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Comic Book / My Little Pony: FIENDship Is Magic

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A My Little Pony limited-run comic book series based on the cartoon show of a similar name, and part of the overall My Little Pony (Generation 4) universe. Published by IDW, using a number of different writers and artists. The series is a special event for IDW in April 2015 (incidentally the same month season 5 of the TV series premiered), temporarily replacing the normal runs of the on-going comics and Friends Forever. The five-issue series explores some of the major villains of the franchise — King Sombra, Lord Tirek, The Sirens/The Dazzlings, Nightmare Moon, and Queen Chrysalis.

The main covers for the series were done by Amy Mebberson, who based them on famous Renaissance paintings, and variant covers are done by Sara Richards, with each of the Mane 6 in Day-of-the-Dead style makeup.

The series was revealed in January of 2015, and all five issues were shipped over the course of April, with the compilation released in July.

This series provides examples of these tropes (for more, please also visit the character guide). Be warned that all spoilers are unmarked.

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  • Downer Ending: They're stories about the villains, course it's not gonna end happily within the flashbacks. Heck Sombra's and Chrysalis's pretty much indicate they'll return in the series proper.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Though we don't know how they all rose to power, we know that the five will be defeated in some manner after such. Though in Sombra and Chrysalis's case, they look to be gearing up for another try.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: This is expected of all of the stories to some degree, but Sombra in particular is a "normal pony" who went on to BECOME one of the most feared ponies in Equestria's history."
  • Prequel: Except for Chrysalis' story, all the books appear to take place before events of the show proper; Chrysalis, which has the Mane 6 visiting her imprisonment, has flashbacks to earlier events. Sombra's is a flashback due to the framing device of Cadance and Twilight reading his Journal.
  • Saved by Canon: Being prequels, the villains are assured to get away with their deeds insofar as to remain the threat they were in the main series. This is the reason this page doesn't bother with spoilers.
  • Shout-Out: The cover artwork for "The Sirens" issue depicts a trio of pony mermaids dancing and holding hands in the same poses as Botticelli's trio of Graces in his Primavera painting.
  • Start of Darkness: While the depth of it varies, the comics explore the events that set the five on their paths to evil. This is played with in the Nightmare Moon issue however, as we don't see how Luna became corrupted. Instead, it's the Start of Darkness for the moon creatures that would become the Nightmare Forces in the Nightmare Rarity comic arc.
  • Villain Episode: This series explores the origins of five of the show's villains; the only major villains at the time left out are Discord (although he does have a cameo in Tirek's), Sunset Shimmer, who had her origins explored in the 2013 Annual, and Starlight Glimmer, who was introduced in the TV show when this was running.

    # 1 King Sombra 
Story by Jeremy Whitley, Art by Brenda Hickey

Princesses Cadance and Twilight are curious to learn about King Sombra, and Twilight uses the dark magic spell to discover a secret study behind the door at the bottom of the stairs in the crystal palace throne room. They find a diary written by Sombra and start to read it.

Sombra's first memory was being found as a colt by crystal pony guards, and knowing only a single word, which became his name. He was taken into an orphanage and taught to speak and read. Because of his lack of basic communication skills, the other young fillies and colts teased him, but one filly, Radiant Hope, found Sombra to be weird like her and the two became friends. Sombra soon was able to better integrate himself with the others, and he and Radiant Hope began to save up gems to spend at the upcoming Crystal Fair. On the day prior to the Faire, the two go to gaze upon the Crystal Heart and both have visions — Radiant of becoming a princess, and Sombra of becoming evil. He is scared off but runs into Princess Amore, who knows he shouldn't be frightened of the visions, and that they may not come to pass.

The next day, Sombra finds that his body refuses to move. Radiant Hope stays by his side, forgoing the Fair, but the next day Sombra is all well. They plan for the same the next year, but again and again, on the day of the Fair, Sombra's body gains a strange crystalization and refuses to move. One year, his body in this state begins to shatter, but Radiant Hope uses her magic to restore Sombra to normal and gains her cutie mark. She finds her magic can restore nearly anypony back to health. Though this is a special skill, Sombra recognizes that it is the type of magic that would likely lead to Radiant Hope becoming a princess, and begins to fear the visions of what he would become. When Radiant Hope receives a letter inviting her to study at Canterlot, Sombra realizes his fate is sealed, and runs off into the winter lands outside the Crystal Empire.

There, he runs into a strange red crystal that speaks to him. The crystal claims it is his mother, and that Sombra is not really a pony, but a shadow pony, a creature created by the umbrum forces that wait beneath the Crystal Empire, waiting for the Crystal Heart, Princess Amore's weapon, to be shattered so they can be freed. The crystal awakens Sombra's latent powers and tells him that he must remove the Crystal Heart before the next Fair or will be destroyed by the Crystal Heart itself, which has been causing his transformations before.

Sombra returns to the Crystal Empire under darkness and tries to destroy the Heart, but Princess Amore is there, and warns him to stop. She explains she knew what his fate was, and hoped it was possible to change it, and knows he still can as she feels there is good in him. Sombra refuses and uses his powers to turn Amore into crystal. Radiant Hope arrives, aghast at what Sombra has done, and begs him to stop. He refuses, and in his power-hungry rant, shatters the Amore crystal. He is unable to do anything against Radiant Hope, who runs off to warn Celestia and Luna about his rise, while Sombra enslaves the Crystal Empire to free the umbrum forces, hides the Crystal Heart, and scatters the pieces of the crystal Amore across Equestia so they cannot be reassembled until he is powerful enough to stop her. Sombra intends to release the umbrum forces beneath the Empire to serve as his army, but knows he will not succeed before Celestia and Luna arrive, and thus resolves to get a long-lasting vengeance on the Crystal Ponies with one more spell he will cast before he is defeated.

The diary ends there, and Twilight feels some sympathy for Sombra, Cadance reminds her of Sombra's crimes and just how evil he became. They leave the diary be and leave the room, unaware that Sombra's shattered horn (from the end of "The Crystal Empire") has found its way down the stairs, still possessing the spirit of Sombra.

