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Fanfic / Heart of Gold, Feathers of Steel

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Dash and Gilda in happier times.
Heart of Gold, Feathers of Steel is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfiction by Nicknack.

Three years ago, at Junior Speedsters Flight Camp, Gilda and Rainbow Dash were friends. The years since then haven't been kind to Gilda. Maybe a trip to see her old friend will help resolve some things...

Heart Of Gold, Feathers Of Steel retells the events of Griffon the Brush Off from Gilda's perspective, as well as the story leading up to it and the immediate aftermath.

Has a sequel, Summer Days and Evening Flames.

This fic contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Gilda's father was incredibly abusive, with lasting effects on Gilda's behavior.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Rainbow's Just in Time rescue of Gilda, complete with sonic rainboom.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Things remain rocky with Rainbow Dash and she's still an exile from her tribe, but Gilda has found a palatable alternative by the end.
  • Broken Bird: Gilda's upbringing and exile have left her deeply cynical and emotionally detached.
  • Character Development: Gilda is much more fleshed out than the arrogant Jerkass we see on the show. Which doesn't mean she's not still a jerk, but she's much less one-dimensional.
  • Dying Race: The griffin tribes, at least the oness Gilda is familiar with, have dwindled almost to extinction.
  • The Exile: Gilda, until she fulfills her father's conditions. And not only can she not return home, but any griffin she meets is supposed to kill her.
  • Fantastic Racism: Gilda's father hates ponies, and didn't take kindly to his daughter making friends with one.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Griffins are very similar to Germanic tribes.
  • Gratuitous German: The author uses German words for griffin names and terms.
  • Heel Realization: Happens to Gilda twice. First when she realizes that she handled things in Ponyville poorly. Then when she almost kills Dash.
  • Hidden Depths: There is a lot more going on with Gilda than you'd expect just from watching Griffon the Brush Off.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Gilda. Rainbow just barely manages to avert it.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Iron Bulwark thinks Gilda is one of these. Exploring this is the focus of the sequel.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Gilda's reaction to nearly killing Dash.
  • My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: Gilda has this experience during her fall in chapter six.
  • Our Gryphons Are Different: the griffin tribes presented here are the dying remnants of a warrior culture. They are well aware of both their “glorious” past and dismal future and it shows.
  • Perspective Flip: of Griffon the Brush Off.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Deconstructed, Gilda has plenty of warrior instincts. However they do her more harm than good, which she herself acknowledges. Similarly her father's and other griffins' insistence on following the old war-like ways is what's slowly driving the griffin tribes to extinction.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Gilda hits hers twice in the course of a single visit to Ponyville.
  • Sadistic Choice: Gilda's father gives her one - kill your friend or live the rest of your life in exile.
  • Worldbuilding: Introduces a lot of detail about griffin tribes and culture.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Captain Bulwark tells Gilda a variation of this.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Knowing that her father would approve of her nearly killing Dash is what drives Gilda to attempt suicide.