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Oliver


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

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Apr
6th
2019

Points of Canon: S9x01-02 - The Beginning of the End · 10:42pm Apr 6th, 2019

Let’s be serious here. For many people, the end came a long time ago. I would need to actually do that fanon survey I had planned to tell how many, though, and that’s a project for later.

Meanwhile, I shall pick apart an episode.

  • Chronology markers: School of Friendship is in evidence, Spike has wings, Cozy Glow is in Tartarus, and the throne room has the movie look. This one knows exactly when it wants to be. According to Starlight’s line, the school is closed for the summer, indicating that it is a summer.
  • “So everypony got an urgent summons to the castle with no explanation?”

    • Notice that apparently, none of them arrived by train, and Twilight behaves like she flew all the way and boy, are her wings tired.
    • Why exactly are the others waiting for her at the gates, if she didn’t know they all received an urgent summons? Or alternatively – why does she ask the question, if it is unlikely for them to receive such a summons without her?
    • The geography is strange: First they pass through what has to be the castle courtyard, then they suddenly run through city streets, and then they end up at the doors of the castle proper. Then again, Canterlot geography has always been cruel and unusual.
  • “Don’t you think you’re bein’ a little paranoid?” Ponies know the word. This, in itself, is more telling than you would think.
  • “Why else would the Princesses send scrolls in such a hurry?” This is a question that does not get adequately answered by the subsequent events. Notice that not only Twilight but everyone else also interpreted the invitation as “urgent.” Rarity even reiterates it to the Sisters’ faces and they still dodge it. Which heavily implies they aren’t telling something.
  • “That’s just it. Nothing’s wrong! Everything’s perfect!” Emphasis mine. Midway through this phrase, Luna switches tone. If anyone did that to me, I would be sure the urgency was in fact deliberate and would still be unaware why.
  • Princess Luna: Well, there is more to it. Equestria is enjoying its longest period of harmony in recent years.
    Princess Celestia: And it’s all thanks to you, Twilight. And your friends of course.

    This is a statement that goes unchallenged in the episode itself, and was dubious even back when it was released in the trailer. As far as we know, Equestria faced world-ending threats on a monthly basis throughout the entire “recent years.” Now, it is impossible for it to be “thanks to Twilight” if Luna means it started before Episode 1, so we are forced to conclude it doesn’t – and then we have to consider that this is a period of harmony, rather than five to seven years of hair-raising chaos, which was somehow more harmonious than normal.

    And you can’t even interpret it as Luna going senile, because Celestia supplies the second half.

    Something’s fishy here.

  • “Breaking news! The royal princesses retiring! I have so many questions! Who’ll take over? Who’ll run Equestria? Will it be someone tall, dark and handsome? Or will it be the Lord of Chaos?” Notice that the only character in the episode who can be described as “tall, dark and handsome” is Sombra.
  • “Princesses can retire?” Spike’s right to ask this question: The body of law dealing with the procedure has to be massive for this to be possible, if Equestria has any form of realistic government. Unfortunately, Celestia just confirms and that’s the end of it.
  • “I for one am looking forward to a little R&R, maybe a trip to Silver Shoals.”

    • Silver Shoals is a location – sounds like a resort – not marked on known maps.
    • Notice how Luna’s phrase does not imply a quiet life of a retiree, but rather, a vacation.
  • “Does this mean we get all your powers?! Ooh ooh, I call dibs on showing up in everypony’s dreams!” Notice that this is another question that goes entirely unanswered. Nobody even mentions that Celestia and Luna control celestial objects even in this entire episode. Did they fix the engines on the Sun and Moon while the camera wasn’t looking?
  • “It’ll be a bit of an adjustment, but I imagine the transfer of power will be a lengthy process which will–” And this also gets shot down for no obvious reason, which would imply no actual transfer of power has occurred, wouldn’t it?
  • “Actually we just need a few days to put together a little ceremony.” I.e. the actual ceremony would be “in a few days,” and yet, the urgent summons.
  • Twilight is hyperventilating.

    • Actually, just how often does she do that?…
    • Then she uses a paper bag. Ponies can get respiratory alkalosis, or there would be no reason at all to do that. Not a given.
  • “The friendship journal you wrote yourselves is a better guide than any we could provide.” You know, the book that everyone admitted was only for the little fillies. :pinkiesmile:
  • Discord uses a fork to brush his beard. And then sprays it with something. Is this a reference? I wouldn’t know.
  • “‘Twilight-ing?’ You… you made me a verb?” Is that a deliberate call-out to Celestia being an expression in A Celestial Advice? Probably is.
  • “Um, if you think about it, they literally almost never help.” Notice that this means that no major events resolved by Celestia have happened in Rainbow’s memory. Which is longer than the series. Hopefully. But even Applejack doesn’t contradict this line, so we don’t have to rely just on Rainbow’s memory.
  • “One day, you’ll see! I will defeat Twilight Sparkle and her friends!”

    • Notice that Chrysalis is still hanging around the apparent Everfree since The Mean Six. The “uncultured” portion of the forest, which looks like it originally did.
    • Talking to bricks of wood with changeling faces painted on them is even more insane than she was the last time.
  • Tirek counts – something – by scratching lines on the floor of his cage. A later shot shows about 355, and I can’t find a shot where more would be visible. What is he counting?

    • If it’s years since he was first incarcerated, that’s too few.
    • If it’s days since Twilight’s Kingdom conclusion, that sounds short… but is in tune with the other highly-compressed years canon has already given us.
    • If it’s days since Cozy Glow joined him, that’s a bit too long, because it nets us an empty missing year.

    What is it?

  • “I just want to make sure you can see my ‘best friends’ rock sculpture from over there.” …wait, what did she use to glue the rocks together and paint them?…
  • Grogar’s teleportation method does not look like any other teleportation method – except maybe Sombra’s – and is capable of penetrating Tartarus.
  • Sombra’s resurrection is accomplished without using any material components, or at least, without any that can be seen. It’s almost like there’s no limit to the number of times one could do that…
  • “See? She gets it.” Notice that Chrysalis recognized Tirek immediately, and knew how he prefers to be addressed.
  • “Why did you summon me? What do you want?!” This bit is strange.

    • At this point, Chrysalis, at least, is definitely a material being, and yet, she interprets what happened as “summoning” – which, in our case, is a term more commonly applied to spirits and isekai protagonists. Notice that ponies very rarely use the word. Chrysalis is not a pony, of course, but it’s still pretty unusual.
    • How exactly did she even recognize what happened for that matter?
  • “King Sombra! You have returned?” That bit is also interesting: Chrysalis has never actually seen Sombra during the course of the series run, has she? There were no photographs made, and no observable portraits were seen. So how did she know?
  • “Why did you bring us here?” Notice that this is the moment Tirek tries to cast a spell – forming a bubble between his nearly-nonexistent horns – before he gets interrupted by Grogar’s arrival. What’s he expecting to do?
  • The Grogar?”

    • What, was there more than one?
    • Notice that even for Sombra and Tirek, Grogar is at best legendary, when their known memory extends to pre-Nightmare period.
  • Tirek: Grogar is ancient and extremely powerful. The land that would become Equestria was a mere collection of farms and pastures until he ‘declared himself emperor of all he saw!’. I remember hearing tales of his tyranny when I was young.
    King Sombra: I have also heard of the first Emperor of Equestria, the ‘Father of Monsters’.
    Grogar: I gave life to the foulest of creatures, and allowed them to run wild, taking what they wanted and destroying the rest. My reign was a fearsome epoch of darkness in Equestria.
    Queen Chrysalis: Ha! Until Gusty the Great rose up and banished you.
    Grogar: That fool believed taking my bell would defeat me. But she only weakened me temporarily.

