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Oliver


Let R = { x | x ∉ x }, then R ∈ R ⟺ R ∉ R... or is it?

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Apr
29th
2017

Points of Canon: S7x04 - Rock Solid Friendship · 7:40pm Apr 29th, 2017

This one actually promises to become a chronology marker episode.

Mind you, that would require Maud to show up again, which is hardly a guarantee.

  • Contrary to expectations, Maud is not a rocktor but a doctor, and any statements to the opposite are Pinkie’s joke. The place she got it from is called the “Equestrian Institute of Rockology,” though, which is odd, because the word “geology” did turn up before, even if only in comics. And Maud is a “valerocktorian.” And the diploma is chiseled out of rock too, but eh, that, I kind of expected.
  • 1. I can certainly say that me getting my PhD looked completely different and involved a lot more alcohol. Graduating the university looked much closer, but did not involve an Oxford cap.

    In which countries in particular people receiving advanced degrees are expected to dress up in Oxford caps? Or, for that matter, have a graduation ceremony of that kind? In fact, do any exist?1 This looks more appropriate for someone completing a higher education course, so maybe the word “doctor” means something else in this context. Is Twilight a “doctor?” Inquiring minds want to know.

  • So Maud is the only student? How exactly did that work? Why didn’t they get closed down?… The whole place looks more and more dodgy by the minute, which is especially odd considering Maud’s obvious, immediately apparent geological knowledge and skill.
  • The #1 hand makes an appearance again – this is not the first time. The one other time I remember is Sonic Rainboom. See Sandwich Problem.
  • Boulder is composed of “magnesium-rich basalt.”
  • Maud uses lined paper. Notably, appearance of lined paper in the show is rare, even though comics supposed it exists all the way back in Neigh Anything (My Little Pony #11-12)
  • So Igneous Rock Pie is the one who does photography in the Pie family. Notably, this time the flash on the camera is obviously electric.
  • Maud’s dress has an inner pocket.
  • Maud’s motivation for moving to Ponyville is “there’s nothing left to study back home on the rock farm,” so – the big unanswered question is, how is she hoping to provide for herself? Studying, in most cases, is not a job.
  • I’m not sure if Pinkie playing a harp should be considered a visual gag or not.
  • These helmets they’re wearing look too small to fit a horn under, yet both Rarity and Starlight somehow manage to do this. Notably, they use a gem as a light emitter.
  • We once again see the cave where gems grow on stalks, last observed in Every Little Thing She Does, first seen in Gauntlet of Fire.
  • Rarity appears to be picking gems by color rather than type of mineral. She explicitly asks Maud to find a chartreuse gem, for an order meant for Countess Coloratura’s album (sp?) release party. I haven’t quite caught this word and it’s kind of important…
  • So Maud makes a claim that all the gems in this cave are actually “really common.” Which almost brings Rarity to tears and sets us up for a question: Did she think otherwise? Her reaction while Maud and Pinkie are leaving, that is, pulling every gem out of the basket and reexamining, suggests she did. Why?
  • Maud’s statement upon Pinkie’s explanation of the Castle growing up is that “Yes,” she did see “rocks like this.” I.e. she equates the rock the Friendship Castle is composed of with perfectly mundane rock. There’s a lot of possible interpretations of this statement, some of them very interesting.
  • Sting-bush seed-pods exist. You’d think ponies would be much more intimately familiar with this menace, but that’s the first time we see them.
  • Let’s just hope this tortoise wasn’t Tank. Or Pinkie’s in for a spanking.
  • So Maud’s full name is “Maudelina Daisy Pie,” unless Pinkie’s trying to be funny. Judging by the “Pinkamena Diane Pie,” probably not. The Pie family has the weirdest pony names – basically, the only non-meaningful compound names ever.
  • The shocker of the episode: Maud happened to give Starlight advice on picking the appropriate rock for cutie mark storage. There’s a lot of “hmm” in this scene. Maud traveled Equestria for rock samples for her dissertation, okay. Starlight asks a random stranger for advice on a suitable cutie mark storage rock. A bit stupid, but ok. Maud answers truthfully and then never tells anyone about it. With the importance ascribed to cutie marks by the pony culture, one would expect a slightly different reaction even from Maud. It is not clear when this flashback happens, and maybe Maud is not remembering it entirely correctly, but it’s still pretty odd. The subsequent statement, without prompting, that “with the right stone, you could rule all of Equestria if you wanted to” is even odder.
  • 2. As in, Starlight’s hypothetical teacher. They come in pairs.

    Another unusual thing is that at the time Starlight is wearing her painted on equals sign cutie mark, but the village houses are being constructed and other denizens of this village are already on the main street, visible from wherever Maud is working. This has a lot of bearing on how Starlight’s village came to be and the possible identity of the Other Sith.2 It also suggests that Starlight started her village before she had the cutie mark spell available, or even, that she stumbled on a pre-existing village and took it over, rather than invited ponies in one by one.

  • When Maud is smashing apart the rock, the device next to it that looks like a compass is not a compass, nor it is a clock. And the arrow is pointing at the rock. What is it?
  • Maud’s “It’s not like she enslaved anypony lately” may turn out to be entirely incorrect because of Every Little Thing She Does, but unfortunately, Maud probably has no way of knowing.
  • “Rocks take on different properties when interacting with magic.”
  • Market selling canned preserves makes it unlikely for this episode to happen in spring, but it still can happen in summer or autumn. I’m thinking autumn.
  • Maud’s list of interests beyond rocks includes “minerals, plate tectonics and standup comedy.” Forget the standup comedy, Equestria has plate tectonics!
  • 3. As far as I can tell, SLK means “single line kite” which makes me wonder, because we never see anyone fly any other kind.

