1w, 3d50 Headcanon Questions2 comments · 18 views
Remember the trend that bounced around this site for a little, with people answering questions regarding their headcanon of Equestria?
I'm pretty late to the game, but I decided to do the same. As I understand it those answers were outlawed from blogs or something, and I don't think my link system would work here, so you can access my answers to the questions in this Google Doc:
At first writing all this stuff was just a fun activity, but the more I did it the better I felt about it, myself and my abilities as a writer however amateur. I once said:
"Believe me when I say that [the thought of self-denial] is poison, nothing more. I urge you to take it out of your mind and destroy it."
"You can do it. You can write something great. It might not happen with the first story; it might not happen with the tenth – and the nine that preceded it might never be seen by the rest of the world. It might take a long time. The final draft might be completely unrecognizable from the first. You might have to throw out all those cute romance ideas you had because they're holding the piece back. If you take what you do seriously, if you open your mind to wisdom and learning (which you ought to do regardless), if you continue to work at it and if you never give up, it will happen. It won't be easy, but it will happen.
Don't allow yourself to think otherwise – this is of the utmost importance, because you are going to think otherwise. This poisonous thought is your Joker: no matter how many times you get rid of it you'll see it again sooner or later, but you have to keep fighting it."
Well, my Joker returned, stronger than ever. It's why I never...rather, why I haven't yet published that Tirek story I was working on. Writing these answers, seeing my ideas take shape--and coming out pretty well if I do say so myself--definitely helped me send him back to Arkham. It may not be a published story, though you could consider some of the answers mini-stories in themselves and the entire document is longer than plenty of fics, but regardless I needed to see it through. I had to do it, and now that it's finished I'm happy to share it with anyone willing to take a look.
2 comments · 104 views
Disclaimers: This will contain spoilers for How To Train Your Dragon 2 and possibly How To Train Your Dragon. For the sake of brevity I'm going to refer to How To Train Your Dragon as "Dragon 1" and its sequel as "Dragon 2".
I was thoroughly disappointed with Dragon 2. It was unquestionably worse than Dragon 1 and a mediocre film in its own right. I'm listing my reasons why below so perhaps anyone who reads this can avoid the same pitfalls in their own work, and so that I can link this to people rather than filling their IM chats with enormous walls of text. So, without further ado...
1. The entire plot falls into one enormous plothole that also contains a few smaller plotholes: mindcontrol.
-How is Drago able to control dragons by waving a spear around and imitating William Shatner? If it was that easy you'd think a bunch of pissed-off Vikings running around holding swords and spears and roaring would've subdued them with ease. This completely contradicts Dragon 1: violent, intimidating displays are useless against dragons. That's why the Vikings were fighting a losing battle and only Hiccup's compassionate methods provided a solution (see Problem #4). According to the official Dragon 2 website, Drago found the Grey Alpha (his Bewilderbeast) as a hatchling and raised it to be his slave, but that wasn't explained in the movie and therefore isn't part of the story.
-"He does that to control the Grey Alpha, who controls dragons for him". Then why did the Grey Alpha have to stare at Toothless and concentrate in order to control him? It wasn't looking at the Monstrous Nightmare Drago cowed, or any of the dragons on Berk...so why did it have to stare at Toothless? Why did Hiccup have to blindfold Toothless? Why didn't the Grey Alpha mindcontrol Toothless the very instant the blindfold came off and they were staring directly at each other? Because Night Furies are just badass that way?
-If Drago can control dragons by doing that stuff, why didn't he just control the White Alpha (Valka's Bewilderbeast) during his battle against it? Why didn't he control all of the White Alpha's dragons, either by himself or through the Grey Alpha? Valka said they'd never betray their Alpha, but we're talking mindcontrol here. What, does the White Alpha continually mindcontrol all of its own dragons? That doesn't sound very noble or heroic to me.
-Why didn't the Grey Alpha just rebel? Again, Drago is a contradiction of Dragon 1. Dragons, as Hiccup says in Dragon 2 are intelligent and gentle creatures, and as we saw in Dragon 1 if you try to intimidate them they'll kick your ass. All it took was Toothless breaking out of some ice, roaring and shooting the Grey Alpha in the face to get it to freeze in fear, so why didn't it just take Drago's dragon army, get rid of him and do its own thing? I can understand Drago being intimidating when it's a hatchling (which, again, isn't part of the story), but now it's this enormous thing with its ice breath and mindcontrol and everything; Drago is nothing more than a meaningless insect riding on its back.
-Why does Drago pay poachers to find dragons for him when he has a mass-mindcontrol device at his disposal?
2. Hiccup's "decision" to become chieftain of Berk is as forced as could be, contradicts his character, isn't accompanied by appropriate character development, is preceded by the meaningless death of Stoik and completely throws out an unresolved plot point from the start of the film.
Before all the business with Drago really gets underway (see Problem #4), Hiccup is pressured by both of his parents to become a chieftain: of Berk by Stoick and of dragons by Valka. He doesn't want to do either. What he really wants to do is explore the world with Toothless, charting new lands, searching for any other Night Furies and continuing to figure himself out. This is consistent with Hiccup's defiance of his father and Viking convention in Dragon 1, and his defiance of how both of his parents want to deal with Drago in Dragon 2. Hiccup does things only one way: his own.
