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Characters / Friendship Is Magic: Starlight Glimmer

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The Main Cast: Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy, Rarity, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Spike, Starlight Glimmer, the Cutie Mark Crusaders
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"Let's just say I know what it's like to have something you're not exactly proud of."
Click here to see her original hairstyle and fake cutie mark 
"Not everypony's lucky enough to get her cutie mark at the same time as her friends!"

Voiced by: Kelly Sheridan

The (unofficial) newbie of the Mane Cast.

Starlight Glimmer is the Big Bad of Season 5, featuring in both the premiere "The Cutie Map" and the finale "The Cutie Re-Mark." She felt that cutie marks only led to pain and unhappiness as the differences between ponies pulled them apart, so she created a community where the residents gave up their cutie marks to know "true" friendship, while Starlight secretly keeps her own cutie mark so she can use her magic to enforce this conformity. When Starlight is exposed she flees, spying on Twilight throughout Season 5, until she returns in the season finale to get vengeance on Twilight by using Time Travel to stop Twilight and her friends from getting their cutie marks. However, when she realizes how important the group is to Equestria, Starlight stands down and surrenders.


Intrigued by Starlight's magical prowess, Twilight takes her on as her student, and Starlight becomes a recurring character in Season 6, living with Twilight in her castle as she learns about the magic of friendship. Twilight appoints her as guidance counselor of the newly opened School of Friendship in Season 8, then promotes her to headmare in Season 9.

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    Tropes # to D 
  • 11th-Hour Ranger:
    • In "The Crystalling – Part 2", Starlight Glimmer proves instrumental to saving the day by managing to talk Sunburst out of his funk and using her magic with Twilight and the other Princesses in the process of fixing the Crystal Heart.
    • In "To Where and Back Again", Starlight is forced into this role when the Mane Six and the Royal Family are captured by the Changelings.
  • Achilles' Heel:
    • She can take cutie marks, but they have to be sealed in a container of some kind or they'll just go right back to the pony they were taken from. This is best shown when she has to go out of her way to keep the jars containing the Mane Six's cutie marks from breaking during the chase, and likely why she never used the spell during it or her battles with Twilight in her return.
    • Being a Superpower Lottery winner, Starlight Glimmer is severely affected by Anti-Magic, more than most ponies. Compare her friend Trixie, a unicorn who doesn't use much magic, but could still use some talents effectively.
  • Aesop Amnesia: She sometimes forgets that magic can't be used to solve all of her problems, and that sometimes you simply need to face your issues, instead of skirting around them.
  • The All-Solving Hammer: To begin with, Starlight relied heavily on her magic, believing it could solve any problem. This resulted in her being left unsure of herself in "To Where and Back Again" when that option was taken from her. Fortunately, as time goes on, Starlight learns to be less reliant on magic to solve problems.
  • All Up to You:
    • In the Darkest Hour during the Season Six finale The rescue team becomes a Dwindling Party, as one by one, Trixie, Discord, and Thorax are captured by the Changelings. The last one remaining is Starlight, who has to face Queen Chrysalis by herself.
    • Again in "Mirror Magic", where the Equestria Girls are captured in a mirror.
  • Always Someone Better: The selling point of her belief system. With cutie marks, friends can disagree, argue, or be jealous of each other. In her community, everypony is equal, so those problems are a non-issue. Everyone is equal and no one has cause to fight or be jealous. Ironically she creates a spell previously thought impossible (though Starswirl did the hard part for her). This is part of what prompts Twilight to pursue her redemption; she's both too dangerous to remain a villain and would be very valuable as a friend.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: In "The Parent Map", Starlight's father, Firelight is revealed to be this, constantly treating his daughter like she's still a foal, even in public.
  • The Aloner: After Sunburst was sent to Canterlot because of his magic talents and getting his cutie mark, Starlight broke off contact with other ponies and never made another friend out of fear that she would lose another friend due to believing cutie marks tear apart friendships, which implies that later episodes showing her that she has anger issues were developed over years of loneliness, further implied as Parental Neglect below points out that Word of God states that she hasn't had much supervision from her father growing up.
  • Arch-Enemy: Chrysalis is her arch-enemy as of "To Where and Back Again", with Chrysalis trying to exact revenge in "The Mean Six", and finally have a one-on-one duel in "The Ending of the End."
  • Arc Villainess: Of Season 5. Unlike the others, she isn't reformed or depowered by the end of the two-parter, and returns in the season finale. While she only appears in these episodes, (aside from some background cameos spying on the main cast), with the season's overarching focus on cutie marks, she serves as a thematic villain to tie into the season's story arc.
  • The Atoner: Starlight Glimmer becomes this at the end of the Season 5 finale, even returning to "Our Town" with Twilight Sparkle to make things up with the town ponies she once manipulated and enslaved. In the Season 6 premiere, she starts her first friendship lesson, reunites and rekindles her friendship with Sunburst. The Season 6 finale has her finally showing that she understands not just that she was wrong, but why it was so bad, using that knowledge to help defeat Queen Chrysalis, effectively closing the book on her darkness.
  • Badass in Distress: In "School Raze". She drops out of the sky when the mysterious magic drain affecting Equestria cancels out her cloud-walking spell, requiring Rainbow Dash to fly down and catch her. She is later tricked by Cozy Glow and trapped inside a magical sphere, unable even to call for help through it.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: As a villain, she has the power to strip ponies of their cutie marks and special talents, and is a tyrannical dictator, forcing others to believe in her twisted doctrine.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Post-Season 5, while Starlight is clearly trying to be a good guy now, she has a lot of dangerous spells at her disposal and she undoubtedly still has her Cutie Mark Removal spell. Applejack even admits that they can't just let her go with all the power she has. That, and while Starlight is very remorseful and apologetic, she is still rather unhinged and has no real friends to turn to.
  • Barrier Warrior: Starlight can use standard shield spells to protect herself, but she can also conjure a massive hexagonal shield, that can unleash a massive magical explosion to counterattack. And on at least one occasion, she and Twilight fused their barrier spells to create a powerful shield that not only protected their students, but also repelled the puckwudgies, similar to how Cadance and Shining Armor repelled the Changelings.
  • Be All My Sins Remembered: Throughout Season 6, Starlight continually worries and beats herself up, deeming herself unworthy of being Twilight Sparkle's pupil, as well as being given a new place to live in the Friendship Castle. Starlight also considers her "Our Town" scheme and nearly dooming Equestria by time travelling so shameful that she tries to hide it from Sunburst, out of fear that her reunion will fail because of it. When she returns to her village in "To Where and Back Again", she's so upset by her past that she pushes everypony away and lies down, cowering and shaking. As of Season 7, it is shown that Starlight is actually past this, and would rather that her dark and troubled past NOT be brought up in every single conversation, particularly by her BFF, Trixie.
  • Beehive Hairdo: Though the bangs are swept out of the way afterward.
  • Believing Their Own Lies: Even after she is revealed to be a hypocrite, she still preaches her beliefs, implying that she does believe them on some level. As it turns out, her Freudian Excuse shows she has plenty of reason to believe them.
  • Berserk Button:
  • Beware the Superman: Starlight's magical talent is immense, and she knows some rare spells that even surprise Twilight. Starlight demonstrates how dangerous a villain with that kind of power would be; unlike Twilight, she's willing to radically mess with the laws of nature. This is also why the Mane Six decide to help reform her so that her power can be used for good instead of by a dangerous enemy.
  • Big Bad: Of season 5. The only major antagonist to be the key villain of both the two-part season premiere and the two-part season finale. While she's only the villain in these episodes, she makes some notable blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameos in a few episodes spying on Twilight, meaning while she isn't playing a direct role in the rest of the season her shadow is looming over things the whole time.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: She has spies in the village watching for dissenters and imprisons them until they submit again.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": A simultaneously funny and nightmarish example directed at Twilight.
    Twilight: Everypony has unique talents and gifts! And when we share them with each other, that's how we—
    Starlight: [furious] QUIET!
    [Twilight gives an appropriate 0_0 face]
  • Birds of a Feather: Unsurprisingly, she and Sunset hit it off almost right off the bat when they meet, given their similar pasts and interest in reading.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Originally, Starlight is friendly and polite, welcoming the Mane Six to her humble little village. Then the façade begins to fade and we see how manipulative, controlling, and sinister she really is. The facade completely shatters when she is exposed. The new version of Starlight Glimmer completely averts this, becoming genuinely nice underneath her friendly exterior.
  • Black-and-White Insanity: A variation: she believes cutie marks are evil and equality is good to such an extreme that she seeks to bring everypony down to being below average in everything since it was because of a cutie mark that she lost her first and only friend Sunburst. The insane part is quite clearly shown when anyone trying to outright challenge her worldview is met with near-psychotic rage.
  • Blowing a Raspberry: In "The Ending of the End - Part 2". As she is avoiding magic blasts with Teleport Spam, Starlight Glimmer sticks her tongue at the villains to further infuriate and distract them.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: In "The Crystalling: Part 2", where Starlight reconciles with Sunburst.
    Sunburst: I'm sorry we lost touch. Maybe if I had reached out you would've helped me at magic school, and I would've helped you—
    Starlight: —Not become totally evil?
  • Bright Is Not Good: A pastel purple unicorn with a cute name and bright teal highlights in her mane and naturally looks as cute as all the other ponies. She was also a mentally unstable dictator turned vengeful maniac and the main villainess of Season Five who also possessed dangerous magical power to boot. Naturally, one Heel–Face Turn later, Starlight Glimmer averted this, becoming just as good and friendly as she looks.
  • Broken Ace: She was once a cunning and powerful cult leader who could outright remove cutie marks, after losing that position she becomes bent on revenge to a reckless degree and indirectly causes the end of the world, several times. Coming face to face with this information absolutely wrecks her self-confidence and her belief in her former lifestyle to the point where her guilt over her actions even causes her to completely submit to Twilight and her friends' judgement. Even when they forgive her and offer her a new start as Twilight's student she's still guilt-ridden over everything she has done well into her atonement and the journey isn't helped by her habit of beating herself up by constantly reminding everyone how bad she once was. Also, her lack of understanding certain societal norms and boundaries combined with anxiety problems is also a cause of some grief to her (and her teacher) and her overreliance on her own magic to solve her issues tends to backfire and often further complicate things.
  • Brought Down to Normal:
    • In the Season 6 finale, Starlight is crippled by the Changeling Kingdom Anti-Magic field. Her magical abilities, which she heavily relies on, are entirely useless, forcing her to guile her way through.
