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Fanfic / Anthropology

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She's not crazy, no matter what anypony else says.

Humans exist, right? After all, how couldn't they? The whole world seems to be built with them in mind. Is it too hard to believe they at least existed?

Lyra asks herself this question a lot, as she's been utterly devoted to finding the truth for the past few years. When Lyra finds what she believes to be indisputable evidence in the form of a lyre, she becomes determined to prove their existence, no matter how much society (and her roommate) object.

This My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Fanfic by JasonTheHuman has been featured on Equestria Daily and can be found here. There are also two official side stories: the February Write-Off entry Caretakers and the decidedly non-canon April Fools' Day chapter Truth vs. Fiction (a sequel to the author's earlier fic Gurren Jesus).

This story now has its own theme song!


The story has also been fully adapted into an audio-drama, the first part of which can be found here.

This Fanfic contains examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: Lyra considers how some ponies have human names (such as Pony Joe) to be evidence.
  • All Girls Like Ponies: Chloe, Lyra's human little sister, is deep in what her father calls the unicorn phase. Lyra bonds with her by telling her stories about Equestria, disguising them as stories Lyra made up, though after Discord shows up she tells Chloe the truth. She gets along well with Fluttershy, who was her favourite pony in the stories. In the finale, she mentions to Bon-Bon that she's thinking of asking Celestia to bring Chloe over to visit Equestria as a Christmas present
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: In an inversion of what's typical to be skeptical about, Rarity scoffs at Lyra's claim that day and night on Earth change entirely on their own.
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  • Anger Born of Worry: when Bon-Bon threatened to throw Lyra out of the house, it was partially because she wanted to protect her. She did almost crash with a cart she brought to life in a valley, though...
  • Body Horror: Lyra casts spells on herself in an attempt to turn her forehoof into a human hand. It succeeds, and is easily reversible, but only after many Squicky failures.
  • Book Ends: "Are you gonna eat that?"
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • Nopony believes Lyra, about anything she says. Not even Twilight, the one pony who would actually listen to her, who actually has any inclination to for inquisitive fact finding. Lyra appropriately throws this back in Twilight's face when she recounts how nopony believed Twilight about Nightmare Moon.
    • It is Played for Drama when Lyra ends up in the human world. She knows that most people wouldn't believe her past, and struggles to find a good cover story. When she tells Audrey the truth about her, Audrey loses a lot of her faith in Lyra, who can't even tell the truth to her human family, and pretends to be amnesiac... up until Discord turns her back into a pony.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Lyra's interest in Greek culture and history, which she attributes to a half-pegasus heritage. It's actually a further clue to her own Greek heritage on her human father's side, immediately identifiable by the name "Michelakos".
    • Her nickname, Lyra, turns out to be her real name, which convinces Audrey that she's telling the truth about being Thomas' long-lost daughter when she finds out that he did in fact have another daughter named Lyra who was mysteriously kidnapped about sixteen years before the story. It's also the name of a constellation, which is named because it resembles the lyre of Orpheus from Greek mythology
    • The cutie-mark shaped necklace that Lyra receives from Princess Celestia before being sent back to the human world, turned out to be charmed, and when Discord turns Lyra back into a pony, it sends her back to Equestria, allowing her to bring the Elements of Harmony to Earth and stop him.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: In chapter 11, Lyra sees books by authors Robert Jordan, Steven Erikson, and Thomas Michelakos. Robert Jordan and Steven Erikson are Real Life authors (best known for The Wheel of Time and the Malazan Book of the Fallen, respectively). Thomas Michelakos isn't, and he becomes very significant starting in Chapter 17.
  • Clarke's Third Law: When the ponies arrive in the human world, they keep wondering what kind of magic the humans are using to power things like cars, and Lyra has to explain that it's not magic, although she still doesn't really understand it either.
  • Contrived Coincidence: It's a bit of a stretch for Lyra's human father to be so incredibly famous that literally the fourth person she has more than a fleeting conversation with recognizes his photograph.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: You're probably human, the very species whose existence Lyra is trying to prove.
    • For that matter, Pinkie Pie's (horrified) claims that humans eat cows, pigs, and chickens.
