A Royal Problem  

192 members have voted

  1. 1. Like It or Not?

    • Starlight: *spits in barf bag* "Did Tirek bake this cake?!" Celestia: "No. Tiberius." Luna: *facehoof* ("I hate it!" >__<)
    • Starlight: "The princess are A Royal Pain." ("I dislike it.")
    • Luna: "Eh. 'Tis not bad. But I've had better moonshine." ("…meh.")
    • Celestia: "It's cause for a celebration! *Starlight, Luna, Tiberius, Philomena join* ("I like it!")
    • Luna: "This is FABULOUS!" Celestia: *whispers to Starlight* "She and Rarity have girls' night out every Friday." ("I LOVE IT" <3)


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Let me see if I got this straight. Princess Twilights castle, and the cutie magic table/map thing happened when the mane six gave up the elements of harmony to save the tree of harmony because Tirek.And because  of some intetense other stuff? (That SG had nothing to do with) Starlight glimmer gets cutie map missions now?W?T?F?!!

 Yes, we are all Twilight going "WTF?!" here.  And it is a completely solid Celestia/ Luna episode that we have all been wanting! 

Switching ROYAL cutie marx , and it works...? Just wow! 

Oh Starlight Glimmer, how you make all the first four seasons irrelevant.

A well written episode is appreciated, props to that! The Celestia/Luna part is FIM as it gets! 

I feel like I'm being forced to accept starlight g, and that pony still ain't my friend (all shady and  control freakish) 

 

 

  • Brohoof 1

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27 minutes ago, Music Chart Fan said:

and waves away any (arguably insufficient) guilt Starlight has for coming "dangerously close to messing everything up"

I would love to hear what your idea of sufficient guilt is. I mean, Starlight looked like she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown several times throughout. The moment she cast the spell, she was definitely in "What the fuck did I just do?" mode. She was panicking. It progressively weighs on her culminating in a very emotional collapse that we rarely see on the show (not quite as well animated and acted as Moondancer ... but effective). 

So ... what is sufficient guilt? Like, does she have to attempt suicide before it reaches your assumed level of appropriateness? You would have a point if she wasn't absolutely petrified with the implications of her actions. And yes there is a discussion on whether having her perform the spell was the best idea or a mistake, but certainly not in how they portrayed guilt. 

One other gripe I have with your analysis. Luna's picture. Ok. That whole moment may have come across as wrong to you because you know the best way to smile for a camera -- but that's a crazy nitpick. How many people actually know that? If you polled 100 random people and asked, "when is the perfect moment to smile for a camera?", what percentage do you think would actually say "right before the photographer snaps it". That isn't rhetorical. I actually want to know. Holding a smile is what some do, which puts that particular part of the scene into believable territory. Believable is far more important than efficient. 

The other criticisms are acceptable, and the post in general is well thought out. Those two issues ... well ... not so much. 

 

16 minutes ago, colt .45 said:

Oh Starlight Glimmer, how you make all the first four seasons irrelevant.

This is interesting. As I stated above ... it's an unresolved issue as far as how the heck she can be sent ... but two things come to mind that make it thematicly cool. 

In the Cutie Re-Mark PT 2 Starlight is furious as the assumption that the Mane Six are that important. Twilight actually admits she isn't sure why their friendships are so important. It's the line afterward that says a lot. They are the heros but in the end it is every friendship across Equestria that matters. Next ... the map appeared and immediately sent them to the Town to confront Starlight which led to the events in the finale which led to this episode. So ... destiny maybe? 

Either way, the map is tangentially connected to Starlight Glimmer. I mean ... so it sort of an extension of the first four seasons in that way. Contrived? A little, but some contrivances can be inspired if there is at least a purpose behind them as there was here. 

Or as Thrond hinted ... it may be best just to grin and bear the odd Map logic. 

I like how you noticed the weird line about the spell reversing itself as well. Still unsure why Starlight mentioned it, but I've just been invoking "Map Logic". 

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13 hours ago, Jeric said:

Also ... don't forget

76abd4a84396071cdeee07e663bc637a.jpg

 

....

 

 

 

 

what is Dr Whooves dreaming about? What's that thing in the background of his bubble?

also- I think its time Flim and Flam had an episode with Filthy Rich already

1 hour ago, Music Chart Fan said:

Overall, I find this episode a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, there are a fair number of things to like about it. To give a few examples, Twilight's check-ups and freaking out are enjoyable to watch, as is Twilight (and even Starlight) being a music box ballerina. It's nice to see Celestia's and Luna's jobs fleshed out more, and it's heartwarming to see them recognize the work each of them does and make things up to each other in the end. Luna's dream with the mocking kids and her teeth falling out is appropriately creepy, and it's interesting to see Daybreaker, the "corrupted" version of Celestia, and the arguments that Daybreaker makes.

However, the biggest issue I have with the episode is that Starlight yet again resorts to recklessly and immorally using her magic to violate the bodies and minds of others - in this case, to switch Celestia's and Luna's cutie marks without their consent. While Starlight worries about a catastrophic result to her doing this after the fact, no one seems to point out the basic immorality of what Starlight did, and she's even praised by Celestia, Luna and Twilight for doing it at the end of the episode. Also, while I can't really make a good case that Celestia's and Luna's feud is out-of-character or unreasonable, it's rather jarring how petty the two of them are about it, and how Celestia and Luna go almost instantly from seeming to be bashful about admitting that they're hurting each other's feelings to bitterly bickering with each other.

