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Oliver


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

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Mar
24th
2018

Points of Canon: S8x01-02 - School Daze · 8:41pm Mar 24th, 2018

Spoiler warning yadda yadda.

The very first thing that comes to my mind when hearing this episode title is…

Nice Boat. Somehow, I doubt that was what they wanted to imply.

With that out of the way, let’s continue.

  • Chronologically, this two-parter does everything to acknowledge My Little Pony The Movie as canon, and contains copious references to events of the movie as well as entities introduced in the movie. As such, I’m going to have to do a PoC on the movie soonish to fix the collection. At the same time, while it clearly wants to stick the movie between Season 7 and Season 8, it permits us no clear way to identify just how much time has passed between them, when previously, Equestria Girls movies would prefer to time themselves down to a week, and sometimes, between individual scenes of TV episodes.
  • Rarity refers to Klugetown slave trade, Rainbow refers to Celaeno and her pirates, Pinkie mentions Mount Aris.
  • Notably, Starlight was not aware of all the details of this adventure, and does not remember Tempest Shadow’s name. Her presence in the movie itself is limited to a few frames, but they do place her squarely in Canterlot, so I wonder what exactly was the deal and where did she run off with Trixie while the mess was going on.
  • “Tempest? I invited her to come to Ponyville, but she wanted to spread the word of the Storm King’s defeat, and share what she learned about friendship.”

    • Even Twilight doesn’t call Fizzlepop Berrytwist by her real name.
    • Apparently, Fizzlepop got away without even a parole. What’s up with that?
  • “How many friendship quests do you think we need to to go on before we have to expand the throne room?”

    • Pinkie uses a metallic measuring tape, which I already covered in prior PoC. Further antics include a jackhammer.
    • Notice that the map table did not become bigger, at that.
  • “I mean, the world is filled so many different creatures who know nothing about friendship.” …Honestly, I’m not sure which is worse, the cutie imperialism Twilight professes with this statement, or the subsequent stance that EEA takes.
  • The cold open ends with a decision to open a school. By the time we actually see it, the school is fully built, which had to have taken a considerable time, but we don’t know how much.
  • Celestia receives Twilight in the building we know to be her School for Gifted Unicorns, and notably, all the foals seen inside whose rumps are visible are mark-less. And the globe we last saw in there is still there.
  • This dialog needs to be quoted in full.

    “The EEA? I’ve never heard of that.”

    “Of course not, you’ve never run a school before. The Equestria Education Association is a board of learned ponies that oversee every school in Equestria.”

    “Even your school?! But you’re… you!”

    “Not even a princess can do whatever she likes when it comes to shaping young pony minds. The EEA ensures that whether it’s unicorns studying magic, pegasi learning weather, or earth ponies researching agriculture, all schools are held to the same high standard. They need to approve your plan before you move forward.”

