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    14 comments · 539 views
Nov
3rd
2014

ASMGDA Summary: Celestia and Twilight Sparkle. · 4:31am Nov 3rd, 2014

A few people have asked me if I can explain what I had planned for ASMGDA since it's cancelled, so I figure I might as well give it a shot. It's way too big and interconnected to do in one blog post though, but I can at least start with the two ponies everybody is wondering about, Celestia and Twilight.

You have to understand that Celestia is by far my favorite princess. She's just all sorts of awesome. Her character is rich with untold possibility. What lies beneath the perfect princess skin? Is it a humble and intelligent pony? Is it a pony who chafes under a responsibility she can't set aside? Is it a deeply flawed mare who's every mistake is covered by her air of mysterious wisdom and the assumption that she's playing the long game? Her concept is absolutely fascinating, but we don't get to see any of it because she's a background character. All we know is that she does her duty to her fullest, and without any seeming difficulty or trouble beyond a slight proclivity for pranks.

Princess Celstia as depicted in the show is a pony of perfect equanimity. She is so old and so experienced that almost nothing can ruffle her feathers. That is death for a character. The first rule of writing is that your characters don't become interesting until you push them outside of their comfort zone, and since everything is part of Celestia's comfort zone, I had to change her up a bit. I needed to create a situation that could really, truly, send her reeling. We already know the key to her heart though, the show gave it to us in the pilot. Celestia cares about her family.

So, what if she had to choose between her duty and her family?

That's a difficult question to be sure, but Celestia is a tough cookie. As an immortal princess of what is presumably the most powerful nation on the planet, I like to think that she eats moral dilemmas for breakfast. If I wanted to truly explore her character, I needed to break her first.

So, what if she had to choose between her duty and her family? What if she chose duty, as she did in the show—to exile her sister and save Equestria? What if she found out that her sacrifice had all been for nothing? What if she found out that in trying to save Equestria, she'd lost her ability to use the one weapon she knew could win out in the end? What if she spent a thousand years searching for a way to save Equestria from the mortal danger she had failed to defeat before, all while running off a steadily exhausting store of mental, emotional, and physical energy? What if, in her exhaustion, she made the biggest mistake of her life, a judgement that she would never have made had she been in sound mind at the time? What if that mistake left her with the joy of new family and the guilt of knowing she only had it because she'd done and had been willing to do more evil to that pony.

What then, if she had to choose between duty and family again? What if, at the same time, she had to choose between duty and duty? What if, at the same time, she had to choose between new family and old?

So here's Celestia's deal. An instant before she hit Luna with the Elements a thousand years ago, the Nightmare jumped ship. Celestia didn't know that, and when she felt resistance from the Elements, she thought it was because they weren't meant to be used by one pony and just powered her way through anyway. Luna was banished to the moon, already free from the Nightmare's influence, Celestia lost her connection to the Elements by forcing them to do something they never should have been used for, and the Nightmare slipped away to who-knew-where, lost to history for a thousand years.

In addition to the burden of her utter failure and the knowledge that she'd locked an innocent pony—one who she loved deeply and who's deepest weaknesses were fueled by loneliness—into an eternity of isolation, she had to take on the added burden of caring for the Moon during the nighttime.

In ASMGDA, each of the celestial bodies requires care and attention the whole time they are in the sky. Sure, Celestia could relegate them to the back of her mind after a while because the whole thing became second nature, but moving the sun and moon required more than a nudge at dawn and dusk. Thus, a thousand years of sleep deprivation.

As I'm sure you can imagine, guilt and exhaustion do not make for a well-adjusted state of mind. Celestia held onto herself by saying that it was all for Equestria. She had done the best she could with the knowledge she had, and could not allow herself to let hindsight stop her from doing her duty to Equestria. She had already made the ultimate sacrifice for Equestria, if her duty called on her to sacrifice even more, she would do it gladly. With that mindset in her head, she began to walk down a path of moral compromises. At first, she had embodied the virtues of Magic, Loyalty, and Laughter. As her exhaustion grew, she gave up first on the principal of Laughter, and then on Magic in order to cling to Loyalty with all of her flagging strength. Because if she didn't stay loyal, then what was her sacrifice for? What was the point of both Luna's and her own torment if it wasn't for the greater good?