  • Ascended Meme: Some of the crystal pony fillies tease Sombra as "Sombrero", which has been a fandom meme since Sombra's introduction in the Season 3 opener.
  • Badass Boast: Sombra gets a good one when he awakens his true power. "Destruction was my talent, and darkness was my cutie mark."
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Twilight is called back to the Crystal Empire to use the dark spell to open the passageway again because Cadence was unable to learn the spell.
  • Broken Bird: After the way he was ostracized by most of the Crystal Ponies throughout his early life, Learning about his true heritage REALLY messed Sombra up, and then turning Princess Amore to crystal made it worse.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Sombra is revealed to be an equinenoid abomination created by the umbrum who are straight eldritch. Sombra taking the Crystal Empire with him after his defeat to the princesses now falls into this, especially for Radiant Hope, who lost everything she cared about for her role in his defeat.
  • Call-Back: The story opens on Twilight re-opening the secret passage in the throne room of the Crystal Palace using the same dark magic that she had used before, and then finding the door at the bottom of the stairwell.
  • Call-Forward:
    • Young Sombra proclaiming (in a game) that "A Dragon could never defeat me!"
    • Sombra briefly takes the cloudy form that he appears in after his 1000 year imprisonment, which is apparently his true form.
    • The red crystal tells Sombra that the Crystal Heart will destroy him if he doesn't take it out of the equation first.
  • Calvinball: Young Sombra and Radiant play a version of a imagination game that Radiant seems to make up rules for on the fly.
  • Chekhov's Gun: That sound that Twilight and Cadence hear at the beginning turns out to be Sombra's horn, which survived his destruction.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The reason for the Crystal Heart and the need for the Crystal Fair, and how Sombra figures all into it is well established by this story.
    • Princess Amore, first mentioned in The Journal of the Two Sisters, shows up as a major character.
  • Cruel Mercy: Sombra ultimately chooses not enslave or harm Radiant Hope in any way as he still had feelings for her after he embraces his inner darkness. Though this ultimately leads to his defeat, Sombra's final act of making the Crystal Empire disappear for 1,000 years is a form of suffering specifically meant for Hope as she is forced to spend the rest of her life as the sole surviving Crystal Pony and isolated from everything she had ever known.
  • Darker and Edgier: Perhaps the darkest G4 comic to date. Highlights include the Body Horror of Sombra's transformations, his shattering of Amore after turning her into Crystal, and the Star Crossed Lover story between Sombra and Hope. In contrast to the usual comics and show, there is very little humor in Sombra's tale, it's pure tragedy.
  • Depending on the Artist: Luna appears in her Season 1 appearance, in spite of the flashback in The Crystal Empire showing her in her Season 2 onward one. The explanation for the appearance change the comics established in issue #8 of the main series isn't brought up.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: While Sombra had legitimate reason to resent the Crystal ponies, the only excuse for the extent of his revenge (which included those who didn't do anything wrong to him) was his belief that he was meant to do this all along.
  • Dying Curse: Literally. Aware that he will be defeated not long after taking complete control of the empire and releasing the umbrum forces, and that he cannot hope to defeat Celestia and Luna, he uses his final days to curse the Crystal Ponies to a thousand years of suffering as repayment for his horrible life among them.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Princess Amore was previously mentioned in the book, "The Journal of the Two Sisters".
  • The End... Or Is It?: The story ends with Sombra's horn joining a shadow shaped like him.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Sombra still claims to love Radiant Hope even after his transformation, though that seems to fade somewhat after she flees to Luna and Celestia.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Sombra couldn't bring himself to completely destroy Amore, despite his hatred of her.
  • Foreshadowing: The sound of the horn, which was seen flying off as Sombra was defeated, can be heard early on, as Cadence and Twilight head down the stairs. Since then, the reveals of the synopsis and covers for issues #34-37 of the main series, "Siege of the Crystal Empire", show that this particular issue is a prequel for what will happen in this series, as both Sombra and Radiant Hope are returning characters.
  • Friendless Background: Outside of Radiant Hope, Sombra had only himself for company as he grew up. The idea she might leave him finally drove him from the empire into the arms of the red crystal that awakened his true power.
  • From a Single Cell: The last panel of the comic shows Sombra's crystal horn falling down the steps and suggests that he CAN regenerate his pony form from the magic in it. Later subverted in issues #34-37 of the main series, "Siege of the Crystal Empire" where Sombra actually returns from the dead with the help of his old friend Radiant Hope.
  • Girl in the Tower: Flipped in the example of the games Sombra and Hope played together, with Sombra in the tower and Hope playing his Knight in Shining Armor.
  • Good Hurts Evil: Even before his power awakened, Sombra was hurt and paralyzed by the Crystal Fair (due to the Crystal Heart's power being lethal to his species), and after his awakening is vulnerable to it to the point that it would destroy him.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Learning of his origins causes any jealousy and insignificance Sombra felt towards the Crystal Ponies to explode into full-blown hatred. Interestingly, the umbrum crystal may be responsible for the madness itself.
  • Healing Hands: Radiant Hope eventually develops a magical healing ability that can cure any illness or ailment.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Well, equinoid. Sombra discovers he's actually a manifestation of pure darkness given form as a pony.
  • I Am Who?: Sombra's actually a creature called an umbrum, sometimes called "shadow ponies", taken in and raised by the Crystal Ponies. He doesn't take The Reveal very well.
  • I've Come Too Far: One of the reasons Sombra rejects Radiant Hope's offer of redemption.
  • Karma Houdini: The Umbrum Forces might have had their plan to be unsealed thwarted, but they're no worse off for their setback. And they're still out there, ready to try to free themselves again...
  • Leaking Can of Evil: Although sealed away in another dimension by the power of Crystal Heart, the Umbrum apparently can still influence the normal world to a degree — as evidenced by their ability to communicate with Sombra via their dark crystal or to transfer him to the Crystal Empire disguised as a pony in the first place.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Princess Amore is turned to crystal by Sombra, and broken into pieces.
  • Made of Evil: The red crystal reveals Sombra is not a real pony, but an umbrum — a shadow pony made of darkness.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Radiant Hope. Perhaps even lampshading the trope as Radiant has imaginary fairy friends (aka the manic pixies).
  • The Man Behind the Man: The umbrum forces Sombra was trying to unleash, and the red crystal that claims it created him.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Radiant Hope as the Manic Pixie Dream Girl.
    • While not stated explicitly in the comic, Sombra is revealed to be a colt child created by the umbrum forces. A "son of umbra", or "Sombra".
  • My Greatest Failure: Sombra says his one mistake was letting Radiant Hope, who he still loved, flee, which allowed her to warn Celestia and Luna and keep him from using his crystal pony slaves to release the army slumbering beneath the Crystal Empire. It's actually the first major mistake he's ever made in his career as a villain. The second comes in the Season 3 opener, where Spike ends up being the Spanner in the Works that ends up turning the tables on him. Made even more ironic since in his youth, he proclaimed that "a dragon could never defeat me!"
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Amore believed that Sombra had the potential for goodness, but didn't do anything else to try and help him, which came back to bite her and the Crystal Empire big time.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Sombra even lampshades that his one mistake was letting Radiant Hope leave.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: Sombra, just like in his debut on the show. Here, upon completing his Start of Darkness — he invokes Literally Shattered Lives on Amore after only a brief argument (and somehow scatters the pieces throughout Equestria, just to be extra sure), and his signature curse on the Empire is revealed to actually be a preemptive Dead Man's Switch before Celestia and Luna even show up.
  • Not Quite Dead:
    • Princess Amore is not dead despite her crystal form being shattered (Sombra expects that she can be reassembled and restored). Writer Jeremy Whitley noted that the only thing Hasbro asked for his script was to make sure it was clear that Amore was not "dead dead".
    • Similarly, the sentience of his horn at the end implies he is not truly dead himself. (However, the stories are not necessary canon with the show).
  • Pokémon Speak: A variation, at first the only word Sombra knows how to say is "Sombra", so they make that his name.
  • Properly Paranoid: Downplayed with Princesses Cadance, who thinks Sombra is "gone for good", but notes they thought this after his first defeat and part of finding out about his history is in case he does, which the ending all but spells out will happen soon.
  • Quest for Identity: Colt Sombra arrives in the Crystal Empire without any knowledge about himself at all, or how to talk or read; his name is only Sombra, because it is the only word he knew.
  • Redemption Rejection: As Sombra is stealing the Crystal Heart, Princess Amore tells Sombra that it's still not too late for him to do that right thing. Sombra doesn't listen, turning Amore into crystal and eventually shattering her.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The umbrum forces that are sleeping under the Crystal Empire.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Sombra saw a vision of his dark self in the Crystal Heart, and despite Princess Amore's reassurances that he could Screw Destiny, he ended up running straight toward his destiny and becoming what he saw.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • The ending implies Sombra's spirit still lives within his horn, which is still around and seems to possess some form of sentience. This leaves the door open he could return someday.
    • Similarly with the potential Fetch Quest collection of Amore's crystal pieces, and the ambiguity of what happened to Radiant Hope.
    • Not to mention that, as far as we know, the umbrum are still sealed beneath the Crystal Empire.
  • Screw Destiny: Princess Amore believed that ponies are capable of choosing their own futures, which is why she didn't do anything despite knowing what Sombra was (although she could've done more).
  • Shout-Out:
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Sombra and Radiant Hope. As they grow up Sombra admits he loves her, but she's destined to be a princess and he's a shadow pony destined to fight her.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: After learning Sombra's story, Twilight feels bad for him. Cadance disagrees.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: After years of enduring All of the Other Reindeer from everypony but Hope (and arguably Amore), and Good Hurts Evil from the very Faire he'd wanted to attend for so long — he finally snaps and accepts Dark Is Evil.
  • Third-Person Person: At least as a colt, as he comes to grasp with the language. The language in his diary shows he drops the third-person when he is older.
  • This Was His True Form: The issue reveals Sombra's shadow form is his true form as a shadow pony, and the pony body he's inhabited his whole life is a disguise.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Sombra discovers he's not a pony, but a creature of shadow and evil.
  • Trojan Horse: The umbrum forces created Sombra as to be able to fit into the Crystal Empire society eventually to destroy the Crystal Heart from within. (Also counts as a Stealth Pun)
  • [Verb] This!: After Sombra turns Princess Amore into a statue, Hope pleads with him to let her try to restore the princess. He shatters the statue and scatters the pieces across Equestria, then says "Restore that."
  • We Can Rule Together: Sombra tries to convince Radiant Hope that they can rule together as King and Queen, but she refuses.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Sombra wanted Hope to suffer the worst for what he saw as her betrayal. He created the spell that made the Crystal Empire vanish specifically to punish her.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Radiant Hope's eventual fate is left unanswered, as are the fragments of Princess Amore, the buried Umbrums and the red crystal.
  • Wild Child: Implied by Sombra's lack of any basic communications, though far from being a feral creature. It's later revealed that he was created from a crystal and is a shadow pony.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Before he came upon that red crystal and realized who and what he was... Sombra was just a normal stallion, isolated and lonely, living in fear that he may one day become a tyrant. Twilight even feels a little sorry for him at the end of the issue.
  • You Monster!: Hope yells this at Sombra when he destroys Amore. Sombra replies he is not just a monster, he is the King of All Monsters.

