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Inktray

Why Spike is a Main Character (Warning: LONG)

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Bronies and Pegasisters gather round, and hear my news that shall astound… Get off the stage, Zecora. Okay, lets get down to business. I’m here to prove to you, without a doubt, that Spike is a main character, and only those too stubborn to ignore facts won’t agree with this. Now let me clarify what I mean by main character. No, Spike is not a part of the mane 6, otherwise it would be called the mane 7, wouldn’t it? I’m looking at the show as what it is: a TV show, not what the fandom has made it out to be, and who the lead role’s would be.

Before we jump in, we need to ask ourselves, what makes a main character? A member of the main cast is measured by two things, importance and screentime. For example, you can have minimum importance to the series, but a large amount of screen time and be considered a main character. Now that that’s out of the ways, lets get things started.

First off, let’s start with Spike’s importance to the series as a whole. Spike has multiple episodes that feature him as playing the main role. Let’s compare that to some other main characters of other shows. Here’s a good one: Doctor Who. When you look at the amount of episodes that feature Rose Tyler as THE main role, as in the episode surrounds her and is about her, it adds up to the astounding number of one. Rose Tyler plays an extremely important role to the series, and even when she leaves the Doctor, she is still referred to constantly, more so than any other main character. Spike, a supposed “supporting” character, has more episodes about him than she does. Now, let’s look at Spike’s actually importance in the show. Could the show exist without the number one assistant? The answer is a definite no. While he doesn’t have an Element of Harmony, thats just what the show needed. A main character without an Element. This provides the show to do more with the story, such as when Spike becomes the new Rainbow Dash in the Season 2 premiere. And although Spike doesn’t have as many episodes surrounding him as the other characters, he is constantly on screen during these episodes. Why is that? Well, it’s because Spike is very, VERY good at one thing. Being the character that the others personalities bounce off of. In this way, yes, he is a support, but not a supporting character. He supports the personalities of the other ponies, and is remarkably better at doing so than others. He can laugh or be creeped out by Pinkie Pie, he can give Twilight solid advice or be the comic relief for when its just him and her, he can swoon over Rarity, adding more to Rarity’s personality while doing so, he can tease others with Rainbow Dash, he can be adored by or act protective towards Fluttershy, and he can be told-off by Apple Jack. Unlike the other ponies, who all have more shaped personalities, Spike’s personality can mold to be that perfect fit for the people surrounding him. If the show didn’t have him, the script would have a lot less to go off of. The script would even lose a lot of dialogue with Twilight. Often times, Twilight is alone with Spike, with no cause for other ponies to come talk to her. To provide dialogue, Spike is there. Without Spike, who would Twilight talk to? Owlowiscious? That would get boring VERY fast. You could say they could just replace him with another character to provide dialogue, but if thats true, then I could say they can replace Applejack and give the Element of Honesty to somepony else (Just imagine if Applejack wasn’t a character… Ew). And let’s not forget, Spike was the one who told Twilight she needs to make some friends. He’s also saved Equestria before. Losing him would lead to some drastic changes to the series.

Now for Spike’s screentime. Let’s begin with Season 1. While Spike’s screentime is less than the rest of the cast, he is actually a part of the gradual climb downward of screentime for each member of the mane 6. Excluding Twilight (who has godly amounts of screentime in Season 1), the order for most screentime to least goes as this- Rarity, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and then Spike. If you look at the amount of screentime they have compared to each other, you may notice something. Its a little hard to explain, but basically, the amount time Rarity has more of on screen than Applejack is nearly equal to the time Applejack has more than Pinkie Pie, which is equal to the time Pinkie Pie has more than Fluttershy, and so on. The distance of time between each of them is virtually equal. Its a slow, gradual descent. So, if one was to claim Spike wasn’t a main character, I could claim Rainbow Dash wasn’t. After all, she does have much less screentime than Rarity and everypony else. When we look at Season 2, it’s a bit different. This time, Spike’s screentime is still the least, but compare it to Fluttershy’s, who is the second least. Spike’s screentime is relatively close to hers, while when you compare Fluttershy’s screentime to Pinkie Pie, Pinkie Pie has much, MUCH more screentime than Fluttershy. This seems perfectly good reason to claim Fluttershy isn’t a main character, considering her screentime is closer to a “supporting” character than a main character. Both Rainbow Dash and Rarity have much more than her as well. In fact, even Applejack’s screentime is more comparable to Spike than Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, or Rarity. I know there are some right now that are saying just because they have less screentime than others for a season doesn’t make them not a main character. And get this: You’re right. You’re absolutely right. But if that’s true, if you honestly believe that Fluttershy and Applejack are still main characters DESPITE having much less screentime than the 4 other members of the mane 6, then you have to believe that Spike is a main character as well. Want to know why? Take a look at Season 3. In this season, Spike has more screentime than Rarity, Fluttershy, AND Pinkie Pie. Why would a supporting character have more screentime than THREE main characters? And if Applejack and Fluttershy are still main characters, why wouldn’t Spike be? They all have been interchanged for different spots on the screentime list, and in Season 3, Spike has the 4th most screentime. In fact, when comparing Spike and Fluttershy’s overall screentime, they has barely any time seperating them, Fluttershy just barely, by mere INCHES, being above Spike. So if Spike isn’t a main character, clearly you must also believe Fluttershy, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie aren’t main characters either. Oh, but I’m not done with screentime yet. Just think for a second about Celestia and Luna’s screentime, who to some people are in the same category as Spike. How can that be possible? Both of the princess’s screentime combined don’t even come near to Spike’s screentime. Even taking two of the members in the CMC and adding them doesn’t reach Spike’s.

