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Oliver


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

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Oct
15th
2017

Points of Canon: S7x25-26 - Shadow Play · 10:24am Oct 15th, 2017

As far as I could determine, Josh Haber is responsible for most of the mess therein.That’s just so that you know whom to lynch.

  • According to Star Swirl, the list of atomic elements of Harmony is “strength, bravery, healing, beauty, hope, and sorcery.” Notice that the one to one correspondence of hope-laughter, strength-honesty, beauty-generosity, loyalty-bravery, healing-kindness and sorcery-magic that Somnambula later presents makes even less sense than the list itself.
  • “Myself and these Pillars of Equestria were gathered together by another to maintain and share the light of these powerful ideals.” Star Swirl admits that without Stygian, their group would not exist.
  • “But we shall leave behind a seed in hopes that one day it will grow into a force to stand against the darkness for all time.” Which is a statement that the Tree of Harmony is not a cosmic force, or at least, not an innately cosmic force, it’s a product of pony culture.
  • The source of the book that Sunburst narrates here is pretty clear: It is shown among the stuff he purchased in the blind buy in the Ponyville antique store in Uncommon Bond. It is also shown inside that very same barrel in the last page of Friendship is Magic #53. As such, this is a story conceived of as a multi-media unit, with explicitly matching details.
  • Celestia and Luna make the following statements:

    • The manuscript is genuine to the best of their understanding.
    • They have never met any pillar heroes except Star Swirl.
    • They were “too young to understand the danger they faced” at the time Star Swirl disappeared.

    All of these statements are pretty dubious, if only because the Mighty Helm map in Uncommon Bond wants to date itself to post-Sombra, when Celestia’s exposition flashback in The Crystal Empire and FIENDship is Magic #1 both depict adult Celestia and Luna at the time.

  • Celestia says “My Olde Ponish is a bit rusty,” which at least makes it clear it wasn’t her native language, and gives credence to the theory proposed by Meta Four.
  • I think that’s the first time I see a candle in the Friendship Castle library. It’s like Twilight has very specific notions of when to use candles.
  • “There’s parts where his hornwriting is like another language!” Would you believe this is actually the first time the series uses the obvious term “hornwriting”? Because I think it is.
  • There are, apparently, no readily available magical means to counteract bad hornwriting, otherwise they would be used.
  • Starlight admits to having very bad hornwriting. Did she write her own manifesto?…
  • The full phrase in Old Ponish is: “Hearg sylfum se Ponehenge toward dol grimlic of Fola Firgenbeorg user endemest scield” which is translated to “The Temple of Ponehenge at the base of Foal Mountain [is] our last stand.” Notice the use of the word “temple,” which very rarely occurs otherwise. Notice also that this megalith structure would have to be older than the Exodus.
  • Notice that Starlight is not an Old Ponish expert at all, she can read the letters but is not the one translating them. How exactly does this correspond to her love for very old spells?
  • “I’ve never seen magical runes like these before!” Actually, Sunburst, nobody has ever seen magical runes at all in the entire series before you made this statement. Or at least, nobody ascribed magical meaning to runes. EVER. It was a mildly popular, but completely baseless fanon. And runes themselves don’t appear until Legends of Magic #1.
  • Reading the particular inscription Sunburst uncovers as Elder Futhark, which it (mostly) matches, produces “poni rules.” (sigh) Inmates running the asylum. You know, you could at least write this in Old English if you went that far.
  • “Even then, I’m not sure we’d find out what happened here over a thousand years ago.” Fluttershy at believes the events described should predate the Nightmare.
  • 1. It was a major part of my master’s thesis.

    “Maybe you could write a paper on it.” This is actually the first canonical confirmation that Twilight writes papers and that papers even exist. I could ramble on for hours on the history of scientific discourse1 but I have neither the time nor the inclination. Suffice it is to say this is important for the world behind the margins as it involves a very specific development pattern for pony scientific and magical research.

  • “I guess I hoped we’d get here and the mystery would just magically be explained.” The book serves as a magical action replay key.

