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Oliver


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

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Nov
11th
2017

Points of Canon: S4x24 - Equestria Games · 11:00pm Nov 11th, 2017

This is an odd one. It’s also a particularly cringy one, and I can’t stand cringe. But I need to get this one done before going on to the really interesting one, the season finale. Oh well.

  • Notice that everypony is doing their last moment training in a car completely devoid of seats. That had to have been added to the train specially.
  • “First off, who here besides me thinks this is the best Equestria Games delegation in Ponyville history?” I expect this means this is not the first such delegation, not that this would be surprising.
  • “I mean, we’re good and all, but we’re up against the Wonderbolts in the aerial relay, so gold’s kind of a stretch.” Notice that according to Rainbow, everyone else does have a shot at a gold medal, which would imply that the Wonderbolts only compete in the aerial relay this time. But that’s only three Wonderbolts, when we know they have quite a few more on their roster. Any particular reason why they couldn’t also join teams for other events?
  • There is actually only one non-pegasus competitor on the Ponyville delegation, or at least, only one present in the car: Lucky Clover. Which is strange, because Equestria Games are apparently not big on solo events, as observed in Flight to the Finish. We never actually see anyone else, so who won all those gold medals they cite in the end?
  • “And what about the flagpole?” “In with the portable ramp!” You would think a flagpole would be provided. In any case, it would have to be collapsible.
  • Two crystal guards grab Spike for delivery in a vehicle previously never seen, which never appears again – a chair they carry between them. They bungle the delivery immediately, as they drop him when trying to bow to the princesses. Looks like this was a new idea that never actually took root.
  • “We’ll have our hoofponies go back for your bags.” Hoof what now? Oh, you mean handmaidens.
  • Most crystal ponies seen throughout this episode are in their crystal state – but not all. I expect those would be the ones who recently returned to the Empire, having bled off the charge.
  • “Last time you were here, you got the Crystal Heart to Princess Cadance in time to save this entire empire from destruction!” Twilight is not aware of Spike’s brief visit to the Empire during Just For Sidekicks, and he definitely never made another visit between this episode and The Crystal Empire. This forms a hard chronology lock on every later episode that has Spike end up in the Crystal Empire which could conceivably fall through back to Season 4, though I can’t tell you offhand if any exist.
  • “You are known throughout my empire as ‘Great and Honorable Spike the Brave and Glorious.’” Notice “my empire.”
  • “You’re a big shot here, Spike! See that? That’s you!” Twinkleshine obviously couldn’t miss Equestria Games, could she. Notice also a crystal pony taking pictures of the statue.
  • “You’d be the very first dragon in the history of the Equestria Games to do so.” Considering that it’s very probable that no dragon has ever attended the Games either, that’s got to be a lot of firsts in one fell swoop.
  • Shining Armor couldn’t find anything nicer to wear for the Games than his Captain of the Royal Guard armor. Not even the dress uniform he wore for the wedding.
  • 9 flag carrying teams are visible, though we can’t tell if there were any more or not. The Olympic Games opening ceremonies typically take quite a few hours…
  • The royal booth.

    • The four princess seats are all identical in size – if anything, Cadance’s is a tiny bit bigger – and personalized with their cutie marks and colors.
    • The second row consists of Saddle Arabians and Maretonians separated by Blueblood, which makes sense if we remember Friends Forever #26, where Blueblood is positioned as a diplomat, so he’s probably doing his job here. This interpretation would involve Maretonians being foreigners. See RTAC #12.
    • The third row, however, is the oddest one, because it contains Mayor Mare, Fancy Pants, Fleur, Cherry Jubilee and two more Maretonians of lower rank. How exactly does that work, I have no idea whatsoever.
  • Actually, here’s a puzzler: In Twilight’s Kingdom, Twilight laments having to smile and wave to the Maretonians – but they appear in the Crystal Empire to fanfare, which would be silly right after they had just attended Equestria Games. I suspect this means we must squeeze Equestria Games into a gap between the four-princess-song and Celestia getting a vision – but then, Rainbow Dash can’t be there to greet participate, because she arrives with the Ponyville team. Unless there’s another gap, this time, in Equestria Games. In which case, for a properly chronological order of events, you’d have to cross-cut these episodes. Not the first time this sort of thing happens in Season 4, mind you – compare to Daring Don’t.
  • “Mr. the Dragon, are you coming?” Notice the use of the species qualifier like one would use a last name – even though, only a subset of ponies even has anything resembling a last name.
  • Flags:

    • Cloudsdale flag is two clouds and a rainbow on light blue.
    • Red apple over a green star on yellow is probably Appleloosa.
    • Crystal Empire’s snowflake is unchanged from The Crystal Empire.
    • A wheel with cherries on yellow has to be Dodge Junction.
    • I can’t identify the flag which has sun, moon and two stars on purple, though I suspect it’s Canterlot.
    • There’s a flag with a claw and a white lightning bolt on purple. It belongs to whichever griffon city that they’re showing the team from, because they are later seen wearing wristbands with the same symbol during the relay competition. Notice that nothing even remotely similar is associated with Griffonstone in The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone.
    • Two more flags for which I can’t figure out what they look like, an orange and a blue one.
    • Notice that all the flags are done distinctly in the same style.
  • “Count to ten. One… two… three… thousand… fourteen thousand… Twenty thousand…! Thirty thousand…!” I wonder if we can treat this as an estimate for the size of the stadium or not.
  • “Did you bring a match?” We never actually see ponies use matches, but they wouldn’t have made the cartoon resolution anyway, most likely.
  • Luna yawns. Way past her bedtime, probably.
  • “Somepony go down and help him!” The guard rushing to help Spike is a royal guard, not a crystal guard.
  • Twilight ends up lighting the fire herself. Notice that this involves a relatively small increase in temperature – but across at least half the stadium.
  • The flame starts out the usual orange, but quickly transitions to blue. You can normally see this kind of flame on a gas stove, but that involves a specific air-to-fuel ratio, otherwise it goes orange again. What are they burning?
  • “How did you do that?” Well, Harshwhinny was right there and didn’t notice anything, so it’s likely nopony did.
  • Remember that building that I called a gymnasium, attached to the castle by a gallery, in Games Ponies Play? I think the storyboard artist wants us to believe it is one and the same with the big stadium we just saw from the inside, because that’s the building the spectators are leaving. Which looks really bogus.
  • “Made me sit up proud like a cornstalk in August!” Ponies have a month named August. Strange, but true.
  • “Why would I be upset to discover I can light fire… with my mind?” And then Spike proceeds to try doing this repeatedly, attempts telepathy, and gets really disappointed. Psychic powers – distinct from magic – are a subject of pony fiction, if not pony reality.
  • “O Great and Honorable Spike the Brave and Glorious, can I get your autograph?” Notice Neighls Bohr once again, he gets a speaking part. His cutie mark for nuclear physics is less obvious this time around, since he’s in a crystal state, but yes, it’s there.
  • A security pony is wearing an earpiece again. Notice also the distinctive uniform, which I believe is unique to this episode.
  • “Unicorns will no longer be admitted without a disabling spell, to prevent cheating.” Magic capable of disabling a unicorn’s spellcasting exists, and does not involve affixing any devices to a unicorn. No known limitations, though there’s probably at least a time limit, and likely, a maximum absorbed power limit as well.
  • So I wonder. Are there any competitions for the unicorns?… Because this would imply there aren’t, and we only see a scant few unicorn competitors. That’s not very friendly.
  • “And make sure you don’t even try casting a spell, or we’ll know it.” What would be the point knowing if they can’t cast a spell, though?
  • “If Ponyville medals here, we’ll have eight medals so far, putting us tied for the lead with Cloudsdale!” So at the very least 8 events have completed by that point. That would take most of a day, wouldn’t it?
  • Rainbow is at least 30% faster than any other competitor. That’s quite a gap!
  • “Ugh, for pony’s sake!” Which pony’s, I wonder.
  • “Next thing you know, you’ll be asking to put on a rock concert.” Rock music exists. But we knew that…
  • “The Cloudsdale anthem?” Every competing region has an anthem. See “Crystal Kingdom anthem” in The Crystal Empire.
  • Notice the pegasus with the stage light.
  • Mass facehoofing at least certifies that ponies facehoof.
  • “But you’ve been moping in here for almost the entire Games.” Actually, where is that room? It contains two large double beds. Does Spike get one and Twilight get the other?…
  • “Which means we leave tomorrow. Ergo, the packing.” Latin! Actually, that would be the earliest occurrence of Pony Latin, wouldn’t it? And notice that it’s Spike using it.
  • “And so the Games conclude as they always do, with the ice archery finals!” So this is not anything special, but a traditional last event. But why ice?… Also, for that matter, this is a solo event, because Rainbow says that the two Cloudsdale competitors can both place. Notice that more than one competitor per region is allowed in solo events.
  • “Ponyville has thirty seven medals, and Cloudsdale thirty six, so looks like we’ll be medal champs of the Games anyway!” That’s quite a bloody lot of distinct events. Even assuming there were more solo events, you can’t win more than one gold medal per event, right? So the total would be 73 even assuming that Ponyville and Cloudsdale collectively got every gold medal, which is unlikely.
  • “Omigoshomigoshomigoshomigosh!” Mon Dieu.
  • “Actually, I was looking for Spike.” And not Twinkleshine, which is right next to Twilight at the moment.
  • Ice archery seems to involve not just ice arrows, but also ice bows. They certainly don’t look like regular bows. And in contrast to the bows seen in Daring Don’t, they’re used by holding them in a special mount on the ground. I expect this is related to their function: “Those aren’t your average arrows. They freeze whatever part of the target they hit. Whoever encases their entire target in ice first wins.” This would make them a mass-produced magical weapon, wouldn’t it?
  • So the arrow hits a cloud and prompts rapid icing of said cloud. But here’s a question: The likelihood of the arrow going sideways, rather than up, should be a lot higher, that involves less energy. Wouldn’t the ice arrow kill a spectator in that case? Were there precautions against such an outcome? This sounds like negligence and using an arena-type stadium for an event it’s entirely unsuited for…
  • “Somepony cut the disabling spell!” The unicorn disabling spell requires maintenance and can be turned off centrally.
  • Spike melts the cloud. Now, we can be sure that the cloud did not turn into a solid block of ice, or there’s no doubt it wouldn’t be descending so slowly: there was enough cloud left to keep it aloft. But even then, considering what we saw of pegasi previously, this would involve multiple metric tons of ice, otherwise they would have no problems steering the cloud, or even tossing it out of the stadium. Spike melts it in seconds and vaporizes most of the water. The energy required to do that is quite substantial.
  • Spike narrates a Friendship Journal record, but we never see him writing.

