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Oliver


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

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Feb
18th
2019

Points of Canon: My Little Pony Annual 2018 · 7:08pm February 18th

While this is an annual issue, this is also the true conclusion to the of Legends of Magic, one that carries the most consequences for the canon with it than the rest of them.

Let’s take it apart. Unlike the other stories in the Legends continuity, this one does not come with a framing story – it’s narrated directly.

  • “You will recall that on several occasions, I have used magical portals to explore other worlds.”

    “I do. They creep me out ever since that one Luna opened—”

    “The most difficult element of that spell is that it requires precision. Reaching the same dimension is hard enough, but if one wants to appear in the same place multiple times. One must know the cartography of the land and work with landmarks. On top of that, one must understand the dimensional relationship between the two planes in order to determine dimensional rotation. Even then, the positions of other relative dimensions can cause slight alterations, which when translated across multiple dimensions…”

    • The establishing shot with the still not entirely completed Canterlot Castle certifies that the room Star Swirl keeps his mirrors in is somewhere around there. Compare to the Reflections storyline, which, by now, has gotten very nearly completely jossed out of the continuity.
    • Star Swirl’s statement would make it nearly impossible for the same world – Pedestria – to be reached consistently by multiple unrelated actors multiple times without the use of mirrors, yet we know that this happened to Clover and his memory stone sorceress. It follows that Star Swirl cannot be correct.
    • That’s the first time we hear the term “dimensional rotation,” which hardly makes any sense.
    • This conversation references Legends of Magic #1, and in general this story wants to be set after Stygian’s story in Legends of Magic #8-12. However, Celestia and Luna are still teenage and shorter than Star Swirl.
  • “So, I cast an enchantment linking two magical objects across dimensions. So long as both items remain intact, I can travel between them freely.”

    • I.e. all these mirrors are Star Swirl’s work. Why are they all so different remains unexplained.
    • Why does a mirror leading to the world containing the Sirens exists also remains unexplained, and is probably the dumbest idea Star Swirl has ever had – or at least, assuming he made one first and only then used this world to exile the Sirens, not destroying that mirror is his stupidest mistake.
    • Despite Star Swirl’s statement, the other end of the portal he demonstrates to Celestia is anchored – if it is anchored at all – in a perfectly mundane tree.
  • “After all, who would go around trying every tree in the forest?” Someone who knows for sure one of them is a portal, for one.
  • “If they’re mirrors, why aren’t they reflecting anything?” Notice that the Pedestria mirror does reflect things just fine, as you can see in Equestria Girls on multiple occasions.
  • “We’ve found them! The destroyers!” I find it particularly notable that the invading dark things appear from every single mirror at once.
  • “I know not whence you came, but today I return you there, creature!” Star Swirl doesn’t know what these are.
  • “Please, I don’t want to hurt you.”

    • Luna is using a very interesting spell against the Dark Things, which encases them in floating bubbles.
    • Notice that the Luna of Legends is much tamer than, well, just about any Luna ever seen. Same about most other ponies, actually…
  • “Get off me! I am Celestia, Princess of Equestria! I command the sun in the sky and I—” Celestia claims to already be in control of the sun. Which is all kinds of problematic.
  • “Northern Equestria, home village of the Mighty Helm.”