    • This means that this particular book is indeed the original, rather than any kind of copy. This applies to all the other artifacts used as spell components for the banishment, which could explain their ridiculous longevity – especially glaring in the case of Mistmane’s flower and Somnambula’s blindfold.
    • “Powerful magic like that would leave an impression on this place. Bringing the book back here let us see what happened.” I.e. Sunburst believes the action replay was a natural, unintended phenomenon, which I’m not sure I’m buying, but okay. Now…
    • So who took the book, and all the other artifacts away from the Ponehenge, and how the flaming hell did they end up where the Mane 6 later found them?
  • “You summon me at your peril, Star Swirl!” Pony of Shadows can be magically summoned like some kind of demon, apparently, against his will.
  • Notice that the action replay illusion includes a moon. No Mare-in-the-Moon is present, for obvious reasons.
  • “Was it an explosion of magical feedback? An evocation? A kind of incantation?” More magical vocabulary! Unfortunately this series of questions does not make much sense.
  • Also, the Cutie Map is there. See previous episode.
  • “They used their magic to open a portal between worlds – to limbo – and pulled the Pony of Shadows inside.” Limbo is a thing. It is also presumably the place where the Crystal Empire was vacationing from Sombra, because where else.
  • Twilight’s dioramas are made from corrugated fiberboard. First machines to produce it in our world were invented in 1874, and yes, it requires machines and isn’t a process that is practical for manual manufacturing.
  • “The Pony of Shadows must have been really awful for them to do that.” Notice that no mention of the reasons why the Pony of Shadows was so evil have surfaced so far, even for Fluttershy.
  • “Opening portals between worlds didn’t work out well for me.” Wait a moment. When exactly did Starlight ever open portals between worlds? Twilight responds with “First of all, you opened portals through time.” – which implies that the timelines introduced in The Cutie Re-Mark are understood as distinct worlds, which is not what they said before.
  • “If I’m right, we need to find items that are connected to the Pillars in some way.” Further on, “My compatriots are as varied as the realm itself and hail from every corner of our land, bringing with them artifacts and talismans of great power.” See above: The artifacts the Mane 6 remember are the exact artifacts shown in the action replay illusion. They go searching for them where the Cutie Map directs them to, but the action replay illusion clearly shows that all of these things ended up in Ponehenge at the completion of the spell. Who took them back? Why did they take them back to the origin point of most heroes?
  • The positions of the artifacts over the Cutie Map are not clear, because the Cutie Map itself is patently not clear. However, the flower is shown on the coast next to Manehattan, so Pony China really is in Pennsylvania. The shovel is shown on an island off the eastern continent, while the shield is straight up in dragon lands.
  • “Professor! It’s a Mighty Helm headpiece! Maybe it belonged to Rockhoof himself!” Isn’t Petunia Paleo a paleontologist though? Or is there any difference between paleontology and archeology in Equestria?
  • “Legends don’t wear helmets.” I.e. official science strictly considers Rockhoof a mythical character. Remember that Luna does too.
  • The boulder Applejack stops and subsequently tosses has over 500 cubic meters of stone in it, and weighs around a thousand metric tons, give or take a few hundred. Applejack sends it flying. This is not possible without magic, and not just because the stone would crush Applejack otherwise: Condensing all that weight into two hooves she had on the ground while launching it would embed her in the ground up to her tail even if she were solid steel. Don’t go fighting Applejack unless you are sure you can keep at range indefinitely and beware the flying boulders even then.
  • The shovel is explicitly enshrined in the room uncovered by the boulder. The runes on the pedestal appear to say “Roc??woof”. Which was obviously meant to be “Rockhoof” but didn’t come out quite right.
  • “This place has been in my family for generations, and I’m not about to let some whippersnapper take the last good piece of it!” She’s also the only modern day unicorn with a curved horn so far.
  • Rarity has to know some magic to restore dead and withered plants, no amount of simple pruning would fix this.
  • “I can’t believe Flash Magnus’ shield ended up in the Dragon Lands.” Actually, how did it end up in the Dragon Lands? Rockhoof’s shovel was enshrined in a Mighty Helm location, subsequently ruined and abandoned entirely. Mistmane’s flower remains in a historic Pony China location, presumably the same one as featured in the accompanying legend. You’d think the shield would be in a pegasus settlement, but it isn’t. Garble says he found it “in the desert,” so what exactly happened?
  • “Like our favorite sport – gorge surfing!” Not a sport seen before. Dragon favorite sports change often.
  • “Dragon Lord Ember commanded us to make peace with ponies, but it doesn’t mean you can surf in our spot.” Ember did issue such a command.
  • “It would… if I didn’t have to fly up here to move their hive.” MitchH mentioned in passing that you don’t do that to beehives. However, ponies appear to handle beehives all the time.
  • Somnambula’s blindfold was neither enshrined like the shovel and the flower, nor lost like the shield, but outright discarded – Pinkie found it in the drain, blocking the flow of caustic slime. That’s more abuse than any other artifact on the list.
  • Pinkie is using a diving suit, which is a technology that ponies were not previously shown using. It’s very strange that she later describes the activity as a “scuba dive in a pit of green slime” – because that’s not how scuba diving works, and SCUBA is actually an acronym!
  • …wait, so how was Pinkie able to identify this piece of cloth as a blindfold, before she even realized it is the blindfold she is looking for?
  • “I’m sure Star Swirl and the Pillars did the best they could back then, but magic has come a long way. Mostly because of the work they did.” This is the first statement to the effect that magic is making progress. Generally, the series prefers to imply the opposite, i.e. that the older a work of magic is, the more powerful it is.
  • We don’t see the details, obviously, but Twilight’s spell requires the efforts of her, Sunburst and Starlight to work. Unicorns can pool their efforts, and we don’t know how much knowledge of the spell is required of any other participants beyond the primary caster.
  • “You must undo what you’ve done!” Twilight doesn’t think she can, but more importantly, why would Star Swirl think it would work?
  • So why didn’t anypony think that the Pony of Shadows would come back with them, anyway? Because that’s blindingly obvious, really, and standing at the ready with the Elements would be the obvious solution. There is precedent for borrowing them from the Tree for a specific purpose in Friendship is Magic #50 and it would be a recent event if it happened at all.

On to part 2.

  • “When I extinguish the light and hope of this miserable world, you won’t remember any of this.” Which is actually quite an odd statement to make, especially considering the later “Now my dark power will reign, and you six will bow to me!”
  • “This one is almost as… strong as you, Star Swirl.” Twilight confirmed to be as strong as Star Swirl.
  • “Weeeeell… we did have to save everypony from Nightmare Moon and Discord and Chrysalis and King Sombra and Lord Tirek, and there was that one time when Starlight traveled through time and almost destroyed life as we know it!” Notice that at the time, Pinkie is displaying the original of the Friendship Journal, the dirty and messed-up one, rather than her new clean copy, suggesting that Fame and Misfortune might actually happen a substantial time afterwards.
  • “He’s Star Swirl! He can do anything!” It’s magic. I don’t have to explain shit.
  • “Each of us infused a crystal seed with our magic in hopes that it would grow into a force for good.” Notice that this is a solid statement that non-unicorns also have magic, which is something the show has been avoiding since forever.
  • “We had no idea our small seed would bloom into the living spirit of the land.” So this is what they think the Tree is.
  • “If the Pony of Shadows has his way, your land will not exist.” Notice, not “this” nor “our.”
  • “Seapony etiquette isn’t going to help right now, Spike.” Seaponies exist and at least some relations with them exist, necessitating this book – but consider the movie.
  • “Portal gate… Portal keys… Portal spells…” All of these are things.
  • “I bet the Pony of Shadows would’ve loved the Ghastly Caverns before a thousand years of erosion turned it into the Ghastly Gorge.”

    • This is actually the first statement that certifies geographic changes have occurred in historical time.
    • “The Appeloosian Wastes sure sounded dark and desolate.” Which would imply the Appleloosa name predates the city when it was explicitly founded in Year -1, which is outright bogus.
    • So how exactly was the island of Manehattan cast in eternal night before Manehattan existed, anyway?
    • All of the dialog implies that Pony of Shadows takes power from straight up darkness, rather than any metaphorical kind, which makes me wonder how the hell would that work. Because a perfectly dark spot is not that difficult to arrange.
  • “While it is an unconventional approach, I believe it could work.” Meadowbrook is an earth pony, but she is versed in unicorn magic theory – she’s looking at Twilight’s notes as she says that.
  • Notice that the Cutie Map sends the Mane 6 to the location where they should find the Pony of Shadows, but not the Pillar 6.
  • “The Hollow Shades. I think a branch of the Apple family lives there.”
    “They’d have to be pretty distant. The Hollow Shades was abandoned eons ago.”

    But they did RSVP during the Apple Family Reunion! What the flaming hell, Applejack?

