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May
12th
2016

The Decline of the Alicorn · 8:37pm May 12th, 2016

Warning: Ranting

We love MLP:FIM in some shape or form. From troll to earnest author here, it has brought us together as a community and inspired us to write thousands of stories, most of which are hosted on this site if they're written in English. And one of the aspects of the series which we see discussed and argued all over the place is the role and power of Alicorns.

Which is, in my opinion, "The Thing The Show Writers Truly Fucked Up."

The difference between Lauren Faust and the show writers is that Lauren understood what made Immortal, semi-god-like characters interesting.

That a battle between to demigods a thousand years prior to the series had almost vanquished the world into Eternal Darkness stemmed from something as basic as jealousy over popularity is a trope we see appearing from as far as ancient Greece... where if a woman claimed to be better at sewing than Athena, she'd be put in her place and transformed into a spider for all eternity as a punishment.

Lauren Faust translated this into the series in the traditional style of writing High Fantasy—Celestia (and Luna) are extremely powerful, wise, knowledgeable immortals that have ruled Equestria for thousands of years. Like Greek (and Roman), Nordic, Egyptian, etc gods they can be fooled... but woe to you, if you draw their ire.

When Lauren left, the show fell into less capable hands in terms of world building and consistency. Less emphasis was placed on character development, and more and more episodes became simply random slice-of-life with no connection. To show an example, with very few exceptions, you can simply shuffle chapters from Season 3 and watch them and the order will still not matter.

You see, she intended the series to be, well, a series. You know, the characters would follow a plot through the season, etc. That did not work for Hasbro and they turned it into what we have today. And I guess that's cool, but, they didn't adapt the characters to that format.

That is why we keep getting the exact same lesson for characters repeated over and over with just a slightly different presentation.

But, this blog is not about that. This blog is about what the show writers did to the alicorns.

Alicorns, by Season 5 are basically nothing special anymore. They just aren't. Twilight's wings might be just made of paper. And Flurry Heart was the last nail on the coffin.

You see, immortal gods/demigods/semi-gods are not meant to mix it up with your regular mortals because, by their simple status, they are OP. Celestia, like Helios, controls the sun. Luna, just as Selene, controls the moon.

Now, you might argue (I'm looking at you, Municipal Engines), that Celestia is not a demigoddess, but the fact is that she is built as a character that fits the description. It's pretty obvious as well, that alicorns are not merely "horned pegasi" or "winged unicorns" just from the details discussed above.

So, where did it all go wrong? It can't be blamed just on Faust leaving the show. She had a "Series Bible" in which the characters and themes were described exhaustively, and whatever Hasbro did, the writers are responsible for following up with consistency, development, and exploration of characters.

So where did things go wrong? First with the "Hearth's Warming Eve" episode messing around with ancient history, but more importantly, when Celestia battles Chrysalis.

That's when shit hits the fan. (Both in the traditional sense of the expression and the fans of the series too.)

Celestia should have never battled on the same level as regular ponies. NEVER. If she was to battle head on against Chrysalis, it should have been an epic battle, not Kamehameha vs Final Flash.

Celestia is clearly not infallible, as stated above. She could still have been tricked by Chrysalis. But, with all my love to Chrysy, the bug shouldn't have been a challenge at all in a frontal confrontation. Had she tricked Celestia into giving up, or used more underhanded means to subdue her, the "Worfing" of Celestia would not have removed the aura of power an alicorn is supposed to have.

This is truly when things go down. We see a character that once stood up one on one vs Discord (even if they needed the Elements in the end) brought down by a ray of love. And yes, I love the argument that Celestia let herself be beat to not kill everyone in the room, but let's face it, we all know deep down that argument is really BS we tell ourselves because it otherwise makes no sense.

After Twilight became an alicorn, this is exacerbated to the extreme. We get that she's having a tough time, but between her normalcy and Tirek's battle and (honestly, pandering to whiny people that didn't want her to be immortal while her friends would pass away), it manages to completely strip away any mystique to being an alicorn.

This is why having Luna, Celestia, Cadance AND Twilight amounted to cloud-blasting for the most part in the new series' opening.

When you have characters like Celestia and Luna, you are not supposed to bring them down to the level of the other characters. They should be aspirations, inspirations, characters that go beyond the understanding of the common pony. Even Twilight at the beginning of the series only understood so much of her mentor/second mother figure... and it was that exact ephemeral grasp at understanding their limitations that made them interesting characters.