    Now, barring the usual confusion resulting from the misuse of the word “Equestria” and not identifying whether it applies to the modern nation, the continent, or the entire world, we get another puzzle here:

    • The legend that is our only source on Gusty the Great, first mentioned in A Flurry of Emotions, also mentions Cloudsdale. In addition to mentioning that it’s possible to reach it by marching up a hill.
    • Which would mean that it happened in the era when that city already existed.
    • Which is okay, but then, what happened to Pegasopolis from Hearth’s Warming Eve? Were the characters of the play not historical? But at least Puddinghead and Clover were later corroborated as historical – in Forgotten Friendship and a few other sources.
    • Never mind that, Grogar is contemporary with Gusty. So would be Cloudsdale.

    There are ways to sort this mess out, but in any case, this is problematic, because it is one more argument for the point of view that pony settlement of Equestria predates the exodus depicted in Hearth’s Warming Eve. Which, by the way, is the position sort of implied by the whole Pillars storyline. I.e. the Founders of the Hearth’s Warming story did exist, but the exodus that caused the whole reunification did not, or, what’s worse, only covered a small number of ponies, and the rest didn’t learn friendship.

    Which makes no sense, since that is their primary claim to fame.

  • “I gave life to the foulest of creatures, and allowed them to run wild, taking what they wanted and destroying the rest. My reign was a fearsome epoch of darkness in Equestria.” For The EVULZ. Literally, why? What does that get Grogar? Motivation is not clear at all.
  • “I’ve spent millennia gathering power, biding my time, waiting for the perfect opportunity to seize control of Equestria!” Now, if Gusty the Great is contemporary with Cloudsdale, there’s no way in hell Grogar spent a lot more than one millennium doing that.
  • “With the school closed for the summer I didn’t think anypony would be here–”

    • It’s summer.
    • The school closes for the summer. I wonder what happens to the dorms.
  • “Did I write down ‘eliminate redundant lists’ on my School of Friendship to-do list or my personal to-do list?” Notably, this would involve a list of all lists. Which would have to include itself. You should know why this is funny by now. :twilightsmile:
  • “This is the first time I’ve ever been asked to run a whole kingdom!” Starlight already knows about this, judging by her reaction.
  • Sombra’s attack on the Crystal Empire succeeds.

    • Actually, why? What happened to the shield spell they used the last time to kick him out?
    • Notice that he manufactures the mind-control helmets in place. Notice also that helmets are not required for mind control. Something tells me he didn’t have some of these abilities the last time around: If you can mind control everyone, why keep them in chains at all?
  • “Hurry, Twilight! We need you!”

    • Notice that Cadance is not sending this to Celestia.
    • Historically, the show bible suggests the fireplace that Celestia was always nearby when she received dragonflame mail messages was part of the whole dragonflame mail system. However, this was apparently abandoned long ago. This here is the only on-screen case of a princess directly handling a dragonflame-style message. Notice that while Cadance can do it herself, Twilight keeps bothering Spike.
  • “Mama!” Flurry Heart is old enough to start talking.
  • “Ooh, good point! One of us should probably loop in the real rulers of Equestria.” Discord’s goading becomes really blatant around this point. His later line, “Ah nonono, you didn’t need the Elements last time you defeated Sombra, and I’m not sure that using them still counts as doing things ‘on your own.’” is particularly notable.
  • “You’re absolutely right you need to learn how to deal with these things on your own.” The check Discord hands Twilight is very similar to ours (and just as big as other such demonstrative checks) but for some reason only has her cutie mark in place of a name – in the space long enough for a name. This being Discord’s handiwork, it tells us essentially nothing.
  • I question the logic of first taking Flurry and then handing her over to Cadance anyway, even if they are imprisoned in the same cage.
  • “Cavalry’s here!” I think that’s the first time the word is used. What it actually means for ponies – if anything, because it’s Pinkie saying that – remains undefined.
  • “How can I be surprised, when I’m waiting to show all of you your greatest fear?” This was a bit of a non-sequitur: Nobody wonders if Sombra is surprised. Is there a line missing?
  • “We didn’t need to defeat them. We just needed to face them long enough to distract you!” Spike’s flame is effective against Sombra’s dark crystals. How did Twilight know that it would be, though?…
  • “What’s goin’ on?”

    • Actually, I’m not sure either: the Elements shatter surprisingly easily, when in Friendship is Magic, Nightmare Moon did that too and that ultimately didn’t do jack.
    • For that matter, how exactly does Sombra travel?… If he had that capability in the Sombra timeline in The Cutie Re-Mark, why didn’t he use it? He would win quickly if he had.
  • “You thought you’d defeated me, but you led me right to the source of your power.” It keeps amazing me that someone still doesn’t know that this is where the source of that power is located.
  • “The Tree of Harmony grew the Elements! It kept the Everfree Forest under control! And now it’s gone.” Unless you count the castle, which it also grew, the shoots underneath the school…
  • “What the– Twilight, what are you doin’?”

    • Digging, which certifies that the floor in this cave is not stone, something to keep in mind.
    • This works. Notably, the first time Twilight encountered such a cage structure, in The Crystal Empire, digging was not an option, and she discovered the cage is teleport-proof.
  • “I can’t! Without the Elements, my magic isn’t strong enough to stop Sombra’s!” Once again, if Sombra had this ability in either of the prior appearances or in his timeline, he would be unstoppable.
  • “We must lay siege to Canterlot.” This would be the one case where Starlight Glimmer could show off her mind control expertise and actually do something useful with it. Unfortunately, the trend where her actual expertises are ignored is carried over here as well.
  • “Well, with the Tree of Harmony gone, the Everfree Forest could grow out of control and threaten the town!” Notice that these are similar to the plunder vines from Princess Twilight Sparkle, but not identical. What happened to the plunder vines, then?…
  • Despite the availability of at least some form of radio (See My Little Pony Movie) or telegraph (Family Appreciation Day) the Royal Guard attempt to sound the alarm using horns. Where would they even get the horns?…
  • Has Luna’s throne in the new throne room always been smaller, or just this one time?…
  • “I alerted the Princesses as soon as I could. I felt it, when it happened. Like part of my essence just ceased to be.” Star Swirl still has some manner of mystic connection to the Tree. Or had.
  • “Who do you think kept the Forest under control before it did?” Considering the Legends, it would have to be Star Swirl alone, but that raises the question why wasn’t the forest just burned down one day if it’s such a bloody recurrent problem. For that matter, the episode leaves this issue unresolved in the long term – no permanent solution to this problem is presented at all.
  • 1. Correction caught by zimmerwald1915

    Star Swirl can self-levitate, a trick Twilight never employed. only employed exactly once on screen, in The Crystal Empire – very briefly, and never to fly upwards.1

  • “We left Canterlot defenseless!” Luna makes a surprised face, but here’s a thing: Canterlot is easily visible from Ponyville, and when the Sisters turned up, they were flying. How exactly is this news to her?…
  • Twilight teleports the entire Mane 6 to Canterlot, something she did not do before.
  • “Sombra’s going to make us fight our way through our friends?!” Some things are a bit strange in this scene.