  • “So it’s like a super-villain tracker! No offense.” Starlight is explicitly called a super-villain.
  • “I mean, it’s been a long time. Maybe the Pony of Shadows is ready to talk?” Is Starlight simply being stupid by discounting the fact that no time has passed for the Pillars, and therefore, for the Pony of Shadows, or does she know something?
  • “Once a villain, always a villain.” Remember the FIENDship is Magic #3? The one this episode josses hard? It did have one interesting thought in it: Star Swirl basically banished the Sirens for no obvious reason other than that he thought they were evil. I suspect this was a common thing for him.
  • Rockhoof’s flashback story is strange, in that it presents the Sirens attacking a village, and being beaten into a portal with no mirror involved – the mirror basically has no reason to exist at all, if this version is correct. But Rockhoof’s narration is solid in that it confirms that Stygian was the one who brought the heroes together: “He recognized our emerging world would need champions to defend it.”
  • The architecture involved matches the huts in the Discord flashback in Princess Twilight Sparkle.
  • “He stole objects from each of us. Artifacts to use in a spell.” The artifacts shown are the same artifacts used in the spell to banish him, but notably, nobody mentions asking him what the spell was supposed to do, and they apparently banished him before he gave him a chance to explain – Meadowbrook just says “No doubt it was an enchantment to take our powers for himself.” She could very well be wrong.
  • “But when we saw him again, his heart was bent on revenge.” It’s important that this happens in the Castle of Royal Pony Sisters, and it’s also important there’s a permanent stone bridge across the chasm. Why is it important, however, is a different story…
  • What isn’t, is that the Pony of Shadows apparently had a confrontation with the Pillars, but left everyone alive and well enough to attempt a summons and a banishment later, not to mention didn’t wreck the castle in the process. Why?
  • “When the map called you six to my village, it was for a friendship problem. Are you sure this is different?” Actually… Let us assume that the Mane 6 were presented with a friendship problem in The Cutie Map. Because that’s what we should, in theory, assume. By the end of that episode:

    • The Map considered the problem solved and signaled a return.
    • Starlight was banished, creating a new problem.
    • The villagers were reunited with their cutie marks, though this hardly changed the relationship between them – they liked each other just fine before that.

    So does this mean that establishing a new friendship is not necessarily a proper solution to a problem presented by the Map? If it does, it is different. And if it doesn’t, the Map may signal a return before the problem is actually solved.

  • “I’m not sure. They simply work for us.” Rarity is not consciously aware of how to invoke the Elements.
  • “I don’t remember reading anything that said the Hollow Shades was like this.” So what happened to the Apples that lived there? The ones that RSVPed?
  • The architecture involved also resembles the style referred to in the flashbacks above – but Hollow Shades also includes a strange, presumably subterranean complex in the form of two gateways into the mountain looming over the village. Which, presumably, go into the chamber the company falls into upon arrival. Huh.
  • “I definitely would’ve remembered reading about this.” Sunburst wouldn’t if it involved Shadow Lock. However, if Shadow Lock was involved, the Well of Shade wouldn’t exist either.
  • “When you turned your backs on me, I discovered this place. The darkness spoke to me of a power beyond any I could imagine, and I listened.” This entire line is a statement that Stygian turned to darkness only because he was rejected. But it is also a statement that some manner of primal darkness existed before he discovered it.
  • Star Swirl’s shield spell doesn’t look quite like any of the more modern shield spells.
  • It’s not clear at all what it is exactly that Twilight is doing, but notice that her element is not being used for the rainbow, neither while she is talking to Stygian, nor before. In fact, here’s another puzzler: Upon arriving, the Pony of Shadows destroyed Star Swirl’s book, it went to pieces. Which would mean that at no point Star Swirl would be able to use it for a material component for simply redoing the original banishment spell. The other artifacts are not shown to be damaged, but the book definitely is. How exactly did Star Swirl expect to do it?
  • “I simply cannot believe how tall you’ve gotten!” Which would require a long period between the banishment of the Pony of Shadows and the Nightmare which can’t exist.

Everything’s resolved, the end.

Some analysis

2. I have a truly marvelous solution to this whole mess, which this margin is too narrow to contain. Also, it hinges on some very specific assumptions about the nature of reality in general, which might not be suitable for you.

While the episode is otherwise decent – we’ve seen worse season finales – this story tramples all over the comic canon. Which is par for the course. But it also contains no end of small but significant inconsistencies with televised canon, which require the use of Shadow Lock to explain away.2 Many are difficult to explain even if you involve him. That, at the time when the comics are making an effort to be as tightly coupled to the show as possible.

  • Someone has been playing too much Tyranny. I’m not convinced the accompanying philosophy of magic meshes well with ponies, but I’m pretty sure this is it, since normal objects associated with famous heroes clearly acquire a special power here.
  • Everyone agrees it was Stygian who brought the Pillars together, even Stygian himself. Generally, when analyzing the Elements of Harmony, Twilight is seen as the unifying element – she’s the only one who requires to be friends with everyone else to be happy – and thus she unites Friendship and Magic. It’s interesting that Stygian gets neither.
  • So, here’s a million bit question that arises when you reassemble this story with the story of Shadow Lock:

    1. Shadow Lock believes he is descended from Stygian. Which implies that Stygian had a family. Presumably, before becoming the Pony of Shadows. Notice that neither Stygian himself nor anypony else mentions it, but that’s beside the point.
    2. Which means that at some point, a story existed which contained sufficient information for Shadow Lock to deduce that. That requires a really well-researched family history, a thousand years long, as well as enough actual evil perpetrated by the Pony of Shadows to merit Shadow Lock being horrified into culturecide.
    3. But since above, even Star Swirl admitted that it was Stygian who brought them together, he would be an integral part of any story mentioning the six pillar heroes.

    Since Shadow Lock set out to destroy every mention of Stygian existing, and he did it not by selectively censoring pages and mentions, but by destroying entire books, culminating in the near indiscriminate destruction of literature on large scales, how is it that any stories mentioning the six pillar heroes – and Star Swirl – survive at all, when they are the personalities most closely tied to Stygian’s story?

Confound these ponies, they drive me to drink.

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Comments ( 32 )

Generally, the series prefers to imply the opposite, i.e. that the older a work of magic is, the more powerful it is.

Maybe there a little bit of both? Mages of old don't know how the world around them work and tend to so to speak just "overpower" said world with sheer magic strength? And more modern magic based on science and tend to use more specialized science-based streamlined spells? Kinda like battering ram vs rapier?

this story tramples all over the comic canon.

IIRC one of IDW... editors, I think, said that IDW and show teams work mostly independently. And show writers often don't even know what IDW write in their comics.

Could the Mighty Helm map be pre-Crystal Empire? "Thousands" gets thrown around from time to time; this could be a multimillennial matter.

Reading the particular inscription Sunburst uncovers as Elder Futhark, which it (mostly) matches, produces “poni rules.” (sigh) Inmates running the asylum.

Archeologically accurate, though. A lot of engravings have turned out to be graffiti or variants on "X was here." I personally blame Rockhoof; he probably engraved the megalith by stabbing his shovel in at different angles.

Fluttershy at believes the events described should predate the Nightmare.

Well, if the sisters were too young to remember it very well, that would imply it to be the case.

Twilight responds with “First of all, you opened portals through time.” – which implies that the timelines introduced in The Cutie Re-Mark are understood as distinct worlds, which is not what they said before.

I understood Twilight's response as correcting Starlight's misapprehension that her time spell was transporting them between different worlds, as opposed to different potential futures of the same world. She definitely makes a point about the time-space distinction. Of course, Limbo is technically the space between universes rather than a universe in its own right, but that's splitting nine-dimensional hairs.

