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Steel Resolve


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  • Saturday
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  • 6 weeks
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  • 7 weeks
    I could use a french check on a phrase.

    What I want: The Swan and The flower Dream.

    What google spits out: Le cygne et le rêve de fleurs

    If I could get some french language speakers to confirm.

    Oh, you want to know why?

    No reason, mes amies.

    19 comments · 161 views
Oct
28th
2016

The Irreverence Of Canon · 6:40pm Oct 28th, 2016

First of all, hello. Secondly, no, that's not a typo.

I, like most writers who choose to play in this sandbox we call MLP:FIM, take canon very seriously. It's the building blocks of story. Canon means that when I write about a given location, or about a given character, we all have a shorthand understanding of that same thing. I only have to explain how I am slightly deviating from what we all know, and you, the reader, have an intrinsic understanding without me having to give you a bio in story form.

Unfortunately, there comes a time in every IP in which the creators get.... a little silly.

This is something any of us who follow the mlp comics are already familiar with. The comic creators come up with some very interesting ideas... and some not so great ones.

The show took far longer. Better writers, tighter control, more experienced direction, they all made for some very good ideas and a running story that was satisfying and fun to follow.

Then... came Tirek.

Tirek was not, inherently, a bad idea. But he became a bad idea in his execution. As awesome as an MLP style DBZ fight is, it was better left to the imaginations of our rabid fanbase, and it cost us an iconic set piece. And what did we get in return?

A giant gaudy castle for the Princess of Friendship, who doesn't value such things at all. A table that essentially became our deus ex machina excuse for random pairings so that the writers didn't need to come up with good reasons to send our favorite ponies hither and thither, and the elements of harmony 2.0, which have been used once against an enemy and then never again, save in Luna's dreams.

Not such a great trade off.

Season five introduced us to Starlight Glimmer, and while I frankly despised her at first, she was an effective villian in the respect that you could believe her to be a threat because she was more than a little off kilter. I wondered just how she would enact her plans for cutiemark related domination. I watched as she kept stalking Twilight in the background....

And then they gave her magical steroids, and her plans became how to destroy Twilight's past. We got no explanation for how this unknown unicorn got ahold of such powerful spells, how she managed to come to the conclusion that the cutiemap could be used in conjunction with said spells when it only came into existence within the year, not even something simple like how she could self levitate faster than Rainbow Dash can fly.

This blog is not about her, however. I merely wish to display a pattern. The ideas are getting worse, the justifications more flimsy. The show is still entertaining, but it's getting harder to take some of this stuff seriously. Fortunately, MLP is not a narrative based product for the most part. Remember those episodes with no Starlight Glimmer? Those were in all likelyhood leftovers from seasons two through five. Scripts that were pitched but never made.

My final example of this pattern was a very simple line from Celestia about how Equestria has never witnessed the birth of an alicorn. At the time, this was a big goddamn deal. It made us all question long-established thoughts about Celestia and Luna themselves. This little fact was going to be important!

Only it wasn't. It was a throwaway line of no consequence. Flurry Heart just is, and Celestia and Luna cannot explain her.

My point is this: If the writers can't be bothered to keep track of the greater narrative, canon itself becomes suspect. If they don't care, how can we?

Ah, there's the rub. We still need canon, even if it is silly. But personally, I'm having to resort to something the Whovians have been doing for decades. I have to ignore vast parts of canon. Because the product is not getting less silly.

Now, please don't assume I have disdain for the product overall. I still quite enjoy the show, I just can't use any of this nonsense for ideas. And if the rest of you feel the same, consider that you don't have to use them either. Changelings do not have change. Twilight can still live in her library. You decide what your own canon is, because the writers will not care if you don't follow theirs. They barely care about following their own.

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Comments ( 33 )

I personally thought that Luna and Celestia were born prior to the founding of Equestria, or that they were born elsewhere

4275095 And that is a perfectly reasonable conclusion. It would have been great if the show itself had clarified that.

4275101 Plus, Celestia and Luna couldn´t have witnessed their own births. And if they did, there is a HIGH chance they don´t recall it.

