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- Tarnished Teapot getting kicked out of Ponyville by Princess Twilight for being a danger to the town. Tarnish resents how he was punished for something that was out of control, while Twilight and her friends for not being punished for the wanton destruction they caused in the past.
- To be fair, his banishment was partly and unknowingly caused by Hate Plague magic on his part, and once Twilight was out of its influence, she really regrets turning him away when she could've helped him.
- Until Tarnish came along, Maud literally had anyone to truly socialize with, save for her family; everyone who did either made fun of her or assumed they knew best for her, including the rest of the Mane 6. Tarnish was the only one who saw the pony beneath her stony exterior.
- The story of Snowy Summit - he was born with a cutie mark depicting a nullwood tree, which contained strong Anti-Magic properties. Because of the effect he had on ponies and other magical creatures, Snowy Summit was an outcast everywhere he went, and only Princess Celestia truly believed in him. He learned in the end that being made of Anti-Magic made him an important Spanner in the Works for villains like Grogar, but he presumably died in stopping Grogar.
- Tarnish is summoned to Ponyville by Twilight, who has lifted his banishment now that she knows what his talent is. While this is a good thing, it also leaves the Pies heartbroken, as they came to see him as part of the family. Particularly, both Marble and Cloudy Quartz see him as a cool brother and son, respectively, and want him to come back home as soon as possible.
- Tarnish finally meets his Disappeared Dad for the first time... and learns firsthand that he's utterly disinterested in his son. The encounter leaves him utterly heartbroken.
- Tarnish's mother, Pinny Lane, is tragic - when she was younger, she believed in a Free-Love Future and rebelled, which led to her meeting Tarnish's father. After Tarnish was born and his Hate Plague magic emerged, she unknowingly found herself being unable to love her son and ended up neglecting him. However, she assumed she was suffering from depression and tried to get better for Tarnish's sake, yet found it so hard to do so, and every doctor she visited suggested she harbored a special resentment for Tarnish. When reunited with Tarnish years later, she ends up bawling and tearfully apologizes for her actions while covering him with hugs and kisses.
- Later, she meets Tarnish's father for the first time in years and breaks things off with him, causing the stallion to proclaim that she "betrayed" him and this is why mares are untrustworthy. By the time Maud, Tarnish, and Pinkie find her, she's in tears.
- Pinny and Tarnish's conflict over what happened between them in the past - Pinny feels incredibly guilty for her neglect of her son, to the point of having nightmares over it. Tarnish wants to berate his mother for causing him grief and pain for years, but has mixed feelings about it due to also wanting her back in his life. It's not unlike real-life situations where parents of abused and/or neglected children grow to regret their actions and attempt to atone, with said children having trouble forgiving their parents for what they did to them.
- While Maud was in university at Las Pegasus, her sexist chemistry professor told her that she couldn't learn chemistry because it was too complicated for mares like her. Maud filed a complaint against him, and while the chemistry professor got in trouble, it ended up worsening things for Maud as well.
- During the trip to Ghastly Gorge, Maud recalls the day she found Tarnish and thinks about what if his attackers managed to successfully hang him from that tree. She was so shaken up by how her life would turn out through this change that she ends up clinging to Tarnish.
- Even after being horribly wounded, Trixie can't bear to accept someone's help, so she sneaks away in the night rather than stay where she'll be cared for.
Whatever Way The Wind Takes You
- Mrs. Milkweed passing away, her family long gone, but surrounded by friends. It takes them a while to notice she's not just sleeping, so peaceful is the passing.
- What's happened to Buttermilk's friend Ripple Rusher, her life ruined by a lying Casanova and a society-wide MadonnaWhore Complex. note
- Later, Buttermilk having to report Ripple Rusher to Foal Services due to her situation (however she got there) being untenable for the foals.
- Butter Fudge's Freudian Excuse, a father who believed he had a Marital Rape License (and was backed up by society), and continuously raped her mother. When her mother finally fought him off, he turned his attention to Butter Fudge's best friend, who became pregnant and was forced to marry him. Butter Fudge herself left home, unable to watch the breaking of her friend and mother.
