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The Bookend Diaries – Part 15: The Final Rankings

It’s time to bring together all the disparate threads of the Bookend Diaries. (It’s mostly because I like round numbers. 0 and 8 are my favorites). I will consider the Premieres and Finales separately, and rank them in each category from worst to best. Since villains tend to take centre stage in these episodes, I’ll rank them too. Premieres: Friendship is Magic; Return of Harmony; The Crystal Empire; Princess Twilight Sparkle Finales: The Best Night Ever; A Canterlot Wedding; Magical M

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The Bookend Diaries - Part 14: “The Best Night Ever”: Grand (Galloping Gala) Expectations

No! / I've waited all my life / for this moment, / and I’m not going to / let it slip by! / If it's the last thing I do, / I'm going to make this / The best night ever! – The Mane Six The day of the Grand Galloping Gala has finally arrived, and preparations are being made. Twilight decides to literally make it a fairy tale, as she uses her magic to turn an apple into a carriage, and four white mice into four white horses. One of them apparently has the ability to turn invisible, since only

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The Bookend Diaries – Part 13: Season 4 Finale "Twilight’s Kingdom": Heroic Stupidity Strikes Again

How does it feel? Knowing that soon, every pegasus, unicorn and earth pony will bow to my will... and that there is nothing that you can do to stop it? - Lord Tirek So, Season 4 has come and gone. It certainly went out with a bang, providing us with the most impressive display of magical battle the series has yet seen. Still, despite the visual feast, the finale has its problems. Let’s plunge right in, shall we? The finale starts with another trip to the Crystal Empire, this time to me

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The Bookend Diaries – Part 12: "Princess Twilight Sparkle" A Moment of Silence, Please, for the Pink Mane Celestia Theory

This might be a good juncture to say, "I told you so". Yes, it's immature of me, but I so seldom get this much vindication, I'm taking the opportunity to gloat. The first part of the second episode shows us the confrontation between Princess Celestia, and the newly minted Nightmare Moon, who is seeking to destroy her. This is probably the most intense action scene in the series so far, and seriously would not look out of place in most animés... except maybe for this shot... Beware the

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The Bookend Diaries – Part 11: Back in the Saddle with "Princess Twilight Sparkle"

Well, Season 4 is officially underway! with a very satisfying two-parter right out of the starting gate. "Princess Twilight Sparkle Part 1" opens with a flying lesson for the most recently ascended alicorn princess, under the tutelage of Rainbow Dash. However, it seems Twilight's new appendages don't come with a manual. She ends up ploughing into the ground after trying to practice her "big finish" for the upcoming Summer Sun Celebration. This scene makes it pretty clear that Twilight is no

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The Bookend Diaries – Part 10: What a Rush! Magical Mystery Cure

Might as well start by addressing the elephant in the room... was this episode rushed and should it have been two episodes? Most fans would probably say yes without hesitation. I've even heard claims that the cutie mark switch-up on it's own was worth two episodes. Just... no. Maybe it could have been one episode on it's own, and then another for the whole transformation of Twilight into an alicorn. It would certainly have been a great cliff-hanger to end the episode when Twilight has just been

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The Bookend Diaries – Part 9: Heroic Serendipidity Strikes Again

Sombra begins moving in on the now-defenseless Empire…only to be stopped in the opening minute of Part 2 by Cadence recovering enough to recast her spell. Here Sombra gets his own bit of serendipity as part of his horn is cut off and falls inside the shield, allowing him to start affecting the city itself… Meanwhile, Twilight takes charge, telling Rainbow to keep the crystal ponies occupied while she finds the real Crystal Heart. Rainbow Dash, of course, uses blunt, nigh draconian, methods

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The Bookend Diaries – Part 8: Yeeeesss... Crysssstaaaaals...

Hard on the heels of Season II’s music-heavy two-part is another music-heavy two-parter, “The Crystal Empire”. In four episodes and two stories we’ve had something like five or six songs. Not that the songs are bad, but there are just such a lot of them. The episode opens with a report that the titular Empire has returned from a thousand year displacement curse, inducing Princess Celestia to send newly-weds Cadence and Shining Armor there. Although it is not outright stated, my belief is that th

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Why Alicorn Princess Twilight is a stroke of genius (A Bookend Diaries Supplemental)

This one is going to be a doozy… Those (all one of you) who have read my posts in the Alicorn Twilight subforum will probably already be aware of my feelings regarding the biggest controversy the show has yet seen. I haven’t gone out of my way to avoid making it obvious, but I haven’t really given a definitive statement on the issue either. I support the idea of Twilight becoming an alicorn and a princess. I think it’s interesting, well-deserved, and can open up new story possibilities