I always liked the idea that Luna and Celestia were actually created by the combined tribes as a way to govern the group fairly. Nobody could agree to having any other tribe in control so they ended up creating a new tribe to lead.

4275105 That is also an interesting idea.

Good AUs are immune to time and Jossing.

Also the added rub of having to do more work as an author and having to fight that much harder to get an audience...

Sigh.

Welcome to the club, brother. I've been talking about how canon has to be made subject of the needs of a story ever since Season 4. I'm an ardent defender of sticking to canon, but when canon itself is contradictory to what it has established, it becomes necessary to cherry pick what's real and what isn't.

It is rather problematic, and, at times, painful. I myself don't pay any attention to anything that is not in the show itself. I just really, really have an issue with some of the stupid ideas the comics do. It doesn't mean I didn't enjoy reading them, I just prefer to not consider them canon at all. Like Fan fiction. :pinkiehappy:

But, even the show has issues at times. Tirek I could go with, despite some of the issues. I mean, why did they think Tirek didn't know of Twilight? They knew Discord had betrayed them, what in the world made them think Discord wouldn't tell Tirek about her?

And yeah, the power up thing. I am just glad it has never come back again, though it sure looks like a thing in EQG's now.

Starlight Glimmer's backstory and logic hurt. I like her more now, but that's mostly due to her interactions with Trixie than anything on her part. Still, I think they are getting better with writing her. But she was complete garbage to me initially.

Rambling, but yeah, use what Canon you want, and just use an AU tag if you have to. I prefer the old changelings, not what I call the Stag Beetle transformation.

I've come to the conclusion that the show staff have no unified vision of what MLP is anymore. Larson left, Megan left, Lauren left a while back. They were all working towards some kind of vision, there is no more driving force to create, all we have seen lately are 'sequels' of villains that are getting reformed. And some episode have glaring issues, like The gift of Maud Pie... which has issues this video explains why better than I can here. ( basically the mechanics of how a story is told are either ignored or whoever did that ep had no idea they exist)

What did it for me, what got me to realize things are not well was ep24 of s6, the one with RD and Twi... I don't think I'm wrong when I say that the map has been consistently sending ponies to be catalysts of change. When they solved a friendship problem, the outcome of that changed something more then the small issue the girls applied themselves to. Pinkie and RD were the catalysts of change for the gryphons, Twi and Flutters ended a longstanding feud, and basically restored a beautiful place to order. AJ and Rarara reinvigorated an entire community. Ponka and Rarara changed the face of Canterlot restaurants and cooking standards... BUT Twi and RD did close to nothing, they helped a duo fly better.

I'd love the show to prove me wrong and have that flying duo become the best in Equestria, or go on and help all new flyers by being the best instructors... but I am withholding my enthusiasm.

The show is still the one I watch with the most fervor, but what got me hooked was the storytelling, and that is slowly going away. I want my epic setting cute stories about pones back at the top! :fluttershbad:

Oh an not to rant completely outside the topic, I believe everything that the show has done can be spun into a believable story if you try hard enough and are clever about it. Like say Celestia and Luna's reaction to Flurry, them saying they have never seen that before, they could be following a prophecy and by not putting the info out there... I don't know, the future is safe or something.

4275101 I mean, most people point to the flag in Hearth´s Warming as proof the two were around, but you have to consider the framing device is a play. Considering the events happened centuries ago, perhaps the original flag´s design is lost, and they had to make do

I still quite enjoy the show, I just can't use any of this nonsense for ideas. And if the rest of you feel the same, consider that you don't have to use them either. Changelings do not have change. Twilight can still live in her library. You decide what your own canon is, because the writers will not care if you don't follow theirs. They barely care about following their own.

That makes two of us.

And I absolutely do, So guess what? I'm NOT using most of the things that have come up in the show during and after Magical Mystery Cure.
(Well, WITH the possible exception of Daring Do being a real pony, and NOT a fictional character, that is.)

As to Twilight still living in the Golden Oaks Library in MY head-canon, that's definitely happening. He being an alicorn in it? Ah...no. I like her better as a unicorn, and that's what she's staying in my stories.

As to the Changelings? Yeah, they're still gonna be in my MLP-verse, but with one l'il change.

