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Chatoyance


I'm the creator of Otakuworld.com, Jenniverse.com, the computer game Boppin', numerous online comics, novels, and tons of other wonderful things. I really love MLP:FiM.

More Blog Posts89

Feb
17th
2013

The Special Alicornics: Everypony Wins A Ribbon · 9:15am Feb 17th, 2013

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The Special Alicornics
Everypony Wins A Ribbon
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On "The Magical Mystery Cure", by M.A. Larson

Or, Why M.A. LARSON IS A GOD

So, at last, Twilight Sparkle achieves her apotheosis. You knew it had to happen - from the very first two-part episode, where we were introduced to a filly with the power of a god, it was guaranteed that Twilight Sparkle would get her wings and become an alicorn, just like Princess Celestia. That, or be killed to save the world - one or the other had to happen, and this is a happy show about happy ponies, so... alicorn.

Anyone who, like I did, dug deeply into Lauren Faust's original plans for the show, or who might have had some inside information, would also know this was going to happen, eventually. Of course it was going to happen. Lauren was very deeply... shall we say inspired... by Sailor Moon, she even developed her own Americanized version of Sailor Moon called 'Galaxy Girls' - which she has been unable to sell - and she took her obsession knowingly into the new incarnation of My Little Pony. That was the plan, by the way - I expect some of you know this, but this is for the ones who may not - the plan originally was to do, basically, Pony Sailor Moon.

That is why the 'Elements Of Harmony' exist, and why they are made of crystal - remember the 'Crystal Tokyo' from Sailor Moon, and the 'Pure Heart Crystals' that defined all the sailor scouts powers and ability to reincarnate in new lives? Pony Sailor Moon. What you may not know is how Sailor Moon, the original anime and manga, ended. Let me tell you.

After endless battles and power-ups, the Sailor Scouts plus a group of galactic scouts, fight the ultimate Big Bad, Galaxia. She is controlled by Discord. Um... I mean Chaos. You get the idea. Everybody dies, horribly, because Galaxia is omnipotent. In the end, basically, Super Ultra Omega Oh-My-Fucking-God Sailor Moon With-Sugar-On-Top knows she is losing and makes friends with Galaxia, saving her from Chaos, and bringing everypony - everyone - back to life thanks to Alicorn Omnipotence. The End.

So, basically, Usagi, Sailor Moon, becomes an alicorn princess goddess in the end and saves the universe with cosmic friendship. Basically.

But it takes years of anime and manga to reach this conclusion, and tons of battles and heartache, and what is most important, a constant arc of character development and growth. Usagi - Sailor Moon - starts out as a total klutz, a worthless person, and in the end becomes the ultimate goddess of love and kindness. She grows up.

This was what Lauren Faust intended, in pony form of course, for Twilight Sparkle. Gradual growth and growing up, until she truly earned her wings. You can see all of this in the first series, if you look for it. Or just dig into Faust and her designs. I suspect the ultimate battle would have been the redemption of Discord, which we saw thrown away in 'Keep Calm And Flutter On'.

What does Lauren Faust think of the final episode of series three? "I had plans for Twilight but what I wanted is irrelevant now & I don't want to undermine what the writers are doing currently." This is all she is legally allowed to bitch. She can't complain further, she can't rant, and she can't say one damn thing about being disappointed. Not without losing all hope of any future career.

Let me bitch in her place.

In order for a hero - or heroine - to have a meaningful victory, they have to earn it.

This is just basic, decent storytelling. Only when the situation is such that a person is severely crippled or damaged do we hand out ribbons merely for existing, merely for showing up. It is appropriate in the Special Olympics, it is Bad Writing of the Worst Sort to hand out a ribbon for nothing to a real contender.

Twilight Sparkle has been shown from the start to be such a real contender that it has been clear that the pony goddess, Princess Celestia, was afraid enough to take her from her parents and raise her herself.

I should mention that I did enjoy one aspect of Magical Mystery Cure - we finally have it canon that Celestia is a goddess. It was obvious from the beginning, of course, only the most stupid or willfully blind would think otherwise, but now we have proof. Twilight explodes in a ball of fire, leaving a charred burn on her floor in the shape of her Cutie Mark. She's dead. Her friends look on horrified.

Next, we are in 'Another Dimension'. Pony heaven, or at least the outskirts of higher, Ascended realms. There's Celestia, mistress of it all, showing Twilight her life. Nice Conversion Dream, Twilight. Oh, that bit I LOVED. Twilight had a Conversion Dream, right out of the TCB. Lovely.

Next, Twilight is reborn back into the world, alive again, in the sky. Celestia has made her an Alicorn, a princess, a demigod at the very least. Her friends are clearly relieved, probably they were beginning funeral arrangements.

This, by the way, is the story of knighthood, not to mention all religious stories of saviors. They have to die, first, then be reborn. It derives from the Eleusinian Mysteries by the way, but I digress. You know that bit where, when someone is knighted, they put a sword on one shoulder, then another? It is supposed to be symbolic of the sword passing through the neck - of the person having their head chopped off. Yet they live. Rebirth as a god, see? It's very ancient, and itself is based on far older mythological tales, which in their own day were religious faiths.

Twilight Sparkle had to Ascend, she had to die, to be reborn as a goddess - or, at least, as an alicorn princess. It's writing shorthand, really, because it draws on world beliefs and world mythologies common to every culture. Joseph Campbell would be proud.

So that bit I did like, very much. A proper Conversion Dream, and then rebirth in a new body. I think someone likes the Conversion Bureau, but dares not say so. I understand. But it is there to see, if one should but look. Like the drying paint of 'Too Many Pinkie Pies' being a clear reference to Pinkie Pie Watches Paint Dry. They read our fanfiction. But they can't ever admit it for very dire, legal and career reasons. But they can wink at us occasionally. That is all they are allowed to do. That's the business. That's just how it is.