…I would say I need to lie down after that, if I weren’t already lying down. That was difficult.

Some analysis

#1: Well, everyone has their own take on why the princesses, who apparently weren’t subjected to the disabling spell, and could probably burn it out even if they were, did not do anything. What’s yours?

#2: It sounds to me that the events have to occur in this very specific order:

  1. The Mane 6 sans Rainbow and Spike arrive to the Crystal Empire, untelevised.
  2. Rainbow arrives to the Crystal Empire with the Ponyville team and Spike, as per Equestria Games, something like a week ahead of the Games. Immediately as they disembark and Spike is brought before Twilight and Cadance, the episode cuts.
  3. Twilight’s Kingdom starts. Spike returns with the Mane 5 to pick up Rainbow. The Maretonian delegation arrives, and is greeted with fanfare. Presumably, the Saddle Arabian delegation arrives in the same time period, and is also greeted with fanfare, but we never see that. The time before the Games is spent in various discussions. Once the princesses have a song, the episode cuts.
  4. Equestria Games continues where it left off, up until it ends.
  5. Twilight’s Kingdom continues where it left off, Celestia has her vision.

It’s a bit of a stretch, but it makes more sense than simply watching them one after the other, for sure. In total, the Mane 6 would have spent something like three weeks straight in the Crystal Empire uninterrupted.

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Comments ( 9 )

“Mr. the Dragon, are you coming?” Notice the use of the species qualifier like one would use a last name – even though, only a subset of ponies even has anything resembling a last name.

Cf. "Rarity the Unicorn" in Ticket Master. Perhaps it's an older naming convention that dates back to before the Crystal Empire's disappearance?

  • “And make sure you don’t even try casting a spell, or we’ll know it.” What would be the point knowing if they can’t cast a spell, though?

Further evidence that a sufficiently powerful unicorn could break the restraint. It can’t definitely stop every unicorn from using magic, but it can inform the guards so they can kick out anypony who does break out.

Alternately, when a restrained unicorn tries to use magic, the resulting feedback is a distracting eyesore to everypony around them. “Don’t use magic during the show”—aside from being an anti-cheating measure—is the Equestrian equivalent of “Don’t text on your phone during the movie.”

The third row, however, is the oddest one, because it contains Mayor Mare, Fancy Pants, Fleur, Cherry Jubilee and two more Maretonians of lower rank. How exactly does that work, I have no idea whatsoever.

Non-Princess civic leaders:
Ponyville: Mayor Mare
Canterlot: Fancy Pants+1
Appleloosa: Cherry Jubilee
Maretonians: ??? Well, they did come such a long way... :duck:

I too was annoyed at how cringy this episode was; it reminded me of the British version of The Office. That said a rather valuable haul of lore here.

Shining Armor couldn’t find anything nicer to wear for the Games than his Captain of the Royal Guard armor. Not even the dress uniform he wore for the wedding.

Maybe a political statement to the foreign delegates, to remind them how close Equestria and the Crystal Empire are.

The royal booth.

Ah, the canon treasure trove!

The four princess seats are all identical in size – if anything, Cadance’s is a tiny bit bigger – and personalized with their cutie marks and colors.

She's the host.