Rarity has to know some magic to restore dead and withered plants, no amount of simple pruning would fix this.

I wonder if she used a variant of the topiary spell from "Look Before You Sleep."

Notice that this is a solid statement that non-unicorns also have magic, which is something the show has been avoiding since forever.

Tirek says hi. And to get him out of this cage, but I think we can ignore that bit.

I for one am perfectly happy with discarding the sirens' FIENDship issue, though it does make the mirror's existence a headscratcher. Maybe Star Swirl made it as an intellectual exercise.

Overall, I'm not that happy with the origin of the Tree of Harmony; feels a bit midichlorian-ish in the amount of lost mystique versus what little factual gain we get in exchange. And where's Clover the Clever in all of this?

4698619

Could the Mighty Helm map be pre-Crystal Empire? “Thousands” gets thrown around from time to time; this could be a multimillennial matter.

That would require either an eternal unicorn Amore or an endless string of Amores. Both options are dubious. It would also leave no space for Anugypt, not to mention create numerous other issues. It’s possible – but it’s not that much of an improvement, you’d just be shuffling dirt under the carpet.

I understood Twilight’s response as correcting Starlight’s misapprehension that her time spell was transporting them between different worlds, as opposed to different potential futures of the same world.

It would be very odd for Starlight to even have such a misapprehension this late, considering that she referred to time travel multiple times whenever the issue was brought up before.

Tirek says hi.

They didn’t call it magic before.

Overall, I’m not that happy with the origin of the Tree of Harmony; feels a bit midichlorian-ish in the amount of lost mystique versus what little factual gain we get in exchange. And where’s Clover the Clever in all of this?

Clover the Clever is a myth, obviously. Consider this:

  • All the primary canon evidence we have that Clover existed at all is a play for children. Primary Canon doesn’t mention Clover in any other capacity or even, in any other episode.
  • The only semi-canonical source that affirms Clover was a real pony, the Journal of the Two Sisters, is impossible to reconcile with what happened here: The Tree had books written about it well before Luna and Celestia ever had a chance to see it and was already a tree. In this episode, none of the Pillars who planted a tree were aware it actually grew.
  • Most of the Pillar legends behave as if there has never been an Exodus.

Same goes for Princess Platinum and all the other founders.

4698622
With regards to the Mighty Helm map, there is one other possibility: It's inaccurate or incomplete. The Helm's coastal focus and the inhospitability of the Frozen North outside of the Crystal Heart's influence might have deterred any explorers assigned to the region. As any Civilization player who's made it to triremes can tell you, mapping the coasts will tell you the shape of a continent, but not the internal details.

“It would… if I didn’t have to fly up here to move their hive.” MitchH mentioned in passing that you don’t do that to beehives. However, ponies appear to handle beehives all the time.

That was me (unless he did as well). If you move a beehive more than a metre, the foragers go back to the old place, get lost and die, and the rest of the hive starves. The way to do it is to move the hive a long distance - at least three miles away, so there's no overlap in foraging area - and let them settle there and get their bearings, then a week later move it back to where you want it to be. And only move it at night when all the foragers are inside.

Fluttershy moves the hive further up into the tree, at least a few metres, which would have killed them. Of course, the magic bees that Fluttershy is dealing with might be more intelligent than real world bees, which are quite dumb little automata.

4698651
Sorry, yes, that was you.

Sometimes I have problems telling people apart.

4698650

With regards to the Mighty Helm map, there is one other possibility: It’s inaccurate or incomplete. The Helm’s coastal focus…

It could be – but there certainly was no coastal focus: It has locations deep in the central Equestria.

I have a truly marvelous solution to this whole mess, which this margin is too narrow to contain.

Having a touch of the Fermats, are we?

4698829

But I really do have one! Only, it’s very meta. :pinkiecrazy:

Stygian is kind of the Twilight of the Pillars, in that he brought them together and he’s the strategist. But he’s also kind of the Spike of the group.

4698914

Actually, here’s a counterargument for you.

  • If Star Swirl wanted the Pony of Shadows to be banished forever, he just had to instruct whoever reads his last book to destroy it. It can be destroyed, because it does get destroyed. If it were in fact destroyed, there would be no way to recover them from Limbo.
  • But even if we assume that Star Swirl derped and does not do this because of a momentary fit of stupidity, the fate of the book remains an issue: It gets destroyed immediately when the Pony of Shadows turns up. Star Swirl still insists for the rest of the finale that the Pony of Shadows can be banished again, in the same manner as he was banished the first time.
  • Either Star Swirl has done something terminally stupid twice in a quick succession, or the book is not actually required for the banishment spell. Which would mean that this book of his is not itself an artifact. While Stygian thought it was such himself – he took it for the purpose of his spell – he could well be wrong, but Star Swirl knew he was wrong. Setting aside the issue of how did the book survive the thousand years then – preservation spells are probably a thing – riddle me this…

…is Star Swirl actually a Pillar himself, if his book is not an artifact?

  • This is actually the first statement that certifies geographic changes have occurred in historical time.

My Little Pony: Where geological changes happen faster than linguistic drift.


4698921

If Star Swirl wanted the Pony of Shadows to be banished forever, he just had to instruct whoever reads his last book to destroy it.

Star Swirl would first have to consider the possibility that somepony would read his book and deliberately undo his spell. He certainly strikes me as the sort of person who would overlook that.

Star Swirl still insists for the rest of the finale that the Pony of Shadows can be banished again, in the same manner as he was banished the first time.

Not quite the same manner. He’s also substituting the Tree of Harmony for Ponehenge. Which was destroyed at the same time as his journal. In fact, after their destruction, Star Swirl doesn’t even bring up with possibility of banishment again until he learns of the Tree and realizes it can take the place of Ponehenge.

And if anypony could just use their own power as a substitute for their artifact, it makes sense that it’d be Star Swirl.

Either Star Swirl has done something terminally stupid twice in a quick succession,

Considering how this entire catastrophe came about because Star Swirl made unfounded assumptions about Stygian’s motives, yes, he is more than capable of terminal stupidity.

Since Shadow Lock set out to destroy every mention of Stygian existing, and he did it not by selectively censoring pages and mentions, but by destroying entire books, culminating in the near indiscriminate destruction of literature on large scales, how is it that any stories mentioning the six pillar heroes – and Star Swirl – survive at all, when they are the personalities most closely tied to Stygian’s story?

Because there were a lot of scattered stories about the individual Pillars before Stygian met them and brought them together?

Say you took the post-crisis DC Comics universe, and erased every issue with any reference to Martian Manhunter. You’d lose his solo comics, of course, and you’d lose the vast majority of Justice League of America issues, since MM has consistently been a key member. Would that, in turn, erase Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, and all the other JLA members? No, because they also appear in plenty of issues that have nothing to do with Martian Manhunter or the JLA.