    # 2 Lord Tirek 
Story by Christina Rice, Art by Tony Fleecs

Far in the past, in a distant and barren land, a young Tirek sneaks out to visit the hermit Sendak the Elder in the nether lands, tailed by his brother Scorpan. While Tirek coerces Scorpan to wait outside, Sendak shows that he has returned from the land of Equestria and has abducted a unicorn. His plan is to figure out how to absorb the power of unicorns to use for his own, but Sendak knows that Tirek will want to absorb the power for his own goods, and warns him that he is far too young and his own powerful magic untamed. Hearing bells in the distance, Tirek reluctantly returns to home with Scorpan.

Tirek, or Prince Tirek as we find out, is chewed out by his father King Vorak for traveling to see Sendak. Vorak and his wife Queen Haydon worry that Tirek's influence for disrespecting their wishes will influence Scorpan. That evening, Tirek sneaks out alone and returns to Sendak. He restrains the sleeping elder and then proceeds to try to extract the magic from the caged unicorn. The power-consumption spell goes horribly wrong, causing Sendak's place to erupting in fire. Sendak wakes and finds himself trapped under rubble, but Tirek abandons him and sneaks back to the castle. However, the explosion has alerted Vorak, and by the time Tirek arrives, Vorak and his guards have rescued Sendak and the unicorn. Vorak arranged to have Sendak forced to work in the mines for the rest of his life and prepares to sent a delegation to return the unicorn back to Equestria with apologies to Princess Celestia. Tirek lies about his whereabouts that night, but Vorak warns that Tirek needs to fall in line. Once punished to return to his quarters, Tirek plots how he will take over his father's empire on his quest for power.

  • All There in the Manual:
  • Ambition Is Evil: Tirek to no surprise, but as with the episode, we see Tirek using others simply to gain more power. In particular, he casts magic to bind Sendak while he attempts to drain the unicorn of his magic, and when that backfires, he simply leaves Sendak to his fate.
    • A more subtle example is that during the night before Tirek returns to Sendak, he is using telekinesis to throw wooden figures of ponies against a fireplace hearth, foreshadowing his plans in "Twilight's Kingdom".
  • The Archmage: Apparently Tirek had more magic than anyone else in his father's kingdom, in least in terms of raw talent.
  • Beard of Evil: Tirek has a small goatee and Sendak has a full-grown beard.
  • Call-Forward: We see Scorpan wearing the medallion that Tirek would give to Discord and ultimately to Twilight as the last Key of Harmony from "Twilight's Kingdom". Tirek notes that Scorpan would never betray him.
    • The mentor figure that Tirek visits, Sendak, is using the same means of drawing magic from a kidnapped Equestrian unicorn that Tirek would use in the episode. When Tirek tries it himself, his mouth unhinges in a similar way.
    • When Discord found Tirek, the centaur implied that he and Discord had met before. Here Discord can be seen, cloaked, when King Vorak finds out about the kidnapped unicorn.
    • At the end Tirek promises to overthrow his father, master the Mana Drain spell, and do what Sendak could not and steal Equestrian magic.
    • Vorak has two cloud gremlins as advisors.
  • The Cameo:
    • Discord appears as one of King Vorak's advisors, dressed in a brown cloak.
    • Two cloud gremlins appear in the sky as Tirek flees Sendak's cave, and are later seen among Vorak's advisors.
  • Either/Or Offspring: The children of a centaur/gargoyle Interspecies Romance are Tirek, a centaur, and Scorpan, a gargoyle.
  • Emo Teen: Tirek has shades of this. He's moody, arrogant, doesn't get along with his family, especially his parents, and complains about how no one recognizes or respects his potential.
  • Evil Mentor: It seems that Tirek learned much from his teacher Sendak the Elder, an older centaur in robes.
  • The Evil Prince: Tirek. He's a prince, and he's already showing his evil traits.
  • Fatal Flaw: This issue establishes that Tirek's is his thirst for power.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Sendak considers unicorn magic very powerful.
  • Interspecies Romance: King Vorak, Tirek's father, is a centaur while his wife Queen Haydon is a gargoyle like Scorpan.
  • Look Behind You: Tirek creates a fireworks-like blast in the sky to distract the guards while he sneaks out.
  • Mana Drain: Sendak is using the same spell Tirek would use in the future on a unicorn in a cage, though he couldn't get it to work. Tirek tries to do the same thing to the unicorn later, but is also unsuccessful.
  • Mind over Matter: Tirek uses telekinesis several times.
  • Mordor: Downplayed, but Tirek's homeland is still barren-looking and dry.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Young Tirek is seen with the bag that contains the Rainbow of Darkness, an element from the Rescue at Midnight Castle special. His overall design also resembles Tirac considerably more than Tirek did in FiM. Tony Fleecs admits that he drew upon the original special for design inspiration.
    • The castle Tirek and his family inhabits here is a slimmer version of the titular Midnight Castle from the special.
  • Never Say "Die": When Tirek notices that the unicorn isn't moving, Sendak says that it's not "departed", but drugged.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Tirek's inability to absorb the unicorn's magic breaks the cage, freeing him, and draws attention to Sendak's cave.
  • Oh, Crap!: King Vorak when realizes that a kidnapped unicorn is in his land, fearing that it would put a strain on his kingdom's relations with Equestria.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: Apparently all centaurs in this world have horns, Mystical White Hair, and red skin.
  • Overly-Nervous Flop Sweat: Tirek starts sweating when his father calls him and Scorpan to the throne room.
  • Power Incontinence: Tirek is unable control the unicorn magic, resulting in it blowing open the cage and causing a partial collapse of Sendak's cave.
  • Properly Paranoid: Vorak keeps limiting Tirek's power and spying on him in fear he'll abuse said power. Given Tirek's role in the unicorn's abduction... yeah. Not to mention, of course, Tirek's future.
  • Ret-Canon: The Series Finale of the show mentions King Vorak and his role in Triek's Freudian Excuse, effectively canonizing the events of the issue with the show.
  • Shout-Out: Sendak is named after Maurice Sendak, the author of Where the Wild Things Are.
  • Sigil Spam: The symbol on Scorpan's medallion appears to be important to Tirek's family, as a giant version of the medallion is mounted into the wall above the throne room.
  • Theme Naming: All three named centaurs, Tirek, Vorak and Sendak, have names that end in a "k". And all two named gargoyles, Scorpan and Haydon, have names that end in an "n".
  • The Unreveal: While we learn where Tirek learned his Mana Drain spell, and gained his fixation on stealing pony magic, we still don't know how/if he took over his homeland or overthrew his parents.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Vorak's not ugly, but he still looks gruff in contrast to Haydon, a lovely female gargoyle.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Both the young Tirek and his mentor have white hair, and are both not very nice (though Tirek has black sideburns).

