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Found 47 results

  1. ^Title Generally I'd say forum posts and such count (I guess) but one's history of posting or social media doesn't amount to much of a cohesive storyline. That is, unless you can really read between the lines. Fan fiction also counts.The way I see it, "If you write, you're a writer." None of this "you gotta make money" gatekeeping malarky. If you do write stuff, what have you written? What are you most proud of? Anything you want to share?
  2. Environments, towns, and other less definable places. Were there any you were wishing to see more of? Where there any you'd add, remove, change, or modify? See more of: Dreamscape: the concept didn't have enough episodes to mature and it was only used in association with Luna. Meh. Mirror Pond: that place had so much potential, especially when it came to Pinkie's story options. Her Sad Mare Parade will only exist in my dreams. Ocean in general, both above and below the surface. Canterlot: not the fancy places. The dark back alleys where pony artifact smugglers want to sell you weird stuff, and secret paths down in the unicorn mines. See less of/remove: Less Ponyville, especially Sweet Apple Acres. Twilight's Castle: I know why it's there, but it burns my eyes all the same. I know I could put it under "Change" category but I don't wanna bother myself with such a shitty item where every change that could make it better would get denied cause it's just a blatant toy set demonstration. Yakyakistan: once was more than enough. Just let them go extinct by the tusks of some mammoths that worship ruinous powers or something. Change: Big cities: they are an eyesore. Either change them to be more like Canterlot or delete them. Everfree: more Darkwood (dark, creepy, mysterious, a fate worse than death) and less of a noob zone for game journos. Add the obligatory "muh kid show" and you get Over the Garden Wall vibe. If you enter shit should get real. Castle of the Two Sisters and Tree of Harmony: if you buff Everfree then place those things outside the damn forest. Let Harmony produce a crystal wall around it or something. Twilight's School: build it out of the Castle of the Two Sisters. That place is like Hogwarts. It fits. Why not use it? Continuation, bitches! Griffonstone: by Sigmar, summon the elector counts and change this place from a shithole to something that can belong into a toy set! I'm talking old timey tech: steam, windmills, airships, claw cannons, with a wee bit of non-pone magic on the side. You think Cloudsdale weather factory is impressive? Have you seen one that can make twisters without using horsepower! Tartarus: a petting zoo serving as a random slightly magical prison on the side is not a real Tartarus. It's Soytarus. When someone mentions Tartarus one instinctively imagines a prison of titan monsters that can make even gods piss their togas. Hollow Shades: This is Hollow Shades, this is Hollow Shades, bat pones screee in the dead of night/nuff said Add: Tambelon /nuff said The place where Tirek is from. The whole sibling feud thing. Way more interesting that watching Rarity fuss over fabric. The original land of Celestia and Luna. WTF really happened there? The Moon. Why not? FIM isn't exactly known for scientific accuracy. With the exception of underworld, there's no place better for a season finale.
  3. So, what do you think the Crystal Empire is to Equestria. Is it a vassal state, an ally, or an independent nation altogether? Share your thoughts and maybe we can find a conscience on this even if the writers haven't decided yet.
  4. EDIT 11/2/18: With the MLP holiday special "Best Gift Ever" presenting reindeer as canon species this fan club has now been expanded to include them. As it stands both the deer as presented in the IDW comic arc "Root of the Problem" and the magic reindeer from "Best Gift Ever" fit here; not to mention Velvet from "Them's Fightin' Herds." :p All right, thanks to issues #27 and #28 we now have deer a part of the lore in "Friendship is Magic." Granted we probably won't be seeing them in the show, but their in the lore now. <3 So yeah, we have King Aspen, his son Bramble, and Blackthorn, and the deer live in Thicket. I just LOVE their design!
  5. I've got an original (non MLP) setting with Ponies, but I've realised I've got a large region in the continent where I don't have much of an idea to put in, other than Ponies. Here's the map below (and here's the original size). Could anyone help?
  6. I have ideas for humans native to Equestria, and they would be humanoid fantasy races. There are the Elves, Pixies and Fairies. Their homelands are the plains and forest regions and they all have the greatest affinity towards magic out of all the humanoid races. Elves are generally tall and lithe, and are divided in number of distinct cultures. The most prominent is the medieval Sidhe, who are powerful magic users and have a warrior culture based around hierarchy and their chivalric code. The other prominent elven culture is the Drow, known for having have no inhibitions towards dark magic. Other cultures are the forest dwelling nymphs and the female dominated Amazons. The petite pixies live under the Sidhe, and the winged fairies live in kingdoms in the forests. There are the Gnomes, short and hairy beings and mostly live in cities in and around the mountains. They have a industrial civilization, known for their mines and forges and are famous craftsmen. Some gnomish city-states have a militaristic culture. There are the Goblins and Hobgoblins. Corse and gnarled beings, Goblins lived deep in the mountains and are often in rivalry with the gnomes. They are regarded as crafty and subtle, and are famous for their shrewd merchants and infamous for their raiders, air-pirates and privateers. The hobgoblins are their smaller cousins. There are the Ogres, giants who also dwell in the mountains if not in the forests. Often allies with goblins, they organize themselves into war bands and citadels and would tend to raid other kingdoms. These races would probably live in a continent on the other side of Equestria, and they may or may not worship Celestia and Luna as goddesses.
  7. Right, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted to this particular blog so let’s do one that has been simmering in the back of my mind for quite some time. As before, let’s start with what we know: In the MLP: FiM cartoon, Starswirl the Bearded is mentioned several times. In Luna Eclipsed, Twilight dresses up as Starswirl in a stereotypical wizards hat and cloak, complete with stars and moons (instead of the more common astronomical glyphs), but with the addition of bells all over the hat. Interesting, and annoying choice for anyone who decides to cosplay. Nobody in Ponyville recognized the costume, except for the visiting Luna who compliments Twilight on the costume’s accuracy. Twilight mentions Starswirl having created hundreds of spells, including an entire category of magic called ‘amniomorphic’, and having a shelf of books dedicated to him in the Canterlot Library. Just as a note, there's some dissent on what exactly Twilight said in this episode. Some saying it was Amniomorphic, and some saying Anniomorphic. There is a big difference. Those that support Amniomorphic say that Amnio means bowl, and morphic means shapechanging, and combined with Bearded makes Starswirl a 'Hairy Potter'. Which is cute, and might actually be what the writers were aiming or, but unfortunately Amnio doesn't actually mean bowl as far as I've been able to tell. It's Greek for 'cowl' as in a hood, and shows up in modern times referring to things that interact with the Amniotic sac that a fetus develops in. So by this term we're saying Starswirl was responsible for a series of magic spells that help with pregnancy. Which actually might be valid now that I've taken the time to think it over. The alternative, Anniomorphic, is a lot more obscure and deals with a fifteenth-century Dominican friar and 'historian', Annio da Viterbo, who was famous for making shit up. Which, as we'll see later also makes sense. In Hearth’s Warning Eve, Twilight exposits how the main character of the panto they’re putting on was mentored by Starswirl. The panto being set in what appears to be a time before Discord, Celestia, and Luna. In It’s About Time, Twilight, Spike, and Pinkie go to a supposedly secure wing of the Canterlot Library (which might be specifically the Castle library, or the library for the Exceptional Unicorn school Twilight was attending before the first episode, or all of the above, it’s not clear), that is named after Starswirl and contains archives of his work, supposedly dangerous stuff in the wrong hands, at least one time travel spell and a giant sand clock. This is a little more than a single shelf, so we can assume that the shelf Twilight referred to previously was in the public library, not the secure wing. Then in Magical Mystery Cure, Twilight gets mailed a book written by Starswirl, sent by Celestia, containing an incomplete spell that is capable of manipulating the Elements of Harmony even in its partial state. This book had also appeared at the end of The Crystal Empire, but it was just foreshadowing there and had no explanation. Celestia mentions that Starswirl didn’t understand the magic of Friendship, so couldn’t complete the spell. In Three’s a Crowd, there is a travelling Starswirl museum, where several other ponies are wearing variations on the Starswirl costume, including several ponies that were present in Luna Eclipsed, so we can assume that in the years (?) since Luna Eclipsed there’s been a renaissance in the Starswirl the Bearded Fandom. In Twilight’s Kingdom, Starswirl appears in a storybook, described as being ‘young’ by Celestia and interacting with Tirek and Scorpan at about the same time as Celestia was. That's more than we usually get for theorizing and worldbuilding, but really it's still not much. For more info, we have to look at secondary sources: In Rainbow Rocks it’s shown that Starswirl banished the Sirens to the Equestria Girls alternate dimension. In the comics, Starswirl has appeared on the covers (not helpful), and in tiny cameos with no relevant info, but in the storyline Reflections in the main comic, Starswirl is shown quite a lot in flashbacks. He’s depicted as the classic bumbling professor type, and is responsible for discovering the means to travel to alternate dimensions using Crystal Mirrors created from the Crystal Caves below Canterlot, and bringing back a variety of objects (magical and otherwise) to the main dimension. There’s another comic in the Fiendship line where the banishment of the Sirens is shown again, and yet one more making Starswirl responsible in a very vague way for the Changelings as well. In the Journal of the Two Sisters, Starswirl is said to be the leader of the group of unicorn mages responsible for the sun and moon movement before Celestia and Luna took over. Plus more details about his time travel experiments, mentioning that his age shifts around a lot, nominally because his spells and possibly energy expenditure are causing him to grow younger or older somewhat randomly. In interviews with the FiM staff, there have been several mentions that Starswirl was meant to be the Equestrian Merlin analogue, with all the complexities and incongruities that brings along with it. Such as multiple conflicting origins and inconsistent mythologies. However, according the M.A. Larson at some Q&A’s at conventions, several of the original scripts for the episodes listed above didn’t mention Starswirl. He was added in to them by request by Hasbro. Which is odd as there is a Gen 4 toy released by Hasbro for Starswirl… but as an Earth Pony mare. This matches all the prior generations of the toy line, each one having a Starswirl as a regular Pony mare, not a unicorn. The toy also changes appearance and cutie mark for each generation. In G4, the mare is blue with a purple/pink mane. G3, the mare is white with a dark pink mane (no G3.5 version). G2, the mare is white with a white mane. And G1, the mare is striped pink and blue with a purple and blue mane. This is pretty standard for multi-generation toys, with the appearances rarely being stable. But each is described within their generation as being highly magical in some way. So what can we pull from this? Apparently Starswirl was a big deal historically, but a big deal that was obscure until recently. He was involved in a lot of the major turning points of Equestrian history, but in the background and not as a major player. However, now he’s being used as the go-to explanation for everything magical even if he wasn’t necessarily responsible. The not-so-wise mentor figure, non-evil mad inventor, the bumbling professor, etc. Like Gandalf, Merlin, and so on, he’s more a caricature than a character. He’s being marketed to the ponies of Equestria in some kind of advertising campaign. This is not the first time we’ve seen someone put forward a disinformation campaign for a historical figure. The whole ‘Nightmare Night’ thing looks suspiciously like an attempt to desensitize the population for Nightmare Moon’s eventual return. It’s possible this Starswirl mania is something similar. To continue the conspiracy theory stuff, the fact is that Hasbro has done something weird here with the toys. This is the only pony from prior generations that changed gender from mare to stallion, and even then the change only happened in the cartoon and comics. Hasbro has put at least some effort into making their Gen 4 toys vaguely resemble the characters in the show. Except Starswirl, which they have left as a mare. Plus there’s the interesting thing about his name. Starswirl the Bearded. It’s rarely just said ‘Starswirl’, almost always the full name. This is common in some cultures that don’t normally use modern Western-style family names, to use identifiers like that. This could indicate that there were multiple historical Starswirls and the one we are interested in is defined by his beard. Or his beard was in itself more extravagant and luxurious than other ponies were capable, or desiring, to have making it part of his indentification. Or… Here’s something that you may not know. The term ‘Beard’ in LGBT circles has an interesting meaning and history. Originally many gay men who were in the closet would grow beards to demonstrate overt masculinity, as a disguise of sorts. This term, being ‘bearded’, expanded over time to refer to any visible demonstration of masculinity in a someone who was not necessarily classically masculine. A wife of a gay man would be called ‘his beard’, women wanting to appear male would put on false mustaches, beards, or even just five-o-clock shadows to enhance their apparent maleness. So on and so forth. Combine this with the toy line, and you get that despite first appearances they may in fact be the same character. This might be MLP’s first Trans character, with the ‘Bearded’ indicating that Starswirl is in fact a Mare who identifies as a Stallion. Putting aside the conspiracy theories, there is also the disconnect in his apparent age; being present as an experienced and wise figure before Celestia and Luna took over the moon and sun, yet being described as young when dealing with Tirek while Celestia and Luna were in power. All easily explained by the time travel spells and his magical experiments as mentioned in the Journal. This also matches some of the mythology of Merlin where in many stories he is said to have ‘lived backwards’, getting younger over time. It’s very possible that what Celestia and Luna wrote in their journal was the work of an unreliable narrator, and what they put down was what they perceived rather than what actually happened. Meaning that the time travel spells were more responsible than they believed, with Starswirl actually being ‘out of order’ relative to the royal pair, travelling back and forth through time. Another parallel with Merlin is the crystal caves of Canterlot. Well, Canterlot/Camelot being obvious, but the crystal caves specifically. In many versions of the Merlin mythos, the stories end with Merlin being trapped in a tree, or in Stonehenge, or in a Crystal Cave by Nimue, a character that might be his love interest, his student, or his nemesis depending on the exact story. In any case, he’s stuck there, effectively immortal but never to return to the ‘real’ world. Some of those stories do put in an escape clause though, that Merlin is free to go to other worlds. With this concept, Starswirl might not be Equestria’s analogue of Merlin. He might actually *be* Merlin. And the Crystal Mirrors his attempts to find a way back to the world of King Arthur and company. Which brings up the final, and what I find the most amusing theory. There is another fictional character who is said to literally be Merlin in his franchise. Who travels in time, who ages inconsistently and who can radically change appearance and theoretically genders. And who has an MLP analog which has appeared multiple times in the show with call outs and fanservice referring to both his classic and modern shows as well as references to apocryphal stories such as the 1965 feature films. I speak of course, of Doctor Who. In the episodes collectively called ‘Battlefield’, broadcast in 1989, the Doctor discovers that some time in his personal future he will be known as Merlin, advising the now long-dead King Arthur and his Knights who turn out to have been be dimension jumping crusaders fighting a war against Morgaine and Mordred. In this episode it is implied that all the stories of Merlin, including the one about being trapped in a Crystal Cave, were real and have happened/will happen (time travel is tricky that way). As a minor, but interesting coincidence is that in pride of place within the Starswirl the Bearded Secure Wing of the Canterlot Library, is a giant sand clock. A massive hourglass. Just like Doctor Whoove's Cutie Mark. And every picture or representation of Starswirl has his flanks covered. It's assumed that the symbol on his spellbook is his actual cutie mark, but maybe... So, Starswirl the Bearded might not just be the Merlin of Arthurian legend. But he might be some future or past incarnation of Doctor Whooves…