-----

First, I'll talk about some lighter observations I have about Luna's day in Celestia's place.

To start, when Luna is posing for the picture with the schoolponies, Luna should only have to smile right before the picture is taken; in fact, I've heard that letting your face rest just before posing a smile for a picture will make it "fresher", anyway. Part of the issue might be the photographer, though; I would think he would give a countdown or sufficient warning before taking the picture, or at least take a few pictures to pick the best-looking one to run. I guess the photographer and the newspaper could have an agenda of making the Princesses look bad and embarrassing them whenever possible, but it would still be pretty callous of them to (apparently) make collateral damage of the earnest students' fundraiser in the process.

Speaking of that, because Luna scowled in the picture for the newspaper, the school apparently didn't raise enough funds to go on their field trip. But how did that happen? I would think that the fundraiser would be some event at which Luna would appear and participate, with that picture being taken only to commemorate the fundraising event afterward (and after the funds have already been raised). Was the picture itself somehow the fundraiser? Did the donors pull their donations after seeing the picture? Why would they do that? I don't understand what happened there.

I'm also not sure I understand what Luna's next task is supposed to be. Luna supposedly needs to "dispel rumors of timberwolves in the White Tail Woods" with some delegates of nearby towns, but how would Luna do that? Are Celestia/Luna privy to some information about the non-presence of timberwolves that the nearby town residents don't know? But after Luna declares in the "traditional royal Canterlot voice" that there are no timberwolves, the delegates just run away, screaming that there are definitely timberwolves. I get that Luna's doing that might have been a little intimidating, but wouldn't the delegates want to talk about Luna's proclamation, dispute it, see whether she has evidence for it, etc.? And furthermore, wouldn't doing that be their job as delegates to this meeting? I don't know why the delegates' response is just to run away, not to return.

Finally, what exactly was Luna's job concerning the mayors of Fillydelphia and Baltimare at the town hall? If the two cities (or the two mayors personally) have some dispute with each other, and not, say, the royal government over which Celestia and Luna preside, why is it Celestia's or Luna's job to intervene and help settle things? Couldn't such disputes be handled (and handled better) by an Equestrian court system or a trained third-party arbitrator or something like that? Are Celestia or Luna themselves the equivalent of the Equestrian Supreme Court? And as a side note, considering that the luncheon with the delegates didn't happen, wouldn't there be time for a bit of a break before the town hall, at least to eat the lunch that was probably already prepared?

-----

Now we come to the heavier stuff, and my biggest issue with the episode. Starlight impulsively uses her magic to switch Celestia's and Luna's cutie marks without their consent, and on top of that, the spell she casts is irreversible for the 24-hour period that it's in effect, which creates its own issues. Besides Starlight's worrying about her spell actually driving Celestia and Luna further apart, what if Celestia and Luna were not able to use each other's magic properly, and then there was some threat which Celestia and/or Luna would have to solve with the use of magic? However, the bigger issue to me is that, by nonconsensually switching Celestia's and Luna's cutie marks, Starlight yet again immorally violates what I believe is a fundamental human right to ownership and control of one's own body and mind.

To start off, I'll address one defense I've seen for Starlight's actions - that Starlight supposedly "had no choice" but to use her magic to force a solution. But Celestia and Luna had only been bickering back and forth for about a minute or so when Starlight cast her spell, and this was Starlight's first attempt to get them to talk to each other about their issues. If this misunderstanding between them has been festering for a while, it's not really surprising that it wouldn't be solved in a single short conversation. It might require letting the two of them cool off, talking to them more individually, and slowly getting each of them to concede that the other might have a point. Furthermore, Starlight could try to pick a better time for follow-up conversations with Luna in particular. It seems pretty obvious that the morning right after Luna gets "off her shift" isn't a good time to ask Luna to do things.

Tied into this is the idea planted by Twilight that the current fight between Celestia and Luna might lead to Luna turning into Nightmare Moon again. First, I'm not sure how much of a danger that really is. But at the time that Starlight cast her spell, I really don't see what was happening that would justify the drastic and immoral action of nonconsensually switching Celestia's and Luna's cutie marks. Again, it seems very premature to conclude that Celestia's and Luna's issues were completely unsolvable at that point, and I see no real evidence that Luna was on the verge of transforming into Nightmare Moon or anything, which would supposedly necessitate taking urgent extreme action. So, to reiterate, I don't see the case for Starlight's actions being excused because she "had no choice" - it seems to me that Starlight hadn't given her first attempt, or the idea of slowly bringing Celestia and Luna around, much of any chance to start working, and I don't see anything about the situation that would necessitate immediate drastic action.