And THAT'S that do I believe that Chrysalis's hive is the ONLY one that exists in all the world that Equestria is on? Again, no. I personally think that there's other ones out there, so that's in my own head-canon, and that there's more than one IN Equestria itself.

As to what the ones in MY head-canon look like?

Still workin' on it, but let's just say that they have more in common with Thorax and the ones from this season's finale than they do with Chrysalis and her hive before said transformation.
But I will say that the color scheme is the same as that of the PRE-transformation Changelings.

Feeling that. Did my final write up of the season today and the season really has been noticeably weaker on the whole compared to the roughly consistent quality of the last five seasons. Still really good in places but more and more shoddiness is creeping into the show.

I hadn't even noticed the lack of the elements of Harmony 2.0 which I'm torn on as while they really should be used they were also beyond hideous so I'm kind of glad they apparently have been forgotten.

Excellently-written and agree 100% with it. Pick and choose. That's the best way to do it.

4275095 While that technically fits, dissembling in that way really isn't in character for Celestia. Not that she's always forthcoming, but she never lies, even by omission. The sentence is clearly meant to be taken a specific way: being born an alicorn is unheard of.

So it's still silly, as Steel puts it. And frankly it's gotten to the point where I just sort of give writer's some lead to handle alicorns however they want to and judge them only for what they do with the concept, since the official answer is meh.

4275117 I have a whole crazy origin story for Luna and Celestia that works off of primitive pony tribal shamanism. I still do want to sit down and write it one day.

One day...

4275204

I don't think I'm wrong when I say that the map has been consistently sending ponies to be catalysts of change. When they solved a friendship problem, the outcome of that changed something more then the small issue the girls applied themselves to. Pinkie and RD were the catalysts of change for the gryphons, Twi and Flutters ended a longstanding feud, and basically restored a beautiful place to order. AJ and Rarara reinvigorated an entire community. Ponka and Rarara changed the face of Canterlot restaurants and cooking standards... BUT Twi and RD did close to nothing, they helped a duo fly better.

I'd love the show to prove me wrong and have that flying duo become the best in Equestria, or go on and help all new flyers by being the best instructors... but I am withholding my enthusiasm.

Glad to see someone shares my headcanon about the map. I agree that it sends the ponies to places where their intervention makes a difference that is larger than just the immediately affected ponies. And I think that still applies even for Vapor and Sky. Who knows, maybe they'll eventually go on to do great things in the Wonderbolts? It's not too hard to imagine ways that could happen. Perhaps the map can also reach farther into the future than seems obvious from other map episodes in order to determine when and where to send the Mane 6 to intervene. Personally, I don't have any trouble reconciling the lack of immediate widespread payoff with the idea that it'll make a difference somewhere down the line.

As far as Season 6 goes, I didn't notice it being that much worse than Season 5, except of course that it wasn't able to live up to Season 5's greatest moments, which wasn't a surprise. There are quite a few episodes that have troubling (if temporary) regressions in character development, but I don't find it hard to blame those moments squarely on the writers and exclude anything particularly distasteful from my headcanon.

One thing that was pointed out to me is that Season 6 is weak on heartwarming and touching moments, and that assessment is something I definitely have to agree with; Season 6 was pretty weak on feels. Most of the successful episodes rest their success on comedy or other things that are just plain fun and entertaining. This is something I definitely hope will be remedied in Season 7, though you are right in saying that the writers who have given us such episodes before have unfortunately left the show.