    So Starlight likes kites. She notably flew kites during her post-redemption montage and kites were observed in her room in the Castle, but the kite she is flying is not one of those previously seen. She is pretty far into it, considering she uses acronyms.3 When exactly did she pick this hobby up?

  • Pinkie delivers pizza. Not that this is the first time we see pizza – Cheese Sandwich was a notable wielder – but Pinkie apparently took out a part time job complete with a costume just to do it. Notice the characteristic carry bag.
  • 4. For a vegetarian pizza, I’d say it’s a rather strange choice.

    The pizza toppings include mushrooms, tomatoes, and I wish I knew what those green things were.4

  • At least Derpy didn’t get another name this time.
  • So Maud’s statement on the age of Boulder is “over 2000 years old.” That’s not a whole lot for a rock, even for basalt!
  • Maud’s joke that “I didn’t get a rocktorate because I can shred on guitar like nopony else” establishes the use of the word “rock” for music in primary canon, not to mention the likelihood of electric guitars. Secondary canon did this earlier, of course.
  • So why didn’t Rarity notice the hidden cavern?
  • This self-developing photograph is fast.
  • Pinkie’s explosion is the first primary canon confirmation of the existence and use of explosives in mining, not to mention a blasting machine.
  • Maud is capable of finding and exploiting a weak spot in the cavern ceiling instantly. In fact, she probably knew it was there the moment she stepped in. By the looks of it, the whole gem cave is somewhere in Whitetail Woods, though I can’t be definite about it. At least, this forest is definitely not Everfree.
  • Funny how Pinkie never says the word “cowbell,” just “bell.” Even though the bell is a very traditional rectangular cowbell.
  • Pinkie and Maud wear pajamas. That’s a first. Even Twilight’s sleepover did not include pajamas, and notably, sleeping during Hearthbreakers did not involve pajamas either. What’s up with that?
  • Pinkie’s room has a clapper, or a similar sound-activated light switch.
  • So Ghastly Gorge requires train travel to get to. I don’t remember such train travel back in May The Best Pet Win where it’s introduced, though…
  • Starlight’s room has the two kites seen in Every Little Thing She Does but we don’t know when those came about, so it doesn’t help. Notably, we don’t see any of the Trixie portraits on the walls…
  • Maud’s camp contains weird crystals in the campfire, instead of, you know, logs. This is the third time. Any takes on what these are supposed to be? This is especially notable considering that in Hearthbreakers we saw Twilight’s castle have a perfectly normal fireplace, with a log and soot included.
  • Pinkie is capable of identifying hoofprints as “Maud tracks” by taste.
  • To pry the quarray eel’s mouth open, Pinkie uses a hydraulic jack.
  • So why doesn’t Pinkie know what “sodium-rich plagioclase feldspar” means?

Somewhere in the past, there has to be a time where Pinkie read too many of Twilight’s scientific articles on friendship, because she’s trying to misuse methods totally uncharacteristic for her otherwise. Also, Rarity gets completely shafted in this episode, since she’s probably not going to pick gems in Maud’s cave anymore, now.


Unfortunately, no new squares to cross out this time.

Temporally, this episode does not show any markers that would allow us to lock it to before or after To Where and Back Again, but becomes a hard upper bound for a lot of episodes of seasons 6 and 5 which did not have one previously.

  • The gem cave has not been established as particularly new at any point, and while this should happen after Gauntlet of Fire, since Pinkie destroyed the original entrance into the cave, that episode itself does not have a well-defined location in time.
  • Rarity refers to knowing Countess Coloratura, but likewise, the position of The Mane Attraction is not very well defined either.
  • Since Maud’s new residence is not within Ponyville proper, giving her an excuse not to be present for just about any Ponyville event, it’s not very helpful yet, unless she does turn up a lot in the future.
  • This also has to happen after The Gift of the Maud Pie in which Maud doesn’t have her rocktorate or live in Ponyville yet.
  • No Second Prances is a hard lower bound, because Trixie was the first friend Starlight made outside the Mane 6. Which indirectly makes Every Little Thing She Does a hard lower bounds as well, because this episode undeniably contains a friendship lesson for Starlight, and no friendship lesson can come between No Second Prances and Every Little Thing She Does.

Chronology project has been updated accordingly.

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Comments ( 40 )

The subsequent statement, without prompting, that “with the right stone, you could rule all of Equestria if you wanted to” is even odder.

My Writer Sense is tingling. Betcha this is foreshadowing. :rainbowdetermined2:

4513747

My Writer Sense is tingling. Betcha this is foreshadowing

Or a red herring to make us forget about Grogar. :)

But maybe.

Maud’s statement upon Pinkie’s explanation of the Castle growing up is that “Yes,” she did see “rocks like this.” I.e. she equates the rock the Friendship Castle is composed of with perfectly mundane rock.

It's an interesting issue. On the one hand, Maud can be incredibly literal, and "rocks like this" presents a very wide range of possibilities that includes mundane crystals. On the other hand, this is Maud we're talking about, the pony who's almost Discworld-dwarf-like in distinguishing between different forms of stone and crystal. On the foot of your choice, she didn't exactly get a good look at the castle, and she might have already been getting fed up with Pinkie by that point and thus was being more dismissive than usual.

Yeah, that one's tricky. I still like to think some of the Cutie Map's processing power is in the rest of the castle.

4513747 Or possibly a callback to Chrysalis's Darkstone Throne an artifact powerful enough to shut down even Discord's magic.