Stoick's death in the film is supposed to both place Hiccup in a position where he can't ignore his future role as chieftain any longer and motivate him to embrace that role. This is indicated by Hiccup echoing Stoick's "A chieftain looks after his own" line, filled with resolve and determination, before going off to stop Drago. The problem with this is that Hiccup was going to stop Drago anyway; he was always determined and never hesitated in what he wanted to do (contrast his constant anxiety in Dragon 1). He didn't need to be further motivated, especially given that he had to save Toothless. Hiccup doesn't learn anything about himself or life in the wake of his father's death, he doesn't change his ways of thinking, he just mourns and then resolves to do what must be done. There's no character growth, and without that character growth him suddenly deciding to abandon his other goals for the sake of doing something he doesn't want to do makes no sense--and no, "giving up your dreams for the sake of responsibility" isn't something he learns. He was already responsible, just not for the things other people wanted him to be. Stoick dies for nothing.
At the end of the film, after Toothless becomes the new Alpha, suddenly the Hooligan elder calls Hiccup to a pyre and makes a mark of ash on his head. Then the village cheers Hiccup as the new chieftain of Berk and the film ends. There's no deliberation or even indication that Hiccup actually chooses to be chieftain, he just lets it happen. Nevermind that Toothless is still the only Night Fury around, nevermind that there's still a whole world to explore. Now that he'll be busy being the chieftain he won't be able to pursue those goals, unless the writers decide to simply ignore that for the third movie, and if they do then Hiccup's "decision" will have meant nothing. There were two other people who could've made good chieftains: Astrid, who is more of a traditionalist than Hiccup as evidenced by her encouraging him to become chieftain and her characterization in Dragon 1, and Valka. Valka might seem a weird choice since she only seems to care about dragons and her family, but given how completely Berk has embraced living with dragons anyway she could've taken them a step further--she's basically another Hiccup--what with all the wisdom she's acquired from living only with dragons for two decades, while being among her people again would've allowed Valka to restore at least some of her humanity without giving up everything she gained from dragons. And while either of them ruled Berk Hiccup and Toothless could've flown off into the sunset, returning to their exploration.
3. Lack of focus.
This might just be me but the film seemed to meander between two different plots: the Drago plot and the Hiccup-as-chieftain-vs.-Hiccup-as-dragon-scholar family dynamics plot. It started with exposition, then kicked off the Drago plot, then just kinda wasted time for a bit as a bunch of Vikings on dragons flew around all over the place. Then the family plot started with a very long introduction to Valka, the White Alpha and their whole thing, and finally the Drago plot really got underway and was pretty much nothing but action for the rest of the film, at the cost of some previously established plot points (see Problem #1). The happy, revelatory, reconciliatory tone of the family plot was completely opposite to the impending doom tone of the Drago plot and I found myself wondering if the film was ever going to get back to Drago given how long it stayed on the family plot. In hindsight, I wish the film had stayed on the family plot.
4. The movie botches both its own themes and the themes of the first movie for the sake of an "action-packed" final battle that was as puerile as Dragonball Z and shouldn't have happened.
The primary theme of both movies is that compassion is better than aggression, and this theme manifests itself through specific sub-themes in both movies (Dragon 1: cooperation is better than violence. Dragon 2: empathy is better than domination). In Dragon 2, there's also a theme of Hiccup being the pinnacle of dragon riders:
-He's more empathetic than Stoik and Drago but also not drachen uber alles like Valka; he wants what's best for everyone.
-He's closer to Valka than Stoik in his approach to dragons and outlook, but uses the tools of men as well...
-...and those same tools make him one with his dragon since he controls Toothless' left tailfin. They also make him the only dragon rider who can "fly" alongside his dragon. Then there's his "let's do this as one" line just before he and Toothless take on Drago and the Grey Alpha.
-The movie outright calls him a Dragon Master and "the only one who can bring both worlds together".
Both of these themes come together when Hiccup is able to free Toothless from the Grey Alpha's mindcontrol, through his sheer love and the bond they share. Unfortunately, this thematic synergy is ruined immediately afterwards: the battle against Drago and the Grey Alpha is ultimately resolved by Toothless, followed by Toothless and all the other dragons present, shooting the Grey Alpha with their breath weapons until it runs away. In other words, instead of compassion being better than aggression, compassion is cast aside in favour of aggression, specifically "my dragon is better than yours because it shoots better stuff than yours" DBZ-level garbage. Toothless even turns Super Saiyan.
Anyway, this method works for Drago since he turned out to be exactly what Stoik said: completely unrepentant and unwilling to change. I like the message that that and the various heroic characters' treatment of Drago expresses because it's more sensible than a purely idealistic "Everyone can be redeemed". Most people can be redeemed, and you should give everyone a fair a chance at first, but sometimes you'll find destructive people you simply can't change and at that point all you can do is stop them however you can. I don't mind that Drago gets his ass kicked because he's beyond redemption, just as the Red Death Toothless killed in Dragon 1 was. Compassion is better than aggression, but that doesn't mean it'll always work.