    • The village still doesn’t get a name.
    • Just where exactly is “Northern Equestria?”
    • Notice also that for this occasion the entire Legion HQ was relocated to the aforementioned village.
  • “Now, as you know, thanks to the Treaty of Meadowbrook, we are currently at peace with the dragons for the first time in years.” I wouldn’t describe the events of Legends of Magic #10 as a “treaty,” but that’s what they seem to be referencing.
  • “Now, as you also know, this is the first time in Captain Ironhead’s time as leader of the Royal Legion that we haven’t been fighting somebody.” That’s a lot of fighting
  • “Captain of the Mighty Helm, Steela Oresdottir.” Steela is the first and so far only pony to have what appears to be a patronymic. Even among the Mighty Helm.
  • “And remember, we’re in the high desert, so the air is thinner on the ground than what a lot of you are used to in the air.” The village, however, is still coastal, so there’s the sea level right here, the Legion HQ is hovering right around the edge of the volcano, and the hills around are green. The only way this can be a “high desert” is by covering it in cocaine.
  • “I asked for your rank and I’m gonna start with the four fastest. I want Grimhoof, Nimbus Dash, Bella Breeze and Flash Magnus.” All of these are pegasus names.
  • “Gosh, I forgot how fast he actually is.” I suppose since this is definitely pre-Nightmare, Gosh has to be some pegasus deity. </sarcasm>
  • “Now, this says the ideal distance between corn in volcanic soil is going to be no less than three feet apart.” Whose feet remains unclear to this day.
  • “I am here to lead cheers and provide encouragement.” Somnambula is using pom-poms to do it, dating the practice to truly ancient times.
  • “I am less worried about Equestria than those two girls. Who knows what evil power has them?” Notice Celestia’s claim that she controls the sun, above. As well as the statements in Horse Play which, if Celestia’s statement is correct, prevent powerful spellcasters from existing in Equestria at this point in time, unless the statements in the Journal are also correct. Nobody worries about the sun, however.
  • “Well, I don’t know if the rest of you know many young girls, but I have this niece—” Flash Magnus has a niece at this point in time. Presumably, a brother or sister as well.
  • “Both of those girls are more powerful than any other unicorn I’ve ever met.” The artwork, however, shows both Celestia and Luna unambiguously as alicorns, and yet it’s other unicorn, as if the term “alicorn” does not yet exist.
  • “There is only one mirror left standing. This must lead to the world to which the princesses were taken.” A completely unfounded assumption, but what else do you expect from this Star Swirl.
  • Once again, instead of breaking glass, Rockhoof bumps into it ineffectually.
  • “Mark my words, after we’re gone the princesses will make sure people remember Star Swirl. But with him keeping us secret, I bet they’ll forget us.” This phrase would make a lot more sense if the Pillars+Stygian had more adventures, but there’s no trace of those.
  • “The first step is to cast a spell to track their magical auras. They’re unique from the rest of this world.” Important implications for magic theory here.
  • “It worked last time Luna was taken… I believe to the same world.” Notice that this world did have a mirror going there. I.e. Star Swirl deliberately built a permanent portal to a world he already knew to be extremely dangerous.
  • “I don’t like this place one bit. Makes living near a volcano seem right welcoming.” Despite the reaction of Rockhoof and pretty much everypony else, the only significantly unusual bit about this forest is the purple vegetation, though.
  • “Well, I grew mine in an instant, but it certainly seemed to help ponies take me more seriously.” Rockhoof confirms his legend, as told in Campfire Tales, which involved him insta-growing.
  • The first bit of actual fauna encountered are electric-zapping insects. Compare to twittermites.
  • “This forest is corrupted. The plants are twisted and sour. The animals lurk in the shadows, preparing to attack the weak. … They’re twisted with an unnatural rage and…” And here we see more lumber bears. So just like Equestria, then.
  • “That stuff shouldn’t be mixed! Everypony get down!” Meadowbrook carries what amounts to explosives in her bag without actually meaning to.
  • “You were once a natural creature in this beautiful forest.” According to Mistmane, lumber bears, and presumably other variations on timber fauna, are some manner of corruption of natural creatures – rather than plants.
  • “So, you knew the version of me from this world?” The entire conversation implies certain things:

    • There was an iteration of Star Swirl in this particular world, and it was sufficiently recognizable for Stygian/PonyOfShadows.
    • That iterative worlds are common enough for Star Swirl to suspect this immediately.
    • That, unless the temporal gradient between them is not 1:1, it is possible for Stygian to go PoS much earlier than observed in the televised Equestria.
  • The bugs recognize Stygian’s commands as those of the local Pony of Shadows, and yet they attempted to attack him anyway at first.
  • “These are not mere little fillies. They have an infinite power for destruction. With a little bit of corruption, they’ll become Daybreaker and Nightmare Moon.”

    • So wait. How exactly does the Pony of Shadows know the names they would adopt upon such a transformation, if the local Star Swirl stopped him before it could be done?
    • For that matter, if the local Star Swirl is dead, why wasn’t the transformation completed?
    • Considering that the Nightmare Moon we have observed in Friendship is Magic and in the flashback in Princess Twilight Sparkle wasn’t particularly powerful, what about her would be “infinite?”
  • “And once I have infused them with shadow magic, I shall command the two most destructive forces in history. Then, I’ll overrun every reality and make it as empty and corrupted as mine.” For The Evulz. What, exactly, is stopping the Pony of Shadows from proceeding with this plan without Celestia and Luna?
  • “The question is, who is this one? I don’t recognize him.” Notice that the idea that this must be himself never occurs to the Pony of Shadows for some strange reason. Later, Pony of Shadows claims to have not recognized himself, which is… pretty dubious by itself.
  • “Ogre! Grab the princesses!” Ah, so this is what the ogre from Ogres & Oubliettes looks like. Notably, it’s a native Equestrian creature: Four fingers.
  • And this time Rockhoof’s shovel breaks glass. It must only break glass when it’s important to the plot.

A conclusion

The whole series of Legends of Magic has numerous problems, which I feel I’ve pointed out sufficiently. And the problems aren’t just numerous anachronisms which appear even within the context of the series itself, and which portray, as a consequence, a world of a millenium-long stagnation. The series is not consistent within itself. The series is not consistent with the primary canon. It is ignored by subsequent primary canon. The implications of all the numerous revelations are incompatible with the Equestria as observed more often than not. And trying the whole tie-in of the comics with main series has only made things a lot worse, because they bungled that, too.

I could go into more specific detail about specific incompatibilities, but I don’t really see the point: this would involve accepting that this particular storyline is salvageable, and I don’t really see any reason I should. Want a serious treatment of the issue that exploits it for a good story, Mitch H has a story for you which I hope he continues one day soon, but notice it’s far from accepting any part of this mess verbatim either.

Even Shadow Lock can’t really save us from this.

