I’d like to take a moment to address some of the concerns you guys have brought up with “The Man With Two Names” . Correct me if I’m wrong, but everyone seems to love the story, but is upset with a general OOC vibe with the ponies as a whole, the main six, and AJ in particular. I think this is best illustrated by
WIL_I_ZIN’s comment/ recursive fanfiction:
Scene provided by 'The Walker Growing a Freaking Spine Foundation:
Twilight heard a knock at her door. It was midday and barely any pony came by around this time.
"It's open!" She called out. In stepped through a figured she didn't expect to see, the human. "Oh," she spoke, her tone growing worn "What do you want?"
"What is this?" he asked throwing a piece of paper on the table. He stood there staring at her, it unnerved Twilight. She picked up the paper with her magic and stole a glance at it. It was the note that she had left at Derpy's house about looking to reintroduce the human into the wild. "Well?" he asked his voice sterner then before.
"It's exactly what it says." she explained mater-of-factually "Your recent out burst has left much of the town anxious at you being here."
"You mean it's made them angry." he interjected.
"I said anxious." Twilight insisted "You aren't meant to be with pony society, Walker. You're too violent."
"Oh? I'm violent?" he asked with a raised brow "Tell me Twilight, what have I done that is SO violent?"
"You killed one of Fluttershy's Chickens!" Twilight instantly responded.
"And you said you have eaten cows!"
"I asked for examples of violence Twilight."
"Eating a cow is violence! You'd have to kill it to eat it!"
"Twilight, Up until I came here, Cows were never sapient, intelligent talking beings for me!"
Twilight did a double take and shook her head. "That's impossible, cows have always been able to talk proper equish, just like most of the other intelligent species."
"Surprise Twilight, it's NOT impossible. Where I come from, NOTHING talks except humans."
"That's impossible, there are multiple species across the world that have the ability to communicate."
"Again, NOT WHERE I'M FROM. Which begs the question Twilight, Where the HELL would you 'reinsert me into the wild'?"
Twilight gathered her thoughts and spoke simply "We would find someplace that would best fit your profile and your habits."
"NEWSFLASH TWILIGHT!" Walker interrupted "You already tried that, you said I was too violent for Ponies, yet too docile for any other species."
"I'll just have to try harder to find a better place for you."
"No I already know what the problem is."
Twilight, curious at his remark spoke slowly "What do you mean?"
"I'm a scapegoat to you ponies."
"You said it best yourself, 'I'm too violent for Ponies, yet too docile for others'. You ponies are surrounded by other species that eat meat, and most odf them are full on carnivores, why the HELL aren't they treated like I am?!"
"What an Equestria are you talking about?" Twilight shouted confused.
"I''l tell you why, because your afraid of them. You're afraid that if you fight against a griffon or a dragon, that you would get hurt or eaten, or WORSE. And then suddenly, along comes me, a smaller less threatening omnivore, and wonder of wonders, I'm not NEARLY as dangerous as they are! Why he's the perfect punching bag for all our pent up anger at the other races. And best of all, if he tries to defend himself, we can call him a beast and have him BEATEN. Oh he's just a slobbering mangy animal, yet SOMEHOW I'm able to hold a better conversation then half of the hicks living in this town!"
Twilight's eyes widen and she gets ready to attack him if he makes a move on her.
"Just shut up and LISTEN to me for once! You pride yourself on being so damn smart? Then act like it!"
"I'm not going to be threatened in my own home!"
"Who says I'm threatening?" he asked "I'm standing all the way over here."
"You could be-"
"SHUT UP. I'M TALKING."
Twilight beging to have her patience wear thin charges her horn.
"OH! Look at that! The great and powerful tiwlight is getting ready to blast me! And why? Because of the TRUTH!"
"You're doing nothing but rant!"
"And I'm ranting the truth, Hell you're proving me right Twilight! I'm angry and distraught, and WHAT'S the first thing you do? You prepare to ATTACK ME! What happened to this mare I heard who was studying the 'Magic of Friendship'? Shouldn't you try to calm me down? Help ease my fears? Try and tell me things will improve? OF COURSE YOU CAN'T! You are a blind, racist, xenophobic BITCH, who cant even see beyond her own pathetic scared mind that what you see before you is a beaten a bloody man, who has done NOTHING but try and adapt to a society that seems dead set on making him fail and killing him."
"The townsponies have given you plenty of chances."
"OH REALLY? What that before or AFTER they spread wicked rumors and false lies about me? Was during the time I found a job and have tried to help other ponies? Was that when I was giving lessons about humanity to Cheerilee's class? Was it when I helped the Apples with their harvesting? Was it when I was attacked, BEATEN WITHIN AN INCH OF MY LIFE FOR A COMMENT, and not a single hoof was raised to stop the violence? EVEN THOUGH I NEVER FOUGHT BACK? WHERE'S MY VIOLENT BEHAVIOR THERE TWILIGHT?! Where was the violence when I was brow beaten at the market and charged horrendously for food? Where was my violence when I had my money stolen? Where was my violence when I had the POLICE called on me for trying to expose the stall owner for stealing from me? Where was the violence when I found ponies spreading rumors that I go around KILLING sentient beings? WHERE WAS IT TWILIGHT???"