The presence of the pyjama onesies, aside from being adorable, suggest to me that the episode takes place when it's cooler, so certainly not summer and probably not early autumn. The fireplace at Maud's camp seems to confirm that, because you would only need that if it was cold at night.

Is Twilight a “doctor?”

I'd be surprised if she wasn't. Damned prodigies.

So Ghastly Gorge requires train travel to get to. I don’t remember such train travel back in May The Best Pet Win where it’s introduced, though…

I'm sure that Rainbow's idea of an easily accessible distance will be quite different from Maud's. Pinkie's range probably depends if it's funny.

4513792

The presence of the pyjama onesies, aside from being adorable, suggest to me that the episode takes place when it’s cooler, so certainly not summer and probably not early autumn.

Yeah, only, Hearthbreakers happens in the middle of the winter, and still no pajamas…

The fireplace at Maud’s camp seems to confirm that, because you would only need that if it was cold at night.

Any takes on what those crystals are? I’ve seen suggestions that they’re some take on a firelog, but they don’t look like those, and if they are, there’s no sign of soot at all…

I’d be surprised if she wasn’t. Damned prodigies.

Oh, of course, but what is a “doctor,” and does everyone who completes a higher education course get this title, or do you have to actually, you know, write something? I.e. is there a distinction between a “doctor” and a “master?” Because the whole ceremony doesn’t seem to fit a “doctor” very well…

I’m sure that Rainbow’s idea of an easily accessible distance will be quite different from Maud’s. Pinkie’s range probably depends if it’s funny.

Good point…

The Equestrian Institute of Rockology may be a new foundation by the Pie family, which would explain why they seem to be the only ponies there other than the professor. Religious minorities are known for establishing local colleges for the benefit of their congregations in synod; maybe this is their way to bring together the rock farmers. Since rocks appear to have a borderline religious role in the Pie way of life.

Notice the oxford caps are made out of stone? Those must be seriously heavy headwear.

4513821 Maud talks enough about her dissertation, isn't that a published work? Admittedly, it's not much of a defense if the faculty consists entirely of one old stallion. Maybe they trucked in some other rock farmer patriarchs for the defense of the dissertation?

4513773

Shucks, you may be right. Still, I sense something significant in Starlight's reaction, so you never know. Okay, future perfect: Grogar comes back with a special stone that helps him try to conquer Equestria. :pinkiehappy:

Well, that episode was... interesting. Lots to think about with this one.

Regarding Starlight's teacher, I'm sure I've heard you talk about them before, but I don't recall where. Do you really think this is significant? You got any theories?

4513827

The Equestrian Institute of Rockology may be a new foundation by the Pie family, which would explain why they seem to be the only ponies there other than the professor.

Not impossible, though a bit dubious. There has to be a community of rock farmers somewhere – there’s that Pairing Stone, for one – but we have yet to see them in primary canon.

Maybe they trucked in some other rock farmer patriarchs for the defense of the dissertation?

Maybe. Possibly, a lot of the ponies in Friends Forever #29 were rock farmers…

4513837

Regarding Starlight’s teacher, I’m sure I’ve heard you talk about them before, but I don’t recall where. Do you really think this is significant? You got any theories?

In comments to some of the previous S7 episodes, for one.

I don’t know if this is significant, but it is certainly a major consideration for the interpretation of Starlight’s character. She is crazy powerful and incredibly skilled as has been established before, by repeatedly beating and/or matching Twilight in magic. She has unique magical skills in manipulating cutie marks that nobody reports being able to replicate, which edge dangerously close to the feat that gave Twilight wings.

Twilight has been the student of what has to be the most prestigious school of magic in the land, under personal tutelage of someone who, despite poor showing, has to have a thousand years worth of experience and probably did do something with it. Twilight has been reputed as very powerful. Her elder brother is capable of casting city-wide magic. I.e. Twilight has everything going for her, from nature to nurture.

And yet Starlight matches her. So what did she have going for her? Nature? Flashbacks to her time with Sunburst suggest she was far less skilled than Sunburst when she was Twilight’s age.

So who did the nurture and how? Who was her “friend” that convinced her that ridding ponies of cutie marks is the way forward, or at least, gave her the means to implement this way? Where’s the other Sith?

4513821

Oh, of course, but what is a “doctor,” and does everyone who completes a higher education course get this title, or do you have to actually, you know, write something? I.e. is there a distinction between a “doctor” and a “master?” Because the whole ceremony doesn’t seem to fit a “doctor” very well…

The word "doctor" derives from "teacher", at least in English, and the most commonly used meaning of a doctorate is a certification that you're sufficiently well versed in a subject to teach.

That's presumably what Maud has now. Details like the nature of the graduation ceremony or the need to "defend" a doctorate are cultural specifics that needn't be the same in Equestria, no matter how coincidentally similar they may look.

Twilight's lecture on cutie mark magic in The Cutie Re-mark suggests that she's qualified to teach, even if it isn't her job.

In which countries in particular people receiving advanced degrees are expected to dress up in Oxford caps? Or, for that matter, have a graduation ceremony of that kind? In fact, do any exist?⁽¹⁾

I had a ceremony when I got my M.Sci in Entomology from University of Georgia. With Oxford caps. (Obviously, there weren't many ento grads, so were lumped with the rest of the College of Agriculture grads.)

Graduation ceremonies are absolutely, 100% for the parents, not for the students.

Another unusual thing is that at the time Starlight is wearing her painted on equals sign cutie mark, but the village houses are being constructed and other denizens of this village are already on the main street, visible from wherever Maud is working. This has a lot of bearing on how Starlight’s village came to be and the possible identity of the Other Sith.⁽²⁾ It also suggests that Starlight started her village before she had the cutie mark spell available, or even, that she stumbled on a pre-existing village and took it over, rather than invited ponies in one by one.