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Was Season III Really That Bad? (A Bookend Diaries Supplemental)

As the subtitle might suggest, I feel that this season in particular has caused the most consternation among certain groups of fans. This is not only because of Twilight becoming an alicorn and a princess, although that is certainly a large part of it. It is also because the season had a non-standard number of episodes, as well as, if the claims are to be believed, the writing suffering a drop in quality regarding pacing, plot development and character development. “Jumping the shark” and partic

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Sombra is Best Villain (A Bookend Diaries Supplemental)

Before I take on the Season III episodes, I wish to first talk about a few of the more controversial issues raised. To start, I want to discuss the issues that some fans have with Sombra.  I don’t think he was that bad a villain in many ways. The ironic thing here is that Sombra, easily the most disparaged villain of the series, is the only one who did not give the Mane 6 victory on a silver platter. He loses despite, and not because of, his actions, none of which are stupid. I wish that I

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The Bookend Diaries – Part 7: Villainous Stupidity Strikes Yet Again

This is where Chrysalis really manages to shoot herself in the hoof (those holes had to get there somehow). Not only does she confirm to Twilight that she is indeed evil, but she also imprisons her right next door to her other prisoner, and in fact seems to specifically engineer a meeting between them, allowing them to team up. Maybe she was hoping Twilight would be angry enough to just kill the real Cadence outright, especially as she seemed intent on taunting her to raise her ire, but it seems

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The Bookend Diaries – Part 6: Spontaneous Generation of (Family) Matter

Oh, dear. “A Canterlot Wedding.” In my opinion, this is by far the most flawed episode in the series to date. (Yes, that includes “Magical Mystery Cure”, which I didn’t find to be as bad as all that. But I’ll talk more about that at another time.) In fact, there is so much that is unclear or plain doesn’t make sense in this episode, that I felt compelled to write a fan-fiction trying to provide some justification for it. Maybe I'll even get around to posting it here on Running the Gamut some tim

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The Bookend Diaries – Part 5: Villainous Stupidity Strikes Again

When we last left our intrepid heroines, they had all been twisted and turned against each other, leaving poor Twilight Sparkle in tears and utterly disheartened, even to the point of deciding to leave Ponyville forever. However, everything changes when Twilight gets a pile of her returned friendship letters from Celestia, delivered via the rather hapless Spike. This didn’t make sense at the time, and seemed a little too convenient. However, Season III shows us there is a way that Celestia could

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The Bookend Diaries – Part 4: Twists and Turns

When the team reaches the labyrinth, Discord takes away their horns and wings to “prevent cheating”. It’s a lovely continuity nod, since he leers at Applejack rather than one of the pegasuses (pegasii?) as he says it. Scary, to think he knows about their antics from as far back in the series as “Fallweather Friends”. The real reason for taking their abilities away, of course, is that both magic (Twilight’s teleportation) and wings (flying over the hedge walls) would defeat his essential strategy

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The Bookend Diaries – Part 3: Our Introduction to the Most Dangerous Entity in Equestria

What’s that, you say? Where is my review of “The Best Night Ever”? I skipped it, for three reasons. 1. It’s my blog, by Celestia’s Royal Rump. 2. I want to watch BronyCurious' critique of the episode, but that might affect my own perceptions, so I want to get this one done soonest. 3. I personally consider "Return of Harmony" to be the end of Season I, not the beginning of Season II, no matter what the back covers of my DVDs or indeed the universe at large may claim. Why? Because

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The Bookend Diaries – Part 2: Nightmare Moon can't Win for Losing

Welcome back to the Bookend Diaries. This entry will handle the second half of the pilot. The wheels seem to fall off a little bit here. First of all, Nightmare Moon, who seemed like such a badass, ends up being totally ineffectual. You can control lightning! Fry those foals who dare to stand against you! NNM flies off, and then seems to fly straight back again to spy on Twilight. How did she know to keep an eye on Twilight in any case? Sure, Twilight was the only one who knew who she

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The Bookend Diaries - Part 1: The Start and the Heart of it All

Hey everybody, and welcome to my blog, Running the Gamut. I have finally resolved to quit procrastinating and to actually post something here. I had originally intended to start with a review of each Season so far, episode by episode, and give my thoughts on them. With further consideration, that seemed impractical, so I have now decided to restrict my reviews to the bookends, by which I mean the opening and closing episodes of each Season. So join me, dear friends, enemies, frenemies, and peopl

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