Which is why it hurts so much to say the next bit:

Although it is not M.A. Larson's fault - I want to repeat that - IT IS NOT M.A. LARSON's FAULT - the episode as a whole utterly sucked ass.

M.A. Larson was tasked with an impossible problem: wrap up every single thing the entire Friendship Is Magic series was supposed to be about right up to the end, and do it all in one single episode, because Hasbro wanted Twilight to be an alicorn NOW, in time for the new release of toys from the Toy Industry Association 2013 Toy Fair. Imagine knowing everything I have just stated, above, imagine caring about what Lauren Faust might think, and being faced with that demand. Twilight has to be an alicorn, reach her destiny, in one episode, period. Get to work.

I admire what Larson did, really I do. It's just a nightmare situation, and, well, the job is as good as it could be under the circumstances.

Nobody will argue with the fact that the episode feels rushed - some have likened Magical Mystery Cure to 'preview scenes from a much longer episode'. It is. 'Magical Mystery Cure' is indeed just that - preview scenes from the two years of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic that will never get made. The two years of Twilight growing with her friends, forging stronger bonds in battle against the minions of Discord, until finally sacrificing everything to save Equestria and losing. Then, when all hope is lost, Twilight stops fighting and makes friends with Discord, and saves everything, everywhere, and finally becomes an alicorn goddess. Because she truly deserved it.

That... as Faust put it... is irrelevant now.

So Larson did the only thing possible - hammer home the adventures they have already shared, all the Mane Six, and contrive some situation where they had to show they cared about each other enough to help each other. Then... for no reason really... ALICORN!!!

That is the exact moment, by the way, that you can tell Larson is screaming at Hasbro for forcing this. Any fancy reason could have been given for Twilight's change. I bet many writers reading this can come up with three or four possibilities better than 'just because it was time' off the top of their heads. That - Twilight just suddenly blowing up and leaving a stain - that right there is a writer sticking their middle finger up in the air at Hasbro. That is a gigantic "FUCK YOU HASBRO!" and it was done with style and panache! It even references mythology, as I stated above. Really, it's brilliant.

Remember that moment, when you think about M.A. Larson as a writer - best 'fuck you' in children's television, right there. You want an alicorn, Hasbro? You don't like showing Celestia as a goddess because of those letters from the church groups (true story), you need it all done RIGHT NOW?

OK. Fuck you Hasbro exec. Twilight explodes. She leaves a stain. Her friends look horrified. Liking it now, Hasbro exec?

Wait, there's more.

She's in heaven now, Hasbro. Celestia IS a goddess. Oooh! Traditional Past Life Review, right out of most major religions! Oh, yeah, she's dead. Twilight is in pony heaven. Guess what lives in heaven Hasbro? Angels? Yeah, that's right. Angels. What defines angels, Hasbro exec? WINGS? Yes, just like you ordered! TWILACORN! She's in heaven, and she gets wings. "The Littlest Angel Pony". And now... BAM! Celestia brings her physically back to life! Goddess power! Like your alicorn now, Hasbro Exec? Let's see what the church groups say now!

Biggest 'fuck you' in children's television history. M.A. Larson is a god for that.

Oh, the episode sucks. It's rushed, the story barely passes muster, and it has songs stuck in almost randomly because: epic. But the job got done, and Larson did it as best as was humanly possible, and with a big middle finger right in the center. Plus a Conversion Dream. Thanks for that, Larson. Thank you.

So, this isn't what anyone wanted, but under the circumstances, it is as good as possible, and that is how the business works.

Lauren Faust was originally promised that she could have complete, total creative control over Friendship Is Magic. That was taken away by Hasbro, and it broke her heart. I think you can understand why - My Little Pony was her favorite.

I've explained what could have been, what should have been, and, well, it would have been glorious.

But don't get mad at M.A. Larson.

That's just the business, and that's how things are.

And that is why, even though 'Magical Mystery Cure' was a very poor episode, I adore it.

Biggest. Fuck You. In children's television history.

Go, Larson. Go, you crazy shining star.

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Comments ( 67 )

Next, we are in 'Another Dimension'. Pony heaven, or at least the outskirts of higher, Ascended realms. There's Celestia, mistress of it all, showing Twilight her life. Nice Conversion Dream, Twilight. Oh, that bit I LOVED. Twilight had a Conversion Dream, right out of the TCB. Lovely.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed or thought this.

It's a shame things turned out the way they did, but I thought A) having it be a straight up musical was at least an attempt at having it be abstract enough to cover the remaining bases and B) While there's a very good reason adventure shows tend to end there, we do always wonder what happens to characters after they've peaked, and FiM could be the show that finally paints that picture. Ms. Faust said she wanted to make a legit pony magical adventure show like Sailor Moon (which I haven't seen but folks assure me is solid), but maybe in another 20 years, having seen it now approached from a different angle, her successor will compare his/her new idea to the next FiM.

Edit: It felt really elegiac, though - It really did seem like watching a Final Episode.

The minute I saw that heavenly place I knew it was a Conversion Dream remake. It just felt so much like it. I agree on all points with you on this episode. This should have been the ending of all endings, not a ending of a season, but of the series as such.

i.imgur.com/8b1D11D.gif</a>

I think this was thrown in for damage control, either that or they waited until the last second to say "gotcha":derpyderp2:

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I think putting Derpy back in is another 'fuck you', plus a wink and a nod to the true fans. Derpy was removed because of politics, because, ultimately, Hasbro will cave in to complaints, because: Profit is God. Derpy is back, finally, even if only in one second glimpses, even if only in the last episode.

I will bet you even quatloos that M.A Larson may not be back for season four. Only admiration from me.

While I can't say I agree with several of your interpretations of the episode's events, I do agree with quite a few of your thoughts on the matter.