Recall that in Starlight's debut episodes, she stored the mane six's cutie marks in glass bottles. So Maud's rock was never a requirement for storing marks. I think the intention for the flashback here is that Maud's run-in with Starlight happened just as Starlight realized she couldn't store marks in jars forever and started looking for a more permanent storage solution.

Forget the standup comedy,

Never! The fact that standup comedy is one of Maud's few non-rock interests handily explains both how and why Maud wrecked Discord's standup routine with a single line (back in "Make New Friends but Keep Discord").

The pizza toppings include mushrooms, tomatoes, and I wish I knew what those green things were.⁽⁴⁾

They to me look like green bell peppers, cut into strips.

I didn't really enjoy this episode. I actually like Maud, but Pinkie in Maud episodes is so annoying it ruins a lot of the fun for me. That said, this was definitely a canon-rich environment.

So Maud is the only student? How exactly did that work? Why didn’t they get closed down?

This is definitely a small school. For a lot of small colleges, you will have only one student earning their PhD in a particular major in a given year. I don't think we saw the general graduation ceremony, I think we just witnessed the Doctorate in Geology graduation ceremony only, and there was only 1 candidate this year. Maud's thesis adviser handed out the diploma, no one else attended. But notice there were multiple rows of chairs there. It could well be the undergraduate ceremony happened earlier in the day and the rest of the student body/faculty are off relaxing in nearby Manehatten. Also, if it's fall or winter, why is Maud graduating now?

The #1 hand makes an appearance again – this is not the first time. The one other time I remember is Sonic Rainboom. See Sandwich Problem.

Inspired by minotaurs, simple enough.

Notably, this time the flash on the camera is obviously electric.

Yup, the definitely have lightbulbs and batteries. Though those batteries could just be rocks pumped full of earth pony magic...

Maud’s dress has an inner pocket.

....which defeats half the purpose of Gift of the Maud Pie.

so – the big unanswered question is, how is she hoping to provide for herself? Studying, in most cases, is not a job.

This'll tie into a lot of other stuff we see in this episode, but I'll try and address it here: I think Maud is the most magical earth pony alive. She can eat rocks, use rocks to generate heat, smash through rocks instantly, and knows all about rocks anywhere near her. I think she is the earth pony equivalent of unicorn Twilight Sparkle. If Twilight Sparkle wanted to live off the grid, with her magic she pretty much could, and Maud could too. Maud needs cloth and other supplies for tents and dresses, but how hard would it be for her to sell a few "common" gems to other ponies for all the supplies she needs once every few months?

These helmets they’re wearing look too small to fit a horn under, yet both Rarity and Starlight somehow manage to do this. Notably, they use a gem as a light emitter.

I noticed that. I think the helmets for earth ponies look the same, but they actually have the same battery the flashbulb has, whereas Rarity and Starlight's helmets don't have room for a battery, but they can just channel the horn through whatever the light is.

Did she think otherwise? Her reaction while Maud and Pinkie are leaving, that is, pulling every gem out of the basket and reexamining, suggests she did. Why?

This and Rarity not finding the sub-cavern answered by the same thing: Rarity has the gem-finding spell, and she likes the look of gems, but she has never actually bothered to learn anything about geology. She has never read books in the subject or anything, just relied on her special talent and her eye for color to pick gems for accessories.

Maud’s statement upon Pinkie’s explanation of the Castle growing up is that “Yes,” she did see “rocks like this.”

Another possibility: Maud has been to the Crystal Empire, where there are buildings like Twilight's castle on every block. If Pinkie had actually brought her into the map room Maud might have had a different reaction.

Let’s just hope this tortoise wasn’t Tank.

It is, Pinkie actually calls him Tank.

A bit stupid, but ok. Maud answers truthfully and then never tells anyone about it. With the importance ascribed to cutie marks by the pony culture, one would expect a slightly different reaction even from Maud.

Maud's a bit monomaniacal, and Starlight only asked a leading hypothetical. By the next time Maud talked to another living pony up close weeks later, she could have forgotten all about it.

It also suggests that Starlight started her village before she had the cutie mark spell available, or even, that she stumbled on a pre-existing village and took it over, rather than invited ponies in one by one.

I also got really excited about this. I would argue the entire place being constructed at once in the background rules out "took over an existing village." I do agree on Starlight not having the spell ready before then. It's possible Starlight was just storing them in glass bottles like she stored the Mane 6's cutie marks and Starlight was looking for a more permanent solution. But I think it's more likely Starlight founded Our Town before she had the spell. It's not hard to believe that ponies were just taught to act "equal" and live "equal" lives even as they continued to have their cutie marks in the beginning, and only later did Starlight actually claim to discover the staff of sameness and start literally removing them. It's actually pretty common that cults start out fairly harmless and anodyne, and only once they retreat into an isolated compound do they start becoming more and more extreme.

When Maud is smashing apart the rock, the device next to it that looks like a compass is not a compass, nor it is a clock. And the arrow is pointing at the rock. What is it?

It looks like a pretty normal old-school compass to me. Compass needles routinely are swayed by large iron deposits. Also interesting to note, the compass needle is pointing dead south, so it might not be the rock at all.

Market selling canned preserves makes it unlikely for this episode to happen in spring, but it still can happen in summer or autumn. I’m thinking autumn.

Ehhh, I think stores will sell canned preserves year round, even if those preserves aren't canned year round.

Equestria has plate tectonics!

This is a big one. Isn't plate tectonics caused by either the rotation of the earth and/or the gravitational pull of the sun and moon? I thought Equestria had none of those things!