  8. With the amount of world building that has been happening in the latest season, does any one else think that there will be a substantial amount of Equestrian history that will be revealed in the upcoming episodes or seasons? I would adore to know who ruled before Celestia and Luna, and more broadly, what the relations between the different countries in Equestrian are.
  9. We all know Celestia and Luna are well over a thousand years old, its been established time and time again. But just how old does your average, run of the mill pony get? It seems that ponies age much more slowly than you'd expect, considering the following: Granny Smith has been around since the founding of Ponyville. Now, Its also never been established just how old Ponyville is, but considering the Apples have had time to colonize pretty much the entirety of Equestria, it would seem to be longer than an adult lifetime of ~60 years. Again, using the Apple family as an example, the Apple Family Reunion happens approximately once every 8.5 years (over 100 "moons" or months.) This puts a definite separation between the awakening of the Elements of Harmony (Applejack mentions in Applebuck Season that all of the Apples were in town for the reunion when Twilight met them) and the next Apple Family Reunion (in Season 3) of over 8 years. Applebloom in that time still has not gotten her Cutie Mark and has not grown perceptibly. Thoughts? Any other examples of weirdly aging ponies?
  10. Hello, I hope this is in the right place, it seemed to be the location that made the most since. If it's not, please feel free to move to the correct location, and let me know my mistake. Thanks. I am working on the back-story for my OC/Ponysona and would like a bit of help. For the most part, his background is mine, with a few modifications, as well as a different present day. However, this means that I have to find Equestrian equivalents to a number of real world events and locations. First, and primary, is where he came from, as well as where he currently lives. I am from the Chicago area originaly, and have lived in other locations around the upper Midwest most of my life (in order, Waukegan IL [northern Chicago suburb/city extension], La Cross WI, Iowa City IA, and presently Madison WI [specifically Marshall WI, Madison area]. I'm not sure what the Equestrian counterparts would be to those places. I always considered Ponyville and the area around it to be general Midwest/Upper-Midwest, but would that make Canterlot the counter part to Chicago? That doesn't seem quite right to me. Second, would be higher education establishments in Equestria. I know about "Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns" and that establishment seems to cover at least K-12, plus university level education. But is that the only university-esk location? I know very little has ever been addressed in the show, but I know that the fandom has come up with a few. What are all of them? Where would they be located? Finally, though this kind of ties back in to the first one; What would be a good place for an Inventor/Scientist/Machinist/Smith, Archeologist, and Prof. of Archeology be likely to live. I'm hesitant to say he lives in Ponyville, at least partially because that would put him in the way of the main plot, and I feel like too much is centered there already. Any help is GREATLY appreciated. Thanks, Prof. Coppersmith
  11. ...Believe it or not, I think they might! Let me back up a bit. Some things I've noticed from the show are the gems in Equestria have some huge differences from gems IRL. Equestrian gems tend to be enormous in comparison with most gems on earth, they can be found in shallow soil, and they come out of that soil looking like they've already been cut and polished. Real gems are tiny (the biggest you'll find in most jewelry stores is the size of a man's thumbnail), they're found deep in igneous rock deposits, and they tend to look like dirty pebbles until they're cut and polished by human industry. So...why so many differences? I figure it's because latent magic in the soil causes ordinary elements like Aluminum and Oxygen to come together to form sapphires and rubies---and other elements to form other gems, e.g. carbon to form diamonds, beryllium into emeralds, silicon into citrines and amethysts, etc. The magic in the soil must naturally stimulate the growth of crystals, which explains the size, depth, and shape of the gems in Equestria. Also, if that gem-building magic waxes and wanes with the seasons (and it probably would), then there literally can be a "Sapphire Season"! (Remember Spike's line about Sapphire Season from Super Speedy Cider Squeezy?) Of course...why should that magic just affect gems and not other types of rock? Especially when rock farms are canon. It makes sense that, if latent magic in the soil can cause the growth of rocks, that ponies would find a place where a lot of rock growth is happening, and then they'd use that aspect of nature to make those rocks grow the way they need them to so they can be used for landscaping and building materials---which is, indeed, what Pinkie's family's rock farm sells rocks for, according to her chapter book. All this make a little too much sense to me. Even if these thoughts never passed through any of the writers' minds, it just adds up a little too well. I'm hoping I can get to use this worldbuilding in a game I'm working on. Anyone else agree/disagree with this?
  12. In the rare case that this gets noticed by the worldbuilders of the changelings in Equestrian Empire i am willing to help, modify, and see what i can do in this. Changeling Diet Changelings are omnivorous but they require an increased source of minerals in order to fulfill their diet. Seeing as their scales grow and expand from birth they often crush rocks and pebbles with their muscular jaws and their pointy fangs. Seeing as they require such even during early stages of development (birth-gestation-egg) their homes are almost always located in such places and they are often seen sneaking near Rock Farms. They often pose as high bidders/investors taking part of the production with them and masking awfully well their identity and financial activities. Love-"Special Diet" Love is an allegory for life and how life is meaningless without love. Changelings feed upon the life-force of other creatures. This occurs because of a magical malady known as Lov-e-lipsis (Love+Elipsis aka Lack of Love, i will get to how they contracted it a bit later). A changeling running low on life-force starts losing sanity and is dangerously close to devolving into the Devourer state (More about that later). When a changeling is adequately fed the holes upon them and their growth will remain on low levels. A changeling fed on adequate life-force will experience a similar effect to that of a boost of adrenaline or drugs. Side effects of overfeeding upon love may include power-haze, clouded judgement, increased ambition and arrogance. Changeling stages of Life Birth A Changeling spends on an average 9 months until it is born and its' coming to the world of Equestria is a mix of gestation and egg-hatching. Changelings like every other living creature require a mother and a father in order to come to life. The changeling couple are overly protective of their young. The baby spends 3 months inside the mother's belly until it is born. Following quote of my fanfic... To a common pony these would look like alien abomination, semi-transparent eggs filled with slime, inside which there is a creature attached to a tube flowed willing to kill or drain you as soon as it came out. The truth is that in this state the changelings are at their weakest. That is why past the guards and their caretakers, there is usually at least one parent overlooking each egg. ... Alianna knows the justified pain she had experienced, and what she had been through before delivering her child. The baby cannot transform inside the womb. Attempting to transform to creatures of different size, weight or shape would, in most cases, kill her and the baby. The mother had to spend almost three months deprived of her most powerful weapon and escape tool: her transformations and she had to spend double to triple the time taking shifts with her husband into taking care of it. Because although all eggs would eventually grow a stronger exterior, their starting state is very fragile. ... There is a fleshy core at the bottom of the egg. It is round shaped with a darker core, and the changeling is connected with the umbilical cord to it. Among many of other changeling "eggs" he finds a suitable spot and starts digging, using his strong hooves. Gently and slowly he places the egg on the ground and pushes the dirt around it so it can stabilize. Some time after it touches the ground the core of the egg comes alive and "roots" start going into the soil. The "roots" will take water, micro minerals, trace elements and anything else the babies needed to build their scales and help them grow. From time to time the caretakers or the parents will inspect the integrity of the pod, and refresh the "love" energy to make sure the young do not die before birth. No changeling is born with holes, but it becomes less possible to keep it that way by each passing day. Changeling growth/genetics Alianna follows them as they keep talking about it. She knows that all changelings' lives are greatly effected by their unique "evolutions" . Being the caretaker of the newborn she is one of many changelings that were studying their species' genetics. There is one gene in particular that was rather "tricky", and still baffled many of generations who studied it. It was called "The Protean Gene" and it had three possible forms it could take. During a changeling's life it would adapt, change, depending on the situation a changeling was put in. Each position it took on the genetic code allowed the changeling to excel at different sectors: Strength, Dexterity, Magic. Added to that an unique characteristic was given to the changeling by it. Jonaleth's muscular structure was one, the reinforced scales of Mortain were another, her affinity with healing and there were countless others possibilities she could not even fathom. They had more in common with the ponies than they thought. They might not have been looking for "Cutie Marks" their whole lives, but they too had a part of their lives when they looked for their own path, their place in society, their special ability. Immersion and time spent with the ponies In order to gather love the young are separated until a point from their mothers and sent to replace young ponies. The changeling while living with the ponies gathers love while the changelings absorb back home the love of the pony. This way the young gather honest-hearted love. Then at the moment they are ready ((usually when they gain a cutie mark)) they are called back to the Changeling Kingdom where all the love is collected whilst the original goes back with all the memories of the changeling that was posing as itself. Some however don't return or have difficulty to do so. Some changelings get so absorbed in the experience that they become victims of a psychological phenomenon called immersion. Immersion is a real phenomenon that occurs when someone gets so captivated in an experience that they find it hard to detach themselves from it. As a result many changelings stay with the ponies continuing to believe that they are who they pretend to be. Ever heard of "Fake it till you make it?" or "When you wear a mask long enough, you become the mask?" That's pretty much what happens to them. Names Those that do succeed on returning get to pick their own name. For example... My changeling OC/Ponysona who was posing as Tidal Rider chose the name Ao. He chose it because of the many beginnings (A-Alpha) and endings (O-Omega) that his life had. General Changeling Abilities 1)Magic Sensitivity/Enhanced Vision Emotions are Magic... remember that for in our research it is going to be imperative. Emotions flow in the sky like energy. They are invisible in the naked eye and harvesting emotions is something that can bolster someone's magic immensely... if they know how to use it of course. Normally emotions can't be seen with the naked eye but changelings posses a special kind of skill that allows them to track magic found in ley lines. Great lines of power, known as ley lines, crisscross the lands. Ley lines exist all over Equestria, and are sources of deep and natural magic. Across the face of the world there flow lines of power - patterns of magical energy that carry vitality of the lands through them, like blood vessels in a creature. These lines of power are recognized subtly by skilled sorcerers yet changelings have a natural affinity in recognizing them. Most however, only really focus on those places where the lines converge and meet, seeking to tap the most power from them. Those who seek to understand and master runic power understand that the convergences are not the only important part of this power - the patterns formed by the lines themselves are important as well. There are lines of power that run across the land in a select few areas, but these are not the only lines - simply the most obvious. Inside of these thick and corded ropes of power, there are also tiny, web-thin lines that run between these great ley lines, connecting them in a vast net of pulsing, subtle power. Those with great magical power and ley walkers seek out these sites. A convergence of two or more lines of magical energy is called a "ley line nexus". I used and modified it a bit. Positive Emotions These emotions are bright and when a person is filled with them they shine like suns sharing the energy among them and the receiver of said emotions. Those emotions transfer themselves and amplify themselves when they are shared between more people. They have bright colors and give energy to others like the sun does. Negative