    # 3 The Sirens/The Dazzlings 
Story by Ted Anderson, Art by Agnes Garbowska

In ancient Equestria, the Sirens, having drained emotions from several smaller towns, set their gaze on the more populous Canterlot. They are fortunate to find that the city is hosting a multi-day musical competition, and decide they can enter it, giving them the largest audience to use their magic on the crowd. However, they quickly find their choice of music simply is not accepted in Canterlot, and their performance is cut short.

Adagio realizes they need to find some type of music that will capture the Canterlot's higher standards, and is inspired to create "pop" music (after hearing Sonata pop a bubble gum bubble). After rewriting their songs, they re-enter the contest the next day and quickly mesmerize the crowd, their magic starting to drain the ponies, except for one, Star Swirl the Bearded. The wizard recognizes the magic at work, and knowing he cannot stop the Sirens with magic, attempts to break their musical spell on the audience with his own musical stylings. Though his initial attempt fails, he becomes more adept as a musician, forcing the Sirens to also adapt their style. Before long, their contest soon turns into a pitched battle, with new musical genres being developed at each turn.

Eventually, Star Swirl realizes that he'll never be able to beat the Sirens with music, and lacks the necessary element to best them with magic. With no other options available, he turns to the magic mirror and banishes the Sirens to the strange world beyond it, where no magic exists for them to exploit. He hopes they will be able to use their powers for good, and considers his inability to defeat the Sirens his greatest failure.

In the epilogue, the Sirens land in a contemporary city street, discovering both their new human forms and the lack of magic in this world. Adagio, however, still senses that their gems have enough magic to use their music to continue to feed off emotions, and leads the other two to explore this new world.

  • The Ace: The Sirens when it comes to music. Star Swirl banished them because he was unable to defeat them, and they even created pop music centuries before it appeared in our world.
  • Always Someone Better: No matter how much he tried, the Sirens were better at music than Star Swirl, so he gave up his attempts at outplaying them and banished them.
  • Anachronism Stew: Justified, the Sirens and Star Swirl were so determined to beat each other they ended up creating new instruments and styles of music long before they appeared in our world. As for the gum Sonata was chewing at one point, A Wizard Did It, and the same is probably literally the case for Star Swirl's boom box.
  • Ancient Rome: How Canterlot of 1000-some years ago looked.
  • Battle of the Bands:
    • The sirens intend to enter in a Canterlot musical competition to be able to play and feed off the largest possible crowd.
    • This ends up being a battle between the Sirens and Star Swirl, each trying to come up with new music to outdo the other.
  • Been There, Shaped History: The battle between the Sirens and Star Swirl is directly responsible for the existence of several instruments and no fewer than twenty-three new genres of music. For example, the Sirens invented pop music, Star Swirl apparently created rap, etc.
  • Bigger Than Jesus: Played with. Aria considers the opportunity to feed off the emotions of Canterlot to be "the greatest thing since sliced bread", which was only invented the week prior.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The Sirens seem to be passing themselves off as ordinary singers.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: The Sirens never bothered to do anything more complicated their "aah" vocalization before coming to Canterlot, since it had always been enough before. When the more sophisticated city forces them to adapt, Adagio shows her skill by inventing pop music overnight, and their Battle of the Bands with Star Swirl created several new instruments and twenty-three new music genres.
  • Call-Forward: Their m.o. is the same as it is in Rainbow Rocks, pass as benevolent singers, use Mind-Control Music on their audiences (in the midst of a Battle of the Bands for their Canterlot performance), encourage their conflicts, and feed off the resulting disharmony.
    • Aria mentions that banishment is a punishment for using mind control magic.
    • At first the Sirens try simply using the "aah" vocalization they used in the human-world diner on the crowd in Canterlot.
    • Star Swirl's plan was the same as Twilight's, outperform the Sirens in order to break their spell. Unfortunately, they were better at him in the music category.
    • During his Battle of the Bands with the Sirens, Star Swirl starts rapping, like Pinkie would do in the future, references his being described as a lot like Pinkie in the "Reflections" arc. We also see his lab that was introduced in the same arc.
    • Star Swirl's spell sent the Sirens forward in time in addition to sending them to the other world, and gives them the same outfits they're wearing when they first appear in the movie. It also explains why they were complaining about their banishment in the diner.
    • Similarly, the pony AJ's question about why they've only surfaced now makes sense now, they only recently arrived; that, or the fact that there was barely any energy for them to feed off of prevented them being an active threat until real Equestrian magic appeared at the end of the first movie.
  • The Cameo: Doctor Whooves appears with Roseluck (or a Generation Xerox version of her) on one panel.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The episode Shadow Play eventually showed a completely different flashback about how the Sirens were banished from Equestria: in FIEN Dship is Magic, Starswirl fought them by himself after they came to Canterlot and used banishment as a last resort; in the show, he fought them alongside the other Pillars, did so in a small seaside hamlet they had taken over and used banishment as his first resort. Later comics followed Shadow Play's version as well.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Zigzagged. In the film, the Sirens were portrayed as causing serious strife and conflict until Star Swirl bested them without incident. It's shown that their battle was largely comedic with any harm the Sirens caused being Offscreen, if at all. However, they ''decisively defeated'' Star Swirl, who only won by banishing them as a last ditch option when when they were basking in their victory.
  • City Shout Outs: The Sirens deliver a "Hello, Canterlot!" as they get rolling.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • We see the banishment of the Sirens by Star Swirl as described by Rainbow Rocks.
    • Star Swirl feels that there was a missing element to his magic that he was unable to come up with a spell powerful enough to defeat the Sirens. This alludes to Twilight's friendship with the Mane 6 in "Magical Mystery Cure" being the missing piece to Star Swirl's unfinished spell.
    • The epilogue places the Sirens as human girls in a contemporary city comparable to the time frame of Rainbow Rocks, give or take a few years, discovering their lack of magic but enough power in their gems to continue to drain emotions from others.
    • Star Swirl apparently used one of the time spells he created in The Journal of the Two Sisters to shoot the Sirens forward in time to the modern day when he banished them.
  • Emotion Eater: The Sirens, as established in Rainbow Rocks, feed of conflict and disharmony.
  • Epic Fail: Star Swirl's first performance, which ended with the crowd booing and throwing tomatoes (and a carrot) at him.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Adagio has one when Sonata's bubble gum inspires her to create pop music.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Equestria at this time has more than a few similarities to ancient Rome, including ponies in togas and a Coltosseum.
  • Flight: The Sirens hover everywhere.
  • Generation Xerox: Artist Agnes Garbowska teased there might be some of these. On page 5, for example, are generation-appropriate Expys for Rarity and Sweetie Belle, for example.
  • Godzilla Threshold: As it turns out, Star Swirl banished the Sirens as a desperate last resort because he couldn't defeat them himself, and hoped that the other world could.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: In-universe, the Sirens are made out to be less actively malevolent than they were described as in Rainbow Rocks, though they did cause some trouble.
  • Humanity Ensues: The Sirens are turned into humans upon entering the other world. Sonata is particularly freaked out, wondering where her hooves are.
  • Lighter and Softer: After the dark and drama-heavy first two issues, this issue is much more humorous.
  • Literal-Minded: Adagio signs up the Sirens with the judge telling him that there are "two 'S's". When they are introduced at the competition, they are called out as the "SSirens".
  • Mind-Control Music: As usual for the Sirens, they use their music to influence others.
  • My Greatest Failure: At the end, Star Swirl writes in his journal that he feels that his was not being able to redeem the Sirens, since he lacked The Power of Friendship.
  • Narrator All Along: The narration turns out to be from Star Swirl's own journal entries.
  • Near-Villain Victory: The Sirens were just too good at music for Star Swirl to beat, forcing him to banish them to the other world while they were basking in the attention of the crowds because he didn't have any other options.
  • No-Sell:
    • Due to Canterlot having more sophisticated tastes than their previous concert sites, the Sirens' initial attempt to mesmerize the crowd does jack squat.
    • Star Swirl's first attempt to use his music to overcome the Siren's spell is an Epic Fail that results in him getting pelted by tomatoes, and he is ultimately unable to overcome their music.
  • Offscreen Villainy: If the Sirens really caused all the strife and conflict Rainbow Rocks implied, it gets no more presence in the story then a one-panel flashback to what they did prior to the comic.
  • Palette Swap: Downplayed: while their overall forms, heads, and the like are the same, differing only in color, there are some distinct features on the head fins to be able to distinguish between the three (beyond color). For example, Aria's is a bit more rounded at the top than the other two Sirens'.
  • Piss-Take Rap: Star Swirl's rap.
  • Produce Pelting: Star Swirl's first attempt at out-performing the Sirens resulted in the crowd throwing tomatoes (and a carrot) at him.
  • Shout-Out:
    • On the Canterlot reveal page, the sirens have dialog that mirrors the lines of the title theme of Camelot.
    • The judging panel is set up similar to shows like American Idol or The Voice, with each judge having a "buzzer" and a display area underneath for a checkmark or an X (though all manually done by ponies beneath the podium).
    • Within the musical battle, some of the style parodies include:
      • Star Swirl gets his groove on with a 80s-inspired rap outfit (including a Flava Flav giant clock, boombox, and track suit)
      • The sirens engage in a barbershop triplet.
  • Sirens Are Mermaids: The sirens are definitely aquatic in nature, though they get around by hovering.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Averted, the Sirens were better at working together before their banishment started making them sick of each other.
  • Tempting Fate: Adagio arrogantly states that nopony will be able to notice their Mind-Control Music. Star Swirl did, and it led to their downfall and banishment.
  • The Unreveal: We never learn how the Sirens gained their Mind-Control Music powers or set out on their journey, only how they were defeated and banished.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: No one seems to care about the three aquatic merponies floating around in Canterlot, all the Sirens get is a few odd looks.
  • You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good!: Star Swirl feels this way about the Sirens, and feels that his greatest failure ever was being unable to get them to do a Heel–Face Turn due to him lacking The Power of Friendship necessary to overcome their music, and having to banish them to stop them.