Mostly I agree with all being said, especially about Tirek - the way he was introduced and defeated was very off and so wrong in many ways. But it's my opinion, I don't want to argue about it. It also was strange to see mane six restoring Castle of Two Sisters during the whole season only to left it abandoned it again in favor of brand new shiny castle.
I also want to add my few words about nature of alicorns - I don't want to be a broken telephone and misinform anyone, though, in last few months on EQD was posted interview with one of current show creators. She answered a few questions and told about alicorns being nation with their own land, but living very secluded lives and not interacting with outside world (Princesses Luna and Celestia were exceptions, can't remember if they were asked to rule by The Three Tribes or they decided to intervene on their own). Personally, I have never thought to deep about origins of Luna and Celestia - maybe some things should remain unknown.
In conclusion, I'd like to say the same thing me and my friends were saying to each other when we had the most hot discussions:
"In the very end we argue about TV show which basically exist only for on sole reason - being an advertisement for Hasbro toys."
I don't want to say by this that it's not supposed to be good a priori, or not enough effort is put in it. The show is undoubtedly good, much better than it could be (I'm looking at you G2-3.5), but should not be judged at the very hardest. I myself enjoy a lot, even with it's flaws, and sometimes really silly moments, and unstable canon, and in the end (another one, I guess) MLP is about friendship being magic.
Sorry for my bad English, I'm not native speaker and I'm trying my best, I swear.
And now I'm going to bed, have to wake up really early.

The only sane approach to canonicity, as a fan or fanfic author, is to take or leave it, piecemeal. You just have to make your audience aware of what you're doing, if you're for example veering onto a different path back in S3, or solving the Starlight Glimmer issue in an entirely different way, or whatever. :twilightsmile:

4275902 I suppose you're right. I am just used to shows like TNG where, even when things got silly, I never had that moment where I stared at the screen, demanding to know if it was serious. And so, I have been just quietly unhappy while things got worse and worse.

I think you're making a really good point here. MLP has definitely become a little zanier in the action over the last two seasons, and it has to do with some of the old writers stepping down and bringing in new ones.

That said, some of this is that popular fanon that has never been confirmed has suddenly been contrasted, and fans are acting like this is a change. Example: Celestia in particular and alicorns in general have never been actual goddesses, or really that much more powerful than the most powerful of unicorns. But fanon has assumed that for years, and so seeing Celestia defeated a bunch of times feels like canon contradicting itself, when it's really just canon firmly stating something that before it was silent on.

4275906
Also, I'm much more positive about the show's direction than you seem to be, so it's easy for me to do the pick-and-choose thing. :twilightsheepish:

4275942

Example: Celestia in particular and alicorns in general have never been actual goddesses, or really that much more powerful than the most powerful of unicorns.

Well, no. Celestia being worfed was less to do about her respective power and much more to do with Princess Candence's.

You see, Chrysalis is not by nature a creature that defeats her enemies by pure power. Even she seemed shocked that she took down Celestia, as well she might be. Celesta, historically, has taken down King Sombra, and while she needed the elements to beat him, she and Luna at the very least managed to match him.

When a character is worfed, the intent is not normally to devalue that character, but to showcase just how powerful the opponent is. Worf himself is shown to be a competent warrior, and quite strong. He became a cliche because he took a fall so often. Celestia has gone down once in the show's history. And the reason why can be traced back to the power of love.

The power of love, as Huey Lewis once penned, is a curious thing. Chrysalis used that power, then it was used against her and her whole army to blast them away. I also think that Candence's love magic might have been a big reason why Twilight was able to match Tirek. I am certain that it's the reason Flurry Heart was born a fully-ascended Alicorn.

Sorry, rambling. But yes, Celestia's being worfed was another of those extremely silly decisions that made me scratch my head.

4275984 I suppose it helps if you feel things are fine, yes.

4276011 See, that's the perfect example. "Worfed" is what happens when a strong character is shown to be weaker, but Celestia was never shown to be that strong in the first place in canon. Worf is shown winning at least a few battles all on his own to demonstrate his strength, Celestia is never shown that.
Chrysalis was definitely shocked that she had taken down Celestia, possibly because she underestimated the amount of love that Princess Cadance received. But before then, we'd only ever seen Celestia win fights with the Elements of Harmony. The theory that Celestia could defeat flights of dragons or unleash a solar flare was based on a need for her to have cool powers in fanfiction.


Celestia and Luna working together managed to beat Sombra, though from the S5 finale Celestia couldn't outright beat him on her own. And of course she's been defeated like a dozen other times, but we've never seen her win a straight-up fight without either help from Luna or the EoH.