emotions Negative emotions are like black holes. They are grey emotions and often colorless or dark in color and act like black holes dimmening the aura of those around you and drawing emotions from everyone surrounding you. Unlike positive emotions negative emotions draw energy from others to the one feeling those emotions but like positive emotions they inspire similar emotions to those around you. Lov-e-lipsis and changeling emotions Due to their race-specific hereditary malady the changelings image when viewing their emotions is like a mix of the above two... though their emotions may shine bright and positive there is always a small hole that sucks some of the emotions like a bottomless pit. The feeling itself of having your emotions drained from the inside can range to a mild inner butterfly to a tapeworm or appendicitis. The description of Hasbro about the changelings says they are grotesque ponies... but still PONIES. Certainly it's not mentioned they are evil... therefore confirming my belief that they do not willingly feed upon love... or by choice... though it does give them strength. Now i believe that sometime during their history the changelings came in contact with Anti-Life entities such as demonic entities or dark magic and devolved into what they are now. They became parasites of emotions... and developed an isolationist society to avoid destroying the world due to their "curse". Thus the reason we haven't seen them much... Another reason we haven't seen them a lot or their corpses in Canterlot is because i believe dead changelings continue to be afflicted by their disease... thus if dying in battle they would "rot" much quicker dissolving into pixie dust in the wind... When a changeling is about to die due to lack of feeding there are two results:Multiple organic failure and death dissolving into pixie dust... or... Devolving and the Devourer Some just could not take it... their primal instincts rose up, as they do to every creature in hunger, and logic was slowly torn from their minds. Inside this... "madness" there was nothing of the former changeling to save, and it was even worse when this occurred near their own people. Because the change was not only mental... Their bodies changed too, they became unstable, much bigger but with extremely thick muscular structure and scales as hard as iron. In this state the remaining life-span of the changeling was short, and while absorbing "love" kept them alive longer their hunger could never be sated. "Devourers"... that is what they called them, from the way they ate their victims whole absorbing every bit of their essence. He and his friends had been forced to kill many changelings that ended this way, but those close to them sometimes could not. How can one strike one his own race, much more one of his own family? Devourers know no exception in their victims and are often kept a secret from the changelings themselves through their Queen and the highest ranking officials for they don't wish the changeling race to hate themselves. 2)Empathy and Mental Link Changelings as i said can see emotions and magic. They posses magical empathy and are affected by those emotions/energies. Changelings posses a natural mental connection with their loved ones and families... the more skilled a changeling is in making such bonds and friendships the higher the rank it can achieve. I believe the crown is imperative to ruling the changelings... the crown is imbued with the magic of an old Queen. The changelings were living underground but ended up having to move due to earthquakes, volcanoes and such. The Queen who had the talent to speak to more changelings than anyone focused her magic and managed to contact all the changelings guiding them... the first Queen to achieve that. She died however not being able to handle the lot of it for such a long time... but her crown got imbued with her magic. Thus the next Queens or Kings had to actually prove by the standards of the crown that they could handle such a bond without losing their minds thus making sure that only the most capable of changelings rose the hierarchy. Making sure that only those who could guarantee the future of the changelings rose up to the challenge... no matter who they were... good or evil. This is mimicked in helmets of the generals and other items. 3)Singing and Music As strange as it might seem all changelings can sing... be it rhythmically or melodically. Music is a great part of their culture and as a consequence every changeling knows how to sing somehow or knows at least one instrument. This is not only because it helps bonding between the changelings but also because it is a form of feeding upon the emotions generated though not so effective. The reason it is not used exclusively is because it would require infinite amounts of inspiration and infinite amounts of singing and resources fact that would be ineffective. Changeling expressions-and their explanation Quoted from my facebook page. "While changelings are not religious instead of praising Celestia like the ponies do they praise the maker. They also use expressions like "What in Tartaurus?" or "Sweet mother of Mercy". There are also expressions like "You're as sweet as royal jelly." in matters of love, and more often than not calling someone "honey" indicates family ties or intimacy. A very popular expression is also "Blood is thicker than water". It means that though we value friendship we put our families above everything. Couples that achieve high levels of bonding will often perform a ritual at which they will cut their hooves and clench them together letting the blood mix. This way they prove their loyalty to each other and develop between them the connection that the Queen shares with all. Indeed. You see... Tartaurus is the home of all evil... thus when something seems so despicable, so evil... we say "What in Tartaurus is THAT?". As i said... parenthood is something we value greatly so it's logical we use the second expression right? Besides family is the first group of people a changeling bonds with and talks through it's mind. Changelings also seem to have a great relation with bees. It seems bees see or "sense" for a better word a connection with us due to our common empathetic bond. After studies we have observed that this is one of the reasons so many of them make their homes near ours. It's not rare to see some of our homes also being used by bees as houses. We have developed over the years an understanding of sorts... we don't hurt each other and in exchange they grant us some of their honey keeping our people fed. It is said that the Queens of each species contacts each other and talks, the Queen is also given certain amounts of "Royal Jelly" which is an empowering delicacy making the changelings feeding upon it stronger in every way. Because of it's sweetness in comparison to normal honey, and it's rarity it is the most appreciated commodity ever. they have become in times of need even defenders to our homes against monsters, other locusts, and sometimes even ponies or others. Thus we have come to value their lives greatly, this has gradually entered our lives as expressions like these." Crowning a King/Queen A Queen or King is judged capable of leading the entire nation by three ancient changeling rulers. King Proteus the Overfather, Queen Metis the cunningly wise, King Nousios the blindly fair. King Proteus-Unifier of Body Name Meaning:Protean means versatile, mutable, adaptable, capable of assuming many forms. It is also the name of a Greek shapeshifter god that could transform into any material imaginable like fire, water, air, e.t.c. Little known fact changelings couldn't always transform. The first of the changelings to transform was Proteus. However his transformations were more related to primal materials. He could shift to stone, metals, water, air, fire. In ancient times he is said to have protected the changelings against the rampage of various forces like windigos, sirens, and others. However the casualties were too high. The changelings being a young race had little defenses against other more capable predators. During the peak of his power he scattered pieces of his body to the entirety of the changelings. The power of the transformation of the great King transferred to all changelings despite the fact that its' overall effect had been lessened. Having granted a fighting chance the spirit of the changeling King now oversees his descendants, his brethren from the planes above. He was granted the title "Unifier of body" by the changelings as his soul resides within everyone. It is said that at times the fragments act as emergency guidance, kind of like the instincts one has, protecting and preserving the race. Queen Metis - Unifier of Hearts Name Meaning:The name Metis means Resourcefulness, "wisdom," "skill," or "craft" and connoted "magical cunning". Metis was the first spouse of Zeus, a shapeshifter Titaness that Zeus swallowed after tricking her into transforming into a fly. The Greek word metis meant a quality that combined wisdom and cunning. This quality was considered to be highly admirable and was regarded by Athenians as one of the notable characteristics of the Athenian character. Queen Metis wore the crown of King Proteus. It was believed that when she wore it the Overfather himself came to contact her and measure her abilities. Regardless Metis became a Queen. At the time the changeling kingdom was underground. Like every changeling she displayed her skills at an early age bonding with friends and family like it was natural. This bond allowed the changelings to respond mentally to each others' needs no matter how far. She however possessed the skill on another level bearing in her mind the thoughts of even a whole town! It was not to last... natural disaster struck and the changeling kingdom was besieged by the eruption of a volcano which struck the foundations of the city. Between the toxic air, the lava, and all the chaos the changelings panicked and couldn't find a way out. Forcing herself to her limits Queen Metis surpassed herself and attained the ability to communicate with them all no matter how far. This bond of a selfless heart guided the changelings to safety. It cost her life however, but the gift she gave did not get squandered. The crown was etched with her own magic and this ability became hereditary for any worthy changeling King or Queen that would wear it for enough time. Those unable would be qualified "temporarily unworthy" until they could attain the necessary levels of empathy it required to bear it. She earned the title "Unifier of Hearts" for through the crown she will always reach out to her subjects. King Nousios - Unifier of Minds Name Meaning:It means "The one who has his mind straight/set in the right direction." Through the judgement of the ancient Kings there were times that the Changeling Kingdom remained without a ruler. Deception, backstabbing, and civil war plagued a kingdom struggling to be united. As a changeling Nousios was known for one thing... having his mind in the right place. Merely by watching a changeling he could tell a lot about them, just like a detective forms a potential profile about his opponent. It also granted him the chance to pierce through lies, illusions, and the such. With this ability he was able to shatter the opposition. When he was judged worthy he addressed the problem of anarchy reigning a Royal-less kingdom ((without a King or a Queen)). It was decided that as a backup to the monarch system there would be a chain of houses that would form each portion of the kingdom, twelve in total. With safety guaranteed even without succession Nousios proceeded to make a cultural renaissance. Laws, education, medicine. It all flourished in an age of peace. It was not guaranteed that the changelings wouldn't squabble but through this system it was ensured that hope would always shine through. Dying in old age King Nousios joined the rest of the rulers and together they formed the trinity that now judges all future changeling rulers. Continuing with the crowning. The power of the crown overflows the body of the King/Queen for one week during which the applicant is transferred to the Astral Plane where the three rulers' spirits judge the applicant based on one thing. Empathy empathy to be able to understand the body, mind, heart, of those around you whether you be friend or foe to them. To be able to understand the souls of those around you whether you are conqueror or peacekeeper. Military and Factions within the Changeling Kingdom Following the time after the failure in Canterlot Queen Chrysalis devoted herself in helping her race improve in every way. The army, the feeding upon love everything would be improved. In the process of doing that the military was revolutionized creating three clans: "The Disciples of Metis", "The Nightshroud Operatives", and "The Envoys of the Black Panther". The "Disciples of Metis" took their name out of the oldest of changeling Queens Metis one who's name connoted "Magical Cunning". They are changelings skilled in the arcane arts excelling in all sectors... their mission is to collect lore for every nation be it traditions, behavior, inventions, history, poetry... "The Disciples of Metis" gather also information about their own nation. Their motto is this "Knowledge is Power". "The Nigtshroud Operatives" took their name out of their ability to hide themselves to the point of invisibility during the night. They are changelings that act both as diplomats and assassins, they count their words one by one and their precision in their tasks is great. Do not be fooled by their title however... "The Nightshroud Operatives" are perfectly capable of fighting during daylight, they are the most agile of changelings and if forced will fight without rules or boundaries of honor. They are inventive in their fighting ways and unpredictable. "The Envoys of the Black Panther" took their name out of honor to the great beast. It is said in old myths that the first black panther blessed some of the changelings for their perseverance through time. They are changeling protectors and guardians that train day by day with extreme discipline to maintain and increase their strength. They are extremely loyal to the Queen and some of them always accompany her on her every journey. They do not hesitate to use force if necessary to protect their Queen whatever the method. After all their ideals are all summarized by one phrase... "All for the Kingdom and the Kingdom for all". Out of all of them a few were chosen as an elite-force group. They are a team of resolute warriors who are determined to repel the invaders, chosen among the three clans of the military of the Changeling Kingdom. They work behind the scenes of Changeling Kingdom. Despite being frequently assigned to dangerous tasks, they do not gain honor, glory, or fame from their work, so there are few members in this team. They are the definition of the word "Protean" the very name of their species meaning they are versatile, mutable adaptable, they are the hoof of the Queen and every single of their actions is made in the name of her glory and the one of the Changeling Kingdom. Changeling National Anthem I made a changeling national anthem here goes... "We know ourselves by the voice... The Voice that unites all The Voice that fills the heart Our Ears listen to the plight The love for which we must fight We know ourselves from the flame... The flame that burns the fake skin To the emerald spark we are akin The flame that burns within we hold The one, united, ancient, bold. We know ourselves from the quest... The quest to purge our taint This journey we bravely take To tame the savage soul To release our form of old." And there you have it... something i made in approximately half an hour you could say... with some breaks to read some online comics. A changeling anthem... I wanted to mention three things in it... first the "hive mind" or "Soul Union" as i call it... Second the transformations, Third the Purpose or at least what i think their purpose is. Do you think i got that right?