She is pretty far into it, considering she uses acronyms.⁽³⁾ When exactly did she pick this hobby up?

I'm just glad to see Starlight doing literally anything other than either magic or trying to make up for her past.

but Pinkie apparently took out a part time job complete with a costume just to do it. Notice the characteristic carry bag

Or she borrowed it from the normal pizza guy, since everyone in town is her friend.

Maud’s joke that “I didn’t get a rocktorate because I can shred on guitar like nopony else”

The real question is, does this mean Maud can't shred on guitar like nopony else, or that she can but that's not why she got her roctorate?

Pinkie’s room has a clapper, or a similar sound-activated light switch.

This seemed more like a Pinkie weirdness thing than an actual thing anypony can have.

So Ghastly Gorge requires train travel to get to. I don’t remember such train travel back in May The Best Pet Win where it’s introduced, though…

Uggghhh. From this and the Manehatten bullet train that got the Mane 6 there and back in All Bottled Up, let's assume we are in a golden age of rail in Equestria, with new lines being built and opened and upgraded every few months.

Starlight’s room has the two kites seen in Every Little Thing She Does but we don’t know when those came about, so it doesn’t help. Notably, we don’t see any of the Trixie portraits on the walls…

From the way Pinkie and Maud react after Maud says "at least she didn't enslave anyone recently," I think that's fairly good confirmation that this episode takes place fairly recently after Every Little Thing She Does.

So why doesn’t Pinkie know what “sodium-rich plagioclase feldspar” means?

Because she only got an AA in geology, not a rocktorate?

Somewhere in the past, there has to be a time where Pinkie read too many of Twilight’s scientific articles on friendship, because she’s trying to misuse methods totally uncharacteristic for her otherwise.

Not sure about that. From the Friendship cave we know Pinkie can be insanely organized when she wants to. Also notice how advanced the math she's using is, Pinkie has plotted a 3-Dimensional Cartesian Graph on her bed.

Also, Rarity gets completely shafted in this episode, since she’s probably not going to pick gems in Maud’s cave anymore, now.

Rarity has a long history of not minding picking gems from other people's land.

4513750

Or a red herring to make us forget about Grogar. :)

Some great thoughts here.

As far as the helmets go, I think it's worth noting that when Starlight used magic with the helmet on, the aura of her magic outlined the gem very specifically. It seems likely that a unicorn's horn plugs into the gem somehow and magic is conducted through it.

Also, how does everyone feel about being able to check "Rara" off bingo for this episode?

4513989 I was wondering about "Rara" myself.

Also, I feel we should be able to check off "new location", because of that "Ponyville-adjacent" cave Maud and Starlight found. Regardless of its closeness, the way Pinkie went on and on about how nopony had ever seen it before should make it count for "new".

4514018
I feel like if Oliver was allowed to check off "Old Gen Villain" then "Rara" should fly for Rarity's mention, but it feels kinda cheesy.

Maud’s dress has an inner pocket.

4513954 ....which defeats half the purpose of Gift of the Maud Pie.

Maud's dress had an outer pocket in her debut episode, which "The Gift of the Maud Pie" also ignored. Recall that during the game of Camouflage, Boulder was actually hiding in Maud's pocket, and here she is reaching into her pocket.

I think the best Watsonian explanation is that Maud found one dress that she likes, and she tried to buy multiples of it. But the manufacturer has changed the number and location of the pockets at random over the years. So Maud wound up with a bunch of dresses that look identical on the outside, but there's no telling whether any individual dress has pockets or not. Hence the conflict of "Maud in Manehattan": Maud needs a rock pouch, not every day, but just for those days she winds up wearing one of her pocket-less dresses.

Or maybe she just sewed pockets into her dresses after the whole rock pouch debacle.

4514095

I think the best Watsonian explanation is that Maud found one dress that she likes, and she tried to buy multiples of it.

Except I believe Maud stated in her first appearance that she made her own dress.

Or maybe she just sewed pockets into her dresses after the whole rock pouch debacle.

I think this is the answer.

4513867

It's a good point. I've wondered about it too, but I never really gave it much thought. But the irksome thing is, I doubt the writers gave it much thought either, and I'm not sure that canon will ever answer this question for us.

Let’s just hope this tortoise wasn’t Tank. Or Pinkie’s in for a spanking.

Pretty sure she said "Whose side are you on, tank?" after Maud outed him as a tortoise.

Maud’s “It’s not like she enslaved anypony lately” may turn out to be entirely incorrect because of Every Little Thing She Does, but unfortunately, Maud probably has no way of knowing.

Pinkie and Starlight both sort of grimaced afterwards. I think that was to imply the mind control incident.

So Maud’s statement on the age of Boulder is “over 2000 years old.” That’s not a whole lot for a rock, even for basalt!

Clearly a recent expat from the dragon lands.

So Ghastly Gorge requires train travel to get to. I don’t remember such train travel back in May The Best Pet Win where it’s introduced, though…

Might depend on where the station is vs. where the race occurs. A gorge can go for quite a ways, after all.

Also, Rarity gets completely shafted in this episode, since she’s probably not going to pick gems in Maud’s cave anymore, now.

Or maybe now she has the best Quality Assurance in the world. :pinkiehappy:

 Rarity appears to be picking gems by color rather than type of mineral. She explicitly asks Maud to find a chartreuse gem, for an order meant for Countess Coloratura’s album (sp?) release party. I haven’t quite caught this word and it’s kind of important…

 So Maud makes a claim that all the gems in this cave are actually “really common.” Which almost brings Rarity to tears and sets us up for a question: Did she think otherwise? Her reaction while Maud and Pinkie are leaving, that is, pulling every gem out of the basket and reexamining, suggests she did. Why?