Of particular note is the asinine revelation that Star Swirl wrote about heroes of Equestria that he did not believe exist. But his book nevertheless convinces Stygian that they are in fact real, so he finds them. This sort of mess is only possible if the universe itself is mutable.

Well, if it is, why should it not stay mutable and mutate into something better?

P.S. I also have a suspicion that much of this was written to support a prior, discarded plot of the My Little Pony Movie, which involved the appearance of Celestia’s and Luna’s parents. This leaks through the conspicuous absence of whatever actual rules Equestria might have while Celestia and Luna are not ruling it, which I pointed out previously. Scant mentions of that plot have appeared in leaked emails on Wikileaks, of all places, years ago – because nobody actually told the comic writers that the plans have changed.

If so, this disaster has been years in the making.

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Comments ( 8 )

Considering that the Nightmare Moon we have observed in Friendship is Magic and in the flashback in Princess Twilight Sparlke wasn’t particularly powerful, what about her would be “infinite?

Pretty much the same problem that movie have - alicorns supposedly incredibly powerful (stronger that hundreds of armies) but in same time go down in seconds. Because otherwise there be no story - Nightmare Moon just squash Twilight like a bug or Luna and Celestia kick Tempest and Storm King asses so hard that their distant descendant would feel it.

  • “Mark my words, after we’re gone the princesses will make sure people remember Star Swirl. But with him keeping us secret, I bet they’ll forget us.” This phrase would make a lot more sense if the Pillars+Stygian had more adventures, but there’s no trace of those.

It would also make more sense if it weren't demonstrably untrue. People did remember them, and in many cases as historical figures who objectively existed. It kind of trips up the point the comic was likely trying to make there.

  • “You were once a natural creature in this beautiful forest.” According to Mistmane, lumber bears, and presumably other variations on timber fauna, are some manner of corruption of natural creatures – rather than plants.

Personally, I took it that she meant that timber fauna are themselves natural creatures, but the bears have since been warped into unnatural aggressiveness despite their forms remaining largely the same.

That’s the first time we hear the term “dimensional rotation,” which hardly makes any sense.

I think someone read Heinlein's Number of the Beast and decided to lift its idea that there were two other dimensions (beyond txyz), and your rotation and coordinates decided what world you perceived.

If I'm remembering it correctly. Alternately, Piers Anthony's Mode series has something similar

“Get off me! I am Celestia, Princess of Equestria! I command the sun in the sky and I—” Celestia claims to already be in control of the sun. Which is all kinds of problematic.

Unless there *is* a queen, she's also claiming rulership, also problematic.

“Both of those girls are more powerful than any other unicorn I’ve ever met.” The artwork, however, shows both Celestia and Luna unambiguously as alicorns, and yet it’s other unicorn, as if the term “alicorn” does not yet exist.

Well, opening book/narration from "Friendship is Magic" calls the sun/moon bits "unicorn powers", so that coordinates at least a little.

“The first step is to cast a spell to track their magical auras. They’re unique from the rest of this world.” Important implications for magic theory here.

I'm curious if they meant just their general "has-Equestrian-magic" state, or particular individualized aura color/signature.

preparing to attack the weak. … They’re twisted with an unnatural rage

Attacking the weak is pretty natural here. Makes one wonder.

Meadowbrook carries what amounts to explosives in her bag without actually meaning to.

Plant fertilizer, probably.

5016067

I’m curious if they meant just their general “has-Equestrian-magic” state, or particular individualized aura color/signature.

Considering that this world they’re in at the moment is an ex-Equestria, it’s hard to decide which.

Attacking the weak is pretty natural here. Makes one wonder.

Even Meadowbrook points that out, but for Mistmane the rage involved is still unnatural.

Yeah, there are a ton of problems here. One thing I'll suggest though: After Starswirl tore the first portal open up at random and dumped the Dazzlings through it, what if their presence in Pedestria was the magical connection making Pedestria the default portal location for Equestria?

5016157

Yeah, there are a ton of problems here. One thing I’ll suggest though: After Starswirl tore the first portal open up at random and dumped the Dazzlings through it, what if their presence in Pedestria was the magical connection making Pedestria the default portal location for Equestria?

In that case, his attempt to follow the Sisters to ex-Equestria of the Pony of Shadows would result in ending up in Pedestria, wouldn’t it? And/or the Sisters would end up in ex-Equestria rather than Pedestria in the first place.

The problems really start with the appearance of the very idea of the Pillars, everything else is just more problems…

5016277 In that one case he was deliberately aiming for a different world than the one the sirens were in. When Meadowbrook and others tore open portals to dump their artifacts and problems, they probably were just opening a portal at random, and "random" has been set to Pedestria.

It's a shame, the concept of the Pillars is very cool, but the bounce between show and comics have created so many bizarre discontinuities.

It's odd, really. Nightmare Moon and even Daybreaker, when originally envisioned, were tyrant queens, Celestia and Luna without morality or restraint, but recent canon has had this trend of them both actually existing as slaves to a higher power. In this annual it was the Pony of Shadows. In Nightmare Knights it's Discord's cousin. It seems strangely contradictory to their egocentric characters, and I don't like it.

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