Next, after switching Celestia's and Luna's cutie marks, Starlight might worry about a catastrophic result, but she only does so after the fact, and she doesn't ever seem to recognize the basic immorality of what she did, regardless of what the outcome ultimately is. When Celestia and Luna are obviously angry with Starlight and demand that she reverse the spell, Starlight doesn't acknowledge that what she did was wrong, but says she still thinks it's a good idea. And when Twilight is freaking out about Starlight switching Celestia and Luna's cutie marks, Starlight says with annoyance "I thought we moved past this. It was the right call!", followed by a slight "I hope". I see this as Starlight not conceding that what she did was immoral and reckless, but rather, still trying to argue that what she did was right. Starlight also says in her dream later that "going with my gut was the wrong call", but she apparently only believes that to the extent that she thinks that it led to Luna becoming Nightmare Moon (and possibly Celestia becoming Daybreaker). And after Celestia retrieves Luna and brings her to Starlight's dream, we see Starlight crying and saying "What was I thinking? I'm never going with my gut again!". When I saw Starlight say that, I couldn't help saying "Good! You shouldn't!". In seriousness, if Starlight's gut tells her to magically alter other ponies' bodies and minds without their consent, violating a bedrock principle of morality, then Starlight definitely should not be going with her gut, and should be looking into unlearning (or at least not acting on) instincts like that.

To add fuel to the fire, at the end of the episode, Celestia, Luna, and Twilight all unqualifiedly praise Starlight for switching Celestia's and Luna's cutie marks without their consent. Celestia tells Starlight outright that "it was the right call going with your gut" and waves away any (arguably insufficient) guilt Starlight has for coming "dangerously close to messing everything up", with tacit agreement from Luna. Luna tells Starlight that the map was wise to send her because "nopony else would have been so bold as to do what you did", while I can't help cynically thinking "because everyone else would recognize that what Starlight did was immoral and not do it?". Even Twilight, who knows that Starlight nonconsensually switched Celestia's and Luna's cutie marks, hugs Starlight and tells her "I knew you could do it, and I'm so, so, so, so, so proud of you!". There's no mention at all of the basic wrongness and immorality of what Starlight did, and even Starlight's token acknowledgement of the danger of what she did is downplayed and waved away. It's a shame, because the interactions here between Celestia and Luna, Twilight and Starlight, and Celestia and Luna and Starlight are heartwarming, but they're tainted by the lack of acknowledgement of or learned lessons about Starlight having used immoral means to solve the problem.

And my issues with how the end of the episode played out highlight my differences with another of the defenses I've seen for Starlight's actions - that they can be excused (or even considered right) because things turned out well in the end. This argument seems essentially to be saying that the ends justify the means. But I don't believe that the end of Celestia and Luna making up justifies Starlight's means to achieve that, and perhaps an analogous example might illustrate why not. Say X and Y are at a party, but X doesn't seem to be having much fun, so, unbeknownst to X, Y slips some drugs into X's drink. Even if X goes on to have a better time and recovers from the drugs later, I would think that we should still consider it immoral to give people mind-altering drugs in their food/drinks without their consent, and people shouldn't be praised for doing that. Similarly, even though Starlight's cutie mark-switching spell might have had a positive outcome this time, I still think that altering others' physical/mental states without their consent is immoral in itself, and should not be praised and encouraged. I don't want to live in a society in which other people feel justified in intruding upon my body and mind without my consent because they believe that it'll be good for me or that a positive outcome will result.

Furthermore, I think Starlight's behavior in this episode, and the way it was treated, have a significant impact on Starlight's characterization and role in the show going forward. One of the defenses of Starlight in general that I've often seen is that Starlight's reckless and immoral use of magic to solve problems, including altering the bodies and minds of others, is ultimately a temporary thing. By this argument, Starlight is just reforming very slowly and making a lot of mistakes along the way - we can't expect her to do a 180 overnight, etc. But, if this episode (along with others) is any indication, Starlight's reckless and immoral use of magic is here to stay; it has become Starlight's M.O., what she's expected and even called upon to do. And since I have profound moral disagreements with how Starlight has often used her magic, that probably imposes a fairly low ceiling on how much I can like or relate to Starlight's character (in addition to other issues I have with her characterization).

To conclude this section, for as much as I've written about the problems I have with it, it doesn't even really seem like Starlight's switching of Celestia's and Luna's cutie marks is essential to making the episode work. As far as I can tell, none of the things Luna does in Celestia's place require Celestia's cutie mark or magic specifically. And while the episode states that only Luna's magic works in the dream realm, as far as I know, that wasn't set in stone prior to this episode. The main point is to get Celestia and Luna to do each other's jobs and discover the difficulties of doing them. Then the dilemma would be how to get Celestia and Luna to start doing each other's jobs in the first place. Funnily enough, the two of them were convinced to do each other's jobs fairly easily after their cutie marks were switched, even when they wouldn't necessarily be required to do that, so I wonder how hard it would have been to find a way to get the two of them to go along with it using consensual means. I even saw a suggestion that Celestia and Luna could be convinced, or come up with the idea themselves, to switch their cutie marks voluntarily, which would mitigate many of the issues I detailed above.

-----

One other major thing that I'll mention is that the existence of Daybreaker and the arguments she makes bring up a legitimate point that has kind of lurked in the background of the characterization of Celestia and Luna. If Celestia and Luna are so powerful, and if Equestria is (or was) entirely dependent on them to raise the sun and moon, to protect Equestria from big threats, and any other essential duties, then what is there to stop Celestia and Luna from abusing their power? What would prevent Celestia and/or Luna from, say, refusing to raise the sun (which could ultimately lead to mass starvation), or refusing to protect Equestria from the latest threat, or even threatening Equestrians themselves, unless the residents of Equestria fulfill some list of their demands? Do the residents of Equestria have any other means to raise the sun, other than the power of Celestia and Luna, if the two of them refuse to do so, or even if the two of them are incapacitated? Would Equestrians be able to defend themselves if Celestia and Luna turned their magical power on them, or again, if there's some big threat and the alicorns are incapacitated? When I think about it, it seems downright scary that Equestrians seem to be dependent on Celestia's and Luna's goodwill, and ability to fend off threats, for their survival and to stop the two of them from abusing their power like that.