    • Also in "Mirror Magic": upon stepping out of the portal, Starlight Glimmer is turned into a human like Sunset Shimmer and Twilight Sparkle before her. This means she no longer has her unicorn magic, and unlike the Equestria Girls, she has no other special power. She has to rely on her ingenuity alone to save Sunset Shimmer and her friends.
  • Brutal Honesty: Possibly a holdover from the fact she tends to sees things in extremes, but even when she is reformed, she can be rather harsh to the Mane Six and those around her. She's trying to control this, though. As of "School Daze – Part 2", she's learned to channel this positively as "tough love" to bring Twilight out of a funk.
  • The Cameo:
    • She makes an easy-to-miss appearance in "Amending Fences", sitting at a nearby table to Twilight and her old friends with her face covered by a menu, and apparently keeping an eye on Twilight.
    • She makes a second split-second appearance in "What About Discord?", where she can be seen spying on Twilight, Discord and the others with a pair of binoculars from a bush in the background.
    • She makes an easily seen appearance in the movie, during the song "We Got This Together", watching Trixie launch fireworks, and is with her during the credits.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Whenever Starlight gets upset, she can turn her emotion into a magic cloud and capture it into a bottle to calm herself down and prevent herself from lashing out. However, if she uses it too much, she becomes severely weakened and lethargic, and her magic becomes much weaker as well.
  • The Chains of Commanding: "To Where and Back Again" reveals that Starlight is terrified of taking on a leadership role again, believing she doesn't deserve it after what she did the last time she was in a position of authority, and is even fearful that it will cause her to go back to the way she was. She only reluctantly takes charge of the rescue team, but ultimately comes to accept her own talent for leadership.
  • Chaos Is Evil: She's an inverse of this trope, with her whole philosophy being about how "evil" the chaos of difference and disagreements are, to the point she's willing to brainwash ponies into thinking that having everything that makes them special taken away is a good thing. Even after her Heel–Face Turn chaos and disorder still clearly unsettle her, and most of her less moral actions are done in an effort to force consensus and harmony.
  • Character Development: After "To Where and Back Again", she's noticeably more confident, though still a little self-conscious and socially awkward. One of her biggest character flaws was being impulsive and resorting to magic as a solution for every problem. By "Shadow Play", she actually becomes the one to call Twilight out on not thinking over her plans. Since then, she's shown to be a lot less impulsive and to use magic less often.
  • Character Tics:
    • Her frequent bouts of nervous, forced laughter have become noticeable.
    • She tends to emit a sarcastic "yay" when she's not overly enthusiastic about something.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: She's back as the villain for the season 5 finale.
  • Combat Pragmatist: In "The Ending of the End - Part 1", she holds her own against the powered-up Chrysalis first by utilizing Teleport Spam, then by collapsing a snowdrift on top of her.
  • Commonality Connection:
    • Twilight Sparkle takes an interest in Starlight Glimmer as a student as well as a kindred spirit, both being very magically powerful unicorns (or rather a unicorn and an ex-unicorn-turned-alicorn) who can practice magic together.
    • She bonds with Trixie due to this, as they both have dark pasts that they're trying to get over. They even have a similar snarky, playful sense of humor.
    • Princess Luna identifies with Starlight, due to them having similar pasts and worries. Luna even says outright that she sees a lot of herself in Starlight.
    • Starlight forms a bond with Maud Pie due to the fact that they are both lifelong outcasts with interests that most other ponies don't enjoy, and share a dislike for openly expressing their feelings.
  • Companion Cube: In "A Horse Shoe In", Starlight has one in the form of Phyllis; a philodendron that she adores and talks to... and which ends up being trashed by Trixie at the very end.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist:
    • Every previous Big Bad in the series has been increasingly Obviously Evil, threatening, and heinous; Starlight bucks those trends. She's able to pass for a benevolent, normal unicorn, has only a single, situational ability that let her be a major villain, and operated under a seemingly altruistic ideology that she seems sincere enough in selling to defend even when ousted as a hypocrite.
    • On a more direct level, she is this to the Dazzlings of Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks. The Dazzlings' methods involved having others embrace their individual differences to the point of driving friends apart, while Starlight goes to the opposite extreme of having others deny their differences to the point of creating an extremely twisted version of friendship.
    • Starlight also contrasts the other villains in defeat: While all the previous villains in the show had to be defeated by the season's/movie's magical MacGuffins or an 11th-Hour Superpower, and banished/imprisoned/destroyed, Twilight's attempts to actually fight Starlight Glimmer head-on with magic made no progress or just made things worse. Starlight Glimmer is finally defeated when Twilight Sparkle gives up fighting and reasons with her, the final blow delivered when she offers Starlight her friendship.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Her village seems pleasant and peaceful, but even at a glance it's obvious something is wrong. The deeper the Mane Six probe, the worse it looks. Her time-travelling shenanigans in the two-parter season finale appears to have turned all of Equestria into this.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: She's a powerful magic user who is used to handling everything with spells, but she is a little out of touch with recent history and is rather awkward around people. When she tries to apply that magic for social situations or it gets outright taken away from her are when the problems start.
  • Cult: She has a number of similarities to a cult leader, especially her More than Mind Control of her followers.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: She is on the receiving end of one from Queen Chrysalis during "To Where and Back Again – Part 2". With her magic drained all she can do is run and hide from Chrysalis, and can't beat her in a hoof-to-hoof fight. All Chrysalis needs to do to beat her is grab her by the tail and slam her to the ground. She's ultimately only able to win by getting Thorax to willingly give love energy to Chrysalis, overpowering her and changing Thorax into the new King.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: In "The Ending of the End - Part 1", Starlight is ultimately defeated pretty quickly by Chrysalis once Chrysalis lands more than a glancing blow on her, but she does make Chrysalis work for victory by using Teleport Spam and collapsing a snowdrift on top of her.
  • The Cynic:
    • She gave up on the true meaning of friendship and making friends after her first friendship broke apart, leading to her becoming a bitter dictator and forming a twisted philosophy. Starlight still shows signs of this post-redemption, as her severely diminished confidence tends to cause her to give up easily, or expect the worst from everything, as shown when she initially wasn't thrilled about reuniting with Sunburst.
    • In "A Hearth's Warming Tail", she is quite cynical regarding the holiday, believing it is just an excuse to sing "silly songs," get presents and eat candy, and initially wishes to just skip it. After Twilight reads her the titular story, she changes her mind, and joins in on the celebrations.
  • Dark Magical Girl: Spectacularly proficient in magic, but lacks the necessary social skills to make friends, leading to a Friendless Background and stint as a dictator with a twisted view on friendship. Starlight's greatest fear is exposed when Twilight shows her the barren wasteland in a Bad Future. Starlight is visibly distraught and starts to break down, confirming that she hates total loneliness above anything else. After this, her magical girl foil (a.k.a. Twilight) succeeds in befriending and redeeming her.
  • Darker and Edgier: On the one hand, her physical threat level is significantly below the rest of the arc villains. However, she's much more of a cerebral threat than them, preaching a message about false friendship that amounts to inflicting Mind Rape on everypony. Her debut has many allusions to totalitarianism, cults, and government control in her methods and ideology.
  • Dark Messiah: She presents herself as a bringer of harmony and true friendship. Right down to having a cult.
  • Deadpan Snarker: It's a side of Starlight's personality that is only beginning to show up in Season 6, but she can be very snarky — and very deadpan in her delivery. Especially toward Twilight.
    Starlight Glimmer: [to Twilight] Great. Thanks for asking in a completely not creepy way.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Starlight was an Arc Villainess enemy who actually imprisoned the Mane Six in her village to brainwash them, and after her first defeat outright despised them enough to jump start a revenge plot against them. After surrendering, she ends up forgiven by the Mane Six and becomes one of their strongest allies.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • In the movie. Especially notable in her case, since she's a major character on the show. This is due at least in part to the fact that the movie began production before Season 5 started airing, and thus its plot was being written before the decision to redeem Starlight was made and she became a major character. Starlight's role in Equestria Girls — Magical Movie Night was originally written as a way to explain her absence from the film, but the idea of the two being Simultaneous Arcs was eventually dropped.
    • She also suffers this in the IDW comics, often going for several issues without making an appearance.
  • Dénouement:
    • In "The Crystalling", she finally faces her fears, comes to grips with the mistakes of her past and rekindles her friendship with Sunburst. In doing so, she completes her first friendship lesson, and closes the chapter on her former dark ways.
    • In "To Where and Back Again", Starlight gets over her insecurity regarding her Heel–Face Turn and has finally accepted that she really is a different pony from what she used to be, and no longer having to bear a guilt trip. She joins in the Sunset Festival of her old village.
  • Didn't See That Coming: While she's pretty clever, she seemed completely oblivious to the fact that the Mane Six would be able to outsmart her without their cutie marks. Justified as her worldview doesn't allow for much belief that an Equalized pony might be smarter than an unequalized one, or that Vitriolic Best Buds can be real friends, the latter of which allows Fluttershy to become a Fake Defector.
  • Didn't Think This Through: One of her biggest flaws.
    • Subverted with her plan in the Season 5 finale. While her plan was very effective and clever, she fails to consider the disastrous consequences time travel could have, and she vastly underestimates the importance of the Mane 6’s friendship to Equestria. In other words, while her plan itself was very well-thought out and effective, she did not thoroughly consider the consequences of said plan.
    • Subsequently in Seasons 6 onwards, Starlight is shown to be a pony that acts first, asks questions later, which she is well aware that this has gotten herself in trouble. This is central to episodes such as "Every Little Thing She Does", "All Bottled Up", and "A Royal Problem".
    • This is actually theorized as a positive in "A Royal Problem". Most would never even consider messing with the Princesses, risking their anger, or taking a course of action which would actually force the two into conflict (considering what happened last time). Luna points out however that it actually worked out, and guesses this is why she was chosen by the map in the first place.
    • The Equestria Girls special "Mirror Magic" justifies this somewhat, with Starlight admitting that she prefers to live in the moment and not worry about what bad things might happen in the future. That kind of mindset doesn't really leave much room for forethought.
    • In "To Change a Changeling", Starlight decides to lure the maulwurf to the reformed changeling hive so that Pharynx can save the day and be accepted by the hive. She finds out too late that the Pharynx had left, leaving the hive open to attack and putting everybody in danger. Lampshaded at the end where Starlight outright admits that it was a terrible plan when Thorax called her out on it.
    • Averted in the Season 7 finale, where she actually acts as the voice of reason when she feels Twilight shouldn't interfere with Star Swirl's spell. Given her past experience with Star Swirl's spells though, this is probably justified.
  • Does Not Like Spam: "School Raze – Part 1" reveals that Starlight "can't stand" mustard.

