outback Jack. Their unlikely friendship may mean...something else entirely.
Outback Jack: She's certainly lively for such a shy pony.
Really, there isn't a character combination that the fandom hasn't claimed undertones, including Daring and Nagridge.
In Name Only : The second radio adaption of "Quest for The Sapphire Stone". Among other things, Ahuizotl is now a griffon, and the Sapphire Stone is a sword. The only things it seems to share in common with the actual book is the protagonist.
It Was His Sled: Surprisingly subverted, in the case of The Sad Statue, as the fanbase have shown a remarkable solidarity in avoiding letting any of the twists - including the first chapter - reach this point. Just look at the synopsis on the main page.
Played straight for some of the canon books, especially the murder of Lightning Kicker in Staff of Star Swirl, in no small part because of the success of Sweeney Trot.
Bravado and Stalwart Shield are the major stallion examples.
Lighter and Softer / Villain Decay: Several fans have been calling this with Mareton when he returns in Temple of Nightmare Moon, believing this was intentional on the author's part, considering the things he did in Alicorn's Shadow. Word of Celestia has been silent about it.
Magnificent Bastard: Hoo boy Ahuizotl. He figures out early on that Daring will eventually grab all the artifacts he is searching for, so he starts to put up only enough of a struggle to where she thinks he is giving it his all, while secretly instilling various moles and spies in the University. He also uses a proxy to get Daring to sign off an exhibit that is a reconstruction the Temple Of Nightmare Moon, the fortress from where the Goddess launched her war on the Sun and one of the components necessary to to the ritual he intends to use the artifacts in. This way, when Daring destroys the original temple and brings the final artifact home, he is already waiting there to take and start the ritual.
Colonel Talonus from the Blood Diamond series is a very charismatic and competent military organizer, and he carries out his robberies and assassinations with brutal efficiency.
Erebus manages to be this, despite being made of fog.
Memetic Badass: In Trident of the Seaponies, there's a crusty old sailor pony who saves Daring Do during a Bar Brawl by smacking a frying pan on the head of a Mook, all without looking up from his lunch. The fans have dubbed him 'Sea-Shanty,' and speculation on his identity have ranged from him being Daring's hired protection to being Celestia's long-lost brother in disguise, with a list of 'facts' as long as your leg. Many of his fans petition endlessly for him to show up in future stories.
Calypso, Daring's pet macaw, gets a similar treatment. Claims range from being Daring's boss to being The bird behind Ahuizotl.
Dr. Capacitor's cousin, Lemon Johnson, was mentioned offhandedly in a single sentence mentioning his desire to make incendiary fruit. The fans have taken off with this, making an entire fan-based personality around him and begging for his inclusion in future books.
Rail, full-stop. Some fans took his inappropriate yet well-meaning relationship with Shudder and turned him into a full blown rapist and puppyphile. The original author of Daring Do and the Iron Grinder recently spoke out against this interpretation, claiming that while he understands why people write characters in fan-works like this, Rail is a good-hearted guy, and would never act in such a reprehensible manner.
Several lines from the arcade game,"Daring Do and the Bauble of Mystery", have become memes in the fandom, including:
All your temples are belong to us.
A YOU IS WINNER!!!
The third issue of the Mareval Comics series had this infamous scene:
Daring: You want reality, Berry? Reality is: you are a golem; I AM A MARE! (Buck)
Lincareing: "Let this be a lesson, my little ponies. When debating, solve you disagreements not by offering friendship, but by screaming, "I AM A MARE!" and bucking them in the legs. Yes, even if you are a stallion you should say that you are a mare, otherwise, it doesn't work."
Memetic Sex God: The Gilded Marksmare. Apparently agalmatophilia is much more common than one would have imagined.
King Metamorphosis as well.
Misaimed Fandom: The Sweeney Trot fanfilles. Hoo boy. Yes, he's a mega-Woobie once you know his backstory, but still...
Moral Event Horizon: In Mystery of Flutter Valley, we meet the Flutterponies, a sweet and innocent species. However, soon after Daring meets them, they all mysteriously disappear, which is the titular mystery that Daring must solve. It eventually turns out that Krastos was the cause of the disappearance. And by disappearance, we mean genocide.
It's worse than that. He didn't just get rid of them, he had them tortured for all eternity. Fortunately, Daring and her friends were able to save them, bringing them back to the valley in one piece.
Sebastius Mareton has crossed this line many times. For some fans, it was when he mind-raped Derring. For others, when he tried (unsuccessfully) to murder Herpy with the Hoof-Held Cannon. The decision of exactly when his can't-go-back moment happened is still up in the air.
Noteworthy Smith crossed this when he ordered the murders of multiple innocent bystanders (including children) to cover up a heist gone wrong.
The full extent of Greyhoof's crimes are revealed in Mirror Pond: He turned all of Sunnytown into a "Groundhog Day" Loop, except where it would all end with the murder of Ruby, forcing her to be murdered over and over again. Unfortunately, the presence of an outsider would disrupt the spell, so they would recruit the interloper as a bone fiend. Considering how many bone fiends there were...
