• Member Since 16th Nov, 2012
  • offline last seen Sep 29th, 2017

Alan Smithee


More Blog Posts17

  • 370 weeks
    On Discord's Motivation

    Feel free to call me a jerk for tagging Last on a blog post not really related to the story.

    Read More

    5 comments · 439 views
  • 370 weeks
    A Scene (Season Finale Spoilers)

    It's entirely possible that I'm an asshole for trying to fit my own story into the excellent Season Finale, but I've spent more time today thinking about it than I have about Real-Time Programming, which is a first for this week.

    Read More

    10 comments · 279 views
  • 370 weeks
    A Complete and Exhaustive Analysis and Critique of the season finale

    I liked it.

    1 comments · 234 views
  • 371 weeks
    Last: The Semi-Hiatus

    Spring is here!
    For those of you who have read the latest chapter of Last, you should know my feelings about winter, and the elation I feel knowing it's over.

    Spring is a wonderful time for me: I'm not cooped up indoors, I have more energy, I'm able to focus on school work...
    ...and, experience has taught me, I find myself unable or unwilling to continue writing fanfiction.

    Read More

    2 comments · 236 views
  • 386 weeks
    The Dreaded Post

    Dear fans of Last...

    ...It seems that every author has to make this post at least once, doesn't it?

    My flagship story has been on this site for almost one year now. The night I first published it, it received almost instant acclaim, and I was so excited I remember I couldn't sleep that night.

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    7 comments · 321 views
May
15th
2014

On Discord's Motivation · 4:08am May 15th, 2014

Feel free to call me a jerk for tagging Last on a blog post not really related to the story.

I just got into a heated debate with Hustlin' Tom about Discord's motivations during Season 4. It turns out he doesn't believe Discord had changed at all until the Season 4 Finale. He believed that Discord had been acting good just to get on the ponies' good side, and didn't give a care about befriending any of them. I consider this an overly cynical viewpoint; in my mind, Discord had up until his confrontation with Tirek made a very strong effort to legitimately befriend the Mane 6, but his personality and the ponies' distrust for him made this difficult.


You see, in order to understand the mythology of Friendship is Magic, you really have to take the phrase, "Friendship is the most powerful magic of all" seriously. I know it's hokey and we all learned to tune it out by 1999, but you have to accept it. In writing Last I have really just taken that one sentence and run with it, and it seems to be working out so far. Frodo wouldn't have saved Middle-Earth without Sam as his friend. Luke Skywalker wouldn't have blown up the Death Star without help from his friends. My point is made. Move on.

I cite as evidence to support my theory the following:

- Discord makes the crucial step of pointing out to Twilight the entries of the diary and the possible connection to the box attached to the Tree of Harmony. Keep in mind that the Tree of Harmony had been the bane of his existence prior to his reform ; the only plausible explanation I can see is that he really desires to see Twilight find her purpose, and he tries to help her to that end by making the nontrivial effort of uncovering the clues to the box.

- In "Keep Calm and Flutter On", Discord schemes to get Fluttershy on his side and getting her to promise to never use her element against him. His plan is intricate and single-minded. In all subsequent episodes, there is no evidence of ulterior motive or gain for him. If anything, his actions would serve only to make ponies less likely to trust him without granting him higher standing or power. His stated motivations are rather silly : He convinces Twilight to go back to her friends in the Everfree Forest because he wants her to learn a lesson about being Princess. Was Discord trying to get Twilight killed, or was he maybe pushing her to what he knew was the best outcome for her? He sends Cadence and Twilight on a pointless errand to test whether Twilight's friendship is actually sincere. Discord has every reason at that point to doubt Twilight's friendship! Fluttershy is the only pony who has so far shown him any kind of trust! His test for her is heavy-handed and crude, but what do you expect from someone who hasn't had a friend for the entirety of his existence?

- Discord teams with Tirek even though he can take over Equestria completely by himself with very little effort. In the subsequent scenes, Discord becomes almost subservient to Tirek. Does this not conflict with how Discord would behave if he weren't reformed? Is it possible that Discord saw in Tirek a friend who would grant him more freedom than Fluttershy? Is it possible that Discord actually had too much faith in the power of friendship, to the point of being naively trusting? I'd also argue that because the Mane Six (Less Fluttershy) were so unaccepting towards him, he was more receptive to Tirek's offer.


- Discord is visibly uncomfortable when he sees Shining Armor and the Mane Six get their magic stolen by Tirek.

- This is one I can't emphasize enough: DISCORD SPENDS THE ENTIRETY OF SEASON 4 WITHOUT THE THREAT OF BEING TURNED TO STONE. He could steal the Elements at any time if he wanted to, and bring on the Chaos with a snap of his fingers. He doesn't. Explain that without admitting he's reformed.


I think the life-changing revelation he had at the end of "Twilight's Kingdom" is not that Friendship is Magic, but rather that he is, in fact, friends with Twilight and the Mane 6, for better or for worse.
If you've seen Firefly, it's kind of like the scene in "Trash" where Simon puts Jayne on the surgery table and says, "No matter how many times you plot to betray me, I will never hurt you on this table".

I'm biased towards my own viewpoint, so I invite you to comment with rebuttals to my arguments, and theories of your own.

