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Literature / The Stormy Road to Canterlot

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The Stormy Road to Canterlot is marketed as a Prequel story based on My Little Pony: The Movie (2017), written by Sadie Chesterfield as a part of the overall My Little Pony (Generation 4) franchise. It focuses primarily on Tempest Shadow, showing how the loss of her horn sent her down a path from a sweet and kind young filly to a ruthless and cold-hearted servant of the Storm King.

See also IDW Publishing's My Little Pony: The Movie Prequel, specifically Issue #4, which the novel borrows heavily from and expands upon.


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The Stormy Tropes to Canterlot:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The book is a fleshed out version of Tempest's story featured in Issue #4 of the prequel comic. Besides covering Tempest's life before losing her horn and running away from home, it also includes new details such as Grubber introducing Tempest to the Storm King, and Tempest leading an attack on the hippogriffs' kingdom to test her mettle.
  • Adapted Out: Rambler, the kind stallion who gives Tempest a ride out of Klugetown in the prequel comic, does not appear in this version of the story.
  • Advertised Extra: Twilight takes up an equal amount of space as Tempest on the book's cover. However, she doesn't appear until the very last chapter of the story.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Tempest went through this after losing her horn, though it's still greatly downplayed. While her friends remain patiently supportive of Tempest in the months following the incident, they still fear her unstable magic and spend less time around her, to the point where they take the entrance exams for Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns and don't see fit to tell Tempest until afterward. This prompts Tempest to run away from Equestria and eventually abandon any notion of friendship, believing that if her most trusted friends have begun to shun her, then everypony else inevitably will.
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  • Bears Are Bad News: Just like in the movie, an ursa minor is responsible for breaking Tempest's horn when she ventures into his cave.
  • Continuity Snarl: The book has a few major discrepancies with the TV show and film:
    • Before Tempest loses her horn, Luna is already back from her thousand-year exile, Cadance is in charge of the Crystal Empire, and Twilight isn't a princess yet, which should place the book's events within Season 3. However, Tempest's story is supposed to span several years, showing her growth from a young filly into an adult mare, and yet the characters seen in the movie (most egregiously fillies like Apple Bloom) have hardly aged a day within the same time frame.
    • Dialogue from the movie suggests that the Storm King's staff was given to him by Tempest herself, which The Great Princess Caper supports by showing Tempest in the middle of delivering it to him before they invade Equestria. Here, however, the Storm King already has the staff when he and Tempest first meet.
    • Unlike The Great Princess Caper, where Tempest wants nothing to do with Grubber from the start, here she strikes up an Odd Friendship with him when he shows no fear in her magic.
  • Freakiness Shame: Tempest tries every method she and her friends can think of to hide her broken horn from other ponies, and flees in shame before anyone can even react when her horn is exposed. By the end of the story, she feels confident enough around Grubber and the Storm King's forces to show it openly.
  • How We Got Here: The book opens with a prologue showing Tempest and Grubber scouting Canterlot for their planned attack in the film. The rest of it is told in an extended flashback showing Tempest's life before she joined the Storm King.
  • I Have Many Names: "Tempest Shadow" is but one of several names the otherwise nameless unicorn goes by after running away from home. The others she uses during her travels are "Caramel Chip" and "Cherry Pie".
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Tempest is overcome with remorse when she sees the destruction she and her soldiers have wrought on Hippogriffia while trying to steal the queen's magical pearl. But when the Storm King reminds her that feeling sorry for herself won't grow her horn back, she hardens her resolve by suggesting he steal Equestria's magic instead.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Before running away from home, Tempest reflects on how simply being a good friend, volunteering to get a dropped ball from the ursa minor's cave when the others were too afraid to go in, ended up costing her horn, her magic, her dreams, and her friends.
  • No Name Given:
    • Tempest's real name (Fizzlepop Berrytwist) is unmentioned in the book, which simply refers to her as "the Unicorn" before settling on her chosen name when she meets the Storm King.
    • The queen of the hippogriffs and her daughter are also never mentioned by name. They're Queen Novo and Princess Skystar.
  • Prequel: Just like the tie-in comic, Stormy Road is loosely marketed as such, focusing on Tempest Shadow's Start of Darkness.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The hippogriff queen personally leads the charge against Tempest when she catches the unicorn trying to take her pearl, even throttling her against a wall.
  • The Social Darwinist: Getting shunned by her friends and living dirt-cheap to survive wound up forcing Tempest to become completely self-reliant. Working under the Storm King only steeled this mindset.
  • Start of Darkness: The book chronicles Tempest's descent from a sweet, ordinary unicorn with the simple dream of living in Canterlot as a princess, to the Storm King's cold-hearted second-in-command who betrays her homeland without battling an eye.
  • Tragic Dream: All hopes of Tempest enrolling in Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns are completely crushed with the loss of Tempest's horn.
  • Tranquil Fury: The hippogriff queen reacts to Tempest's theft of her pearl with chilling, seething anger.
  • Vague Age: Tempest is frequently addressed as "the young unicorn" no matter how much time passes.
  • Villainous Friendship: Tempest and Grubber hit it off somewhat when they meet, in large part due to Grubber being the first one to react to Tempest's dangerous magic with wonder rather than fear.
  • Wretched Hive: Besides Klugetown from the movie, Tempest is forced to live for countless moons in a run-down and filthy town called Drungar after losing her money and having to Work Off the Debt at a restaurant.

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