    • The Wonderbolts, instead of simply attacking Rainbow, just block her way. This does not even increase her exposure to the anti-air unicorns on the ground, so I don’t see strategic or tactical point to this.
    • We’ve never seen Sombra give commands to the bespelled troops, but more importantly, here, we see them act as a unit without communicating between each other, either.
    • Moondancer appears, and never gets any lines this time either. Notably, her group is attacking Rarity rather than Twilight, which would be more effective. Or would it?
    • Rainbow eventually goes up against Crystal Guard pegasi. Now, Sombra teleported, shadow walked, whatever. How exactly did these guys get here? Considering his defeat in the Crystal Empire, they shouldn’t exist – their absence would have been noticed, and as of this moment the Crystal Empire is liberated, again. They’re also the only ponies wearing the (completely unnecessary) mind-control helmets.
  • “I don’t know. But we can’t stay here.” So why didn’t Twilight teleport straight to inside the castle the first time?
  • “Although Fluttershy should get most of the credit for that. She’s my favorite.” Fluttershy’s blush at this phrase and subsequent events are potent Discoshy/Fluttercord shipping fuel.
  • “Not even the Lord of Chaos can stand against me! I am truly the most powerful creature in Equestria!” Now, we know Discord is faking, but it’s important to notice that the idea that he can actually be hurt by magic is believable to the Mane 6. The entire scene plays out implying that while he can use his chaos magic to neutralize more or less any use of magic, he has to do it actively.
  • “It’s going to take more than a sentimental speech to save you.” I dunno, if he listened to the whole thing before saying that… :pinkiesmile:
  • “You can’t destroy our friendship, Sombra!”

    • Funny thing is, this is not the first time Twilight is invoking the power of friendship without the use of tools. The first one was in Equestria Girls. It was kind of the whole point of that particular fight.
    • Everyone keeps commenting that Twilight got Celestia-style hair for the duration of this scene. Frankly, I don’t think it’s quite the same. And it doesn’t suit her a whole lot. And for some reason, nobody else did.
  • “A good leader knows when to ask for help, but a great leader has the courage to admit when they’ve made a mistake, and the strength to make it right.” Something Celestia herself has only been caught doing once. In A Royal Problem.
  • “Luna and I have decided it may have been a bit unfair to thrust this upon you without giving you the time you need to prepare.” Technically, Celestia never actually says when this decision was made exactly. Even if she wanted to be literally truthful, this phrasing permits her to have made this decision well before deciding to give Twilight the reins in the first place.
  • “It’s been years since we’ve gotten to do what you girls do. You all make it look so easy.” Wait, so The Crystalling doesn’t count? Because that wasn’t all that long ago, judging by Flurry Heart.
  • “I’d say he gambled, and lost! But at least he serves as a warning to those who don’t continue with my plans, unless any of you have doubts.” Awfully convenient that Sombra didn’t even have an opportunity to disclose that Grogar is around.

Some analysis

  • I expected the Sisters to be back by the end of the episode, because it seems clear to me that the current show crew is not capable of a proper season-long story arc, and they know that. It appears I was correct, whether my logic is correct or not.
  • Now, it seems evident to me that the episode was, primarily, the result of the execution of some plan that either exploited the Mane 6’s ignorance or was directly aimed at them – for example, to power them up. Whether the plan went off entirely as designed or not is beside the point, unless Discord’s antics in the end were entirely on his own initiative, – which is still possible – it needs to exist. However, the riddle remains: Why was it urgent? If it’s premeditated, sending an “urgent” summons is pointless and dangerous. If it’s a spur of the moment plan to counter Grogar, it’s shockingly risky.
  • Actually, here’s another thought. Is this even a real Sombra? The first one appeared to be dispelled just as permanently as the one here.

    Imagine you’re Grogar and you want to motivate two highly egotistic villains (and one kid too precocious for her own good) to work under you. What better way to do it than make a simulacrum of another villain they both know as formidable, and send it alone on an ultimately doomed mission, demonstrating the folly of acting alone and disobeying your orders? The observed Sombra does things the original Sombra couldn’t do (or he simply wouldn’t need to do what he was observed to do) and does, along the way, accomplish a side goal – destroy the Elements and the Tree. Sure, the entire moral of the episode is that the Elements are a MagicFeather, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t useful – for one, they are a crutch that can be used to replace the Mane 6 by giving them to another group of unlikely friends.

This will need a hammer to get it to make sense. And I’m not sure I feel sufficiently enthusiastic to swing a hammer now.

That said, it’s not quite as canon-wrecking as I expected, but – still! – continuing the Season 7 trend, it would be an episode more valuable if the rest of the series didn’t exist, like sometime between Season 6 and Season 7 at the latest, the continuity suffered a soft reset.

P.S.

🎵 We can start and finish wars!
We’re what killed the windigos!
We’re the friendship team that’s overdue!
The windigos all burned to dust,
they died because we said they must!
The new world needed room
for friendship too.🎵

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Comments ( 38 )

Star Swirl can self-levitate, a trick Twilight never employed.

People keep saying this, and it's just not true. She does it once, to spare herself a hard landing on the. . . landing of the black crystal stairs down from the throne room in The Crystal Empire:

vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/mlp/images/9/90/Twilight_answering_Spike_%27Yes%27_S3E2.png/revision/latest?cb=20121119215926

She does it to catch herself rather than to move from place to place, and teleports out of the awkward position she catches herself in to a standing position rather than turning herself right-side up, but she does self-levitate.

Shortly after that point, of course, she gets wings and so doesn't need to bother with self-levitation anymore.

Discord uses a fork to brush his beard. And then sprays it with something. Is this a reference? I wouldn’t know.

The fork certainly is. Or, more properly, the dinglehopper.

“Um, if you think about it, they literally almost never help.” Notice that this means that no major events resolved by Celestia have happened in Rainbow’s memory.

Given the context, I'm pretty sure she only meant times when the Mane Six had to save the day.

At this point, Chrysalis, at least, is definitely a material being, and yet, she interprets what happened as “summoning” – which, in our case, is a term more commonly applied to spirits and isekai protagonists.

"It is?" asks the Magic: the Gathering player.

Actually, I’m not sure either: the Elements shatter surprisingly easily, when in Friendship is Magic, Nightmare Moon did that too and that ultimately didn’t do jack.

That may require the Tree to be intact. Though I'm more concerned about how every gemstone in Equestria has apparently been made of glass since "The End in Friend." Fluttershy's threw around the Element of Kindness in "Keep Calm and Flutter On" to no ill effect. I guess the settings are as much for the Elements' protection as the Bearers' convenience.

What happened to the plunder vines, then?…

Presumably annihilated back in "Princess Twilight Sparkle."

...but that raises the question why wasn’t the forest just burned down one day if it’s such a bloody recurrent problem.

I get the feeling that torching the Everfree would be pointless.

The entire scene plays out implying that while he can use his chaos magic to neutralize more or less any use of magic, he has to do it actively.

On the other appendage, it's Discord, so that's still not entirely certain.

And for some reason, nobody else did.

I'd say alicorn privilege, but Mistmane puts the kibosh on that. Personally, I think it's a good look for her.

As for the synthetic Sombra theory... I have to say, you make a very compelling argument. That spell could've just as easily been conjuration as necromancy.

5039827

“It is?” asks the Magic: the Gathering player.

Chrysalis plays MtG, confirmed. :pinkiehappy:

So why are you parodying Our Love Is God (Our Friendship Is Harmony just doesn't have that ring)? On a Heathers kick?

like sometime between Season 6 and Season 7 at the latest, the continuity suffered a soft reset.

My suspicion that someone changed the past is getting stronger and stronger.

Still haven't figured out who, though. I was suspecting the Tree of Harmony, but if this's the longest period of Harmony that Equestria's seen in the current continuity...

...uh, maybe "longest period of Harmony" is talking about something other than a lack of threats?

5039837

So why are you parodying Our Love Is God (Our Friendship Is Harmony just doesn’t have that ring)?