Now for the rest of my miscellaneous observations:

It is mysterious why the Cutie Map called Starlight, given that the map first appeared when the Mane Six all sat in their thrones, and the map is in the castle which spawned from the Tree of Harmony and the Chest of Harmony. So the map would seem to be connected only to the Mane Six, who are the bearers of the Elements of Harmony. Did Starlight, in helping to fix the map back in "Spice Up Your Life", somehow get herself on the "call list" of the Cutie Map?

Starlight doesn't seem much concerned about table manners at the breakfast table with Celestia, opening her mouth wide, taking bites big enough to fill her cheeks, and leaving almost no time between bites.

Why does Celestia just throw away the pancakes she made for Luna? I'm sure someone would eat them - maybe Starlight, or else one of the servants or castle guards or somebody.

Of course, if Luna has been consistent in never eating the breakfasts Celestia makes for her, I'd think that Celestia would stop bothering at some point. Had Celestia stopped before, but tried making pancakes for Luna again because Celestia thought Luna might actually sit down to breakfast with a guest (i.e., Starlight) present?

Does the lavender Luna hangs every night really wilt within a day? Would it last longer if it were maintained a bit better?

Also, is it really worthwhile for Luna to hang lavender in the Great Hall (or whatever its name is) every night, considering that (presumably) no one is actually sleeping in there? Sure, some visitors/servants/guards might smell the lavender while working or passing through, but I'm not sure how well that carries over to when they would sleep and dream later, and that might only affect a fairly small number of ponies, anyway. Could servants, say, be directed to place lavender in or near the castle bedrooms, or use lavender-scented cleaning agents?

Furthermore, Luna might hang the lavender every night, but some gardeners probably have the actual job of growing it, especially if Luna goes through that much of it every day. They probably deserve some recognition, too.

I'm not sure why Starlight becomes Luna's and Celestia's personal assistant for the day. Is it "punishment" for having switched their cutie marks? It doesn't seem like Starlight would be particularly helpful, since she's likely not familiar with Celestia's and Luna's daily duties and routines. Do either of them have actual assistants that would be of more help?

Starlight says in her dream that her switching Celestia's and Luna's cutie marks has only driven them apart, but on what basis is Starlight saying that? It didn't seem like Luna's day doing Celestia's job really drove Luna further apart from Celestia. Is that supposed to be only a product of Starlight's imagination, rather than the reality?

As Celestia's and Luna's original cutie marks return, we first see Celestia's cutie mark fade and Luna's cutie mark return to Luna, then we see Luna's cutie mark fade and Celestia's cutie mark return to Celestia. So was there a brief moment when both Celestia and Luna had Luna's cutie mark, and neither of them had Celestia's cutie mark?

Finally, as Celestia's and Luna's cutie marks are returning, Starlight puzzlingly says "wait, I'm not doing this". I'm not sure what that statement is supposed to mean. Did it just strike 24 hours after Starlight first cast her spell, and the spell is reversing itself? Or is Starlight's statement implying that the Cutie Map is reversing Starlight's spell because Starlight's mission was accomplished?

this analysis of SG is exactly right, and something I have seen from a mile away. I can't understand why the Starlight fans don't see it themselves, which is truly a shame.

can I quote your post in one of my threads about SG?

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@Music Chart Fan - Great review, but I do have a few comments :D

First - Disclaimers - this is clearly what I think (not cannon) so feel free to disagree, and if you are avoiding spoilers (and are still reading this? why? :) ) under NO CIRCUMSTANCES read this - I am going to pull out a bunch of them.

 

Ok, next up - on sibling bickering (in general, and this argument in particular).

The level of bickering Celestia and Luna display early in the show IS childish - but believable despite that; siblings do act that way, and it is entirely believable, especially if one or both are tired, that they would fall back into that same pattern.  Luna is portrayed as tired - drooping, bags under her eyes etc.  Starlight at this point actually provokes the argument, rather than defusing it. She gets Celestia to voice her complaint about breakfast first (prompting an actual pout from Luna, which re-enforces the whole "childish argument" appearance) and the lavender issue second - when both really ARE symptoms rather than the underlying cause, and really are pretty childish things to bicker about, and I think that is the point - both believe they are working overwhelmingly hard, while the other has such an easy life that they can complain about trivial things they CHOOSE to do (Luna could have the palace staff change the lavender, and Celestia could get a cook to, well, cook. but both believe the personal touch is important and therefore feel personally slighted by the other's dismissal of it).  It is also quite a physical argument - Luna begins by pushing Starlight out of the way with her leg, Celestia then escalates the argument with physical contact, striking Luna with a hoof and pressing her nose right up against Luna's. She then advances her actual argument - that she is largely a PR pony where her hardest work is to project the image of a happy, smiling authority figure no matter how tired she is (or how much she wants to slap some sense into the ponies she is fake-smiling at). And that IS hard work, as Luna is to discover, but of course at this point Luna is dismissive. Seeing Celestia's reaction (and presumably realising she just lit the fuse on this argument) Starlight tries to intervene, but Luna continues to add fuel to the fire by advancing a straw horse - that smiling and being adored by everypony (the latter of course what Luna wishes SHE had, given her disgruntlement at the lack of acknowledgement by, well, anyone) shouldn't be exhausting for Celestia, who of course then strikes back with an equally straw horse description of Luna's role (when she can see Luna standing there physically and emotionally drained, but yeah, sibling argument now in full swing)