So what's the problem? The Grey Alpha, for one very simple reason: in the final moments it hesitates. For most of its "fight" with Toothless it just stands there clearly terrified while Toothless shoots it down (which, as you can imagine, wasn't all that exciting to watch). Does Drago hesitate? Nope. He continues to bark out orders that the Grey Alpha is too afraid of Toothless to follow, which means that the Grey Alpha, unlike Drago, isn't completely devoted to Drago's cause (remember Problem #1?). It wasn't beyond redemption and could've changed its mind; had that not been the case it would've obeyed Drago and continued to fight, we would've seen some crazy awesome scene of Toothless' breath weapon vs. the Grey Alpha's and I wouldn't have had any problem with it.
Upon seeing the Grey Alpha hesitate, Hiccup should've immediately told Toothless to stop and tried to bring the Grey Alpha to the right side, perhaps with Toothless helping; the same TLC that allowed Toothless to resist its mindcontrol, along with having previously witnessed the indomitable strength of Toothless' bond with Hiccup, would've allowed the Grey Alpha to resist its lifelong fear of Drago and properly betray him. Drago would've been the one to be blasted into oblivion by dragonfire, not the Grey Alpha. Finally the Grey Alpha would've bowed to Toothless, conceding the status of Alpha Dragon to him. That's how the conflict should've been resolved: through compassion, not aggression.
19w, 6dMagic!2 comments · 102 views
Before reading on, watch this interesting video on magic in narratives by MrBtongue.
So, to sum up MrBtongue's argument: Supernatural elements in narratives can be a powerful tool for evoking sentiments of mystery--whether wondrous or dreaded--and superstition in the audience, by their very virtue of being supernatural--that is, beyond our rational understanding--and this is the proper way they should be used. Unfortunately, because magic is so popular and commonplace in fantasy works now, its use is at risk of losing its supernatural allure and becoming mundane, no different from advanced technology.
I disagree with MrBtongue for three reasons, which I'll explain below. If at this point you're wondering why this is in a FIMFiction blog when the above video never mentions, whether aurally or visually, FIM, it's because FIMLand (my name for the planet Equestria is part of) is a world filled with magic both systematized and mysterious, with characters both magically adept and inept.
A. The POV also matters.
Whether or not magic comes across as mysterious is dependent not only on the extent to which the author defines it but also the point of view that the story focuses on. If Twilight casts a spell in Applejack's presence, AJ doesn't know what she's doing and therefore her wonder or fear or whatever other feeling related to the mystery is expressed to the audience. If Twilight casts a spell in Celestia's presence, Celestia probably knows exactly what she's doing and could describe the process behind it in detail; the act is no more mysterious to her than it is to Twilight. Even from Twilight's point of view magic can still convey an element of mystery. She (presumably) doesn't know everything about all the magic in FIMLand, after all, and then there's the Everfree Forest, a place that defies the normal rules of reality in Equestria. How magic is portrayed depends entirely on what exactly the author wishes to do with it, what they want to express with it (more on that in my third point), and different points of view will convey different extents of understanding, of magic or any other subject, to the audience.
B. Magic and technology are exactly the same.
"Too often supernatural elements are made mundane. Too often magic is used in fantasy the same way technology is used in science fiction: as a tool to expand narrative possibilities and nothing more. Too often magic is robbed of all its magic." - MrBtongue.
I used a clip from Star Trek The Next Generation, a science fiction show, to make a point about magic. I feel, especially considering Picard's elaboration on Clarke's Third Law, that that clip was apt not only to explain my first point but to evoke my second, which is this: magic and technology are the same thing.
We have our various cultural associations and assumptions for the two, an important one being how we implicitly define technology. You read the word "technology" and a thousand different concepts enter your mind, all of which are valid examples but all of which, I'm willing to bet, are human artifice and nothing else. Technology is no more or less than the practical application of knowledge.
Fire is warm: lightning knocks a tree down and sets it on fire, you stay near the fire to keep warm. That's technology.
Fire is bright: you pick up a burning branch and now you have portable illumination. That's technology.
No electricity or moving parts required, you didn't even have to start the fire--but if you do start it because you know how to, that's technology. I'm not just referring to rubbing sticks together; if you discover one day that you can produce fire with only your thoughts and use that ability after learning how to, that's also technology--the practical application of knowledge. Now, yes, fire from your thoughts is internal whereas my earlier examples are external, and that's a common conception of magic: it comes from within while artifice comes from without. Well, our bodies are machines and our brains are supercomputers, both created and upgraded entirely within a human being, and there are some interpretations of magic that feature external sources.
Magic is technology, but is technology magic? Absolutely. Just watch the TNG clip again. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic and, on the opposite end, any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science. They ultimately fulfill the same function in narratives: things that characters and societies know and can perform to varying extents. To someone from the middle ages, an ordinary person with a car and laptop is an inscrutable god; to someone from the present day, a captain of a Federation starship is an inscrutable god; to someone from the Federation, Q is an inscrutable god; to an ordinary earthpony working in a small town, characters like Celestia, Luna, Discord, even Twilight, are inscrutable gods...if that's how you want to portray them (more on that in my third point).
The feelings MrBtongue advocates magic should be used to convey--the wonder or fear of the unknown--can also be conveyed with advanced technology. A compelling voice like Saruman's can be magical, or it can be special pheromones discreetly released by the speaker, which are designed to compel the subject to compliance with the speaker. I just described a mechanical process for the latter source, but can the subject tell the difference? No. All they know is that someone is talking and they're very intent on listening. Can you, the audience, tell the difference? Not if the author decides to withold an explanation of the mechanics, and why shouldn't they? They don't owe you an explanation any more than Tolkien did, even if it's a setting filled with what we currently consider to be advanced technology. Whenever poorly understood tech or science comes up there's often a character, usually a scientist, who says "There must be a scientific/rational explanation"...but how do they know that there is? How do you know that there is? What if there isn't but the characters have to deal with it anyway? How will they deal with something or someone they don't--can't--understand?