  • Culture Clash: Lyra mistakes The Legend of Zelda for lyre music.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Paul, It's enough to get him to wield the Element of Laughter against Discord in Chapter 30.
  • Deconstruction: The story deconstructs the popular Fanon interpretation of Lyra having a fixation on humans. It's by no means dark, but it shows that no matter how benign Lyra's behavior and beliefs are, they are nevertheless still deemed inappropriate in Equestrian society, to the point of becoming an increasingly more severe point of contention with her roommate. Lyra becomes paranoid, believing that pony's ignorance of humanity is all a government conspiracy. Though she does turn out to be right.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Lyra is saddened and horrified by humanity's history of conflict and to a lesser extent their consumption of meat the former she learns about through studies in the human world, the latter from eating a Big Mac while her human friends tend to be nonchalant about it. Also Lyra mentioning being on her own since she was 12 (due to pony aging standards) shocks Audrey, a human girl who is still considered a minor, and is slightly put off by her eating a plant. This trope abounds as Lyra struggles to adapt in the human world.
  • Demoted Memories:
    • Lyra dreams about the human world from what she remembered when she was just a baby.
    • Lyra, which was a human name she chose because she liked the sound of it, turns out to actually be what her human parents named her.
  • Distant Finale: The final chapter takes place one month after the previous chapter.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Played for Laughs, when Bon-Bon receives Lyra's letter that she won't be returning home, while offering rent for nearly 6 months. Bon-Bon is overjoyed that Lyra got over her human obsession and found a musical career that pays so well. Of course, Lyra was just turned into a human.
    • When the Mane Six arrive in New York, Applejack speculates that Discord has already done a number on the place when they see the cityscape, and is baffled when Lyra tells her what she sees is perfectly normal. Consequentially, when they get separated, the cast is hopelessly lost because they can't tell what's normal and what isn't. For bonus irony, Discord is showing surprising restraint compared to his antics from his prior appearance in Ponyville.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Lyra's real name is Heartstrings, which she doesn't care for too much.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Discord tries to cause the extinction of the human race on Earth, just like he previously did in Equestria, because Lyra wanted to be a human herself, and rather gleefully tells Lyra that since humans seem so obsessed with the idea of the idea of the apocalypse he might as well give it to them.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Paul's theory about why Lyra acts so odd and is reading up on history that is common knowledge and would have already been taught in school? She's a time traveler.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: People claim this is what Discord's causing. Naturally, he takes great joy in mentioning this to Lyra.
    Discord: Surely you must know how fascinated humans are by the idea of the end of the world. They’re just begging for it to come, Lyra. I’m only doing what humans have been looking forward to for years now.
  • Expository Theme Tune: Lyra's Song.
  • Faeries Don't Believe in Humans, Either: Nopony has even heard of humans before, except for Celestia and Luna, and Lyra's parents, before she found the ancient books. And possibly Pinky Pie and her grandmother (see Plot Hole below), who actually gave her accurate information about humans.
  • Famous, Famous, Fictional: When visiting a bookstore in Chapter 11, Lyra sees a rack of fantasy novels including books by Robert Jordan, Steven Erikson, and Thomas Michelakos.
  • Fantastic Anthropologist: It's right there in the title.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: When her parents realize the scope of Lyra's obsession, they tell her to stop fantasizing and to throw out all her "artifacts".
  • Fictional Age of Majority: Ponies naturally mature at a faster pace than humans, and reach their age of majority much earlier — Lyra left home at age twelve, which is stated to be a normal time for this to happen, and at sixteen years old she's well into maturity. This causes some severe misunderstandings once she is turned into a human and moves to Earth, as she doesn't realize what human growth patterns are like and ends up leading her new friends into thinking that she's a runaway whose parents kicked her out as a child.
  • First-Episode Twist: Lyra's adventures in the human world make the bulk of the story. However, they come as a plot twist in the first few chapters.
  • Genre Savvy: Thomas, who can tell that Lyra's lyre necklace is important simply from the fact that she got it from Celestia, as he is a writer of Troperiffic fantasy.
  • Gilligan Cut: Bon-Bon deduces after receiving Lyra's letter that she's finally moved on from her human obsession. At that exact moment, Princess Celestia has just turned Lyra back into a human and is sending her out of Equestria.
  • Good Samaritan: Audrey takes in Lyra after finding her on the streets of Des Moines, which earns her the Element of Kindness.