In the same way, “Campfire Tales”, “Daring Done”, and “A Health of Information” already established that each of the pillars had stories of their own that had nothing to do with Stygian. Unlike the mane six, the Pillars were already heroes in their own right, with enough accomplishments under their own belts to ensure their places in legend, prior to forming the Justice League of Equestria. Any books that mentioned their team-up—including comprehensive biographies of individual members—were lost in Shadow Lock’s purge. (Perhaps that’s why several of them were believed to be just myths?) But scattered references to their individual exploits showed up in other books. Perhaps a collection of moral fables included the story of Mistmane as a lesson about true beauty. The Big Book of Stories About Dragons included Flash Magnus’s encounter. Tales of Rock Hoof and Somnambula survived as oral histories, in addition to (instead of?) any written accounts. And Mage Meadowbrook and Star Swirl left behind their own writings about medicine and magic.

I was gone for the weekend and missed some really juicy canon-building. This episode is complex enough that connecting the comics, books, movies and even other episodes feels like we're rapidly approaching Jenga.

A couple of points: Mistmane presumably settled down after traveling Equestria, marrying leaving a descendant who inherited her curved horn, but not necessarily returning to the Pony China.

I wonder if Sombra is the one retrieved the books and dispersed the pillars artifacts to their families. I know it violates comic canon, but Stygian kind of looks like him, and more importantly Starswirl's Limbo banishing is a more primitive version of his own banishing of the Crystal Empire.

Here's one big issue with Shadow Locke though: I really doubt his magic can effect the memories of beings trapped in Limbo. But the Pony of Shadows and the Pillar 6 don't seem to remember him doing anything wrong other than the actual becoming of the Pony of Shadows. So did Shadow Locke's spell wipe the memories of a weird nightmare entity insight a dimension where time has no meaning, or did the Pony of Shadows not do anything else?

Oh Gosh: How obvious is it that Shadow Lock is the Pony of Shadows in Castle Mania?

On a theological level this is troubling: We remove the Tree of Harmony as a spirit of good (which actually explains a lot about the map being really judgmental about non-pony culture), but we add in a spirit of evil, the Primal Darkness. Whatever Discord is, (I'm currently leaning towards Genius Loci of the Chaos Dimension) he doesn't really oppose this Primal Darkness. The cosmology of MLP is now Warhammer levels of darkness.

I feel compelled to reverse course on the whole "Luna was only mentally ill when she was Nightmare Moon," this episode is a pretty strong indicator she was in a similar situation to the Pony of Shadows.

4698619 The Helm map could be like 1400 years old, from right before the CE was founded. It's pretty clear when they describe history, anything over 1,000 years just gets called a thousand years ago.

4700066

A couple of points: Mistmane presumably settled down after traveling Equestria, marrying leaving a descendant who inherited her curved horn, but not necessarily returning to the Pony China.

Not necessarily. Her entire village had those curved horns.

So did Shadow Locke’s spell wipe the memories of a weird nightmare entity insight a dimension where time has no meaning, or did the Pony of Shadows not do anything else?

That’s where the marvelous solution comes in: Imagine that Shadow Lock did successfully delete information regarding his ancestor. Who really was capital-E-Evil.

But Pony of Shadows had nothing to do with this ancestor. :)

Oh Gosh: How obvious is it that Shadow Lock is the Pony of Shadows in Castle Mania?

Not very, though it is plausible.

4700399

But Pony of Shadows had nothing to do with this ancestor. :)

Interesting, Stygian is basically taking the blame for spotty history in this case.

Not very, though it is plausible.

That, or perhaps whatever is left of the NMM after Luna was purified.

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Clover the Clever is a myth, obviously.

Why must you crush dreams?

4712497

Why must you crush dreams?

Me, I’m not doing anything, ask Josh Haber what does he have against Amy Keating Rogers. :)

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There's a few hundred ways to justify Clover the Clever's existence without writing them off as a myth. First one: The Season 7 premiere supplies at least some evidence that a mage will typically strike out on their own once they advance beyond the level of apprentice. Therefore, we don't actually have to ask "Why doesn't Clover the Clever show up in everything Starswirl-related", because we can simply infer that they were not inseparable.

And... mind if I ask precisely how none of the Pillars speak as though there was ever an Exodus? Aside from not name-dropping specific figures from the Exodus time period in casual conversation.

4712994

There’s a few hundred ways to justify Clover the Clever’s existence without writing them off as a myth.

The problem isn’t that there are no ways to justify Clover’s existence – if you’re allowed to insert events into the past, you can justify anything at all – it’s that there are no ways to support that existence, as I outlined above. Clover becomes no more real than “alien alicorns” or the dragon hero Brimferno, as described in A Flurry of Emotions. If we’re dismissing the Journal as a historical source, there is nothing to distinguish between the three in terms of veracity, they’re all sources of the same caliber.

And… mind if I ask precisely how none of the Pillars speak as though there was ever an Exodus? Aside from not name-dropping specific figures from the Exodus time period in casual conversation.

  • They don’t mention specific figures. They don’t mention specific pre-Equestrian governments either. Their supplementary comic materials do not mention these or anything resembling them as well.
  • Mistmane’s Legends entry states that the Canterlot Castle was built for the Sisters, and no hint of Unicornia or Platinum appears while that is going on.
  • Starlight Glimmer: Earth ponies, Pegasi, and unicorns sing songs around a hearth to fight back an eternal winter caused by the mythical windigos? Ha! Every foal and filly knows that story.

    Emphasis mine. Twilight never objects to that statement.

  • Petunia Paleo, who reappears in Shadow Play, appears to imply ponies evolved on the continent of Equestria, rather than colonized it: “A spiny-backed ponysaurus!”
  • From The Shadows presents numerous history callbacks – mentioning “Queen Cleopatrot,” caveponies, etc, but no Exodus or anything possibly related to Exodus.

There is, of course, no outright refutation that an Exodus occurred, and no statement that the events of Hearth’s Warming Eve play have no basis in historical fact. If you try hard enough, you can still produce a picture of history where it happened by reinterpreting this or that piece of evidence. (I am certainly going to try.) However, I’m pretty sure that this is not the picture of history they had in mind when writing Season 7.

4700066 My inclination is to solve Equestrian cosmology by postulating the Primal Force of Harmony which worked through the Pillars' spell to incarnate itself as the Tree of Harmony. That's how it can be so much more powerful than Discord the Spirit of Chaos, and that's how the Pillars can be so surprised at the Tree and Castle.

4712994 4713005 Well, toss out the Journal of the Two Sisters (which you were already doing), and say the Exodus happened long, long before the Pillars or Celestia or Luna. The Primal Force of Harmony doubtlessly guided them, and briefly showed up in the Fires of Harmony, but didn't permanently set up residence till later.

The one point I can find to contradict this is that Clover is described as Starswirl's apprentice. Well, we know Starswirl was a time traveler?