That's where Twilight comes in.

Twilight's exam to get into Celestia's school went on as depicted in the show at first, with the failure, then the Rainboom, and the magic overload thing. However, the sheer power of her magic outburst was enough to tempt the Nightmare out of hiding. Here was a pony with enough raw magical power, that when added to the Nightmare's own, would be enough to overpower anyone who came to challenge. When the Nightmare possessed Twilight, her magic essentially exploded, killing everyone in the room, including Twilight's parents.

Celestia appeared on the scene a moment later, saw what was happening, and then used the one weapon she had. It was a spell she had developed during the intervening centuries, one that would bind the Nightmare to the pony it had possessed so that it could never escape judgement again. Her plan was to bind the Nightmare to a mortal prison and then to destroy that prison. Even if the Nightmare were to overcome her during battle, its days would still be no more than the lifespan of one pony and then it would be erased from the world forever. In her haste and her exhaustion, she bound it to the soul of a child.

She probably would have had Twilight killed anyway and just shouldered the burden of one more unbearable guilt in the name of the greater good, except for one thing that she only noticed after it was too late. As a former bearer of the Elements of Harmony, she had the ability to recognize another bearer when she saw one. The Elements had awakened for some reason, and Twilight bore Magic. At that point, all Celestia knew was that Equestria was going to face a dire threat in that child's lifetime, and she'd just bound an unspeakable evil to the soul of the one pony who had the ablitiy to stop it. If she had Twilight killed, Equestria would be left defenseless in the face of something as powerful as Nightmare Moon or even Discord. If she let Twilight live, she would be letting an insane and evil being have access to the most powerful magic that existed. Or it might simply be that with the Nightmare's corrupting influence at work inside her, Twilight would never even be able to access the Magic of Harmony. No matter what choice Celestia made, Equestria was likely doomed. So, for the first time in centuries, Celestia followed her conscience.

Her mistake a thousand years in the past, and her mistake that day had conspired to destroy this filly's life. She needed to make it right, as much as she could. If she took the filly in, taught her, helped her to control and suppress the evil inside, there might still be hope; for Equestria, for Twilight, and even for herself. You cannot raise a child without developing feelings for them either. Over time, Celestia came to see Twilight as her own daughter, painfully aware the whole while that her choice had given her the pony she held most dear, at the cost of everything that pony was and loved, and also at the cost of the last remaining shreds of her own innocence.

Every time Celestia saw Twilight lash out in anger without understanding why she was doing what she did, every time she stood vigil over Twilight's fitfully resting form in the night, and every time she comforted the foal when she woke up screaming in the morning, Celestia was reminded of the fact that she had let herself become an evil pony.

Maybe if Equestria was saved, she could still convince herself that the sacrifice was worth it.

Next time on ASMGDA summary! Rainbow Dash! The one and only pony that Celestia truly hates!

Report CDRW · 726 views · Story: A Still More Glorious Dawn Awaits ·
Comments ( 8 )

A few people have asked me if I can explain what I had planned for ASMGDA since it's cancelled

I still hold out hope that you'll pick it back up

2571062 Well, you never know what the future holds. Practically speaking though, it's well and truly dead.

Wow, that sounds pretty amazing. I can see how it would feel overwhelming to write, though.

This was literally one of the first fics I ever read, and I love it even more now that I know the full details of its setting. This AU is one ripe with delicious conflict. It's great.

Shame it's dead. :(

Oh, man. This just makes me even sadder that it's dead; the story you're describing sounds so good.

P.S. I still want to know what your avatar is from.

I still think it's a shame that such an amazing story is a never going to be finished. Nevertheless, it's your story and your say as to what happens to it. Thank you for trying to sum up what ASMGDA could have been. I really enjoy your work. You are an excellent writer and I look forward to seeing what you create in the future.

I do hope one day you're willing to try again (maybe not to finish it as is, but revise it, since I know you're deeply unhappy with your pacing) but I'm glad to hear more about it.

Next time on ASMGDA summary! Rainbow Dash! The one and only pony that Celestia truly hates!

You tease.

What does ASMGDA stand for, again?

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