The problem is that it feels like the final exclamation point to end the story on, with the hero ushering in a new era. I'm not opposed to the idea, but now is not the time to do it... unless you want to sell a brand new toy line.... For me, it's not a question of whether Twilight deserves the status of godhood (with the way S3 Celestia seems to dump problems on her, it seems like Twilight is actually doing more than the former), but as you say, it's the wrong time for it.

I dislike how Faust's original vision for the show has been eaten away at - most obviously with Cadence which significantly weakened the mythology behind alicorns for no good reason (again, other than marketing and selling toys that is) - and do think the series has definitely suffered under her lack of supervision. Since the finale of S2 there's been a general downward trend, though between S3 being so short, and the very inconsistent quality of the episodes it's not easy to say where that line is heading exactly.

As you say, it's not Larson's fault; there's a reason he's widely regarded as the best writer on the staff, but he had an impossible task here. He didn't just have to fit a lot into a single episode, he essentially had to write two episodes in one, going at breakneck pace, and try and fit a convincing ascension in there at the wrong stage of the show and try and make it work. If one of the other writers had been in charge, I'd have almost certainly given up there and then.

The only consolation I can take from the entire matter is that the show isn't yet ruined completely for me, as much as I might wish I was in an alternate universe where Faust stayed at the helm.

Incidentally, I actually disagree with the redemption of Discord (it's the worst episode in S3 for me), and think the insipid "tea and biscuits" nature of it goes against Lauren's very ideals in creating the show, but also the character as it was originally shown in the excellent S2 opener.

Feel free to immediately delete this. I think you're crazy. There is no evidence supporting any kind of godhood. We don't even know that Twilight died. I fail to see how a scorch mark equals immediate death. And a conversion dream? Give me a break. This is just another classic example of the projections you include in nearly every scrap of TCB you have written.

My biggest piece of proof? Hasbro wouldn't dare make even a hint at godhood in a family program for small children. That's a can of worms with a massive potential backlash no one in the right mind would want to open.

My biggest piece of proof? Hasbro wouldn't dare make even a hint at godhood in a family program for small children. That's a can of worms with a massive potential backlash no one in the right mind would want to open.

M.A.Larson =/= Hasbro.

If people didn't say "Fuck you!" to higher authorities, we'd still think the world is flat.

I agree with pretty much everything you said but with the caveat that given what we had to work with, the episode was the best at what it could be. In other words, I thought the episode was... well, I want to say genius without the backhanded slap of applying "given the constraints", but whilst still acknowledging those constraints.

I guess I can be mad and say that compared to the hour-long movie it should have been, it sucks. If that's what you mean, I totally agree. The half-pint season 3 is missing the extra 12 episodes which would have properly formed and fleshed out the "Twilight becomes an alicorn" arc, and that is the tragedy of the ages.

At least until we all ascend into the pony-based digital afterlife, because then you can be sure as sugar my values will only be satisfied by proper application of friendship and ponies.

But I digress: I loved all the songs (except the 'sad Twilight is sad' song - it was a lovely song but completely in a different tone) and I thought they fitted. ...but yes, as I said in a comment on my own blog, we've had what should have been at least two episodes squashed into one with barely enough time between dramatic structure pieces to catch our breath. They do this a lot (keep calm and flutter on being the other most obvious).

Her "oh, it's the magic of friendship I needed" came without conscious effort (contrast to the flashback in season 1, episode 2 when she's confronting Nightmare Moon) and the actual spell cast on her friends... wasn't cast. It just happened. They realized who they were supposed to be, glowed magically, and Twilight applied the crystals of phlebotonium. Poop.

But! That's what had to happen, because 22 minutes, guys, that's all she wrote. And within that, the tail was complete. It worked. It explained everything.

AND

It set right a good deal of things sent astray since season 1, episode 2.

yep, I think it's realigned the show to its roots. All I can hope is that they can pull this off again for season 4 - and there is a season 4. All 26 episodes of it, with a bunch of the original writers returned from their evil labours at what is apparently going to be something terrible (though I will give it a shot). Let's hope. Hope is a virtue. Let's hope that this little girl's show continues to pull out as many stops as it can. In the battlefield of the global consciousness, even when under the sort of pressures this cartoon is, it's amazingly good. I guess I can curse certain unnamed, unknown execs for wanting to sell toys and not being able to say "go, do with it what you will, you mad, crazy diamond", in which case I think I'll be sitting looking at a turned-off television, or being thankful that enough people care enough to make it as good as it is.

Sounds like I'm settling for less, maybe, but I don't think I see it that way. In all honesty, if this episode hadn't been as good as it was (given what it had to work with) that would have been the end of my fimfic account.

I may still go create petfiction.com - the double-bill this week of LPS episodes were absolutely brilliant, right down to the exploding tricycle and the fourth-wall genre-savvy self-realization of the main characters.

Wow, thank you for that. I have to say, I hated the episode, absolutely hated it:
- The songs were too short to be proper songs to listen to, but took up half the episode reagrdless. The huge quantity was overwhelming to point that they started to lose effect for me.
- The first half of the plot seemed rushed, the second half was a bad fanfic.
- The overall narrative was stunted, logically baffling, and most of all utterly unsatisfying in its sudden nature.
- I strongly disliked the criteria for becoming an Alicorn, and especially the huge snub to Starswirl the Bearded.

All in all, I stopped watching feeling disheartened, worried for the future of the fandom, and somewhat dismayed that as time went on, more and more people were actually saying the episode was good. Just good, in itself.

I was hoping that you'd have some words of wisdom, Chatoyance, and I wasn't disappointed.

Thank you so much. Your explanation allows me to see the episode in a new light. Still crap, but not for lack of trying. Not M.A. Larson's fault, but Hasbro's executive meddling. The episode isn't M.A. Larson's bad fanfic, it's Hasbro's.