    Tropes E to I 
  • Easily Forgiven:
    • True to the nature of the show, the Mane Six forgive Starlight Glimmer for all of the trouble she caused. In the same episode they show it is a downplayed trope. They point out that even though Starlight has turned over a new leaf and is very remorseful, she is still a volatile mixture of friendless, insane power and talent. Worst of all, Starlight has No Social Skills whatsoever; letting her go free would be a mistake. Princess Twilight takes Starlight in as a student in the study of friendship, starting with the Mane Six and Spike. Starlight herself lampshades this in "The Crystalling", still surprised that Twilight Sparkle was able to forgive her so quickly.
    • Downplayed in "Every Little Thing She Does", where Starlight makes a catastrophic mistake mind-controlling her friends with a magic spell. The Mane Six are rightfully pissed off at her, and Starlight has to really work to earn their forgiveness, which she manages to pull off.
  • Emo Teen: Implied by "The Parent Map" where her childhood bedroom is shown to be decorated with dark colors, skulls, and typical rock 'n roll memorabilia.
  • Emotional Powers: Starlight reveals in "All Bottled Up" that she uses her emotions to increase her magical strength.
  • Emotion Suppression: In "All Bottled Up", her Emotional Powers start flaring up when Trixie gets on her nerves, and she ends up shunting them into a bottle. Unfortunately, this leads to a Hate Plague directed at Trixie when the bottle breaks and infects Bulk Biceps, Granny Smith, and the jewelry pony.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Fake Defector Fluttershy douses Starlight Glimmer with water. She gets just enough water on her to wash away her fake cutie mark, exposing her as a fraud to the public.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In the season 5 finale, she's horrified to see the alternate timeline where Equestria has become a barren wasteland seemingly devoid of life. It's what leads to her revealing her Freudian Excuse, and even before that, she seems very upset.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Before her Heel–Face Turn, she absolutely refuses to accept that any worldview on friendship besides her own could possibly be valid.
    • In the Season 5 premiere, she's blind to the idea the Mane Six's friendship is stable and strong enough to stand up to what she puts them through, despite their differences. Further, she's paranoid and distrustful of others who think differently than she does. As Double Diamond tells her outright, she didn't even give her townsponies a chance to be her friends before converting them.
    • In the Season 5 finale, Starlight has a very difficult time understanding how a varied bunch like the Mane Six can be so important to Equestria's future. Her distrust and hatred of difference is revealed to stem from her inability to put faith in any friendship after losing her foalhood friend for fear of it falling apart again. She gains a better understanding of it eventually.
  • Evil Counterpart: For Twilight, as the ruler of another town where she forcibly imposes her ideas about friendship on the people, in contrast to Twilight's role in Ponyville. Twilight was initially uninterested in friendship, while Starlight is obsessed with her own twisted version. Twilight has many close friends whose special talents she respects, though she was originally an introvert, while Starlight tries to "equalize" an entire town, and has ambitions to do so for the world. Twilight is a regular unicorn who becomes a special alicorn princess, while Starlight is a unicorn who pretends to be more equal than she actually is. Her name also serves as a synonym for Twilight's, and she looks like a Palette Swap of Twilight, even having a similar streak in her mane. She also has great magical power as well, like Twilight, and the eight-pointed star that's part of her cutie mark has the same colors as the star that makes up Twilight's. Both also seem to have Obsessive-Compulsive tendencies, but where Twilight's are minor and well-controlled, Starlight's are taken to an extreme to the point of trying to turn her entire town into a harmonic, orderly "utopia".
  • Evil Is Petty: In "The Cutie Re-Mark", she went back in time to stop Twilight and her friends getting their cutie marks as revenge for them taking her village from her.
  • The Evils of Free Will: In addition to her feeling that friendship cannot exist when one friend is differently talented than another friend, she believes that friendship can only exist if everyone has the same opinions and ideas (her ideas, to be precise), and that if friends argue, they can't be real friends. Thus, she enforces a Happiness Is Mandatory attitude on the town she rules.
  • Ex-Big Bad: The major villain of Season 5, became Twilight Sparkle's student in Season 6, and becomes a full-fledged hero at the end of Season 6.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: In Season 6, following her Heel–Face Turn, she sports a new manestyle where her cut bangs are changed to one open bang going down the side, with a smaller bang on the other side (though the smaller one can only be seen at certain angles). Word of God is that the old hairstyle made her look older and matronly and was suitable for her role as a villain, while the new style makes her look younger and friendlier.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: On the outside, she looks sweet and nice. On the inside, however, she is sinister, controlling, and manipulative. Averted later, as Starlight becomes genuinely kind underneath her friendly exterior (having buried her nice attributes under years of jaded contempt for individuality and what it stole from her).
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • Her anger, big time. When Starlight is stressed or angry, impulse control and rational thought tend to go out the window and she does disastrous things without fully thinking through the consequences, and the angrier she gets the further she'll go. The pinnacle of this is the Season 5 finale, where Starlight is so furious over Twilight taking her village from her that her vengeance is using time travel to undo Twilight's friendships with the Mane Six — and she initially refuses to accept that this change actually doomed Equestria in multiple alternate timelines.
    • Her other big flaw is her over-reliance on magic. Her magical prowess is extraordinary, but she's quick to resort to using magic as an easy solution to whatever problem she may be facing, not paying mind to other viable solutions, like just talking it out with other ponies involved. It always backfires and blows up in her face. Over the course of her Character Development, she does slowly learn to use her words and not her spells, but often has trouble seeing it through, leading back into the stress and anger flaw that circles right back into using magic as an easy solution.
    • She's often a little too pleased with her own logic, and has a habit of making convoluted Gambit Roulettes that promptly self-destruct the moment someone does something she didn't expect.
  • Faux Affably Evil: As a villain, Starlight is cheery and friendly to the public, but several shots show her sporting a shadowy Psychotic Smirk, especially once it's revealed that she doesn't practice what she preaches.
  • Five Stages of Grief: Starlight hits all five beats when facing Twilight in the Season 5 finale. She is disbelieving over Twilight saying her friendship with her friends is important (denial), bitterly reveals her Dark and Troubled Past which shows why she's doing this (anger), threatens to destroy the spell's scroll to trap Twilight (and apparently herself) in the past with no way out (bargaining), breaks down and expresses her fear at making friends as Twilight shows her the error of her ways (depression), and finally accepts her hoof in friendship, returning everything to normal, and ultimately resigns to whatever fate beholds her (acceptance).
  • Flanderization: Her debut in the Season 5 opener has her use a unprecedented cutie mark removing spell, but other than that, most of her threat came from her manipulative skills. Her future appearances would increasingly make her magical skill her defining character trait. Potentially justified in the Season 5 finale by being consumed by rage where manipulation basically gets thrown out the window, and from Season 6 on by her being in a new situation where, for the most part, magical skill is all she has to fall back on. Come Season 8 she gets to use her social skills in a more constructive way, when she becomes the guidance councilor of the School of Friendship and is well-liked by the students in that capacity.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Her name is Starlight Glimmer. With a name like that, you wouldn't expect "manipulative, sociopathic dictator" and season-wide Big Bad, but she is, or rather was. Starlight averts this later when she turns good, to reflect her friendly-sounding name.
  • Foil:
    • To Stygian, who, like her, was a Seventh Ranger to a group of six heroes who wanted to help them defend Equestria. However, while Starlight is a magical prodigy who ended up using her powers for evil means, Stygian had no power of his own and tried to perform a ritual to gain it, and for it was cast out and turned to evil. Their similarities are a major plot point in "Shadow Play" that serve to help convince Twilight that the Pony of Shadows could be redeemed instead of just banished.
  • To Sunset Shimmer from the Equestria Girls spin-off. Like Sunset, Starlight is a former antagonist that reformed, underwent a redemption arc, and joined the main cast. However, Sunset has become the main protagonist of the Equestria Girls spin-off and is usually considered the "leader" of that circle of friends, whereas Starlight is a supporting character to Twilight's group and only steps into a leadership role when she has to. Additionally, Sunset settled into the same circle of friends as Twilight Sparkle herself has, while Starlight prefers to make new friends with people outside her current social circle. In their villainous days, they also both served as Evil Counterparts to Twilight, but in different ways; Sunset reflected Twilight's royal title and relationship with Celestia, and Starlight reflected her leadership and magical prowess. In "Mirror Magic" the two meet and become friends; when Sunset confides in Starlight she's worried there's some danger on the horizon her friends have been given powers to fight, Starlight advises she doesn't try to worry about an unknown future and prefers to enjoy the present.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Starlight is the only pony in town to not have her coloring desaturated, has a natural smile, and her house is set apart from theirs. It's because she's not like them; she still has her cutie mark.
    • In Every Little Thing She Does, there are kites hanging up in Starlight's room. Episodes later, in Rock Solid Friendship its revealed that Starlight actually has a fondness for kite flying. Word of God confirms this to be deliberate.
  • Former Teen Rebel: Starlight is one, judging by the contents of her old room, which includes a guitar, an amp, skulls, a bat-winged alicorn toy and posters of rebellious-looking ponies on the walls.
  • Fountain of Youth: In "Uncommon Bond", Starlight invents a spell that de-ages her and Sunburst back into foals (although it's implied that's mostly an illusion).
  • Freak Out:
    • She has a minor one in "No Second Prances" after her initial attempts to make a new friend all fail (in the middle of a public area, no less).
      Starlight: [to herself] Stop stressing... STOP STRESSING! [the other ponies stare at her]
    • In "Every Little Thing She Does", the pressure of dealing with her friendship lessons and the chaos surrounding the constant demands of her friends cause an already slipping Starlight to lose it and try to use a mind-control spell to do them all at once.
    • She has a worse one in part one of "To Where and Back Again", where all the requests for guidance from the ponies of Our Town overwhelm her. She uses her magic to push them all back, then cowers on the ground.
  • Freudian Excuse: The true reason behind her hatred for cutie marks and desire for equality? Turns out, she and her only childhood friend, named Sunburst, ended up separated by Sunburst getting his cutie mark (he had so much magical potential his parents decided to send him away to Canterlot). Starlight ended up being too scared to try and make new friends for fear that she would lose them too, and eventually she convinced herself that if cutie marks didn't exist, friendships would never again be torn apart by differences in special talents.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: In the Season Five finale, upon meeting the Mane Six in the throne room to face her fate. Starlight herself admits that despite her issues, there is no excuse for what she has done, and is prepared to face her punishment.
    Starlight Glimmer: I know there's no excuse for what I did, but I want you all to know that I'm ready for whatever punishment you think is fair.
  • A Friend in Need: In "Fame and Misfortune", Starlight is shown to be fiercely protective of her friends, angrily declaring that she will "have a chat" with the two snobby ponies who reduced Rarity to tears, and levitating one of Fluttershy's critics when he claims he should be in the journal instead.
    Starlight Glimmer: What? Really?! Are you attacking my friend because you want to be in a book?!
  • Friendless Background: As a filly at a very young age, Starlight lost her only friend when he acquired his cutie mark. This scarred Starlight enough to make her hate cutie marks. She also never made another friend afterwards out of fear of losing them too for the same reason, instead opting to become a dictator who forced and manipulated others into giving up their own cutie marks. She can arguably be a deconstruction of this as well. Her not having any friends has shown to take a toll on her sanity (before her Heel–Face Turn) and her less-than-ideal social skills.
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: Out of the Mane Six, Starlight mostly interacts with Twilight and Spike. As she's learning about friendship as Twilight's pupil and roommate, it would make a lot of sense for her to be making more of an effort to bond with the rest of the Mane Six, however she usually only meets them through Twilight or when she tags along as the Mane Six go on two-parter adventures, but seeing her in a one-on-one with the primary cast in Slice of Life stories is more rare (She has spent time with Pinkie Pie however, who is friends with everyone). Part of the reason is that for most of Season 6 she's absent and generally only appears in any given episode if she's important to the plot, while Season 7 gives her more secondary roles and the occasional Cameo. Even then her only real established relationships outside the Mane Six (sans Twilight and Spike) are with Trixie, Sunburst, Thorax, Maud (all of who have guest star status) and Sunset, the main character of the Spin-Off series, who has not appeared in Friendship Is Magic). Season 8 compensates for this by having her interact more with the rest of the Mane Six in certain episodes (with Fluttershy in "Horse Play", Applejack and Rarity in "The Mean 6" and Rainbow Dash and Rarity in "The End in Friend").