  13. Here we go, back to what I'm good at: Worldbuilding using real-life historical models. Part of the thing to realize here is that real-life titles are confusing as all get-out because they evolved over time. So it's not actually that unusual to have Empires ruled by Kings, or Kingdoms ruled by Princes. It happens surprisingly often. Modern usages of these terms gives the impression that noble titles are very fixed and specific and slot into a clearly defined hierarchy, which is about as far from the truth as you can get. Let's start with the idea that the Crystal Empire as a name is likely inaccurate in the same way the Kingdom of Equestria is inaccurate. The Crystal Empire is a single city making it a pretty poor empire, and using modern naming conventions it should be the Principality of Equestria as it is ruled over by the Princes/Princesses/Principals of Celestia and Luna. In real life there are currently several Principalities still in existence that we could look at for inspiration: Monaco, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Catalonia, and Asturias. Interestingly the Principality of Andorra is reigned over by two co-princes. Normally this would be enough, and we could use these small nations for models for Equestria. However, that would ignore the fact that the term Prince has other meanings and usages that many people are unaware of. These other meanings lead to far more interesting places, including possible direct ties between the Kingdom of Equestria and the Crystal Empire. Prince originates from the Latin Princeps, meaning either ‘first to seize’ or 'first citizen' depending on who you ask. Basically Prince is a generic term that can be applied to any ruler. It’s still used that way in the Catholic Church, as the Pope, Cardinals and Bishops are all referred to as ‘Princes’. In most of history titled nobility (Kings, Dukes, Counts, etc.) were referred to as ‘Princes’ when their exact position in the hierarchy was considered irrelevant, or was unclear. Mainly because in Europe the hierarchy wasn’t as fixed as people seem to think now-a-days. In reality a Count could outrank a Duke due to seniority, wealth, or where exactly the title came from. A Baron owing direct fealty to the Emperor could outrank a Count owning direct fealty to a King who owed direct fealty to that same Emperor. The titles themselves tended to all mean the same thing (‘leader’) in a riot of different languages, all getting smashed together when the various countries invaded each other. So ‘Prince’ was just easier to deal with as a generic term. This points out an interesting thing about Prince Blueblood. The original intent was that Blueblood would be a Duke, not a Prince, but Hasbro supposedly insisted on the change the same way they insisted on Celestia being a Princess instead of a Queen. With the preceding information in mind, it is entirely possible Blueblood *is* a Duke, but is being referred to as a Prince using that older definition. Same with Celestia. This satisfies both sides of that particular debate, but again there is farther we can go using historical models. First a sidetrack about noble pseudo-relationships. Now, another thing that can be noticed is that all alicorns are Princesses, and it is implied that it is by definition. We know of five official alicorns in the show, all of which are or were Princesses: Celestia, Luna, Cadence, Twilight, and the unnamed princess who was victim of the love potion in Hearts and Hooves Day. I have an odd thought about that last alicorn and her relationship to Celestia and Luna, but I’ll get back to her later as I have enough thoughts around the nature of alicorns to make up a blog post of its own. In any case, using Cadence and Twilight as examples, and pulling information from the Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell book which may or may not be canon depending on who you ask, and seeing Rarity's reaction to Twilight's transformation, we can infer that alicoronation is rare enough that most ponies are unaware of the process, but does happen often enough for there to be a need for Celestia to formalize the relationship between herself and these younger alicorns. And so she automatically adopts any new alicorns as her ‘neices’ or ‘nephews’ simply to prevent any political issues from arising. As official relatives of the reigning monarch, these adoptions confer the generic 'Prince' or 'Princess' title on the adoptees, protecting them politically by giving them status without necessarily giving them any real authority. However, why was Blueblood referred to as a nephew of Celestia as well? He’s not an alicorn, nor is he the son of Celestia’s sister or brother. As far as we know, Celestia only has one sister, and I doubt Blueblood is Luna’s son. There is another explanation. Old European nobility tended to call each other cousin, even if there was no blood shared, in order to cement their noble status via fictional relationships. That and large chunks of European nobility *were* cousins due to inbreeding, but let’s give it the benefit of the doubt there. Which means that Blueblood as one of the top nobility in Canterlot would want to establish a tie to Celestia, the ruling Princess also currently of Canterlot. However, as an effectively immortal alicorn at least a thousand years old, Celestia is a bit of a reach to call ‘cousin’. But Cadence, as a young mortal alicorn with an assumed noble rank, isn’t that much of a stretch. In the convoluted logic of nobility, as Princess Cadence is niece to Celestia and if Blueblood can call Cadence cousin, that makes him also a nominal nephew of Celestia and cements his claim to be called ‘Prince’. This is all airy-fairy nonsense, but that’s the way nobility actually worked. It’s all politics, and talking a good game.
  14. Was posting on another forum and brought up fridge logic. One of the examples of said logic i had waiting in case anyone asked was free will in equestria or their actual lack of most of it. Out of all the episodes "Magical Mystery Cure" is the most blatant about them having little to no say about what they choose to do in life or "their destinies." Mind this is simply the most blatant example but i had this topic rolling around in my head for along time before it aired. What got me onto this line of thinking was simple, their names. As you all know pony names are a pretty good symbol of what they do in life or has a direct relation to an aspect of it but how do their parents know what to name them? My headcannon says that magic did it (Obviously) or every pony in equestria is secretly a psychic with prior knowledge of their foals lives. In this regard there are 2 options: 1. Their connection to magic subconsciously (or maybe not so subconsciously) hints at possible names around a certain topic that revolves around this destiny which the parents choose from. Then when the pony discovers this destiny it becomes symbolized by their cutie mark. 2. The parents choose the names themselves and the magic creates a destiny for them wound around the given name. I usually go with option 1. This implies that ponies really have very little choice in what direction they take with their lives the only saving grace being that they seem to love or at the very least tolerate what they do. What do you guys think about it?
  15. Okay, I've got a collection of little bits here, none of which have ended up big enough for an essay of their own. Mostly updates to previous entries. Also, this one will be the last essay on the 'every week' schedule, as I've covered all the bigger ideas I had and I've fulfilled my need to get most of this junk down somewhere so it's not clogging up my mind, preventing me from concentrating on other projects. I'll still do more entries, but it will be less regular and more when inspiration strikes. Hopefully, this means I'll make some progress on the fanfiction ideas that have started pestering me more consistently recently. Money Have I mentioned before that the term 'bit' as a monetary unit amuses me? It's a real thing actually. In the United States 'two bits' refers to 25 cents, also known as a quarter for the exact same reason. It's a cultural hold-over from when the United States did not have it's own consistent currency and was primarily using the Spanish dollar (also known as the eight-reale coin, peso de ocho, or in English: pieces of eight.) It was common practice to cut the coin into segments to produce lesser denominations, the smallest being one eighth or just a bit of a dollar. Which in my mind means eight bits should make a buck. In which case ponies could say things like "I don't give a buck!" meaning they don't think something is worth eight bits. :comeatus: Gemstones The Elements of Harmony turn out to have come from the Everfree Forest, as a kind of fruit of a special tree. Okay, fine. And now returned to the tree. Sure, whatever. But they were gemstones in nearly all incarnations. Which in a way lines up the fact that gemstones in Equestria are not treated in any way like gems are in this world. Gemstones in Equestria are found everywhere, in clusters of a variety of colors, usually encased in rock. However, they already appear cut and polished when freed from their encasement. Spike and Rarity use real-world names for different gems, but apply them differently. Spike talks about ripening, and 'seasons' for gems as if they grow and can 'go bad'. Carat is a measure of weight, and the carat values Rarity applies to gems would indicate that these gems are incredibly light for their size. Gemstones appear to be, organic is not the right word here, but they appear to behave in an organic way. As if they are an aluminum silicate version of a truffle in Equestria. As such, they aren't as valuable as they would be here. The Crystal Empire The place billed as the Crystal Empire is still likely to be the Imperial Capital rather than the entire Empire. However, in re-viewing the Crystal Empire episodes, it is heavily implied that the Crystal Ponies were an imperial power that dominated all of Equestria via a form of emotional control using the Crystal Heart. Not necessarily in a bad way, or even in a conscious way, until Sombra took control, but still the Empire officially included all of Equestria according to those episodes. This is basically just verification of what I had originally written. Alicorns We've seen a couple of animation errors with alicorns in the background, and another showed up in Rarity Takes Manhattan. With the animation assets upgrade in Season 4, I'm starting to question the 'error' part of that. With the way Cadence was a foalsitter, the way Twilight believed there may be a Princess she had never met in that same episode, and the way Twilight is being treated now, there is an increasingly strong possibility that alicorns may not be as rare as the show is implying. That there are more than just the current four running around, and that these other alicorns have no higher potential than any other pony. Festivals I knew I had missed one when I had that open slot on the cusp of Summer and Fall. The Summer Harvest festival from the Babs Seed episode. It's odd putting a harvest festival in the summer, as the word 'harvest' actually means autumn in Old English. But there are crops that do come in at the end of Summer, so putting it right before Fall starts does make sense. What's actually being put on display during that festival is very odd, as there's a big emphasis on gourds and tree fruit, which are definitely a mid-autumn harvest in most locales, but whatever. It's more likely this festival was deliberately placed at this time, as a warm Summer festival with a harvest pretext. Sophistry Gilda, a gryphon, is a natural predator, being a blending of an eagle and a lion. Yet she is treated as a rare curiosity. Iron Will, a minotaur, is called a monster on various occasions, yet the general populace accepts his presence with no qualms. Cows can buy and sell products, travel on trains and go into stores, yet are herded and penned. Their close relatives, the buffalo, have their own culture and customs and rarely interact with ponies unless forced. Sheep have talked, goats run stage shows, and they get penned as well. Zecora, a zebra, was a focus of fear until a filly made it her business to change that. Various donkeys and mules run around Ponyville just fine, but do have to deal with some unfortunate racial slurs on occasion. Horses are considered separate from Ponies, and we've seen Saddle Arabians who appear more horse-like, but only the once and never again. And we haven't seen any Changelings beyond the Wedding Invasion. We think. Zecora could be explained as being the pony equivalent to the 'Uncanny Valley' reaction. She looks just like a pony, but not, making ponies react automatically without realizing the source. The rest seem to follow the same pattern as the Hearth's Warming Eve story. Ponies form strong societies that are difficult to break into. Ponies are clannish, that's a given. They are based off of herd animals after all. The problem this is starting to face, from a worldbuilding perspective, is that with all these intelligent species and their relative positions in Equestrian society, it's starting to resemble real-world race relations. And that is one extremely twitchy topic, especially the day after MLK day here in the 'states. This is one of the reasons I decided to put off publishing this one on the normal Monday schedule. I'm not going into it here, because I've made the conscious decision that I am not going to talk about current real-life issues in this context. It's not appropriate, and I'm not qualified. If I could do it in suitably vague or historical terms, I might try, but what I've worked out of what I would say is far too current and specific to be anything other than needlessly inflammatory.