Starlight is at this point in full panic mode, and actually physically pushes the two sisters apart, only for Luna to use her magic to propel her out of the scene. Celestia strikes Luna AGAIN with a hoof, and Starlight is literally cowering as the two most powerful ponies in the realm square off.

So, putting this on the back burner for a bit, lets rewind and look at Starlight.

Starlight has significant issues; when she told Twilight she wasn't ready to be responsible for her own destiny again, she wasn't kidding. She NEEDS Twilight's guidance and example, largely because she isn't Twilight.

Starlight is mentally (but not emotionally) equipped to be a leader - her instincts are to step up and take charge of a situation, Make a decision and enforce that decision. That is in itself neutral - both our greatest statesmen and worst tyrants have had those traits - but we already know Starlight has already walked BOTH these paths, First the negative one when the gang first encountered her, then the positive one during the changeling event.  Sure, she stepped up THAT time and did the right thing, but for her, the first event felt like the right thing at the time too - so she lacks any confidence in her ability to make the right choices.  This is where Twilight comes in. I don't think it has ever been shown so clearly how Starlight feels about Twilight, as it was during the dream sequence. Twilight is HUGE, dwarfing everyone (even the sisters) but especially Starlight, who is seen as being the tiny, constrained ballerina figure being lectured by the colossal figure, in a manner you would consider (if it happened in the real world) to be abusive. And that in turn is because it IS - Twilight's freak-outs over this, endearing though they may seem to an outsider, are incredibly devastating to Starlight in a manner Twilight can't really appreciate. As an aside, it is worth noting this is the second time we have seen fluttershy dreaming of angel being much bigger than her... but back to the point.

Starlight's fears that manifest as Daybreaker are also her own fears about HERSELF, projected onto Celestia, and amplified by Twilight's constant assertions that a fight between the sisters could be the worst thing ever. So yeah - to get back to the fight, we have Starlight cowering on the floor, having being pushed out of the way twice, looking at what the mentor she idolizes says will be the worst thing ever, and prompted by her own desire to step up and make a decisive move. At this point, it would be astonishing if she DIDN'T do something, anything, to try and deflect the fight before it got down to firing magic back and forth.

But here is where we again see the need for more mentorship.  Starlight's go-to first spells when in a panic are mental control or messing with cutie marks. We can give her some credit for not going for the former, but seriously Starlight? stop doing this stuff without thinking, and Celestia? go have a long, hard talk with Twilight about thinking about how her pupil will react to her own reactions; You are a PR pony, I am sure you can give her some pointers and she will listen to you because, again, Mentor. You may need to make a diagram, or possibly a list :D

But back to cutie mark magic.

Messing with fundamental freedoms of other ponies is usually condoned if two factors are true -

First, the action must be either for the greater good of the larger group, or the longer-term good of the pony affected (preferably both). Here, we see both sisters acknowledging that is true. The former is difficult to find an objective answer to (what you THINK is the greater good may not be) but the latter? If the ponies concerned say it was the right choice, then this factor is met, so off the hook on this one Starlight but seriously - stop doing this stuff.

Second, you must be in a position of authority (and no, feeling like a parent trying to keep two brats from arguing doesn't count). So, surely this is cut and dried, as who could be in a position of authority over the Sisters? Well, perhaps not.  It seems likely that the true source of authority in Equestria is the Tree, and the Tree noticeably has marks for both the sisters, right on the trunk. If Starlight is acting as an agent of the Tree for this event, specifically to resolve the problem between the sisters, you could reasonably argue she had the authority to impose a solution upon them if they didn't seem agreeable. Starlight DID paint herself into this corner, all on her own, but the solution she came up with DID work, eventually. The removal of her spell at the same time as the "job done" effect on her own cutie mark (which also indicates some deep connection between the Tree and cutie marks themselves) would also fit, but it could equally have been a full day since it was cast, and just expired (I do also like that Starlight used a fixed-expiry spell rather than one that would require reversing; that too is a step forward for her)

One final point though. Luna was visibly exhausted when the spell was cast, yet still managed to (almost) put in a full day of celestia's duties before bed. Celestia by contrast had a double rest period, but still failed to meet the needs of Luna's duties without pulling in her sister for moral support. I find that.. interesting.

One additional one that has occurred to me... the pancakes.

On the first morning Starlight gets pancakes, they are decorated with forest fruits, and Luna eats a pinapple instead.

Second morning? Celestia makes pinapple pancakes, and Luna eats a banana peal instead - possibly because you can't make banana peel pancakes

Third morning? Luna makes (badly) pancakes for Celestia... with forest fruits in the same pattern as the first morning. I can't help but think this means Luna WAS paying attention to what Celestia was doing, and deliberately needling her by pretending not to.