  • Furry Reminder: Starlight Glimmer adjusting to her human body in "Mirror Magic", in the same manner Twilight Sparkle did in the first movie, displays several animal mannerisms, such as trying to trot on all fours and holding her hands clenched as hooves. Later, Sunset has brought her an ice cream cone with a few scoops precariously balanced. While Starlight is talking with Sunset, one of the scoops drops off unnoticed, so when Starlight goes back to take another lick, she acts like a dog bewildered as to where the other scoop has gone.
  • Generation Xerox: Revealed to be this in "The Parent Map". Her father, Firelight, is obsessed with the past, has difficulty accepting that his relationship with his daughter has changed, and wants to preserve his town exactly as it is. Starlight was obsessed with a moment from her own past, had difficulty accepting that her relationship with Sunburst had changed, and tried to use magic to preserve it exactly as it had been.
  • The Gift: She is one of the most powerful characters in the whole show. Although not as strong as Twilight, she deserves more credit for not having any Godlike mentor or had a formal study.
  • Girlish Pigtails: As a filly, she used to wear her mane in high pigtails.
  • The Glomp: In "A Horse Shoe In".
    • After Twilight makes Starlight's position as future headmare official, Starlight tackles both her and Spike, and hugs them tightly.
    • She also gives Trixie a tight hug after hiring Sunburst as vice-headmare.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Her not making friends for years after Sunburst abandoned her probably drove her to acting mentally unstable.
  • Gone Horribly Right:
    • For destroying her "perfect" village which she saw as a haven of friendship, Starlight decides to destroy the Mane Six's friendship. However, she didn't realize how important that bond is; due to the Butterfly Effect, the loss of the Mane Six' friendship results in doom for Equestria across several alternate timelines.
    • In "Every Little Thing She Does", Starlight Glimmer uses a mind-control spell on the Mane Five in an attempt to get all of her friendship lessons done at once. It works too well as the spell makes her friends Literal-Minded, causing them to screw things up and make a mess.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Implied to be her motivation, with her sneering delivery when saying some ponies think their cutie marks make them better than others. Another scene that implies this is when Twilight performs a spell in front of her and Starlight complains that it took a long time for her to learn it. "The Cutie Re-Mark" pretty much confirms it.
  • Guile Hero: In "To Where and Back Again", Starlight is stuck without her powerful magic thanks to the Changeling Kingdom's Anti-Magic field. She manages to defeat Chrysalis and rescue her friends by talking the Changelings into sharing love instead of stealing it to cure their Horror Hunger, causing them to turn on Chrysalis and destroy her plans.
  • Happiness Is Mandatory: She makes all of the residents in town put on ear-to-ear smiles. Pinkie Pie immediately notices that something's not right with them.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Pulled in "The Cutie Remark", and solidified in "The Crystalling", where she completes her first friendship lesson. Solidified further in "To Where and Back Again" where she saves Equestria from Chrysalis and reforms the entire changeling race in the process.
  • Heel Realization: Has one when Twilight makes her realize her alterations to the past have caused a series of horrible Bad Future scenarios to happen and ultimately she's letting her failed friendship with Sunburst ruin her.
  • Heroes' Frontier Step: Starlight crosses it in "To Where and Back Again", where without her magic, she manages to lead a successful rescue mission with her friends, as well as teaching the Changelings how to love. This was Starlight's first true act of heroism, making up for all of her previous deeds as a villain, and inspires her with the confidence to finally accept that she really has become a good pony.
  • Heroic RRoD: She suffers one in "All Bottled Up" through her overuse of her Emotion Suppression spell. When her bottled up anger escapes, she is too weak to help Trixie when she is harassed by the other ponies (who are under the influence of Starlight's anger). Only after facing up to her anger does this become undone.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: From "No Second Prances" onward, she is this with Trixie. They get on each other's nerves at times, but otherwise they are definitely great friends.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Her hobby is flying kites.
    • In "A Royal Problem", Starlight approaches the friendship problem between Celestia and Luna without bias, observing their behaviour and asking them questions about what they're doing and why. She then gets them to open up and talk to each other about their Innocently Insensitive behaviour towards each other, taking a neutral role throughout the proceedings. Even her spur-of-the-moment decision to switch their cutie marks was born from a desire to help them understand each other. If Starlight could only learn to control her tendency to use magic without thinking when her emotions run high, she has all the makings of a good therapist.
    • The quick glance of her old bedroom in "The Parent Map" shows a guitar, suggesting that Starlight has some musical ability.
  • Honorary True Companion: Starlight is an interesting case. Like Spike, she doesn't have an Element of Harmony and she lives with Twilight, but she's gotten more character focus than him since her addition to the show (especially in the "higher stakes" two-parter episodes) in a way that would be typical of many a Sixth Ranger addition in most other media. However, when it comes to her relationship with the Mane Six, the show tends to keep them separate as she's seen hanging with them even less compared to him. Although the show seems to make a distinction between her and the other Mane Cast, to compensate, her own focus episodes tend to follow her with her own set of friends instead. In the season 8 episode "The Mean 6", she is included on the Mane Six's "friendship retreat", which includes camping out by the Tree of Harmony, right next to the Elements that brought the Mane Six together in the first place.
  • Hypocrite:
    • She preaches a message of ponies giving up their cutie marks to be equal, but she has her original cutie mark the whole time, covering it with make-up.
    • She does this twice in the Season 5 Finale. Firstly, she accuses Twilight of having an overblown ego when she pleads with Starlight that her actions are destroying Equestria in the future. When Starlight herself is doing all this out of spite for the Mane Six ruining what she considered her paradise. And secondly, she claims Twilight doesn't know anything about her, and yet Starlight doesn't know anything about the Mane Six — otherwise, she wouldn't have gone through with her plan. It's a bit of a Ironic Echo when she tells Twilight this, when Double Diamond stated "she never even got to know the ponies of Our Town" before taking their cutie marks away.
  • Hypocritical Humor: She doesn't always realize some of the things she criticizes others for are also things she herself has done in the past. Most of them are things done by her pre-Heel–Face Turn self, something which Starlight tries to distance herself from and thus moments where this gets pointed out to her are usually treated more humorously.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: She didn't appear until the fifth season of the series, and didn't become part of the regular cast until the season after. Starlight would go on to befriend Trixie, who despite being one of the earliest appearing characters in the show, didn't become a proper mainstay until that season as well.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten!: When Fluttershy pretends to be converted, Starlight asks her to point out the three villagers who told her about the cutie mark vault to prove her loyalty.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Twilight's attempt to invoke a Heel–Face Turn on her goes nowhere, though Twilight still had hope that getting some time to think it over will have an effect. Averted at the end of Season 5, where she finally gets the message.
  • I Hate Past Me: By "The Crystalling", Starlight Glimmer has become very much aware of her past evil self and doesn't hide her feelings about how much she hates it.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: This is Starlight Glimmer's main problem — she wants friends, but because her childhood friend gained his Cutie Mark and left, it pretty much scarred her, leading to her actions.
  • The Illegible: According to herself. In "Shadow Play – Part 1", she has little trouble reading Star Swirl's diary since her own "hornwriting" is even worse. For comparison, Star Swirl's hornwriting was described as bordering on another language entirely, yet she describes his as "nowhere near as bad as [her's]".
  • Individuality Is Illegal: She has the belief that friends have to be exactly the same, with the same opinions and talents (or more precisely, the lack thereof), or else they can't really be friends. Thus, she convinces her followers to give up their cutie marks, live in plain houses, style their manes plainly, etc, and follow her ideology.
  • Inexplicably Awesome: She is a unicorn who is able to held her own against the Element of Magic, duplicate herself (albeit it could be said this doesn't count as she doesn't actually duplicate herself, but uses an illusionary image of herself and a speed spell to appear to be duplicated), and with no outside help, and she was able to modified Starswirl's time-travel spell. The second part of the Season 7 premiere explains this as an example of Emotional Powers. She was using her emotions to strengthen her magic (for example, her hatred at cutie marks after losing touch with Sunburst allowed her enough power to remove them, as Trixie lampshades), and implies she could not have stood the ground with Twilight in their duel if it had been a fair fight.
  • Informed Ability: Inverted. The season 7 finale has Starlight tell us that she can read Star Swirl's atrocious horn-writing because her own is much worse. As text is seldom shown on the show, it's not likely that we'll ever be able to compare and contrast anyone's writing style.
  • Innocently Insensitive:
    • Starlight now uses her magical talent to help ponies, but lacks tact, which gets her in trouble. Twilight tries to get her to set the table silverware without magic (but she ignores the "without magic" part), her creating a huge fancy cake ticks off Mrs. Cake, who believes she is trying to put her out of business, and Big Macintosh is scared away when she casts a spell to make him talk more.
    • Starlight's insensitivity comes to the forefront in "Every Little Thing She Does" where she uses a mind-control spell on the Mane Five in a desperate attempt to get her Friendship lessons done faster. It backfires horribly, drawing the rightful ire of her friends and the disappointment of her teacher. Luckily, Starlight is able to make it up to them.
    • Played for Laughs in "Rock Solid Friendship" where she calls Pinkie out for her behavior a little too bluntly.
      Starlight: You kind of sort of... got in the way.
      Pinkie: [horrified gasp]
      Starlight: You're right! Too harsh! Let's just say... you ruined everything all the time?
    • Played for Laughs again in "Horse Play" when Starlight is nervous about working with Celestia because she's a Princess, and Twilight points out that she is also a Princess, and Starlight talks to her all the time.
      Starlight: Yeah, but you're not a Princess Princess.
    • In "The Parent Map", when Sunburst notices Starlight isn't thrilled for a map mission like he is, he asks if she isn't excited about being called with him. Starlight answers "no" and Sunburst is nearly reduced to tears. Starlight however quickly realizes what she said and amends her answer to saying she is happy to be called with him, but isn't excited about where the two of them are being called.
    • In "Road to Friendship", Starlight trades Trixie's wagon for a newer, more spacious model, believing it will make for a "better deal" for her and Trixie. This greatly upsets Trixie, who held deep emotional value toward the wagon, and yells at Starlight for trading it without asking her first.
    • In "A Horse Shoe In", when Trixie unknowingly gives Starlight a good idea, Starlight tells her she can give good advice when she doesn't mean to.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: All the Mane 6 are friends with Spike, but Starlight is unique in that her interactions with him are as equals or sometimes her treating him as her superior. He often gives her advice, she treats him with the utmost respect, and he makes a point in several episodes to check on her mental wellbeing. Given that Twilight is her teacher and Spike is Twilight's assistant, it'd make sense why she'd hold him in higher regard.
  • Irony:
    • She claims she lost her friend, Sunburst, due to him having a natural talent for magic. However, she is extremely apt at magic herself, and Sunburst isn't actually that good at it (which meant that his cutie mark caused him almost as much strife as it did Starlight).
    • As a bad guy, Starlight rejected her initial shot at redemption and swore revenge on the Mane Six. Fast forward to a season later and the roles are reversed. This time Starlight is the good guy offering the defeated villain, the now ex-Queen Chrysalis a second chance, who promptly rejects it and swears revenge against Starlight.
    • Starlight Glimmer is very skilled when it comes to magic, but she has a hard time getting the hang of the magic of friendship, the most powerful magic of all.
    • In "A Royal Problem", Starlight Glimmer gets called by the Cutie Map for the first time. Considering the very first Cutie Map mission is how the Mane Six met Starlight in the first place, and set in motion the events that ultimately made Starlight the team's Sixth Ranger, she has come around full circle.
    • In "Fame and Misfortune", Starlight admits that the Cutie Mark Crusaders' plan to form a cutie mark summer camp is a "great idea". This is coming from a pony who once despised cutie marks.
  • It's All About Me:
    • After the Mane Six (mainly Fluttershy) reveal her as a hypocrite, her Villainous Breakdown puts cracks in her Faux Affably Evil routine, and a few of her lines suggest that deep down, she's either insecure about her own abilities, or simply jealous of other ponies more talented than her, and her real reason (at least partly) for trying to make everypony "equal" and forcing her philosophy on others is so that she'll be the only one left with any talent.
    • She also tries to steal the cutie marks of the Mane Six as Revenge for disrupting her plans, seemingly believing that the Mane Six opposing her is some kind of intentional slight against her personally.
      Starlight: They think they can come into my village and disrupt my life? Let's see how they like spending the rest of their lives without their precious cutie marks!
    • In the season finale, she tries to disrupt the lives of the Mane Six yet again with a revenge plot involving a spell that allows her to go back in time in order to prevent the Mane Six from getting their cutie marks.
    • Knowing her Freudian Excuse reveals another egocentric element to her "perfect" town: by stripping ponies of their individuality, Starlight essentially made it impossible for them to have any other purpose in life outside of being her friends.