Technology can be so advanced that it defies not only our understanding of the universe but also that of the futuristic society--or it can be used in ways that are so inexplicable and alien to us that it defies our understanding of how it should be used even if we can understand how it works. It can be associated with those classical elements--fire, ice, blood, shadows--and steeped in metaphor, for the sake of being evocative and stimulating wonder or fear in the audience, even if behind it all there's some simple explanation. It all depends on what the author wants to do with it.
Good show. Watch it, and then watch Deep Space Nine, a much better show.
"But gods and the Force involve spirituality", you say. Go watch Carl Sagan's Cosmos, or this short clip of Neil Degrasse Tyson, and really ask yourself whether science, if viewed in the right way, can take on a spiritual quality.
C. What matters is what the author wants to express.
This brings me to my third point, which I've repeated more than once by now. There are numerous feelings and concepts one can use magic to convey, not just the ones related to the unknown. "Correct" use of the supernatural is the same as correct use of any device in a narrative: whether or not the work successfully expresses what its author wanted it to, and whether or not the device used was effective in that expression. Sure, you can make magic mysterious and inscrutable, and I absolutely agree that they can have a very potent suggestive power if you write them intending to take advantage of that and do it right. Or you can make it commonplace in your world and explore how it changes things, how the characters live those changes, what society becomes because of those changes, what your world says about ours, etc. Sounds a lot like the principles of science fiction, doesn't it? And wouldn't you know it, some works are considered "futuristic fantasy", and nothing is explained even though there's plenty of advanced tech. The very distinction between high fantasy and sci-fi is relative.
You can create a sense of mystery even in tabletop games, for any DMs who might read this. Just because someone casts Charm Person, doesn't mean the players have to know what it is. They might try Spellcrafting it to determine, and the DM could simply say that they can't do that--or don't want to, due to the spell's effects. The DM can use no-save spells or remove the saving throws from some spells, to create a sense of helplessness and fear at the unknown (it's a lot harder to defend yourself against something you don't understand).
Yes, elaborating on the supernatural might "rob magic of its magic", but it's no different from how people in Star Trek treat the abilities to teleport and create matter from (seemingly) nothing as ordinary tools, and featuring giant spaceships as inscrutable Lovecraftian nightmares is just as mysterious and terrifying as tentacled horrors rising from the ocean. I agree that explaining something like Saruman's voice diminishes its expressive power, but that only applies to that specific instance; Tolkien wrote it a certain way because of what he wanted to express and how, and making it less mysterious would've clashed with his intentions. You both lose and gain degrees and kinds of representation depending on what you want to express.
Magic, like technology, really is just a means of expanding narrative possibilities; it's just things people can do when you get right down to it. It can be evocative, and ought to be, but not necessarily as an element of mystery. The only thing that really matters is what the author wants to express and how they want to express it.
One last thing before I go. I'm finally back to working on something. It's not a massive epic that's totally over my head, so it'll actually get done. It's a short piece starring this guy.
54w, 20hAlicorns1 comments · 117 views
This is a blog post about alicorns.
I must thank Bronycurious for his recent commentary on alicorns and ascension, which helped me solidify where I stand with regards to Twilight's ascension and Cadance's existence. Below is my thoughts on both matters.
I will pose my thoughts on Twilight's ascension in the form of a response to that video. Bronycurious argues that headcanoning Celestia and Luna as naturally born alicorns, and apparently the only ones in Equestria, devalues Twilight's and Cadance's ascensions because it puts the sisters on a level no other pony can reach--anypony can ascend, but there are only two natural alicorns. This diminishes what Bronycurious sees in the ascension itself--a theme of newly established equality with Celestia and Luna--and makes the physical change entirely superficial; they might as well have received medals for their grand accomplishments, and we fans might as well regard the wings as nothing more than a "More princesses!" mandate from Hasbro rather than any sort of overarching theme and storyline within the past three seasons.
I disagree completely, as it's apparent that Magical Mystery Cure (MMC hereafter) devalues the very event it portrayed and whatever themes might be associated, even before we start to consider meta-interpretations.
Let’s examine a summation of MMC in the form of a statement: "The events MMC depicts are the culmination of Twilight's journey and character development since the pilot, and she is now Celestia's equal." We can infer this summation of the episode based on a number of Celestia’s lines and Twilight’s new social status.
Why, then, is the capstone event, the one that actually heralded Twilight's ascension, one in which she did nothing truly special? All she did was escort her friends to their proper places, convince them to give helping each other out a try and give them back their elements. Anypony in Ponyville could've done that, even ponies who weren't friends with the mane six--in fact, they probably would've once they got over the shock of everything being messed up.