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4 hours ago, Nightmare Muffin said:

what is Dr Whooves dreaming about? What's that thing in the background of his bubble?

He seems nervous, so maybe he is dreaming about meeting a special somepony, and the background image is blurred because he isn't actually picturing any specific pony, so it isn't clear in his own mind what they will look like?

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I love this Episode! My New Favorite Season 7 Episode ever!

10/10

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For an episode I was both looking forward to and nervous about, it ended up being really great, and hands down one of my favorites of this season so far.

Celestia and Luna were in top form here and got some really great and much needed character development, and heck even Starlight had some great characterization in it as well.

I thoroughly enjoyed this episode.

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Pony Ball Z: Battle of Alicorns!

This one of those times an episode helps the other characters than the main one. Starlight is just as much of a Sue than ever, and I find it laughable they said that going with her gut is okay when all that has EVER done is lead to bad situations.

So I'll take this as a Celestria & Luna episode instead and it's a lot better. They both got some much needed personality and development--especially Celestia--along with some amusing moments. 

And I'm kind looking forward to the fanart those dream bubbles will lead to (ALL HAIL QUEEN DERPY!

Edited by Jangocoolguy
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21 hours ago, Jeric said:

Also ... don't forget

76abd4a84396071cdeee07e663bc637a.jpg

These dreams are pretty cool.

The ones with Discord and Smooze Pillow Fight, Derpy as a Queen, cool

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Seeing this episode for the first time, it was interesting that the Tree of Harmony chose Starlight for this mission involving sorting out the friendship between Celestia and Luna as their relationship was being strained by not respecting how difficult the other sister's duties were or what they were doing to try to help each other out in some way.

When Starlight took a desperate gamble and swapped their cutie marks for 24 hours, her nightmare showed just how fearful she was that doing so would only drive both sisters further apart and cause both of them to succumb to their Dark Sides and not only give birth to Nightmare Moon again, but also bring out Celestia's evil side of Daybreaker as well.

Plus, it seems like the way Starlight puts it at the end when Celestia and Luna's cutie marks return to normal, perhaps the spell she cast was still in effect for a few more hours, but the Tree of Harmony itself reverted the cutie marks back because of Celestia and Luna's ties to it and Starlight having succeeded in her mission. That's my theory.

Still, this was a great episode for the Royal Sisters, gave them plenty of development and characterization, introduced us to a possible Dark Side for Celestia to counterpart Nightmare Moon, and easily, and mostly in my honest opinion, makes up for how they were treated in To Where and Back Again with the rest of the Royal Family and Mane Six.

This episode definitely earns a 10/10 from me as my score, and I'm hoping to see more of Celestia and Luna be treated like this instead of like plot devices and needing to be rescued all the time in the future.

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10 minutes ago, Sonic5421 said:

Seeing this episode for the first time, it was interesting that the Tree of Harmony chose Starlight for this mission involving sorting out the friendship between Celestia and Luna as their relationship was being strained by not respecting how difficult the other sister's duties were or what they were doing to try to help each other out in some way.

When Starlight took a desperate gamble and swapped their cutie marks for 24 hours, her nightmare showed just how fearful she was that doing so would only drive both sisters further apart and cause both of them to succumb to their Dark Sides and not only give birth to Nightmare Moon again, but also bring out Celestia's evil side of Daybreaker as well.

I don't disagree, but do wish Starlight would get a handle on this and stop resorting to changing things with magic. This must be the first time it hasn't totally blown up in her face, and even then, only because the sisters were fighting to save her from her own nightmares (and daybreakers) in the dream realm, .... And looking back, it seems her only other successes were from NOT using magic but using her head instead.

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17 minutes ago, CypherHoof said:

I don't disagree, but do wish Starlight would get a handle on this and stop resorting to changing things with magic. This must be the first time it hasn't totally blown up in her face, and even then, only because the sisters were fighting to save her from her own nightmares (and daybreakers) in the dream realm, .... And looking back, it seems her only other successes were from NOT using magic but using her head instead.

Yeah, in this case, it was out of desperation after trying to simply get Celestia and Luna to talk things out. Starlight tried to avoid using magic, but when the sisters' arguing was too much, instinct took over. Starlight was just relieved it didn't backfire so badly once the sisters saw her nightmare and realized what their arguing would possibly lead to and allowed them to reconcile and restore their friendship.

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On 5/20/2017 at 5:39 PM, Mesme Rize said:

I just remembered, did you all see Lunas Nightmare, where she is losing her teeth? That is very creepy and It's actually one of the most comin nightmares, that people dream about.

Anyone ever dreamed about that?

 

I'll do you one "better": I'm always the one pulling mine out.

 

...

 

No wonder I'm on anti-OCD meds lately.

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9 minutes ago, Sonic5421 said:

Yeah, in this case, it was out of desperation after trying to simply get Celestia and Luna to talk things out. Starlight tried to avoid using magic, but when the sisters' arguing was too much, instinct took over. Starlight was just relieved it didn't backfire so badly once the sisters saw her nightmare and realized what their arguing would possibly lead to and allowed them to reconcile and restore their friendship.