    Tropes J to P 
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • While her personal experience may not qualify and is more a case of misunderstanding, there is a precedent for what Starlight initially teaches her subjects when it comes to cutie marks and how they can have a powerful negative influence on relationships. Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon display a perfect example of the manner in which cutie marks can be used as leverage to make some ponies feel inferior to others.
    • In "A Horse Shoe In". After Trixie summons the flash bees, Starlight blows up at Trixie about how her performance during the interview process wasn't even acceptable, let alone exceptional. She even calls Trixie incompetent and tells her that there's no way she'd ever be vice-headmare. While it is harsh, Trixie later admits that she wasn't a good candidate when Starlight goes to Trixie's wagon.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Starlight talking down the bullies to get them to stop teasing filly Fluttershy in the Season 5 finale was a noble act, except it gets rid of Rainbow Dash's inspiration to race to begin with. No Sonic Rainboom, no Mane Six cutie mark connection, thus Equestria is doomed, thus she wins.
  • Kirk Summation: Starlight delivers a pretty good one to pep talk the Changelings into a Heel–Race Turn in "To Where and Back Again":
    Starlight Glimmer: I know what it's like to lead by fear and intimidation, and I know what it's like to want everypony to do what you say, but I was wrong! A real leader doesn't force her subjects to deny who they are. She celebrates what makes them unique and listens when one of them finds a better way!
  • Knight Templar: While what she desires (perfect harmony between friends in a happy utopia) is understandable, how she seeks to cause this is where she goes into this turf, as she won't even consider any concept of friendship besides her own.
  • Large Ham: Between overdoing her Faux Affably Evil façade, snarking in the most overly snide tone, just plain ranting or undergoing a Villainous Breakdown, Starlight is definitely not a mare of subtlety.
  • Leeroy Jenkins:
    • Starlight has a tendency to default right to using magic to accomplish her tasks. In "No Second Prances", she used her magic to set a table, despite Twilight telling her that it had to be set without it. Even beyond that, she can rival Rainbow Dash in how often she leaps before she looks: selling Trixie's wagon for what she thinks is a better one, for instance, or switching the Cutie Marks of the royal sisters themselves.
      Starlight: I heard "set the table" and just kinda went for it.
    • In general, this is yet another thing that makes her a Foil for Twilight, whose tendency to take the extreme opposite track of overthinking her problems, catastrophizing and whipping herself into a panic is well-documented.
  • Lethally Stupid: After her Heel–Face Turn, she tends to make mistakes regarding her magic, which inconveniences the other ponies around her.
  • Lovely Assistant: In "No Second Prances", she becomes the "great and powerful assistant" to Trixie and helps her perform tricks such as the Moonshot Manticore Mouth Dive.
  • Magic Staff: Uses the Staff of Sameness to remove cutie marks, but it's an ordinary piece of wood that she only claimed was an ancient artifact; Starlight's own magic is the cause.
  • Manipulative Bitch: She uses a combination of speeches, propaganda, and emotional manipulation to sway ponies to her beliefs and get them to join her. She still shows some signs of this post-reformation; Eager to put off her reunion with Sunburst, she takes advantage of her Naïve Newcomer status and artfully talks Spike into telling her all about how he saved the Crystal Empire, thereby distracting him from keeping on with the friendship lesson. Thankfully, Spike sees through her scheme and only sticks to one story, keeping the Friendship lesson going.
  • Man of Kryptonite: Her Power Nullifier abilities make her this to any adult pony in the show, as even a powerful alicorn princess can lose her magic and get severely weakened physically by her Cutie Mark Removal spell (course it has no combat application in most circumstances as she needs an object capable of holding the cutie mark).
  • Married to the Job: In the season 9 episode "Student Counsel", she becomes so dedicated to her guidance counselor position that she wears a bracelet enchanted to alert her whenever someone knocks on her office door, allowing her to teleport back and attend to the problem. This keeps her from spending much time away from her job, deeply annoying Trixie.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: She is a student in the Magic of Friendship to Twilight Sparkle, who was formerly a student of this subject to Celestia. In "The Beginning of the End", Twilight plans to make Starlight the new headmare of the School of Friendship after she and her friends succeed Celestia and Luna as Equestria's rulers.
  • Mind Rape: Stealing a pony's cutie mark also robs them of their special talent and dulls down their personality, to the point Applejack can't make countryisms and Pinkie Pie can't get excited. However, the spell doesn't directly allow control of another pony's mind, so Starlight also locks dissenting citizens of the village in a cottage listening to her propaganda on a loudspeaker until they submit.
  • Mirthless Laughter: She has a tendency for this whenever she's nervous, upset, or stressed, especially if the implications of something terrible that's about to happen are pointed out.
  • Missing Mom: Her father, Firelight, is introduced in the Season 8 episode "The Parent Map", but her mother is nowhere to be seen.
  • Mood-Swinger: During her Villainous Breakdown, she manages to flip flop between fake cheerfulness and insane fury. Though it doesn't take long before she settles on the latter.
  • Moral Myopia:
    • Everypony has to give up their cutie mark in order to be equal. Except for her, of course, since she needs her magic and special talent to take away the cutie marks from others and give them the equal signs that replace them. Naturally, her followers turn on her when this is revealed.
    • She also rationalizes taking the Mane Six's cutie marks with her as she flees as Revenge for them "disrupting her life", not caring that by stealing them she's disrupted their lives.
  • More than Mind Control: Her influence over her followers seems to be a combination of her magic, indoctrination, and her using her words to convince them that her way is best. She can take their cutie marks away by force, but she has to convince them that her ideology is worth following.
  • Morphic Resonance: As is usual when a pony goes through the portal to the other world, Starlight Glimmer's human appearance shares many similarities with her true form, including skin and hair color(s) as well as hairstyle. This is such an accepted fact, in truth, that Sunset Shimmer can reasonably conclude she'd never seen Starlight's human counterpart in Canterlot before, despite only having just met Starlight Glimmer in pony form at the moment.
  • Motive Decay: Goes from a Well-Intentioned Extremist plot to "Revenge Before Reason on Twilight".
  • Motive Rant: She invokes this on several occasions — the first when Fluttershy reveals to the town that she still has her cutie mark in spite of her claims that they're evil and the second is when she's cornered near the end, and is accompanied by a blast of magic. She gets a third when Twilight shows her the end result of messing with the time stream. And a fourth time when she finally confesses her past to a shamed Sunburst. It's the very thing Sunburst needs to regain his confidence, as well as rekindling the friendship between them.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Twilight shows Starlight the end result of her changes if she doesn't stop — a barren wasteland. It takes talking some sense to her to fully realize her actions.
    • In "Every Little Thing She Does", where Starlight realizes she made a horrible mistake using the mind control spell on her friends in a failed attempt to get her friendship lessons done quicker.
    • In "A Royal Problem", Starlight impulsively swaps Celestia and Luna's Cutie Marks and while she initially tries to play it up as a good decision, she does regret it, made worse by the fact that Twilight is panicking over her dealing with her teacher and her sister, ends up suffering a nasty nightmare and is brought to tears over it. Although in the end the sisters thank her for doing it, because it did give them a chance to reconcile, Starlight acknowledges that things could have gone much worse because of what she did.
    • In "Student Counsel", she is horrified when she believes dismissing Silverstream's request for assistance with a school project (due to Trixie insisting that she take a break from her work) may have led to her getting lost.
  • Naïve Newcomer: She has an extremely difficult time finding her way around the Friendship Castle. Later, she tries to take advantage of this by deliberately have Spike tell stories of his past adventures so she can delay her reunion with Sunburst as much as possible, but Spike sees through her plan to distract him and stops telling stories. Humorously played up in "No Second Prances", as she has little familiarity with anything regarding Equestria in general. Also, in "Mirror Magic" she's this to the Human World as well.
  • Never Be Hurt Again: After Sunburst got his cutie mark and left her, Starlight couldn't bring herself to make another friend, afraid that another cutie mark would take them away too.
  • Never My Fault: While it was indeed not her fault that Sunburst abandoned her, this was initially Starlight's view towards herself and friendships. Rather than letting go of her past friendship with Sunburst and seeking new friends, Starlight decides to revel in victim-hood and self pity, which turns into her resenting and blaming cutie marks for her not attempting to make new friends and friendship failures in general. She even comes off as this when she reveals her backstory to Twilight Sparkle. Thankfully, after her Heel–Face Turn, she learns from her mistakes and seeks new friendships.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: With each appearance, Starlight shows off her innovation in new magic spells. Cutie Mark Removal in her first appearance, levitation and time travel in her second, then in "No Second Prances" she knows magic that can make Ponies talkative and put things together effortlessly. By "Every Little Thing She Does" she demonstrates powers such as super speed, self-duplication and mind control, and in "All Bottled Up" we learn she can use Emotion Suppression. Unfortunately, Starlight's liberal use of magic has only turned other ponies off, making it difficult for her to make friends.
  • Nice Girl: After her redemption, she becomes genuinely kind and friendly to her friends.
  • No Sense of Direction: It's a Running Gag in "The Crystalling – Part 1" that she cannot find her way around the Friendship Castle.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: During "In Our Town", and when talking to the Mane Six afterward, she repeatedly gets really close to them, even touching them a few times.
  • No Social Skills: Starlight's social skills are so bad that she became a cutie-mark hating dictator after her broken friendship. Twilight realized this, which is why she takes Starlight in as a student, starting with her becoming a new member of the Mane Cast. She's still really bad at this however, to the extent that her closest friends outside of the Mane Six circle are Spike and Sunburst (who are used to social inadequacy), Trixie (who's ten times worse), and Maud Pie (who's an extreme introvert). Starlight is still getting used to normal social conventions, as well as trying not to pull the trigger so fast on her magic.
  • Not Quite Flight: While she can't fly through conventional means, her skill in self-levitation is such that she might as well be able to. She's not as fast as a pegasus, but she can maintain her levitation for long periods of time effortlessly, and she is very agile in the air.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • In "The Crystalling", she learns that she and Sunburst are this, as they both had past shames that they needed to confess to.
    • She also invokes this with Queen Chrysalis in "To Where and Back Again", as she once ruled her subjects through fear and intimidation, just as Chrysalis does.
    • And again with Juniper Montage in "Mirror Magic", acknowledging that she has felt the same overwhelming anger and desire for revenge as Juniper.
    • She and Trixie try to invoke this with Pharynx in "To Change a Changeling", telling him of their own dark pasts, and how they've managed to move on from them. Pharynx is unimpressed, calling them both "losers".
    • She invokes this again in "Shadow Play – Part 2", telling Stygian that she wasn't so different from him once, and that Twilight helped her, as she could help Stygian.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • With Maud Pie, of all ponies.
    • Even moreso with Discord. She's very ordered and structured, while Discord's entire raison d'être is Chaos. However, after their adventure together fighting the Changelings, he seems keen to spend time with her, and she, in turn, is shown to be amused by some of his playful antics.
  • Old Shame: Invoked by "The Crystalling", she comes to view her previous actions as this, and tries to keep the details from Sunburst when they meet again.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: More or less a Running Gag. No matter how much she tries, Starlight Glimmer will never be able to escape being reminded of her dark past. Trixie and other characters accidentally bring it up on occasion, and even meeting someone seemingly inconsequential or unrelated like Maud Pie ties it all the way back towards it, as it turns out, it was Maud Pie who told Starlight where to find the anti-magic mineral cave to keep the cutie marks of her followers of Our Town. Poor Starlight just can't catch a break.
  • One Degree of Separation: She had previously met Maud Pie when founding her village, long before Maud's sister played a hand in Starlight's downfall. And, while it isn't remarked upon, Starlight's best friend Trixie once worked on the Pie rock farm.
  • Only Sane Man: In the Season 7 finale. She is concerned about the Mane Six's plan to save the Pillars of Equestria from Limbo in the first part, while in the second part, she doubts the course of action her friends are taking, believing that banishing Stygian a.k.a. the Pony of Shadows back to Limbo isn't the right way to go.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: After her breakdown is complete and finally getting her issues off of her chest, Starlight Glimmer develops a solemn, calm, and kind demeanor, and legitimately smiles for the first time on screen. A complete night-and-day difference from the manipulative, smirking, hypocritical Knight Templar sociopathic dictator we were first introduced to and angry, screaming, unstable revenge-driven maniac we were re-introduced to. It was a sign of things to come in her Heel–Face Turn to the New Starlight who now dominates this page.
  • Out-Gambitted: The Mane Six turn the tables on her with a Fake Defector gambit and by tricking her into an Engineered Public Confession.
  • Out of Focus:
    • In Season 9, Starlight's screentime is noticeably diminished. She only gets two episodes centered on her ("Student Counsel" and "A Horse Shoe-In", and in both she shares the main role with Trixie), and is mostly relegated to cameos in the rest of episodes she appears in, with few, if any, supporting roles.
    • She also suffers this in the comics, often being absent for several issues before making an appearance (and only having a role in one major storyline so far).
  • Parental Neglect: Word of God says that she was a latch-key kid.
  • Passing the Torch: Receives one from Twilight when she is made the headmare of the School of Friendship in her place, as she will be leaving soon prior to becoming the new ruler of Equestria.
  • Perpetual Smiler: From the moment she welcomes Twilight and her friends to the town to entering the cutie mark vault, she never, ever stops smiling, even when she's, say, singing about the disarray of a world of "special" people. She starts to let her other emotions through more and more when she thinks she has everything under control, and stops altogether after her Villainous Breakdown.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • While there were ulterior motives, her getting the bullies to stand down and stop teasing Fluttershy was nice of her.
    • In her first appearance, given her abilities, she could have easily harmed Night Glider, Double Diamond, Party Favor, and Sugar Belle; instead, she opts for indirect combat like causing snow to collapse on them, or breaking a bridge so they can't follow her. It's only after their efforts free the Mane Six's cutie marks that she gets angry enough to try to blast them in the face.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: As of Season 8, she fills this role in the School of Friendship. As guidance counselor, Starlight has no classes to teach, and since the school is all about being good friends and understanding and trusting others, she doesn't get much to do since any problems a guidance counselor would normally handle are covered by school lessons. In "Marks for Effort," she jumps at the chance to offer Twilight help with an issue. When rejected, Starlight walks off talking about how she'll just go dust her office for the seventieth time. Later episodes suggest that this has changed; "Road to Friendship" shows several students lined up for counseling outside her office, with Starlight noting that she'll have to get somepony to cover her duties while she's on the road with Trixie.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: It's implied that her focus on building a cutie mark-less society has left her clueless regarding current events and common knowledge in Equestria. Not only was she unaware of how many times Twilight and her friends saved Equestria, she has no idea who the Wonderbolts are.
    Rainbow Dash: You've never heard of the Wonderbolts?! Where have you been?!
    Starlight Glimmer: [mirthless laughter] Enslaving villages, I guess.
  • Power Born of Madness: "All Bottled Up" heavily implies her sudden Story-Breaker Power in "The Cutie Re-Mark" came from her sheer Villainous Breakdown post-"The Cutie Map."
  • Power Nullifier: Her equal sign cutie mark replacements work like this, dampening the special talents the ponies once had. Even attempting to use those talents causes the cutie mark to react and suppress it, such as nullifying Fluttershy's attempts to talk to animals. However, unless the original cutie marks are kept contained, they'll immediately fly back to their owners and undo the spell.
  • The Power of Hate: "All Bottled Up" suggests that Starlight was able to strip other ponies of their cutie marks because her own intense hatred for cutie marks fueled her magic enough to accomplish that feat. The same can also be said for her being able to battle Twilight to a stand-still in "The Cutie Re-Mark", as her anger towards Twilight and her friends for foiling her plans previously allowed her to channel her magic to such a degree that she could face an Alicorn on even footing.
  • Projectile Spell: Unsurprisingly for somepony as magically talented as she is, she can cast beams as offensive spells.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: As of Season 6, she is now in the photograph sent to the Princesses.
  • Psychopathic Womanchild: When her affable side is broken and things stop going the way she wants, she succumbs to high-octane temper tantrums, screaming at others for not playing her way and focusing all her directions on petty spite. Her first plan essentially ended with her storming off in a huff. This comes off as fairly logical since her Start of Darkness occurred when she was a small filly.This is also sadly justified; due to her Friendless Background, Starlight never allowed herself to gain nor develop any real maturity due to her being so hurt and angry after losing her friend.
  • The Punishment Is the Crime: Starlight gets this invoked upon her when she pulls a Heel–Face Turn in the Season Five finale. Twilight Sparkle and the rest of the Mane Six don't punish her for all the trouble she caused throughout the season, instead they forgive her and just give Starlight another chance at being Twilight Sparkle's pupil so she can learn about Friendship and be friends with them. This ends up eating at Starlight Glimmer in many ways worse than any punishment could, as throughout the following season, she constantly struggles with her guilt and being very haunted by the actions of her evil past, and more or less is forced to live with it.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Starlight is dominantly purple and magic is her greatest talent. Her magical ability far exceeds that of many average unicorns.