The Sun Also Surprises
- During her "interview" with Cadance, Celestia reveals the reason why she's scared of having foals again: She lived during a time where having a Deadly Decadent Court was the norm, which increased the risk of foals being used as bargaining chips, and/or killed to eliminate potential rivals for ambitious, power-hungry nobles.
- On the day of her blind date, Celestia spends her minutes being a Nervous Wreck, feeling nauseous in her stomach from fear and worry about how her date was going to go. It echoes the situations of people whose social anxiety causes them to overreact to potential situations, fearing how the other person would react to them.
- Celestia's blind date (Gosling) reveals his life in high school after his ex, Skyfire Flash, spread malicious rumors about him being gay for not hooking up with her: He was bullied every day by everyone, including the hoofball team. The bullying made it hard for him to learn in school because fights would happen. His interest in history, music, and theater made it easy for everyone to pin him as gay because of those rumors and existing stereotypes. Even the teachers didn't protect him. When the bullying got too unbearable, he ran away from school and home.
The Perilous Romance Of Swans
- After Luna laments that she never got to mourn the death of her husband, Bronze Blaze, Celestia takes Luna and Gosling to the catacombs in the Castle of the Two Sisters, so they could visit his grave. The entire experience is gut-wrenching.
- Visiting the graves of Luna's sons, Castor and Pollux, who both grew up to be fine ponies. It hammers home how much Luna missed while being imprisoned on her own moon.
- When Gosling and Luna happen upon a gravestone for Luna, Celestia sadly explains that she came with a Motivational Lie to explain to Castor and Pollux why Luna was gone, by telling them that their mother was killed by Nightmare Moon. On top of that, Luna also learns that she herself also killed Bronze Blaze while she was Nightmare Moon. *Ouch.*
Enter the Dragon
- Twilight and Spike spending the entire story in a Heroic BSoD after they learn what happened to the pygmy dragon egg.
- Part of the reason why Spike is more affected than Twilight because the incident reeks of Equestria's Fantastic Racism towards dragons. Twilight takes a moment to think of the implications for Spike and doesn't like what she finds.
Princess Twilight Sparkle's School For Fantastic Foals
- Trixie's goodbye to Sumac, while in the middle of a massive battle, as she tells him to be brave and that she always loves him, even as the Portal Gem snatches him away.
- Later on, after the battle, it's revealed that Trixie and Sumac lost everything as their house got burned down, including the wagon. It's clear that the loss of what few constants he had affects Sumac deeply.
- The fate of the last Sorceress that Luna knew. Apparently she was brilliant, once, but by the time the Princesses rescued her from the wizard who'd imprisoned her, she was utterly broken.
- Flam Apple is not a good pony, but after he has his cutie mark removed, ffhis gibbering terror and sad apologies to his son earn him a little sympathy.
When Consequences Come Home
- Megara and Tarnish's meeting. Both in and out of universe.
Princess Twilight Sparkles School For Fantastic Foals: Winter Break
- Daring Do's departure. It's clear she truly loves her friends, but she cannot stay.
The Mask Makes The Pony
- Dr. Sterling killing Contagion, and his last words.
- The state Hennessey is in after the fall of the guild.
- All of Doctor Sterling's funeral, but a particularly sad moment is when Wicked Chandler cannot finish the eulogy and leaves, so Luna must take over.
The Perilous Gestation Of Swans
- In the mirror world, Tarnish hanged himself due to the community rejecting him. Like in the prime world, he was discovered by Maud, but unlike the prime world, he was already dead.
- Dr. Sterling and Flicker's cameo, given Dr. Sterling's Heroic Sacrifice in The Mask Makes The Pony.
- Sunshine Smile'snote description of what she felt when she and Helianthus used to sit in the Orrery, even filtered through the Valley Girl dialect.