Yup, again, I don't disagree. I just think that, given the negatives in her past, she needs to find something other than this. she has a wider range of spells than just this - pushing ponies apart with a blue field similar to Twilight's purple one, for example. However, I can also agree this was a case of special circumstances, and possibly one of the few times it was a valid choice (I waffled a bit on this near the top of the page ) but not necessarily the best or only choice.

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7 hours ago, Jeric said:

I would love to hear what your idea of sufficient guilt is. I mean, Starlight looked like she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown several times throughout. The moment she cast the spell, she was definitely in "What the fuck did I just do?" mode. She was panicking. It progressively weighs on her culminating in a very emotional collapse that we rarely see on the show (not quite as well animated and acted as Moondancer ... but effective). 

So ... what is sufficient guilt? Like, does she have to attempt suicide before it reaches your assumed level of appropriateness? You would have a point if she wasn't absolutely petrified with the implications of her actions. And yes there is a discussion on whether having her perform the spell was the best idea or a mistake, but certainly not in how they portrayed guilt. 

Right after she casts the cutie mark-switching spell, and Celestia and Luna are angry with her, Starlight looks as though she fears retaliation from the two of them, but notably, Starlight does not apologize or admit to "messing things up"; instead, Starlight tells the two of them that she thinks it's still a good idea. And back in her room, Starlight is annoyed at Twilight's reaction, defiantly saying "I thought we moved past this. It was the right call!" before adding the slight "I hope" at the end. Looking at those reactions, it's not clear to me that Starlight is racked with guilt in the immediate aftermath of having cast her spell.

But what I had in mind with the aside that you quoted was more what Starlight is feeling guilty about, rather than the intensity of her guilt, per se. Sure, in Starlight's dream later, she has worked up a significant amount of guilt, but for what? Starlight's guilt appears based almost entirely on the catastrophic possibility that she caused Luna to turn into Nightmare Moon and/or caused Celestia to turn into Daybreaker. Starlight doesn't appear to recognize or feel guilty about the immorality in itself of violating Celestia's and Luna's bodies/minds without their consent, even as that's something she already did (rather than a possible, but not definite, future scenario) and has a pattern of doing at this point. The issue to me is that, if Starlight only feels guilty about what she did because she imagines the possibility of it causing a catastrophe, then that might imply that she will feel free to violate the bodies and minds of others with her magic in the future, so long as she doesn't foresee a catastrophe resulting from it. But, as I've explained, I believe that that is immoral in itself, regardless of the immediate consequences of it, and it doesn't seem that Starlight is learning that lesson. In short, it seems like Starlight isn't feeling guilty for entirely the right reasons, and consequently, it seems likely that Starlight's guilt won't be very effective in preventing Starlight from immorally violating others' self-ownership of their bodies and minds in the future.

10 hours ago, Jeric said:

One other gripe I have with your analysis. Luna's picture. Ok. That whole moment may have come across as wrong to you because you know the best way to smile for a camera -- but that's a crazy nitpick. How many people actually know that? If you polled 100 random people and asked, "when is the perfect moment to smile for a camera?", what percentage do you think would actually say "right before the photographer snaps it". That isn't rhetorical. I actually want to know. Holding a smile is what some do, which puts that particular part of the scene into believable territory. Believable is far more important than efficient. 

To clarify, I wasn't saying that Luna is an idiot or not believable (or that the episode is wrong) because she doesn't know the "best" way to smile for a picture (and I'm no expert, so I wouldn't claim to know the single "best" way to do that). As I mentioned, I would place blame on the photographer. In most cases I remember posing for a group picture like that, the photographer composes the shot first, with the understanding that the picture isn't being taken yet, and once that's squared away, then the photographer gives a warning or countdown that the picture is about to be taken. And yet we don't see the photographer doing that in the episode. I was just making an observation about efficiency (which is something I think about a fair bit); I understand that not everyone would know or do the strategy I mentioned, so I wasn't intending to criticize Luna or the episode for being unrealistic.

 

9 hours ago, Nightmare Muffin said:

can I quote your post in one of my threads about SG?

Sure, so long as you don't rope me into a big back and forth argument or something like that, which I'd rather not be dragged into.

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What do I think about this episode?

Ok, first to say the idea seemed somewhat familiar from the micro series comics (Luna taking place as the days princess. Enjoyed that one very much...).

And there are lots of very good arguments in this threat that point out possible flaws of this episode like the ones from Music Chart Fan or Cypherhoof.

As far as I can see this episode is the first time the show (NOT the comics) admits that Tia is not perfect after all. As stated above they act downright childish, which is nothing special for sibblings, but should be ... well ... more controlled when it comes to the safety of there whole world or something. They both know where their arguments can lead being the most powerful beings around. They shouldn't need SGs dream to realize that. (By the way ... rising the moon should not be something new to celestia after doing it for 1000 years with Luna as NMM banished...)

However, since reading the comics I like Tia to be less perfect (In one of the comics Luna solaces her with "... your just a pony after all..."). And I love Luna to struggle with her pride giving in to her soft and compassionate side, especially when it comes to the centuries old ... rivalry ... with her sister.

As stated above I really think Luna comes out stronger in this episode than Tia, although it doesn't matter for the show ... and celestia still is kind of perfect with Daybreaker being just an imagination of SG ... and Luna still having her selfdoubts despite what happened in the tantabus episode ... and Twilight still being mentally creepy ......

If you take it all together the one episode was by far to short for handeling the two sisters and their complex relationship.