I did like a decent portion of the actual becoming an Alicorn portrayal, and your explanation made it even better.

I'm glad that I can now remember M.A. Larson as a great writer, as opposed to the infamous shark jumper. 25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lkgyufwgjz1qbxbbbo1_500.jpg

So thank you, Chatoyance, for elucidating me, and cheering me up when things looked grim.

That said, Executive Meddling is on the prowl like never before, so I'm not really sure if things will get any better, but at least we can face the future knowing that one man was brave enough to resist in his own way, where it really mattered.

Now, of course, if your interpretation is correct, and the episode is Larson flipping Hasbro the bird, the question is: is it canon?
It's almost a parody work, from that angle. Because really, if he did things just to piss off Hasbro, do we have to accept that as fact? The bit about
spell-writing + understanding friendship = Alicorn
Because really, who wants THAT as their divine ascendance. Especially if they are more like gods.

I'll disagree with the Conversion dream thing, and whether or not it was actually heaven that Twilight was sent too (or that she died for that matter). Its something that probably the entire fandom is busy arguing over (and likely battle lines are being drawn as we speak). But that doesn't mean that you have not got a point, nor that it is without a doubt eloquently written.

I will however say I always believed Celestia was a Goddess. I just don't think she's an omnipotent and all powerful god. With all the Greek mythology stuff in the show, I have always thought of Celestia and Luna specifically as being godesses in the greek sense. She's certainly not powerful enough to deal with Discord (I happen to think she was bluffing in Keep Calm and Flutter On)

One thing to note: I don't know whether this is true or not, but I heard something about the season finale originally meant to be a series finale, which would also explain why things were the way they were.

Well said, Chatoyance. I was trying to explain that scene to people yesterday by quoting Mythology 101 at them (hero dies, ascends to Astral Plane, does the St. Peter at the Pearly Gates thing, meets with god(dess), rewarded with (demi)godhood, reincarnates as a superior being, etc), but you've obviously had more experience with this. And that scene was easily the best part of the episode, if not the season.

I think the other part of why this episode was so rushed is, during the planning and production window, they didn't expect to be having a season four. Hasbro had their 65 episodes for syndication, and this was the series finale unless something changed. And this episode reeks of series finale. Songs out the wazoo? Check. Main character gets big reward and appears to move on to bigger and better things? Check. Huge spectacle for the ending? Check. "Hey, season four's greenlit!" "WHAT?! Sonofa-" And now they're scrambling to put together two more parts of what's suddenly a three-parter to run at the start of the next season. I'm not sure how they're gonna pull that one off. The great heroes of legend don't generally keep their powers and go back to tilling the soil (or checking out library books, as the case may be).

Then again...

images.4chan.org/mlp/src/1361032530782.png

This might help make clearer sense of the matter.

838346 All of my yes.

My other issue with the suddenly alicorn thing is that it hugely overshadows the other characters. If Season 4 is all about Princess Twilight, I don't want to watch it, frankly.

Honestly, I just choose to focus on the one unambiguously positive thing about this episode.

We got our muffin back.

EDIT: But seriously Rarity why did you let anyone go out there wearing those GOD AWFUL tacky things

I've got a case of cognitive dissonance from the episode.

On the one hand, judging the episode purely on what it was, I can truthfully say that I enjoyed watching it, and there were some superlative moments (especially the aforementioned dream). At the same time, however, I can't help mourn what it could have been. So much material needlessly squandered and compressed. Had it (and discord's redemption) been properly fleshed out, they could have beautifully filled half the missing episodes of the season.

And yes, it irritates me to no end to be on the receiving end of the worse aspects of the corporate mentality. Though if I'm to be entirely precise, I don't feel it to exactly be the corporation per-se. Rather, the corporation is merely an actor responding in a (relatively) rational fashion to the stimuli in it's environment.

This is no tragedy of the commons. Hasbro owns the franchise, and so will accrue any increase to its value. The logical action should then be to nurture it, so as to maximize the total benefit. Were the case that simple, such squandering of potential would be a sign of incompetence in managing creative talent (of which FIM is clearly not lacking).

I won't say 'I wish that was the case', because that would suck too, but in this case I believe there is perfectly competent, rational management in place - we need to look a little deeper to see the problem. In this case, I think it goes all the way down. The growth paradigm; discounting future value. Every quarter has to be an improvement. The executives are measured,squeezed and led on to produce results as large and as soon as possible. They exercise the options they have available in order to do so, and don't understand, don't care, or may in fact be right about their effect on the total value of the franchise. Of course the value of the franchise is not necessarily the value of the story, and I generally agree with midnightshadow and Chatoyance's points on the matter there.

So in a nutshell? I did enjoy the episode, but am wistful about what it could have been and will continue to be annoyed at the system that kept it from achieving it's full potential.

Chatoyance, you mention anime - but really this is a story as old as time...

MLP:FIM might as well be "The New Testament as reenacted by ponies"... Auspicious birth, menial job (carpenter would have fit better, but librarian works), the gathering of apostles, (five versus twelve - we do have time slots to contend with), some epic confrontations, some learning experiences, some chats with god, and finally a death / rebirth into godhood.

This is a cartoon though, so let us avoid the whole betrayal from within and ultimate suffering thing - that may be pushing it...

This is not, by far, the only show to do this...

-= Star Trek Deep Space Nine, AKA "Cisco is Jesus!?"
-= Babylon 5, AKA "Sheridan is Jesus!?"
-= The Matrix, AKA "Neo is Jesus!?"

And on, and on.

I agree, Larson did a pretty bang-up job tying together a hero's journey with the desires of the corporate overlords - but I am sticking with my polytheistic Pantheon theory because, well, there are simply more of those and they are far more fun than monotheistic There Can Be Only One stories.

