Alright, I've finished watching the first My Little Pony series: My Little Pony 'n Friends from 1985 to 1987. This involved two TV Specials, a Theatrical release, and a 65-episode TV series (four of which were re-edited versions of the TV specials).
Technically my episode-watching blog for this series isn't quite done yet, as the last episodes of the series will be tomorrow, but those episodes are a re-edit of the 'Escape from Catrina' TV Special. Nothing important will be revealed by this episode.
Anyway here are my findings:
This G1 show is set in a series of small valleys in a region of volcanic mountains similar to the Cascade Range on the Pacific coast of the United States. Travel between the valleys is difficult, unless you can fly over the mountains or travel through the extensive underground tunnels. These tunnels are likely former lava tubes due to the volcanic nature of the area. The valleys on one side of the mountains run down to the sea, while the valleys on the other side are cut off by the crystal desert. There is a number of valleys; including Dream Valley, Fluttervalley, Grundleland, and many others. These valleys are populated by a number of creatures, mostly anthropomorphic animals but also humans, elves, and a variety of goblinoids. The population of each type of creature is relatively small, leading to considerable cross-breeding especially between the humans, elves, and goblins in order to maintain any kind of presence. Actually, looking back there's no guarantee the few 'native' humans were actually human at all, given the variation of elf, gnome, svart, goblin, troll, hags, etc. If all of those are considered one race with multiple breeds, similar to the variations within the ponies, then the 'humans' we saw may actually be just superficially human and are actually a variety of these goblinoids.
The valleys of Dream Valley, Fluttervalley, and Mushrump together are called Ponyland. Ponies are not actually native to this place but came from some unknown land at least 500 years ago, and likely longer.
This world is connected tenuously and intermittently to an alternate human world accessed through a rainbow bridge similar in concept to the Bifrost of Nordic mythology. Neither of these worlds are ours, as the events in the pony-occupied world can have a direct effect on the human world and vice-versa when the connection is active. However, the human world is almost identical to ours in the mid-to-late 1980s.
The pony world is set up similarly to the Alpine region of Europe, with a variety of agrarian-based cultures being in close but effectively minimal contact thanks to the mountainous terrain. Each different culture seem to be set at a different time relative to our world, but fall into three distinct groups: Late 11th Century, Mid 16th Century, and Mid 19th Century. Throughout the series, the contact between the humans and ponies involve a technology transfer where late 20th century equipment is slowly brought over into the pony world and made to work via magic. While the people of both worlds initially treat the inhabitants of the other as fantasy, they adapt very quickly to the reality of multiple dimensions. Fast enough that it is unlikely that this is the first time the two worlds made contact with each other and such cultural and technological transfers occurred. If we assume the contacts happened when the clothing and architecture matched, the next contact would be in the early 21st century. Huh. How about that. Of course, that's the time passing in the human world, we have no reference points in the pony world to determine if time passes in both worlds at the same rate when contact is *not* active.
The ponies themselves can be separated into five different breeds, the earth ponies, the unicorns, the pegasi, the sea ponies, and the flutterponies. The first three are definitely breeds, rather than races, as the earth ponies, unicorns, and pegasi can interbreed freely allowing traits such as twinkle-eyes to be carried into all three equally. Cutie-marks are present at birth, and are traditionally used to name the pony. This leads to multiple individuals with the same name. Due to the low birth rate, it is highly unlikely to have more than one pony in a each generation with the same name. Pony culture does not use the nuclear family concept, and keeps mares and stallions separate with the stallions being nomadic while the mares are sedentary. In the same vein pony foals are kept in a crèche system and are raised by the mare collective.
The main pony society has no government or other organizational system. They act as a collection of individuals with leadership being appointed on the fly as necessary. Flutterponies on the other hand have a monarchy. Within main pony society the title 'princess' is an antique, nominally given to any individual that is acting as guardian to a magical artifact, and long-term princesses are sequestered to a remote area to protect them. This practice is out-of-date to the point of having become legendary, but those who were exiled in that manner long ago have created their own society in that remote area. They still call themselves princesses, and hold elections to promote one of their number to the title 'queen'.
The Pony world is suffused with magic. All ponies are capable of using magic to one extent or another, but they require special foci such as wands and other artifacts to do so. Unicorns and flutterponies are born with a built-in foci, their horns and wings respectively, but are extremely limited in what magic this foci can accomplish.
All unicorns can 'wink', which means to phase out and into a limbo sub-dimension. However, physical objects like cages, walls, etc. do not allow a unicorn winked out to pass through them, nor can they carry much load when phasing. Other things are also capable of phasing through the same space the unicorns are winking out to, which can trap the unicorn in this alternate space when they 'pass through' each other. All unicorns also able to master a single other magical ability such as telekinesis or other similar things. Use of these magic abilities require a fair bit of concentration and effort.
Flutterponies' magic seems to be concentrated in breaking down other magical effects and dissolving magic substances.
A large number of magical artifacts exist in the pony world, most based on, or incorporating, crystals in their design. All magic in the regions defined as Ponyland seems to be drawn from a single large gemstone known as the 'Heart of Ponyland' and when that connection is interrupted magic becomes unreliable and dangerous. There are six crowns that are used to reconnect magical artifacts to the flow of power coming from the Heart if the flow is interrupted. The artifacts can do almost anything, depending on the knowledge, aptitude, and will of the wielder, and can be destroyed and recreated.
Using artifacts can cause the personality of the wielder to change in whatever way necessary to lead the wielder to use the artifact more. It's almost like a psychic pressure on the wielder to use the artifact. This may or may not have a negative effect on the wielder depending on the nature of the artifact itself. All artifacts are at least partially self-aware in order to interpret the wielder's wishes.
Magic power can also be drawn straight from a sub-station such as other magical artifacts, unicorns, etc. but this draw usually has a severe negative effect on the sub-station itself.
Next time, we'll talk about how to use this info in G4.