Rarity not knowing as much about gem's *ahem* rarity as she thought she did has potential for comedy. I bet somewhere out there is a dress that she just generously gave away that is worth a princess's ransom.

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The word “doctor” derives from “teacher”, at least in English, and the most commonly used meaning of a doctorate is a certification that you’re sufficiently well versed in a subject to teach.

Only, that’d also be cultural. Because you don’t necessarily have to have a doctorate to teach much of anywhere in the world, these days. :)

Which is why I’m putting the question forward at all: We want to know what this title of academic distinction actually entails.

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Graduation ceremonies are absolutely, 100% for the parents, not for the students.

See above. If, by the time you get a doctorate, your parents are still busy with you, rather than your children, whom they extract as a sacrificial offering, the difference between what the word “doctor” means can be quite significant.

I think the intention for the flashback here is that Maud’s run-in with Starlight happened just as Starlight realized she couldn’t store marks in jars forever and started looking for a more permanent storage solution.

That is, of course, one option. I think we’ll be able to decide between the multiple options once a higher resolution picture of the shot of the village is available. Because the colors on the characters in that shot were always recognizable, but the hairstyle differs significantly between having and not having the cutie mark.

Never! The fact that standup comedy is one of Maud’s few non-rock interests handily explains both how and why Maud wrecked Discord’s standup routine with a single line (back in “Make New Friends but Keep Discord”).

I honestly don’t find Maud funny enough to count that as a joke better than what Discord was doing.

They to me look like green bell peppers, cut into strips.

They could just as well be pieces of asparagus, though.

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For a lot of small colleges, you will have only one student earning their PhD in a particular major in a given year. I don’t think we saw the general graduation ceremony, I think we just witnessed the Doctorate in Geology graduation ceremony only, and there was only 1 candidate this year.

Sure. Why have a ceremony at all instead of a private dinner, though. Also, the term “valerocktorian.”

Also, if it’s fall or winter, why is Maud graduating now?

No clue. PhD thesis defense in my part of the world is more likely to happen in summer, when the faculty is less busy with other matters.

Like I said above, my biggest huh with this is, “why is this a ceremony at all.”

If Twilight Sparkle wanted to live off the grid, with her magic she pretty much could, and Maud could too.

Interesting theory, but for Twilight, the bottleneck would be books.

Rarity has the gem-finding spell, and she likes the look of gems, but she has never actually bothered to learn anything about geology.

Friends Forever #29 wants a word with you.

Another possibility: Maud has been to the Crystal Empire, where there are buildings like Twilight’s castle on every block. If Pinkie had actually brought her into the map room Maud might have had a different reaction.

That’s a good interpretation, though I do wonder when this could have happened, because it definitely didn’t happen on screen.

It is, Pinkie actually calls him Tank.

I wasn’t able to pick that scream apart. Well, Pinkie needed a spanking anyway.

I also got really excited about this. I would argue the entire place being constructed at once in the background rules out “took over an existing village.”

Well, correction, “took over an existing village project,” then. As in, it is possible that someone else was building it for some other purpose, and Starlight invaded.

But I think it’s more likely Starlight founded Our Town before she had the spell.

So where did the spell come from? I think I’ll make a dedicated post listing all the things we don’t know about the Other Sith that allow us to say something about their identity.

It looks like a pretty normal old-school compass to me.

The notable difference on the compasses of that era is that the needle has to be balanced on the axis, or it won’t work. I.e. it has to point both north and south. I don’t see the other half of the needle on that thing.

Ehhh, I think stores will sell canned preserves year round, even if those preserves aren’t canned year round.

Stores, yes. Farms in the market? Not really.

Isn’t plate tectonics caused by either the rotation of the earth and/or the gravitational pull of the sun and moon? I thought Equestria had none of those things!

Not really. Plate tectonics is caused by the simple fact that comparatively harder, cool portions of the crust float on the liquid inner portions, very-very slowly bumping into each other and sliding under-over each other, producing geological scale changes in the position of the continents, as well as earthquakes, the said earthquakes being nothing more than the sound of nails on the blackboard on geological scales. It has comparatively little to do with the gravitational pull as such, because that changes daily and weekly, while the impulse accumulated by the plates moves masses on the scale of a small planetoid at speeds of like an inch a year.

Our biggest takeaway from this is that Equestria’s Earth has an asthenosphere / lithosphere division, which basically says that whatever is at the core, it has to be small enough to make way for this sandwich.

The real question is, does this mean Maud can’t shred on guitar like nopony else, or that she can but that’s not why she got her roctorate?

Dunno, but I would like to find out experimentally by giving her a guitar and telling her to shred. It should at the very least be amusing.

This seemed more like a Pinkie weirdness thing than an actual thing anypony can have.

Possibly.

From the way Pinkie and Maud react after Maud says “at least she didn’t enslave anyone recently,” I think that’s fairly good confirmation that this episode takes place fairly recently after Every Little Thing She Does.

That’s certainly a good place to put it otherwise, anyway…

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Also, how does everyone feel about being able to check “Rara” off bingo for this episode?

Poke iisaw, he’s the one who made the tiles and should be able to explain what he envisioned. :)

I’m not checking off “New Location,” because the cave, while Ponyville-adjacent, wouldn’t be marked separately on the map.

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Like I said above, my biggest huh with this is, “why is this a ceremony at all.”

The Pie family strikes me as pretty darn traditional. They paid her tuition, they want a picture of her walking across the stage. And since she's the top graduate in her class, darn it she's Rocktorian!