    # 4 Nightmare Moon 
Story by Heather Nuhfer, Art by Tony Fleecs

Immediately following her banishment by Princess Celestia, Nightmare Moon wanders the surface of the moon and comes across a number of Nyx, creatures that are able to enter and manipulate the dreams of ponies to help chase away the nightmares. Nightmare Moon feigns friendship with Doran, one of the Nyx, hoping to learn how to use the dream-walking powers herself, despite warnings from the other Nyx that Doran should be careful about revealing their methods.

After trying to enter Celestia's dreams directly and finding her mind is well-protected from her, Nightmare Moon has Doran take her into the dream of a random pony, and plants the idea that Princess Celestia is a tyrant, knowing that gossip will spread like wildfire among the pony citizens. However, before the situation gets too far out of hand, Celestia is able to restore order, assuring her citizens she is protecting her, despite the amount magic she needs to do so causes her own mental defenses to become weak. Nightmare Moon is upset, and realizes she needs to enter Celestia's mind. With her power, she converts the Nyx into the nightmare forces under her control, and demands they take her to Celestia's mind in its weakened state, which they do without question.

In Celestia's mind, Nightmare Moon tries to frighten the princess, but she is unaffected by the various attempts. Nightmare Moon tries another tactic, showing Princess Luna trapped and unable to be freed. Celestia balks for a moment, but this reminders her that she has the Power of Love, something that Nightmare Moon does not understand. Celestia sends off an energy wave that knocks Nightmare Moon out of her mind.

When Nightmare Moon comes too back on the moon, she finds that the nightmare forces claim they are unable to enter Celestia's mind again, though to themselves they promise they will do as much as they can to protect Celestia from further invasion from Nightmare Moon. Nightmare Moon prepares to leave when the nightmare forces admit they still can enter the dreams of other ponies, cheering Nightmare Moon up greatly as she plans out the rest of her banishment.