Yes, she finished an incomplete spell, by writing a few lines into it which just happened to work the first time she tested them. If someone handed you an incomplete essay and asked you to complete it, you could do the same, could you not? All you'd have to do is write. Whether the essay could be considered well or properly written would have to be determined afterwards through examination; perhaps you would have done a good job the first time and perhaps you wouldn't have, but in the latter scenario all you'd have to do is edit your work or erase it all and try again, both of which Twilight could have done, assuming another flawed version of the spell didn't atomize Ponyville or something. What does this have to do with her arc throughout the series? The fact that she added a friendship-based stanza to the spell? It was an incomplete spell; she could have added literally anything. She could have written that the caster has to pray to muffins while eating pancakes in the middle of casting the spell, so the result would make baked potatoes appear out of nothing. She could've attached The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock to it. Why not? How could she have known what lines would produce what result when interacting with Starswirl's lines? She didn't know, hence her complete bewilderment at her ascension.
Why, then, did Twilight neither learn anything nor grow or change at all before ascending? "My friends are important to me." and "Friends help each other when something's wrong.": those are things she learned in the pilot, nevermind the rest of the series and all the things she's experienced with her friends prior to MMC. The events of MMC were in no way a test of her bonds with her friends or of her understanding of friendship. All she did was convince them to do things that weren't at all strenuous, difficult or dangerous for them.
Compare all of this to The Return of Harmony, in which Twilight learns something about friendship (that it is something even the greatest of schisms can't completely undo) and uses that knowledge to save the world from a great threat alongside her friends (and in so doing puts all six of them on equal footing with Celestia and Luna, who also saved the world from Discord). If there is any episode that justifies an ascension for Twilight, it is surely this one...so why didn't she ascend then? Is there a delay to ascension? Was MMC the last small amount of Godhood Experience Points she needed to acquire before leveling up? Was all of this really the doing of Starswirl's spell instead of Twilight's character development (which undermines the notion that there's actually a theme or meaning to the ascension in a completely different way)?
Or is there truly no grand theme or meaning to any of this, and Twilight obtaining wings is nothing more than an excuse for Hasbro to create toys of her with wings and a new dress? Or did Hasbro mandate nothing and MMC is simply a poorly written episode? I choose to believe it's one of these two possibilities, personally leaning more towards the former. Regardless, Twilight's ascension was already devalued in its depiction. Placing the sisters further above her despite her ascension isn't going to make it any less meaningful. Thus I see nothing wrong with rejecting what the ascension is supposed to represent either by outright denying it, as I do, or through establishing the natural/ascended alicorn distinction, which leads me to the first part of my original point. Since watching MMC I was on the fence about Twilight having ascended, but not anymore. It's more than choosing not to acknowledge it in my own works; I just can't support it at all. I hope and trust that S4 will deliver quality writing regardless, but MMC, in my eyes, was a profound mistake. As Bronycurious put it, it’s just toy bait.
(From this point on, we’re getting strictly into headcanon. Full speed ahead!)
Where, then, does that leave Cadance? Well, unless Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell is canon, she's still an anomaly, even when you take into account all the worldbuilding The Crystal Empire did in an attempt to give her a proper place in the world. While I own the book I've yet to read it, but that doesn't matter because I have a different idea in mind.
In the time before Nightmare Moon, the city that is known today as The Crystal Empire was the capital of a much larger nation: Esperia (officially Cristallo Impero di Esperia), a country of espers--commonly known as crystalponies--on the other side of the world, beyond the oceans. The espers were masters of the heart and the mysterious energies within: light and darkness, magical forces that respectively embodied positive and negative feelings. They used their knowledge of these forces to safeguard and maintain their sacred relic, the Crystal Heart, which projected the light in their hearts throughout the world.
Every sentient life has a heart, and each heart is made of light and darkness, but those forces, if provoked enough, could overwhelm and consume the heart. The espers, who used them regularly as a source of magical power, were particularly vulnerable. One day, a unicorn esper succumbed to the darkness in his heart, but rather than being ruined by it, he emerged a changed, stronger creature. Where others wrestled with and were ultimately consumed by their darkness, he embraced it, letting his very being become darkness itself. He took the name Sombra and spread his shadow throughout Esperia like an inky cloud. Numerous espers stood against him, shining with valour, and they were all defeated, their light smothered and their hearts corrupted until all they knew was despair and fear. One by one they were all bound in the darkness, shackled to Sombra’s will.
With an army of slaves, Sombra invaded the Esperian capital. He filled the Crystal Heart with darkness and murdered the queen and king. He would have killed their daughter as well, but the princess was secreted away from the capital along with a group of retainers. As Esperia drowned in misery and ruin, the princess and her cohort fled their lands and crossed the vast seas, in search of a distant foreign nation only known through rumours and hearsay from travelers; where it was said ponies who ruled over day and night lived. They landed in Equestria and, upon reaching the then-intact capital of Everfree City, told Celestia and Luna of what had transpired in Esperia. The sisters, as we know, journeyed to Esperia to end Sombra’s reign of evil and sealed him in the frozen north, but not before he cursed the capital to disappear.
By the time its capital vanished, Esperia had already been devastated by war with Sombra and suffered a catastrophic population loss, for the dark conqueror had all unicorn and pegasus espers, right down to the foals, exterminated so that the citizens who remained wouldn’t be able to circumvent his defenses and restore the Crystal Heart to light. The loss of the capital put the country in such disarray and destitution that it never recovered. In the more-than-a-millennium that followed, Esperia dissolved, the remaining espers who hadn’t been taken to the capital as slaves scattering throughout the world. The few esper refugees in Equestria, including their displaced princess, were made citizens by the royal sisters. They remained in Equestria and as the generations passed their blood mingled with that of their foreign cousins.
Mi Amore "Cadance" Cadenza, now Queen of Esperia alongside King Shining Armour, is the direct descendant of Esperia’s royal family. While she is only part esper and mostly equestrian, she still carries the gifts of her ancestors:
-A hereditary cutie mark: the heraldry of the Royal Family of Esperia. This is the reason why one of the espers in The Crystal Empire recognized her as his sovereign when she flew over him: it is a cutie mark that only espers of royal blood can have, and they always receive it regardless of their special talent. He called her "Crystal Princess" rather than "Crystal Queen" because she had yet to be crowned at that point.
-Being a winged unicorn. All espers of royal blood have wings and a horn, but they aren’t alicorns; they are neither immortal nor notably more powerful than other mortal ponies, and they don’t embody the traits of all three pony subspecies as actual alicorns do. The subspecies whose traits they most strongly represent is random; in Cadance’s case, it’s unicorns. Cadance has never ascended to true alicornhood but all espers, being ponies, have the potential to ascend just as all equestrians do.
 Fun fact: There is a real breed of Italian pony called “Esperia Pony”, or “Pony di Esperia”.
 Equestrians are so used to their own princess(es) that addressing foreign rulers as such is a common mistake when they travel abroad. That's why Mrs. Peachbottom called him "Prince".
58w, 2dRough Ranting1 comments · 111 views
It's been quite some time; I feel I ought to speak up on what happened to the project I said I was working on, and why I haven't published anything in over a year.
I really was working on something: a large multi-chapter epic about Celestia's death, the immense turmoil that plagued Equestria following her absence and a broken Twilight going on a hopeless quest to resurrect her. The tale swiftly proved too much for me to handle; I've scrapped it and searched for something else to write ever since. I won't say there's no chance I'll revisit it but at this point I doubt it. It probably isn't wise to go from a single-character stream-of-consciousness to something like that.
I'm currently considering writing something about everypony's favourite Trixie clone: Sunset Shimmer. It's likely that I'll end up completely reimagining her, as I'm not at all fond of her depictions on both silver screen and comic page, due in large part to her being Trixie if Trixie had magical power on Twilight's level or the internet, depending on the dimension. One could say that the info we've been given about her is rife with potential, which could probably be said about any minor character...
...she's a Trixie clone. They redeemed Trixie, then they put the old Trixie into a new body, made her even more obnoxious and called it a day. If you think that makes me excited or motivated to write about her, you'd be wrong. If I wanted to write about Trixie I'd do just that. Fine, whatever, she's an "anti-Twilight" or something, at least she has the power to back it up, but Trixie already had has that role. Why did the villain have to be the opposite of Twi, anyway? Luna isn't the opposite of Celestia, and look what she did. Are sympathetic villains with original and complex motivations unpopular with the teenage girl demographic? I thought this was supposed to be a girls' show that took itself and its audience seriously.
I need to stop rambling and get to my next class. Maybe I should write a proper blog post detailing everything I dislike about Sunset, but for now: whinewhinewhinemoanmoanwhine.
To Tartarus with Equestria Girls...which is canon, BTW. Because Twilight learned that non-ponies are capable of friendship (which you would think is obvious, but consider: Gilda, the dragon in Dragonshy, the dragons in Dragon Quest...). Or that the Elements of Harmony retain their power while in other dimensions (which she already knew thanks to Sunset). Actually, I'm not sure what she S4 YAY!!! I'M SO EXCITED, EVERYPONY! AREN'T YOU EXCITED?! :D
 So why do I want to write about her? Some of her base concepts are interesting. There's an interesting character somewhere in there, and I want to find her.
There’s this green unicorn, who I’ll call Greenie. I know her real name—knew everything about her the moment I first saw her—but don’t care to use it. We’ve been seeing each other for about fifteen seconds now—or maybe fifteen minutes, either way. She has no idea I’m the tree she’s sitting under while she’s writing her poetry—fitting for a pony with a quill for a cutie mark.
I can’t deny—I wish I had a cutie mark. Who wouldn’t want one? The ponies never have to ask themselves ‘Why am I here?’; they’ll get the answer eventually and it will always be satisfying. They never have to fear living a boring, meaningless life where they sleepwalk through each day and spend each sleepless night trying to figure out where it all went wrong just to keep themselves from breaking down in the face of sheer futility. Nope, they’re born guaranteed to get purpose—and talent!—on a silver platter, based on whatever they enjoy doing the most.
‘Some people just have all the luck’ doesn’t even begin to apply here. Seriously, the ponies have it made compared to the other species! No one could ask for more than that, they just couldn’t.
Oh, how could you, you monster?! How could you make an entire city bury their heads in the ground?! The horror! The audacity! Don’t you know that we ponies just! Can’t! Deal with even a little hardship?! It’s just too much stress! We need to live in a perfect world with rainbows and singing and butterflies, where nothing bad ever happens!
Talk about arrogance! At least they can choose how to deal with it!
I never had any choice. My purpose was chosen for me right from the beginning. I showed up one day—created by the discord between the three pony tribes—and started doing what I exist to do.
By the way, thanks a lot moms and dads! It’s just swell to be the odd kid out, the only one who never got to choose his destiny! No, really, I can’t thank you enough!
I exist to do one thing and one thing only: wreak glorious chaos, whether it takes the form of a chocolate-crammed cotton candy cloud (classic!) or corrupting common cognitive concepts creatures cherish. Well, I don’t just exist to wreak chaos—I am chaos! I’m referred to by a different name, but... what’s that line about a rose?
Everything I am is chaos—in fact, there is no ‘I’. This handsome body expresses chaos. Its deeds are all nothing more than the spreading of chaos. My thoughts, if they don’t serve the whims of chaos, are merely these empty aimless contemplations. All of which are a complete waste of time because chaos doesn’t need me to think.
My actions are just as pointless. I am chaos—a physical manifestation of something that already exists and existed before I did. Greenie just got up and walked away, tripping over a rock; I’m exactly the same as that event, or a storm the pegasi lose control of. We’re all different incarnations of chaos, which is, fortunately, everywhere.
That makes me a drop of water in the ocean. Completely redundant.
What difference does it make if I turn some mountains upside-down or cause a few ponies to lose faith in their morals? Chaos doesn’t care what form it takes. I might as well be an event, like Greenie tripping over the rock: impacting the world for only a brief moment and forgotten afterwards. Actually, I think I’d like being an event. Then I wouldn’t have to think, or live with the knowledge that my every thought and deed is completely worthless.
The extent of what I can do that these mortals cannot is unfathomable and yet each of them, in their short lives, can and will do more than I could ever dream. Not that I could dream, but whatever: just look at Greenie. She’s a writer—I can’t do that. She might have foals someday—hah, maybe not once I’m done with her, but still—I can’t do that.
Oh, sure, they are but blinks of the cosmic eye, nothing they do in their lives will matter in the grand scheme of things, yadda yadda yadda who cares? Hey, if you’re listening, whoever made the grand scheme? You’re an unimaginative loser! Billions of lives across billions of years amounting to mere dust in the void? I can sneeze better realities than this!
Forget you and forget the grand scheme! If nothing else, their lives can matter in the here and now, and possibly even for some time after they die depending on their accomplishments. That’s much more than can be said for me. Whether I live for the next million minutes or million millennia I won’t matter for even...
Why am I thinking about this, anyway? What’s the point? Greenie, I hope you like playing with hornets, because guess what? You didn’t write words on that parchment, you wrote hornets!
So very true... I hope. Or I would, if I could hope or believe in anything. Truth is, I have no idea. Maybe it isn’t a wonderful thing. Nothing is good or bad unless we think it is, but chaos will always be a wonderful thing to me; I’m incapable of thinking otherwise. It’s part of my nature, my very existence.
Is there a reason not to make hornets explode into boiling tea?
At least it’s a positive feeling.
She’s screaming now, calling for help. I could do something about it. I can seize control of the sun and the moon from Little Miss Idealism and her uptight sister, so it’s well within my power to heal this mare’s wounds and send her home. All it takes is a thought... buuuuuuuuut my nature betrays me.
Now she’s screaming in Zebra, rather than Equestrian. Which is pretty funny, but look at that! That is how much of a waste I am! I should be able to be ashamed of myself!
I can speak.
I can bend reality to my whims.
Yet for all my power, for all the things I can do, I will do only one thing: spread chaos. It’s quite ironic, since I’m the most orderly being there is. Lack of restraint is the definition of freedom and chaos, yet I, of all creatures, have no freedom whatsoever. Everything I do brings chaos: endless iterations of the same act, differing only in terms of scale. I can’t stop myself, but I don’t want to. I enjoy what I do.
How could I not? Come on, she’s screaming for help in a language she doesn’t even know! She’s trying to rhyme! Her mind must be as muddled as that of a drunken stallion bucking himself in the face right now! She has red polka dots all over her coat and she’s writhing in the grass like a spastic earthworm! It’s hilarious!
It’s so hilarious, it is even if it’s not! I’d have done it even if it was boring, and I’d have thought it was funny even if I hadn’t done it! There’s no difference between funny and boring! The very concepts don’t exist! It’s all chaos, it’s all fun, it’s all laughter and smiles for me all day long—and that is what makes it a wonderful, wonderful thing!
My mind and body think and do things while I sit back and enjoy it all because I have to. These leftover thoughts, whatever they are, are just like Greenie here: rolling around in my mind, trying to find some table scraps of meaning that chaos might throw their way. No such thing. I can’t even do something as simple as speak to her. I can’t! Not unless I’m going to make her life a little more chaotic.
The idea of speaking to her is in my mind. I’m aware of it. I’m thinking it right now: speak to her.
Speak to her.
I even put my face right next to hers.
Does it matter, though? So I’m not in complete control of myself. Neither are they! They need to eat, breathe and sleep all the time or else they’ll die. The sun and moon have to keep spinning over us or everything will die. Then there are things like sickness, having a social life—really, who in this world is truly in control of themselves, hm? And again, so what? Control is overrated! If you need to control things—need to make them conform to your wishes—you’re obviously not having enough fun with them. I don’t need to control anything ‘cause I never stop having fun!
Matter of fact, that’s the most liberating thing in the world! I don’t need to eat, breathe or sleep. I have no need for sunlight. Can’t get sick. Can’t feel sad. Can’t feel remorse. Can’t feel pain. Can’t be burdened by friendship—can’t wish for friendship, come to think of it! Don’t need to put effort into anything ‘cause I don’t do anything! It’s automatic! It doesn’t matter! Nothing matters! I’m free from everything, including freedom!