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1 minute ago, Dusky Flare said:

If you take it all together the one episode was by far to short for handeling the two sisters and their complex relationship.

There was a LOT that was too rushed really to get it all to fit into a single episode. A double episode treatment might have been better, but presumably those are reserved for the season start or end...

Although I am not sure I would want Starlight tortured by dragging it out to double it's current length.

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10 hours ago, Nightmare Muffin said:

what is Dr Whooves dreaming about? What's that thing in the background of his bubble?

It's a Doctor Who reference to Weeping Angles. 

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17 hours ago, Jeric said:

That's fine. Not everyone likes the same thing ... my wife hated Star Wars for example ... :P

We can definately agree to disagree on most of what you said. 

 

I would suggest perhaps adding something besides the casual drive-by saying "still dislike it" next time. It almost came off as like you were hoping that someone would say something. Not sure why, but that was what it felt like. 

Just wanted to point out that my feelings for the episode are unchanged even after the US premiere. Pretty sure there is nothing wrong with that. 

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Nope, still love this episode.

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10 hours ago, Nightmare Muffin said:

this analysis of SG is exactly right, and something I have seen from a mile away. I can't understand why the Starlight fans don't see it themselves, which is truly a shame.

Well, considering in this page of the thread you have some that dislike aspects of the episode lamenting her flaws AND some that dislike Starlight calling her a Mary Sue ... it's kinda all over the map with her detractors. It's almost as if there is no perfect truth in fiction. ;)

Anyway, I've been on record many many times on this site stating that I adore some of the characters because of their flaws, not in spite of them. Starlight is one of those characters that I find endearing because of her struggle over impulsivity with a gift. I definitely acknowledge the complaints, I just like what they don't. 

But, I like neurotic characters in general -- whether it's Rarity, Pearl, Holden Caulfield, Stephen Dedalus, Scarlett O'Hara, or Alex DeLarge. 

19 minutes ago, Kyoshi said:

Just wanted to point out that my feelings for the episode are unchanged even after the US premiere. Pretty sure there is nothing wrong with that. 

Fair enough

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52 minutes ago, Jeric said:

It's a Doctor Who reference to Weeping Angles. 

Could be worse. He could be stuck in Lost Angles. ;)

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1 minute ago, Quinch said:

Could be worse. He could be stuck in Lost Angles. ;)

It's an acute problem.... :)

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11 hours ago, Nightmare Muffin said:

this analysis of SG is exactly right, and something I have seen from a mile away. I can't understand why the Starlight fans don't see it themselves, which is truly a shame.

No it isn't. It is an opinion, not a set of facts. Anyone posting a list of things they dislike about a certain episode, character or character within said episode, can be easily countered but someone making an in depth list of things they like about said episode, character or character within that episode.

Every single episode and character within this show is more than the sum of any single persons opinion or analysis. Every opinion is correct and in the end holds no more weight over any other despite what some might think or try to preach.

Most (not all) of the complaints stem from the whole "Starlight swapped their cutie marks! She is pure evil I knew it! I don't care what Celestia and Luna say, they are stupid and I know better!"

I loathe the fact that people claim to know better than the characters themselves. They may be fictional characters and as such they actually have no thoughts and feelings of their own, but for the sake of this discussion we will say otherwise. If someone does something to help me, and when all is said and done I decide they made the right decision, who are you to come and tell me I am wrong? Who are you to decide what is best for me and my destiny and where it is heading? Obviously all of us think we know best for the characters in the show, and paint our own personal feelings and opinions upon that and them to varying degrees, but in the canon of the fiction we all watched, it is not hinted at, but stated outright she made the right choice. You can headconon all you like about how wrong it was and drop every opinion and review you want to about it, and it does not change the fact that is how they feel and their opinion is greater than those sitting in the back seat screaming directions or opinions.

People don't like the episode, great, more power to you... nothing wrong with that. But your feelings and opinion do not take precedence over any other when it comes to the quality of the show (or character).

Personally speaking I liked the episode overall. It had me questioning why Starlight got called by the map, and personally wondering why the map has suddenly went this route. It will be odd if the only "map" episode we get all season is this one... and it called a character whom I thought was not tied to the map.

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8 hours ago, CypherHoof said:

Starlight is mentally (but not emotionally) equipped to be a leader - her instincts are to step up and take charge of a situation, Make a decision and enforce that decision.

This sentence sums up a lot of Starlight's personality and actions, I think.

1 hour ago, Music Chart Fan said:

Starlight doesn't appear to recognize or feel guilty about the immorality in itself of violating Celestia's and Luna's bodies/minds without their consent, even as that's something she already did (rather than a possible, but not definite, future scenario) and has a pattern of doing at this point.

As far as I can tell, Starlight's decisions tend be guided by moral utilitarianism - a philosophy in which {to simplify, a lot} an action is "good" if the ends justify the means, and evil if they do not. Thus, it's entirely understandable that she'd consider the action of temporarily switching Celestia and Luna's cutie marks, with or without their consent as morally neutral, and the only thing that defines that action is whether it was a net good - ending the conflict between Luna and Celestia, thus increasing harmony, or a net evil, increasing the rift between them and possibly plunging Equestria into tyrantcy {regardless of whether it was plausible - thanks Oba- I mean Twilight}

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