  • Adaptational Villainy: Nightmare's far crueler here than in any prior work, especially in giving No Sympathy to anyone enduring And I Must Scream due to her.
  • Blatant Lies: Nightmare Moon tells the Nyx that she has come to live among them, not mentioning her banishment at all. She also claims the ponies below are cruel. She also uses dreams to spread the false notion that Celestia is a tyrant.
  • The Cameo:
    • Two of the nyx appear similar to Larry and Jerome, two of the nightmare forces that help to save Ponyville in the Nightmarity arc.
    • One of the cloud gremlins appears in a magic ray that Nightmare Moon fires at Celestia.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The story picks up immediately after Nightmare Moon is banished to the moon by Princess Celestia.
    • Nightmare Moon notes she is back "again" — this relates back to the Nightmare Rarity arc of the main series (Issues #5-8) as well as to Issue #24 (Fluttershy/CMC/Discord) in which it is established that nightmare entities take over the creature's body (Luna or Rarity from previous cases), displacing the host's personality. Issue #24 establishes that Luna was not likely the first host of these.
    • The nyx forces on the moon explain the nature of manipulating dreams, which Nightmare Moon wants to use to give ponies nightmares. Luna, once returned to her former self, uses this knowledge as a dreamwalker but for purposes of protecting the ponies of Equestria in their sleep.
    • Nightmare Moon adresses Gaiman with the royal Canterlot voice, and introduces herself as "Mare on the Moon".
  • The Corrupter: Nightmare Moon is this to the Nyx, first by claiming ponies were unappreciative of their work, then apparently using more direct method to make them into the Nightmare Forces.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Nightmare Moon spreads the idea that Celestia is a tyrant by giving one pony a bad dream about her, which quickly spreads across Equestria.
  • Dream Weaver: The Nyx are responsible for creating pony dreams.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Celestia tells Nightmare Moon that she can't understand love.
  • Fatal Flaw: Doran's hunger for friendship and understanding allows Nightmare Moon to play her like a fiddle.
  • Genre Blind: The Nyx, who are oblivious to Nightmare Moon being evil.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Celestia is shown to have the same braids Doran gave Nightmare Moon, right before its revealed Doran consider with Celestia to decide Nightmare Moon into thinking that she couldn't try her previous plan again
  • Kick the Dog: Invoked: Nightmare Moon creates a dream Celestia attacking a cat for the sole purpose of making her look evil.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: By the end of the issue the ponies forget any of the dreams Nightmare Moon had sent them about Celestia being evil.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: Nightmare Moon says this when she sees the Nyx doing their Dream Weaver thing.
  • Literal-Minded: When Nightmare Moon forces the Nyx to send her into Celestia's mind, Doran lampshades how literally they took it when she is actually physically sent there.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The moon creatures are called Nyx, which is the name of the primordial Greek goddess of the night, mother of the Oneiroi, who were the gods of dreams. The Nyx are Dream Weavers that shape pony dreams and live on the moon, and are eventually forced to serve Nightmare Moon.
    • Their leader is named Gaiman.
  • Never Recycle Your Schemes: Justified since Nightmare Moon was deceived into thinking that what enabled her Evil Plan (the mind link to Celestia) was lost.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Nyx, who tell Nightmare Moon all about their Dream Weaver abilities. Doran especially gets hit with this, since she let Nightmare Moon manipulate her into teaching the dark alicorn how to control dreams.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • Nightmare Moon taunting Celestia over her inability to save the one she loves makes Celestia realize how to fight her off.
    • After Nightmare Moon mocks Doran for the above, she conspire with Celestia to prevent Nightmare Moon from repeating her plan.
  • Nightmare Fuel: This issue shows how Nightmare Moon learned to create and be associated with this In-Universe.
  • Obviously Evil: Nightmare Moon. Seriously, how did the Nyx not catch on immediately?
  • The Power of Love: How Celestia banishes Nightmare Moon from her dreams.
  • Ret-Canon: Princess Luna's angst over "how much Equestria suffered because of [her]" in "Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?" only makes sense in the context of Nightmare Moon tormenting ponies in their dreams, as depicted in this issue.
  • Series Continuity Error: Gaiman mentions creating a dream about "flying with the Wonderbolts", presumably referring to the ones in the show.note  Testing Testing 1, 2, 3 established the Wonderbolts were founded one year after Nightmare Moon's banishment, which this story takes place immediately afterward.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: On being banished to the moon, Nightmare Moon casual notes she's back here again and then goes off to find something interesting. Justified, as mentioned under Continuity Nod before; Nightmare Moon is an evil ethereal entity who has usurped Luna's body, and Luna isn't her first host. She's been on the moon at least once before.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Doran, who thinks Nightmare Moon wants to be her friend and happily shows her how to influence dreams.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Nightmare Moon's Evil Plan is to use nightmares to make ponies fear Princess Celestia as a tyrant, knowing if Celestia uses her powers to stop that, it will weaken her mental defenses such that Nightmare Moon can mentally attack her directly. Even when that fails, Nightmare Moon still comes out with the means to inflict nightmare as revenge for the next 1000 years and the Nightmare Forces, whom would enable her return in the Nightmare Rarity arc.

    # 5 Queen Chrysalis 
Story by Katie Cook, Art by Andy Price

The Mane 6 and Spike visit the castle where they last defeated Queen Chrysalis (from the main comic series, issues #1-4), which is under high protection of guards around the clock. Twilight and the others are shocked to find Chysalis is weak, refusing food, and is driven to a point of madness learning that Twilight has become a princess. In discussing how to deal with Chrysalis, the Mane 6 engage in discussing past events that Queen Chysalis has known to been behind.

In storytelling flashback, Chysalis is shown to be the sole force that defeated King Orion and the twinkle-eyed ponies of Tibucktu, from which she morphed Orion's crown into her own. Later, she was able to defeat the vain Emperor Incitatus of Trot by hiding herself and her changelings within a trojan horse, until Princess Celestia showed up and blasted her with a spell, creating the numerous holes on her body. Celestia would then hold Chrysalis and her changeling army as prisoners within a volcano, but she was able to trick the dragon Sergio to release them, with the rest of her story through the present known.

The others are still curious as to Chysalis' true origins, but the queen admits she is far to weak to tell that story, but perks up when she hears that Rainbow Dash has brought the latest Daring Do book and asks if she could read it. Twilight believes this is only a proper courtesy and, thinking of it as a first sign of reformation, instructs the guards to open the door to let her pass Chysalis the book, but this was all a ruse: the Chrysalis the mane six have been talking to has been one of her commanders transformed into her likeness the entire time, and the real queen awaits just out of sight. Chysalis seizes Twilight as soon as she steps inside. She briefly explains her origin story to the trapped Twilight - she was "born" out of a carnivorous plant that grew from a rotten nut that fell into a magic pond, which fed off insects and the bones of ponies that had fallen into the pond before, apparently after being buried in the graveyard above. When Star Swirl the Bearded sensed that the pond was infected with something, he nailed a warning sign to a tree, unaware this allowed Chysalis and the beginning of her changeling hordes to be "born".

Outside, the other Mane 6 and the guards try to rush the door, but their effects are futile - Queen Chysalis and her changeling forces overwhelm their strength and fly free to parts unknown.