Now, we see Luna and Celestia fight over the presents for a wedding for some dude's they had no reason to go to actually attend. We see them blunder around against the weather, or be tossed around like (let's face it) the Royal Guard. We see them unprepared to face an enemy they already know and defeated before in the form of Tirek.

They become tools to make the bad guys "badder". And here's where the tie to High Fantasy is important. When you have a Gandalf Figure—if we want Celestia to not be a demigod—you have to take things into account. Gandalf being Maia is a being of considerable power. He could have done a LOT more than what he did if he had basically released his power and gone full minor-Ainur, but his role was not that. His role was to guide. It's something that immortals do a lot in fantasy (and hell, even Christian belief)—they watch and do not interfere, or won't beyond their duties and personal agendas if they are more like classical gods.

To keep the mystique of alicorns alive, Twilight would have had to undergo more changes than the show runners were willing to allow or not change her into an alicorn at all; the roles of Celestia and Luna should have been kept more mysterious and arguably, Cadance should have been either a unicorn or pegasus of royal descent (like Blueblood) and Flurry Heart should have NEVER been born been an alicorn.

There is no point in being (or being transformed into) an alicorn if the character is basically the same for all intents and purposes.

Sadly, unless it's in fan fiction, we have to make do with alicorns being nothing more than a regular pony with an extra appendage.

Report Wanderer D · 1,764 views ·
Comments ( 100 )

Don't forget the fact that all the other ponies feel the need to stick a crown on them.

*<>* so much wisdom in blog ... Preach Wanderer D ...you sage of knowledge
~ sadly this is how I see the demise of the show going .it's been on a steady decline since season two ..... No denied get it ..Hasbro will literally ruin it with poor writing and subliminal promotion of toy lines ... Equestria girls is a perfect example of money hungry jabs to make more products ...

Just be lucky that they are still doing the show. This whole thing could've ended up just like Young Justice. Speaking of DC, what's the status of Young Amazons? Are we going to get a new chapter soon?

I agree with much of this, but iwith the whole "wedding" thing, I thought it was fine they attended, even if they had no reason.

It shows that They are above Nopony, and that while they are Rulers of Equestria, they still have time to congratulate their subjects without making it a huge ass deal.

It's depressing, that's what.

~Skeeter The Lurker

Wanderer D
Moderator

3940396 But it's not consistent. Remember when Celestia visited Sugarcube Corner and everyone was groveling around? Just as suddenly, they don't even deserve a nod of the head? I agree that it's cool that great, mystical beings can care about the common mortal, but it should be a big deal.

3940374 they're too pretty not to wear a crown.

3940394 This is true. As for Young Amazons and my other stories, I'm working on the chapter, I've just been having some trouble writing lately.

3940392 As much as Hasbro dictates the playing field, the writers are the ultimate barrier between crap stories and a good series.

I still like the show, a lot. But yeah...

/signed

Finally, a rant that's not about Newbie Dash! :twilightsheepish:

Anyway, while I personally don't mind that much how alicorns became not the beings we once saw them as in the beginning of the series, I definitely see where you're coming from in this blog post. Celestia in particular has lost some of her mystique, though I still think she's a great character and could benefit from an episode or two about her. And the example you make in regards to Gandalf does make sense in this context, as I could definitely see Celestia being like that if the show went in a different direction. But while the change in direction for the show had some things where it wasn't as good as the first season, there were still aspects that improved the initial vision, which I guess was to be expected.

Regardless, Flurry Heart being an alicorn at birth was a little too much in my opinion.

At least the later seasons were plenty enjoyable enough to warrant sticking around, Season 5 perhaps being my favorite of the bunch, but there are definitely some things I felt Season 1 did better than the others. But that's just my opinion on the matter, and I'm hoping the show is still enjoyable for the foreseeable future. :twilightsmile:

I was perfectly okay with my headcanon. Until Flurry Heart arrived and screwed it over so many times you can't even ughhh

I liked Cadance and Twilight as alicorns - they made sense to me. In my head, they were being trained to replace Luna and Celestia. Something like, Cadance would rule over dawn and Twilight over dusk. It made sense to me.

And then Flurry Heart happened. Nope. I don't even want to address this ugh
Honestly, I really really dislike Flurry Heart. Her design is horrendously out of place, yeah they're pretty colors but her wings are almost offensively large. What is going on with her eyes why couldn't she have button eyes like pound and pumpkin cake?