    Tropes Q to Z 
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Starlight seems to have a knack for befriending characters who could be considered social outcasts. There's Sunburst, an introverted wizard who's bad at magic, Trixie, an egocentric Jerk with a Heart of Gold, Maud Pie, an ambiguously autistic pony who is obsessed with rocks, Discord, possibly the only other character who could match Trixie in the "egocentric Jerk with a Heart of Gold" category and Thorax, a Nice Guy amidst a race of cut-throat Emotion Eaters. Especially obvious in "To Where and Back Again", where Starlight ends up leading a team of Trixie, Discord and Thorax to save their friends from Queen Chrysalis, in what many fans have described as "Pony Suicide Squad".
  • Rank Up: When Twilight opens the School of Friendship in Season 8, she appoints Starlight as its guidance counselor. Late in Season 9, as Twilight makes plans to move back to Canterlot for her coronation as Equestria's new ruler, she chooses Starlight to replace her as the School's headmare.
  • Reality Warper: Nothing like Discord, King Sombra, "Inspiration Manifestation" Rarity, etc., but she can still teleport, Time Travel, transmute objects, etc.
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed:
    • In her case, it has little to do with her personality, and more with being a Good Person with Bad Powers. Starlight may have shed her evil ways for good, but her incredible magical power (the very thing that makes her dangerous) is still there. And worst of all, she's only all too aware of it.
    • She's still not above forcing a situation to suit her needs. In "No Second Prances", she uses a spell to force Big Macintosh to speak more, on the grounds that she "can't be friends with somepony who doesn't talk."
    • In "Every Little Thing She Does" she genuinely believes casting a Mind Control spell on her friends is an acceptable way to make her friendship lesson activities go by more efficiently. Mastering the activities isn't even the point of the lessons, it is about the bonding experience.
    • While she's learned her lesson about mind control, she does still have her temper, and in "Fame and Misfortune", when various ponies are trashing Rarity and Fluttershy, Starlight demonstrates that while she's on the side of good, she's not above threatening ponies who attack her friends.
  • Reluctant Hero: In the Season 6 finale, Starlight Glimmer isn't really happy to take on the role as a leader again for the rescue mission, but eventually realizes that she really doesn't have a choice in the matter, considering Starlight has nowhere else to turn to.
  • The Resenter: Her philosophy says that any friendship that isn't equal will eventually lead to at least one of the friends becoming this, and it's implied that part of her motivation comes from resenting others that were somehow more talented than her. What she actually resents isn't talent, but genuine friendships that move forward while hers fell apart.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Even after seeing the Bad Future her actions would cause, Starlight was still willing to go through with her plan, to the point of tearing up the scroll with the time travel spell on it to prevent Twilight and Spike from coming back to stop her. Fortunately, Twilight was able to get through to her before she tore the scroll completely, though it still took a LOT of negotiating before Starlight willingly stepped down.
  • Running Gag:
    • Nowadays, when Starlight Glimmer appears in an episode, you can be sure and certain that her "Our Town" scheme and time-travel plot will be brought up at least once. It was played for dramatics in Season 6, but more or less has become a recurring joke in Season 7.
    • This even carries over to her Equestria Girls appearance, where's it's stacked against the past evil deeds Sunset Shimmer, Human Twilight, and freshly defeated "villain" Juniper Montage, prompting Human Pinkie to lampshade just how forgiving their group really is.
  • Sanity Has Advantages: Her zealot nature is one of her fatal flaws, as she's so obsessed with her own belief in how friendship works that she's as Genre Blind to The Power of Friendship as her fellow Arc Villains. The Mane Six actually exploit this to defeat her.
  • Self-Duplication: Starlight can pull this off by combining the spells Simulo Duplexis along with her Super Speed spell. However, the extent of Starlight's spell only goes so far as to just copying herself, and not actual cloning.
  • Shadow Archetype: Manages to be this to two different characters. She's more or less Twilight's focus on friendship taken to its extreme, especially when it comes to Twilight's feelings during "Boast Busters". She's also this to Sunset Shimmer, being more or less her complete opposite while still having some of her qualities (like jealousy), and her town where everypony is equal and forced to be friends is the opposite to what Sunset did to Canterlot High. Like both of them, she seems to be an abnormally powerful unicorn, but she uses that power for evil, while Twilight uses hers for good and Sunset's magic isn't usable where she is. She also contrasts Sunset in defeat: While Sunset tearfully begs to be shown the light and later earns redemption, Starlight lashes out verbally, followed by making a run for it and, when caught up to, attacks her former followers with magic before escaping.
  • Ship Tease: She has plenty of this with her old friend, Sunburst.
    • In the fourth issue of My Little Pony: Legends of Magic, she shows up upset about his ignoring her messages and not spending time together (in a similar vein to a girl whose boyfriend missed a date). When she hears that Sunburst is reading never-before-heard legends, she proceeds to park herself on his bed, telling him "You may proceed". The issue even ends with the two going out to dinner together.
    • In the final panel of the 2017 holiday special comic, she and Sunburst are shown standing side-by-side, gazing at each other while sharing a very sweet smile.
    • In "The Parent Map", Sunburst is nearly reduced to tears when Starlight answers "no" on whether she's excited to go on a mission with him. She near-instantly realizes how that sounded and quickly reassures him that while she is excited on going with him, her reluctance is because of the where, their old hometown (to where Sunburst also does not look forward to going.) The two of them also have some easy-going, affectionate contact throughout the episode.
    • In "A Horse Shoe In", Starlight has a very big smile on her face when Sunburst agrees to be her new vice-headmare.
  • Shrinking Violet: Starlight shows signs of this post-Heel–Face Turn, bashfully smiling and usually hanging to the side or in the back. Since Starlight is a student learning about friendship all over again, it comes with the territory. Her shattered self-esteem, shame and insecurities regarding her past mistakes and contribute to this as well.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Starlight responds twice with this to Twilight's Patrick Stewart Speech. First with a Big "QUIET!" and another time with a short Motive Rant and a magic blast.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Her idea of "friendship" is everypony being exactly the same as everypony else, with the same talents and opinions, because being better at something means that you're not equal.
  • Sixth Ranger: Rather, the Seventh Ranger including Spike. Following her reformation at the end of Season 5, in Season 6 she's moved into Twilight's castle in Ponyville and has been integrated into the main cast. While Starlight is part of Twilight's circle of friends, an episode focusing on the Mane Six is just as likely to include Starlight in the group as not, but she's still a recurring character of importance and frequency comparable to the Mane Six or the Cutie Mark Crusaders. If she's actually considered a "main character" internally has been subject to a Flip-Flop of God.
  • Slouch of Villainy: In "The Cutie Re-Mark", she's sitting on Fluttershy's throne this way when Starlight directly confronts her.
  • Smug Snake: Throughout her second appearance, she out-gambits Twilight every step of the way and gloats immensely at every turn. When Twilight finally shows her the consequences of her "victories" however, her smug façade breaks into what can be considered a psychotic-level childish tantrum.
  • The Social Expert: She's very good at reading others; She was able to sway the inhabitants of her village over to her way of thinking by playing on their shared belief that there was something missing in their lives. It's admittedly somewhat subverted later on as while she's good at reading people and manipulating them, she's seriously lacking in social graces. In "A Royal Problem", she was able to see the internal strife between Celestia and Luna and work towards resolving it, but not before angering both Princesses with her lack of tact. In keeping with this, she is appointed guidance counselor of Twilight's Friendship School in Season 8.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • In "To Where and Back Again", Queen Chrysalis dealt with every pony who could possibly be a threat to her plans for conquering Equestria, except Starlight. Chrysalis didn't think Starlight was that much of a threat thanks to her Power Nullifier throne. Starlight manages to defeat her without magic anyway.
    • To a lesser extent in "The Ending of the End - Part 2". Discord arranges her escape from the cage the villains placed her in chiefly because she is the only one among their captives besides the Mane Five and Spike who still had magic, allowing her to free the others and buy time for Twilight's friends to reunite with her.
  • Special Guest: Of the Equestria Girls "Mirror Magic" special. Where we see Starlight's human form for the first time.
  • The Spock: Starlight Glimmer takes a cold and logical approach to a lot of things. As a villain, she did believe what she was doing was For the Greater Good, even if it was horribly misguided. Even after her Heel–Face Turn, Starlight thinks logically and even tends to overthink things too much to point where she misses the point entirely, and her lack of tact makes her come off as totally insensitive to others. In "No Second Prances", she casts a spell on Big Macintosh to make him talk more, her reasoning being she can't interact with someone who doesn't talk much, and in "Every Little Thing She Does" her spell shenanigans was only due to her lack of flexibility and wanting to get her Friendship Lessons done at once in an efficient matter to please her mentor, Princess Twilight. Of course, Starlight's cold logic and tendency to pull the trigger on any solution regardless of ethics does put her at odds with her friends, but she always makes it up to them.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Most episodes she takes part in she is also the central focus of the story. Starlight has roughly a third of the Sixth Season's runtime for herself, with the Premieres/Finales of both Season Five and Six focusing very heavily on her and even supplanting the Mane Six entirely for the Season Six finale. Season 7 seems to be easing her out of this, allowing her to have major roles in episodes without necessarily being the main focus, as can be seen with "Rock Solid Friendship" and "A Royal Problem", as well as giving her more minor roles in episodes.
  • Squishy Wizard: Starlight is a magical powerhouse, but when her opponent has Anti-Magic and a size advantage, her only option is to run and hide.
  • Start of Darkness: Her best friend, Sunburst, saved her from books falling on top of her, his magic unlocking his cutie mark. When he showed everyone else, everyone was thrilled save Starlight, who felt abandoned. Through this, she came to the realization that cutie marks and differences will always ruin friendships.
  • Stealth Pun: Her cutie mark has the same basic shape as the inequality symbol in mathematics.
