(Except for the things she possibly actually did wrong)
So, in Amending Fences, Twilight goes back to Canterlot to make nice with her former Canterlot friends, who she feels she wronged by leaving Canterlot for Ponyville. Most of her friends forgive her, but Moondancer wants nothing to do with her, instead pretending not to care about renewing the friendship. Of course, there is more to the story, and Moondancer is secretly harbouring resentment for Twilight skipping her "little get-together in the west castle courtyard," as shown in the first episode. Things come to a head when Twilight brings Pinkie in to put together a party for Moon Dancer, upon which Moon Dancer lets Twilight know just how much she was hurt by Twilight's no-show at Moon Dancer's party all those months ago. There is ultimately reconciliation and a happy end.
Now, a lot of fans related really well to Moon Dancer, seeing in her an innocent pony hurt by an insensitivite act committed by somepony who is ostentibly her friend, and who became a recluse who had given up on friendship because of the bad experience she had. And that's fine. I'm not trying to convince anyone to not feel empathy for Moon Dancer. But I will explain why I personally don't feel Moon Dancer's story connected with me in the way the writers intended.
First, we are presented with the idea that Twilight was wrong to forgo the party for a study session. As I see it, Twilight had zero obligation to attend the party. It's an invitation, not a summons. If she wants to spend her time with old dusty books instead, that's her perogative. And while she didn't know at the time that Nightmare Moon was due to return, she did seem to have something on her mind. She was reading history, but asks Spike to find a book on Predictions and Prophecies, which obviously is about the future. So she had a reason to decline the invitation: something had caught her interest and she wanted to learn more, which is typical Twilight. But even if she hadn't had a reason, I still feel it's unjust of both the audience and Moon Dancer to blame her for doing what she had every right to do. In the case of Moon Dancer, it's even more egrerious for her to feel wronged, since she should have understood Twilight's decision. They are so similar, after all. I also think it's a bit unfair of Moon Dancer to expect Twilight to be more social just because she decided to be. And let's be real here, Moon Dancer didn't even bother to invite Twilight personally. Twinkleshine did the inviting. We don't even know if the invitation was on Moon Dancer's behalf as we are never given any evidence for such being the case. How was Twilight supposed to know that Moon Dancer was putting any kind of emotional attachment to her attendance? This could easily have been avoided if the writers just added another flashback to Moon Dancer inviting Twilight, and having her agree to attend, and then going back on that agreement when she saw the Elements of Harmony mentioned in her book. Here we actually have Twilight going back on her word to a friend, and that would go a long way towards making Moon Dancer's reaction more justified. As written, this episode has Moon Dancer forcing responsibility for her own emotional well-being onto Twilight without letting her know about it or agree to it, and that makes it her own damn fault when she then gets hurt. (Consent? What is that?)
Now, leaving her friends without even saying goodbye and then never contacting them; that I agree is a pretty crappy thing to do. If Twilight did anything wrong, this would be it. In fact, if the episode had made that the focus and that action was Moon Dancer's beef with Twilight, I might have found it more emotionally resonant. (It wouldn't negate all the bad writing, but it would have improved my outlook on the episode as a whole.) As it is, the party snub angle just muddies the water and makes the message of the episode weaker. What is the message now? "You are justified in making someone else your emotion crutch without their knowledge or consent"? "If somebody snubs you, take it so personally that you become a recluse and shut out everyone else from your life"? And more, that you're justified in doing so? This is pretty much what Moon Dancer does. How am I supposed to feel sorry for her when her reaction is so totally out of proportion to the "offense"?
Another reason why the "Twilight hurt Moon Dancer by not going to her party" plotline doesn't really work is that all her other friends did attend that party, including the three that Moon Dancer herself points out as being the original reason why she wanted to be more outgoing in the first place. They even invited her out a few times after the party and she turned them down, because one pony (who wasn't even the impetus for Moon Dancer coming out of her shell, let's remember) didn't attend. That's simply self-sabotage, and it's not justified for the reasons I outlined above. While we're on that topic, I'm not entirely convinced the party was intended as a party for Twilight specifically. It's never stated to be the case. Even if one can infer it from context (arguable at best), that still doesn't change the fact that Twilight was unaware of the fact, and still had the right to decline to attend even if she were aware.
The writing also suffers from other issues, even seeming to work against itself at points. It wants you to believe that these ponies were Twilight's friends, but then makes a few jokes out of her not remembering their names. Here's a friendship hint - if you need your assistant to list the names of your friends, you don't have any friends in the first place. Heck, I can reel off two dozen names of friends I had in high school and university (I'm 37 now) - Twilight couldn't remember four (after at most a few months / years). They even make the point that Twilight had no photos of her Canterlot "friends", as she had with the Mane Six. So, you'll forgive me for being a little bit skeptical of the supposed friendship. There's also quite a lot of retconning to make this former friends angle work at all. Previous episodes make it pretty clear that Twilight didn't consider friendship important until she went to Ponyville, and she previously stated that her brother was the only pony she considered her friend before meeting the rest of the Mane Six. Now we're supposed to swallow the lie (which is exactly what it is) that she had these ponies she considered friends in Canterlot. All in all, I'm simply not convinced that the relationship between Twilight and those ponies was anything close to friendship.
As another example of what I tend to think of as manipulative writing, we see again the scene from the first episode, with Twinkleshine telling Twilight about the party and Twilight declining in favour of studying. In this episode, the scene is cut short, ending with the other ponies watching Twilight running off. The original scene had the ponies remarking on Twilight's lack of social interaction. The lines excised are as follows:
Twinkleshine: "Does that pony do anything except study? I think she's more interested in books than friends."
Twilight: "I know I've heard of the Elements of Harmony."
I guess they didn't want to remind us that Twilight didn't go in for friendship back then, did they? Or that she was actually going to research the Elements of Harmony, thus giving her a valid reason to decline the party invitation beyond exercising her own free will. It's literally a few seconds of extra footage, so I doubt they cut it for time considerations. There's a difference between evoking and manipulating emotion. This lands squarely on the latter side, and I don't appreciate it from the writers. To be honest, it makes me kind of angry.
To conclude, there are many problems with the writing and characterization of this episode, which preclude me from being convinced of the emotional story the writers are trying to tell. There are fans who do find it convincing, and really, I'm glad that someone at least could get edification out of this episode where I can't. Still, I feel that Twilight is being unfairly blamed for Moon Dancer's (to my mind) self-inflicted emotional pain, and I will defend her on that count.
Until the next time I bloggity-blog, just remember: always accept any invitation. Somebody's self-worth might be on the line! That's totes on you, friend! Oh, and stay sunny side up, as always!