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Ah. Perhaps Clover the Clever had not met Star Swirl at the historical point of the Exodus, and the play contains allusions to Star Swirl as a form of compression to impart info to the audience? Sort of like how in the Hamilton musical, Aaron Burr becomes Hamilton's rival years before the real-world Burr had met Hamilton.

An episode introducing a PoS.
Olde Ponish. Ugh.
Once more the writers flub and have someone say "a millennia". Ugh. Especially for Starswirl.
Canon violations left and right. Ugh.

“Opening portals between worlds didn’t work out well for me.” Wait a moment. When exactly did Starlight ever open portals between worlds? Twilight responds with “First of all, you opened portals through time.”

Twilight is correcting her, "you opened portals through time [and not to different worlds]." FoME got this.

…wait, so how was Pinkie able to identify this piece of cloth as a blindfold, before she even realized it is the blindfold she is looking for?

Piñata expertise is in her oeuvre as Party Pony Extraordinaire, and one wears blindfolds for piñatas.

“I’m sure Star Swirl and the Pillars did the best they could back then, but magic has come a long way. Mostly because of the work they did.” This is the first statement to the effect that magic is making progress. Generally, the series prefers to imply the opposite, i.e. that the older a work of magic is, the more powerful it is.

Publishing papers, as you note happens, is kind of the important discriminant between scientists and asshole wizards. Scientists publish papers widely, and it's hard to lose them, and they become part of the educational fabric. The item of power in this paradigm is the prototype. Asshole wizards write single-copies of notes in trapped towers, and are lost, so you have spikes that decline and are mostly not-built upon. The item of power in this paradigm is the artifact.

In D&D at least, (also under Hasbro's umbrella) artifacts are often irreproducible by mortals because the principles are lost.
(also @ 4698606 )

Unicorns can pool their efforts,

I guess in "The Crystalling" they were performing more individualized bits?

…also, Sunburst doing so is odd; isn't he supposed to be terrible at spellcasting?

why would Star Swirl think it would work?

Flipping a sign is easy in programs. REversing polarity is effective in technobabble.

So why didn’t anypony think that the Pony of Shadows would come back with them, anyway?

I thought that was Starlight's objection all along and she was just not voicing it like a fool/because Twilight kept interrupting her and not listening.

Twilight confirmed to be as strong as Star Swirl.

Alicorn Twilight being *almost* as strong, with Starlight having comparable oomph, for notes.

how did it end up in the Dragon Lands?

Well, it's a treasure…but then they don't treat it as one. *headscratch*
4698622

  • All the primary canon evidence we have that Clover existed at all is a play for children. Primary Canon doesn’t mention Clover in any other capacity or even, in any other episode.
  • The only semi-canonical source that affirms Clover was a real pony, the Journal of the Two Sisters,

No longer true as of EqG: Forgotten Friendship.

Chalk up another count of "Want more power than you are alloted by birth and fate, become demon".
Those idiots of the Mane 6, etc. including noted magic scholars stood inside the magic circle/hexagram they were activating.
It's possible to have bad hornwriting: there is not a circinate "writing" spell that produces uniform results. (Like with us, bad writing skill comes with good ability to read bad writing…like these notes I have.)
Sirens shown to use breath weapons.
Sirens shown at all: EqG canon status promoted.
Pony of Shadows is alicorn-patterned, like sirens and changelings.

The spirit of darkness only raises more questions. Whence it? There's what amounts to a temple devoted to him; whence that?

They have never met any pillar heroes except Star Swirl.

*double-checks Legends comic PoC* I guess this is technically not incompatible with Luna having met a hooded, un-hight Mistmane.

All of these statements are pretty dubious, if only because the Mighty Helm map in Uncommon Bond wants to date itself to post-Sombra, when Celestia’s exposition flashback in The Crystal Empire and FIENDship is Magic #1 both depict adult Celestia and Luna at the time.

I know this is a huge stretch, but maybe, just maybe, the Mighty Helm kept existing for quite a while after Rockhoof disappeared? After all, the "mighty helm" icon on said map seems to place them in the northeast, despite the islands they came from in Rockhoof's backstory being in the southwest. For them to migrate so far before mapping the coast, it's possible that a large amount of time has passed: by the time they made this map, Rockhoof was long gone and the sisters were ruling Equestria as adults.

“Was it an explosion of magical feedback? An evocation? A kind of incantation?” More magical vocabulary! Unfortunately this series of questions does not make much sense.

As much as I love to see Twilight sperg out, I agree, her questions make zero sense. Starswirl made no obvious verbal incantation and wasn't evoking anything. Also, there was no indication of a magical feedback explosion. She might as well have been asking if Star Swirl threw CHEESE at the Pony of Shadows despite seeing no cheese being thrown. A bit disappointing, honestly.

“If I’m right, we need to find items that are connected to the Pillars in some way.” Further on, “My compatriots are as varied as the realm itself and hail from every corner of our land, bringing with them artifacts and talismans of great power.” See above: The artifacts the Mane 6 remember are the exact artifacts shown in the action replay illusion. They go searching for them where the Cutie Map directs them to, but the action replay illusion clearly shows that all of these things ended up in Ponehenge at the completion of the spell. Who took them back? Why did they take them back to the origin point of most heroes?

Imagine you're Star Swirl. You're about to seal the pony of shadows away, but you'll leave the keys right next to the cell in the process. Wouldn't you want to have somepony drop by later to gank the items and send them to the corners of Equestria?

“I can’t believe Flash Magnus’ shield ended up in the Dragon Lands.” Actually, howdidit end up in the Dragon Lands? Rockhoof’s shovel was enshrined in a Mighty Helm location, subsequently ruined and abandoned entirely. Mistmane’s flower remains in a historic Pony China location, presumably the same one as featured in the accompanying legend. You’d think the shield would be in a pegasus settlement, but it isn’t. Garble says he found it “in the desert,” so what exactly happened?

1100 years happened, man. The shovel was locked away, and the mask and flower were with the descendants of their respective owners, but the blindfold, shield, and book just sorta took a round trip through Equestria over the past millenium. It's possible their descendants died out, sold the items, had the items stolen from them... infinite possibilities, honestly. It doesn't really need much of an explanation.

“When I extinguish the light and hope of this miserable world, you won’t remember any of this.” Which is actually quite anoddstatement to make, especially considering the later “Now my dark power will reign, and you six will bow to me!”

It doesn't make sense because Stygian is literally just a hurt kid who's lashing out. He's just angry, not planning any elaborate plan or genuinely thinking about consequences.

“The Appeloosian Wastes sure sounded dark and desolate.” Which would imply the Appleloosa name predates the city when it was explicitly founded in Year -1, which is outright bogus.

I mean, in the comics there's a range referred to as the Appaloosan Mountains (mispelled and the map itself is jossed by the official Equestrian map, but still). So the precedent for the town being named after the region is present.