  16. I was going to talk about the pony’s categorization and treatment of Monsters, but every time I sat down to write it all out, I came up with half a paragraph of text. I honestly thought I’d be able to do more with that, so I’m going to delay that topic for a bit in hopes of developing more material. In the meantime, let’s talk about government. Specifically local, or Ponyville, government. In my episode notes I regularly mention Ponyville’s government, so what have we gathered so far: Ponyville’s Town Hall is a huge structure that dominates the main square. It’s a typical hall, but large enough to accommodate a good chunk of the population of Ponyville, as seen when Nightmare Moon crashed the Summer Sun Celebration at the beginning of the series. Likely there are offices on the top floors above the ‘hall’ itself. The ponies regularly use the hall for celebrations and events, and surrounding it is what passes for Ponyville 'Downtown' district, with the public market and most of the businesses that have their own buildings, such as the Spa, shops, boutiques, etc. It's possible that the town hall is also the Ponyville courthouse, but we have nothing to support that. The town’s government is headed by Mayor Mare, and it is implied that there are at least two others involved, a pony with a gavel cutie mark who is likely a judge, and a pony with an open scroll who is likely a town councilor. The judge character is apparently named Lady Justice according to the collectable card for her, and the councilor has been labeled by fans as William Wright, although there is some confusion as ponies with similar appearances but different cutie-marks or coat colors appeared in other episodes. Western governments usually break down into three branches, Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. As I’ve said in other venues, those that keep the law, those that write the law, and those that argue the law. Exactly how this is implemented varies wildly, but the divisions are pretty solid. In this case we have the Mayor (Executive), the Councilor (Legislative), and the Judge (Judicial). While normally the town council would have several members given the population of Ponyville, the ponies are by nature more herd-orientated than humans and may not need as many representatives as we do. In which case it’s entirely possible the town council is in fact just these three ponies. Or these three form a Privy Council, with other less influential members being the full council. Schools normally fall under local or state government as well, but we only know about the one school in Ponyville. Given the population of Ponyville, it wouldn’t be surprising for there to be other schools, unless they really do adhere to the old late 1800’s style of education that I talked about in a previous entry. As such Cheerilee is an employee of the town council, and if there is only one school she may even be on the full council itself. Heck, for that matter Rainbow Dash is likely a government employee as Ponyville’s top weather pony, although that job may be military. Again, I’ve talked about that previously. For that matter, libraries nominally fall under local government, which brings us to Twilight Sparkle, who even before becoming an alicorn had a strange position in local government. Twilight Sparkle is the town librarian. Sort of. She rarely seems to do anything librarian-ish, other than regularly re-arranging the library so that nobody else can find anything. And the only ponies we see using the library *as* a library are Twilight’s immediate friends like Rarity and Rainbow Dash (for Daring Do books). The rest of Ponyville seems to studiously avoid going into the library unless they want Twilight to do something for them. She was concerned about missing a meeting with the Ponyville Hay Board, not a meeting *for* the Board. Which means she doesn’t think of herself as being on the Board itself, but is critical advisor for them. While most food boards are nominally marketing boards that are used as central advertising agencies sponsored by the government, most act as price and supply regulators, and are also funding sources for alternative usage of the products. The example most people know about are the various Milk Boards across several nations and states, which outside of advertising milk also act as a regulatory agency for quality and price, and often sponsor new milk product manufactories. In this case the ‘Hay’ board is likely also responsible for price, distribution, and ensuring supply of feed grass, timothy, rye, fescue, alfalfa, clover, oat, barley, wheat, all of which are considered ‘Hay’. Obviously Hay is being treated as an absolute staple food that it is critical to maintain the supply of, and so the government is taking steps to ensure it. Back to Twilight, in most situations that call for local government running special events and festivals, Twilight is front and center either organizing the event or fronting it. Royal visits, seasonal ceremonies, etc., all seem to have Twilight involved. Usually with Mayor Mare sitting off to the side, visibly frustrated by the situation, and trying to direct Twilight off onto other paths that would allow the Mayor to have nominal control. However, the Mayor rarely if ever takes direct action against Twilight. Twilight’s position as Librarian appears to be by decree of Celestia back in the first episode. Likely this is a position employed by the town council, and they had to accept the pony Celestia sent them. Added to the fact that she appears to be Celestia’s only personal student and protégé, Twilight is more than just the Librarian. She is the direct appointee of Celestia, and the local government thinks of her as Celstia’s representative. This is all before the ‘Princess Twilight’ events. She was already in effect the Governor of Ponyville. It is unlikely this is official, and it’s entirely probable that Twilight is naïve enough to have not noticed. It is for this reason that the upgrade to Princess isn’t much of a shock to Ponyville. They were basically treating her as an extension of Celestia anyway up until that point, so no real change from their point of view. What will be interesting to see is if we ever have an episode for an election in Ponyville. It’s not guaranteed that Mayors, Judges, and Councilors, are elected officials. They can be, even historically in monarchies. Mayors, for example, have been elected officials in England ever since King John (of Robin Hood fame).
  17. Yay, I managed to get this together today, keeping to my schedule of one worldbuilding essay a week. Yeah, it's a bit light, but . How the various creatures are portrayed in MLP, and how the ponies react to them, is very odd and seemingly inconsistent. As I’ve mentioned before, inconsistencies are opportunities for worldbuilding. Those who are reading my various posts may have noticed that I am using an odd word ‘Sophont’, where others would likely use ‘Sapient’ or ‘Sentient’. It’s a relatively recent word, coined in 1966 by Karen Anderson (wife of writer Poul Anderson) from the Greek word sophisma, meaning wisdom. To me, the distinctions between the ways the words are used apply very strongly to MLP. Sentient technically means something that feels emotions, rather than being purely reflex driven. It’s pretty hard to deny that real-life animals like dogs and the like don’t feel joy, sorrow, anger, and so on. So it’s not really a good word for indicating level of consciousness, which is why most people have switched to using the word ‘sapient’. Sapient, although not originally defined this way, is usually used to refer to something that is self-aware. Here’s where we run into a problem with MLP, as everything there is depicted as self-aware. The various pets, animals, even insects display sapience as they can be talked to and reasoned. Yet they are not deemed to be in the same category as ponies, zebras, minotaurs, dragons, etc. as they can’t talk back. Which is where sophont comes in. Technically it means the exact same thing as sapience, something with wisdom. However, usage puts sophont at a somewhat higher level; a creature that is not just self-aware, but with culture, language, and philosophy. Often it’s also used negatively; ‘too smart for your own good’, connecting it back to the term ‘sophistry’, meaning anyone willing to discuss or argue philosophy, which is considered to be a pointless waste of time. MLP:FiM divides creatures into various categories: animals, sophonts, an odd middle ground between the two, and adds a qualifier ‘monster’ to the mix. Animals are basically any creature that cannot talk. Snakes, dogs, bats, birds, and so on display conscious thought and reasoning abilities, but do not talk and are therefore treated as ‘lesser’ creatures needing protection, guidance, or the like. This goes all the way down to butterflies and ladybugs, all demonstrating a similar level of intelligence, although some seem a bit dafter or brighter than others this appears to be an individual thing, not a species attribute. Sophonts are talking creatures that are treated just like ponies, as ‘people’. This includes gryphons, donkeys, buffalo, and Saddle Arabians. The middle ground is where things go strange. Cows and sheep have talked in the show, and goats were seen with microphone equipped headsets (although they did not actually speak in that episode), and yet they are treated like livestock rather than people. In fact, let’s call this middle ground ‘livestock’ just to keep it clear. As far as I can tell, the livestock creatures are proper sophonts, but are culturally subjugated to the ponies. I’m not going to call it slavery though, as it is probably closer to the medieval concepts of villeins and/or cottagers, steps above slaves, but not truly ‘free’ men. They could own property, have some rights, can’t be sold like a slave, and it was possible to become freemen through a variety of ways. This seems to map to the way livestock is being treated in MLP:FiM. I know it’s not a nice thought, and it is easily possible to take this in dark directions, but these creatures are regularly herded and penned by ponies. It's hard to look at it in any other way. Next week, let's look at Monsters.