After looking at all these facts, can you honestly still claim Spike isn’t a main character? Only people refusing to accept that they were wrong could believe that. I’ve shown you the facts, I’ve given you solid evidence, I’ve downright PROVED Spike is a main character. Anyone that says otherwise is just a little to stubborn.

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Well that would be true but you aren't looking at a ratio here. Keep in mind that 6 main characters are easier to Balance rather than 7. The Ratio about it on Screen time as well and Episodes work on it. See here are the Ratios.

6 Characters by default Equals 16.6% Which is a Close to even number but when you add 7 you get 14.2% Which is below the 15 Mark for the Ratio to be even or Equal. Rendering the entire show Un-Balanced but wait why not add Zecora for she is mentoned a lot or Even Princess Celestia as see is mentioned in Every episode! Then you get 12% which once again isn't balanced based for a show :P I.E. he is a Support Character and Not a Main.

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That may be true, but we need to know why balancing episodes between the seven of them is almost a challenge. The thing is, whether he is a main character or not he has at least a few episodes and most people question his screentime.

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(edited)

Well that would be true but you aren't looking at a ratio here. Keep in mind that 6 main characters are easier to Balance rather than 7. The Ratio about it on Screen time as well and Episodes work on it. See here are the Ratios.

6 Characters by default Equals 16.6% Which is a Close to even number but when you add 7 you get 14.2% Which is below the 15 Mark for the Ratio to be even or Equal. Rendering the entire show Un-Balanced but wait why not add Zecora for she is mentoned a lot or Even Princess Celestia as see is mentioned in Every episode! Then you get 12% which once again isn't balanced based for a show :P I.E. he is a Support Character and Not a Main.

You're going off something that can be easily fixed. While it may be unbalanced doesn't change the facts; a show can exist with more than 6 main characters. That is the challenge, balancing it. You didn't disprove anything, you just added a simply fact that can easily be ratified. Allssooo, sure Celestia and Zecora are mentioned alot, but that doesn't change the fact we see Spike WAAAYYY more often than them. -DISPROVEN STAMP- EDIT: Oh also, the characters are interchangeable. That can also fix the balancing, since we usually don't see every main character in a single episode.

Edited by Inktray

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You're going off something that can be easily fixed. While it may be unbalanced doesn't change the facts; a show can exist with more than 6 main characters. That is the challenge, balancing it. You didn't disprove anything, you just added a simply fact that can easily be ratified. Allssooo, sure Celestia and Zecora are mentioned alot, but that doesn't change the fact we see Spike WAAAYYY more often than them. -DISPROVEN STAMP-

Well that's like calling everyone a main character at this point.

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(edited)

Well that's like calling everyone a main character at this point.

I don't recall saying that. You're just being stubborn :P I have facts my good man... or woman. Whatev's xD

Edited by Inktray

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(edited)

Good read, but I still call them the mane 6. Why? Convenience, also not to mention a stronger dynamic between the mane 6 ponies and each other, whereas Spike's strongest bond is only with Twilight. I'd also mention a "status gap" between the mane 6 ponies and Spike as they're all heroines who save the world and spend the rest of their lives working towards their dreams, whereas Spike is a humble assistant with no clear motivations of his own and less hero status (the Crystal Empire being the lone exception, but that wasn't all him, to be honest, Twilight, Shining Armor, and Cadance also deserved credit for that one). Also, despite appearing very often, he definitely gets less thought from the writers than even the Crusaders, as inconsistent characterizations abound (noble, maturing, and capable in "The Crystal Empire" to an incapable, childish klutz in "Spike at Your Service", within the space of one season), especially with the way he's been treated this season.