“While it is an unconventional approach, I believe it could work.” Meadowbrook is an earth pony, but sheisversed in unicorn magic theory – she’slookingat Twilight’s notes as she says that.

Considering she made 8 enchanted items, and that Twilight previously misidentified her as a unicorn in Season 5, I had already assumed prior to this episode that Meadowbrook was very familiar with magical theory (especially since she's called "the sorceress from Hayseed Swamp" and was studied in Celestia's School).

“The Hollow Shades. I think a branch of the Apple family lives there.”

“They’d have to be pretty distant. The Hollow Shades was abandoned eons ago.”

But theydidRSVP during theApple Family Reunion! What theflaming hell,Applejack?

Conistency? What's that?

Rockhoof’s flashback story is strange, in that it presents the Sirens attacking a village, and being beaten into a portal with no mirror involved – the mirror basically has no reason to exist at all, if this version is correct.

The mirror being made by Star Swirl is entirely a fan/comic interpretation, so I see no issue with this. Literally, ANYONE ELSE could have created the mirror for a different purpose. It doesn't always have to be Star Swirl, or even have to tie directly into the narrative, to have a reason to exist. I mean, it'd be nice to know how Celestia acquired it, sure, but it's not really essential.

What isn’t, is that the Pony of Shadows apparently had a confrontation with the Pillars, but left everyone alive and well enough to attempt a summons and a banishment later, not to mention didn’t wreck the castle in the process. Why?

Likely because Stygian, being the Pony of Shadows, isn't a cold-blooded killer, and there's part of him that doesn't actually want his friends to die. (Also it's possible that any damages to the castle were repaired before the Nightmare incident 100 years later)

So does this mean that establishing a new friendship is not necessarily a proper solution to a problem presented by the Map? If it does, itisdifferent. And if it doesn’t, the Map may signal a return before the problem is actually solved.

Usually, the map quests are about REPAIRING a relationship that has been broken (though sometimes that does bleed into creating new friendships, as is the case with Griffonstone and the Smokey Mountains).

“I simply cannot believe how tall you’ve gotten!” Which would require a long period between the banishment of the Pony of Shadows and the Nightmare which can’t exist.

Please explain WHY said gap cannot exist. Here's the timeline I've constructed from what the show has shown us.

  1. Ponies settle down in Equestria (c. 1120 YA)
  2. Celestia and Luna become princesses in waiting (c. 1111 YA)
  3. Celestia and Luna raise the sun for the first time (1111 YA)
  4. The Pillars are formed (c. 1100 YA)
  5. Scorpan informs the princesses and Star Swirl of Tirek's intentions, and the Pillars banish him (c. 1100 YA; Note that it's never stated WHO banished Tirek to Tartarus, simply that "he was banished to Tartarus for his crimes", which is odd phrasing since Celestia took full credit for Nightmare Moon, Discord, and Sombra, yet not Tirek. In addition, Star Swirl is present, and therefore this happens before Stygian goes dark.)
  6. Stygian goes dark, and the Pillars vanish along with him (c. 1100 YA)
  7. Celestia and Luna grow up (c. 1100-1050 YA)
  8. Discord happens (c. 1050 YA)
  9. Sombra happens (c. 1050 YA)
  10. Nightmare Moon happens (1000 YA)

The only inconsistent detail above is the storybook of Tirek's defeat showing Luna and Celestia as adults. However, that might be the artist's fault rather than any real indication of their age.

Since Shadow Lock set out to destroy every mention of Stygian existing, and he did it not by selectively censoring pages and mentions, but by destroying entire books, culminating in the near indiscriminate destruction of literature on large scales, how is it that any stories mentioning the six pillar heroes – and Star Swirl – surviveat all,when they are the personalities most closely tied to Stygian’s story?

*sings an entire aria about why the comics are almost never canon unless directly mentioned by the show as real events (like FF#18 in PPOV)*

The comics cause more issues than they're worth, honestly.

4850791

I know this is a huge stretch, but maybe, just maybe, the Mighty Helm kept existing for quite a while after Rockhoof disappeared?

Up to the founding of Ponyville, sure: Ponyville is marked on their map.

Imagine you’re Star Swirl. You’re about to seal the pony of shadows away, but you’ll leave the keys right next to the cell in the process. Wouldn’t you want to have somepony drop by later to gank the items and send them to the corners of Equestria?

I would want one of the objects to be destroyed to prevent the recovery of the PoS entirely. We know this is possible because this is what happens: The book is destroyed. If Star Swirl was so forward-thinking as to arrange for someone to scatter the artifacts, why wasn’t he forward-thinking enough to destroy one or all of them and avoid the mess entirely?

It doesn’t make sense because Stygian is literally just a hurt kid who’s lashing out. He’s just angry, not planning any elaborate plan or genuinely thinking about consequences.

So why, exactly, is Star Swirl so adamant that he’s evil, then?

Considering she made 8 enchanted items, and that Twilight previously misidentified her as a unicorn in Season 5, I had already assumed prior to this episode that Meadowbrook was very familiar with magical theory (especially since she’s called “the sorceress from Hayseed Swamp” and was studied in Celestia’s School).

There is no evidence whatsoever Meadowbrook has made any of those 8 enchanted items, by the way.

Conistency? What’s that?

Something this episode buries and dances on the grave of, obviously.

Please explain WHY said gap cannot exist. Here’s the timeline I’ve constructed from what the show has shown us.

Well, for one…

Scorpan informs the princesses and Star Swirl of Tirek’s intentions, and the Pillars banish him (c. 1100 YA; Note that it’s never stated WHO banished Tirek to Tartarus, simply that “he was banished to Tartarus for his crimes”, which is odd phrasing since Celestia took full credit for Nightmare Moon, Discord, and Sombra, yet not Tirek. In addition, Star Swirl is present, and therefore this happens before Stygian goes dark.)

This is impossible: See my notes on Twilight’s Kingdom regarding the story told by Celestia and the visual aids for it, as well as the fact that unless Celestia carried that book around on the off chance she might read it aloud, it has to originate in the Crystal Empire library and be over 1000 years old. There is also no way for Star Swirl to be a young unicorn wizard at that point if this is when that story happens.

The comics cause more issues than they’re worth, honestly.

Sure, but this episode has issues even when you limit analysis to just the televised canon.

4850809

Ponyville is marked on their map.

No... it isn't. However, a landmark that presumably represents Everfree Castle is on the map, which I'm assuming you think is Ponyville for some reason. Either that, or it's a settlement that has since been long abandoned. There are only six obvious locations marked on the map: Hayseed Swamp, Somnambula, a location presumably meant to be the home of the Mighty Helm, a Greco-Roman location presumably meant to be Flash Magnus's home, a Chinese-inspired location that matches the location of Mistmane's home, and an unknown castle near Canterhorn. This castle area is likely where Star Swirl used to live if the other 5 locations are taken to be part of a running theme. The only castle we know of near there is the Castle of the Two Sisters, so it's logical to assume that the castle on the map is either that or a long-since-abandoned settlement where Star Swirl may have previously lived.