  • Grass Is Greener: Although Lyra doesn't find Earth to be perfect, she cannot fathom why humans are so fascinated by something as "boring" as magic and other things we consider "fantasy", or why they find. Equestria and Ponyville so interesting.
  • Human All Along: As it turns out, Lyra was born as a human on Earth, ended up in Equestria through unknown means, and was turned into a pony filly to fit in.
  • Humanity Ensues: Lyra is convinced that humans are more than just a fairy tale, and desperately wishes to know more about them, how they lived, etc. She goes so far as to change her hooves into hands, and it's eventually revealed that she was Human All Along, her obsession stemming from her previous life as a human. She's then turned back into a human and sent to Earth.
  • Humanity's Wake: Although long-extinct in Equestria, human society and inventions greatly influenced pony society — almost every tool and device used by ponies was first developed by humans, and consequently Equestrian society is filled with things that don't make sense for horses to use (such as round doorknobs, or string instruments almost impossible to play without fingers) that exist as holdovers from the previous human culture.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: Humans are thought of as a silly myth when they're thought of at all, but several ponies have distinctly negative impressions of them — Luna recalls them as foul, chaotic creatures best forgotten, while the stories Pinkie heard of them describe them as monstrous, flesh-eating monsters who at sheep and cows and ponies (all sapient species in Equestria). Towards the end of the story, when the main cast comes to Earth, the ponies find it bizarre, alien and confusing, although Pinkie is somewhat nonplussed at the others not panicking about being close to humans.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Celestia reveals that the reason there aren't any humans around anymore is because of... humans, as they wiped themselves out in massive wars (with a little help from Discord, granted).
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Ponies find the carnivore diet to be profoundly unpleasant, and Lyra originally dismisses the idea that humans eat meat as baseless nonsense. After she moves to Earth, she is very unpleasantly surprised to be proven wrong while eating a hamburger.
  • Interspecies Adoption: It is revealed that Lyra was being adopted by a foal-less couple after they found her in the Royal gardens of Canterlot.
  • Intrigued by Humanity: Lyra obviously, and more or less the main plot point of the story. The first part the story shows the consequences of believing in a creature that has not been proven to exist, and adopting their habits: namely the skepticism of her peers (and the frustration of Bon Bon) and the fear that the government is hiding the fact that they exist. Her obsession is attributed to the fact they she was in fact born a human.
  • I Was Having Such a Nice Dream: Lyra has a dream of Manehattan, except everyone, including her, is humannote . After realizing this, she thinks about how there's so much she wants to see, and then is woken up by Bon-Bon.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: Scenes from the series where Lyra and Bon-Bon are in the crowd are written into the story, with added context of course.
  • Mage in Manhattan: Discord follows Lyra into the human world where he starts causing chaos. An interestingly literal version of this trope, as the events occur in New York City.
  • Masquerade: Lyra believes the supposed nonexistence of humans is this, and she appears to be right.
  • Mistaken For A Spy: Played for Laughs, when Twilight was asked by Princess Celestia to find out as much about humans as she can, and so naturally goes to the human-obsessed Lyra for help. However, this was just after Princess Luna gets angry at Lyra for the mere mention of humans, and assumes Twilight's there to find out how much she knows and eliminate her. This goes into insane and hilarious levels of paranoia, even after Twilight's intent is proven genuine.
    • The implication is that Twilight is acting as an Unwitting Pawn to Celestia in order to spy on Lyra, which could make her Properly Paranoid. Which turns out to be true.
  • Mythology Gag: Lyra's birthname was Heartstrings, but she was more accustomed to the name Lyra after reading it in a book, a reference to the fact that Lyra's original name in the toyline was Heartstrings, but the fandom demanded that she be renamed Lyra.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: If Lyra hadn't been so interested in humans, Discord probably never would've found Earth. Naturally, he takes great pleasure in pointing this out to her.
    • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: If Discord hadn't turned Lyra back into a unicorn, she wouldn't have been able to use Celestia's enchantment to return to Equestria, contact the Mane Six and bring them and the Elements of Harmony to Earth. And the elements were of use, though not as expected...
  • The Not-Love Interest: Despite the two practically being the OTP of the fandom, Lyra and Bon-Bon are simply roommates in this story. Bon-Bon even threatens to kick Lyra out at some points.