Why does she even exist? Is she really the first alicorn baby, ever? You mean to tell me that Luna and Celestia have never ever had partners in their multi-millennia long lives?

Arghhhh I really don't like Flurry Heart

Since season 5 I would consider Alicorns has more in common with angels the Tree of Harmony seem to have taken the spot as a sort of deity that know where and when disharmony occur and send it messengers (AKA the Alicorns and the mane 6) to solve it.

I actually wrote a lengthy comment about exactly this subject on another blog after the new season premier. I think it's pretty relevant, so I'll repost it here.

I haven't seen the new episodes yet (still gotta wait 'till I round up the clan), but as soon as I learned that Cadance and SA were going to have a child, I thought:

Of course it has to be an alicorn. This is Hasbro. There is absolutely no way it can't be an alicorn.

In fact, I think the evolution of alicorns has gone something like this:

In the beginning, alicorns were gods. Some thought Celestia was a stand-in for the monotheistic God. Nightmare Moon was the anti-Christ, literally threatening the apocalypse. No limit was set on their powers, but they definitely had a mythic air about them; they represented all three races because they were pillars of the universe. The paragon of evil and darkness herself being, not destroyed or defeated or exiled, but redeemed and welcomed back, set the tone for the show. (Now, the idea of alicorns threatening things like "eternal night" seems almost laughable. They've been beaten up and put down so many times in the past five season... they were defeated by evil vines, for goodness' sake. Luna should have renamed herself Nightmare Worf.)

Then, Cadance. Apparently alicorns can be defeated en masse by bug queens feeding off of unicorns. They were not light and dark, good and evil omnipotent alicorns representing the heavenly and moral universe. They were many, and could apparently be defeated by "love" as well as friendship. Also, the casual way Cadance was an alicorn, apparently a young one, without a kingdom and marrying a mortal, and without any real weight being put on her alicorn-ness at all at first, cheapened the idea even further.

Then, Twilight. Apparently alicorn-ness wasn't a divine right; it didn't make a pony a pillar of anything, really. It was a reward for being... good, I guess, at least insofar as the Equestrian universe defines good. Must make everypony else feel pretty crappy for not being a good enough pony to ascend to immortal godhood, but hey, at least it gives ponies something to aspire to. Celestia and Luna were presumably not all-powerful gods, but just really good ponies who also happened to be really old and, I guess, celibate. They might not be "other," but alicorns are still the moral elite who have earned their power and authority through living good lives, mastering friendship and all that.

Now you have Flurry Heart. Presumably she wasn't studying Twilight's friendship reports in the womb, so (unless there's some critical bit of worldbuilding in the new episodes that I've yet to hear), every natural conclusion I've just just reached goes out the window.

Alicorns aren't pillars of creation. They aren't even good ponies. They're the X-men. They're genetic freaks. Celestia, Luna, Cadance; barring comics pseudo-canon and based on Flurry Heart's arrival, I think the most obvious explanation for these characters is that they are mutants. Twilight's probably the real freak; since you clearly don't have to be a good person to become an alicorn (I'm assuming here that babies aren't born masters of friendship, and that FH's clearly-mutated wings won't fall off if she grows up into a bad person), then Twilight apparently became an alicorn because Celestia gave her a book. I mean, it already looked to be like a giant set-up on Celestia's part, sort of like how the show strongly implied her God-like omniscience in the series opener, but I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. Now the whole Starswirl's-journal thing looks like nothing so much as a biology experiment to determine if mere mortal can ascend as well.

And while real mutations are virtually always detrimental, let's be real here: the X-men are just better people, almost without reservation. There is rarely any major downside to being an X-man, just as there is no downside to being an immortal, extremely powerful alicorn with the abilities of all three races.

No longer do alicorns represent a divine union of all three races, or even an earned union. Now they represent the Next Step. The three tribes are obsolete.

How is a unicorn supposed to compete with an alicorn princess for a job? How are pegasi supposed to compete with an alicorn that can just teleport to the finish line? Earth ponies might be the pony equivalent of illegal immigrants, doing all the jobs that their alicorn betters can't be bothered with.

...Of course, I personally don't put too much faith in "canon." I'm here for the fanfiction; the show is just like... headcanon+ to me. But if I did feel compelled to constrain myself to whatever the latest canon is, I think the watering-down of alicorns would be driving me a little bit mad.

...Unless someone writes a sci-fi story where "pony-classic"s have to deal with their own obsolescence. Or neighboring states were to get a little bit antsy about The Next Step taking place right on their borders. I guess that would be cool.

You can still write alicorns as (literally) awesome, godlike beings, but it's becoming more and more obvious that you're departing from new canon if you do so. I think most authors (and possibly most readers) aren't willing to go that far. ~ Sable

Let's not forget the fact that Twilight's Alicornogrification was the result of some
f-ckwit's "every little girl wants to be a princess" belief that completely flies in the face of everything Lauren Faust wanted.

My guess is that the writers downplay Celestia and Luna in order for the other characters to save the day, and as a result they appear to be very useless most of the time.

I... fully agree with all of this. You're right. They've taken Celestia and had her be so fucking useless all the time it's pathetic. Seriously, outside of stopping Twilight's fuck-up in Lesson Zero, what's she done that's been really positive/smart?


3940443 Nightmare Worf. I... genuinely love that term.

Honestly, the entire show could use a revamp. I even read somewhere that Nightmare Moon wasn't supposed to appear until the end of Season 1, giving the Mane Six plenty of time to properly become friends, instead of becoming besties literally overnight. I forgot where I read it, so I could be wrong, though. But it would've made more sense.

So yeah, this show's been a little wonky from the start. But it did lose its original coherency when Faust left, and it adopted a whole different set of norms altogether. At this point, I'm just like, "screw it". So make the craziest fanfiction! Nothing's sacred anymore. Take the source material and make it your bitch! That's what I'm going to do, whenever I can be bothered to start writing something. Just go insane. To hell with norms, memes, and tropes. Go all Death Grips on MLP. "We upload trash because nothing lasts forever." Let all your frustration out. Sit back and enjoy the show, while you chop it up and wreck it afterwards. Let the Internet burn. :pinkiecrazy::pinkiecrazy::pinkiecrazy::pinkiecrazy::pinkiecrazy::pinkiecrazy::pinkiecrazy::pinkiecrazy::pinkiecrazy::pinkiecrazy:

I totally agree with this. It's a big reason why I wrote the two one shots I did about the Royal Sisters wrecking the mass effect Reapers. In my mind, they were so much more than just ponies with extra wings and a horn, and I just wanted to show what i felt they should really be capable of.

3940471 Well there was the Background wedding EP where they showed the princesses are just like everypony else, even to the point of having small arguments with each other over trivial. After all a true ruler works with their kingdom in harmony not just rule over it. A true ruler doesn't simply see their subjects as beneath them or lesser but as equals to them as far as respect and love is concerned, something King Cobra from One Piece once pointed out on how rulers should act.

Just cause Celestia and Luna have their duties doesn't mean they can't cut loose and hang out with their subjects and attend weddings and such that aren't royal based. It's an honor for a royal to even attend and it allows them to socialize as it gives them a chance to get to know their subjects more and just be themselves instead of some "perfect" ruler as everypony sees them as.

I mean look at Luna Eclipsed and how hard it was for Luna to socialize compared to now. Heck Celestia and Spike fought off an army of cockatrice together, went to a mountain of crystals or diamonds so Spike could get some made into a lens for Twilight's telescope as a birthday present and even convinced her school staff to allow her unicorn friend to keep teaching despite being a little crazy as far as teachers go given her age, due to all the good said friend did in her younger years including helping the staff out with various things long ago and even being the reason why anyone in Canterlot is even alive right now, Celestia included. An invasion force or some kind of meteor shower, forgot which, nearly destroyed Canterlot and Celestia almost died having exhausted her magic keeping a barrier up for as long as she was able to protecting the entire city from harm. Without her magic to power the barrier the city would've been wiped out with everypony in it. Her friend lost an eye in the the process supporting the barrier. If that's not showing how smart and useful she is, I don't know what will.

Majin Syeekoh
Story Approver

...I don't know about the cloud argument being a sign of their weakness.

You have to remember that Rainbow Dash, whose job it is to control weather, had her wings frozen over after a single two second fly-through. And they were up there playing weather control for a good amount of time. If anything, it's a sign of their strength.

Which is why I think authors shouldn't worry too much about following canon. Keep the good, throw out the bad and do your own stuff. That might be why I get so excited when I discover one of the old adventure stories I still haven't read. They tend to have this epic fantasy feel to them, full of mystery, and the authors have a lot of freedom to do their own world building.

Anyway… alicorns! They really blew their chance at untangling the mess they've gotten themselves into. As much as I dreaded seeing Flurry Heart, I was also looking forward to finally getting an explanation of the whole alicorn thing. (Alicorns, how do they work!?) But, nope! Do Hasbro even have an idea of what to do with Celestia and Luna? After all, someone has to approve all the scripts, books and comics. I guess there is no clear vision and that the writers get a bit too much freedom, leading to inconsistencies and eroding the characters over time. It's kinda the same problem as with Spike, where writers seem to have very different ideas of how to portray him.

Things started out quite easy. Even though Celestia's and Luna's background was shrouded in mystery we at least knew that there were only two of them. With each new alicorn it's like the rules get rewritten and increasingly vague. At the same time, that's kinda how the show works: keep it open-ended and nothing is cut in stone until they say so. I do think we're really overdue for an explanation though.

To the fair the heath warming EP actually adds to the history insteads of screws with it as it dictates when the Pre-Equestrian Era right before Equestria was founded. I'd say that was at least 2-5 years before Celestia and Luna appeared already as alicorns and as I guess children, teens? From there on according to the Journal of the Two Sisters, they started their rule being elected as leaders by the 3 rulers they befriended and it goes from there explaining their early years. Heck Celestia was nervous on day 1 wondering if she'd be a good princess or not.

And with Tirek they had the elements to banish him and Scorpan's warning. When he escaped and bided his time he was slowly regaining his strength and absorbing magic to get stronger. The princesses knew they couldn't beat him without the elements and chose to hide their magic away so he couldn't become stronger than them and Equestria as a whole, knowing full well what he'd be capable of with their magic plus what he stole already. It'd be like giving say Kefka the Infinity Gauntlet and Cosmic Cube and telling him to go wild otherwise. Smart tactic honestly. Only reason he got as dangerous as he did was cause he's an evil liar and trickster, getting Discord to betray his new friends using twisted logic and regaining his power at a rapid rate. Personally Celestia had a good idea sending Discord, it just ended bad due to circumstances. I blame Twilight and her friends minus Fluttershy for that botched plan as their distrust in Discord gave Tirek an opening to exploit. Since they weren't trying to be his friend, not giving him a chance it was easy to talk Discord into going bad again then backstab later.

As for Flurry Heart, it shows that alicorns can be born but in rare instances seeing how only 3 alicorns were ever born currently. Flurry's just the first Equestria itself has seen since it didn't exist when the princesses were born if we follow the timeline.

I mostly agree, but at the same time, Celestia is not just a god, but the god-queen of ponies. Canterlot is just a lot more accessible than Mount Olympus, and it makes it a lot harder to believably keep her out of things forever. Honestly, I think that Lauren Faust put together a good pitch, but I don't think she ever expected it to still be running six seasons later.

Hell, it… probably shouldn't be. Twilight becoming an alicorn should have been the grand culmination of her story, and then they should have moved on to a new cast—but that would have been a risk they didn't have any reason to take.

3940555 I... don't know what the Background Wedding EP is that you're referring to. Is that Slice of Life? And I have no problem with them getting to know their subjects or working with them. But they're still very out-of-place in that episode and stick out like a sore thumb.

Wanderer D
Moderator

3940628 A lot of stuff there is head canon... and as for the Diary of the Two Sisters and the comics, they're are as canon to the show as G1. In other words, not at all. They're supplemental material, vaguely related to the series in name, just like that idiotic "Secret Crushes" book for EqG.

Hearth's Warming screwed things up by adding the "Ancient Unicorns" controlling the sun and moon. That is bs.

3940690 Indeed it is and fair enough.

I never saw them as gods, demigods at best. It wouldn't make much sense for them to be gods of the entire world while representing only a subset of its population, as there are multiple other races present.

I prefer them having more character, if they were non interfering deities, there would be much fewer opportunities to flesh them out in any way. Though they did go overboard with weakening them. I mean, vines? Seriously?

I don't see a problem with Chryssie beating Sunbutt, after all, Queen cheeselegs could be an Alicorn herself, just a different type of one. Possibly weaker than Celestia normally, but capable of boosting her power by absorbing love.

I do dislike Flurry heart, though. Her design makes little chance, you can just as well name her Vagina Ravager, I can't imagine how Cadance pushed out that born and those wings.