I will allow for Celestia to be Zeus' analogue (though a much, much nicer person) with a similar story to her creation. I like to have the Elements involved with that - the fact that one being can encompass the "pre-reqs" to wield all six makes Celestia something greater than.

But ultimately the pantheon approach allows for a lot more flexibility. It allows for the story to expand and go other places without being painted into a corner (do Dragons worship Celestia? They certainly did not sound like it with the mamby-pamby pony princess statement. How about the gryphons?) or needing a Book of Revelations to end the series... It allows for Luna. It allows for Cadance. And yes, it allows for Twilight...

And (sigh) it lets them sell more toys with wings...

So, my hope is Twilight is not "an god" - I really really really really want her to be more Heracles than Jesus, because the former is simply a better story.

Even within your brilliant framework - what if good Doctor Pastern was able to reap what I feel would have been her just reward for her trials by setting hoof into the halls of the pantheon of ponies? And then turned it down - given up the ultimate gift - to keep that last bit of her humanity, mortality, and pass on peacefully in the end... Job well done.

The pantheon simply allows for more scenarios. And for my own mad, mad ends - it allows me to keep on keeping on within the show's framework; my 'character', that so many have come to know, gets to avoid an epic Jossing. :pinkiehappy:

Oh, for the love of Celestia. Check out this post from Daniel Ingram.

The MLP S3 Finale episode aired today, FINALLY!! I was a tall order from Hasbro… "Let's make it a musical", "All the ponies will change cutie marks, then they get them back, and we need songs about THAT!", "Oh, and Twilight get's WINGS." I'm not going to lie, it was a daunting task and some of the songs got shortened to fit it all in, but in the end my team and I are really proud of the music and hope you enjoy the episode. Special thanks to Will Anderson for letting Steffan and myself do the underscore for this one. Now, go Twilight!!

Seriously, Hasbro? You dictated the entire episode? "Do this, but without the suck." Yeah. M.A. Larson is a cinnamon-swirling god.

And I thought that if a Brony got into the board of directors it would be bad.

M.A.Larson really is a cinnamon-swirling God-writer.

838570

Seconded. Even if it isn't ostensibly about Alicorn Twilight, I fear that her presence will still be detrimental. What kind of mundane problems can't be solved with a hefty dollop of royalty and uber-magic? I fear the fundamental dynamic will be irreparably damaged, unless the S4 opening has her giving them up again, since she realises this fact...

I kinda agree with midnight on this, Given the circumstances? It was a god tier episode. I actually somewhat enjoyed the despite myself. The image of her five best friends, leaving dejectedly from her house after coming to the conclusion that they had killed her was also one of the best things I've ever seen. It makes me giggle.

-HOWEVER-

I personally relate to that Celestia scene to the Dumbledore scene at the end of Harry Potter. They both apparently die, then they both meet an aspect of their mentor and then they BOTH ascend to pseudo god hood. And yeah, the conversion dream bit hit me like a fucking truck the moment I saw it, but this is what I think happened after careful analysis.

839082

If I were writing this...

New villain appears, Twilight secure in her new power runs out to meet the threat, gets her plot handed to her, and either returns with friends/is rescued by friends/otherwise learns her limitations...

839082
The Twilicorn thing is apparently a three parter, but I can't see a reversal of this happening.
The possibility of the fundamental dynamic being changed makes me sad.

On the topic of uber magic, Twilight already clearly leads in any confrontation with evil. Now that she's an alicorn, the others probably won't be able to contribute all that much. If it doesn't interfere much perhaps it'll be okayish, but if suddenly Twilight can fly faster than Rainbow Dash or is stronger than Applejack, there is a problem.

839189

It's a great idea, and it might happen. (Oh, who am I kidding...)
Only problem is, in doing so, it devalues the deific nature of the Alicorn. To be fair, the process of ascendance is somewhat problematic, but not as much. I mean, eternal nemesiis (I have no idea how to pluralise that) are one thing, and the power of love in a children's cartoon, yes, but when Alicorns start getting their plots handed to them left, right and centre, it devalues their power, and thus, the credibility that they are deific.

The poor concept of divine, legendary, opposing-duality sisters that Faust originally developed has been mucked about so hard I just want to cry. So epic, so fallen. I think it's the closest I've gotten to really feeling Milton's interpretation of hell. The concept's brilliance makes its ruination that much worse.

Sorry, side rant. Got distracted. :applejackunsure:

839190

No, a reversal is a pretty faint hope. Still, if this was a last minute "Wait a second, we have a season 4 to run!" sort of continuation, then it might revert, since this was more of a Final Ending. Slight hope, but there, for now...

Only problem, is if Twilight doesn't become the best thing since sliced bread, she fundamentally devalues the concept of Alicorn. It's a no-win situation.

839273

Fortunately there is precedent for this in the Iliad and the Labors of Heracles - both have demi-god protagonists who are routinely tested in ways both 'epic' and 'hearth and home', and both have boon companions who are not amazingly powerful super beings.

It can be done. Can it be done in a colorful cartoon about talking ponies in 22 minute time slices? I - do not know.

But I am also the eternal optimist. :pinkiehappy:

Chatoyance, thank you for your thoughts. You've allowed me to re-watch an episode I thought only mediocre and see the brilliance and rebellion in it. Also, your descriptions of Twilight as a star-shaped stain on the floor and Celestia re-taking her divinity cracked me up. For your own humor, and for allowing me to see the show through your eyes, I am grateful.

Empress Aurora, your description of MLP as the New Testament re-enacted by Ponies sparked in me the thought: "If Twilight is New Testament and Cadence is New Testament, wouldn't that make Celestia and Luna Old Testament?" And you know, I am surprisingly comfortable with that.

839311

Yes, but I doubt anyone would ever suggest that the companions were in any way equal to the heroes...
If the rest of the mane six get demoted to helpers, it would be the ultimate irony, considering it was their friendship with elevated her above them.
My optimism will manifest in hoping that the writers, and Twilight, realise this.

839311

Yes, but I doubt anyone would ever suggest that the companions were in any way equal to the heroes...
If the rest of the mane six get demoted to helpers, it would be the ultimate irony, considering it was their friendship with elevated her above them.
My optimism will manifest in hoping that the writers, and Twilight, realise this.

839273>>839304
The whole alicorn thing has, indeed, gone to hell in a hand bucket.

I watched the episode, and honestly I was floored! Why?

Because the mythology of Season 1 has been restored. Explicitely. Wow! It just feels good to have Celestia be more than an absentee landlord (and not to forget: get a song!) And as a bonus... the fanfiction community gets the pleasure of NOT having to revise or throw away everything we've written in the past three years! Even the Equestria-as-a-runaway-simulation from my story Relic still works ("vid windows" in Twilight's conversion, er, I mean ascension dream...)

Think about it. This episode by M.A. Larson was a tour de force! Compared to all the possible ways this could have been played, he was able to (and I can't believe the writing staff were able to pull this off):

- Have a mane six character die and be resurrected, thus restoring the goddess status of Celestia and the alicorns,
- Put the focus on the value of friendship, the real philosophical heart of the series and the reason (IMHO) that it resonates so strongly with all us non-six-year-old-girl type fans,
- Show that a true geek's dedication to science, enlightened with morality based on fellowship, is the path to truth, even for young female geeks
- Give Hasbro the marketing push for Twilicorn without driving the whole MLP:FIM mythos to jump the shark, SAVING THE FUTURE for all its fans. There is ACTUALLY HOPE for season four!

Larson managed something truly remarkable. No, it's not what we could have aspired to had Lauren Faust remained in charge, but it's something I (and I would hope most the fans of the series) can live with. MLP:FIM has not been ruined.

Thank you, M.A. Larson!

Dafaddah breaths a major sigh of relief!

839377

Indeed. But it all hinges upon one's determination of what 'makes an Alicorn'.

This is the tarpit the show has wandered into, and in many ways it is our fault. Many, many years ago the moon was thought of as deity, and then more fancifully made of cheese, or housed moon men - but as humanity learned more, we explained away the wonderment of it all.

Lightning is no longer the hallmark of the Thunder God - it is merely an electric discharge creating plasma at supersonic speeds. The traversal of the sun is no longer a chariot pulled by fiery steeds at the command of Apollo - it is merely the end result of gravity wells imparting angular momentum around a rather boring star...

As we, the fans, were discovered the show subtly started to change - to try and add explanations to things, for adults love to explain away magic. And this has in-turn removed a lot of the wonderment that was instilled into the show. We had no definition of "Alicorn"; for some they were gods, for others merely powerful leaders - but for all they were a source of story in which we all created our own mythos and in turn found ourselves within the world shown to us.

Yesterday, the waveform collapsed - uncertainty became certainty, and the infinity of possibility was reduced to one finite state.

That, my dear friends, is the crux of the issue.

This is why I keep finding ways to put uncertainty back - to create a state where anyone's belief of what can be, can still be. It makes me a bit of a black sheep, but I will be damned if MY little pony gets marginalized by a toy market. ;)

It was obvious from the beginning, of course, only the most stupid or willfully blind would think otherwise, but now we have proof.

No matter how intellectually-dressed-up your spiel is, you won't convince anyone if all you do is insult them.

Twilight died, went to heaven, God-Celestia sent her back, reincarnated as a higher being? Yep, there's certainly enough evidence for that interpretation. I happen to see it as being a lot less literal than that. I won't pollute your blog with my own theories, but I do take offense at your inability to even entertain the idea that someone who disagrees with you is anything other than "stupid or willfully blind".

I can speak only for myself, though I hope with my comments I represent some fraction of FiM fans. I look at the show critically. There are things about it I like, and things I don't. I notice the use of tropes, both old and new, and the references and parallels to other works, both modern and ancient. I recognise Hasbro's executive meddling, and the money-driven nature of their orders to the creative team, and for the most part, I don't like it. I am not some dog mindlessly slobbering up anything tossed into its food dish.

But I take the show for what it is, and while I notice areas ripe for improvement and missed opportunities, I will not deride it for failing to live up to some arbitrary mythological archetype that you seem to desperately cling to for no reason I can discern, other than "because that's what (I say) Faust wanted". I refuse to cry that it has been ruined FOREVER because it does not follow some path it never had any obligation to follow in the first place. One of the things I particularly like about FiM is that it subverts common themes and expectations just as often as it follows them. I judge it by its end result, not by its adherence to a certain set of formulae (the applicability of which, despite your repeated statements to the contrary, is very much debatable.)

I do not appreciate being called, directly or indirectly, "stupid", "blind", or being implicitly blamed for being complicit in ruining Faust's vision by expressing something other than vocal hatred for anything that goes against it. Actually, it's simpler than that: I just don't like being insulted. And if you want your blog to be an echo chamber where you can do that with impunity, I suggest a different venue.

I thought the finale was good. Not great. There have been better episodes. It was rushed, and the alicornification is too early to call (I do not assign it any value in itself; it's the consequences of the change that will determine whether it's good or bad). But it had many good elements as well, and I hold a cautious optimism about season 4. The series is not ruined forever, and it hadn't jumped the shark - at least not yet, not from my point of view.

And I don't think that makes me stupid.

ETA: It seems I can't post responses here anymore. Blocked? I'm not actually sure. Anyway, I posted this because I felt I was part of the group that Chatoyance was insulting, even if she didn't call me out individually, therefore I felt that giving my point of view was justified in this case. I'm not here to make war; I just wanted to call her on what I thought was her unjustified opinion about some people. I guess I'm done here. Ciao!

839390
I'm not sure how it was restored. We had a diarchy - we now have 4 alicorns.

IMHO, the episode did feel rushed and giving it only 30 minutes to sink into the whole alicorn thing especially when that wasn't the basis of the episode makes it feel like it deserves not-so-good ratings, but I feel as though the community is overlooking the idea. Plus, the whole idea of Twilight was premeditated from the beginning and this is still being dug in upon as two more episodes will relate to this one in the later. I can't say I hate or dislike the episode, it was definitely better than a few episodes that come to mind. Everyone is mostly pessimistic upon how this will result upon future episodes or how it may make the show end sooner. Being aggressive towards the situation will not make it go away, if not completely ruin the show's entirety further.

Plus, can we really blame has to after all of those HiE and Twilight alicorn fics that people refuse to stop writing about?

839502

We now have 4 goddess-like Alicorns instead of:
1 - One absentee landlord who hides at the first sign of trouble,
2 - Her MIA sister who only shows up in a few fillies' dreams,
3 - A niece of unknown provenance, apparently only a few years older than Twilight.

The show restore the mythos because it clearly presents a high level reality that might be used to explain items 1 to 3 above. What it really achieves is to keep the MLP:FIM universe open-ended, so we fanfiction authors have even more scope for stories, instead of having the MLP canon causing it to shrink to a small subset of what we've already been writing. Phew! :twilightoops:

Existence is not perfect. I was going to write more and I did but I didn't.

i am going to wait untill the next season to pass a judgement call,
there (to me) is only Act 1 in a 3 act arc.
act 1 is basically introducing charicters and start the "plot" (twiacorn)
act 2 would be everything goes to hell in a handbasket (twi trys her hoof at godly things... everything goes awry eather by her or by an outside influence)
act 3 would be a resolution of.. well deus ex. (at this point eather twi keeps her wings and the story continues... or twi gives them up in a "herculese" style ending.)

honestly the only problem i had with season 3 is the pacifying of the villans...
i mean when Trixie is the most "evil" one in the season... there is something wrong. like.. really, really, really wrong.

839663
Well, yeah. We've yet to see the effects. It doesn't look hugely positive though.
Trixie wasn't really all that evil compared to Sombra.

839739
you mean
"gara gaa crystals garr slaves!!!" sombra?
a villain with no "reason" behind his vile deeds is a two bit actor shoved into the lead of hamlet. it does not work in the slightest.
all the villains that have passed in the show have had reasons for their deeds "good" reasons.
NMM wanted to be noticed
Discord wants the world to "lighten up"
Trixie wants people to like her.
Gilda wanted to return dashie to the dashie she knew.
iron will wanted his business to work.
changling queen wanted to feed her kingdom

and then there is sombra. who as far as we can tell is just "evil for the sake of evil" and that never pans out well.

839798
Regardless of apparent lack of motive - he was more evil than Trixie, who was shown to be somewhat good.

839475

And I don't think that makes me stupid.

No, what would make you seem stupid would be taking umbrage at a generalistic statement, then publically identifying yourself as being upset over it in a personal way, as if YOU were the specific target, and as if somehow the author even knew who you are. That would seem very egotistical indeed. Even ridiculous. Laughable, really.

What would make it worse is if the thing you were offended by was a matter so utterly obvious to most people that countless articles and stories had been written about it by endless others, and that it was a generally accepted understanding, backed up by the entire human history and language of mythology and art. Then... you would seem stupid, or at least very, very young and uneducated.

Stray thought: Twilight became an alicorn via Deus ex Machina. Hasbro demanded it. They just forgot they didn't want the deus. :trollestia:

I had a lot of things to say that essentially amounted to verbose '+1' to the OP.

The only thing that I see differently is:

Starting with Cadence and now with Twilight, we find alicorns that are of a distinctly lower tier than Celestia and Luna. I mean, look at them - their manes and tails are clearly material objects. Alicorns of Cadence (and now Twilight's) level could be merely rare as opposed to unique, with Celestia and Luna being more than a few steps beyond.

This also works from the demographics - if Cadence is not a reincarnating immortal with her birth timed to the reemergence of the Crystal Empire, then for her existence and age to not require a special explanation, there has to be some base rate of alicorn birth and they can't live extraordinarily long lives.

'Simple' alicornity is apparently insufficient (even if necessary) for god tier.

839913

Chatoyance I think you are letting your personal believes cloud your judgement a bit. I know you HATE it when I or others say this, but this is still JUST A TV SHOW. Yes it does seem to lean toward Celestia being a goddess, but until the show out right says that. Well it's up to interpretation. Don't get me wrong, it makes sense, but if I want to think otherwise, I believe I have the right to.

I'm not defending what this person said. Flat out saying your stuff is 'spiel' isn't very nice. I do however, believe they have a bit of a point.

You tend to write your blogs/stories with the message: "This is what I believe, and if you disagree, well you're just dumb" To be blunt, the conversion dream point in your blog? I disagree wholeheartedly. It's likely more a 'This was your life Twilight Sparkle!' moment. Not a TCB thing in any shape or form. The similarities are just a coincidence. I don't have any proof I'm right, but well. Neither do you.

I do agree with a lot of what you said in this though. The only reason this episode came about the way it is, was because Hasbro said do it. It's sad, but this is the world we live in. I must also apologize for arguing a point with you in the past. It's getting harder and harder not to believe Lauren Faust was removed from the show for any other reason then the fact Hasbro wanted more control.

It's fairly obvious we see this show through different view points. There are times you tend to see things I just don't believe are there. Not the best example, but I honestly do not think Twilight 'Died'. I see it more as a physically sent to a sprital word, but she didn't die. Hence why she could come back. It just wasn't her time yet. There isn't anything proving she got reborn.

I do see where you are coming from, but well... I'm sorry I just don't like that idea, I'm going to view it my way. Neither of us know for certain who is right, and I think we should just see things in the way they make us happy.

840632
While you are correct in stating that 'until they spell it out for us in clear statements that cannot be misinterpreted in any way' (in other words, as if we were children) there is no ABSOLUTE way to say that any particular thing is true or not - such as Celestia being a goddess figure and Twilight now being a Converted demigod alicorn, you are incorrect in saying that the intent of the creators is a matter of personal choice. The intent can be read clearly and without ambiguity.

While the creators of the episode, including the author, artists, visual designers and the rest have not spoken to us in clear English, they have spoken to us in a recognized language, one that is very well established, and one which I happen to speak - along with many, many other people.

The language is the art and cultural heritage of Western Civilization, and someone who is educated and bright can understand it just as easily as English.

You may have noticed, in your life, that certain music tracks for movies have a great deal in common - themes, techniques, that are common regardless of genre. Music that is played off-key, is atonal, or which drops rather than rising all convey fear and grief universally. You may have noticed that the same glow that shines behind Gandalf as he rides over the hill to save Helm's Deep is the same technique used in Medieval paintings of the Christ Child and Mary. Such things - which are taught in classes in colleges - are a language, and they convey information, which is why they are used by filmmakers, painters, and others.

When I make my pronouncements about the meaning of things in MLP:FIM, I am not talking out of my ass, I am not just making up stuff because I think I am creative as hell. I am READING LANGUAGE. I am reading the common language that is used in cinema, which is what the creators of Friendship Is Magic are using deliberately, for specific purposes. It is not just arbitrary.

I am a professional artist. I have studied art and cinema for thirty-six years, videomaster21XX. I have worked in the entertainment industry for decades. When I say that a specific scene means something, I am reading the scene based on a lifetime of education, experience, and professional knowledge.

Which is why I get so very VERY pissed off when some snot-nosed punk devoid of education, experience or understanding imagines themselves to have any sort of worthwhile opinion on a subject that other, educated people on this site fully understand. It is not just about me, look at the number of people here, just in these comments, who also can read the language of Western Culture! They speak the language, they are not punks with no brains and too much attitude.

I would say to such punks - go work in the industry for a decade, then get back to me, except that if they did that, guess what? They would be forced to learn the language of cinema and art, and then... they would be able to read the same things the same way. Language is funny that way. it conveys information. That is why it is used.

The reason why someone might not know for sure that the opening two-part MLP story established Celestia and Luna as goddesses? They are illiterate. It's not a crime, just a deficit. One can fix that deficit by learning the language. There are free courses, libraries filled with books, explanations on YouTube, and countless other sources to LEARN THE LANGUAGE OF THE VISUAL (and auditory) ARTS.

So why do I say someone is stupid when the problem is really just illiteracy?

Because the information is right there, and I am angry that they have not bothered to LEARN IT. That is STUPID.

You don't need fancy degrees to get this stuff. It's used universally. In my blog, I even provided embedded links to some aspects of it, knowing that there would be some fucking fools giving me grief.

I despise uppity ignorant people who can't grasp that there is an established language to storytelling, cinema, and art. Jesus, fucking christ, GET AN EDUCATION. It makes me furious!

The basics can be learned in two weeks. Seriously. Two fucking weeks. With online materials.

It makes me want to scream out loud, sometimes.

841372

I'm sorry Chatoyance. I really am, but I just can't see things in that way. Maybe to you I'm dumb. Maybe I'm just slow, but I experience media in a much different fashion.

They way you describe the events and what you say you believe makes a lot of sense, and I think I understand what you mean by the language of storytelling they are using. It's just, what if we are wrong? It's always a possibility and I dunno, I just think it's something to always keep in mind. We are not the creators of the source. We can only speculate, and no matter how much we read into something, we'll never know if we are getting it right.

You'll probably forever hate me, but I can't learn this way to see things like you can. The way I see things may not even make any sense. Or maybe I'm just seeing things in a similar fashion and I just don't realize it. To me it's the emotion of the scene, the flow, the feel. It's not the structure. I understand a bit about the music comment I think. Certain types of music are used in certain scenes because they compliment the action that is taking place. It's the main reason I can NOT watch Sailor Moon in Japanese. I will always feel the DiC dub music complimented the scenes in the show so much better.

When I saw the scene where Twilight vanished, and she ends up with Celestia in that place. I just don't feel the death and rebirth idea from it. I get the idea of it. It does seem like that sort of story telling, but... I just don't feel that. To me if felt like she went to a higher plane of consciousness. Like I said in the other post, I felt more like she went physically into the spirit world, and was sent back, after her magic woke up inside her, causing her transformation.

I'm sorry if all I do is upset you. I'm trying to see things like you do, but I don't think I can. I can only see them the way I always have. Even if it doesn't make any sense. :/

841604
Hate you? I don't hate you, that would be silly!

I just get very frustrated at the level of education these days. The reason art works is because of shared language. Eventually, people pick it up just by watching and reading and seeing enough stuff. But it used to be taught. In school. And I don't think it is anymore.

And that is really, really sad.

Because there is a language there, and people are not being taught it, and that means everything gets a little more stupid every year. Worse, when really brilliant things get made, there are some people who just don't get them, because they have no idea what they just experienced.

If anything, I ultimately feel sorry for people who don't know the basic language of the arts - of cinema, of music, of writing. There are entire worlds they are blind to, and they don't have to be. I get angry, because it makes me sad.

838202
It keeps multiplying! Never closing! Derpy will be winking at me forever!

839822
how? the only evil thing he DID was enslave a race of ponies back when he was alive. dead/smokey the worst he could do was give twilight a major exercise from his stairs.

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