This was hinted at in Legend of the Zomponies.
In Iron Grinder, Jackhammer was already a pretty big jerk to begin with, practically slaving the workers in his pack, mistreating his little sister, planning to sell her to Crystal Clear in exchange for Alpha status, but fans agree that his jerkass status was finally confirmed near the end of the book, when he beats the stuffing out of her to vent his frustrations.
Dynamite Highs' thievery tends to get overlooked, save for at the end of Gunpowder Groove when he steals the good-luck bracelet Artz had made for her.
In the space 'verse from Universal Cracks, Prince Vladimir crossed it with his experiment on planet Diomedes.
Narm Charm: The live stage play features many such moments according to many fans due to the careful balance of Camp and dramatic delivery from the leading ponies.
One-Scene Wonder: Laurentia of the Red Mane in Temple of Nightmare Moon. Stress on "Wonder".
Sweeney Trot makes an incredible impact in Staff of Star Swirl. Of course, his characterization, and his death when he tried to use the staff fragment Lightning Kicker had, would have made a great impact no matter who was in that role.
The ugly hermit, Gristle, from Iron Grinder.
Star Swirl himself delivers a beautiful Curb-Stomp Battle to Ahuizotl at the climax of Staff of Star Swirl.
Padding: Dear Celestia, Sapphire Stone. If it weren't for the Scenery Porn every other chapter, cascading action in the form of repetitive chase scenes, and flashbacks included to give Daring somepony to exposit to, this story would only have lasted about fifty pages. Tropes Are Not Bad in this case, as the book is somehow just as effective as any of its less padded sequels at drawing in new fans.
Periphery Demographic: While it's mostly for grade schoolers, the series is startlingly popular with adults. Just ask Princess Celestia herself...
A little filly named Short Stuff was introduced in Daring Do and the Cove of Candles...she hasn't been well liked by fans.
That said, fans who, while not particularly fond of her, but don't harbor the seething hatred most of the fandom seems to have, have made a small series of Expanded Universe short stories focusing on her life and adventures in Shanghay. Only haters so stuck in their hatred that other haters roll their eyes at them claim the attempts to be anything less than impressive. There have been rumors of her appearing in a future book that uses their characterization, but so far nothing has come about. But, if the author(s) do use the ideas the fans have generated, it is almost unanimously agreed that Short Stuff would indeed become Rescued from the Scrappy Heap.
Ember Roundup seems to have done the most to rescue her (and without canonising the above), making her a much more useful Kid Sidekick in Amber of the Smooze, and giving her some hilariously snarky lines in Tinker's Seal. Toning down her Shanghay dialect hasn't hurt either.
Herpy tends to become this with a small segment of readers, owing to his clumsiness (resulting from an inner-ear problem) and the connotations of his badly-spelledname. Thankfully, that same segment tends to warm up to him after reading Wooden Mask, in which he gets several moments that prove he can be a positive role model regardless of what conditions he may or may not have.
The Greifvögel are pretty popular with fans...save for Rabe. He doesn't get much development, and many claim that Papagei was a better right hand griffon than he was.
Moose said he was worried that Shudder would fall victim to this. Fortunately, this was averted, and she was surprisingly well-liked.
The "love theme" from Breathing Weapons' soundtrack, "Positive 3rd". It's cheesy, nonsensical, and completely unfitting to the story, yet it's one most beloved songs on the album. A lot of fans came to the conclusion that it was put on the album as a joke, considering it's one of the bonus tracks.
So Okay, It's Average: Aside from Lord Bullrush's hamminess and Koloktos' return, this has been the general response for "Daring-Do and the Redhorn Cult".
Squick: Rail's attempted relationship with Shudder in Iron Grinder. Rail wants to marry Shudder and take her out of the mines to live as their ex-pack leader did. Keep in mind that Shudder is still a puppy.
Eichelhäher's rotting, decaying body. It's even detailed that one of her organs falls out, and she just picks it up and pops it back in.
Surprisingly Improved Sequel: Tinker's Seal to Revenant's Effigy. Regardless of your opinion on the latter, the former's been received quite well, and some fans have said it's almost as good as the Core 16.
While Sapphire Stone is by no means badly written, it is widely criticised for taking what would in later books have been an Action Prologue and padding it out with cascading action, Scenery Porn and flasbacks that don't provide much in the way of character development beyond introducing Darrin and Coco. Griffon's Goblet is a significant improvement in terms of plot and character development, world-building, pacing, etc, and rates higher with critics and fans alike.
Chemical Sister got decent reviews, but was considered by pretty much everypony to be "too dark for it's own good". Oathkeepers was significantly more light hearted, with more comedic moments than the first two books combined and then some.
Some fans didn't like how Breathing Weapons took Daring out of the jungles and temples she's known for and put her into the cold, industrial heart of Germaneigh, with almost the entire book taking place in a single (albeit huge) building.