  • Stepford Smiler: Shows some signs of being this herself, and forces an entire town to be them, to boot!
  • Story-Breaker Power: Played for Drama. Starlight's powers include changing a pony's cutie marks (along with associated personality traits and magical talent), travelling through time, Super Speed, making illusionary copies of herself, advanced usage of teleportation and telekinesis, powerful shield spells, and mentally dominating other ponies. She could resolve most any conflict with her magic, which is a major crux of her character; most of Starlight's centric episodes involve her quickly resorting to magic to solve a problem she's encountering, and it usually backfires and makes the situation worse (due to the magic having effects she didn't expect, her not considering the obvious consequences, and other reasons). This is why a major aspect of her Character Development is learning to not resort to using magic all the time and try to find other ways to deal with her problems. In addition, she was also stated to be reliant on her channeling her own emotions like rage or revenge to make her most impressive feats (like the cutie mark removal spell and dueling an alicorn on equal footing) possible, meaning she actually can't invoke her strongest magic at will for every situation.
  • Strong and Skilled: Not only is she one of the most powerful unicorns in the series, she also has the reflexes and versatility to effectively use her abilities in high-stress situations. As a result, her track record battling against opponents of comparable or greater power level is pretty good, fighting Twilight to a standstill and lasting for some time in single combat against a powered-up Chrysalis.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: When first introduced as a villain, she can remove ponies cutie marks, and upon her reappearance fight an alicorn (and the Element of Magic at that) to a standstill (albeit that she used her wit and athletic skills to dogde Twilight's attack). One season and a Heel–Face Turn later, she has to hide from a couple of normal changeling impersonators, even before the Anti-Magic throne comes into play. Later on, it's outright stated she was only able to pull off things like removing cutie marks and match Twilight in a fight because she was channeling her immense desire for revenge against both straight into magical strength. Starlight augments her magic through her emotions, which means it can be unreliable.
  • Sugary Malice: Practically drips it when guilt tripping Party Favor for approaching the Mane Six.
  • Super OCD: She shows some signs of OCD, probably to increase the similarities to Twilight. However, unlike Twilight's, hers isn't played for laughs, as she applies it to other ponies.
  • Superpower Lottery: Looks like Twilight Sparkle wasn't the only pony who won it. Starlight is very talented in magic herself, being able to perform innovative spells like Cutie Mark Removal and Time Travel, as well as give Princess Twilight Sparkle, an already well-known magical prodigy alicorn, a hard time in a duel despite being an average unicorn. However, her magical strength is greatly impaired if her emotions are not focused and can become outright dangerous when they are a bit too focused or they happen to run out of control. It's one of the main reasons why Twilight makes her a pupil in the first place.
  • Super Speed: Her magic spell Accelero, which lets her move at high speed.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • She's the main-series counterpart to Sunset Shimmer. They're both Evil Counterparts to Twilight, as reflected in their names and similar levels of magical talent and knowledge; they're similarly temperamental (Twilight's specialness seems to strike a Berserk Button in them both), and in the end both are shown the error of their ways and become The Sixth Ranger in their respective Mane Casts. She also gets a new mane style in Season 6 that looks similar to Sunset's pony mane, and the socially awkward and insecure personality she develops immediately after turning good matches that of Sunset as well.
    • She also has a little bit of Trixie in her, as she vowed revenge and sought out some powerful magic in order to fulfill her desire to get back at Twilight for upstaging her. In addition, she's eventually redeemed and forgiven. The only difference is that Starlight wasn't sent on her way, as she is considered too powerful and therefore too dangerous to be left alone.
    • Starlight can also be considered a substitute for the original Unicorn Twilight from Seasons 1-3. The similar name, similar design, the Super OCD tendencies in her personality, the lack of social background and naivete, and the immense magical potential and ability that leads to her becoming being taken in as a student in the study of Friendship by an Alicorn Princess, just like Twilight originally was. She even sounds similar to Twilight in her voice post Heel–Face Turn.
      • This is even lampshaded in a few instances. Trixie outright calls Starlight "Mini Twilight" at one point (technically she is indeed slightly shorter than Twilight), Ember points out that Twilight and Starlight act and look very similar and in the Season 7 premiere, Twilight straight up tells Celestia, quote "After all, you were me, and I was Starlight." Ember cannot tell the difference between her and Twilight since they are so alike, stating they are purple ponies with purple hair, have similar cutie marks and similar names. In "A Matter of Principals", Discord places a wig modeled after Twilight's mane on Starlight's head, visually driving the point home.
  • Sweet Tooth: During the Equestria Girls special "Mirror Magic", Starlight enjoys a triple-scoop ice cream cone while in the human world.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Starlight is no match for Queen Chrysalis and is cornered, so she tries to talk her into sharing love so the Changelings don't need to starve and steal love anymore. Chrysalis is having none of it, but fortunately for Starlight, her Changeling subjects are far more receptive to her idea.
  • Tautological Templar: She believes that her worldview is correct and cutie marks are evil, and absolutely refuses to acknowledge any other definition of friendship is true.
  • Tears of Remorse: She shed lots of those during her Villainous Breakdown in the season five finale. And once again when she finally confesses her insecurities and evil past to Sunburst.
  • Teleportation: She is able to teleport a magical scroll that Spike is holding to her. In "No Second Prances", she assists Trixie with her magic act by teleporting her as needed. She is seen teleporting her own body like Twilight in "A Hearth's Warming Tail", although it is as her alter ego Snowfall Frost. By "Every Little Thing She Does" she proves she has learned not only to teleport her own body but to do so as well as Twilight can (thanks to Twilight teaching her).
  • Teleport Spam: She makes use of this several times in "The Ending of the End", first during her one-on-one duel against Chrysalis and later to divert the villains while she frees the other heroes from prison.
  • The Tell: After Starlight turns good, she has a tendency to engage in Mirthless Laughter whenever she's stressed or upset.
  • Theme Naming: Has a similar name theme to Twilight Sparkle and Sunset Shimmer. A name relating to a time of day/celestial body, and a second name relating to shining light (in regards to her magical abilities).
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: The thing that sets her apart from prior other Arc Villain-level enemies: she's not Obviously Evil, she's not a supernatural entity, she's not even corrupted to the point of looking like a monster like Sombra. She's simply a normal unicorn with a somewhat warped worldview and access to powerful and disturbing magic. She uses this trope to her advantage in "Amending Fences", "What About Discord?" and during Twilight's lecture in "The Cutie Re-Mark – Part 1", easily blending in the background.
  • This Cannot Be!: Her reaction to Twilight blocking her spell with the same shield spell it took her years to learn, when Twilight only had to see it once to copy it.
  • Today, X. Tomorrow, the World!: While she's currently just the leader of a single little village on the outskirts of Equestria, her words hint at a greater scheme at work involving the rest of the country, particularly when she says "When the rest of Equestria sees that a princess gave up her cutie mark to join us, they'll finally understand what we're trying to accomplish."
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Post redemption, her mannerisms and voice tone change to the point that one could be forgiven for thinking she had a different voice actress entirely. She becomes much less confident and confrontational, admitting she is relearning everything she thought she knew, and her smile and tone become clearly genuine in friendliness. The Season 6 premiere has her spending a lot of time bonding with Spike in quite endearing ways. Shades of her old self still show through whenever she is upset or angry though, and she still has a manipulative side.
  • Tough Love: She utilizes this in "School Daze – Part Two"; When Twilight is depressed over her school being closed down, Starlight announces that she's not going to try and cheer her up (as Twilight's friends tried and failed to do), but tell her what she did wrong. She tells Twilight that the School of Friendship is too important to give up on, and that she shouldn't let Chancellor Neighsay stop her from doing her job as the Princess of Friendship. This turns out to be just what Twilight needs to give the school another try.
  • Tragic Villain: It's hard not to feel sorry for her because of the loss of her closest friend, albeit the conclusions she reached in reaction to it (cutie marks are to blame, cutie marks are evil) are another matter.
  • Trauma Button:
    • Sunburst is one to her at first. When she hears Twilight's idea for her to reconnect with him, she completely zones out of the rest of what Twilight was saying.
    • In "A Horse Shoe In", Starlight becomes quite apprehensive when Doctor Hooves mentions that he's been experimenting with Time Travel.
  • Troll: In "The Cutie Re-Mark". When facing a magic beam from Twilight, she casually hops aside and when one of Twilight's attempts to seal Starlight ends up hitting Rainbow Dash instead, she sarcastically gives a goofy applause. At one point, she even stops the Rainboom by convincing the bullies to stop making fun of Fluttershy, a tactic that Twilight is utterly unable to counter as that would involve her encouraging the bullies to be bullies again. It's obvious she mostly did this to screw with Twilight, and it's pretty damn amazing.
  • The Un-Reveal: Despite being a character whose villainy is initially defined by her disdain for cutie marks, it was never revealed in either the show or any spinoff media how Starlight obtained her own or how it helped shape her philosophies. Given her state of mind when the Mane Six first encountered her, however, the latter was presumably less than positive.
  • The Unsmile: Not only does she frequently use these herself, but she also has a habit of plastering them on everypony across town.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Starlight Glimmer was a perfectly normal and cute (if powerful) unicorn filly and quite friendly before losing her friendship with Sunburst and subsequently her mind and warping into a jaded evil dictator. Subverted later because with the help of her new friends, her sweetness returned.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: She wants to spread her idea of harmony and friendship across Equestria. This means everypony giving up their cutie marks, and with them their unique personalities and special talents, to avoid dissent that could damage that harmony.