"NOWHERE. I haven't done ONE, THING, to ANYPONY. Not once have I hit, kicked, or harmed a single soul. I killed a pet? I was starving, I hadn't eaten in days, and in a fit of survival I try to do something about it before I die, and SUDDENLY I'm EVIL for it? And its a FUCKING CHICKEN. Those are some of the most COMMON land fowl in existence! And Fluttershy has half of the god damned animals IN THIS PLACE AS HER PET! I couldn't eat ANYTHING without it somehow being connected to her. HELL I CAN'T EVEN EAT FISH!"
"Hold on mister!" Twilight interjected, tired of being yelled at. "You traumatized one of my friends, and a good member of this town, of course no pony is going to want to be near you, especially with this attitude of yours!"
"WHEN HAVE I ACTED LIKE THIS BEFORE?!"
"WHEN YOU.. um... when you..."Twilight stumbled when she couldn't find an answer.
"Exactly my point." Walker spat at her. "I have done NOTHING to earn this level of ire and abuse. Aside from a few ponies who were TRUELY kind to me, the rest of you are a bunch of lying, rumor spreading, racist, xenophobic, asinine, moronic, idiotic, HEADS-SO-FAR-UP-YOUR-OWN-ASS-YOU-CAN'T-BREATHE TWITS!"
Twilight stood there shocked, she had never heard so much bile and rage in one statement before in her whole life. Contempt was the very palpable feeling in the air.
"You know, this all could have been avoided to." He continued, his rage now gone like smoke in the wind. "If one pony stood up for me to the rest."
he let that hang in the air before continuing.
"If somepony tried to convince the rest that i wasn't someone to be feared. That I was just like them, sure my diet was different but I was just like them. I think, I feel, I dream, I run, I play, I work, I laugh, I cry, I hope and I dream, just like they do. Just like you do."
"Twilight, you had never heard of something like me before I came here, nor had your princesses. The answer is obvious. I'm not from this world. I'm from a world where the only intelligent beings ARE my race. No ponies, no griffions, no dragons, and no godesses that move the heavens. No other creature that exists in my world can speak, nor does it even have the brain capacity to even think. Everything else is a beast of nature. They sleep, they eat, they defecate, they mate, and that's it. Humans are the only intelligent race. We never had our food ask us why we would eat it. Does your salad ask why you ate its kin?"
Twilight scoffed "That's not the same thing."
"It is the same thing. My entire existence up until now was just my race AND ONLY MY RACE. I'm trapped in a world where everything wants to kill me, either because I'm alone, trapped and weak, or because they're frighted of me and use me as society's scapegoat. I try to live up to your society's standards, but no one cares! You all WANT to see me fail. You're dead set on it. All you care about is going back to the way things were. Who cares WHO gets hurt in the process! Oh, that human got hurt? Well too bad, he's a mindless beast anyway."
"No. I'm not Twilight, and YOU KNOW IT." He said glaring right into her eyes. no, not just here eyes, he stared her right into her soul. it made her shudder to her very core. "I'm alone in this world Twilight, and I'm surrounded by hatred. Think how well you would do separated from all you know and love beyond the borders of your world in a world that hates you."
Walker headed for the door and opened it.
"One last thing. If I'm such a wild beast and a mindless animal... Why does this loneliness hurt so much?"
At that he shut the door. The sound of the bell reverberating of the inside walls. A breeze through a nearby window was the only sound Twilight heard as she sat in silence. She was Celestia's prized pupil, the element of magic. She had defeated foes and saved the world many times over. For once in her life of studying and knowing all that there was about the world, she experienced something she hadn't before.
She didn't have an answer.
It's a great work, it does what Walker hasn't been able to do. Just stand up for himself, and call everypony on their bullshit. I feel like this gives me a good jumping off point to address the parts in the story that seems to get everyone's blood boiling. Here’s my own interpretation of the story
Xenophobia and the ponies as a whole
Considering that this is integral to the premise of the story, it’s kind of unavoidable that some of the ponies are bigoted asses. However, this is more of a problem with the community of ponyville on the meso level than any problem caused by individual ponies. I have an alternative explanation to the ponies’ treatment of Jerry: mass hysteria.
Think about it, The residents of Ponyville panic at the drop of a hat (not that they aren’t somewhat justified, given that their town gets wrecked on a monthly basis.). Zecora was ostracized without even doing anything. It wasn’t until that the ponies were forced to rely on her help did they realize that she was harmless. Jerry was not as fortunate as Zecora; he is neither an herbivorous equine creature, nor are most ponies forced to rely on their help (with the exception of AJ and Big Mac, so far)
Jerry started out his stay in Ponyville with a decidedly negative impression. Fluttershy and the ponies initially have a proper reason to be afraid of him. But despite his efforts, the rumor mill keeps on turning, and the ponies get themselves worked up to the point where he becomes larger than life. He came out of the Everfree forest, therefore he must be a monster, or at least, a wild animal. No matter how polite and articulate he is, he still has to work to overcome that initial bias. But the ponies are letting their fear gets the best of them.