I think your theory on the "background power" of love is dead-on. I don't know if Cadance can casually access it, but certainly the magical power generated by love is powerful enough not only to feed the changlings, but to power the Crystal Heart (whose proximity may have helped create Flurry Heart). Thorax's ability to generate enough magic to evolve suggests he is now drawing in ambient love energy in a way that the changlings couldn't do before.

4276016

And of course she's been defeated like a dozen other times

Not quite sure where you get this from. Her fight with Luna she got knocked down, but then used the EoH to send her to the moon. She was captured a few times, but I wouldn't call those defeats. If you have no opportunity to fight back you have neither lost nor won, you were simply captured.

Basically, the only instance of being able to see Celestia fight was in comics, sadly.

4276122 She had a chance to blast those vines but her magic wasn't strong enough to pierce them. She tried to blast those clouds in the season 6 opener, but her magic wasn't strong enough to burn away the clouds. I was actually really surprised by this myself. I remember watching that sequence and thinking "Ok, Celestia has now flown up several miles above anyone else, where magically cold clouds are blocking the sun from the ground, I think the writers set this up to get her to use that super solar flare magic that fandom authors are sure exist, but that can only be used a huge distance away from everyone else to avoid collateral damage"). But what did Celestia do up in those clouds? Toss out standard horn beams to blast them away, like she had access to nothing stronger, and the solar beam mega-spell just doesn't exist. Then she froze over and had to retreat, that's definitely a defeat.

And I'm counting the bad timelines in the S5 finale as defeats as well (not the first one, she and Sombra appear to be tied there). Unless you assume Celestia surrendered without a fight to Nightmare Moon, Chrysalis, Tirek, Discord, the FlimFlam Brothers, and whatever scorched the planet, then she lost a fight in each of those timelines.

4276928 Well, if we're operating on that assumption, and we further assume we have no eoh in any timeline save prime, she actually has some significant wins before each of those losses, without the help of the elements. So, in the sombra timeline, she defeated nmm, discord, and chryssy. Furthermore, she was shown fighting him to a standstill in that timeline, so it's up in the air if that was a loss. In the changeling timeline, she defeated nmm and discord. In the flim-flam timeline she logically defeated every villain, since flim flam weren't really villains, just industrial encroachment. In the Tirek timeline she would have had to have beaten all threats prior to him, including that dragon on the mountain. Basically, you have to count anyone she didn't lose to as a win. That actually adds up. :trollestia:

Oh almost forgot, those vines make magic wonky. That's why she couldn't just get away. Got nothing for the clouds though, other than the fact that only a massively powerful artifact was holding those clouds back before. A better writer might have had them defeat clouds. :trixieshiftright:

4277033 You know what? You do have a pretty good point there. I'm not sure I'd give her credit for every one of those victories, but she must have a lot under her belt, probably more victories than defeats.
The tricky thing is, in all those timelines, Celestia is the good defender morally obligated to ride out into battles she knows she will probably lose to defend her kingdom, which is why we can assume if the kingdom has fallen then Celestia has lost a battle. However, Celestia has multiple ways to win, including sending Cadance and the Royal Guard, or a group of unicorn battlemages if she has them, so it's not a guarantee that she personally won battles against many of those threats. I know that seems unfair, but I assume Celestia always plays it smart. While I may not think much of her raw magical power, I have always believed Celestia is immensely intelligent and a devious strategist. I could easily see her sending Shining Armor to put a shield over the cave mouth of that dragon until it suffocated in its sleep if she had no other choice, because Celestia would do what has to be done.

I will clarify on a few points:
Discord: It's always been clear that Discord is an order of magnitude stronger than anyone else we've ever seen, so I doubt Celestia actually defeated him one on one. On the other hand, it's also pretty clear he was only able to break free of his petrification when the Mane 6 reattuned the EoH to themselves, it's why I suspect in most of those alternate timelines where there are no Element Bearers, Discord is just stuck as a stone statue forever. In the one where he's free perhaps there was an alternate group of element bearers who attuned to the EoH, beat NMM, and failed against Discord. Any or all of the villains in the Discord timeline might have beaten Celestia, and Discord could have just plucked Celestia from a moon prison so he could play with her and Luna.