Now come here, Greenie! Stop crying, we’re going to have some fun!
I’ve always liked the feeling of ponies squirming in my hands, for some reason.
Hah! The brave little warrior, throwing a rock at me! Please, by all means try to kill me! Throw more rocks! Cast any spell you can think of! I’ll even give you a head start.
Could I actually be jealous of a rock? I think so. That rock—any object, really—has more potential than me despite being utterly incapable of thought or action. In little more than two minutes that rock has served the interests of both chaos and of Greenie. Two functions right there, twice as much as I’ll ever have and that’s just scratching the surface. The rock could weigh something down, or prop something up, or be sculpted into something—all that and so much more. I, on the other hand... well, at least no one can ever say I don’t practice what I preach.
To think I once ruled this entire planet, even though I’m less than an object. No wonder no one liked me—I don’t think it’s possible to be more pathetic than that.
A little chaos can serve a function, like making someone other than me laugh. I could amuse Greenie, maybe get her to see me as something other than a monster, but that’s never going to happen. My particular method of spreading chaos involves introducing it to its fullest extent, corrupting the natural states of things into forms they were never meant to take. If there’s one thing Wet Blanket and Indoor Voice have yet to understand, it’s that the world needs some order and some chaos.
Order provides the structure that allows for tangibility, from which life obtains capability.
Chaos provides the unpredictability of choice, from which life obtains meaning.
Introduce too much order and you have to remove all freedom, all thought—life ceases to matter.
Introduce too much chaos, as I do, and you
have a mountain of ice cream made from
liquid ponies with dragon wings, or
just falls apart and, again,
life ceases to matter.
That means my actions are doubly pointless, for even in their redundancy they can only lead to a single empty end and they will never change.
I am chaos. I can’t be anything else.
So what’s the point of me, then? I exist to spread chaos, but why do I exist to spread chaos? Why did I have to show up? Why have an unnecessary intelligence and capacity for emotion, neither of which I can fully control? Why have a body? Why have this consciousness locked within me, thinking these meaningless thoughts? I’m just a... I’m a costume! A sock puppet for chaos! Makes sense, right? I’m a physical representation of chaos; cover a pony with a white sheet and suddenly he’s a ghost.
It never had to be me. I never wanted this. What did I do to deserve this existence—to deserve being a prisoner in my own being? What did everyone else do to deserve free will that I didn’t?
You don’t deserve free will, you just happened to get it. In fact, everything in your life is nothing more than an accident. Another me might appear behind you a few seconds from now. You could burst into flames any moment. Whether you deserve it or not is irrelevant.
I’ll bet you think your life has meaning. Nice hair, by the way.
You believe in something, don’t you? That’s all you can do: convince yourself that there’s a reason for it all when you know there really isn’t, ‘cause there’s nothing else out there. Nothing but the random, arbitrary reasons you create solely to cling to. Order can’t help you. Chaos can’t help you. Or me, except I might convince you that everypony you’ve ever known is delicious and then turn you into a tail extension.
I don’t care that it’s unfortunate. Why should I? Bad things happen to everyone, much more often than good things.
At least they can choose how to deal with it. At least they can choose.
Speaking of choice, hey Greenie, how’d you like to be my new cutie mark? You’d look great on my... no? Awww, okay, but I’ve got to do something with you. Let’s see, you’re already green and... trees are green. Yeah! You ponies like trees, let’s turn you into one. Oh, stop begging for mercy already! I can’t help you. Trees need seeds, so...
Heh, oops! Too many seeds. Oh well, I guess my tree will be a little rounder than most. I’ll just add some branches sticking out of her ears and hooves, turn her hair into leaves, her skin into wood—nah, gold, let’s be fancy... there we go! Greenie, I can say with confidence that you’re the best tree ever created!
I think I’ll stick around for a little, maybe make a forest of trees like this one. Wet Blanket and Indoor Voice will show up sooner or later, of course, but they’re always fun to play with.
They’re everything I ought to be: they have just as much power as I do along with the freedom to use it any way they please. They could be me in an instant if they wanted to, but I can never be them. Even that isn’t enough: they have to try and ruin my fun at every turn. What do they want from me? They get their kicks from—ugh—friendship and harmony, while I get mine from chaos. Truth be told, I don’t see the point: why make friends when you can just amuse yourself? I get all the enjoyment I could ever ask for simply by existing. Still, we’re all pursuing what we enjoy, so what’s the difference? Maybe they also enjoy telling others what is and isn’t fun. Like I don’t have enough to deal with as it is.
not that I could ever tell them about my problems—
They’re too busy being pretty paragons of pony perfection and pleasantness to everyone but me! I know exactly what they’ll do when they get here: they’ll be angry with me, give a little speech about the immorality of my actions and the sanctity of life and blah blah blah and then we’ll fight like we always do.
Could dance around in tutus for all it matters. Might even be good for them.
I’ll just sit somewhere and take whatever they throw at me—or dance with them—until I get bored, as usual. There’s no point in defending myself; this entire conflict of ours is as pointless as everything else in my life and they don’t even realize it. Even if they kill me someday, nothing will change. I’m a physical manifestation of something that already exists and existed before I did. It will continue to exist with or without this particular manifestation.
I will always be around to cause trouble.