Cause it’s an earworm that I need to share to get rid of it, and cause it fits the episode if you imagine it and a few other bits of “Heathers” as a Discoshy ship. :trollestia:

5039865

…uh, maybe “longest period of Harmony” is talking about something other than a lack of threats?

Maybe, but what? That Equestria is now more friendly than it ever was? Sounds no less dubious if you ask me.

  • “King Sombra! You have returned?” That bit is also interesting: Chrysalis has never actually seen Sombra during the course of the series run, has she? There were no photographs made, and no observable portraits were seen. So how did she know?

Word of mouth? The return and liberation of the Crystal Empire were kind of a big deal in-universe, and she does belong to a species that purportedly specializes in espionage and infiltration.

  • “I gave life to the foulest of creatures, and allowed them to run wild, taking what they wanted and destroying the rest. My reign was a fearsome epoch of darkness in Equestria.” For The EVULZ. Literally, why? What does that get Grogar? Motivation is not clear at all.

He wanted power and used fear to enforce his rule? It wound't be that uncommon a motivation even in reality.

What happened to the shield spell they used the last time to kick him out?

Lack of warning and thus no time to put it up -- by the time they realized what was going on he was already inside the city and minutes from the castle.

Notice that he manufactures the mind-control helmets in place.

Notice also that the helmets are identical to the ones in the alternate timeline in "The Cutie Re-Mark", requiring him to have finalized the concept and design before the timeline split -- and thus, most likely, before being imprisoned.

What happened to the plunder vines, then?

I assumed they were totally destroyed by the Tree when it woke back up. This would just be the Evefree, ah, overcompensating after a few years of stymied growth.

Regarding the issues concerning the Exodus and ancient Equestria: my feeling is that to be reconciled one has to assume that the Founders' culture was not the only pre-Equestrian pony society, but simply the one from which the bulk of modern Equestrian culture originated.

Part of this is that there can only have been a generation or a few decades between the Exodus and the founding of Equestria proper, for a number of reasons. This is simply not enough time for the cultural divergence observed in societies such as the ones Somnambula, Rockhoof or Mistmane came from to develop, not if everyone above twenty or so would have personal memories of living in the Founders' pre-Windigo society. This can be gotten around by positing the existence of an even more ancient pony culture that fragmented for unknown reasons, resulting in migrations that led to the formations of other pony cultures around the world -- pony pre-Indoeuropeans, essentially.

Somnambula's, Rockhoof's and Mistmane's cultures, probably Meadowbrook's, the Crystal Empire and the pre-exodus tripartite society would all be among the groups that arose from this diaspora. I'm assuming both Starswirl and Flash to be from Unicornia and Pegasopolis, given that they largely fit with what little has been shown of these.

Notice that all the Pillars' homelands are around the edges of Equestria -- Rockhoof's in the far northeast, Meadowbrook's in the far southeast, Somnambula's way down south. Even the Crystal Empire is far north of anything else. This allows the concept of an empty land for the settlers to, uh, settle to still exist, because the central parts of Equestria (what are now Ponyville, Canterlot and the rest) would still be empty and lacking settlement.

Notice also that many of the Pillars' societies faded from importance -- Rockhoof's vanished altogether, Mistmane's, Somnambula's and Meadowbrook's are relegated to minor culturally distinct areas on the edges of Equestria. The Crystal Empire missed most of Equestria's history. The Founders' culture can thus be assumed to have played a major part in shaping future Equestrian culture and society, eventually absorbing the others and allowing the Founders' story to still matter so much to modern Equestria.

As for Grogar: his period of rule is said to have taken place very long ago, easily before the princess or Tirek were around, so it would have had to affect the early settlers on the edge of Equestria… or perhaps it might have been what drove away ponies from central Equestria to begin with. This would require them to be figures from extraordinarily far in the past, far more than a thousand years, but even in real life we still know who Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great and Socrates were.

As for Cloudsdale, I'm going to assume that multiple settlements went by that name, each built on top of and/or to replace an earlier one. It's not unknown in real life -- there are the ruins of something like seven Troys stacked on top of one another, and I believe that the Romans built a new Carthage on top of the old one's ruins at some point. Gusty's Cloudsdale would have been an earthbound settlement, but the current iteration was built in the sky.

Notice that apparently, none of them arrived by train, and Twilight behaves like she flew all the way and boy, are her wings tired.

At least she remembers she can teleport like, half of the time this episode. That's an academy record!

First they pass through what has to be the castle courtyard

Maybe the gates have been turned into a park-like thing?

Equestria is enjoying its longest period of harmony in recent years.

I got nothin'. I think the writers, in their hurry to emphasize what a good job Twilight and co. have done repeatedly saving the world, forgot that a world that doesn't need to be saved at all is more harmonious.

Notice that the only character in the episode who can be described as “tall, dark and handsome” is Sombra.

I figure Discord is so eager to use tropes he used the Bait and Switch Comparison without worrying about whether it made sense or not. He's Discord, he doesn't have to make sense.

The body of law dealing with the procedure has to be massive for this to be possible, if Equestria has any form of realistic government.

Given that the princesses have had their positions likely since before any Equestrian law was drawn up, there might well be no laws governing it. This feels like a what-they-say-goes situation. In different circumstances, they might have insisted 'the law' demands the new sovereign undergo some trials first, but they've already taken care of that...

Does this mean we get all your powers?!

I'm reasonably sure Twilight can raise the sun and moon on her own by now -- if not, a little tutoring from Celestia, Luna, and/or Starswirl should be enough. Good question about the dreams though... then again, Equestria got by without that for a thousand years, so maybe they don't really 'need' it as far as Celestia and Luna are concerned.

“Um, if you think about it, they literally almost never help.”

It's funny because it's true.

Tirek counts – something – by scratching lines on the floor of his cage. A later shot shows about 355, and I can’t find a shot where more would be visible. What is he counting?

Clearly it's decimoons since Twilight's Kingdom, just to mess with you.

…wait, what did she use to glue the rocks together and paint them?…

The magic of friendship.

At this point, Chrysalis, at least, is definitely a material being, and yet, she interprets what happened as “summoning”

We have this term in English, most frequently used when a court of law summons you... When the one doing the summoning is a powerful mage, though, it gets a little more instantaneous.

So how did she know?

Good point. I don't think the writers thought about it, but if we're generous... perhaps she found mention of it in Cadence's diary while impersonating her, or possibly Celestia or Luna briefed the disguised Chrysalis about the crystal empire.

(On the problems with the timeline of Equestria posed by Grogar's story)

I am gonna have to think about this one for awhile, I'll come back to it in a later comment.

If you can mind control everyone, why keep them in chains at all?

Maybe there's a limit on how much mind control he can maintain, and Ponyville doesn't hit it -- the Crystal Empire is probably more populous. Oh wait no, because he gets Canterlot too. Hmm. Perhaps he prefers to use mind-controlled soldiers but maintaining the spell on slave workers isn't worth it -- At this point, the ponies of Ponyville and Canterlot are his improvised military; If he'd defeated the Mane Six he could have started dividing ponies into soldiers and overseers (mind-controlled) and workers (chained).

“Cavalry’s here!” I think that’s the first time the word is used. What it actually means for ponies – if anything, because it’s Pinkie saying that – remains undefined.

I bet Aporia is going to reveal that it's a linguistic collision and in Equestria, cavalry means reinforcements. Bonus points if it's an idiomatic expression due to an entirely different source meaning...

For that matter, how exactly does Sombra travel?… If he had that capability in the Sombra timeline in The Cutie Re-Mark, why didn’t he use it? He would win quickly if he had.

Sombra's clearly a talented mage, but perhaps the experience of A. dying to overwhelming magic force or B. being summoned by Grogar was necessary for him to figure out how to do this. Although you'd think he'd recognize when the Mane 6 started to do something weird and teleport out to be safe. Hubris, though...

It keeps amazing me that someone still doesn’t know that this is where the source of that power is located.

To be fair, the last time Sombra died, the mane six didn't know where the tree was either...

“We must lay siege to Canterlot.” This would be the one case where Starlight Glimmer could show off her mind control expertise and actually do something useful with it. Unfortunately, the trend where her actual expertises are ignored is carried over here as well.

Isn't Starlight herself mindcontrolled at this point?

“Well, with the Tree of Harmony gone, the Everfree Forest could grow out of control and threaten the town!”

That's ridiculous, the everfree isn't magical, it's just a place where ponies haven't tamed nature... oh. the writers forgot. Oh well.

“I don’t know. But we can’t stay here.” So why didn’t Twilight teleport straight to inside the castle the first time?

She's required to hold the idiot ball for a certain amount of time every episode.

“Not even the Lord of Chaos can stand against me! I am truly the most powerful creature in Equestria!” Now, we know Discord is faking, but it’s important to notice that the idea that he can actually be hurt by magic is believable to the Mane 6. The entire scene plays out implying that while he can use his chaos magic to neutralize more or less any use of magic, he has to do it actively.

Remember the expression on Starlight's face after she vaporized him?

Everyone keeps commenting that Twilight got Celestia-style hair for the duration of this scene. Frankly, I don’t think it’s quite the same. And it doesn’t suit her a whole lot. And for some reason, nobody else did.

I said princess-style, not Celestia-style. Obviously they each get their own variation on it.

Awfully convenient that Sombra didn’t even have an opportunity to disclose that Grogar is around.

There's no reason for him to tell people when he's winning, and even if he wanted vengeance, he's killed by surprise (otherwise he would have teleported away)

(Fake Sombra theory)

I like it! Although, if Grogar can magic up minions this powerful, what's he need followers for? Maybe he can only make one at a time and knows one won't be enough to win, though...

Presumably annihilated back in "Princess Twilight Sparkle."

+1

Overall this was a fun episode. It showed self-awareness, it showed us action, it gave Sombra a chance to talk, it hinted at new things to reveal, and it conflicted existing canon less than it could've.

  • “Princesses can retire?” Spike’s right to ask this question: The body of law dealing with the procedure has to be massive for this to be possible, if Equestria has any form of realistic government. Unfortunately, Celestia just confirms and that’s the end of it.

They try very hard to make it look like an absolute monarchy - "I can retire because I say so" - and not a constitutional one that has any rules at all.

  • At this point, Chrysalis, at least, is definitely a material being, and yet, she interprets what happened as “summoning” – which, in our case, is a term more commonly applied to spirits and isekai protagonists. Notice that ponies very rarely use the word. Chrysalis is not a pony, of course, but it’s still pretty unusual.

I don't think it's an unlikely word for an involuntary teleportation.

  • “Did I write down ‘eliminate redundant lists’ on my School of Friendship to-do list or my personal to-do list?” Notably, this would involve a list of all lists. Which would have to include itself. You should know why this is funny by now. :twilightsmile:

Do I have to stop you before you start diving into the list of lists that contain no lists?

  • “How can I be surprised, when I’m waiting to show all of you your greatest fear?” This was a bit of a non-sequitur: Nobody wonders if Sombra is surprised. Is there a line missing?

He was also waiting to deliver that line. They didn't follow the script, but he went ahead with it anyway.

  • “Who do you think kept the Forest under control before it did?” Considering the Legends, it would have to be Star Swirl alone, but that raises the question why wasn’t the forest just burned down one day if it’s such a bloody recurrent problem.

Actually, there's a good answer to this one in Fallout: Equestria. Doing so drives all the unspeakable monsters living in the forest out into the open.

    • We’ve never seen Sombra give commands to the bespelled troops, but more importantly, here, we see them act as a unit without communicating between each other, either.

So does the mind-control magic have a sort of hive mind? That would make it a lot more powerful.

5039956

“I don’t know. But we can’t stay here.” So why didn’t Twilight teleport straight to inside the castle the first time?

She's required to hold the idiot ball for a certain amount of time every episode.

"You're holding the idiot ball? I thought I was. How can there be two idiot balls?"

"Uh, there's three of them now. Are they breeding?"

I like Frustration in Excelcis's explanation of Grogar -- there were many pony cultures, and Grogar is the REASON most of the Equestrian continent was uninhabited. This would also suggest that the ruins Daring Do explores are from before his time -- or possibly during it, if they were built by monsters rather than ponies. Could Ahuizotl be a living relic from this time?

This episode was so idiotic that I was genuinely expecting the reveal to be that Twilight was still trapped inside Sombra's dream.

At this point, Chrysalis, at least, is definitely a material being, and yet, she interprets what happened as “summoning”

She may not mean it in the magical sense. It's quite normal to describe the act of calling someone into your presence as summoning. It just happens that Grogar used magic to do it.

Rather rushed, but still a great episode over all.

  • Notice how Luna’s phrase does not imply a quiet life of a retiree, but rather, a vacation.

Anyone else kind of annoyed that Luna thinks, after finally being freed of her punishment, she can put in a handful of years as a Princess and then act like she deserves to retire just as much as Celestia?

Did they fix the engines on the Sun and Moon while the camera wasn’t looking?

I think everyone assumed Celestia and Luna will keep moving the sun and moon while retired.

Also, what happens when Twilight, or at least her friends, drop dead? Are Celestia and Luna going to come back out of retirement?

And this also gets shot down for no obvious reason, which would imply no actualtransfer of power has occurred, wouldn’t it?

Do you think the Sisters just wanted a vacation and then told Twilight she was being put in charge permanently to mess with her?

  • “‘Twilight-ing?’ You… you made me a verb?” Is that a deliberate call-out to Celestia being an expression in A Celestial Advice? Probably is.

Kind of annoyed they didn't use Shining Armor's "Twili-nanas" from Best Gift Ever.

  • If it’s days since Cozy Glow joined him, that’s a bit too long, because it nets us an empty missing year.

Well don't forget, the S8 Finale ended with the first semester of the Student 6, and this episode opens with them announcing summer vacation.

  • “See? She gets it.” Notice that Chrysalis recognized Tirek immediately, and knew how he prefers to be addressed.

But it's one way. Tirek doesn't recognize Chrysalis and thinks she is just an ordinary changling.

“Why did you summon me? What do you want?!” This bit is strange.

She could mean summon not in the magical sense, but in the sense of demanding someone's presence.

There were no photographs made, and no observable portraits were seen. So how did she know?

Maybe she spotted some illustrations of him in the Friendship School when she was spying on them.

There are ways to sort this mess out, but in any case, this is problematic, because it is one more argument for the point of view that pony settlement of Equestria predates the exodus depicted in Hearth’s Warming Eve.

Yeah, I noticed that. We could say that the early post-Hearthswarming play settlement's weren't officially Equestria, the same way the 13 colonies weren't the United States until 1791. But Starswirl predates the migration.

Another option is, Central Equestria (i.e anything on the longitude of Canterhorn and West) was isolated donkey farms that Grogar terrorized, until a wandering hero named Gusty from distant east came and banished Grogar. Then he wandered back home and mentioned all the cheap land, so when the Windigos hit the three tribes knew of a place to go.

Now, if Gusty the Great is contemporary with Cloudsdale, there’s no way in hell Grogar spent a lot more than one millennium doing that.

I've seen a lot of theories that Clousdale is Pegasaopalis, they just moved the whole thing over, and it could be many millennia old.

Sombra’s attack on the Crystal Empire succeeds.

I think Grogar gave him a power boost, as he did Tirek. Also he wasn't still recovering from a curse.

  • I question the logic of first taking Flurry and then handing her over to Cadance anyway, even if they are imprisoned in the same cage.

The Watsonian logic maybe. It makes great Doylist sense because it's perfect for the teaser trailer.

Actually, I’m not sure either: the Elements shatter surprisingly easily,

They were drained dry repairing the tree, and in the S7 Finale they almost expected to destroy the Elements. I guess they were mostly used up at this point, without having centuries to recharge.

What happened to the plunder vines, then?…

I guess those were a special weapon of Discord (and they did a bunch of other nasty stuff these vines don't) but these vines are the default version of the Everfree growing out of control. Also notice that at the end of the episode we have no idea what's actually holding the Everfree vines at bay.

“Who do you think kept the Forest under control before it did?” Considering the Legends, it would have to be Star Swirl alone

Speaking of which, where are the other 5 pillars?

he entire scene plays out implying that while he can use his chaos magic to neutralize more or less any use of magic, he has to do it actively.

They may believe that, but the fact that we saw Discord not doing anything and still just walking off that blast suggests the contrary.

  • Everyone keeps commenting that Twilight got Celestia-style hair for the duration of this scene. Frankly, I don’t think it’s quite the same. And it doesn’t suit her a whole lot. And for some reason, nobody else did.

I think it's interesting to note the differences between the normal EoH Firing sequence and this. Notice that the magic stays Twilight's color rather than turning rainbow. Also, Twilight's power starts increasing gradually, when her friends hold her hooves and she is able to block Sombra's shots. I think what is happening here is that the friendship of the other 5 is basically overcharging Twilight's regular magic of shields and spell-bolts, rather than some bizarre miracle effect. So I would say the Elements aren't quite a Magic Feather, they may have been able to do things the six here cannot, but that one alicorn boosted by five powerful friends is still probably strong enough magic to defeat pretty much any villain that threatens Equestria.

Actually, here’s another thought. Is this even a real Sombra? The first one appeared to be dispelled just as permanently as the one here.

That makes a lot of sense! We saw Sombra's red horn fall to the ground in S3. Then in this season some underground cave Sombra just appears out of dust? It seemed off to me as soon as I saw it. (BTW, Rarity's euphemism for 'we killed him' was dispersing his energy into the ether,' which I guess is what good guys say instead of destroyed.)

And Grogar actually says "I gave life to the foulest of creatures!"

So Grogar is quietly likely the creator of all the non-talking creatures that ended up in Tartarus. I'd say he now is a strong candidate for the Second Sith, but Tirek made such a strong showing in S8 Finale he's still my number 1 pick.

Why do you think Grogar freed Cozy? She seems like the S1 Spike of the League of Doom. I suspect somehow she will be really important later... I do like her as a solid comic relief though.

Do you think Grogar really is just a children's tale, and this is some elaborate scheme by Discord to reform all the remaining unreformed villains before Twilight has to take the throne.

If Grogar was hiding in the shadows for at least the last thousand years, why didn't he strike 20 years ago, when he would have had to face a single alicorn? It sure seems like he could beat Celestia in single combat.
5039827 If the Everfree Forest was a land card, would it be straight green, or green and black?

5039907

This allows the concept of an empty land for the settlers to, uh, settle to still exist, because the central parts of Equestria (what are now Ponyville, Canterlot and the rest) would still be empty and lacking settlement.

Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense.

5039907

The return and liberation of the Crystal Empire were kind of a big deal in-universe, and she does belong to a species that purportedly specializes in espionage and infiltration.

Precisely why I’m pointing this out: Chrysalis is more well-informed than you would expect given, say, only the events of The Mean Six.

He wanted power and used fear to enforce his rule? It wound’t be that uncommon a motivation even in reality.

Yes, and still – what did it get him? You see, to be motivated to have power over creatures, you have to simultaneously acknowledge them as your peers, or at least as having value independent of yourself, and then reject that value, thus elevating yourself.

Grogar, instead, seems to talk like he filled the continent with monsters even he acknowledges are foul just because the plot demanded this of him.

Lack of warning and thus no time to put it up – by the time they realized what was going on he was already inside the city and minutes from the castle.

I.e. someone fed them an idiot ball for breakfast.

Regarding the issues concerning the Exodus and ancient Equestria: my feeling is that to be reconciled one has to assume that the Founders’ culture was not the only pre-Equestrian pony society, but simply the one from which the bulk of modern Equestrian culture originated.

I generally agree with most of your points, however, I have to point out that this is itself a huge can of worms.

That said, it’s been an unavoidable can of worms for a while now, so we might as well open it and start looking for a bigger one to house it.

As for Cloudsdale, I’m going to assume that multiple settlements went by that name, each built on top of and/or to replace an earlier one.

I find it more likely the legend was just corrupted, actually. It’s not uncommon for set pieces to migrate.

5039956

I’m reasonably sure Twilight can raise the sun and moon on her own by now – if not, a little tutoring from Celestia, Luna, and/or Starswirl should be enough.

Actually, the Movie seems to want to imply that moving celestial objects is not a skill, but an innate cutie-mark linked power. Which doesn’t fit the rest of the series particularly well.

We have this term in English, most frequently used when a court of law summons you…

That’s the excuse I usually use, though. Show crew typically doesn’t. :pinkiesmile:

If he’d defeated the Mane Six he could have started dividing ponies into soldiers and overseers (mind-controlled) and workers (chained).

Maybe. My whole beef with Sombra here in particular is that he appears to get – suddenly! – an instantaneous, no save, line of sight mind control ability with no obvious limits, which also confers some manner of telepathy or hive mind onto the affected.

If he had this ability in any of his prior appearances, he would have won with a suitable application of it. If he had this ability in his alternate timeline, he would have won, it would be impossible to turn the situation into a protracted war of attrition requiring a war economy on Equestria’s part. Never mind his apparent cross-country teleport. Which looks suspiciously similar to Grogar’s summoning and unlike any other teleport heretofore seen.

Which is precisely why I’m doubting this was a real Sombra in the first place – a simulacrum might have any powers Grogar deems necessary, its loss is no big deal, it accomplishes Grogar’s primary goal – getting Tirek and Chrysalis to follow him – and a secondary goal – getting rid of the Tree and preventing a restoration of the Elements-the-ponies by giving Elements-the-gems to a new group as a storied Magic Feather.

This works well if Grogar was able to cut corners on making this Sombra.

I bet Aporia is going to reveal that it’s a linguistic collision and in Equestria, cavalry means reinforcements. Bonus points if it’s an idiomatic expression due to an entirely different source meaning…

I think this is just the descendant of the word “chevalier” which is an ancient Unicornian word for a squad of armored pony knights. :pinkiehappy:

Isn’t Starlight herself mindcontrolled at this point?

She could mind-control herself to disobey Sombra. That would be awesome and exactly the right ethical application of this skill.

A wasted opportunity if you ask me – just like Marks and Recreation, in which the CMC should have called her in as a consultant, rather than Thunderlane.

That’s ridiculous, the everfree isn’t magical, it’s just a place where ponies haven’t tamed nature… oh. the writers forgot. Oh well.

Actually, no, the Journal assigns Everfree a special status since ancient times.

I said princess-style, not Celestia-style. Obviously they each get their own variation on it.

Well, I think Twilight needs a slightly different one!

Maybe he can only make one at a time and knows one won’t be enough to win, though…

If Grogar has any strategic thinking at all, he has to assume that his best chance of success is simultaneous attacks in as many corners of Equestria as possible. If he can only control one simulacrum like that at a time, yes, he needs those guys. Notice also that all the time Sombra is out there rampaging, Grogar is nowhere to be seen.

5039967

They try very hard to make it look like an absolute monarchy - “I can retire because I say so” - and not a constitutional one that has any rules at all.

They fluctuate about it often.

Do I have to stop you before you start diving into the list of lists that contain no lists?

No, Twilight’s swimming in there already.

“You’re holding the idiot ball? I thought I was. How can there be two idiot balls?”
“Uh, there’s three of them now. Are they breeding?”

Damn, now I want to steal that and I don’t have a place to put it. :pinkiesmile:

5040023

This episode was so idiotic that I was genuinely expecting the reveal to be that Twilight was still trapped inside Sombra’s dream.

Eh, we’ve had worse.

The one issue it does have in that sense is that either Celestia and Luna are both idiots or they are stupidly reckless and callous. Nothing new about that. Some of it can be suitably explained by the assumption that they know Grogar is watching, so they mean to mislead him indirectly by misleading Twilight and company.

5040132

Anyone else kind of annoyed that Luna thinks, after finally being freed of her punishment, she can put in a handful of years as a Princess and then act like she deserves to retire just as much as Celestia?

Didn’t she serve ~105 years before the Nightmare, though?

I think everyone assumed Celestia and Luna will keep moving the sun and moon while retired.

Dash didn’t assume Luna would be managing the dreams, though.

Also, what happens when Twilight, or at least her friends, drop dead? Are Celestia and Luna going to come back out of retirement?

No, they assume Twilight will keep making new friends, like in any capitalist economy.

Do you think the Sisters just wanted a vacation and then told Twilight she was being put in charge permanently to mess with her?

I think they played the whole scene primarily for Grogar’s benefit, because they knew he is watching, to bait him into acting, and succeeded.

That said, I think they did not expect his action to be unleashing a Sombra simulacrum in order to get Tirek and Chrysalis to cooperate.

Well don’t forget, the S8 Finale ended with the first semester of the Student 6, and this episode opens with them announcing summer vacation.

Which is half a year. Now, if S8 finale ends with the first semester, it’s the last days of autumn, right? We have summer here, so 355 days don’t fit no matter how you slice the years.

But it’s one way. Tirek doesn’t recognize Chrysalis and thinks she is just an ordinary changling.

Tirek has a long history of not being up on current events.

Speaking of which, where are the other 5 pillars?

Chilling somewhere, because they don’t want anything to do with Star Swirl, he’s an asshole.

So I would say the Elements aren’t quite a Magic Feather, they may have been able to do things the six here cannot, but that one alicorn boosted by five powerful friends is still probably strong enough magic to defeat pretty much any villain that threatens Equestria.

Possible.

Do you think Grogar really is just a children’s tale, and this is some elaborate scheme by Discord to reform all the remaining unreformed villains before Twilight has to take the throne.

That would be a better story than what we got, so it’s very definitely not it. :twilightsmile:

If Grogar was hiding in the shadows for at least the last thousand years, why didn’t he strike 20 years ago, when he would have had to face a single alicorn? It sure seems like he could beat Celestia in single combat.

Very good question without a good answer.

On a side note, I wonder about the biology of baby alicorns. I mean, if Cake twins grew up at the same pace as Flurry, they'd probably be at school now...

5040132
The Everfree is absolutely monogreen. It just grows. Sure, it's menacing, but in the way a predator is menacing. There's no deeper sinister plot for the place, it just refuses to be domesticated by anything less than the essence of pony Merlin. The one patch of land in the country that can't be controlled by magic and grows faster that it can be pruned?

5040187

I find it more likely the legend was just corrupted, actually. It’s not uncommon for set pieces to migrate.

That's a fair point. Given the amount of time stated to have passed since Grogar's and Gusty's time, some degree of garbling is probably unavoidable.

Imagine you’re Grogar and you want to motivate two highly egotistic villains (and one kid too precocious for her own good) to work under you. What better way to do it than make a simulacrum of another villain they both know as formidable, and send it alone on an ultimately doomed mission, demonstrating the folly of acting alone and disobeying your orders?

This is a pretty neat theory, and the episode almost makes sense if interpreted this way. It even explains Sombra's goofy voice and general buffoonery, which is also a change from his original depiction.

5039874

Maybe, but what? That Equestria is now more friendly than it ever was? Sounds no less dubious if you ask me.

That I actually could believe, because one consistent feature of the Starlight Glimmer era of the show has been the mane six travelling to new lands and fostering better international relations (changelings, dragons, griffons), and this same period of the show also insists that Celestia and Equestria in general were terrible at international relations before, and outright had no contact with a lot of other countries for decades at least, even though they have long distance travel and knew they existed (hippogriffs, yaks, arguably also griffons, etc).

5039874 , maybe what 5040235 said? At least, I can see Celestia and Luna believing it enough to say it to Twilight.

Or, maybe ponies really are acting more friendly with each other? Twilight's book could've helped that. Or, one of my hypotheses with next to no canonical basis is that there's some magic "herd mentality" field that gives ponies a subtle mental nudge toward working together. If that's the case, the Elements of Harmony having bearers and the Tree of Harmony gaining more power could've strengthened that.

5040366

Or, maybe ponies really are acting more friendly with each other?

After Fame and Misfortune? :pinkiehappy:

No, I think DannyJ’s version is more believable…

If that’s the case, the Elements of Harmony having bearers and the Tree of Harmony gaining more power could’ve strengthened that.

So what’s going to happen now, when neither is a thing?…

5039967

They try very hard to make it look like an absolute monarchy - "I can retire because I say so" - and not a constitutional one that has any rules at all.

Why could a constitutional monarchy not have rules for abdication? Indeed, Wikipedia claims abdication due to old age is particularly popular in constitutional monarchies because the position is mostly ceremonial anyway.



5040132

I've seen a lot of theories that Clousdale is Pegasaopalis, they just moved the whole thing over, and it could be many millennia old.

Before this episode I would have said that Cloudsdale is obviously Pegasopolis, it just got renamed at some point. However, since Pegasopolis, Earth and Unicornia were specifically founded by Exodus ponies rather than existing beforehand, this does not work with the chronology. Now, I say Cloudsdale predates Pegasopolis, was one of the pre-Exodus non-Three-Tribes civilizations* that was later swallowed by either Pegasopolis or Equestria.

* But vassal of the Pegasus Tribe. There is a plot point in the Journal that the griffons had a treaty with the Pegasus Tribe in which the land which is now Equestria was all Pegasus Tribe territory, so Cloudsdale would be in that territory.


5039907

Regarding the issues concerning the Exodus and ancient Equestria: my feeling is that to be reconciled one has to assume that the Founders' culture was not the only pre-Equestrian pony society, but simply the one from which the bulk of modern Equestrian culture originated.

I'm actually surprised this isn't long since the accepted view here. The Exodus only covered the Three Tribes moving on to found Earth, Pegasopolis, and Unicornia. The Eastern Unicorn, Viking, and Egyptian Ponies' countries already existed. The issue of the society Meadow Brook is from isn't so clear.

In particular, Anugypt has a very long history. (In the comics.) First existing in an "Ancient" era in which it was a country of anthro jackals and talking non-anthro cats ruled by Bast and Anubis. At some later point, it was the jackals ruled by pony rulers such as Pony!Cleopatra. Finally we arrive in the time Equestria is founded, in which Anugypt is inhabited solely by ponies (and a Sphinx) (as far as we can tell).