There was a pretty sizable outcry from fans when all the members of the Greifvogel, all of whom are griffons, were resurrected as ponies in Chemical Sister. A small minority even went so far as to say it was racist.
Too Soon: Some fans saw the Blank Village sideplot of Tinker's Seal as this, as the book was written and published during the (still open) investigation into Gusty Lulamoon's death. On the other hoof, the fact that the sideplot was heavily based on Lulamoon's own plans for a sequel, and was written by her close friend and confidant J. Thunderlane Hurricane Jr, came as a consolation to many.
When Purloined Stone revealed what Discord did to several mane characters, some ponies who were recovering from what he did to them, or who had family/friends who were still recovering, felt it was Too Soon.
The author of the Blood Diamond series was initially met with cries of speciesism because most of his villains are nonpony and bloodthirsty murderers. He rebuffed them by pointing out that those two traits are not mutual in his books and that he made it clear that they act like that because of the influence of the Blood Diamonds.
Values Dissonance: While Daring Do takes care to showcase multiple species as both heroes and villains, it's still a bit of a shock for ponies to read about things such as the Unicorn Supremacy Movement or strained relations in between griffins and ponies. Although it's practically inverted in the case of zebras, who are commonplace in Daring Do and not so common in modern day Equestria. Just ask Zecora of Ponyville.
The age gap between Rail and Shudder in Iron Grinder comes off as kind of Squick-y, despite being an accepted thing in Diamond Dog culture (at least, back then).
Villain Decay: Ahuizotl's competence started to decrease before his "death" in "Temple Of Nightmare Moon". When he finally came back, this trope was turned on its head, with him going back to the threat level he originally had and then some.
What the Moon, Casting Agency: Okay, we knew we wouldn't be getting another actor of the late Pony Jay's caliber any time soon playing Commandant Rex for the movies, and having an actual Diamond Dog actor helps cut down on the excessive Magic Generated Imagery that ponies have been complaining about lately but... David Bowwow?
Caitlin Stirrup got some of this when she was cast as Outback Jack in Daring Do and the Wooden Mask, thanks to her experience at the time being limited to a Brumbilandersoap opera. While her inexperience shows through on occasion, most critics and fans acknowledged that she has talent, usually pointing to her scenes opposite Summer Billet as Desert Rose.
What Do You Mean, It's For Foals?: Times change and public concepts of what is acceptable for little fillies and colts to read shifts. At the time the books were apparently written, many of the things that would make the series cringe-worthy if it were introduced in modern times didn't cause much concern. Many current adaptations to other media meant for our youth soften or edit out the questionable bits.
Recently, the return of Princess Luna has caused fresh interest in Temple of Nightmare Moon and Legacy of Nightmare Moon.
Canterlot (meaning Princess Luna) has not, yet, given any official response.
Some Daring Do analysts theorize Hawkwings was a metaphor for the growing distance between griffon and pony (and indeed the growing isolationism of Equestria in general. Nowadays there are towns where the residents wouldn't even recognize most of the foreign populations that are commonly found in these books).
The fandom's producing theories out the wazoo about how Krahe's desire to cause anarchy is a political statement against Celestia. Gospel has stated that this is not the case, "It's not some political metaphor. Krahe is just a crazy asshole."
The Colt of Smooze. From the abuse the Colt Leader suffered at the hands of the dragon who may have been her father, to Charity seeing her unit massacred, to Attic Fan's suffering as a slave, every one of them has a horrible backstory. Then they get melted by the Smooze and the Assembler takes the remainder apart, alive and fully conscious. The worst part? It's called Smooze corruption because the Smooze subverts ponies' wills. The Assembler disassembled ponies who were alive and awake that were probably brainwashed.
Darrin has his moments, especially when talking about Derring's abandonment. He may act like he doesn't care most of the time, but there are certain moments when it's clear that his sister leaving stung. A lot.
Kimmy, in Never Forgive Me, where she is tortured into insanity.
Then in ''The Crimson Horde, she's just getting her mind back when she is murdered by her former torturer, now Talonus' latest trusted lieutenant.
Serpentine in Cloudfall Conspiracy. It's never made clear just what she's seen during her years of working for Sterling Silver, but she's shown to be very terrified of just the mention of his name.
Eichelhäher in Breathing Weapons can be seen as this, having undergone Krahe's experimentation and essentially become a super-powered zombie just to try to stop being exploited by those stronger than her. The kicker? It doesn't even work, and she's still badly mistreated by the rest of the Greifvogel.
Sebastian Arzt shows strong signs of this.
Poor Shudder. She's considered ugly by her entire pack, her only relative controls her entire life and later beats her, she becomes the newest target of an insane killer, all this, and she's only a puppy.
Gristle seems to qualify. We learn in future books (via call backs) that his facial disfigurement wasn't the result of a freak mining accident, but rather an intentional act of violence from Jackhammer because he was showing Shudder how to mine for jewels (thus, potentially ruining his plans.) He spent the next three years doing nothing but sitting in his area of the caves, getting drunk and sleeping his life away.