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Oliver


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

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May
26th
2018

Points of Canon: S8x11 - Molt Down · 3:59pm May 26th, 2018

And halfway into the season, another watershed episode turns up.

  • Chronology markers: School of Friendship exists. This is a watershed episode: Spike acquires wings, which requires every episode featuring a wingless Spike to happen prior to this event. Rarity references This Isn’t The Mane Thing About You, which produces a redundant upper bound.
  • We don’t know how far exactly is the phoenix nesting site located from Ponyville – it’s definitely the same one as the one in the Dragon Quest – but you’d think it would be quite a trip. Still, no signs of a trip are present.
  • The detail on Spike’s “stonescales” implies that there’s a layer of skin under them, which is what gets inflamed, which, with the bizarre biology of the dragons, is not a given. Later on, we see him try to squeeze one out, implying that beneath the scales, it’s actually some variation on a boil – possibly, infection of the scale follicle, if those are a thing. Since later, the whole process is identified as molting, infection can probably be ruled out, but it’s important that Spike treats it like it is one, indicating that one is possible. The bacteria that live there have got to be hardy indeed, and possibly magical.
  • “Precious pants!” Since when precious pants are an interjection Rarity uses?…
  • Peewee is an adult at this point, giving us the time to maturity for phoenixes: No more than three years, probably less, depending on how long did it take to built the School of Friendship. It’s interesting that he both recognizes and hugs Spike, implying both that they parted very amicably and that phoenixes have a suitably long memory.
  • “I used to have terrible breakouts, any time I had a final exam with Celestia. Who probably never had a blemish her whole life!”

    • Twilight did have final exams with Celestia herself. Fandom is all over the place on just how hooves-on was Twilight’s education, but this gives us a certain gauge: You don’t get such a nervous reaction if your every lesson is one on one with the teacher.
    • Ponies can have skin rashes due to stress. Not a given!
    • Celestia has never been caught with such skin issues, as far as Twilight knows. And Twilight is envious, which is not something we see often.
  • Twilight uses a fire extinguisher, applying which results in obvious, stable foam. The earliest type that works like this was invented in 1904. It’s interesting that Twilight has the presence of mind to teleport straight to where one is kept and immediately teleport back with it in under a second. Another thing to notice is that it’s not red like you would expect, indicating a certain difference in standards to ours.
  • “Very noir-esque.” Once again, Rarity indicates that “noir” is associated with a particular style in clothing, and more importantly, she says “Shadow Spade herself would approve,” strongly associating the two.
  • “I absolutely must have a model for my phoenix feather dress, and nopony else is available!” Spike is subsequently used as a model for a pony dress, which strikes me as something remarkably stupid to do, unless the actual purpose is having Spike’s company. The actual scene precludes that, though, so I wonder what’s actually going on.
  • “…giving tours of the school.” Tours of the school are a thing. Which is kinda strange.
  • Once again we see that guy with the fanny pack.
  • Spike’s flame can be used for jet propulsion – at least, it comes with a certain recoil, strong enough to lift him into the air.
  • “The molt. Super painful stonescales, fire burps, uncontrollable volume shifts, it’s all part of growing up dragon!” Good to know.
  • “Greed-induced bigness. That’s totally different. The molt is completely normal. Every dragon goes through it. Pretty soon, you leave and strike out on your own! … In the dragonlands, a molter’s loved ones kick them out at the first stonescale. … I think it’s biological. We call it ‘the molt effect.’ I haven’t even told you about the smell. … That molt stench is a magnet for predators. Tatzlwurms, hydras, rocs…” And more of that good-to-know stuff. Though the word “effect” sounds a bit too high-brow for dragons. The only thing this description does not mention is the final stage and the red glow that immediately precedes it.
  • Rocs exist. Previously, those beasts were confined to secondary canon.
  • “Where is that brussel sprouts covered in cotton candy smell coming from?” So that’s what a molting dragon is supposed to smell like. It’s interesting that Smolder’s initial assessment that nobody likes this smell except predators does not entirely pan out: At least Pinkie finds it interesting. Maybe, this means Pinkie is a predator…
  • It’s interesting that when Zecora exploits Spike’s burp to light her fire, the flames remain green. I wonder why.
  • “One minute I was sewing phoenix feathers onto a dress, and the next I couldn’t hear my own voice.” Phoenix feathers can cause deafness in ponies through some manner of magical process. Sure, ok. But…

    • Did that happen to Twilight while Peewee was growing up, too? Was that the reason Spike had to return him to the parents?
    • So why is Celestia not deaf. Or maybe she is?…
    • Why exactly didn’t anything happen to Fluttershy while she was mucking around Philomena?
  • Zecora’s house is located next to a very sparse patch of the forest, even though the house itself is in a much denser patch. Did someone come through chopping trees and uprooting stumps? Everfree has never been this sparse before.
  • “Let my ponies go!” Really now.
  • The final stage of molting, consisting of rapid appearance of a stone-like layer, solid enough that Spike can’t move at all, looks decidedly magical, but it was already obvious that dragons are the most naturally magical creatures that Equestria has, anyway.

What was the point of Rarity losing her hearing, doylistically, I don’t think I will ever understand, because it isn’t even funny.

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Comments ( 22 )

It's a very active episode, lots going on. And heavy on callbacks.

Also, Twilight in strike-fighter mode. How often does she end up getting roped into anti-monster air patrol, anyways? Why isn't Equestria constantly under siege if rocs are just going to appear out of the skies given any provocation?

Support for the idea of a Long Patrol that generally keeps these enormous predators under control.

Also, mention of tatzlwurms. Have they actually given this name to those Tremors-type things from that Discord episode in the show before?

“Precious pants!” Since when precious pants are an interjection Rarity uses?…

She's called him "precious scales" before, but the pants are new.

It’s interesting that Twilight has the presence of mind to teleport straight to where one is kept and immediately teleport back with it in under a second.

Do you think they've done dragonfire drills?

Excellent questions regarding phoenix feather-induced deafness. Maybe it's an allergy that's limited to certain ponies?

“Let my ponies go!” Really now.

There may be a burning bush nearby, but only because Spike wasn't careful when aiming his burps. :raritywink:

What was the point of Rarity losing her hearing, doylistically, I don’t think I will ever understand, because it isn’t even funny.

Pre-distressing the damsel. Without the deafness, she might well have tried kicking the roc in the beak.

4869826

Why isn’t Equestria constantly under siege if rocs are just going to appear out of the skies given any provocation?

Presumably, because rocs do not attack ponies unless disturbed by dragon molting smell?

Also, mention of tatzlwurms. Have they actually given this name to those Tremors-type things from that Discord episode in the show before?

In secondary canon, yes. Primary canon, not sure.

4869827

Do you think they’ve done dragonfire drills?

Probably, but well before the castle.

Excellent questions regarding phoenix feather-induced deafness. Maybe it’s an allergy that’s limited to certain ponies?

That would explain things.

This retroactively adds a question to Dragon Quest. Why did no dragon notice or care that the Bloodstone Scepter summon a hatchling too young to even have wings? Why did it do so?

4869836

In Dragon Quest, the molt explains why Garble and company treated Spike that way: He wasn’t just smaller than they were, he was an outright hatchling, one major phase of life below them, and all the physiological difference between themselves could not conceal this.

In Gauntlet of Fire, though, the retroactive questions become more interesting: So the Bloodstone Scepter summoned Spike. Let us assume it’s supposed to summon every dragon, no matter the age.

So where were the other wingless dragons?

A rather fun episode with a cool new ability for Spike.

  • We don’t know how far exactly is the phoenix nesting site located from Ponyville – it’s definitely the same one as the one in theDragon Quest– but you’d think it would be quite a trip. Still, no signs of a trip are present.

I don't think its the same nesting site. I mean, those adult phoenixes aren't going to stick around in the area where the dragons attacked them, and they might well have settled in a nearby safe area. We don't see any other phoenixes around.

Since later, the whole process is identified as molting, infection can probably be ruled out, but it’s important that Spike treats it like it is one, indicating that one is possible. The bacteria that live there have got to be hardy indeed, and possibly magical.

It's also possible that Spike is trying to pop them because ponies tell him that this is the equivalent to getting a pimple and he doesn't know any better.

  • “Precious pants!” Since when precious pants are an interjection Rarity uses?…

This is a new one. Possibly after she made him a tuxedo. Spike might be the only being in Equestria we've ever seen wearing pants.

Peewee is an adult at this point, giving us the time to maturity for phoenixes: No more than three years, probably less, depending on how long did it take to built the School of Friendship.

We haven't seen Peewee since S3 though, at the tail end of the "multi-season crammed into a year" era. It could be 5 years or even 7 since then. It's interesting that even though he now appears to be an adult who's "moved out," his nest is like 5 feet from his parents.

The actual scene precludes that, though, so I wonder what’s actually going on.

I think you're right about the company. In the final scene, Spike seems like a much worse model than a ponyquin, even if Rarity would occasionally have to lift it onto a table to raise it up. I think Rarity has learned from Applejack the trick of keeping friends hanging around while you do your work.

  • Once again we see that guy with the fanny pack.

Every time someone claims that Equestria is more enlightened than earth, remind them that ponies still wear fanny packs.

  • It’s interesting that when Zecora exploits Spike’s burp to light her fire, the flames remain green. I wonder why.

That's a very good question, I have no idea.

Phoenix feathers can cause deafness in ponies through some manner of magical process. Sure, ok. But…

Probably you have to get absorb a fair amount of oil from the feathers into your skin. Philomena was mostly featherless around Fluttershy, and Peewee had tiny feathers that Twilight might not have touched. Celestia definitely must have caught the disease, and probably some other ponies in the castle have caught it as well, but it is treatable. After all, Zecora says she has "treated this for years." So multiple other individuals must have come to her for treatment for phoenix feather-deafness.

Did someone come through chopping trees and uprooting stumps? Everfree has never been this sparse before

Good question. Perhaps ponies have been clear-cutting the edge of the Everfree forest for lumber to fuel the expansion of Ponyville, and/or perhaps the wooden portions of the admittedly mostly-stone School of Friendship.

it was already obvious that dragons are the most naturally magical creatures that Equestria has, anyway.

One of them certainly. Changlings that live on an emotion and can change their mass at will, and creatures like the Windigos or Umbrum that have no corporeal bodies, might be more magical. That's not really something we can ever measure though.

What was the point of Rarity losing her hearing, doylistically, I don’t think I will ever understand, because it isn’t even funny.

Yeah, that was kind of dumb. Spike's volume control stuff was also annoying, and didn't seem either funny or good for advancing the plot. It feels like that was just there to make him repeat stuff and pad the episode for an extra minute or two.

4869826 For all of Twilight's training, she doesn't have the presence of mind to just grab Zecora and Rarity in her levitation as they are falling. That was annoying.

Rocs might only be in central Everfree and this one was attracted to the edges by Spike's smell. Though they are normally associated with mountains...


4869827 If you watch closely, it actually looks like Twilight teleports and delays reappearing for a second or two until after the roc has swooped upwards. If so, that's a badass maneuver, and probably really tricky to keep herself and Spike dematerialized.


4869845

InGauntlet of Fire, though, the retroactive questions become more interesting: So the Bloodstone Scepter summoned Spike. Let us assume it’s supposed to summoneverydragon, no matter the age.

So where were theotherwingless dragons?

I think it definitely excluded older dragons, since we don't see a lot of the big dragons we've seen in other episodes. So two theories:

1) Torch summoned an age band of dragons to get the teenagers. However, the spell counts from when the egg was laid, and due to the circumstances of Spike's hatching his egg was sitting there dormant for many decades or something, so he is Garble's age if you count from when the egg was laid rather than hatched.

2)Torch only age-gated the call on the upper end, but other dragon hatchlings were prevented from answering the calls by their parents, or more darkly, without helpful ponies they died trying to reach the summoning.

Just remembered a few more things:

Smolder says until the dragons become friends, terrorizing villages was like the normal thing for a teenage dragon to do.

The molt seems like some sort of biological imperative to get most teenage dragons killed off to prevent the crowding of apex predators, and probably explains why the world is not overrun with dragons.

4870029

I don’t think its the same nesting site. I mean, those adult phoenixes aren’t going to stick around in the area where the dragons attacked them, and they might well have settled in a nearby safe area. We don’t see any other phoenixes around.

It sure looks like the same place, and we haven’t seen a whole lot of phoenixes back then either.

This is a new one. Possibly after she made him a tuxedo. Spike might be the only being in Equestria we’ve ever seen wearing pants.

Nope. Svengallop, both times he appeared, wore pants. At least one pony in Manehattan wears pants… It’s rare, but not unheard of at all.

I think you’re right about the company.

She still treats him rather badly, which is why I think this is problematic.

Every time someone claims that Equestria is more enlightened than earth, remind them that ponies still wear fanny packs.

So do humans, especially ones that ride bicycles.

Probably you have to get absorb a fair amount of oil from the feathers into your skin. Philomena was mostly featherless around Fluttershy, and Peewee had tiny feathers that Twilight might not have touched.

Fluttershy manipulated those feathers that remained all the time, though. I think FoME’s idea of an allergy that might be common, but only affects part of the population, is more sensible.

Good question. Perhaps ponies have been clear-cutting the edge of the Everfree forest for lumber to fuel the expansion of Ponyville, and/or perhaps the wooden portions of the admittedly mostly-stone School of Friendship.

Uprooting stumps too, though?…

2)Torch only age-gated the call on the upper end, but other dragon hatchlings were prevented from answering the calls by their parents, or more darkly, without helpful ponies they died trying to reach the summoning.

I like this one better. Dragons do have parents, after all.

4870045

Maybe adolescent dragons are a necessary element of the diet of monsters that want to become giant monsters. A dragon's heart is like those fruit things from One Piece. Alternatively, their gall bladders. Or spleens.

Fire pouches?

Did someone come through chopping trees and uprooting stumps? Everfree has never been this sparse before.

Uprooting stumps too, though?…

We already know who and how :ajsmug: derpicdn.net/img/view/2015/11/28/1032050.gif

4870085

…So there’s a factory somewhere in Dodge Junction or thereabout, and they’re tearing up Everfree and causing all the monster attacks on Ponyville? Brilliant! :pinkiehappy:

And more of that good-to-know stuff. Though the word “effect” sounds a bit too high-brow for dragons.

Presumably there's some unseen translation going on, and "effect" is the closest equivalent.

Maybe, this means Pinkie is a predator…

Nightmares! :pinkiecrazy:

…giving tours of the school.” Tours of the school are a thing. Which is kinda strange.

Seems like the implication before was that this is a boarding school of some sort. Would that be so strange for such a school? Even if not a boarding school, I know that colleges/universities do tours for prospective students.

It’s interesting that when Zecora exploits Spike’s burp to light her fire, the flames remain green. I wonder why.

Magic fire, I would assume. It's not terribly uncommon for magical fire to be green.

4870548

Seems like the implication before was that this is a boarding school of some sort. Would that be so strange for such a school? Even if not a boarding school, I know that colleges/universities do tours for prospective students.

It is definitely a boarding school, however, the tour-goers are definitely not prospective students – they are primarily ponies previously shown behaving as tourists in Manehattan and Ponyville, adults on vacation. Which is why I say it’s kinda strange.

Magic fire, I would assume. It’s not terribly uncommon for magical fire to be green.

Compare to Apple Family Reunion, though, where Spike’s green flame is used to light a fire – but a normal, orange fire results.

4870552
Hmm, good point, I had forgotten about that bit in Reunion. Perhaps there is some magical nature to the firewood Zecora uses.

4870548
4870552

Seems like the implication before was that this is a boarding school of some sort. Would that be so strange for such a school? Even if not a boarding school, I know that colleges/universities do tours for prospective students.

It is definitely a boarding school, however, the tour-goers are definitely not prospective students – they are primarily ponies previously shown behaving as tourists in Manehattan and Ponyville, adults on vacation. Which is why I say it’s kinda strange.

Considering how much evidence supports the hypothesis that Ponyville makes a lot of money off tourism... I bet when Twilight was getting the permits to build the school in the first place, Mayor Mare talked her into making the school also a tourist trap on the side. And that’s the Watsonian reason why Twi’s school is so pretty.

Maybe the town even has reduced property taxes for any establishment that can check off a certain number of boxes and say they’re attracting tourists.

4871158

Maybe the town even has reduced property taxes for any establishment that can check off a certain number of boxes and say they’re attracting tourists.

I find that very probable. :pinkiehappy:

4869826

Also, Twilight in strike-fighter mode. How often does she end up getting roped into anti-monster air patrol, anyways?

At least twice: in Dragonshy she wasn't flying and firing lasers, but in Slice of Life she was. Speaking of which. . .

Support for the idea of a Long Patrol that generally keeps these enormous predators under control.

That's what S.M.I.L.E. was. Was.

4869826 4869834
The Tatzlwurm was officially named in the Three's A Crowd script, though its name was never said on screen so I'm not sure whether that counts as a primary or secondary source.

4872451

As far as I’m concerned, word of god doesn’t count at all, they go trolling way too often, so unless an actual production script turns up, this tweet is hearsay.

That said, the word itself is used in the comics, which I count as secondary sources.

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