As we all know, fear can turn into anger. But it is more complex than that. If you notice carefully, each pony treats our poor human differently. Big Mac sees him as a useful resource. AJ sees him as a danger to her farm and family (initially at least. More on that later). Scootaloo sees him as a vaguely threatening figure. Pinkie sees him as something wild and dangerous and exciting. Twilight sees him as an enigma (at least in the sense of what to do with him). The salespony sees him as someone who both has wronged him by invading his property, and as someone he can take advantage of by bullying him out of a few bits. And Lucky, well, you’ll find out about Lucky.
As for the ponies as a whole, the general consensus is that they feel unnerved by his presence. They have heard a lot of rumors about what he’s done and eats, and they’re not quite sure what’s true or not. To them, it’s easier to just pigeon hole him into the “dangerous beast” category than the “Strange and unique creature who wants to be a part of our community” category even if he can hold a conversation and work for his bits.
Applejack being OOC
I’ll admit that she acts out of character, particularly when she lies to Flitter. I meant to construct the scene in a way where Flitter’s assumptions gets the best of her, and she gets herself worked up and AJ just plays off of that.
But that didn’t work. So AJ kind of lies. But you have to put her in the context of stress and anxiety and frustration. She feels concerned over the fact that if ANYTHING goes wrong with the harvest, They may lose the farm. Also she feels an impotent frustration in the fact that Big Mac is calling all the shots, and not taking into account her opinions. Likewise, she’s faced with having to suddenly manage a whole horde of unskilled laborers, when at most she’s worked with a couple of family members. At that moment in time, she’s trying to protect Flitter from seeing Jerry eat and kill a bird. Compound this with if Flitter sees this, she’ll tell everypony, and bam! There goes all the farm workers. So, basically, she’s lying to protect a pony and save her farm, at least in her mind. Note that she has tried to lie before (party of one), and instance when she thought it was in everypony’s best interest.
Calling Ponies on their bullshit. (Spoilerish)
Most notably the reason why they judge him for eating meat when they have carnivorous pets, and are friends with griffins. Part of this is he's not "safe", and might eat ponies, part of this is just not giving him a chance.
You guys have made it abundantly clear that you want some justice for Jerry. I’ve decided to write a part where a pony (TBA) chews out Ponyville for everything they put Jerry through. Unfortunately, it is in the penultimate chapter.
salespony having a gun
... yeah, I don't have a good explanation for that. I guess the salespony got it when he visited griffin country or something.
A concerned reader sent me a PM asking if “The Man With Two Names”, was going to have an ending where Jerry was going to turn out okay. I initially typed out a long response, talking about earning your happy endings, and a scrapped plot device. I spent an hour typing that all out. And just as I hit send, the site 502’d.
It 502’d everywhere.
So I’m just going to post an abridged version of the text that is now lost to the internet.
The story isn’t going to end up with Jerry being lynched by a mob of ponies, if that’s what you were thinking. But things get rough, shit gets real. Is it a happy ending? You’ll decided when you read it.
Why couldn’t Jerry just have had a better start?
Basically, there is a whole head canon that I originally intended to incorporate into the story.
(mild spoilers ahoy)
Boiled down to its essence, There is an incompetent guardian angel watching over Jerry.
Some divine force is watching over Jerry throughout the whole story. In fact it’s the force that brought him to Equestria in the first place. He left in a rage after finding out that his father gave his brother the position of pastor for the new church, and calling his father out in front of the whole congregation. So he ran into the woods to try to calm himself down. This divine force decided that he could use a lesson from the ponies in Ponyville about how to deal with his frustration, and learn to forgive his family. The force wanted Jerry to have the run of the mill HiE experience, where he learns a friendship lesson, and then gets sent back to the human world a better person.
But, it accidentally dropped Jerry three miles away from Ponyville, in the Everfree forest. The divine force tried to correct for this error by sending the scared and starving Jerry to Fluttershy’s cottage, but Fluttershy happened to be away from her cottage at the moment, and that’s where the story begins.
Throughout the story he’s thrown into situations where he’s meeting ponies that should be able to relate to him, but don’t for some reason. Cheerilee is the first example. Her background allows her to sympathize with hi s displacement from his home and his feelings of being hindered and betrayed by his family. But Cheerilee doesn’t initially open up to him, and opts to tell an impersonal story instead of her own.
Ironically Jerry ends up helping the ponies he meets (helping Derpy scrape by, helping Dinky hooves with Homework, working for the Apples, satiating Applebloom’s curiosity, and indirectly causing Cheerilee to reunite with her family).
Anyways, I’m glad my story has been provoking such intense emotions In you guys, and you still love it, I hope.
Expect to see the next chapter out sometime between now and the future.