    • How exactly did Twilight avoid hearing about Equestria Education Association is anyone’s guess.
    • This is the first solid primary canon example of an organization that even Celestia has to answer to within a specific sphere, and notice that it’s domestic, not international. Bye-bye enlightened absolutism.
    • …Wait, so who appoints ponies to EEA?
    • Notice that no mention is made of standards in studying science. Or education in magic or weather being open to, for example, earth ponies. I don’t like the sound of that.
  • Chancelor Neighsay is the current head of EEA, or so it appears. Notably, he’s probably the first character to acknowledge that Equestria owes Twilight anything, other than Luna. Of course, this comes with a “But.”
  • “A school for ponies to learn how to protect themselves.” Throughout the entire episode Neighsay is an exemplary pony supremacist, right from his first lines.
  • The school entry hall is decorated with heads of the Pillars. Hopefully, it means someone turned them to stone for the purpose, but we probably won’t be so lucky.
  • Twilight didn’t tell anyone that she’s accepting international students, not even the Mane 6, never mind the EEA. Later, Neighsay takes objection to seeing foreign students the moment he finds out they exist.
  • We never get a chance to properly count the students as they enter, but the amount of handout folders on the table is easier to count: There’s 22 of them.
  • “I’m your headmare Twilight Sparkle.” Ponies don’t use the word “principal” to refer to the head of a school. This is important for Hypothesis #3.
  • “Please follow guidance counselor Starlight to sign in and get your class assignments.” In most of our jurisdictions, a school counselor is a profession that requires licensing. I wonder, just how did Twilight sneak Starlight through the EEA? Because they would be the ones doing the licensing.
  • “Then we can show you your living quarters.” I.e. it’s a boarding school.
  • Gallus has a very unusual coloration for a Griffonstone griffon. Even the griffons who competed in Equestria Games did not include one so brightly colored, and I’m sure those were Equestrian. Nevertheless, he is definitely either from Griffonstone proper or spent a substantial time there, as he refers to Gilda telling him about Rainbow Dash, and Grampa Gruff has some manner of power of guardianship over him. Notice, he does not refer to Gabby. Also, as seen during the song montage, he’s left-clawed.
  • “Grampa Gruff? What are you doing here?” While other foreign students are introduced by known heads or top brass of their respective governments, Gruff’s status is never adequately explained. Is he on the Regency Council of Griffonstone or something?…
  • “Why am I here?” “Because, as Dragon Lord, I’m ordering you to be here.” Ember’s power is indeed absolute, she is empowered to send unwilling volunteers to – gasp! – learn friendship.
  • Ocellus is a unique changeling in that she is at least two times smaller than any newtype changeling seen prior. I’d love to know when and how was she born. Seeing how shy she is, I really wonder just how did she end up as a student.
  • Silverstream is “the queen’s niece” which would in at least some cases make her a princess, but this is not cited as her title. I also wonder why is she getting introduced by a general, rather than any other kind of official.
  • The events of the montage cover at least one day-night change, but we don’t know how long exactly. Throughout the song montage, numerous examples of extremely specialized quasi-mathematical syntax are presented, most of which are pretty much impossible to decipher. Applejack’s lecture is notable in that it includes posters with a crossed out strawberry and a crossed out orange. Poor Aunt and Uncle Orange.
  • EEA rules are never detailed, but apparently they don’t just preclude the use of cannons in class, they are also strictly regulate all kind of practical activity, as throughout the montage, all that Twilight’s doing is aborting practical exercises and replacing them with purely theoretical versions. Notice that this implies that Cherilee’s lesson regarding loop-de-hoop as seen in Cutie Pox is against regulations.
  • I don’t know what branching circular diagram on Fluttershy’s blackboard is, but it looks like a tree of life – which implies ponies have theories on the evolution of the species, if that is indeed what it is. I can’t think what else could it be.
  • “Can’t teach being honest, not sure what to do.” Applejack chose to depict lies as a long nose, which requires a famous fairytale equivalent to Pinocchio to exist.
  • The school corridor already has a trophy case, which contains 12 trophies of various description. I hope most of those were donated by Rainbow Dash.
  • “Listen, these ponies saved all of us from the Storm King.” Nobody even remembers Tirek, Discord and Nightmare Moon anymore, do they?
  • I question the point of a bookcase in a public corridor, but the school has a lot of these. Is that a thing in any other boarding school?
  • One of the corridor objects is a globe – with continents, so it has to be the Pony Earth – as part of an orrery setup. Beyond the sun, we can see two moons, one apparently orbiting the other. A normally invisible second moon is one possible way to produce moon phases in the known system, see RTAC #7.
  • Ocellus can’t act worth a damn, but Fluttershy is fooled anyway.
  • Neighsay is the first user of portals instead of teleportation on record. Why exactly is this a thing is never explained, of course. Notice that his aura color does not match the color of the portal – apparently, whatever is generating it is on the other side.
  • “And that’s why griffons breathe fire when they get mad.” Remember Griffon the Brush Off? Gallus wants to convince us this wasn’t a visual gag. Whether he’s truthful or not remains uncertain.
  • “Rainbow Dash, why aren’t you in class teaching?” “Because my students are gone!” Rainbow is talking as if all her students are gone, but we know that only the five foreign students and their pony friend are gone. I wonder just how exactly did they split their students into classes.
  • “Look at the time! We’d better head to the lake for Friends and Family day.” Twilight uses a pocket watch sans obvious pockets. See cartoon resolution.
  • While maneuvering in her megainsect form, Ocellus smashes into one of the auxiliary buildings. She destroys the building – indicating that her mass corresponds to the shape seen, but notably, her trajectory would take her through a fleeing pegasus. Said pegasus continues flying as if nothing happened. I call animation error.
  • “But you said you were opening this school to protect Equestria! To defend ponies from dangerous creatures, who don’t have our best interests at heart!” Neighsay is openly pointing at every foreign representative when he’s saying that. Now, changelings and yaks, not to mention dragons, I can understand, relations with those were tense at the best of times. But hippogriffs and griffons?…
  • “Princess Celestia helped me reach out to all the kingdoms.” At least Celestia was aware of Twilight’s initiative. I wonder why didn’t she anticipate that EEA would be against.
  • Neighsay uses his seal of office as part of the spell sealing the school. Specifically, it looks like the spell starts in his seal, but is actually cast from his horn. This is the only similar incident so far.
  • “By order of the EEA, I’m shutting this school down.” Actually, is he even allowed to do this? The school was only provisionally accredited up to this point. Logically, the legally correct action would be to revoke the provisional accreditation, which is not really equivalent to locking a building, there’s no way he is allowed to close anything that isn’t a fully accredited school. Never mind that he is obviously biased, so he did it because he wanted to, someone should have called him on it right then and there.
  • Twilight’s bedroom contains at least 15 different pillows this time. I challenge you to explain just how this happened.
  • “I’m supposed to be the Princess of Friendship! And all I did was make enemies with Equestria’s allies, upset my friends and get my school unaccredited!” Notice the use of the term “allies.”
  • “What you need is a double dose of Granny Smith’s apple mash!” A wooden spoon, which Applejack holds in her teeth to feed Twilight.
  • “I find that nothing brightens my mood like a new ensemble!” This is probably the worst Rarity dress on record. Even the result of the stress sewing looked more tasteful.
  • “Confetti cannons for every creature?!” Pinkie prepared a personalized cannon for everyone, including Spike and Starlight. That’s a lot of partillery.
  • “The creatures from the other kingdoms seem pretty upset with us.” Indirectly, that is a statement that Griffonstone is an “other kingdom,” in case we needed a new one.
  • The choice of whom to send where is rather strange: Fluttershy is sent to the changelings, when you would expect Starlight, Rarity goes to the dragons without even taking Spike, and Applejack goes to hippogriffs because who else.
  • The throne room, for once, looks like it did in the movie, more or less. This is by itself a chronology marker.
  • “The Changeling Empire can’t afford an international incident.” Since when did the Changeling Kingdom become an Empire? Did they manage to put up a shield over the hive? See my pet theories on what the word “empire” means.
  • Basically the only reason the extended Mane Cast discuss the missing students in Sugarcube, rather than in their throne room, is for Sandbar to stumble in and give them away.
  • “Shrimps can attack?” “Nope. That’s why nopony expects it.” Shrimps cannot attack. Not a given!
  • Notice that Sandbar came bearing a coupon of some kind, which looks like a ticket with a tear-away tab. This could be the fabled “credit” from “cash or credit” as cited all the way back in Call of the Cutie, but more likely, it’s a proof of pre-order document, since Pinkie doesn’t even ask him what he wanted.
  • Stunned, Sandbar doesn’t even think to put the cupcake boxes on his back.
  • “I remembered it from class. Princess Twilight’s ‘History of Pre-Equestrian Friendships.’” I really wonder what else was in this class beside the Sisters.
  • Silverstream has just found stairs. Even though they definitely spent the entire day in the castle and she had to have passed these same stairs, as well as multiple other cases of stairs, multiple times during the day. No comments.
  • “We don’t have anything like them underwater, cause, you know, no way to climb them.” Silverstream is capable of shifting between seapony and hippogriff forms at will.
  • “What is that thing?” Sandbar has not encountered a puckwedgie krite before, which implies he probably isn’t a Ponyville native. This thing is most definitely a krite, down to the projectile spines, and is exactly as destructive. Krites are native to Everfree. I wonder, who keeps their population under control. A HiE featuring Charlie McFadden in three, two, one… That said, it’s interesting why they haven’t been observed in the Castle of the Two Sisters area on any of the prior visits.
  • Starlight and Twilight cast one targeted repulsor shield spell together. I’m pretty sure cooperative casting of this kind hasn’t been shown before.
  • It’s pretty strange that when shooting krites from a cannon, Pinkie did not conveniently forget to equip them with parachutes. Because they keep popping up throughout the subsequent conversation.
  • Neighsay evidently has some magical means to know when the seal he installed is broken, but cannot identify who did it without asking.
  • “I should know. I wrote the book!” Notice that Twilight’s book contains at least four times more rules than the EEA book.
  • “I seem to recall something about earth ponies, unicorns and pegasi doing something similar. Don’t you?” Actually, no, I don’t. The only other school seen in detail, beyond the specialized SGU, is the Ponyville school, and that is co-ed by necessity rather than design, and does not appear to follow EEA rules very closely either.
  • The end of episode group photo contains only 18 students, not 22. For some reason, they called Photo Finish to do this.
  • The scenes are obviously presented out of order: The song montage shows things that have not yet happened, as it is interrupted by Ember insisting they stop singing.

We’ve seen much worse season openers, to be sure, but I’m not sure I particularly like the direction this is going in.

Also, I think I know why Twilight was so afraid of being sent back to the magic kindergarten now.

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Comments ( 46 )

Twilight’s bedroom contains at least 15 different pillows this time. I challenge you to explain just how this happened.

She may have bought them specifically for that purpose, grabbing every pillow, say, Barnyard Bargains had in stock.

“Shrimps can attack?” “Nope. That’s why nopony expects it.” Shrimps cannot attack. Not a given!

Some species can't, anyway. I'm still hoping/dreading the day Balitmare gets attacked by a giant mantis shrimp.

Starlight and Twilight cast one targeted repulsor shield spell together. I’m pretty sure cooperative casting of this kind hasn’t been shown before.

... You do remember the climax of "A Canterlot Wedding," right?

“I seem to recall something about earth ponies, unicorns and pegasi doing something similar. Don’t you?” Actually, no, I don’t. The only other school seen in detail, beyond the specialized SGU, is the Ponyville school, and that is co-ed by necessity rather than design, and does not appear to follow EEA rules very closely either.

I assume she was referring integration in general. Hence the "something similar" hedge.

The end of episode group photo contains only 18 students, not 22. For some reason, they called Photo Finish to do this.

At this rate, I'm beginning to suspect that Photo Finish is the only photographer in Equestria. Well, her and Featherweight.

How exactly did Twilight avoid hearing about Equestria Education Association is anyone’s guess.

I couldn't tell you what my alma mater's accrediting agency is named off of the top of my head, and they came down on Penn State like a ton of bricks in the wake of the Sandusky scandal. But then, Equestria apparently has only one accrediting authority, so eh. A push.

don’t know what branching circular diagram on Fluttershy’s blackboard is, but itlookslikea tree of life– which implies ponies have theories on the evolution of the species, if that is indeed what it is. I can’t think what else could it be.

Majin Syeekoh found this reference image which is almost certainly what they were using.

Pinkie prepared a personalized cannon for everyone, including Spike and Starlight. That’s a lot of partillery.

It's a friendship battery!

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… You do remember the climax of “A Canterlot Wedding,” right?

Yes. I do not believe that what happened there is the same, because it is immediately preceded by Twilight saying “Perform your spell!” Obviously, she can’t say this to Cadance, right?

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It’s a friendship battery!

We just need a friendship assault and we’re all set!

This is the first solid primary canon example of an organization that even Celestia has to answer to within a specific sphere, and notice that it’s domestic, not international.

Hard to say how exactly that works. We never see any princesses superiors before and never see any regulators before. So there a chance that it Celestia who chose by her own will to accept them as her superiors in terms of educations to give EEA real power.

Silverstream is capable of shifting between seapony and hippogriff forms at will.

She has a shard of that pearl. Nova split her magical pearl into many-many parts and every hippogriff got one.

Apparently, Fizzlepop got away without even a parole

Well, let's see. She'd previously renounced her Equestrian citizenship. She might have had a Storm citizenship, but whatever polity the Storm King ruled (if any) would have ended with him. That would leave Tempest stateless. By the same token, Tempest might have been a prisoner of war, but that status would have ended with the war, and being stateless, the appropriate punishment for her would actually have been deportation or exile. Which she's apparently okay with because it matches her current life goals, just the same way that Starlight was okay with her parole. Presumably she can re-apply for Equestrian citizenship at some point.

4824309

I couldn't tell you what my alma mater's accrediting agency is named off of the top of my head

I can tell you off the top of my head that every institution I've ever attended has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges & Schools.* Middle States is, through its Commission on Higher Education, also Penn State's accreditation organization.

What it is not is a government department. Middle States, as the name implies, is an association to which schools in the Middle States** affiliate and pay dues, and which establishes standards for and accredits (or doesn't) its members. I suspect the reason the EEA doesn't answer to Princess Celestia is that it is likewise not a government department, but an association of schools.*** It would also go a long way to explaining how Twilight can do what she does at the end. She's set up her own (fairly fictitious) accreditation agency, to which her school is (presently) the only affiliate. It might even be more quasi-governmental than the EEA, because of the much more prominent role that Twilight (and her crown funds which also fund the only member school) play in it than Celestia plays in the EEA.

* My law school was also accredited by the American Bar Association, but being accredited by a professional association is a matter for professional schools. TSSF would seem to be a general-curriculum school and only need the one accreditation.
* Basically, the "Middle States" are the states bounded by the Hudson River, Atlantic Ocean, Patomac River (previously the Mason-Dixon Line), the Ohio River, and the Great Lakes. So NY, NJ, and PA (itself the "Keystone state"), and with cultural changes between the Civil War and World War II, MD, DE, and DC as well. Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands get lumped in in this specific instance for want of anywhere else to lump them.
** Its name, "association" rather than "administration," and Celestia's description of "a board of learned ponies" - presumably former/retired educators - both also bolster that theory.

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For the same reason, Tempest might have been a prisoner of war, but that status ends after the war, and being stateless herself, the appropriate punishment would actually have been deportation or exile. Which she’s apparently okay with.

Nice save.

“Shrimps can attack?”

This bugged me because Fluttershy would know full well that Pinkie is talking nonsense, and should have just called her on it.

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For the record, I have deliberately refrained from being specifically critical about the episode, we have Present Perfect for that.

I don’t find it quite as abhorrent as he does, but I do find it underwhelming. A lot more could be done with the premise.

4824388
This gets a compliment and not the spiel on the MSA?

Eh, I'll take what I can get, with whatever grace I can muster. Thank you. :twilightsmile:

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This gets a compliment and not the spiel on the MSA?

By the time I posted this comment, the spiel on the MSA was still incomplete, I’m not sure how that happened.

To be sure, the last time I observed something similar happening in education was at a conference: people were calling for defining a standard curriculum for a specific discipline in sociology. Around here, in Obscuria, this is quite tightly intertwined with government – that is, specific universities would be organizing it, and specific scientists would be involved, but others would not be free to ignore the result like Twilight did if they wanted to issue recognized diplomas.

More points into the set of observations that modern Equestria tries to resemble the US more than anything else.

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we have Present Perfect for that.

While I disagree with him on many points... He kinda right about Celestia. They don't even trying now.
And I have a strong suspicions that these episodes writed by a bunch of new writers.

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By the time I posted this comment, the spiel on the MSA was still incomplete, I’m not sure how that happened.

I do. I have a bad habit of posting half-baked posts, then editing in bolstering evidence, hyperlinks, and parenthetical observations after the fact. So it's my oopsie. :twilightblush:

More points into the set of observations that modern Equestria tries to resemble the US more than anything else.

This is true to the point that "look at how the Americans do it" is probably the best starting point for developing fan theories about how Equestria works, and original invention should take place after "how the Americans do it" is excluded as a possibility. Which you'd think would be odd, since the show is produced in Vancouver and the staff is predominantly Canadian, but it actually isn't, because American and Canadian institutions both descend from the English, and because Canada and the United States are linked by a US-dominated common market, US-dominated military alliance, and other ties so that their institutions converge in their evolution.

To play a hobby horse on this theme for a moment, American "International" unions like the Steelworkers and Autoworkers are so named because they organize in the US and Canada. The American SAG-AFTRA and its Canadian counterpart ACTRA are not part of the same organization, but their contracts mirror each other and given that SAG and AFTRA merged in the US it's probably only a matter of time before there's another one.

4824438
I disagree entirely about Celestia's presentation in this episode. She all but calls Neighsay a Windigo-sympathizing Snowfall to his face - a cultural reference the dignitaries wouldn't appreciate, but the Chancellor certainly would. Notably, he shuts up after being so confronted.

Her deference to Twilight was simultaneously a long time coming, the emotional support Twilight needed, and entirely appropriate. Friendship is Twilight's alicorn domain* and while for Celestia this is a passing crisis, Twilight is Headmare of the school and the local princess. She both knows better what's going on, and needs to be the one everyone looks to as an authority in the future.

* See my theory about how alicorn princesses are primarily exemplars of and proselytizers for a particular virtue.

  • Chronologically, this two-parter does everything to acknowledge My Little Pony The Movie as canon,

In the very first seconds.
Finally we get a canon acknowledgement "anypony" is speciesist.

Notice that no mention is made of standards in studying science. Or education in magic or weather being open to, for example, earth ponies. I don’t like the sound of that.

It is profoundly tribalist and one wonders about Mage Meadowbrook, Pinkie Pie, or Fluttershy's place against it.

. I wonder, just how did Twilight sneak Starlight through the EEA? Because they would be the ones doing the licensing.

Twiligh delegated, and Starlight mind-controlled her way through the bureaucrats.

I don’t know what branching circular diagram on Fluttershy’s blackboard is, but it looks like a tree of life – which implies ponies have theories on the evolution of the species, if that is indeed what it is. I can’t think what else could it be.

That's what I believed it to be, as well.

I hope most of those were donated by Rainbow Dash.

I further hope they were not of the ones awarded by her parents.

Neighsay is the first user of portals instead of teleportation on record.

OBJECTION! Chrysalis used portals.

I wonder just how exactly did they split their students into classes.

⛧We'll never see any ponies besides Sandbar in any real scenes, I expect.

This is probably the worst Rarity dress on record.

It looks like it might fit Shakespearean times.

Once again, war is invoked. I thought this was new, but …

I see Smolder is Scootaloo's cousin.
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giant mantis shrimp

not giant pistol shrimp?

Everything else I noted, one of you already hit.

OBJECTION! Chrysalis used portals.

Drawn on the ground and made of fire. Neighsay's portals are suspended vertically in midair.

Meh from an episode quality point of view, but great from a canon-building point of view.

  • Apparently, Fizzlepop got away without even a parole. What’s up with that?

As I recall, the only reason Starlight even got parole after being defeated was because with her magic she was still a threat if she went bad again. I guess they figure without an army or the Gorgon Grenades, how much harm can Tempest really do?

  • Notice that the map table did not becomebigger,at that.

Is that Doylist thing, and they wanted us to think it got bigger, or did the map just zoom out?

  • The cold open ends with a decision to open a school. By the time we actually see it, the school is fully built, which had to have taken a considerable time, but we don’t know how much.

You could argue multiple years went by in this episode, if you think about it. A school had to get built from scratch, then the first Parent/Teacher day, then however long it took for the 6 students to journey across the world back to each other. Mostly building the school, so it depends on how much we want to say "Twilight fast-built the school with magic."

  • Celestia receives Twilight in the building we know to be her School for Gifted Unicorns, and notably, all the foals seen inside whose rumps are visible are mark-less. And the globe we last saw in there is still there.

Yup, Magic Kindergarten seems confirmed as part of the CSGU.

  • How exactly did Twilight avoid hearing about Equestria Education Association is anyone’s guess.

I mean, lots of people don't know about their national board of accreditation.

  • This is the first solid primary canon example of an organization that even Celestia has to answer to within a specific sphere, and notice that it’s domestic, not international. Bye-bye enlightened absolutism.

Yup, I noticed that. Some kind of constitution/common law seems to be in place then. Also notice that Celestia couldn't just use a WORLD WAR to override the Chancellor. In the UK, the government made Oxford let in the children of foreign leaders all the time back in the day.

  • Notice that no mention is made of standards in studyingscience. Or education in magic or weather being open to, for example, earth ponies. I don’t like the sound of that.

It's a more serious version of the Hogwarts problem. At Hogwarts, children learn magic.... and that's about it. Not algebra, or literature, or anything else really, just magic. Hogwarts is a trade school. Here it seems to be implied that a general education is being given, but we just see Applejack teach about apples, etc.

What are these kids supposed to do with their non-accredited degrees in Friendship Studies when they graduate? Someone will need to invent Starbucks so they can work there.

Throughout the entire episode Neighsay is an exemplary pony supremacist, right from his first lines.

All those fanfic writers who make Canterlot nobles just to be the token racist now have a canonical target to use!
(Great voice acting as well).

Hopefully, it means someone turned them to stone for the purpose, but we probably won’t be so lucky.

They're probably traveling to Obscuria with Tempest Shadow, expect them on your doorstep any day now.

Twilight didn’t tellanyonethat she’s accepting international students, not even the Mane 6, never mind the EEA.

Celestia helped recruit them, so she knew.

  • We never get a chance to properly count the students as they enter, but the amount of handout folders on the table is easier to count: There’s 22 of them.

We know that this will be terribly inconsistent, but 22 students seems like not a lot for that school. I mean, Cheerilee has at least 9 in one schoolhouse. Actually, why do they need multiple classrooms anyway?

I wonder, just how did Twilight sneakStarlightthrough the EEA? Because they would be the ones doing the licensing.

Maybe the magic of racism? Neighsay would love to have one of the leading experts of battle magic teaching at this school, so he probably let her qualifications slide. Also, don't teachers also have to be licensed? No way the Mane 5 have those.

Gruff’s status is never adequately explained. Is he on the Regency Council of Griffonstone or something?…

He seems to be the closest thing they have to a leader (ignoring comics). I think the writers forget their own work with Equestria propping up Griffonstone. Also worth pointing out, this strongly suggests Griffonstone is part of Equestria, but the Griffons are one of the "other Kingdoms."

I also wonder why is she getting introduced by ageneral, rather than any other kind of official.

Isn't he an admiral, as head of the navy? Also, how do they have a navy without ships?

The events of the montage coverat leastone day-night change, but we don’t know how long exactly.

Probably many more, if this is supposed to represent the students gradually getting sick of the curriculum, and even forgetting that at the beginning the Mane 6 were interesting teachers.

Poor Aunt and Uncle Orange.

A year ago it would have been a pear instead. Heck, a year ago that strawberry wouldn't have been crossed out.

Notice that this implies that Cherilee’s lesson regarding loop-de-hoop as seen inCutie Poxis against regulations.

I'm surprised no one at any point says "hey Cheerilee, how do you keep an accredited school running while keeping the students interested?"

which implies ponies have theories on the evolution of the species, if that is indeed what it is.

I kind of wish Discord was at the center of the diagram then.

“Can’t teach being honest, not sure what to do.”

So was she originally just teaching them about apple farming all year and hoping they picked up friendship and honesty incidentally?

Nobody even remembers Tirek, Discord and Nightmare Moon anymore, do they?

Non-ponies aren't aware of any of those beings as threats.

Notice that his aura color does not match the color of the portal – apparently, whatever is generating it is on the other side.

It looks like he uses his badge to shut down the school too, so I guess the EEA roles with powerful enchanted items?

Whether he’s truthful or not remains uncertain.

I think it's about as truthful as the Griffon Army.

indicating that her mass corresponds to the shape seen, but notably, her trajectory would take herthrougha fleeing pegasus.

Again, back in S2, why the heck did changlings attack in their own forms?

But hippogriffs and griffons?…

Surprise, the racist is not reasonable. But seriously, I doubt many ponies have a high opinion of griffons, and hippogriffs are a strange shape-shifting race that little is apparently known about.

Specifically, itlookslike the spell starts in his seal, but is actually cast from his horn.

Might be a magical artifact that requires a unicorn to light the pilot light so to speak, like the Elements of Harmony.

Never mind that he is obviously biased, so he did it because he wanted to, someone should have called him on it right then and there.

Yeah, that's a plot hole.

This is probably the worst Rarity dress on record. Even the result of the stress sewing looked more tasteful.

I thought it looked like a Fool's Motley.

That’s a lot of partillery.

Was the Castle enhancing Pinkie's party pony magic?

Shrimps cannot attack. Not a given!

Pinkie has never heard of the Mantis Shrimp. Also, I kind of think Oscillus's form looked like a giant flying shrimp.

I really wonder what else was in this class beside the Sisters.

Oliver, you know what book they used in that class, right? :trollestia:

No comments.

I found that equally annoying.

Silverstream is capable of shifting between seapony and hippogriff forms at will.

I think it's due to that amulet she wears.

Sandbar has not encountered apuckwedgiekrite before

The bushwoolies went baddddd.

Actually, no, I don’t.

I think she's referring to the founding of the nation.

  • The scenes are obviously presented out of order: The song montage shows things that have not yet happened, as it is interrupted by Ember insisting they stop singing.

I think the song is supposed to be non-diagetic, representing the teachers and students telling everyone else how much better the class will be in words.

We’ve seen much worse season openers, to be sure, but I’m not sure I particularly like the direction this is going in.

I'm cautiously optimistic, the way I always am. I actually like Yona, because she's so friggin' adorable, though by now it's apparent a lot of people think Chancellor Neighsay was right all along.

I wonder if he's going to set up his own creepy self-defense school as a future rival.


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Which you'd think would be odd, since the show is produced in Vancouver and the staff is predominantly Canadian,

That's your starting point for how they do things in the Crystal Empire.


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Notably, he shuts up after being so confronted.

A lot of people have been saying Celestia just shut him down, but as I saw it, he makes some nasty remark about how these foreigners will destroy them all and then peaces out.

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OBJECTION! Chrysalis used portals.

To be fair, those were profoundly different and that was only once. Neighsay repeats his trick, however.

I see Smolder is Scootaloo’s cousin.

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I guess they figure without an army or the Gorgon Grenades, how much harm can Tempest really do?

One enemy soldier is typically good for a few dead civilians.

Is that Doylist thing, and they wanted us to think it got bigger, or did the map just zoom out?

Zoomed out, as far as I can tell.

Notice that since the pony Earth is spherical, extending further will eventually produce really interesting distortions.

Mostly building the school, so it depends on how much we want to say “Twilight fast-built the school with magic.”

We’ll see how the rest of the chronology stacks up. It might be that some of the episodes that need to get forward-dated from S6 and S7 will end up in between S8 episodes at least.

I mean, lots of people don’t know about their national board of accreditation.

My class was threatened with it. Repeatedly.

What are these kids supposed to do with their non-accredited degrees in Friendship Studies when they graduate? Someone will need to invent Starbucks so they can work there.

You did notice that Twilight has essentially been building a parallel informal diplomacy network for much of S6 and S7? They’re probably going to run Starbucks.

They’re probably traveling to Obscuria with Tempest Shadow, expect them on your doorstep any day now.

Good point, I should set a trap ASAP…

Actually, why do they need multiple classrooms anyway?

So that all of the Mane 6 can teach a very small, highly topical class simultaneously. These are a thing, people do that. In fact, if I only ever had to deal with 6 students at a time, I would be able to do that for much longer than two hours a day.

Also, don’t teachers also have to be licensed? No way the Mane 5 have those.

Depends on education level and specific laws. School counselors, however, are supposed to give advice, which is pretty universally treated as requiring a license.

I think the writers forget their own work with Equestria propping up Griffonstone.

More like outright ignore, looking at Shadow Play

Isn’t he an admiral, as head of the navy? Also, how do they have a navy without ships?

The word said was “general,” I’m pretty sure.

I’m surprised no one at any point says “hey Cheerilee, how do you keep an accredited school running while keeping the students interested?”

I’m not. They have so many new characters to throw at us at once, there’s no time left for this. Unfortunately that confers a minor idiot ball on everyone.

I kind of wish Discord was at the center of the diagram then.

Maybe he is, we can’t see.

So was she originally just teaching them about apple farming all year and hoping they picked up friendship and honesty incidentally?

Looks like it, yes.

Non-ponies aren’t aware of any of those beings as threats.

Which is actually hugely important in the case of Nightmare Moon, because it implies that the sun rose on time in Episode 1 and nobody noticed what happened.

Again, back in S2, why the heck did changlings attack in their own forms?

Because they were very, very hungry, I expect.

But seriously, I doubt many ponies have a high opinion of griffons, and hippogriffs are a strange shape-shifting race that little is apparently known about.

But the movie. :)

Oliver, you know what book they used in that class, right? :trollestia:

Actually, upon some thinking, yes, I know. They used Legends of Magic. :rainbowwild:

I think the song is supposed to be non-diagetic, representing the teachers and students telling everyone else how much better the class will be in words.

Then why is Ember insisting they stop singing?

I wonder if he’s going to set up his own creepy self-defense school as a future rival.

A pretty safe bet, that.

Apparently, Fizzlepop got away without even a parole. What’s up with that?

You don't really arrest enemy generals for being generals of an enemy army. However, aiding the enemy in wartime is treason. So either Tempest is not considered a citizen of Equestria, this law works differently in some way in Equestria, ot Twilight just pardoned her on the basis she's befriended now because she's the Princess of Friendship and she can just do that.

“Listen, these ponies saved all of us from the Storm King.” Nobody even remembers Tirek, Discord and Nightmare Moon anymore, do they?

The first two were kept from the general public for a while weren't they? Perhaps they aren't common enough knowledge among children yet.

“Rainbow Dash, why aren’t you in class teaching?” “Because my students are gone!” Rainbow is talking as if all her students are gone, but we know that only the five foreign students and their pony friend are gone. I wonder just how exactly did they split their students into classes.

I think if pressed Dash would have said "Y'know, not all of them, but six are!" I don't find it altogether unplausible that she wouldn't specify only some of them are gone, and she was clearly panicking. The subsequent lies don't really work if she was talking about only some students, but they were bad on-the-spot bullshiting anyway.

Basically the only reason the extended Mane Cast discuss the missing students in Sugarcube, rather than in their throne room, is for Sandbar to stumble in and give them away.

Twilight forgot to outfit the school with a cafeteria.

“I remembered it from class. Princess Twilight’s ‘History of Pre-Equestrian Friendships.’” I really wonder what else was in this class beside the Sisters.

The Founders of Equestria seem like a major one. Possibly the Pillars on a flimsy excuse to let Twilight talk about Starswirl.

Silverstream has just found stairs. Even though they definitely spent the entire day in the castle and she had to have passed these same stairs, as well as multiple other cases of stairs, multiple times during the day. No comments.

Also, Mt. Aries has tons of stairs. Rarity even collapsed on them.

“I should know. I wrote the book!” Notice that Twilight’s book contains at least four times more rules than the EEA book.

Permissive, nuanced restrictions can be significantly more verbose than straightforward bans.

“I seem to recall something about earth ponies, unicorns and pegasi doing something similar. Don’t you?” Actually, no, I don’t. The only other school seen in detail, beyond the specialized SGU, is the Ponyville school, and that is co-ed by necessity rather than design, and does not appear to follow EEA rules very closely either.

She's talking about the Unification.

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She’s talking about the Unification.

I’m kind of not an idiot, why do two people think I didn’t notice. :)

However, notice that when initially defining EEA, the curricula Celestia lists remain tribally split. So they unified – except in teaching, it appears, which the episode would have us believe is still mostly segregated.

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Gallus, of course, is separately Scootaloo's cousin, meaning "rooster".

Again forgot (since I've been awake for a while) to mention at least one point:

How the hell can "students skipping" (not "most students" or "a certain percentage of students", just "students") be grounds for not reaching accreditation?

Bureaucrats shouldn't speak imprecisely, though he does have RD's seemingly entire class missing as fodder here.

Apparently, Fizzlepop got away without even a parole. What’s up with that?

About two hundred ponies charged with discreetly tailing her wherever she goes, I suspect.

The cold open ends with a decision to open a school. By the time we actually see it, the school is fully built, which had to have taken a considerable time, but we don’t know how much.

They also repair it in what must have been only a few hours. I think this is a victory for Ponyville's rapid construction industry. "House flattened by a monster? We'll have it rebuilt within the day!"

…Wait, so who appoints ponies to EEA?

Public bodies and quangos typically appoint lower-ranking positions internally, chosen by the board, while board members are appointed by a ministry or similar external body. So ultimately answerable to Celestia, but with layers of tradition and custom in between. In developed countries they at least have to follow rules on how to do it, such as having to advertise the position fairly, make sure they don't discriminate based on gender, disability, race...

Notice that no mention is made of standards in studying science. Or education in magic or weather being open to, for example, earth ponies. I don’t like the sound of that.

...yeeeeeaaaah, I'm not sure Equestria is quite as enlightened as it likes to think it is.

“Please follow guidance counselor Starlight to sign in and get your class assignments.” In most of our jurisdictions, a school counselor is a profession that requires licensing. I wonder, just how did Twilight sneak Starlight through the EEA? Because they would be the ones doing the licensing.

The EEA is the first public body we've seen on the show. Ponies have always been staggeringly lax when it comes to any sort of proper rules for how to do things in a way that isn't easy corrupted.

But then, by the standards of civilised countries, so is America.

Silverstream is “the queen’s niece” which would in at least some cases make her a princess, but this is not cited as her title. I also wonder why is she getting introduced by a general, rather than any other kind of official.

Theory: he's being polite; it would be more accurate to call her the queen's ward. She was orphaned during the confrontation with the Storm King (which must have been violent to have forced them all to change species), and was looked after by the state after that. She was presumably friends with Princess Skystar.

It explains why she's not a Princess, it's actually a quite common thing in history, and it speaks well of the nature of hippogryph society.

Nobody even remembers Tirek, Discord and Nightmare Moon anymore, do they?

Who?

Ocellus can’t act worth a damn, but Fluttershy is fooled anyway.

Or she knows full well what's going on, and approves. Which, given how peeved she and the others are, is perfectly viable.

Twilight’s bedroom contains at least 15 different pillows this time. I challenge you to explain just how this happened.

I'm fairly sure my bedroom contains 15 pillows. Yes, I am a grown man. 😁

A wooden spoon, which Applejack holds in her teeth to feed Twilight.

Cue "pocky game" shipping.

“I remembered it from class. Princess Twilight’s ‘History of Pre-Equestrian Friendships.’” I really wonder what else was in this class beside the Sisters.

Some version of the Hearth's Warming story? Whether that has any historical basis is another question entirely.

Neighsay evidently has some magical means to know when the seal he installed is broken, but cannot identify who did it without asking.

It appears as if it's connected to the object he's carrying.

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It's a more serious version of the Hogwarts problem. At Hogwarts, children learn magic.... and that's about it. Not algebra, or literature, or anything else really, just magic. Hogwarts is a trade school. Here it seems to be implied that a general education is being given, but we just see Applejack teach about apples, etc.

Equestria has always been big on trade schooling and apprenticeships. Higher education like SGU is the exception, not the rule; most young ponies with a cutie mark and a set course in life leave school behind. In this regard, the Friendship School is taking the place of the apprenticeship, rather than of any common education.

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Notice that since the pony Earth is spherical, extending further will eventually produce really interesting distortions.

It's already very inaccurate - or to be generous, it's symbolic rather than strictly to scale.

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The word said was “general,” I’m pretty sure.

It was "general," but he is definitely a Navy 'griff straight out of HMS Pinafore. Maybe in addition to D&D spells (which are totally a thing and don't tell me they're not), they're introducing Star Wars ranks (where Leia can command ships and fleets as a General) into FiM?

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One enemy soldier is typically good for a few dead civilians.

Tempest might go full Punisher?

You did notice that Twilight has essentially been building a parallel informal diplomacy network for much of S6 and S7? They’re probably going torunStarbucks.

So branch managers instead of baristas? But seriously, thinking of it as a trade school for Equestria's burgeoning foreign affairs department makes a lot of sense.

The word said was “general,” I’m pretty sure.

Ugh, the general of a shipless navy.

Which is actuallyhugelyimportant in the case of Nightmare Moon, because it implies that the sun rose on time in Episode 1 and nobody noticed what happened.

Or foreign nations just thought Celestia slept in.

But the movie. :)

Wait: The sea pony says she's lived underground her entire life. Does that mean Novo and her hippogriffs have been hiding from the Storm King for over a decade? Or did the hippogriffs merge with a tribe of existing seaponies?

Then why is Ember insisting they stop singing?

Ooops, missed that. I guess the Foreign 6 just passed their firsts midterm by spontaneously singing a heartsong together.

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I disagree entirely about Celestia's presentation in this episode.

She tells Twilight about EEA and helps her in the very end - that all. When foreign dignitaries demand answers and start a fight in her throne room her answer is to immediately delegate this to Twilight and continue to sit here and do nothing. They at least could show us that she put some effort into diffusing the situations she has on her hooves.

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So they unified – except in teaching, it appears, which the episode would have us believe is still mostly segregated.

Maybe it's less about "things that tribes allowed to know" and more about "things that foal expected to know at the end of their school education"? In Russia Ministry of Education give schools standards of educations where explicitly say how many hours children should learn this or that and what they supposed to know at the end of X years. You can add something to these standards but you can't take anything away - if you do they smash you like a flaming fist of god and shut you down.
So maybe something similar? That unicorns should know this much about magic, pegasi about weather and earth pony about agriculture after they ended school.

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Theory: he’s being polite; it would be more accurate to call her the queen’s ward. She was orphaned during the confrontation with the Storm King (which must have been violent to have forced them all tochange species), and was looked after by the state after that. She was presumably friends with Princess Skystar.

That’s a good one, except “orphaned during the confrontation:” she has spent her entire life underground, according to her own words, and the general does not remember what stairs is either.

Cue “pocky game” shipping.

That would involve chewing the spoon…

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So maybe something similar? That unicorns should know this much about magic, pegasi about weather and earth pony about agriculture after they ended school.

Maybe. It’s just that all the history of analyzing ponies teaches me to always assume that the show writers picked the obvious, stupid answer to any given specific question, rather than the clever one we might have.