I would want one of the objects to be destroyed to prevent the recovery of the PoS entirely. We know this is possible because this is whathappens: The book is destroyed. If Star Swirl was so forward-thinking as to arrange for someone to scatter the artifacts, why wasn’t he forward-thinking enough to destroy one or all of them and avoid the mess entirely?

Fiction is FILLED with good guys like Star Swirl being massive idiots and hiding magic objects like these away instead of outright destroying them. While it's stupid as heck, it's honestly just something fantasy characters DO at this point.

So why, exactly, is Star Swirl so adamant that he’s evil, then?

We never actually are told about the PoS doing ANYTHING genuinely evil, nor do we see him doing anything genuinely evil. It sticks out like a sore thumb to the point that it makes me wonder if Star Swirl just immediately jumped to the conclusion that the guy with the Venom parasite weird black shadow goo was evil by default. Heck, it'd be in-character for him given how he reacted to Stygian stealing his stuff: he immediately assumed Stygian was doing an evil spell and didn't even let him explain himself. Star Swirl is just a massive dipsh*t, honestly.

There is also no way for Star Swirl to be a young unicorn wizard at that point if this is when that story happens.

There is a way, actually. A way described in quite some detail in a certain book, one that a certain recent episode based its lore on. In The Journal of the Two Sisters, which has since been partly jossed, Star Swirl's age fluctuates as he experiments with time travel spells.

As for your notes on 4x25 (and removing irrelevant bits about Scorpan's amulet)...

  • As she is done talking, the pictures we just saw an animatic of remain visible in the book, so I think we have to accept them as evidence as well, despite the usual shakiness of flashbacks. That said, this does not exclude the entire story from being a falsehood, but if that is the case, Luna is in on it.

The visuals can be explained by an artist's interpretation.

  • This is still the Crystal Empire. Unless Celestia hauls around this particular book on the off chance she might have to brief Twilight about Tirek, this book had to have come from the Crystal Empire library, and would necessarily be over a thousand years old.

Untrue. Unless the Crystal Empire has an embargo on importing new books from outside the empire, what you just claimed holds no water.

  • “Scorpan urged his brother to abandon their plans. When Tirek refused, Scorpan alerted us to Tirek’s intentions.” This phrase is delivered byLuna, whose memories of the events have to be magnitudes fresher, if any memories exist at all. And notice that he “alertedus” – emphasis mine. He didn’t alert Star Swirl, he didn’t alert the Pillars, he alerted the two princesses, because he liked Star Swirl. The illustration depicts Scorpan talking to both Celestia and Luna. Take this into account when trying to sort out the mess created byShadow Play.

This one is actually a good refutation. The best way I can make both parts of canon compatible is if I assume he alerted the princesses as a formality, OR if he alerted Star Swirl and the Princesses at the same time. Then, Star Swirl either banished Tirek himself, or Star Swirl called in the pillars to help him do the banishing.

4850932

However, a landmark that presumably represents Everfree Castle is on the map, which I’m assuming you think is Ponyville for some reason.

I need to study it at a higher resolution then, but – I’m sure you’ll agree the map is bloody odd.

Fiction is FILLED with good guys like Star Swirl being massive idiots and hiding magic objects like these away instead of outright destroying them. While it’s stupid as heck, it’s honestly just something fantasy characters DO at this point.

Sure. However, being smart enough to scatter the artifacts – not intended to be used at all, mind you! – and not being smart enough to destroy one of them is a very particular level of intellect to stop at. If it were impossible to destroy them, that would be the way to go, certainly, the issue arises because it is evident that destroying one of the key artifacts is possible.

Untrue. Unless the Crystal Empire has an embargo on importing new books from outside the empire, what you just claimed holds no water.

An embargo, probably not, but in this case it would be a very recent printing instead, ancient literature is not typically moved. And then it would become unlikely Twilight wasn’t already familiar with it: ~30 million living ponies can’t generate anywhere near the amount of literature 7 billion humans can, but Twilight appears to read at the rates and volumes consistent with a modern reader.

The best way I can make both parts of canon compatible is if I assume he alerted the princesses as a formality, OR if he alerted Star Swirl and the Princesses at the same time. Then, Star Swirl either banished Tirek himself, or Star Swirl called in the pillars to help him do the banishing.

I have a better solution, which these margins are too narrow to contain, and which also relies on specific assumptions regarding the nature of reality that most people won’t share… :raritywink:

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vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/mlp/images/0/0e/Ancient_map_of_Equestria_by_the_Mighty_Helm_S7E24.png/revision/latest/thumbnail-down/width/732/height/527?cb=20171022143356

Please, tell me where on this Mighty Helm map you see Ponyville. I'll wait.

An embargo, probably not, but in this case it would be a very recent printing instead, ancient literature is not typically moved. And then it would become unlikely Twilight wasn’t already familiar with it: ~30 million living ponies can’t generate anywhere near the amount of literature 7 billion humans can, but Twilight appears to read at the rates and volumes consistent with a modern reader.

And yet seven seasons later, Twilight constantly has to do research, often in her own library, indicating that she clearly HASN'T read every book ever (despite reading far more than 20,000 separate books). Twilight having missed a book here or there is perfectly fine considering Equestria seems to have an infinite supply of different books for her to read as the plot demands it.

4851337

Please, tell me where on this Mighty Helm map you see Ponyville. I’ll wait.

Sure.

The location of Ponyville is marked with a red circle. The expected location of the Crystal Empire is marked with a blue circle, notice there is nothing there at all.

Now, you have already said that what I think is Ponyville is the Castle of the Two Sisters. However, compare this to the modern map:

Modern Ponyville stops at the river. Which is where the red circle is. The Castle of the Two Sisters would have to be located somewhere within the Everfree Forest, probably – but not necessarily, since it’s location is never marked as such on any of the maps – where you see the ruins on this image. In any case, it would be south of the river.

On the Mighty Helm map, it would be somewhere around the dotted red circle.

4851352
Fair enough, but that's not enough evidence to say that the map depicts Ponyville. I mean, if a Native American had a map with a group of other Natives marked as living near modern-day Columbus, Ohio, would you say "Columbus existed 500+ years ago"? It's a bit presumptuous.

4851390

Fair enough, but that’s not enough evidence to say that the map depicts Ponyville. I mean, if a Native American had a map with a group of other Natives marked as living near modern-day Columbus, Ohio, would you say “Columbus existed 500+ years ago”? It’s a bit presumptuous.

Maybe. But here’s a thing: This was land unsettled up until ~80 years ago, as per Family Appreciation Day, so if it’s anything other than Ponyville, it’s a place very interesting indeed.

4851398
The land could have BECOME unsettled. 1000 years is a long time.

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