Sunshine Smiles: I used to come to this place with Helianthus and together, wed like watch this here orrery, not even talking really, and Id watch the planets moving around like hands on a clock, and I was totally like a foal waiting for the clock on the wall in class to say that school was like, you know, over. This was like, my clock that I watched, waiting for a thousand winters to pass, and like, near the end, like, oh my gosh, it felt like each year was getting a little longer than the last, until it was like, you know, unbearable and I couldnt take it any more, and I think I finally like, you know, totally understood how a foal waiting in class feels for those last few minutes to tick away.
Eigengrau Zwei: Die Welt Ist Grau Geworden
- The consequences of Snowbird's coup and Dim's resulting Roaring Rampage of Revenge. The personable mercenary Starhammer is dead, as is many others, including the husband of the healer that treats Blackbird, who is in agonising pain after being violently subdued during the coup. The town will likely die, with most of its protectors dead.
- The funeral for Bard, after he is killed by the Ascendancy.
- During his first day at Twilight's castle, Nuance asks Spike to stay with him while he bathes. The reason? Radiance once kept him submerged in a full bathtub and it led to Nuance almost drowning, leaving the unicorn colt afraid of not being strong enough to emerge from the water if he takes another bath.
- Twilight finds Radiance viciously beating up Nuance for picking on Corbie again. Corbie is hitting Radiance in a futile attempt to get her Earth pony brother to stop, but Radiance ignores her. Furious, Twilight magically intervenes, sends Radiance to his room, and Nuance to a hospital.
- After Nuance causes a ruckus because Nurse Red Heart is an Earth pony, one of the doctors claims that Nuance is "messed up in the head" and suggests using corporeal punishment to Twilight to set the unicorn colt straight.
- The horrified reactions of the various adults to Radiance's actions in the above aforementioned incident. For once, Big Brother Instinct (in the form of beating up people who pick on siblings/family members) is treated seriously and has major consequences.
- The Royal Brood's family situation at home in Canterlot - the parents, Celestia, Luna, and Gosling are often away attending to their royal duties, and every time they make a promise to spend more time with the Royal Brood, it's always broken. This left the Royal Brood with issues even before they set foot in Twilight's castle, with Corbie being clingy, Radiance being influenced by .Royal Guards, and Nuance developing bratty and controlling tendencies.
- The family situation's gotten to the point where Nuance claims that he hates his parents, but Celestia and Gosling most of all.
- Radiance constantly mistreats Nuance by beating him up, submerging him in a tub full of water (as mentioned above), and throwing in emotional abuse as well by calling him "weak" among other things. Because he grew up watching Royal Guards being trained and disciplined, he genuinely believes that disciplining Nuance in the same way will get him to stop picking on Corbie, even though it's portrayed as the WRONG thing to do. He even thinks that Nuance's fear and misery was all part of a sympathy plot.
- What finally gets Radiance to change his ways is Pebble using the Perspective Shift Stick on the Royal Brood. Radiance sees what it's like in Nuance's perspective, most likely experiencing everything he dished out on his own brother, and realizes the cruelty of his actions. Pebble, after using the Stick on herself, sees everything from Radiance's perspective, and is left completely disgusted with his lack of remorse up to this point.
A Knight to Remember
- When Nuance reveals that he was becoming inspired by Dim's childhood books of knighthood, Dim Dark realizes that he's looking at a younger version of himself, and it causes him to have a brief emotional breakdown. Then, in a Pet the Dog moment, Dim advises Nuance to never stop dreaming of being a knight who works to rescue his fair maiden.
House of the Rising Sunflower
- Earwig begging Sundance to spare Earwax. She sincerely believes she'll never see her sister again, and with an encroaching storm, there's no time to convince her (or the other peasants) otherwise.
- Radiance appears to have had an Aesop Amnesia about treating his siblings better, despite Pebble's efforts in Foalsitting Follies. It largely contributed to the very poor relationship he has with Nuance and Corbie, with the latter being rather protective of Nuance.
When Life Gives You Lemons
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
Princess Cadance's Lonely Hearts Club Land
- Furious talking about his fallen friends, and the difference between the marketing image and the real job of dustpunching.