3940723 I see. Well when you think think about it the unicorn raising the sun and moon thing makes sense pre Equestria era. After all the Princesses didn't just poof into existence one day as far as we know. They had to be born like any other creature. Who then monitored the sun and moon to keep life alive before them if not unicorns working together at the cost of massive magic drains to the point they may have crippled their ability to use magic as well or as much as unicorns who didn't use the spell to move the celestrial bodies? It makes logical sense to me. I mean headcanon or actual canon that keeps the balance going.

And I'm actually going by logic from everything I've gather from all the material I've watched and read. Not really a headcanon as it is actual canon when you're using logic to piece everything together so it makes sense. Especially from what isn't directly stated that shouldn't have to be cause it's pretty obvious from context and hints. Like the Tirek easily tricking Discord thing. Logically it makes sense the reason he caved in so easily was the lack of friends and appreciation from anyone not Fluttershy seeing how she was his only friend at the time which was supported later when Twilight demanded Discord be freed as well, showing she was finally seeing him as a friend despite his betrayal which was the final key needed to open the chest.

Perhaps though they do fill in the gaps on things never covered in the show that we want to know. And I think the journal is actually meant to be the canon backstory to the princesses according to the writers themselves I think. It does explain a few things like where they got the elements in the first place and all and all the features of their first castle seen in the show when the Mane 6 explored it. They were Luna's idea for the castle.

Secret Crushes? I don't think I'm familar with that book.

To be fair, everyone in the show, Sisters included, seemed surprised as hell that Flurry Heart was even possible. Perhaps it's as to them like this particular case is to us. The way that this mule (and others in the past and future) was able to incubate and birth a foal is actually quite astounding: most of the time, it takes complementary pairs of chromosomes to create life, but in these special cases, the chromosomes in the mule's eggs actually desperately clung to different individual parts of up to seven chromosomes of the sperm from the donkey sire of her foal.

Me personally, I always thought of Celestia and Luna as glorified mules, incapable of bearing their own foals... and perhaps they did too, until the writers fucked it up the miracle of Flurry's conception occurred. But hey, if we treat Flurry like mule children of the past, judging by their history... well, I won't get your hopes up.

"Life found a way."

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

These are just some of the arguments I keep bottled up because I can't explain them to people for who the show does not matter, if it ever did. Thank you, I love you.

For me, the point where they really messed up with alicorns was the Season 5 Finale. I could accept Twilight and Cadence as alicorns in a way similar to how Heracles was made a god upon his death. Twilight and Cadence were elevated by a higher power (Harmony/Love) and did so by earning the rank. Queen Chrysalis could easily be like Sauron, a being of the same weight class who simply got a power boost from love. But letting Starlight fight Twilight on even grounds, no matter the situation, broke it. I simply chose to ignore everything from The Cutie Re-Mark onward.

I grew to accept (or tolerate depending on the quality of the episode) Cadance and Twilight as Alicorns, eventually. I feel like there's still an opportunity for a "the royals above/the royals among us" type of deal. However, Celestia getting Worfed, hard, still pisses me off. I'm as much a fan of sick beam battles as anyone who grew up on DBZ, but there had to have been a better way to handle that.

My personal hope for Flurry Heart is that, with age, she'll shed her extra appendages until, and if, she does something to earn them back. Hero's Journey, and all that.

This makes me slightly sad, in a nostalgic sort of way. I think this is why stories like Rites of Ascension are so popular (beyond being written really well): because they maintain the dignity that Lauren Faust's alicorns had.

3940443
That's a good point about the headcanon+ thing. From a very pedantic viewpoint, MLP:FiM (at least the first two seasons) is technically Lauren Faust's fanfiction of G1 MLP. Technically, the only "true" canon is Bonnie Zacherle's original My Little Pony.

3940956
Explaining this kind of stuff to a lot of people for whom the show does matter is no walk in the park, either.

3940572

"Much stronger than a mortal" is still woefully insufficient compared to "Power of a God"

It's not that they weren't more powerful compared Dash so much as there shouldn't even be a comparison to be made.



Hey, Wanderer, here's a tough one; Which has the show failed at harder over the years?

a) Character development
b) World building
c) Lore and mythos

Cutie Mark logic falls under C, just to make things even trickier.

Wanderer D
Moderator

3941192 Oh gods, that's not an easy one...

I'd say Lore and Mythos. For all the fail with character development being consistent, they do have it... they just forget about it. And reinforce it. Ad nauseum.