Please tell me what you think. I really do want to know how many people actually thought Discord had reformed during this season, prior to the Finale. I'll be surprised (and a little disappointed) if the answer turns out to be none.

Report Alan Smithee · 439 views · Story: Last ·
Comments ( 5 )

I think I agree with you. Though I'm not entirely sure you can even examine Discord's character by any conventional method such as yours. He's the embodiment of chaos itself, if the writers were doing their jobs at all, they'd be trying to make him a tough nut to crack, if not entirely impossible.

But I must say that up until he 'switched sides', he most definately was trying to be a good friend to the ponies. Hell, he's a douchebag of a friend, but don't we all have one of those friends? He pushed Twilight in the right direction to open that box, blatantly and obviously trying to help them. Afterwards, there lies two options to 'explain' his betrayal.

One is yours, putting so much faith in the power of friendship, he believes he can gain something more (or perhaps he realized that friendship = magic = power).

Two is mine, Discord simply foresaw what would happen. Not literally, of course. He already gave Twilight such a shove into figuring out that box riddle, he absolutely had to know she'd open it. Why else would you join the losing side in an epic battle? Unless he knew Twilight would win, and that would have been what he wanted all along. And in typical Discord fashion, after Tirek had been defeated, he would simply throw his hands up and say 'congratulations Twilight! You defeated the bad guy!' And he'd explain how he was merely testing her, or rather, had he continued to stop Tirek on his own, why, he'd be robbing Twilight of an important lesson, or something like that. Like when he deliberately witheld his knowledge about those chaos plants, in order to help Twilight learn a lesson... on her own.

Of course, I think he was legitimately surprised when Tirek stabbed him in the back. I figure he simply expected to be 'by his side' until the mane 6 fixed everything. Caught by surprise, he now had little way of explaining his grand master plan, instead he lamely apologized. It's not like they would have believed him unless everything went his way.

And Twilight forgave him, because he made a very convincing apology to her, and his gift fixed everything. Shit, I'd forgive him too, if he just gave me the weapon with which to destroy a threat to the entire planet.

i.imgur.com/8Wkkyyi.gif
What's going on in here, hmmmmm?:pinkiesmile:

I wouldn't say it was a heated conversation: by internet standards it was amazingly civil!

It is true though that I do think Discord didn't quite understand the power of friendship until the end of the finale. Discord is simply a tough character to write. In the case of Keep Calm and Flutter On, literally the only reason that Discord ends up reforming by the end of the episode is that the story arc had to be solved in 22 minutes. This either means one of two things:

1. Discord did in fact reform at the end of the episode in actuality.

2. He did not, and his machinations in later episodes were mere lip-service to ensure he did not end up incarcerated again.

The first option is possible in-universe either because Discord did in fact believe in the power of friendship after a certain point and changed his mind (which even for a senseless being wouldn't make sense), or he chose to become bored with chaos and instead pursued friendship because it was the most unexpected thing he could do, which was paradoxically also the most chaotic thing he could have done. Out of universe reasons for the first option working are because Discord had to be reformed by the episode's end, and friendship was used as a shoe-horned example of Deus Ex Machina, one that tarnishes other examples we see in the show.

The second option to me at least seems the most viable with later appearances by our mismatched subject. Discord underestimated the power of friendship twice: When he was first imprisoned, he had laid out a quasi-Thanatos Gambit to destroy the Element's source of power by choking the life out of the Tree of Harmony. In the second instance he manipulated and tried to destroy the Mane 6's attachments to each other, only to be imprisoned once again. When next we see him, he tries to again manipulate the Elements through Fluttershy, the one pony he had to forcibly corrupt. He relied on her faith and pureness to try and eliminate the one thing that could threaten him, and he would have succeeded had not the plot demanded he lose.

Season 4 shows that while he may be 'reformed', Discord is still finding new ways to cause hilarity to ensue and generally be the wonderful trickster that he is. He clearly was enjoying the chaos in the premiere and the mockery he gave Twilight, as well as getting a good laugh leading her through the plot to the punchline that surprise! He was behind the premiere all along. In the episode with Twilight and Cadence, he is deliberately testing their friendship because he doesn't believe in it yet, and because he also finds their futile struggles for him amusing in the end.

So, the Elements are sacrificed, and there's no check against Discord any longer. Why doesn't he rampage about? The plot demands it.

As I said at the beginning, Discord's a tough character to write. The plot and its writers are simply not omniscient and are not infallible. Oopsies will happen: plotholes, discrepancies, and bad choices are to be avoided as much as possible, but they are inevitable because the author is imperfect. We can gloss over, salvage, or correct the oopsies with our own imperfect ideas if we wish, depending on a sliding scale of how sanctified we believe the canon is, but ultimately derpicdn.net/img/view/2014/5/14/626794__safe_pinkie+pie_fluttershy_spoiler-colon-comic_mst3k+mantra.jpeg

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I like Red better because he agrees with me. That makes him a better friend. I'm pretty sure the show says so somewhere.

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Dear Princess Celestia,

It's hard to believe that two ponies that seem to have so little in common could ever get along. But I found out that if you embrace each other's differences, you just might be surprised to discover a way to be friends after all...

Look Before You Sleep S01E08
applejack.ponychan.net/chan/files/src/138700714373.gif

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