  18. Last week we has the Spring and Summer festivals. Now onto the other two seasons. Fall Festivals Like the spring festivals, we have two in the fall: Nightmare Night and the Running of the Leaves. The Running of the Leaves feels a lot like the exact opposite of Winter Wrap Up. In this case the ponies are removing the last of Fall to make way for Winter. It’s a time of games and other events, but it doesn’t seem to have the same emotional significance as it's Spring counterpart. It's long past harvest time for most crops which occurs anywhere from the beginning to the middle of fall depending on the crop, so it's not a Harvest Festival. While all we see is the single sporting event the festival is currently taking it's name from, there are likely other festivities wrapped around it given the nature of the event itself. So it’s not the equivalent of Thanksgiving as celebrated in America or Canada (different dates, but the basically the same harvest festival. Or in America's case the 'Oh heck, we missed the harvest' festival.), but a much lighter version based on sport. So to translate this into terms more familiar to Americans, this would be more like the first day of football season turned into an official holiday of its own. Complete with elaborate tailgating feasts, award ceremonies and the like. Actually, now that I think on it, it wouldn't surprise me to find that the Equestrian Games grew out of the Running of the Leaves in much the same way the Marathon was the premier athletic event in the first modern Olympics. The Games don't count as a festival for this purpose, as likely it is following the real-life Olympics in occurring only once every four years. Nightmare Night on the other hand, like Halloween in real life, is a very strong contender for a true Harvest Festival. The sacrifice of food in return for safety, the preponderance of death imagery to point out the ‘death of the year’ (signaled by all the plants 'dying' by going into hibernation mode), so on and so forth. The costuming of Halloween is traditionally to pretend to be one of a variety of evil sprits, either to hide from them when they are the most active, or to capitalize on public fear and extort gifts, eventually in a fun and mocking way as the real fears turn to pranks. In Nightmare Night, the ponies are nominally hiding from a singular spirit, Nightmare Moon, who has taken on a Jack of the Lantern role as I stated here. However, the only way to hide by wearing costumes would be if there were other spirits to hide among. So this indicates that the myths likely have Nightmare Moon having a collection of servants and hangers-on. This might contradict the idea that Luna took on the persona of Nightmare Moon out of loneliness, but it also might mean that these followers of Nightmare Moon came *after* the transformation. Leading to the reinforcement that Luna had to remain as Nightmare Moon to keep the attention she was now receiving. Creatures attracted to the overt use of power that Nightmare Moon demonstrated, perhaps. Creatures now considered monsters; minotaurs, manticores, changelings, bat ponies... Now, you would think that the ponies would put Nightmare Night and it’s equivalents on the longest night of the year, but it apparently isn’t as that would be a winter festival, not a fall one. Unless Equestria has very asymmetric seasons (which is technically possible given the ponies ability to manipulate the weather) this festival is placed on the Summer side of the Fall Equinox when nearly all crop harvest will be complete, mid-way between the longest day and longest night. The other choice would be to put the festival on the day Luna succumbed to her jealousy and became Nightmare Moon. But the flashbacks in the Season 4 opening episodes seemed to indicate that the time elapsing between the creation of Nightmare Moon and the exile to the Moon was hours at best. So that would be the same day as the Summer Sun Celebration. That curtails a lot of possibilities for worldbuilding, so it may be necessary to do some creative editing. One possible solution to this is that the flashback was the Cliff Notes version of the events, and the battle between Nightmare Moon and Celestia actually took place over nine months or more with a great deal of retreating, advancing, testing, with random day/night cycles as one force temporary overpowers the other, and so on. Events that are unmistakable and have to be explained somehow to cause the creation of mythologies. Otherwise this is a momentary eclipse and the loss of a princess that might be a footnote in a historical account somewhere. Not something ponies would build two major festivals around. Nightmare Night is very much Luna’s day. As much as I would like to say the next holiday is hers, as the longest night, her association with Nightmare Moon just won’t let that be. Winter Festivals Winter festivals. While the modern attitude towards winter festivals is of joy and gift giving, the older form was more pleading for survival and clinging to the support of your community during grim, dark times. For example, the lighting of each home’s central fire from the candles taken from the communal tree (an old Celtic ritual that survives in the decorated and lit Christmas tree and the Yule log) reinforced the idea that individuals needed what only the entire community could provide to survive the winter. Another example of the grimness of the festival being the paradoxyl winter feast; Making a party out of the last of the foods that could not be preserved for one reason or another, and so had to be consumed before they went bad. This dark, yet celebratory situation is very present in the Hearth’s Warming Eve celebration. The celebration of the founding of Equestria and the defeat of the Windigoes, but more importantly the survival of the various ponies and their newfound friendship and community. This is very definitely the Equestrian dark-days festival, and the equivalent to original festivals that occupy the time now taken by the various big winter holidays like Christmas. It’s very likely that the Hearth’s Warming Eve story is mostly fictional but based on a kernel of something real, in the same way Santa Claus is based on a variety of actual people blended with liberal amounts of far older mythology. It would be easy to dismiss the Hearth’s Warming Eve story as completely fictional, but Twilight references what she believes is an actual historical figure (Starswirl the Bearded), and connects him to one of the central characters of the story (Clover the Clever). Twilight is not the kind of pony to let that kind of thing slide. Her OCD nature is central to her character and her fandom-like obsession with Starswirl would lead her to clearly demark what she believes to be fiction from what she believes to be fact. If the story was completely fictional, she would be telling everyone that every five minutes during the episode. In any case, winter festivals like Christmas and Hearth’s Warming Eve, are primarily about reinforcing social ties and bringing together communities. Being with *friends* and family. For this reason, when (if) she has reached the same status/power as Celestia and Luna, this will be Twilight’s day, as the Princess of Friendship. Nominally, I would prefer to switch Luna and Twilight here, simply for symmetry, but life is rarely so nicely symmetric, and that does give a bit more 'realism' to this setting. It's not perfect, it's wonky and unbalanced, which is how real life is. Now you probably noticed that there were only seven festivals here, and winter only got one. That's kinda an accident in symmetry as the two festivals on either cusp of winter (Winter Wrap Up, and the Running of the Leaves) were very distinctly Spring and Fall festivals, not winter ones. Otherwise I would have counted Winter Wrap Up as a Winter festival, and the Grand Galloping Gala into the Spring to keep the everything symmetric. Still, we're missing some kind of fete on the cusp of Summer and Fall. This isn't surprising as there are likely a number of holidays and celebrations that we haven't seen yet. Especially ones from the other cultures like the zebras, the donkeys, the Saddle Arabians, the gryphons, etc. So likely we'll see something in the coming season as the writers do like showing festival-like celebrations but seem to be avoiding revisiting ones we've seen before. Additional holidays will possibly be more secular in nature, celebrating historical events that we're unaware of at the moment. Such as the Equestrian equivalent to Guy Fawkes day, or more frantically party-like celebrations like Mardi Gras or Holi (also spring festivals, but with a less work more play energy than Winter Wrap Up. These might make good choices for cusp of Spring and Summer festivals, especially if we get more information that moves the GGG over to the Summer/Fall slot). So, very likely this topic will get revisited at some point soon.
  19. Festivals and celebrations are very important to most cultures and exactly how they celebrate them can tell you a lot about the people themselves, of course. Most of the festivals we’ve seen in MLP:FiM are expys of real-life Western holidays. But not all of them are, and in some cases there are some subtle differences. Most festivals in real life are sourced from two different places. The oldest come from the various agricultural-driven needs like planting, harvesting, or natural events like the longest and shortest days (the solstices). The newer ones are usually sourced from the day specific historical events occurred, although in many cased those get moved around to match up with the older festivals, in order to co-opt them and redirect public energy towards newer religions or nationalistic fervor. Oddly enough, this may work a different way in Equestria. In real life the dates of the festivals also tend to move around a lot depending on a societies ability to keep calendars. In the real world, the various natural counters of time, days, months, and years, don't actually line up nicely. A solar year always ends at different 'times' relative to the lunar month or the terran daily rotation, leaving extra bits of 'time' lying around mucking up the cycles. Because of this calendar-driven festivals tended to migrate as the year shifted around the calendar. Then you get 'calendar reform'. For example, the calendar most of the West uses used to have ten months. That's why it's September, October, November, December: Sept=Seven, Oct=Eight, Nov=Nine, Dec=Ten. All the months had 30 or 31 days, and there were 51 days that were considered 'outside' the year during the winter. When the year is 'dead', you see. Which is still messed up, because it only adds up to 355 days, which is 10 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 30 seconds short. Rigidly following this calendar means you're calendar is shifting 10 days every year around the seasons. Our current calendar, the Gregorian Calendar, is only inaccurate by 1 day every 3,000 years, but older calendars had already done enough damage to cause some festivals to be shifted so far around the year that they no longer resemble their original intent. Equestria likely doesn't have that problem at all, thanks to Celestia and Luna manually keeping the calendar in check. Instead, it is entirely possible that they move the *seasons* to match up with historical event festivals, rather than the other way around. Spring Festivals All societies with roots in agrarian cultures celebrate at least two major events, planting and harvesting. Spring is for planting and is usually a fertility festival, with boundless energy and color to celebrate the birth of the new year. In many regions it’s also a harvesting festival for those hardy grains that grow throughout the winter in more tropical and subtropical regions, as that’s when most of the precipitation falls, such as Egypt and Mesopotamia. In Western cultures, the original fertility festival was co-opted by Christians into Easter, bringing along its symbols of fertility; eggs and rabbits. Once fully co-opted, the date was moved around to disconnect it from the original festival in the hopes of finally putting an end to pagan practices. Any case, these types of festivals usually have a big feast of preserved foods, especially those that can only be partially preserved and will likely not last once the ambient temperature rises. Dried fruit, salted meats (though the meat bit is less likely given… well… ponies.), and spring harvest root vegetables will be the most common. In Equestria, the main spring festival is very obviously Winter Wrap Up, even though it takes place on the cusp between Winter and Spring. The rural area of Ponyville is deeply invested in this festival, and due to the ponies’ increased control of their environment it goes beyond just plowing the fields and sowing the grain, but also bringing animals out of hibernation and removing the winter snow. Which brings up the question as to exactly where they move the snow *to*, but anyway… In Ponyville the Winter Wrap Up is to be completely without Unicorn magic very specifically, which is excused as being because Ponyville was originally an Earth Pony settlement. But Pegasi are allowed to, and are in fact required, to use their special weather-manipulation abilities that the Earth Ponies can't do. So this ban on Unicorn magic seems out of place. There is a possible reason though. In more urban areas like Canterlot, populated by mainly Unicorns, they don’t celebrate Winter Wrap Up to that extent. Normally I'd say it would be because they are relatively far removed from agricultural needs, and so planting isn’t exactly high on their to-do lists. But given the ban on using Unicorn magic in Ponyville's Winter Wrap Up, it seems that some point in the past Unicorns routinely used their magic in some way that the other races of Equestria viewed as damaging and insulting the festival itself. The blowback of that being Unicorn magic being banned from the festival, and Unicorn-dominated areas abandoning the festival in response. But there will still be a cultural need for a Spring Festival in Unicorn areas, eventually leaking back into non-Unicorn areas but on a different date. Here we find Hearts and Hooves Day. Now, at first glance this looks like a simple clone of Valentine’s Day, but it isn’t completely. Equestria doesn’t have the greeting card and gift companies that were the driving force behind the real-life Valentine’s Day, so it needs to have some other impetus to drive it. But the main indicator of difference is that Valentine’s Day occurs in what Equestrians would consider the winter, and in the Hearts and Hooves episode you can see that Winter Wrap Up has already occurred as there is no snow on the ground. This means Hearts and Hooves Day is likely close to, or on, the Equinox, the day exactly between the Longest Day and the Longest Night. A day a more organized, urban, and calendar-driven society like the Unicorns would put a festival. Plus it’s pretty obviously a Fertility Festival, a lot more blatantly than Winter Wrap Up. In fact, it's entirely possible that the event that caused Unicorn magic being banned in the Winter Wrap Up may have to do with overt fertility rites that the Unicorns moved to the prototype Hearts and Hooves Day. This wouldn't be the first time festivals were originally one, and were split due to evolving cultural and class differences. When, and if, Cadence makes the jump to the same status/ability as Celestia and Luna, this will be her day. Alicorn of Love and all that. Summer Festivals Next in line is the summer festival; which most cultures put on the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. In real life in Western culture we’ve mostly lost the official summer festival, Midsummer. In Christian regions this became known as St. John’s Day. In some countries this is still a big, important festival, but in America and similar places almost nobody remembers. Because Midsummer celebrations have lessened in many areas, instead we get smaller regional celebrations that carry less emotional and cultural weight but are still celebrations of summer. Summer Days, summer vacations, etc. In this category of civic rather than cultural festival, we have the Grand Galloping Gala. According to the MLP:FiM Live show (which is otherwise a mess), this is a after-spring festival that occurs every year. So this is put on the cusp of Spring and Summer. However, that show was so messed up in it's timeline this could be a late summer fete on the cusp of Summer and Fall. Still, it's a major social event but doesn't give the indicators of a cultural festival. It’s likely there are local versions of the Gala all over Equestria, but with different names and dates, possibly all leading up to the Grand Galloping Gala. But in Equestria they do have a full Summer Festival. The Summer Sun Celebration. Probably due to the ponies exercising full control over the day/night cycles, the longest day of the year also coincides with the day Celestia defeated Nightmare Moon, and now the day that Luna was restored. This festival is presented as a much more formal and ritualistic affair than the other seasonal festivals, which makes sense given that it really is a more calendar-driven celebration that has only ancillary connections to more primitive agricultural roots. In any case, this is definitely Celestia’s day. There is no doubt about that. Next week, Fall and Winter.