Interesting theory, but for Twilight, the bottleneck would be books.

Of course. I shouldn't have said "live," I should have said "survive," as to Twilight that wouldn't be living.

Friends Forever #29 wants a word with you.

Ooops, forgot about that. Can't move that ahead of this because Maud is still getting her rocktorate in that. Are we gonna have to consider that comic de-canoned? I don't know how else Rarity wouldn't realize her precious gems are actually incredibly common if she attended a geological summit.

As in, it is possible that someone else was building it for some other purpose, and Starlight invaded.

Mayyyybe. If so, that someone else isn't around anymore, since the town lacked any leadership when Starlight left.

So where did the spell come from?

I don't know, good question. Perhaps it just came to Starlight when she got her cutie mark, like Rarity's gem spell, but she couldn't really make use of it on a large scale until Maud gave her the storage space. Perhaps she invented it in a fit of genius. I mean, she did hack together a scroll of Starswirl the Bearded and the Map of Harmony, that's possibly the most complex piece of magic we've ever seen done. I feel like if her evil former master gave it to her, Starlight would have told Twilight that by now..... unless the master is Starswirl and he told Starlight to keep him a secret to avoid polluting the time stream!

The notable difference on the compasses of that era is that the needle has to be balanced on the axis, or it won’t work. I.e. it has to point both north and south. I don’t see the other half of the needle on that thing.

I think that might just be an animation error.

Stores, yes. Farms in the market? Not really.

Fair point, small stalls aren't going to have room for a huge inventory.

late tectonics is caused by the simple fact that comparatively harder, cool portions of the crust float on the liquid inner portions,

Ah, this is why we call lava lamps, "lava" lamps, isn't it? Also, wouldn't plate tectonics be required for all these gems to be so near the surface everywhere?

whatever is at the core, it has to be small enough to make way for this sandwich.

Not quite sure what you mean here.

Dunno, but I would like to find out experimentally by giving her a guitar and telling her to shred.

orig07.deviantart.net/3963/f/2015/301/5/8/let_s_rock_by_underpable-d9eoyp4.png

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They paid her tuition, they want a picture of her walking across the stage. And since she’s the top graduate in her class, darn it she’s Rocktorian!

Well, that would explain it, I suppose.

Are we gonna have to consider that comic de-canoned? I don’t know how else Rarity wouldn’t realize her precious gems are actually incredibly common if she attended a geological summit.

Not sure. I like it too much to just let it go, I must admit, but its canonicity now rests on whether Rarity will ever find a new source of the gems.

If so, that someone else isn’t around anymore, since the town lacked any leadership when Starlight left.

Of course.

unless the master is Starswirl and he told Starlight to keep him a secret to avoid polluting the time stream!

Cute idea. It’s better than most things the show writers come up with, and that’s why it’s almost certainly wrong. :)

I think that might just be an animation error.

I’ll have to get back to that when I have an HD picture…

Not quite sure what you mean here.

Lithosphere plates have to have a certain minimum thickness to stay together. Similarly, the asthenosphere viscous layer has to have a certain minimum thickness for plates to float on it. Which means that with Equestria’s Earth’s much smaller size, the core that provides it with the ~1g gravity cannot possibly be composed of mundane materials.

I’m eyeballing it, of course, but if it didn’t have plate tectonics, it could be composed of pure iron and heavier metals and get very close to ~1g even at my size estimates. With plate tectonics there just isn’t enough space left. They have to have an artificially stabilized black hole core, and the planet itself cannot possibly be natural, not just the sun and moon.

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its canonicity now rests on whether Rarity will ever find a new source of the gems.

Perhaps Rarity's actions aren't that she didn't know that the gems were common, but that she thought no one else knew, as Sapphire Shores and Countess Collaratura probably can't notice. Now that Rarity has been found out by Maud, she feels ashamed at her use of the gems.

I’m eyeballing it, of course, but if it didn’t have plate tectonics, it could be composed of pure iron and heavier metals and get very close to ~1g even at my size estimates. With plate tectonics there just isn’t enough space left. They have to have an artificially stabilized black hole core, and the planet itself cannot possibly be natural, not just the sun and moon.

I was afraid that's what you meant.

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Perhaps Rarity’s actions aren’t that she didn’t know that the gems were common, but that she thought no one else knew, as Sapphire Shores and Countess Collaratura probably can’t notice. Now that Rarity has been found out by Maud, she feels ashamed at her use of the gems.

Notice that she’s reexamining the contents of the basket.

I suspect it could have just been Maud messing with Rarity.

4514407 Standup comedy at its finest!

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Standup comedy at its finest!

With the right stone you could rule Equestria. A sufficiently big one to drop it from orbit is easily the most practical type of the right stone!

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Lithosphere plates have to have a certain minimum thickness to stay together. Similarly, the asthenosphere viscous layer has to have a certain minimum thickness for plates to float on it. Which means that with Equestria’s Earth’s much smaller size, the core that provides it with the ~1g gravity cannot possibly be composed of mundane materials.

I’m eyeballing it, of course, but if it didn’t have plate tectonics, it could be composed of pure iron and heavier metals and get very close to ~1g even at my size estimates. With plate tectonics there just isn’t enough space left. They have to have an artificially stabilized black hole core, and the planet itself cannot possibly be natural, not just the sun and moon.

There's a fairly sharp jump in material density between "iron" and "a black hole". I haven't seen the numbers (exactly how small do you think this planet is?), but surely there are less dangerous building materials.