  • Actually a Doombot: The "Chrysalis" whom Twilight spends most of the issue talking to is just a random changeling in disguise. The real Chrysalis is hiding in the shadows above the doorway.
  • The Ageless: The changelings, or at least Chrysalis, show no signs of stopping or (possibly) aging even after 1000+ years in existence. It is not made clear if all the changelings serving under Chrysalis are exactly the ones who first emerged from their primordial ooze or how much their numbers have grown through generations of breeding. However, it is reasonable to assume that individual changelings at least have long lifespans.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The story end with Queen Chrysalis and her army escaping their prison thanks to the former's manipulations, once again becoming an active threat.
  • Battle Discretion Shot:
    • Despite the flashbacks showing intense physical combat between Chrysalis, her changelings, and pony forces, the very end shows Queen Chrysalis fighting against Twilight Sparkle only through the obvious onamonapia fight sounds coming from the other side of the prison door.
    • We never see the fight between Chrysalis and Celestia in Trot on screen. However, given it ended with Celestia literally blowing holes in Chrysalis and the Changelings, there might be good reason for that.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Queen Chrysalis' plan to escape plays on both Twilight's love of books (and sharing that love of books) and Twilight's strong feelings about reforming her.
    • At a larger scale, her plan required that news of her apparent depression and poor state of being would reach Twilight and draw her to the prison to talk to her, long enough to convince her to open the door.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: We're reminded of how dangerous Celestia can be when she's enraged: when she arrived in Trot during Chrysalis' invasion, she's depicted as looking absolutely furious. The act happens offscreen, but apparently involved a Wave-Motion Gun that left the Changelings with their holes (which are actually scars), Chrysalis with her gnarled (seemingly melted) horn, and her minions imprisoned in a volcano for a few hundred years.
  • Body Horror: Those holes in the changelings. They're scars created when Celestia fought them in Trot.
  • Broken Win/Loss Streak:
    • From what we see, Princess Celestia was the first one to hand Chrysalis and her Changelings a decisive defeat during their conquests.
    • The inverse happens at the end of the story when Chrysalis finally achieves a decisive victory over Twilight and her friends... by escaping with her Changeling army through Batman Gambit.
  • The Caligula: Emperor Incitatus, rightfully so
  • Call-Back: Chrysalis sings "This Day Has Been Just Perfect" as she and the other changelings escape.
  • The Cameo: A scene briefly focuses on a date between Rarity and 8-Bit (from main series issues #11-12) thanks to Shining Armor.
  • Cerebus Retcon:
    • Back in the issue #4, the first story arc was concluded with Chrysalis and her minions getting off rather easy for what they had done by ending up trapped in the castle with talking Pinkie costume, the entire situation being played for laughs. In this issue, the situation is treated significantly more serious, where it is revealed they (or at least Chrysalis herself) have been sentenced to spend the next one thousand years in there as punishment, with the whole castle converted into a full-fledged prison with walls and guards, and her imprisonment having seemingly turning Chrysalis weak and deranged. Worse, it was an act, Chrysalis was as dangerous as ever, and the comic ends with her escaping with her army and flying off to lands unknown.
    • The Changelings' appearance gets one. Those holes aren't natural, they're scars that Celestia inflicted on them when they first fought her in Trot and have seemingly been passed on through generations, becoming a genetic trait of sorts... at least until their Heel–Race Turn at the end of the show's sixth season.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Rainbow's new Daring Do book.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • When the Mane Six are reviewing Twilight's careful plans for making sure that Queen Chrysalis and her changelings stay locked up, Pinkie's commentary is this:
    Pinkie: "A thousand years without cake?! That's just too cruel!"
    • Later when Applejack observes that Queen Chrysalis looks like she's about to "kick the bucket", Pinkie comments "Poor bucket!"
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The enchanted Pinkie costume is still guarding the castle, though the enchantment is on the last legs. Chrysalis begs them to get rid of it.
    • In her debut, Chrysalis commented that she'd destroyed several kingdoms in the past. Here, we get to see two of them.
    • Rarity is show to keep a couch on-hoof a la "Lesson Zero".
    • Queen Chrysalis' plan to take over Trot originally was to impersonate Emperor Incitatus' finacee, wooing him as to allow her to absorb his magic and weaken the shield around the city. This failed to work due to Incitatus' self-obsession, but she would reuse this plan as in "A Canterlot Wedding".
    • During the battle of Trot, Celestia assumes the same fiery Super Mode seen during finale of the "Reflections" arc.
    • Fluttershy briefly freaks out when the word "dragon" is mentioned, showing she still fears them as from "Dragonshy" and "Dragon Quest".
    • Chrysalis mentions Discord (though without saying his name) being Taken for Granite at one point, saying she'd prefer it to the volcano she's in.
    • Once freed, Queen Chrysalis flies off singing "This day has been just perfect", the same line from "A Canterlot Wedding".
  • Darker and Edgier: Even darker than the first issue. Not only does Chrysalis destroy Timbucktu and nearly take over Trot (with the holes in her and her minions being scars burned into them by Celestia's attack), Chrysalis and her minions first spawned from a carnivorous plant that grew from a magic pond underneath a graveyard, consuming pony bones as it grew, and they escape at the end of the issue, making them a threat to Equestria once again.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: An ambiguous case where Chrysalis has ordered her minions to hibernate and rest during their incarceration, supposedly out of genuine care for their well-being. The Mane Six comment that it's a "surprisingly noble" sentiment on her part and seem genuinely moved. Given Chrysalis' trickery and escape at the end, her intentions behind this move are likely less noble than assumed.
  • Fantastic Racism: Chysalis claims dragons are incapable of love, Spike objects.
  • Fastball Special: Queen Chysalis launches a changeling commander (much as Shining does to Cadance) to puncture through Sergio's wings.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • Incitatus's was his pride, as it let Chrysalis into the city after she'd been forced out because she used a Trojan Horse that looked like him.
    • Sergio had a similar flaw, which Chrysalis used to get past him and escape.
  • Flesh Golem: All the Changelings are these, their race originally being born from the remains of pony corpses and insects birthed from an evil plant growing in a magic pool.
  • Good Is Not Soft:
    • Chrysalis and her minions were basically in a maximum security prison, with at least Chrysalis intended to remain there for a thousand years before their escape at the end. However, given they've tried to take over Equestria twice, performed an act of genocide on the Wuv Cats, kidnapped children with intent to kill them, and did all this against at least two civilizations prior, it's hard to blame the Princesses for not taking any chances with them.
    • Celestia in the past when she beat Chrysalis the first time: not only did she give the Changelings one serious beating (leaving them with permanent scars), she imprisoned them for many years in a volcano. Given everything Chrysalis had done, it's hard to blame her.
    • Unfortunately averted with Twilight, on whose compassion and trust Chrysalis is able to play to escape.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Inverted, one Incitatus's guards points out how suspicious it was to get a Trojan Horse after the changelings failed invasion, and notifies Princess Celestia once Incitatus dismisses his warnings.
  • The Horde: The Changelings appear to operate as a militarized, barbaric horde akin to the Huns, judging from their and Chrysalis' thirst for ruthless conquests.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Emperor Incitatus as a result of his vanity.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: Applejack says this word for word when she sees how Chrysalis has reacted to Twilight becoming a princess, and Fluttershy says that it's hard to believe she's the same villain that's given them so much trouble in the past.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Besides the changeling Emotion Eater bits, Sergio doesn't have any problem with eating the obviously sentient changelings.
  • Indy Ploy: It's clear Chrysalis is improvising while dealing with Sergio.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • Spike questions why every major backstory seemed to happen 1000 years prior, calling it "one heck of a year". He's very happy to hear that the siege of Trot didn't happen 1000 years ago.
    • When one of Chrysalis's helmet wearing cronies questions whether or not the Trojan Horse move is the best tactic to use, she says she'll eat her hat if it doesn't work. When it's pointed out that she doesn't have a hat, she says her crown instead, to which he says that he always thought it was some kind of antenna (a sentiment shared by many fans for a while and an indication that some generations of changelings have passed since the Battle of Timbucktu). Chrysalis tells him to shut up at this point.
    • After Queen Chrysalis' escape, the other Mane 6 eagerly agree that Twilight should write a letter to Celestia to let her know that Chrysalis tricked her into releasing her and her fellow Changelings.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Spike thinks Incitatus got what he deserved for caring more about himself than his subjects.
  • Limp and Livid: Chrysalis' mane seems to hang down her shoulders more than usual.
  • Love Is a Weakness: The changelings easily can achieve victory as long as their foes have some type of love for others that cannot be turned against them, it is when their foes lack love for others that the changelings struggle.
    • Emperor Incitatus resisted Chrysalis' influence because he only loved himself, and forcibly draining that love did not give her the power to beat Celestia (while Shining Armor's love of Cadence did).