  20. I’ve talked about parts of this all over the forum, this is really just assembling it all into one place. What do we know about the education system of Equestria? We know that Ponyville has a one-room schoolhouse that appears to only have one class and teacher. No other schools or teachers are referred to within Ponyville. The expectation seems to be that foals will start school before gaining their cutie-mark, but will gain it at some point while in school. Lessons include regular reading, writing, and arithmetic, as well as general history and other subjects that seem geared towards giving the students opportunities to find their special talents. We know that Twilight attended a special school: Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns, for which she had to pass an entrance exam, and was apparently still attending in some way when she was sent to Ponyville by Celestia in the first episode. It was during the exam that she gained her cutie-mark, and Twilight specifically said that she was late in getting a cutie-mark. This gives us a vague time-frame for this advanced school. Out-of-show, the various creative staff have mentioned that both Trixie and Sunset Shimmer were at one point students at this same school, but all three were in different ‘years’ so as to not encounter Twilight directly at any point. We know of the Wonderbolts Academy which is attended by full adults, which gives the impression of a military training facility. I really handled that one back in the third part of my first worldbuilding essay here. In summary, in order for the Wonderbolts and their Academy to really be the Equestrian equivalent to the Blue Angels, Red Arrows, or Snowbirds (three different military stunt teams), then the weatherponies, including Rainbow Dash, are likely members of the Equestrian equivalent of the Army Corps of Engineers. What can we do with this? The foundation here is the one-room school. This follows a similar model as the rural one-room schoolhouses found in America in the mid 1800’s. This works quite differently than modern schools, which debuted in the early 1900’s, so it might be a bit puzzling for people. At that time, the ‘class’ wasn’t divided by age. All students would get the same lessons, but the older students would be expected to complete more elaborate versions of the same exercises and assist the younger students. For example, a common textbook in poorer districts would be an almanac, a compilation of weather predictions, informative articles on farming, as well as ‘important’ historical and literary excerpts. (As school supplies were purchased locally, there would be high variation from region to region depending on the funds being made available to the school.) A lesson would be reading a section of the almanac. Young students would be concentrated on simply identifying letters, slightly older students would be reading the words themselves, while the older students would be attempting to understand the concepts and finding uses for the ‘lessons’. Ponyville gives the impression of being a wealthy rural district with a significant sized town, so they’re not as limited and have many more resources available. However, the idea is the same in that the class is not divided by age. These schools would only have the students for four to six years, depending on how quickly the individual student moved through the lessons, and then they would go on to further education depending on their parent’s personal means. The poorest students would simply be released to be laborers. Those with some money or connections would become apprentices for skilled laborers, such as carpenters, smiths, and the like. At this point the apprentice system was highly regulated, with ‘masters’ needing to be certified by their guild-equivalent before being allowed to take on apprentices. If however the student had serious funding or better connections, they would move to a more advanced school. Usually a boarding school in a big city. These would have actual classes separated by entrance year, and cover more esoteric lessons like comportment, rhetoric, literature, music, history, and the like. These could be called ‘secondary’, ‘high’, ‘finishing’ schools, or a variety of other names. This schooling would normally last another six or so years, and the graduates of this would go on to apprenticeship in more white-collar jobs like business, medical, law, government, etc. Or go on to the final pass at a College or a University (which at the time were collections of Colleges that were sharing resources), which was considered to be a superior substitute to the advanced apprenticeship system as you would be exposed to a wider range of opportunities than if you were tied to a single master. This is why the advanced degree in modern universities is called a ‘Master’ degree. At one point that was the minimum requirement for a person to call themselves a Master and take on apprentices/students in those subjects. Anyway, Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns very much resembles one of these secondary schools, going directly into a College. Twilight will have actually been in a primary school prior to taking the exam, and was either truly late in getting her cutie-mark, or was precocious/annoying enough that her parents brought her to the entrance exam early. Or both. The episode gives the impression that if Twilight hadn’t experienced that magic surge that she wouldn’t have gotten into the school. However, the test of hatching the egg was more like the various interview questions high-tech industries used to give, where they don’t expect you to know the answer. They’re more interested in how you approach the question. They probably didn’t expect her to actually hatch the egg, they just wanted to see what she would do when *trying*. Rarity likely attended a Finishing School as well in Canterlot, which is why her accent doesn’t match her parents or Sweetie Bell. Students of secondary education at this time usually were taught ‘comportment’ which includes etiquette, speech patterns, and so on. In England, students ended up with what’s called Received Pronunciation accents. In America, it was ‘Mid-Atlantic’ accents which is what happens when Received Pronunciation moves across the water to America and is blended with the normal East Coast accents. Rarity’s accent goes away when she’s really stressed, at least in earlier seasons. She seems to be getting more proficient and not losing it as often now. A final note on this, it’s interesting that Twilight, upon arriving at Ponyville moved directly into the library and became the official librarian with no fuss or bother. It’s not even mentioned what happened to the prior librarian. It’s possible that the library system is considered part of the education system in Equestria. Royalty tends to have personal projects that they have official and immediate control over. Celestia appears to take a personal interest in the education system (having her own schools, and having personal students), so likely she exercised that immediate power to appoint Twilight as Ponyville librarian without having to go through the regular ‘I’m the Princess’ hoopla that must follow her everywhere else.
  21. Just to clarify: In the Castle Mane-ia episode, just before we hear the opening theme, we see these spiders that have stars on them, and we see Spike trembling in fear of them. Later, when we see Rarity and Fluttershy approaching the castle, Fluttershy says "Don't you think it's a little late in the day to be walking through the forest? It is star-spider season, after all." We can easily infer that these "star-spiders" that Fluttershy is referring to are the spiders with stars on them that made Spike so uneasy. One has to wonder: How have star-spiders earned a reputation that makes Spike, Fluttershy, and possibly others so wary of them? Do they bite? Do they lure hungry Ursa-majors and Ursa-minors out of their caves to come and eat them, so that you have lots of hungry Ursa-majors and Ursa-minors roaming around the forest? These are the best theories I've managed to come up with so far. What are your theories?
  22. Honestly, this series wasn’t as bad as I remembered it being. While there was an episode or two that insisted on the fillies needing coltfriends, and the colts were almost universally portrayed in negative stereotypes, overall it wasn’t *that* bad. Sweetheart is best G1.5 pony. Oh yes, as mentioned in my Episode Watching Blog, I’m treating My Little Pony Tales as Generation 1.5. Officially it’s still Generation 1, as the generations are determined by the toy line, not the shows. But this show is definitely *not* using the same setting and characters as the G1 My Little Pony ‘n Friends show, and it is not using the same character designs as Generation 2. Anyway, on to my findings: The My Little Pony Tales show is set in a region whose terrain, culture and slang usage resembles Arizona & New Mexico in the late 80’s, early 90’s. The primary focus is an unnamed mid-sized town in Ponyland. In fact the town may be all there is of Ponyland. The town has elected officials, and the ponies themselves are organized into nuclear families. While there was no evidence of a broader nation as such, there are several islands that appear to be their own nations, including one ruled by a European-style monarchy, and another with Polynesian-styled ponies. There is also a region that produces ponies with French accents. All of which are Earth Ponies. Unicorns do not exist and Pegasi are considered to be a cross of magical fairies and otherworldly aliens. The few Pegasi that appear are extensively tattooed, and appear to be led by the first Alicorn seen in My Little Pony animation. These Pegasi appear to be monitoring the Earth Ponies in that they are tracking certain individuals by name. They only appear once, and are never mentioned again. The only other intelligent species even mentioned in the series are dragons, and those being mythical. We don’t even get to see much in the way of animal life in general. There is definitely no explicit contact with the human world as such. There is an odd thing that points towards ponies not being related to real life equines, in that they have semi-prehensile tails that they can twist and turn at will. The ponies are again not native to this region, having travelled there as ‘settlers’ in wagon trains. There is evidence of a prior civilization, with architecture similar to the ancient Pueblo Indians (reinforcing the Arizona/New Mexico model), however unlike the real-life region they appear to have died out completely leaving no modern Pueblo-equivalents like the Hopi or Zuni. These Pueblo-equivalents appear to be called 'Pinto', which is a specific type of mottled coloring on a horses, unlike any of the ponies seen in this series who are all solid-coated. Many of the businesses in the town seem to have put a lot of effort into being retro 50’s, with uniforms, equipment (jukeboxes, hairdryers, etc.). Special shaped architecture (storefronts made to look like the product being sold) became really popular in the 50's as well, but it continues to pop up on occasion ever since so this is not indicative of anything. The education system of the ponies also resembles early 90’s where standardized testing was beginning to be mandated in America. This caused tests to be wildly out of sync with what the students were actually being taught in the classroom. In this case we have students in 4th or 5th grade delving into molecular chemistry while at the same time being tested on simple multiplication tables. (This is based on Sweetheart being 10 years old in the series.) This would eventually lead to the ‘teaching to the test’ concept in America, but that has not apparently occurred yet in pony culture. So what can we salvage from this? Not much, honestly. The removal of unicorns and pegasi from the main setting, and any other intelligent life for that matter is a big blow. The very modern technology is very difficult to work around as well. It's very rare that this series explores the broader culture of the ponies, or travel to areas outside of the town. It's very narrowly focused on slice-of-life episodes in the lives of the seven young fillies. Forcing the issue, this would be best placed in the southern region of Equestria, near the farthest reaches of the Ghastly Gorge bordering on the San Palomino Desert and the low mountains separating that region from where the Appleloosa settlement is now. And it would need to be temporally located when the three pony tribes were functionally independent of each other, long before the Hearth’s Warming Eve story. If this was to be a continuation of the My Little Pony ‘n Friends setting, the ‘settlers’ would be Earth Ponies leaving Ponyland, to create ‘New’ Ponyland in this region. The alien Pegasi would represent ponies from the original Ponyland keeping tabs on the new civilization, but for some reason not allowing extensive contact. The change from a gender/age segregated society to a nuclear family setup is a major shift that might have been the reason for exodus to the new land, and the desire for the two 'nations' to keep as separate as possible from each other. In much the same way as religion was the impetus for many of the American colonies. But this is a far more extreme level of isolation and I can't convince myself that there is a good reason for this. If we're really looking as all of this as one big story, it's more likely we're seeing these series out-of-order, and My Little Pony Tales takes place *before* My Little Pony 'n Friends. We will have to see how the next Generations go to see if those will give us something to work with. Other than that, I’m having trouble finding anything worth porting over to G4, other than some specific characters like Sweetheart and Lancer. Oh, except for the Polynesian ponies. There were a couple of fanfics at one point that posited that Fluttershy's parents were not from Cloudsdale originally, but were from some island region. The idea being that Fluttershy's beauty as described in the 'Green isn't your Color' episode is at least partially because she is exotic in some way that isn't translating through the cartoony artstyle. That and her flying abilities are in question simply because she is built for a completely different style of flying than what Rainbow Dash and all the other Cloudsdale ponies are used to. While Dash is more raptor-like built for speed and power, Fluttershy is sea bird-like built for long-distance gliding. Follow that line of thought and you can bring in the Polynesian ponies as being distant ancestors of Fluttershy then. If they weren't all Earth Ponies in this blasted series.