How about neutronium? Say, once upon a time, a neutron star got ripped up by a close encounter with a black hole, and a chunk of neutronium close to earth mass sailed away on its own. Through repeated encounters with asteroids and the like it acquired a rocky layer and an atmosphere. The high gravity of such a small object would be enough to create pressure and temperature variations within the object.

Such a body could eventually be caught by another system, but would have an extremely eccentric orbit.

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I haven’t seen the numbers (exactly how small do you think this planet is?), but surely there are less dangerous building materials.

I don’t have the numbers because the show doesn’t exactly let me have any, but, temperate zones being half a day’s train ride from pefmafrost limit the possible size of the planet rather dramatically. Likewise, observed angular speeds of the sun around it also limit the size a lot. My guess is, smaller than our Moon, at most 3000km in diameter.

How about neutronium?

Well, that would do it, though an accidental formation of such a planet would be quite a ridiculous freak accident, and neutron star material is generally believed to be a fluid, unstable at pressures seen outside of a star, so it would still need containment. Don’t forget someone has to build the sun and moon, too.

I’m having trouble coaxing the specific numbers from Wolfram Alpha though, so it still could be a huge chunk of something innocent and heavy like palladium… :)

Watched. Good episode for canon! OP replies, new notes.
love the mortarbricks striated with strata.
❧"Maudalina Daisy Pie", and none of you mentioned it? None of you mentioned it. Huh.
❧As usual for her, Maud's got on an outfit hiding cutie-mark. (wiki calls it frock) This is not something other ponies do, 99.9% of time. But it's quite normal for Maud.
❧Maud includes Boulder in 'somepony': " I'd have somepony to talk to besides Boulder. "
Sting-bush seed-pods exist covered
❧needle-pivot magnetic compass, NWES, with eyelet, hand-sized.
❧clap off Clapper (clopper?) covered
❧Pinkie powers!
❧❧re-styles her mane on command beyond her own two styles.
❧❧Cartoon levitation "until gravity notices".
❧❧scent and TASTE tracking covered
❧❧Can use a jack covered
❧❧❧jacks exist covered
❧"Challenge accepted" - this is some fairly recent memetic development they're mimicking.

receiving advanced degrees are expected to dress up in Oxford caps?

Even for PhD hoodings I've seen it. Thing is, those already graduated have their tassel on the other side.

So Maud is the only student? How exactly did that work? Why didn’t they get closed down?

Given that she traveled Equestria for her dissertation, I feel it's more that she's being awarded a Mastery for all that she was an Apprentice, then a Journeymare.

I’m not sure if Pinkie playing a harp should be considered a visual gag or not.

Pinkie Pie's powerset is linked to visual gags. But, remember, she plays one-mare-band, so the only far-fetched bits are "how'd it get there" (Pinkie had this one planned; she's already known for stashing things in advance) and "how did she have time to learn all these skills".

The subsequent statement, without prompting, that “with the right stone, you could rule all of Equestria if you wanted to” is even odder.

That's almost certainly Maud's sense of humor skill at stand-up comedy.

Maud is capable of finding and exploiting a weak spot in the cavern ceiling instantly.

She's basically got fault-finding eyes. Pinkie can do this too, at least in that alternate timeline, so I suspect much of it's rock-farming training.

That commonality of those gems makes Rarity confused. I'm confused, why doesn't she know? Rarity of Diamonds marker.
Friendship Castle common gems covered

Comment replies.
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Yes, the stratiform caps are cool.

Flashbacks to her time with Sunburst suggest she was far less skilled than Sunburst when she was Twilight’s age.

Not exactly. Starlight did not perceive what to do. AS soon as Sunburst pointed anything out, she could do quite a lot.
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the [compass] needle has to be balanced on the axis, or it won’t work.

Or Equestria has a stronger magnetic field that powers the compass, so the friction penalty is much more easily overpowered.
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They have to have an artificially stabilized black hole core,
Uranium isn't gonna cut it? How about neutronium? That's not a black hole… covered:

f something innocent and heavy like palladium… :)

Lead's around there. Gold's double that…at least, at STP, which I'm sure is a bad assumption.
4514453 I am surprised at the quality of commenter you attract. Are you an artificially stabilized black hole, Oliver?
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With the right stone you could rule Equestria. A sufficiently big one to drop it from orbit is easily the most practical type of the right stone!

Nightmare Moon beats Chewie, Maud+Luna make for a Harsh Mistress indeed.

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I am surprised at the quality of commenter you attract. Are you an artificially stabilized black hole, Oliver?

Is that a very polite way of telling me that I suck? :)

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More that you bring other weighty minds into your orbit. So a planet, with its explicit sweep/capture, might be more apt…but I was riffing on a black hole, so…

I'm writing up Bridle Gossip's post right now; it reminds me: Pinkie Pie definitely has an "excessive" manic setting along with her "socially-acceptable" high-energy cheer and deflated-hair fugue. She does this here, in "Bridle Gossip", "Last Roundup" (weaponized), in "Luna Eclipsed"…other Maud episodes, kinda…

Oh right.
❧Pinkie Pie physically deflated this episode, in a way that is probably incompatible with an endoskeleton.

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Or Equestria has a stronger magnetic field that powers the compass, so the friction penalty is much more easily overpowered.

Suddenly, I noticed the same compass up front during Rainbow’s song in Tanks For The Memories.

That’s… Something weird. It’s not even about the friction penalty, it’s about the fact that the needle isn’t floating. There has to be some mechanism inside…

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so more of a compass hand on a bearing than a needle?

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so more of a compass hand on a bearing than a needle?

No idea, to be honest, I’m trying to think of a realistic way how such a device could work without being powered and nothing comes to mind.

Something magical, maybe.

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