    • When Sergio shows up, Chrysalis notes that dragons can't show love, and must resort to a verbal ploy to engineer their escape.
  • Lured into a Trap: Twilight blindly steps into Chysalis' trap thinking that she's trying to help her.
  • Madness Mantra: Queen Chrysalis has not taken Twilight's coronation well at all. Her cell is littered with the words "Princess" and skewed drawings of Twilight.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Queen Chrysalis, who shows that if she cannot defeat a foe by sheer numbers or power of her changeling troops, she can wile nearly anypony to behave in the way she wants - either by her choice of words to prey on the foe's weakness or her Hypnotic Eyes for that extra push - to achieve her goal.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Apparently changelings are a composite of ponies and flies, if the tree that birthed them eating both pony bones and flies is anything to go by.
  • More than Mind Control: Chrysalis pulls this on Sergio the dragon. His lacking love left him immune to her normal Mind Manipulation power, so she had to play to his ego before he even begun to show signs of influence.
  • Mythology Gag: King Orion and the pegasi of Timbucktu are actually G1 "Twinkle Eye" ponies, pony toys where the eyes were replaced by gems. One of the pegasus mares shown is Masquerade, who has appeared in the G1 show.
  • Narcissist: Emperor Incitatus (doesn't question the acceptance of a trojan horse fashioned after his own image, thought Chrysalis invaded because she loved him) and Sergio the dragon (who Chrysalis tricks by playing off to his self-importance).
  • Never Recycle Your Schemes: Averted, Chrysalis' original plot in Trot was the same one she used in "A Canterlot Wedding", impersonate the fiancee at a wedding to infiltrate a city.
  • Never Say "Die": It is never stated that those the Queen draws emotions from are killed, only becoming emaciated and exhausted, and Incitatus is specifically said to have survived (albeit changed somehwat). When Chrysalis throws the guard that failed her into the volcano, she quickly notes he probably survived. However, during her origin flashback, we see that the pond she was born from sits under a graveyard, and the bones of dead ponies litter the pool.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Twilight Sparkle, in spades. The other Mane 6 are in no way shy about letting Twilight know Queen Chrysalis' release was her own fault.
    • To a point, Star Swirl by his nailing of the sign in the tree.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: This story secures the idea that the changelings can take a beating and keep on ticking. They appear to able to withstand (physically if not mentally) living in the center of a volcano, a level of heat resistance normally displayed by dragons. If not ageless, they at least appear to have very long lifespans akin to Alicorns. The only thing that has actually inflicted permanent damage was the magical attack Celestia used to defeat them before.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: We don't see it, but implied to have been the end result of Celestia's fight with Chrysalis. Not only is Celestia depicted as absolutely furious, Chrysalis and her Changelings had holes blasted straight through their bodies (the ones their kind have now) and Chrysalis' horn was implied to have been melted into its current gnarled shape.
  • Noodle Incident: We don't see Chrysalis' attempts to pose as Emperor Incitatus' fiancee prior to engaging in outright attack, but its clear it wasn't a very rewarding attempt.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Celestia vs Chrysalis in Trot. We only get to see it illustrated in a history book, but apparently involved Celestia's fiery Super Mode she used to fight her Mirror Universe self, her firing off a Wave Motion Shotgun, and Chrysalis and her Changelings are not only permanently damaged, but utterly defeated and left imprisoned in a volcano.
  • One-Woman Army: Princess Celestia saved Trot from the Changelings. All of them.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Spike and Pinkie are stuffing their faces with popcorn, snacks, and soft drinks on Rarity's couch during the telling of these tales.
  • Properly Paranoid: One of Emperor Incitatus' guards lampshades his suspicions about a Trojan Horse being brought for them when they had just defeated Queen Chrysalis' army just the other day. But Incitatus just dismisses it since he is thrilled to have a statue that resembles him. The guard is savvy enough to notify Princess Celestia in advance though.
  • Retirony: The guard holding the keys to the main door has four days to retirement. He doesn't die or anything, but things go bad regardless.
  • Room Full of Crazy: The aforementioned castle-turned-prison of Queen Chrysalis. Its decor now includes numerous twisted drawings of Twilight Sparkle, along with the word "Princess" scrawled across the floor over and over again.
  • Sanity Slippage: Queen Chrysalis does not seem well throughout the majority of the issue. In addition to becoming far more bitter, quiet and withdrawn, she's drawn the word "Princess" all over the floor of her cell with drawings of Twilight, all of which suggests that Chrysalis is losing her mind. It turns out this is not Chrysalis but one of her commanders doing a very convincing disguise of her.
  • Scars are Forever: We learn that the holes that Chrysalis and the changelings have are a result of a powerful spell cast by Princess Celestia at the battle of Trot. In the time shortly after these were made (the volcano scenes), one can see see the holes are rough-edged and cracked, but by the time of the story's present, they have smoothed out but still persist, indicating they have actually been passed on through generations.
  • Science Fair: A brief aside shows that Pinkie won a prize (for participation) for a 3rd grade science fair , where she built a homemade "Cherry Surprise Volcano".
  • Sealed Evil in a Can:
    • Chrysalis and her army were still trapped in the castle we last saw her in, though they improved the security since then, essentially turning the entire castle into a prison. According to Twilight, she was due to serve a 1000 year sentence there, that is, until Chrysalis pulled a Batman Gambit and fled.
    • After their battle in Trot, Celestia imprisoned Chrysalis and her minions in a volcano, and they stayed for hundreds of years until Sergio set them free.
  • Sequel Hook: Chrysalis and her changelings escaping their imprisonment means they are bound to be confronted again, be it in the comics or show.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The new Daring Do book is named Daring Do and the Legend of the Lost Art.
    • Emperor Incitatus is named after the real-life steed of Emperor Caligula, and his vanity and lack of clarity is modeled off Caligula's own far-fetched ideas. (For example, this issue completely averts the trope Caligula's Horse despite the fact it involves him by name).
    • Queen Chrysalis tricks Sergio in much the same manner as Bilbo does to Smaug by playing towards the dragon's pride.
    • A fly is snapped by the plant that will become Chrysalis, emitting a cry of "Help me!"
  • Skewed Priorities: To a degree: the Queen and her changelings have overpowered Twilight, and use the brief opportunity to burst through the unlocked prison door to freedom - but a few changelings have had time enough to collect Chrysalis's couch, several papers, chests, and even Rainbow Dash's book that was used to lure Twilight into the trap.
  • Stars Are Souls: King Orion, after Queen Chrysalis took over Tibucktu, fled his people and became the constellation Orion. At least according to Rainbow Dash, which she may have embellished a bit.
  • Taken for Granite: Chrysalis references this trapped in the volcano, saying she's prefer it to the heat.
  • Time-Passes Montage: The flashback to Rarity's date with 8-Bit shows how long Rarity has taken over the conversation by the diminishing height of the candle on their dinner table.
  • Trojan Horse: Literally, as Queen Chysalis is able to sneak into Emperor Incitatus's city Trot (a play on Troy) via one designed like him.
  • Trojan Prisoner: Queen Chysalis has one of her changeling guards pose as her and act depressed when the Mane 6 visit, as to allow her to gain the upper hand later.
  • Unreliable Narrator:
    • When Chrysalis tells Twilight the story of how she and the changelings came into being, the obvious problem with this story is that it begins with an inanimate nut falling into swamp water and mutating into a plant — how does Chrysalis know this happened? In fact, it's implied that Chrysalis isn't actually telling the story to Twilight, and it's only the reader that's seeing it, when you consider the dialogue before and after the flashback. Factor in the fact that her being a Troll and not telling Twilight anything besides the words before and after the flashback or claiming she's Made of Evil to mock Twilight's thoughts of reforming her are both entirely in-character for Chrysalis, and the whole story is questionable.
    • Rainbow Dash apparently embellished the fall of Timbucktu just a bit, though she got it mostly right. For example, Twilight is reasonable certain that Orion turning into stars never happened.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • Sergio accidentally set Chrysalis and her changeling horde free by opening their volcano prison.
    • If only that one squirrel hadn't found that nut...
  • Villainous BSoD: Queen Chrysalis seems to be suffering from one when Twilight and her friends first get a look at her. She's slouched listlessly in her cell, and can only muster a quiet, bitter contempt when telling the Mane Six to leave her alone. Subverted, as it's actually all a ruse to trick them into thinking she's weak and depressed and make an escape.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: The book illustration of Celestia beating the Changelings a thousand years ago depicts Celestia firing one of these to do so.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: A changeling poses as a depressed Queen Chrysalis (perhaps for days and weeks on end) while the real Queen awaits above the door to the prison, hoping that the odd behavior will convince someone to open the door. It works.
  • You Have Failed Me: Queen Chrysalis throws one of her commanders to allow them to escape past Sergio. The commander complains that next time don't throw him. Chrysalis calls him a nitwit, disposes him of his rank, and throws him in lava, while passing the command onto a nearby changeling. She claims the minion survived, probably.