Nightmare Moon: Celestia had to have beaten Nightmare Moon in the Sombra timeline, and in the FlimFlam timeline. I'm going to go ahead and give her the Tirek timeline, because that timeline had daylight and healthy vegetation years after NMM escaped. The Chrysalis timeline, the Discord timeline and the Scorched Earth timeline it's unclear, Celestia could have lost to NMM, and then someone else could have come along and beaten NMM.

Sombra: I agree with you she wasn't beaten by Sombra in his timeline. It looked like neither was willing to directly confront the other in battle, which to me suggests they are at rough parity. Or Celestia thought she could probably win, but wasn't willing to risk herself and the entire war effort if she lost. It's hard to say for sure if it was Celestia herself who defeated Sombra, as he was beaten in canon by Cadance with the power of the Crystal Heart, though since we were originally talking about the power of alicorns in general we could count those as probably alicorn wins. An alicorn probably beat Sombra in the Tirek timeline, the NMM timeline and FlimFlam timeline.

Chrysalis: In the NMM timeline, the Sombra timeline, the Tirek timeline and the FlimFlam timeline an alicorn was probably victorious.

Tirek: Celestia could have just flown over Tirek's head when he was still weak and dropped rocks on him. I'm going to give an alicorn victory in every timeline except Tirek's and scorched earth.

So yeah, lots of victories for Celestia and alicorns in general, and also a lot of defeats. They are definitely some of the most powerful beings around, just not orders of magnitude stronger than the strongest unicorns. I would bet heavily on Celestia in a fight between her and Starlight. Between Celestia and 3 Starlights? Or 3 Sunset Shimmers? Or 3 Starswirls? Very different picture.

Oh almost forgot, those vines make magic wonky.

Yeah, the chaos vines did eat magic, and they got the Regal Sisters indoors. I feel like the most powerful magic users in Equestria are ones who do the smart thing and mess with their opponents magic as an opening gambit. Discord and Chrysalis have both figured out it is a key to defeating alicorns. Now, the vines from the comics didn't have that property, but that was a terrible plot arc, that is jossed by non-sapient deer anyway, I'd prefer not to count that one.

But yeah, the clouds. They were held at bay by the power of the Crystal Heart, but there's nothing showing the clouds being magical, any more than weather in Everfree is magical. It's just independent weather with a will of its own, and ten miles north of here the Yaks live in it just fine. It's why I feel like that scene with the clouds is the definite answer on the limits of an alicorn's power.

Getting back to the point of this blog though, there are a lot of great ways authors can get around canon they don't like. The alternate universe one is the simplest, but I know an author still writing new stories who sets everything in season 1 to make the Mane 6 more relatable.

Getting back to the point of this blog though, there are a lot of great ways authors can get around canon they don't like.

Exactly! My personal Magnum Opus is set just after the season 2 finale. I have another series that I set after season 3 because I figured I would write one with Princess Twilight just for fun, but I didn't want her living in the giant lonely castle. The most timely fic I have written was set during the season four finale specifically because I felt like Discord would have been smart enough to at least confer with his best friend before deciding to betray everyone on a whim. I don't write AU, really, because I am not so much trying to rewrite history as branch off from it, maintaining that canon happened as normally up to a point.

Considering the bullshit I tend to write, I don't care much about canon anyways.

While understandable, you would know where I stand on it all. Still taking it all in stride and that jazz. :scootangel:

My final example of this pattern was a very simple line from Celestia about how Equestria has never witnessed the birth of an alicorn. At the time, this was a big goddamn deal. It made us all question long-established thoughts about Celestia and Luna themselves. This little fact was going to be important!

Only it wasn't. It was a throwaway line of no consequence. Flurry Heart just is, and Celestia and Luna cannot explain her.

Hey, now, I wrote a story explaining that.

TBH, explaining canon discontinuities can be fun. But yeah, it can be bad as well. Flurry Heart was ill-thought out; so was Thorax's episode. Ironically, the Flurry Heart episode was actually pretty solid.

4282593 Heh, well I wrote a fic that circumvented all of season five. Though I guess Flurry Heart would still exist in some form in that timeline.

And yes, writing around bad writing can be fun, but first we must acknowledge that the canon is flawed.

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