  • Villain Decay: Zig-zagged in her second appearance. While Starlight returns magically more powerful and threatening than ever, to the point where she can fight Princess Twilight to a stalemate, (in addition to her already-established skills at manipulation and planning) she is notably a lot more unhinged, and her over-emotional nature, childish pettiness and single-minded thirst for revenge cause her to overlook the potential consequences of her plans. However, this actually ends up making her MORE dangerous as her actions unintentionally result in the repeated destruction of Equestria. Overall, while she became slightly less competent as a villain, she became a lot more DANGEROUS as a result.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: When all else fails, she escapes into the mountain caves.
  • Villain Has a Point: Starlight Glimmer is entirely correct in saying that differences between ponies, especially differences in their special talents, cause conflict between ponies. That's the plot of half of the episodes in this show, after all, and the Mane Six demonstrate this fact quite well in their own arguments in this episode. What she doesn't get, however, is that true friends can work past those differences, which is exactly what the Mane Six do and what causes several townsponies to reveal the existence of the vault. She also has a point on how some people with different attributes act as though they are superior to others and belittle others. Starlight's fault is how her "solution" is going overboard, eliminating the cause entirely instead of dealing with it.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • When Fluttershy reveals she still has her cutie mark, she loses it before the village and gives them a Motive Rant. She even continues giving it to them as she tries to escape and her mask slips more and more from there.
      Starlight: I brought you friendship! I brought you equality! I created harmony!
    • It gets worse when Twilight shows her the end result of trying to mess with time itself. She goes into another Motive Rant and shows Twilight her Start of Darkness, and it keeps getting worse until Twilight offers her hoof in friendship.
  • Villainous BSoD: Starlight Glimmer is broken near the end of the Season 5 finale, not uttering a single word until she is called into the throne room to meet the Mane Six.
  • Villain Song: "In Our Town", which she leads her village in singing, detailing her philosophy that only equals can truly be friends.
  • Visionary Villain: Her ultimate goal initially was to spread her skewed vision of friendship beyond her little town, possibly to all of Equestria, as she genuinely believes it to be a better way of life.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: She and Trixie have become this by Season 7. Trixie's uncaring attitude and refusal to take responsibility for her mistakes annoy Starlight to the point of literally bottling her anger to keep Trixie from knowing about it. Later, the two begin to throw jabs at each other, including Starlight bring up that Trixie "has accepted she's second best compared to Twilight". Despite this though they still care about each other and continue to help in their own way.
  • Vocal Evolution: Since her Heel–Face Turn, Starlight's acting has naturally become more earnest and soft-spoken, compared to the creepily insincere affability of her first appearance (her mood swings still exist, but they sound far more comical and less sinister). Kelly Sheridan's voice for her has also become slightly quirkier and younger-sounding, likely to make her more uniform with the other main ponies.
  • Waistcoat of Style: Starlight gets a dark gray one when she goes through the portal.
  • Walking Spoiler: The fact that she performs a Heel–Face Turn in the Season 5 finale and becomes a recurring supporting protagonist in Season 6.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • She thinks cutie marks make ponies different, and differences lead to disagreements and jealousy. Thus the only way to truly spread friendship and harmony is to eliminate cutie marks so everypony is the same. Starlight turns out to be a hypocrite because she has her talent the whole time. This causes all her support to implode and she goes down in history as an Evil Overlord, undoing any good her methods might have brought.
    • Averted in her second appearance, where it quickly becomes apparent that she has no evil plan beyond making Twilight Sparkle suffer for ruining her dreams.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?:
    • Starlight Glimmer's self-assuring attitude when it comes to casting her Mind Control spell on the Mane Five in "Every Little Thing She Does", Thinking the Mane Six will thank her for getting the friendship lessons done quickly. Not only does Starlight fail to get her friendship lessons done, she causes a huge mess, she completely missed the point of the lessons entirely, and all of her friends are royally ticked at her. Yes, a lot definitely could go (and went) wrong.
    • In "A Royal Problem", Starlight tries to convince everyone (including herself) that switching the princesses' cutie marks on a whim was the right call in making them reconcile. The royal sisters (and Twilight) are not fine with her doing it, but Luna and Celestia decide to play along since they have no other option. It really falls apart when Starlight herself begins to think her actions might have actually driven them even further apart and she has a nightmare about the worst-case scenario.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Starlight gets slammed with this hard by her friends in "Every Little Thing She Does", where she uses a mind-control spell to get all of her friendship lessons done at once.
    • When Starlight changes Celestia's and Luna's cutie marks, they immediately make their anger known, but begrudgingly agree to Starlight's idea of handling the other princess's duties for two days. Twilight also calls her out later in her room. In the end, the princesses manage to solve the issues between them and they end up thanking Starlight, although she herself also admits she did come dangerously close to messing everything up.
    • She delivers one to Twilight in "Shadow Play – Part 2", after Star Swirl scoffs at Starlight's suggestion that Stygian could be redeemed. He claims "once a villain, always a villain", in direct contrast to what Starlight learned as Twilight's pupil. Twilight, though visibly conflicted, doesn't speak up against her idol, which Starlight is quick to call her out for. Starlight, who had long since grown to appreciate the Mane Six for offering their friendship to her, is especially offended by this due to the sheer fact that she herself was once a bad guy.
      Starlight: I guess I'm lucky your "idol" wasn't around when you decided to be my friend. I might've been banished to Limbo, too.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer…: She's very talented with unicorn magic, and as such, tends to use it for all of her problems. As "No Second Prances" reveals, this can sometimes lead to Starlight making rather rash and impulsive decisions. "All Bottled Up" even has Starlight try to solve a problem of not using magic by using even more magic.
  • When She Smiles: At the end of the Season 5 finale, when she's hanging out with Twilight and her friends, her happy smile is pretty cute.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Starlight's magic is shut off when she is exposed to an Anti-Magic field given off by Queen Chrysalis' throne in "To Where and Back Again", so she's not quite as effective as she could be. She still manages to pull through, thanks to her guile.
  • Would Hurt a Child: During her time travel shenanigans, Starlight shot at a young Rainbow Dash at one occasion just to ensure she doesn't do the Sonic Rainboom.
  • Wrong Context Magic:
    • Cutie marks have been previously demonstrated to be powerful, innate magic to pony-kind. Attempts to force them tends to backfire in terrible ways, and previously nothing short of completely draining a pony's magic was sufficient to remove them. Starlight Glimmer is a seemingly ordinary unicorn who can somehow control this kind of magic.
    • Also, in "The Cutie Re-Mark", she manages to pull off extended Time Travel, something that was stated in "It's About Time" to be fundamentally impossible (though she gets around this problem by linking the spell directly into Twilight's map and by extension the Tree of Harmony itself). In addition, "What About Discord?" states that using time travel is extremely dangerous, something that Starlight doesn't seem to care about just because of her desire for revenge. However, she comes around when she sees what her revenge against the Mane Six has done to Equestria as a whole.
    • She also demonstrates a talent for combining different spells, with results that range from cool to mind-blowingly disastrous.
  • X Must Not Win: Played with. Even after seeing the after-effects her tampering with time will have on all of Equestria, she is still furiously obsessed with getting revenge on Twilight and even begins on slowly ripping the map in front of her just to ensure her "victory" is sealed. Twilight finally talks her down, but it takes a good deal of effort to break her out of it.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are:
    • Being defeated once again, giving up her ideals for good, on top of witnessing the dire consequences of her actions, Starlight is left guilt-stricken and broken. She doesn't know what to do with herself anymore and is ready to face whatever punishment awaits her. Twilight and the others decide to bring her in, so they can show her the true benefits of Friendship. Twilight in particular seeing and noting Starlight's amazing talent and even greater potential that Starlight herself never noticed or realized. Starlight Glimmer is now Twilight's new pupil, effectively becoming a Sixth Ranger to the Mane Six.
    • In "The Crystalling – Part 2", Starlight expresses disappointment after her initial attempts to reconcile with Sunburst don't work out and questions whether or not Twilight Sparkle was right in considering her worthy of friendship and giving her another chance as her pupil. Spike tells Starlight she is worth being friends with and encourages her to keep trying to reconcile with Sunburst. Which she manages in the end.
    • In "To Where and Back Again", Trixie assures Starlight that she is a good leader, and that she must embrace her talent for it, despite her own fears. This pep talk is enough to convince Starlight to press on with the rescue mission.
  • You Are in Command Now: Starlight Glimmer reluctantly takes charge when the rescue team quickly looks to her for leadership when they realize they have nowhere else to turn to. In season 8, she is Twilight's default choice for acting headmare of the School of Friendship when Twilight is forced to leave for any reason, and is given the position permanently when Twilight ascends to being ruler of Equestria.
  • You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good!: The reason why Twilight Sparkle and friends seek Starlight's redemption and friendship after her defeat. Starlight Glimmer is immensely powerful and magically talented for being a seemingly average-looking unicorn. They realize how dangerous an enemy like her could become when left alone, and how valuable a friend and ally like her could potentially be. Starlight doesn't mind, as she truly desired friends to call her own.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: In "The Ending of the End - Part 2", Starlight, Celestia, Luna, and Discord put up enough of a fight for the Mane Six to escape from the villains, despite the latter three being drained of their magic.


Video Example(s):


In Our Town

Starlight Glimmer gives the Mane Six a tour of her village and tries to convince them to be equal.

How well does it match the trope?

4.35 (17 votes)

Example of:

Main / VillainSong

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