  • Parental Obliviousness: Lyra's parents disapproved of her human obsession and ordered her to stop, but they have no idea that she picked it up again after moving out. Lyra does a good job hiding it when they visit again, at least until Twilight needs help writing a report on humans.
  • Pinocchio Syndrome: Lyra desperately wants to become a human, even through nopony else has even heard of them. She gets her wish, and it is revealed she wasn't born a pony.
  • Plot Hole: At one point, Pinky Pie mentions that she'd heard about humans from her grandmother, but later she says she'd heard of them from Bon-Bon talking about how Lyra always talked about them. She also notes the second time that it seems like she's one of the only ones who had ever heard of humans, even though there seem to be a fair number, though only a few that know they actually exist.
  • Prolonged Prologue: After he posted Chapter 9, leaving a huge cliffhanger (Lyra is a human), JasonTheHuman wrote on his blog, "I hope you all enjoyed the prologue. The story begins next Monday."
  • Raised By Ponies: Lyra somehow ended up in Equestria and was being raised by ponies.
  • The Reveal: Humanity on Equestria is extinct, and Lyra is human.
  • Sarcasm-Blind:
    Lyra: I play the lyre. I heard that’s not very popular around here, though.
    Nathan: A lyre? I guess if you found someone who played ocarina, you could start a band.
    Lyra: Really?
    Audrey: She doesn’t really get sarcasm.
    • Also from chapter 23:
    Lyra: I was reading that history book you gave me and it said that America had been in wars. A lot of them, actually.
    Paul: News flash. I’ve never heard that before.
    Lyra: So… It wasn’t true? I mean, if there had really been so many, you would have heard –
    Paul: That was sarcasm, Lyra.
  • Saying Too Much: When questioned about humans, Luna immediately begins ranting about how better off everyone is without their influence. Then she orders Lyra to drop everything regarding the subject, and promptly storms off.
  • Shout-Out: When Lyra first meets Nathan, he's wearing a shirt with the word Aperture on it.
    • Audrey and Nathan both make references to The Legend of Zelda when they find out that Lyra plays the lyre.
    • After telling Monica his theory that Lyra is a time traveler, he comments that she acts like someone out of a movie. Specifically, a Tim Burton movie, if the "quirky outsider played by Johnny Depp was a teenage girl instead".
    • Chapter 29 contains a reference to Tay Zonday's popular song Chocolate Rain.
  • Take That!: When Lyra finds the book The Last Unicorn, she thinks it is insulting, since it is not how unicorns are like at all, and doesn't understand why Amalthea doesn't like being human.
  • This Is Reality: “This isn’t one of your books. This is real life.” Hilarious in Hindsight, considering the circumstances.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: After revealing the truth about humanity and all its flaws, Celestia reveals one more thing to Lyra... She's adopted.
  • Trans Nature: In a way. Although it is clear that she wanted to become human despite not knowing they had gone extinct in Equestria and not knowing she was one from another universe, later on, she starts having dreams of turning into an unicorn again and started showing signs of being homesick. No one knows for certain, but there is the possibility that part of her wanted to stay a unicorn and remain living in Equestria.
  • True Companions: Lyra and her human friends. They are able to defeat Discord with the Elements of Harmony.
  • True Meaning of Christmas: Parodied; Lyra's dreams point her to the basic idea of Christmas as a human holiday that takes place every winter, but despite her best efforts, she "never could find the true meaning of Christmas".
  • Undying Loyalty: Randall towards Lyra, earning him the Element of Loyalty.
  • Unfortunate Names: After arriving in the human world, Lyra name-drops Twilight Sparkle to her new human friend, Audrey. She assumes Twilight must have been raised by hippies and that she must be teased "because of the books."
  • Values Dissonance: In-universe with Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn. To Lyra, who was a unicorn, the portrayal of the titular protagonist comes across as highly offensive.
  • What Are Records?: Inverted. When Audrey's father shows Lyra music CDs, she doesn't know what they are and is only familiar with vinyl records. It's pointed out how unusual it is.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's never explained how Lyra ended up in Equestria in the first place.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 9
    • Another comes in chapter 24 when Discord reveals he followed Lyra to the human world and changes her back into a pony.
    • And another comes in chapter 27: The Mane 6 arrive in New York to defeat Discord. He's just as surprised as they are when the Elements of Harmony fail to petrify him again.
  • Wham Line: "All we knew for sure is… you weren’t born here in Equestria, Lyra."


Video Example(s):


"Welcome to New Jersey"

Due to having spent all of her life in Equestria, Lyra is completely unfamiliar with the significant cultural reputation of New Jersey.

How well does it match the trope?

3.29 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / PopculturalOsmosisFailure

Media sources: