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The Melancholy of Star Wars: The Last Force-Bending Divergent: [Miss] Mockingjay, Part X: Jupiter's Twilight. Patreon reward for Somber Star! · 12:55am Aug 29th, 2018

Hello, hello! First off, if you missed it, a Patreon blog about a topic and character near and dear to my heart went out rather late last night, and that would be Sunset Shimmer! So maybe give that a read if you want a crash-course on what things of mine she’s been in and my opinions of her development in canon.

The title of this topic comes from my supporter Somber Star himself, so I decided to run with it. It may not be super obvious from all that, but he wanted me to talk about Mary Sues in contemporary media. I’ll do this in a few steps. First, I’ll try to pick out the different pieces of media I believe the title is alluding to. Second, I’ll tie that together into why we have a noted uptick in female characters that are maybe lacking in the personality department but still clearly super-cool and good. Thirdly, because this was a website about pastel horses last time I checked, we’ll look take a look at a few pony characters who often get this rap.

Dun, dun, dwaaaaa! Source.

But first, first off, “Mary Sue” is a phrase that you might have noticed gets kicked around a lot lately. I’m going to go with the term in the sense of “character who is kinda universally adored by the good-guys because of just how ‘good’ they are and things always tend to work out for them without the need for much, if any, assistance.” Basically tracing this to it’s good ol’ Star Trek fan-fiction roots.

One thing I’ll disagree with of the Wikipedia page I linked is that the term has grown to include characters outside fan-fiction, and in fact, can include the main character. Hence my own definition up there. Classically, the term usually refers to a female character. While I like to use it as a gender-neutral term over having to switch to ‘Gary sue’ depending on the gender of the character, the issues as of late seems to be mostly with female characters so we’re keeping with the “girl’s only” application if just by the current landscape of media.

Now, onto the title…

Just picking out the first word there, I’m guessing “Melancholy” means Haruhi Suzumiya is first up to bat. She’s pretty much the only Mary Sue that’s one in a literal sense. She can actually warp reality to suit her whims, albeit unconsciously. Though, I feel her inclusion in this list is a little unfair given that she doesn’t fit in with the other here and what I believe is their intended purpose. Powers aside, she does possess certain qualities that make her a candidate, mostly with how hyper-competent she seems to be at literally everything, but she also has much more personality then the other girls I’m going to discuss. She also has a pretty well-established personality… and it’s often times terrible.

Like… really, really, objectively terrible.

In fact, I think Haruhi is something of a deconstruction of this trope, at least in the ‘core’ aspects of this franchise and not the spin-offs. So yeah… she’s a Mary Sue by design, but oddly enough, the audience will eventually, hopefully, come to the conclusion that Haruhi is a deeply flawed character.

“Star Wars: The Last Force” So, I know the term “Mary Sue” gets thrown around in terms of Rey and that some find this upsetting, but yeah… I consider Rey a pretty hardcore Mary Sue by the definition above and there’s another aspect to her character I’ll get to later. Rey’s ‘Sueness’ was a bit pronounced in the first film she’s in where this ‘scavenger’ could wield a weapon she’s never handled before well enough to take down someone similar armed who was trained to use it (yes, yes… Kylo was injured, but Kylo is ALSO some sort of destined force savant who was using the force to overcome his pain and just… ugh…). She also manages to develop a key power at an opportune time to ‘save herself’… Making Han and Finn showing up later more ‘convenient’ for her than actual rescuing. I mean, a good comparison here would be Leia who at least needed to be let out of her cell before she could be a badass.

You all know what I’m talking about.

This label is somewhat lessened in the later movie with Rey actually needing help in literally one situation, though there’s also a personality component I’ll get to in the next section.

Oh, also pretty much every other major female character in The Last Jedi qualifies anyway. Both Rose and Admiral “dresses inappropriately for work” are constantly shown they understand the best course of action and either have to drag their male compatriots along when said men aren’t too busy screwing everything up by either not listening or thinking they know better.

I don’t want to harp on this point too much because I’ve given to understand many a tribly across the internet has already been ruined from being thrown on the floor in disgust, but there IS a point in the movie where the makers decided we needed a “mansplaining” scene with Poe and Admiral “Secret Plan, Shhhh… trust me… I have purple hair and you can see my shoulders.”. mean… I just think it’s at least fair to point out that aspect of the film was a bit overdone…

This would be a great time to post a picture of those space reindeer or Luke gross-drinking green milk with a smug look on his face but eff that noise.

“-Bending” I’m guessing this is in regards to Katara from the Last Airbender movie? Yeah, I bailed on that one pretty quickly and also seem to remember people complaining about Aang getting a lot more focus than in that movie that should have gone to Katara… So, I mostly got nothing but from what little I saw, Katara did feel like a blank slate, which is an important factor for later.

I’m not going to try to talk about any of the girls from the various animated Avatar series as being Sues. That path leads to madness. Whatever flaws those series might have, well “ill-defined, but nearly flawless characters with vague motivations” is not one of them.

“Mockingjay” Admittedly, I only watched Hunger Games and none of the other movies. Katniss does seem to have an abundance of Sueness. At least in the first movie she’s already the most suited to the games and things in the plot seem to bend towards her getting her way without having to do any of the eeeevil things asked of her. Also seems she’s a hit with a few guys in the series, maybe? She did manage to let a child die on her watch, though… so there’s that…

“Jupiter’s” I’m guessing this is about Jupiter’s Ascending. Never watched it but I’m given to understand it’s the Wachowski sister’s futuristic version of everyone on LiveJournal all getting their own set of Dragon Balls.

“Twilight” Ohhh boy! Guessing I get to talk about Bella Swan here! Yeah… I’ve watched maybe 60 seconds on one of the Twilight movies that was on at a movie store I went to one time… That was long enough to hear Bella scream at Edward and Jacob “You can’t hurt each other without hurting me!” And really… that was more than enough. All I can figure out about Bella is that she doesn’t think she’s all that good looking but apparently is just kind and good enough to be the most desirable high schooler on the planet, at least as far as supernatural creatures are concerned. Other than that, she seems like a bit of a blank slate.

And that brings me to my second part, almost all these girls are Bella Swan.

Or rather, Bella Swan is less a ‘character’ and more a collection of traits attached to something that’s empty enough that someone could pour themselves into and easily live vicariously through and that’s true of most characters above. I mean, what traits really define… any of them? We know they’re selfless and often driven by a need to right-wrongs at any given moment… but… why? What really motives them aside from a sort of general idea to make life better for all people and maybe their families if they’re lucky enough to have them? In addition to not really having any clear motivations, they also happen to have a collection of skills that are usually just what they need to succeed! Usually, this is against some near-overwhelming force of almost-absolute evil. I guess in Bella’s case her need was to get laid by the most supernaturally attractive guy to give birth to a baby that can be imprinted so it can grow up to be laid by the second-most supernaturally attractive guy…

I mean… shit gets weird in Twilight, to my knowledge.

I won’t harp on Katniss too much in the skills department as the book at least established why she was well suited to the Hunger Games, ‘cause yeah… If you’re the only ranger-type character in a battle royal that’s set in a forest where most everyone else just knows how to use melee weapons and maybe is a bit overwhelmed by these giant shrubs everywhere, you’ll probably do great!

Rey though… I mean, because I apparently enjoy suffering I read an article from someone angry at all the calls of her being a Mary Sue. They even said she was flawed and… No… No, she’s not for, starters. Not personality wise, anyway… At least once she gets it in her head to help the Resistance, “doing the right thing all the time” seems to be her goal in life. Second of all, she apparently can’t be a Sue because the plot itself has deemed she’s special even if her parents are nobodies. And… okay… just because the story itself is granting Sueness doesn’t automatically make it goes away. Also, her nobody parents just means it’s that much easier for some young starry-eyed middle-schooler who’s eager to throw off the shackles of oppression to imagine herself as the new chosen one, so we’ve replaced one common trope of a Sue with a different, but increasingly common one.

This highlights one of the points I’m making, and that is a part of this trend is that these sort of girls that are “meh” in the personality and motivation department are possibly that way by design. If a young girl reading these stories or watching these films think they could ‘also do the right thing in the face of these hard choices’ then given a few years training in the woods with a bow and arrow or plot convivence of being the chosen one, yeah… That little girl probably could do things just as well, if not better. There’s also a bit of well-intended, but ultimately fumbled attempt at proving women are just as capable of men in TLJ… Probably not so much the other things as, again, I get the impression the characters are the way they are more for wish fulfillment purposes.

That’s not to say every recent movie or even adventure movie with a female lead is suffering from this problem. Hell, as a counter-point, I’ll even look at another Star Wars movie Rogue One. Jyn Erso starts the movie with her mom gunned down right in front of her and her dad kidnapped by the Empire before she gets whisked away to be taught how to be a Rebel! So… that means when we she’s all grown up she’s the Empire’s worst nightmare right? Oh, wait… she’s already captured by them… Oh, wait! She’s given an opportunity to escape aaaaand she just got smacked down by a droid… Okay, but she’s reeeaaaly eager to take down the evil Empire, right… RIGHT?!

Ugggh… Fine! I’ll help you find the terrorist that raised me if it means people will stop shooting and putting me in handcuffs for a at least five minutes.

See, the great thing about Jyn is she’s an actual character and not just a collection of ideals with enough expertise or magical, plot-driving powers on hand to move things along. In fact, she only really starts doing the “right” thing for deeply personal reasons towards the end of the film, that doesn’t mean she’s bad, it just means she’s human, at least in the sense that she’s driving by a set of experiences that informed her worldview instead of some innate and vague desire to do what’s right.

I mean, I could go on about Jyn… and Leia… oh… and also Qi’ra and L3-37… I would happily do a blog post on just L3-37, but the point is good, strong female characters who are also out to make a somewhat topical point aren’t like… exceedingly hard to do or anything…

Then again, I’ve spent the last several years writing almost exclusively for female characters, so take my perspective with a grain of salt.

What a wonderful place to end a blog! So I think I wi—

Right, right… the reason we’re all here. Source.

Okay, this already might be my longest blog post yet, so I’mma go quick.

Twilight Sparkle: Twilight was once inundated with the call of her being a Mary Sue, though this was way back in season 1. In all fairness, she’s initially presented as needing to learn about friendship and then spends most the rest of the season fixing her brand-new friend’s friendship problems. She’s also a super-powerful magic user on top of things… Not to say it’s an ever-present thing, Griffon the Brush Off, Swarm of the Century, Feeling Pinkie Keen, Winter Wrap Up, and Stare Masters have varying degree of Twilight screwing up. The Sue factor also mostly goes away in season 2 especially with the advent of Lesson Zero.

Nowadays, Twilight screws up so frequently that apparently the new inexplicit friendship master is—

Starlight Glimmer: Like Rey, I feel I’m asking for trouble here. Unlike Rey, I’m not going to blanket statement just say Starlight is a Mary Sue. Honestly, her Sueness seemingly depends on whatever role she’s playing in a given episode. If she’s a major supporting character, then chances are she’s the pony (or even human!) who somehow sees things with the most clarity and has the best advice… Maddeningly, this is especially true if the Princess of Friendship is screwing up. When she’s the focus of the episode, you can bet your bottom dollar she’s gonna mess up somehow and probably need to be bailed out at some point by one of the other characters.

A lot of people are mad that she’s can out magic Twilight at times, but considering she devoted about half a year to vengeance to pull that off, I’m pretty okay with that.

So yeah… she’s not always a Mary Sue, but she’s certainly been misused by the writers in certain episodes that appear that way at times.

Sunset Shimmer: Sunset is the odd one out of the three as she at least has her roots in building herself up to a point where she was a useful character. What possibly qualifies her as a Sue now is that she’s a great student, can play the guitar, apparently is an active motocross biker, and is also really good at painting… Her saving grace is that she has quite a few friends that are still better at many things than she is, that she still has a tendency to fly off the handle at times, and that she’s no stranger to spazzing out.

But she’s so adorable when she does it!

Alrighty, again, thanks to Somber Star for the topic and a reminder that I’ll ramble on many topics if you feel like enticing me to do so.

Catch ya below!

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Comments ( 8 )

As an avid reader of your work, I must comment in a supremely snooty snotty sonorous voice that I make several mustache moving mumbles of 'Yes, indeed, quite so' while drinking something out of a tea cup while reading this particular blog post. Perhaps 7-Up.

And now I am absolutely motivated for my next D&D Character to be a Lawful Goody Aasimar (celestially human sort) Paladin Do-Gooder! No surprise to my tabletop crew. WITH FLAWS! Try to throw the villains for a loop when instead of delivering a monologue on the righteousness of our actions, have the Paladin get grumpy and bark at the evilly evil villain to shut up already and stop harassing the townspeople while facing down the dark hordes in only pajamas.

Will attach more fun flaws later, so thanks for the motivation!

Thanks man. I understand this was a little hard, seeing how "Mary-Sue" is an ill-defined concept, a requirement to delve into the media equivalent of a raging dumpster fire, and probably a dangerous one in this fandom.

Regarding the Avatar thing, I was referring to Korra from ATLK, not any of the ATLA girls (who all actually had character), although in her defense, she was probably the most human of the listed characters. She was neither emptily angelic nor an unrepentant sadist, just a spastic bitch. The inspiration for the title came from this Youtube video tearing TLJ a new one by somebody who performed a long, scathing critique of ATLK. Which, let's be real, is low-hanging fruit. A chimp throwing a tantrum on a keyboard could probably write a better movie.

I agree with your point on Haruhi, considering that everyone who knows what she is is absolutely terrified of upsetting her, so they all become her emotional hostages.

Regarding the ponies, I was actually hoping you would clarify why those three were not Mary Sues, and I think you did a good job of that. Twilight would probably be more of a Mary-Sue if she wasn't regularly dealing with individuals in her power bracket. Also, Sunset is not nearly as unbelievable as Rainbow Dash. Some people really are multi-talented, but there is only so much time in the day, and sports team captainship takes a lot of dedication (not to mention muscle structure rulings, and the fact she's a scrawny teenage girl). I think that Starlight is suffering from a bit of the Superman complex, which is that of a being with nearly godlike powers trying to understand and emulate mortal morals. For me, the episode "Every Little Thing She Does" (named after a really old song) grounded Starlight because it revealed the emotional rift her immense power maintained between her and everypony else. That said, it seems like MLP is included on the list of tv shows and movies that can be summed up as "Rich People Drama", a problem which is amplified both by fanons that Sunset was adopted by Celestia and the "The Parent Map" episode.

Most importantly, though, is the fact that these three all suffer as much from a lack of arbitrary emotional support in the show as all of the other characters. They are shunned, brushed aside, attacked, exploited, and even forgotten for their actions or lack thereof, just like everypony else; and there are actual consequences for their mistakes that alter surrounding characters' opinions of them. They have at least as much trouble in romance as their contemporaries, only have friends in individuals who at least initially don't really have another choice, and aren't worshipped (or really feared) for their displays of unchecked power, which in turn create as many problems as they solve. Twilight in particular has a habit of making problems worse before a resolution is reached ("The Ticket Master", "Swarm of the Century","Lesson Zero", "Bats!", "It's About Time", seriously how can you mistake her for a Mary Sue?), and I really believe that's the critical barrier between the trio and the label: they're not perfect or presented to be, and other characters don't lose their "character" just to make them look better.

Ultimately though, I feel that Mary-Sues are a symptom, not the disease. I think that the people who write them either don't interact with girls and women on a regular basis, are girls who don't interact with other people on a regular basis, or are authors writing purely for monetary or political reasons and aren't factoring in human elements at all. Of course, these differences also create the different sub-varieties of the trope. It seems to have gone over far too many people's heads that writing is also an art form, and like all arts, they need to be the meeting place between observation and expression.

At the end of the day, thanks again for handling the trash, man.

Yeah, not touching this one.

Rey once had potential despite her laughable amounts of plot armor and loads more contrivances, she was actually something I'd argue as the least problematic aspect of the movie. Well she was terrible in the first movie for sure, not trying to sugarcoat that. But the overlaying messages and stupid stick was used so much.

Then by contrast we have one Twilight Sparkle in S1. She too is this independent, "who needs friends I'm super smart and they can't even spell Celestia on a Luna damned banner, Twilight Sparkle!

She's such a polar opposite to Rey despite what many called Mary Sue syndrome back when she lifted that Ursa Minor. Comparing her magic to Trixie's whose an average unicorn who also used magic to transform a mane into a next, hog tie a cowpony, trap the rainbow in a rainbow, and make lightning strike from a conjured cloud.

By comparison Trixie's magic compared to Twilight's was seen as someone trying to beat a tsunami back witha cup of water.

But why is having so much power over others make you a mary sue? That's subjective but I've argued that Twilight is just a prodigy, a dirty sue word I know, who was shown to have given her all since a tiny foal to learn and master her bountiful magic. Twilight back then wasn't the brightest pony in the shed when it came to social interactions, often even feeling she gets in the way of others when all she wants to be is useful like in Winter Wrap Up, she even once tried to take advantage of her new friends to do something she's only read in a book and created an imprumptu Sleep Over.

Throughout S1 you always saw Twilight strain or fail with her magic, these screw ups would even follow her through to S2 when she still tries to use high level magic like teleportation. Twilight wasn't given an easy pass like Starlight who just naturally seems to have the mind to create spells out of no where, one moment can't match up to Twilight's pool of magic reserves but in the next many moons she's somehow managed to infultrate Starswirl wing and steal his time travel scrolls, possibly learn other magics, and trained herself to somehow have magic reserves equal or greater than Twilight's.

Throughout Starlight's run she's shown to never really learn anything. She only fixes problems with more problems somehow and makes everyone like her by proxy. She's untouchable because she has to be.

They took away our Twilight back in S3, post s3 Twilight was mandated to be the example of what a role model for everypony and viewers should see her as: FUCKING FLAWLESS

Essentially the show wanted to give us that edgy, skeptical, socially awkward unicorn that still had ways to go before truly mastering what friendship means. But given all her screw ups and blatant disregard for safety no less, and serious lack of awareness in that one episode where she was shown as never moving from that spot that even the pillow she sat on was now soiled with her pony stench which led Spike to believeshe didn'twant him around anymore. That pillow stained in gross colors, animation miscolor or clever joke to show how grossly dedicated Twilight is to study time when given something by Celestia, whom she idolizes?

God damnit I said I wouldn't go there... I'm still going ther! WHY AM I GOING THERE?!

Sigh, but the mega short of it is that Twilight had her moments but she wasn't a mary sue. She had the traits for being one, but for the most part she never felt like what she got save for s3 and especially how she acted in s4 felt arbitrary. She'd either help somepony learn a lesson or they'd teach or remind her of a valuable lesson. Like Applej--MOVING ON!

Sadly as the show lost their creative leaders, and slowly began to lose their original show writers who actually cared for Lauren's vision for the world she built began to leave the show, it became clear more and more that the newer writers and some would come in with their own opinions on how things should go, their views on the fandom sometimes leaking into episodes and not just two blatant lashing out at the fandom's opinions and love for the show in a negative light no less, but began subverting longstanding character buildups over the seasons, AJ's hat, Diamond Tiara, the CMC, Twilight Sparkle's entire character shift where one whole season she wasn't allowed to have a strong opinion on something or rarely get mad, Rainbow Dash's hypocrisy moments and Pinkie character assassination which turned many characters that had depth despite their silly, or shy, or cries on the inside, into furthering them into these stereotyping roles.

I need to catch a breath, it ain't easy typing that much run ons without a break... phew!

So yeah, Twilight Sparkle may not have started out as a mary sue, but she's grown into one. But that's where Starlight Glimmer had to come in, the show needed a pre-S3 Twilight Sparkle back. Not having someone to go to extremes with to teach a lesson or make a moment feel like there's chance for character growth without tainting the image Hasbro wanted for their lead princess, they had to reform Starlight into the Mane Six.

Starlight wasn't created by Lauren. She wasn't given any buildup save for a few background shots leading towards the finale. Her redemption is just laughably immature and if she was a stallion I'm sure the show writers would have had zero qualms blowing her to bits like Sombra. No way to redeem males is there, McCarthy? (I guess it's a good thing they got the main series comic book writers in for s7, huh? ;P)

JK, but yes, Starlight Glimmer never learns. At best she simply puts up with stuff until someone sets her off. Yet she's still forgiven or have her actions grossly overlooked. You're supposed to love Glimmer. She's your pre-wings Twilight Sparkle with all that sarcasm and boo friendship lessons are boring~ pony.

Sunset Shimmer? Hey, she started off the bat a mary sue that actually had a potentially awesome not sue background. Little nuances thrown into the mix of blink and you missed it. But it was all stuff never fully stated out loud. So she of course being a prodigy student as well, duh, of P.Celestia no less. Seriously, this woman has been turning foals into super villains all for this elitist school that caters only to unicorns? EXPAND YOUR HORIZONS CANTERLOT!

The show glosses over Sunset's past. How she managed to get herself enrolled with no knowledge of how this universe worked, no money no nothing. I still feel she may have accidentally been the cause of that world's Sunset or something as her parents found the wrong Sunset and thus called off the search for the real Sunset and that other Sunset felt her parents didn't care that she ran away and just...

What was I talking about? God I can't believe I'm rambling nonsense of outdated topics.

Yeah, short of it is you can have all the traits of a Mary Sue and still become a genuinely likeable character. Starlight Glimmer? Terribly mary sue. But she's a dick and somehow it works for her as her super villainess side just happens to spawn from time to time and hey it gives us more excuse to have Trixie in an episode, bonus points if it somehow leads to a Twilight mental breakdown!

Sunset Shimmer is just relatable, she did everything for Celestia but was denied knowledge with a "Because I said so" reasoning. Then has the galls to try and get upset with her when she lashes out to see what the thing she's hiding from her was. Even the EQG episode of Sunset meeting Celestia made me wanna slap that white mare for being so plastic in her reaction and flat deliverence of apologies. Celestia should have been way more emotional. She's such a dick. xD

But yes, aside from little miss perfect badass who dated the most popular dude in school to which is excusable as to where she learned guitar, and her always dressing like a biker probably because she has ridden bikes before? Ehhh? Maybe???? Whatever. She's a total sue. But she's a lovable sue. Except in these post OP Jenn Gray tier mutant power episodes. It's such a mind rape, can I have Sunset jailed for raping my brain? There should be some serious ethical questions the girls should be asking about those powers. Especially how unstable and destructive those stones are.

They whine about Dash running all the time but never Sci-Twi using magic to manipulate photo editing tools? How lazy can you get? Okay that's pretty cool...

I was gonna do my usual insert pictures like I used to do with my blogs but I'm tired and rambling nonsensically like this over these old topics has me more tired.

Yeah, mostly agree with ya 100% on the blog post. I think. I have amnesia all a sudden but I think you said Twi's adorkable so she gets a pass, Glimmer's a clone of Twi before the alicorn wing yet with all that plot armor. And something about Sunset's super hot despite sometimes feeling like a sue but it's okay cause she's relatable and hot and you're making like ten more stories with her in the next 24 hours.

I could be wrong, idk!


This trope as it's lately been bellowed from the belfries kind of bothers me. Mostly because in the most recent incarnation it translates to:


Haruhi was an intended construction and deconstruction of the trope. She was built to be a 'Pinkie Pie' in the sense that she can build and break fourth walls and what lies within at whim. That doesn't make her a Sue. Overpowered? Absolutely. But not a Sue. She's the main character.

A main character who isn't hyper-competent/powerful/determined in some way is fucking boring and not worth watching. There is still a fine line there, that said; if the main character(s) are so overpowered or that the writer is so prone to creating MacGuffins at whim that winning is a foregone conclusion, the writer has then made the whole thing boring: (See Katnip Evergreen.) The talent of storytelling lies in the writer's ability to counterbalance, to give them a flaw or three and to make those flaws blend in and flesh out the story. Those are the ones that last the longest.

Are you seriously going to look at me and tell me that Luke Skywalker isn't overpowered, or an incorruptible paragon of good, or whatever the current benchmark is? Or Aragon, Optimus Prime, Ash, (Evil Dead) Gandalf, Twilight Sparkle, or Pinkie Pie? Of course not, because they are. Because they're the heroes.

In fanworks? For sure, the terminology has its place. You are taking characters who already exist and placing your own whims on them, and if you create an OC/ Self-insert character who is the best at everything forEvAr... yeah, you have some learning to do.

Not getting into Rey here. I don't agree with you fully, but I see where you're coming from. We can SkypeCord about it if you want to. For sure not going to get into Starlight, because you already know my feelings on her.


“Yeah, not touching this one.”

>>Proceeds to touch the post all over its rather large body.


Sorry. I actually quite enjoyed what you wrote and mostly agree with your points regarding what has happened to the show and the direction it’s taken. I just thought your opener was highly amusing given the length of what follows.


Yeah, It does have a tendency to be thrown around quite a bit. Kinda why I wanted to do at least put up goal posts and do bit of critical analysis before I started applying the label. For instance, I can understand how some might take a look at Katara of ATLA and call her a Sue sense she does have a tendency to gain all the super-special water-bending powers, all of them, and is one of the primary drivers of ‘good, moral decision making’ in her group, though, this also puts her at odds with most the other characters and she still regularly gets her ass handed to her with all her powers.

I somewhat disagree with Haruhi in a technical, we’re quibbling over definition sense as she somewhat falls into the category I listed. Though, I agree that it’s 100% by design and she’s intentionally written that way so the audience can understand that someone who was really like that would be a bit insufferable.

Also, as the narrator and person that the entire series is shown through, Kyon is the main character. :trixieshiftright:

Luke's deeds are definitely plot assisted a bit, especially in Jedi. And yeah, he does a lot of super impressive things most the people around him can't do. Though, he also gets beat up quite a bit and has needed to be saved on more than one occasion... And yes, the counterpoint is that if a character is so powerful they never fail or need assistance it takes away any drama from the story.

"Aragon, Optimus Prime, Ash, (Evil Dead) Gandalf, Twilight Sparkle, or Pinkie Pie"

Heh. I see where you're coming from on a lot of these. Optimus Prime is one I considered a Mary Sue when I saw his name at first, but that's the internet has kinda held him up as some sort of unstoppable juggernaut of goodness. Having watched the original cartoon, I remember him getting his ass handed to him by Laserbeak of all things and he's been taken out and beaten in other cases, though pretty much never in a ‘fair’ fight. Comics and such do tend to make him a bit of a Sue in a sort of... Goku or Alucard oh Hellsing sense... That is... if he's removed from the plot for a while, everything sucks until he returns and most everyone spends their time waiting for that to happen.

Gandalf and Aragon I’m actually struggling with a bit imaging them as not Sues now that you bring them up. At first glance they’re feel like dead ringers for my criteria. I mean, they rarely, if ever, seem to actually need assistance in what they do. They at least aren’t so pure that they could handle the One Ring themselves, but at the same time I’m struggling to think of a time where they needed to be saved by one of the other characters… At least Gandalf got beat up by Sarumon that one time before he got a moth friend to get one of his eagle pals to save him… Oh, and Aragorn almost got crushed by a troll at the end of Return of the King. One point with these two is I understand their motivations and where they come from (though with Gandalf, that’s only because I know enough background info of the setting to understand why he does what he does. In context of just what we’re shown in the movie, I dunno if I could defend him all that well).

Ash I find a particularly funny inclusion in this list even from the perspective of him being “overpowered” as he spends so much of his movie sucking-around and getting beat-up slap-stick style watching him not be a sad wretch of a human being for those, often brief, moments in the movies or show is somehow cathartic.

Pinkie also gets a bit of a pass because her over-powerness only works for comedic effect. I mean, she’s a Sue the same way Bugs Bunny is a Sue, but it’s all for laughs. Her powers never seem to help when the big bad comes a-knockin’.

Personality aspect aside, I think a big difference with the characters listed above and the other ones I mentioned…well… mostly Rey, is that we see these characters struggle to come up out on top rather frequently, or we know that they at least worked hard to master their powers. While Rey and Luke both get handed the main-character keys to the kingdom, we see Luke loose friends time and time again, struggle and overcome, struggler and not overcome and get saved, and also visit a horrible swamp planet so he can be taught to utilize his power. Rey just starts being unnaturally good at whatever she needs to be unnaturally good at when she needs to be good at that thing which is something of the hallmark of a Sue character.

I mean, to that Forbes guy (yes, Forbes… No, I don’t have any idea either), who tried to explain Rey is not a Mary Sue because she has special destiny granted by the plot, well, so does Kylo and Kylo has also been trained by both the most powerful living force users in the Galaxy and he still gets bested by Rey every. Single. Time they meet!

As a side note, I pick on Rey the most because she’s the only one in the list that I had watched all the most important pieces of media with her. I also don’t ‘hate’ Rey, per se, just… It’s more accurate to say I feel nothing for her, because I don’t have any understanding as to why she does… anything she does. Then again, I still think she was created to appeal to a different age group and gender than me, so maybe that follows.

Oh yeah, totally had 100% intention of ignoring it with just a nod and a few sexy Sunset jokes about how she'd run her mary sue harem, but when you're that sleepless your mind wanders and proceeds to tell the body it can #justdealwithit and as per my nature proceeded to make sweet sweet wordy love to a screen.

Reading my post just now feels like when you wale up from a serious hangover and someone begins playing back a reel of the events that played out prior to passing out.

Heh, glad to see somepony enjoying their ponies. Keep up the good fight, and the Sunset shenanigans.

Well. This didn't turn out as badly as I expected. The few responses presented were at least done so by reasonable people, which makes addressing them more of a treat than a chore. I'm glad I didn't set off a mine in Justice's blog with this request.

Regarding Twilight Sparkle:

She's the main character of the story, so of course there needs to be something to set her apart from the "rabble", especially with the show's medium-well relationship with the concept of "destiny". The fact that her special talent was "Magic" put her in an odd place while simultaneously explaining her unique quality and also an aspect of the show's fantasy mechanics. The curious thing about this is that the founding principle of the show "Friendship is Magic" already puts her at odds with said mechanics, because it is otherwise illustrated that the real source of magical power seems to be a combination of preordained destiny and intense dedication to study. I think that the show really screws up the latter with Trixie, Moondancer and Sunburst, who, while also former students of Celestia's School For Gifted Unicorns (which, racist much? jk), aren't really much to write home about in terms of power. That said, Twilight studies and practices magic all of the time, to the point where it compromises her ability to spend time with her friends, so it's paradoxically both understandable that she'd be better at it than ponies with other interests, and well, not.

Regarding Sunset Shimmer:

Sunset was the star villain of a very badly done movie made to sell a new line of toys. She, like Goku, is what I'd like to call a "Franchise Sue". She had to be better than Twilight because she was the main baddie, and that's kind of a rule you have to follow if you want people to give a damn about the conflict. The problem with the first movie is that there was really nothing more to it than that. All of the other characters were shitty imitations of the originals; even Twilight lost a considerable amount of character quality; the movie was a shallow collection of vapid stereotypes; and the overall story was the kind of garbage in which a Mary Sue would be right at home, and so she was. Like I said in my previous post, a Mary Sue is a symptom, not the disease. But in the later movies, she did actually get better, although she suffered like the others from the overall decline in the movies' quality, and they weren't off to a great start.

Regarding Starlight Glimmer:

Like I said before, Starlight is like Superman, Saitama, and Haruhi where they've reached the point that their power has become their flaw. Power doesn't have the same value in Equestria as it does in conventional media. The whole point of the show is the value of emotional bonds, which Starlight obviously struggles with and having the option to solve all her problems with magic only amplifies that difficulty. It's like Jergal said before he surrendered his powers to The Dark Three:

"I am omnipotent, therefore I am powerless."

My big issue with her is the fact that she's basically replacing Twilight, especially after such a cheap redemption. Well, it's only shortly followed by the fact that her reason for going evil in the first place was such utter bullshit that Twilight called her out on it right to her face.

Regarding Gandalf:

This is a problem of information loss due to movie adaptation. The Wizards of LOTR are actually a separate species from humans, being as much demigods as first-generation elves like Galadriel. Still, he tangles only with foes in his own power bracket, is just as afraid of the Naz'Ghul as anyone, and like Galadriel was just as subject to the temptation of the One Ring. Also, Baalor actually killed him in his memetic "You shall not pass!" moment, but he was resurrected by the gods (IIRC) which is what led to his power upgrade.

Regarding Aragon:

I'm not sure how he's seen as a Mary Sue? His friends and outside forces have had to bail him out of nearly every encounter, most of which have cost him the former. Also, as is typical in a world where the gods are real things, his legitimacy as king is kind of a big deal.

Regarding Optimus Prime:

Michael Bay's rendition of Optimus Prime is a Mary Sue because his context is shallow bullshit. But he's not as bad as either human hero (Shia Witwicky or... the other guy) which just goes to show that it's not a matter of raw power that determines Sue status.

Regarding Luke Skywalker:

Luke was born to the Force Antichrist (Anakin) and still had to train extensively to use his latent powers almost passably. Almost everything he accomplishes is explained by prior experience, such as the initial proton torpedo shot to take out the first Death Star which he already mentioned not being an especially difficult shot because he's had experience shooting at similarly-sized targets. His achievements are still narrow scrapes. He actually fails Yoda's test in TESB when he cuts off the head of the Vader illusion. He's lost an arm, been captured numerous times and didn't even beat Palpatine, Vader did that for him by throwing him into a pit. The second Death Star was taken out by a tertiary character (Lando), the destruction of which Luke barely escaped.

Regarding Rey:

Rey is absolutely, positively a Mary Sue and my motivation for making this request in the first place. The only way she could fit the trope more perfectly if she was a Star Trek character, rather than a Star Wars one. Oh and if she was fanon rather than canon. That is in fact explained in great detail in the video I linked in my previous comment.

Regarding Katara:

I haven't seen the Avatar movie (as I said, I was referring to Korra, who is like somebody ripped off Haruhi and completely missed the fucking point), but as with the previous mentions, her Sueness is clearly a product of the garbage in which she is located. In the actual series, her picking up new unique water-bending powers is a product of her actually joining Aang on his journey across the world instead of staying holed up on her iceberg like the rest of the Southern Tribe. Also, it takes her a lot of time, effort, and personal risk to acquire them.

Ultimately, Sue status is not the character's fault. They're characters, which are as much props of the story as the special effects and music. They have no free will, and no more power over the nature of their existence than we do over the color of our blood. (I'd say skin or hair, but well...) I won't hold it against them, but I also won't apologize for holding it against their creators. Also, whether the characters are canon or not doesn't excuse said status, IMO. In fact, their presence in canon works is even worse, because the vastly larger number of people being subjected to them actually paid to be entertained and were expecting a degree of professionalism from the creators. At least with fanfiction, everybody can just laugh off the characters for being the literary masturbation that they are. Even still, actually being a Sue is itself forgivable as long as the story itself handles it properly, such as is the case with Superman (sometimes), or Kurokami Medaka from Medaka Box.

TL;DR, being a Mary Sue isn't a problem of power, competence, goodness, or even a combination of the three. It's a problem of arbitrary success and absence or poor quality of character, combined with the inexplicable emotional validation from other characters and the complete absence of the necessary plot or conflict to give them any weight.

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