  23. Those that know me will probably be wondering why this essay has taken so long to show up. Mainly this is due to prioritization, enough other people have discussed this topic that I didn’t feel it was that urgent. However, the discussion has reached a point where I am disagreeing just enough with the various conclusions reached that I’ve decided to put this one together. First, what do we know? There are several references to weaponry in FiM and some of them have interesting features. The Canterlot guards regularly have spears. Spears are pretty universal weapons known in every culture around the world. Not much to be learned here, other than they are depicted very clearly as hewing spears with broad heads rather than throwing spears (and are too large to be javelins) with narrow piercing heads. Bow & Arrow cutie marks show up on several crystal ponies, plus one colt in Cherilee’s class named by the fandom ‘Archer’. Archer’s cutie mark is sufficiently stylized that it could be a cupid reference instead of a weapon. However, the crystal ponies’ cutie marks are standard bows and we can assume from that that actual archery is familiar to the ponies. Archery is an odd thing for the ponies, given that it very definitely requires fingers to work normally. There are ways around that, however. Also during the Crystal Empire episodes, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy have a little go at tilting, sometimes known as jousting. Lances as used in tilting are specialized spears, developed during the transition of jousting between war training and sport. In this case, the lances appear to be mounted right on the armor rather than held in any way. This is… odd, but when jousting became a sport in real life, similar odd things occurred to the equipment. The idea of a knight being winched into place in full armor is from very late-period 'jousting as a sport'. It wouldn't be unheard of during this time (17th century) that a knight would get up onto their horse unarmored, and have his armor assembled around him after-the fact. In the most extreme cases some German knights would be unable to move except for one arm operating the reins, and the armor would be loaded with springs and clockwork so it would make a more spectacular *SMASH* when the collision happened. Pipsqueak’s ‘pirate sword’. This is a classic cartoon sword, and very obviously a toy. Interestingly, it’s not what is popularly thought of as a pirate sword at all (a cutlass), but what they usually use as a toy knightly sword in most animations. For some reason, they’re always drawn as a leaf-blade, a sort of two-edged machete being very tip-heavy. This is a style of blade in real life that really only occurs when a culture is transitioning from bronze weapons to steel weapons. As a note, wrought iron weapons rarely work as iron is less effective for blades than bronze, providing no advantage. It’s only when steel gets involved do bronze weapons become obsolete. It’s during this transition period that leaf-blade weapons show up. The weapon is used by Pipsqueak as a mouth-tool. Rainbow Dash’s reference to wanting a pet ‘as fast as a bullet’. Many have taken this to mean that ponies are aware of firearms, which may in fact be true. However, this is not necessarily a reference to guns. Bullets have existed long before guns were invented. Romans were using bullets, and comparing things to their speed, as that’s what the ammunition of slings is called in Roman Latin. Now, I’m not talking about slingshots, but the proper slings that were considered weapons of war and of hunting since pre-history. David and Goliath stuff. Slings are difficult to use, and take a *lot* more practice than pretty much any other weapon out there. In ancient armies, the slingers were usually trained from early childhood. Pinkie Pie’s party cannon is real reason why ponies are likely aware of firearms. Guns were first invented in China near the end of the 12th century as a development of fire lances, tubes mounted on spears that spewed fire and shrapnel. This technology spread *fast* in medieval times, handguns hitting the Middle East in the early 13th century, and entering Europe in about the late 13th century. Think about that, the concept of crop rotation, knowledge of medicine, and the printing press could take 500 years or more to get from one end of the Eurasian continent to the other, but working firearms and the industry necessary to support them took less than a 100 years to spread over that entire area. Full-sized cannons showed up later in the middle of the 14th century. This is a bit that people usually forget; handguns predate cannons. Mainly because it took a while to figure out how to produce gunpowder in quantities necessary to be able to operate large artillery pieces. Pinkie Pie’s cannon is missing a couple of the indicators of an actual weapon. There are always several reinforcing rings on the barrel of a cannon, to reduce the chance of the case or breech from… exploding to be honest, usually at the muzzle (known as a swell), and where the cannon is mounted on the carriage (known as rimbases), as well as the entire cascable is drawn rather simplified. Of course, being a cartoon drawing of cannon, these details are lost. So, as far as I can tell, that’s it for weaponry in the series itself. There are several fan-concepts that are fascinating, like ‘wingblades’ that are specialized weapons used by pegasi, but I’ll come back to that later. Overall, there isn’t much weaponry in Equestria. Despite the fact that there are enough monsters and nasty critters that would justify such. Early depictions of pegasi peg them as militaristic, which carries on into the Wonderbolts training regime. And several ponies are depicted as wearing various states of armor, but those tend to be remnants of ‘a thousand years ago’, indicating that the ponies have not needed any form of warfare in living memory. Ah, that’s a good point. Weapons aren’t everything in the Armory, there’s armor as well of course. So what have we seen for armor? Next week!
  24. Last week, I detailed what I was able to glean from the entire run of My Little Pony 'n Friends. How can we use this information? Well, it's pretty obvious this is not a part of Equestria taken literally. The base rules of the world are different, with a larger variety of sentient creatures, cutie-marks and unicorn magic working differently, and so on. However, this is the series that inspired Lauren Faust as she developed Friendship is Magic, and several of the things from this series have already been translated to Equestria. So that means we can steal from this setting and migrate it into Equestria as long as we're sufficiently liberal with our interpretations. If we were to force the issue, the various valleys and volcanic mountains would best map to the western coast of Equestria, covering a relatively small area somewhere between Tall Tale and Los Pegasis in the Unicorn Range. In fact, it may be the reason for the city name of Tall Tale, which given the pony's penchant to puns would have been more likely to be called Tall Tail normally. Possibly it's named after the mythology of Dream Valley that the legends place near by. In which case we may be dealing with an prior expedition of ponies crossing into Equestria long before the one mentioned in the Hearth's Warming Eve episode. This would be similar to the Norse settlements in Newfoundland that occurred in the 10th century which had died out and had been forgotten long before the rest of Europe started showing up in the 15th century. The variety of other sentient creatures is the hardest to deal with. Where did they all go, between the time of G1 and G4? If the time-frame of North America above is any guide, we're dealing with at least 500 years, which is not enough for that number of intelligent species to simply disappear without deliberate action on behalf of *somebody*. That's proper fanfiction fodder right there. If you take the series in a different order, and have the Theatrical movie actually happen at the end of the historical events rather than near the beginning, you do have the devastation of the Smooze to work with. It's not inconceivable that the low populations of all the other races meant that the Smooze event dropped them below the minimum viable population. That aside, here are some examples of things we can steal: First, pony culture itself. In this series, mares and stallions are heavily segregated, and foals are raised by the community not by their parents. This can easily be true in the past for Equestria, and may even explain why the show gives the impression that the ratio of stallions to mares in Equestria is so oddly skewed. It may only be relatively recently that the nuclear family concept has become the norm in this society, as in within the last thousand years or so. Hearts and Hooves Day may actually be Celestia trying her hoof at social engineering, rather than how Valentines Day was created in the real world, all in an effort to increase the population growth of her little ponies. The Seaponies may yet exist, but have retreated to the deeper seas. Flutterponies... I'm being told that alternate versions of the flutterponies exist in one of the later series, but I haven't reached them yet, so I'll leave them for now. Second, the antagonists. Let's only deal with the heavy hitters here; Squirk, Grognar, and Tirek. The various witches, like Hydia and Catrina, are actually pretty generic and don't need much in the way of adaption. Squirk is a horribly silly name, but the concept of an ancient Kraken that wants to flood the world to claim all that territory as it's own, is perfectly sound and can be made *really* creepy. His main power source, the Flashstone, already has an analogue in FiM, in the Alicorn Amulet. An amulet that allows the wielder to use massive magic power with little to no limits. Grognar is a wonderful mythological villain. The Ram Sorcerer, who made a necklace that allowed him to channel and control the power of the Bell of Tambelon. The story of the lost city of Tambelon itself has so many mythological precedents, and likely has some kind of a connection to the capitol of the Crystal Empire. Possibly being Sombra's inspiration for doing that trick. And then there's Tirek. As I mentioned in my essay on the Terror of Tartaurus, he's a bit trickier to use as some of his shtick was transferred to Nightmare Moon. However, he is unique in that he used his transformative power on unwilling targets, rather than be a shapeshifter himself. Adding in that he may have been cursed by his own power, and his natural form may have been quite different (perhaps a normal minotaur), and you have an interesting villain there. Finally, let's look at the artifacts. I've already mentioned the flashstone, but there are a few others that are interesting. The Dark and Light Rainbows, for example. Two paired yet opposite powers. One forcing metamorphosis on unwilling victims, and the other restoring things to their true form. Given the effect of the Elements of Harmony is normally shown as a Rainbow, it's possible they are connected and the Rainbow of Light is inhabiting the Elements of Harmony due to some events that were not shown in the series. The Sunstone is interesting, perhaps being one of a pair of artifacts that allowed the Unicorns of Hearth's Warming Eve to control the sun and moon before Celestia and Luna came along. The other being the Moonstone, of course. Maybe these things are still around in a vault in Canterlot, and some unicorns decide to use it in an attempt to overthrow the princesses... The six crowns of the Heart of Ponyland could very well be the first known versions of the Elements of Harmony. Normally linked to the Crystal Heart, they were separated by ponies wishing to protect them from those who would abuse their power, and scattered across the land. It was these legendary artifacts that Starswirl devoted so much time to. Later Celestia and Luna take Starswirl's research as a guide to re-assemble them as part of their Hero's Quest to defeat Discord. In this version, they would take on Sombra *before* Discord, attempting to recover the final piece, the Crystal Heart itself. Sombra phased the entire capitol of the Crystal Empire, using the same dark magic as the Lost City of Tambelon. The Princesses could not retrieve the Heart, and they had to take on Discord with a not-quite-complete set. I've left the Smooze until here, because it's... odd. It was summoned by a spell, and appears at least partially self-aware and 'alive'. But honestly that's not that much different from the variety of artifacts in the series. But it's considerably more dangerous than any artifact; a true weapon of mass destruction, who's only real weakness is the stupidity of the witches who put it into play. Those who survive the Smooze are still affected by it, driven to sickness and depression. To be honest, for how silly it was being portrayed, this thing has the highest potential for GrimDark in the entire G1 series, even more than Tirek, Grognar, and Squirk combined. When you look at it a bit closer, and take off the rose-colored glasses, the Smooze is very much a biological equivalent of a nuclear weapon, complete with radiation sickness and the like, leaving only complete devastation in it's wake. Oh, and the connection between the pony world and the human world. Allowing for Equestria Girls' rather odd coloration being an artistic choice rather than 'reality', it lines up rather nicely with the time passing between contacts getting shorter an shorter from the human world's perspective. It does mean that the calendar of the human world is completely disconnected to the calendar of the pony world, which means Luna's mention of 30 moons was actually only vaguely relevant to Twilight, as it would have been 30 moons in the pony world, but who knows how long in the human world. There are lots of other small details that could be ported over, but as they are truely tiny details I think I've done enough for this essay.
  25. 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.