"…Honestly, I’m not sure which is worse, the cutie imperialism Twilight professes with this statement, or the subsequent stance that EEA takes."
And we've got noted militant pony Fizzlepop Berrytwist (who I'm still not convinced wasn't behind the organization/creation of much of the Storm King's military machine, though as I recall there's a comic against that) travelling around foreign lands with her new pro-friendship pro-Equestrian stance. If Starlight is shown taking time to change her ways and reduce her reliance on magic as her go-to solution, what do Tempest's slipups look like?

"Ocellus can’t act worth a damn, but Fluttershy is fooled anyway."
Odd sort of reversal from the invasion of Canterlot there, now that I think of it.

"Twilight’s bedroom contains at least 15 different pillows this time. I challenge you to explain just how this happened."
Pinkie Pie?

"The throne room, for once, looks like it did in the movie, more or less. This is by itself a chronology marker."
Luna finally has a chair!

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"One enemy soldier is typically good for a few dead civilians."
And she was the commander who led the army to victory, which was thwarted by her own retaliatory betrayal of their now-deceased official leader. On the one hand, some of the soldiers might be a bit upset about that last bit, but on the other, he's dead and she isn't. And she's demonstrated a good understanding of the importance of not shorting one's underlings on pay!
"Oh, a letter from Tempest, and she says she's writing a book! Kind of an... odd-sounding title, though. Commentarii de Bellis Amicitiam? Starlight, why do you suddenly look nervous?"

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"Or she knows full well what's going on, and approves. Which, given how peeved she and the others are, is perfectly viable."
Hm, seems plausible, aye.

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Maybe. It’s just that all the history of analyzing ponies teaches me to always assume that the show writers picked the obvious, stupid answer to any given specific question, rather than the clever one we might have.

That was a given, really :). Big chunk of pony fanon exist solely to make some horrible and cringe-inducing choices less terrible and give some stupid things an explanation that at least sound logical.

Ocellus can’t act worth a damn, but Fluttershy is fooled anyway.

I prefer to think that Fluttershy saw through the act, but didn't want to say anything about it.

"Shrimps can attack?”

Mantis Shrimp.

Also one of the books has a giant crab attack at some point as well.

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"Ocellus can’t act worth a damn, but Fluttershy is fooled anyway."
Odd sort of reversal from the invasion of Canterlot there, now that I think of it.

Have changelings ever actually been good actors? Chrysalis’s impersonation of Cadance was way off, as were the fake Mane Six. IIRC, even Thorax’s “Crystal Hoof” persona was awkward and should have raised suspicion, and he wasn’t even imitating anyone. (The only convincing act I can recall was Thorax pretending to be Starlight Glimmer in “To Where and Back Again”.) The more we see of changelings, the more I think their past successes were a result of pony gullibility rather than their own acting skill.

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...Hm. This is an interesting point. Either that, maybe, or their acting has been much better than it's been portrayed to us.

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Although it is interesting, as you mentioned, how Ocellus messes up in the opposite direction. Chrysalis in disguise was just meaner than Cadance and more or less out of character; Ocellus was in-character, but a Flanderized version.

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The more we see of changelings, the more I think their past successes were a result of pony gullibility rather than their own acting skill.

What past successes? :pinkiehappy: The only success on record that is, undeniably, a success, is Chrysalis not being detected, specifically, by Celestia. Shining Armor does not count, he was under a spell. The Mane 6 sans Twilight have nothing to compare against, and Twilight was arguably meant to notice something was wrong. Only Celestia counts as a success.

We don’t actually have any record of any other successful infiltration. I have a suspicion that the reason that changelings never used any fancy transformations during their prior attacks is that they were literally too starved to employ them. It’s like the entire hive appeared out of thin air very shortly before we saw them all on screen.

Who’s to say they weren’t literally born yesterday and look and sound juvenile compared even to ponies simply because they are?

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Oh, that's actually not what I was referring to; I was thinking of Fluttershy's bad acting when she was pretending to be a changeling.

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There were also the Mane Six (and Spike) impersonators in “To Where and Back Again”. Starlight thought they were acting a bit odd, but didn’t think it was serious enough to require any intervention until Luna spelled out for her that they were changelings.

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“We don’t have anything like them underwater, cause, you know, no way to climb them.” Silverstream is capable of shifting between seapony and hippogriff forms at will.

It just occurred to me: her seapony form is capable of breathing air as well as water. Not a given, since it never happened in the movie, and it isn't common among aquatic creatures.

Am I the only one who scoured the updated Cutie Map only to find NO Undiscovered West on it? I definitely see some landmasses to the West that we haven't seen before, but no obvious connection to Equestria like we see on the official maps. Animation error, or last-minute retcon since they decided they wouldn't use the Undiscovered West before the show ends?

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I generally find the Cutie Map so difficult to read, that I don’t bother trying to decipher it, but if you can put it into a correspondence with the published map or demonstrate the lack thereof, I would love to see the results.

The movie map still has that mysterious landmass, though…

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Mysterious landmass? We have the Dragon Lands and Kirin Grove to the southeast, Griffonstone to the northeast, and the big landmass is Equestria and the surrounding lands, with Mt Aris and the Storm King's island to the south.

Unless you mean a map IN the movie, but I can only think of one, and it's just an upside-down map of the bottom of the main landmass that Klugetown, Equestria, etc are on.

I generally find the Cutie Map so difficult to read, that I don’t bother trying to decipher it, but if you can put it into a correspondence with the published map or demonstrate the lack thereof, I would love to see the results.

Screenshot:
vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/mlp/images/f/f1/Mane_Six_around_the_expanded_Cutie_Map_S8E1.png/revision/latest?cb=20180325130200

Edited Screenshot (to show coastline, important locations, etc):
i.imgur.com/icGOHsu.png

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Unless you mean a map IN the movie, but I can only think of one, and it’s just an upside-down map of the bottom of the main landmass that Klugetown, Equestria, etc are on.

I mean the map that was published with the movie release.

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Not really seeing any mysterious landmasses... at all, actually. Everything seems accounted for. Which are you referring to?

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The Undiscovered West, obviously.

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:facehoof:

Ah, you were referring to "that mysterious landmass" in a more poetic sense, not an entirely literal sense. My bad. I thought you found one of the landmasses on the map to be unexplained or something.

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