The second row consists of Saddle Arabians and Maretonians separated by Blueblood, which makes sense if we remember Friends Forever #26, where Blueblood is positioned as a diplomat .

Yup, BB looks like he is pretty similar to Secretary of State. Which makes a lot of sense, historically the head ambassadors were usually important nobility and the family of their ruler, so foreign leaders could feel confident they were dealing with someone who could negotiate fairly by speaking on behalf of the ruler.

The third row, however, is the oddest one, because it contains Mayor Mare, Fancy Pants, Fleur, Cherry Jubilee and two more Maretonians of lower rank.

I'm not sure those two are also Maretonians. They wandered in after the Duke and Duchess in the next episode, but only the Duke and Duchess were announced, not even "and party." I suspect they may be mayors, or one is a mayor and the other is their spouse, like Mayor Mare, Fancy Pants and his spouse, and Mayor Jubilee.

Notice that nothing even remotely similar is associated with Griffonstone in The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone.

Yeah, I have to believe there's another city of griffons out there in Equestria proper, presumably the city that sent a delegate to the Grand Princess Summit. Griffonstone is in a state of total anarchy until at least S6, how can they be fielding an Olympic team? (Unless it's like the Somali Olympic team, and made up of migrant Griffons, funded by Equestrian donations). But then if foreign griffons can compete, why isn't there a Saddle Arabian or Maretonian delegation?

“Unicorns will no longer be admitted without a disabling spell, to prevent cheating.” Magic capable of disabling a unicorn’s spellcasting exists, and does not involve affixing any devices to a unicorn. No known limitations, though there’s probably at least a time limit, and likely, a maximum absorbed power limit as well.

I dunno about the maximum power limit, a stadium 1/3rd full of unicorns and 4 alicorns is pretty much all the power you could ever absorb. Also, notice how the guard seemed kind of snotty and Rarity was surprised by this? I think some unicorn actually did try to cheat, and they only broke out this thing in response.

So I wonder. Are there any competitions for the unicorns?… Because this would imply there aren’t, and we only see a scant few unicorn competitors. That’s not very friendly.

Well, the Crystal Ponies have lingering issues with unicorn magic (as far as they know, Sombra was a unicorn). But my guess is that the unicorn events are all finished, but yesterday some unicorn tried to cheat, so they are breaking out the anti-magic device for the final day.

But even then, considering what we saw of pegasi previously, this would involve multiple metric tons of ice, otherwise they would have no problems steering the cloud, or even tossing it out of the stadium.

Remember, the cloud is basically water vapor pumped full of Equestrian magic, so it might be clouds are uniquely susceptible to the ice arrows in a way everything else isn't. Those clouds had to be pumped so full of Pegasi magic that they could be pushed through the Crystal Heart barrier in the first place.

#1: Well, everyone has their own take on why the princesses, who apparently weren’t subjected to the disabling spell, and could probably burn it out even if they were, did not do anything. What’s yours?

My take is they were subject to the disabling spell, but the spell was cast only on the last day, not earlier when for example Twilight needed to light the torch.

#2: It sounds to me that the events have to occur in this very specific order:

This order makes perfect sense to me.

4723310 I think if a sufficiently powerful unicorn or alicorn could break the spell, they would have in the face of dozens of ponies about to be squashed. It's one of the advantages of seeing combat in lore-building, you can always assume some character has secret abilities they are holding back, but if they or someone is about to die and there is nothing they do to prevent it (assuming they're not a sociopath), then they're not holding back any secret abilities.

4723557

I think if a sufficiently powerful unicorn or alicorn could break the spell, they would have in the face of dozens of ponies about to be squashed.

If we assume that breaking can be done in just a few seconds. I figured that Twilight could have broken the restraint, but it would have taken minutes, and the ice-cloud would have crashed by the time she was free.

4723895 That's a good point. They explicitly say it takes time to cut the spell, so it might be that it would take the alicorns only a minute to break it.

4723557

Olympic Team

In my opinion Equestria games less like Olympics and more like Commonwealth games.

“Ponyville has thirty seven medals, and Cloudsdale thirty six, so looks like we’ll be medal champs of the Games anyway!” That’s quite a bloody lot of distinct events.

Not at all unreasonable for real multi-sport events. The 2016 Olympics had 306 gold medal events. The top two finishers, USA and GBR, had 46 and 27 golds respectively, which, coincidentally, gives them the same total between them as the top two Equestria Games finishers, 73. Besides, did they actually specify that the Ponyville and Cloudsdale counts were just golds and not total medal counts?

4743349

Besides, did they actually specify that the Ponyville and Cloudsdale counts were just golds and not total medal counts?

They didn’t. Still, quite a lot of events, considering athletes are only allowed to participate in one each. :)

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