 

If Spike is to be a mane character, he should be treated like one.

Edited by WindChaserPegasus

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(edited)

Good read, but I still call them the mane 6. Why? Convenience, also not to mention a stronger dynamic between the mane 6 ponies and each other, whereas Spike's strongest bond is only with Twilight. I'd also mention a "status gap" between the mane 6 ponies and Spike as they're all heroines who save the world and spend the rest of their lives working towards their dreams, whereas Spike is a humble assistant with no clear motivations of his own and less hero status (the Crystal Empire being the lone exception, but that wasn't all him, to be honest, Twilight, Shining Armor, and Cadance also deserved credit for that one). Also, despite appearing very often, he definitely gets less thought from the writers than even the Crusaders, as inconsistent characterizations abound (noble, maturing, and capable in "The Crystal Empire" to an incapable, childish klutz in "Spike at Your Service", within the space of one season), especially with the way he's been treated this season.

 

If Spike is to be a mane character, he should be treated like one.

I can agree with this. Though I do think occasionally that all the characters fall from their personalities. Just as often as Spike, really. Oh, and Spike is not a part of the mane 6, for sure. But I still consider him a main character, as the mane 6 refers to the 6 with the Elements of Harmony.

Edited by Inktray

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Wait, Some people don't think Spike is a mane character? Why? Because he is a male spider? By that logic splinter isn't a main TMNT character

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He's like the unofficial 7th member of the Mane 6. He is important to the Mane 6 but overall if you look at all the episodes, he doesn't really play a major part in any of them except for the ones in which the episode itself is about him.

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He's like the unofficial 7th member of the Mane 6. He is important to the Mane 6 but overall if you look at all the episodes, he doesn't really play a major part in any of them except for the ones in which the episode itself is about him.

This is addressed in the "importance" paragraph :P

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(edited)

I was just about to make a post about this, but I wanted to check to see if it was made yet! Since this was made in 2014, I'm gonna bring things a bit up-to-date.

The question of whether or not Spike is a main character is STILL up to debate for multiple reasons.

1. It's been recurring of the devs to call Spike a "main character", yet it's still the Mane SIX and not SEVEN. And still times where he feels left out. We dunno whether or not he's connected to the tree since he doesn't have an element, yet he has a throne.

2. The Mane Six all have teaching jobs at the School of Friendship, even Starlight gets to teach some classes and have the Counselor job, yet Spike's position in the school is still undetermined.

3. Of course Spike is close friends to the Mane Six, but he seems to have better chemistry with his friends OUTSIDE the Mane Six, like Starlight, Thorax, Ember, Big Mac, and Discord, and even though he is Twilight's assistant, that's more of a job for when he's with her alone or at home, but her friends mostly assist her on missions, making his assistant role kinda useless at times, so why is he continuously hanging with the Mane Six then?

Even though Spike has had alota positive spotlight roles, and being a hero in one way or another, his role on the show has always bothered me. He's considered a main character but with a supporting character role, and how that speaks to me is like the show is saying, "There's more to him than yunno - it'll be revealed in due time!" and we're getting awfully close to the end! Even if he did play a big role in Twilight's ascension, and being a big impact in alota ponies' lives and more, it's not really talked about that much and he's STILL in the same ol assistant position he's always been in, except with his wings. And it is time for the show to finally tell us what Spike's true purpose on the show is.

So even though you're mostly right, Inktray, we have Starlight and the Student 6 added to the equation now (especially Starlight). What makes a "main character" isn't just the amount of appearances they get, it's what their role is on the show as well.

Edited by FlareGun45

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(edited)

Just randomly looked this up after ages! I’m afraid I haven’t really kept up with MLP’s past seasons, although I did address his role here for what material we did have at that point.

Ah, memories. Generally speaking, with info from other people and context filtered to me about episodes, I don’t really even find this topic very debatable anymore. I think people are welcome to debate it, but it logically doesn’t add up to me anymore. When I eliminate emotion or bias or hangups from the equation, and just look at this from the most objective angle, and just... Consider it from the average persons point of view, the average “watcher”, without any strong feelings about the show, and following the rules we’ve all been subconsciously taught about fiction... Spike is just kind of objectively a main character. I don’t really say this to double down or start a debate again, I just say this as what I think is the fact of the matter, whether people want to debate it or not. It’s not an argument for me, just something I’m... “Comfortable” being aware of.

Not looking to debate with anyone, but just spilling my thoughts after all this time! 

Edited by Inktray

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