World Building is a close second on the fail department, when it has nothing to do with ponies. When it's ponies they have a lot and connect the dots well, but when it's other species? Ugh. That's why we have the WBA here.

But Lore and Mythos is where the fail really applies. The lore conflicts with itself and the mythos feels like it's made up on the spot or conveniently ignored.

3940484 I remember reading those and thinking "it's so nice to see Alicorns being Alicorns" even if I did have a minor gripe about the whole easy solution to indoctrination.

Mr.D You missed the biggest example with Alicorn de-powering.

A F:fluttershbad:KING UNICORN was able to overpower one. The virtual avatar of magic turned alicorn Goddess was exhausted by a mere mortal unicorn that wasn't just firing off magic but making levitating herself the whole time while she was at it.

But I agree with everything you said. S1 (and up to CanWed pt.2) had Celestia as a wonderful entity. Wise, caring, nearly all powerful... but aloof. Nicole and the artists did a wonderful job of making me feel like she was a kind, loving and playful mare... but still didn't connect with others. Hell I felt more connection between her and Philomena at the end of the episode than I did between her and any other pony during "A Bird in the Hoof"

As it should be for an immortal Goddess and her pet.

I love this show and our writers are wonderful people but at the end of the day it just gets proven to me over and over again that they aren't very good at their jobs. Or at the very least that they don't try very hard. This kind of thing. So many other things. Stuff that no amount of handwaving at committee writing and the Hasbro censor can explain away. It makes me sad.
At least we have fanfiction.

I've been finding myself liking the show less as episodes go by. Part of it due to the Alicorn issue that you pointed out in this blog, but more because they seem to have stopped having a definitive direction and have been consistently failing to take the lore and mythos of their own world into account (something you also touched on in comments), thus causing the illusion of a realistic world to destabilize.

And really, Tia in the last episode was completely deplorable.

Still love the fan fiction community, though.

If what you say is true (and it probably is), than it would seem that the fandom (or at least the parts of it that depict Celestia and Luna as the Physical Goddesses they were meant to be) has surpassed the canon show. Not sure how I feel about that.

For my part, I have my own ideas for how a regular pony can become an alicorn that ties in with the creation of the MLP world. Rest assured, it rejects the idea that Celestia and Luna were not born as alicorns. In fact, I have this scene in mind for my future stories:

Twilight: Wait, I thought you said that nopony had ever been born an alicorn before.

Celestia: (sadly) To be perfectly honest Twilight, I'm not entirely sure what my sister and I are. We have powers beyond your own and we have lived for so long that entire generations of you little ponies passing by are like a blink of the eyes to us. It's difficult for us to identify ourselves as the same kind of beings as you are.

Yeah, there's a lot of angst hidden under my Celestia's warmth and wisdom.

3941306
That really reminds me of this webcomic (warning: somewhat grimdark), where Celestia's true nature is so far outside the norm that Twilight can't even comprehend it.

3941043

That's honestly the best thing I've heard all day. Celestia could basically define what it means to be worfed at this point.


3941061

Well yes I mean she was a toy seller but I can't blame them for that. I can blame Hasbro all I want, yeah, but ultimately they are toy sellers. MLP:FiM, at the end of the day, is still a product placement. It's a really well made, clever product placement, but that's what it is.
I can't get mad at the writing staff for doing their best. But it is frustrating. Very
Very
Very frustrating

3941351 Haven't they already done that with Pinkie Pie?

I agree on your history, but I think this is a good thing. Alicorns as demigods is only a good idea if they aren't actually part of the show, or are otherwise inaccessible to help with problems. Gandalf is a great example. At the end of Lord of the Rings, Gandalf and all the other elves had to leave Middle Earth, so man (and hobbits) could face challengs on their own. If Celestia and Luna had both merged with the sun or moon or something at the end of the pilot, then it would have worked to have them be actual demigods. But you can't have a competent demigod who's also friendly and helpful ruling the country and then expect there to be any stakes to a real conflict.

It's why some of the worst fiction on this site is along the lines of "Celestia is a straight up goddess, but for the 48th generation in a row stupid nobles think they can bully/trick her, and of course they are easily thwarted." If she's so powerful and has ruled for so long, there should be no such group of nobles active today. And of course, the issue gets way worse once Twilight becomes a goddess, then you can't really tell any decent stories about your main character anymore.

Look at Discord. He's still a demigod, and they only barely make that work by having him live in a different dimension and be such an unreliable jerk that he almost never helps out.

3941043

feel like there's still an opportunity for a "the royals above/the royals among us" type of deal.

That's pretty much my headcanon for them.

3941367 It works on a deeper level, too, now that you got me thinking about it again. Each of their respective "aspects," I suppose, fit the idea well. The sun and the moon are above us, forever untouchable (sans NASA), and love and friendship only exist between and among us.

Metaphor expanded!

Sadly, unless it's in fan fiction, we have to make do with alicorns being nothing more than a regular pony with an extra appendage."

I vehemently disagree but I don't really want to explain in a blog post. Maybe I'll save this for an editorial...

3941263
Woah there.

I don't totally agree with Wanderer D here, but I can let that pass because people have different headcanons and ideas about story purpose, but this:

I love this show and our writers are wonderful people but at the end of the day it just gets proven to me over and over again that they aren't very good at their jobs. Or at the very least that they don't try very hard. This kind of thing. So many other things. Stuff that no amount of handwaving at committee writing and the Hasbro censor can explain away. It makes me sad.

What D is talking about in his blog?

That's not their job. It's not the job Lauren Faust was hired to do, either.

The writer's jobs are, in about this order:
1) To write an amusing half an hour of television for 7-year-olds.
2) To sell toys.
3) To tell a basically coherent story.
...
...
...
4) To tell a quality story that makes hardcore fans happy.

The writers are pretty good to very good at their jobs. This just isn't an important part of their jobs.

I've never whispered "yes", so many times as I did while I was reading this.

YOU understand.

Eh, I kinda' agree, kinda' disagree: Yes the meaning of Alicorn has been on the decline. I'll just point to where the Alicorn Element of Magic with Rainbow Power (that I don't think the show writers even remember using after all this time) was overpowered by a well-learned, well-talented unicorn. Ugh.

On the other hand, I'm not sure that Celestia and Luna were ever meant to be demigods in the first place. I remember seeing on one of Lauren's discussions on DA about how they weren't gods, but just really, really long-lived. Plus, when you add in the fact that, gravitationally, the sun and moon cannot possibly be what we consider a sun and moon (They're possibly just magical constructs with no physical mass, meant to simulate day and night, respectively [source-season 4 opener: no nuclear sun would let the stars stay visible just because the moon is there right beside it].), the nigh-impossible beings that can move the sun and moon, suddenly seem a lot less impressive.

In my honest opinion, the feelings of Celestia and Luna being seen as gods was probably -in line with the show- leading up to a "you put your heroes on a pedestal way too high for them" kind of situation just like the one in the battle with Chrysalis. The show writers just weren't able to flesh out the situation as well as it needed to be. Like, explaining how "changelings can also absorb love directed at their form, whether or not it's being forcibly taken", would explain just why Chrysalis chose to replace the Alicorn of Love, and how she came to be so powerful, as to be able to overpower Celestia (Remember, friendship is magic, which means love would be a whole order more powerful in terms of magic), among other things.

I disagree strongly with this sentiment:

Celestia should have never battled on the same level as regular ponies. NEVER. If she was to battle head on against Chrysalis, it should have been an epic battle, not Kamehameha vs Final Flash.

From a narrative standpoint, what is the point of Twilight Sparkle and company battling bad guys if Celestia can just beat them? The one guy who we know that Luna and Celestia could beat was set up as a test for Twilight.

But I think there's a more fundamental flaw to your logic here.

In the world of Friendship is Magic, what makes you truly powerful is your relationship with other people.

Celestia's power is the trust of the people, wisdom, and the magic of friendship. She's at the top tier in terms of sheer power, but there are plenty of powerful people. What makes Celestia the most powerful being in Equestria is the fact that she rules over Equestria by consent and is besties with the other alicorns and the bearers of the Elements of Harmony.

Celestia's power is not being the best at blasting people with her horn. She's good at that, to be sure, but she isn't even the best at that in Equestria. Her real strength is the value she lends to and is lent from others.

Celestia lost to Chrysalis because Celestia alone fought Chrysalis; everyone else stood back and watched them fight because, to them, Celestia couldn't lose.

It was only when everyone worked together that Chrysalis was defeated.

Flurry Heart is lame. But Celestia losing to Chrysalis was a good thing, and was in line with the show's themes.

I really need to finish May Those Who Wish To Rule Step Through This Door.

Sadly, it is unlikely I'll get much time to work on it at Everfree Northwest :rainbowwild:

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