5040415

You're mixing your continuities there. Anugypt was the comic version of a ponified Egypt, from back in the era when the show just ignored the comics and the comics did their own thing. The show version of ponified Egypt is variously called either Somnambula or just a part of Southern Equestria, and is from the era when the show and newer comics both started actively contradicting the earlier comics. So I don't think Anugypt is canon anymore.

5040515
I don't think they've directly contradicted it either, though. Somnambula was the name of a single town, not a whole civilisation/country/duchy/whatever.

Other comics of that era they have directly contradicted, of course.

5040187

Yes, and still – what did it get him?

I think Grogar could be a mad-scientist type. His true joy is in creating fearsome and terrible monsters, like the Cockatrice and the Manticore. Farms and villages are basically there to be test subjects for how deadly his monsters are. He wants to get rid of the heroes so he can have his lab back.

Didn’t she serve ~105 years before the Nightmare, though?

Sure, that sounds about right. But I think Nightmare Moon kind of wipes the slate on those previous years. When they put you in military prison I think the military cancels your pension, sort of thing.

I generally agree with most of your points, however, I have to point out that this is itself a huge can of worms.

Heck all the way back in the original heathswarming episode we never saw them cross an ocean or anything, they just kind of marched across rivers and mountains. The site of ancient Manehatten to Canterlot could work pretty well for that.

Dash didn’t assume Luna would be managing the dreams, though.

Don't make me say it.

No, they assume Twilight will keep making new friends, like in any capitalist economy.

Also the issue that raising the sun and moon appears to be what keeps Luna and Celestia young.

Which is half a year. Now, if S8 finale ends with the first semester, it’s the last days of autumn, right? We have summer here, so 355 days don’t fit no matter how you slice the years.

355 Moons since Tirek last got a newspaper.

I.e. someone fed them an idiot ball for breakfast.

For it to be an idiot ball they have to be shown as competent at other times, right?

Actually, the Movie seems to want to imply that moving celestial objects is not a skill, but an innate cutie-mark linked power

Well that most despised of literary sources says it let Luna and Celestia draw power from the sun and moon, but any alicorn can in theory move it.

If Grogar has any strategic thinking at all, he has to assume that his best chance of success is simultaneous attacks in as many corners of Equestria as possible. If he can only control one simulacrum like that at a time, yes, he needs those guys. Notice also that all the time Sombra is out there rampaging, Grogar is nowhere to be seen.

That makes a lot more sense, and also imposes some limits on Grogar that explain why he hasn't already taken over.


5040226 Like that forest that even Phyrexia couldn't conquer, it just converted the attackers into wooden versions of themselves.

5040229 What's interesting is that in the legend, it calls Tirek "treacherous." Which sounds to me like he may have actually allied with the unicorns against the pegasi or vice versa before betraying his allies.


5040415 Clouds are mobile and malleable. If Pegasopalis heard how much better life is in Equestria, they could just fly their city east to Cloudsdale and then merge the two cities. Or maybe it's Las Pegasus now.

In particular, Anugypt has a very long history. (In the comics.) First existing in an "Ancient" era in which it was a country of anthro jackals and talking non-anthro cats ruled by Bast and Anubis.

An important detail from that comic: Anubis moved the sun and the moon himself, and many of his palace elites were ponies, including unicorns. Since Anubis was overthrown and presumably killed or imprisoned, I've always thought it was Anubis who taught the unicorns to move the sun and moon in the first place.

5040651

I don't think they've directly contradicted it either, though.

Directly... maybe not? But Coltlantis and Seaquestria don't seem to jive well with each other, and Discord also insists in that issue that time is immutable, which Starlight proved wrong.

Somnambula was the name of a single town, not a whole civilisation/country/duchy/whatever.

The show rarely if ever makes such a distinction. Griffonstone, Yakyakistan, the Crystal Empire, and all of the Pillars' homes are all treated as countries despite actually being tiny villages for the most part.

5040023
I'm glad I'm not the only one. I spent pretty much the entire second half thinking, "This is literally Twilight's worst fear playing out, and we saw her get hit by his spell, when is she going to realize she's still under his mind whammy."

5040657

I think Grogar could be a mad-scientist type.

An interesting option. :twilightsmile:

Sure, that sounds about right. But I think Nightmare Moon kind of wipes the slate on those previous years.

…So basically you want a convict on the throne anyway? :pinkiesmile:

355 Moons since Tirek last got a newspaper.

That would be ~40 years ago and he wouldn’t know Cadance exists. :rainbowwild:

For it to be an idiot ball they have to be shown as competent at other times, right?

So it was Twilight Velvet ten years ago, same difference.

5040415

Before this episode I would have said that Cloudsdale is obviously Pegasopolis, it just got renamed at some point. However, since Pegasopolis, Earth and Unicornia were specifically founded by Exodus ponies rather than existing beforehand, this does not work with the chronology. Now, I say Cloudsdale predates Pegasopolis, was one of the pre-Exodus non-Three-Tribes civilizations* that was later swallowed by either Pegasopolis or Equestria.

* But vassal of the Pegasus Tribe. There is a plot point in the Journal that the griffons had a treaty with the Pegasus Tribe in which the land which is now Equestria was all Pegasus Tribe territory, so Cloudsdale would be in that territory.

Given that Cloudsdale is canonically capable of moving around and of being transported long distances, I feel it's not outside the bounds of possibility that Cloudsdale already was the cloud city the pegasus tribe inhabited before the exodus and they simply carted over the whole thing when they moved.

I mean, if you've already got a perfectly good city you're living in and you can move it, why bother building a new one from scratch?

5040818

I mean, if you've already got a perfectly good city you're living in and you can move it, why bother building a new one from scratch?

Because it was destroyed in the Windigo Apocalypse? Pegasopolis was specifically founded in Equestria by Exodus ponies. Carting over the old city doesn't fit into that.
(Also @ 5040657 for that)

5041555
Pegasopolis was the name of a country, though, not of a settlement. Even if the original country is rendered uninhabitable, it's still entirely possible that the pegasi could have brought along entire buildings or even chunks of their city when they left.

My argument is this: we know, for a fact, that pegasi can move clouds and that this ability can and does extend to an entire sizable city being mobile. We know that the original pre-exodus pegasi lived in a cloud city similar to Cloudsdale in general structure, i.e. it was city built chiefly out of clouds and floating in the sky, so it can be assumed to respond to pegasus magic in a similar way. If the pegasi had to move, the Windigo winter was tied to a geographical area rather than being anchored to the mobile structures that happened to be within it, and the pegasi possessed the ability to physically move the buildings they lived in along with them, wouldn't it make more sense for them do so to spare themselves the time and effort of building new ones from scratch?

As a comparison, take real-life nomadic societies like central Asian peoples or several Great Plains tribes. Many lived in tents or yurts that could be either quickly dismantled and rebuilt or were outright built to be moved around whole; if they had to leave a place and migrate to a new one because their old home became inhospitable, they took their homes along with them instead of abandoning them in their old camp and building new structures from scratch once they got where they were going.

I imagine the pegasi would have acted in a similar way, only they would have had the option of moving their city as a single cohesive block instead of doing so piecemeal, because unlike earth pony or unicorn settlements their buildings were not permanently anchored to a single spot.

5041565

While this is a sound theory, I must say that since our only source is a story that is presented as a moral lesson to children, treated by other characters as at least partially fictional (see “mythical windigos”) we don’t know one way or the other. There may well be logistical issues to moving cloud structures, which exponentially increase as the structures themselves increase in mass, for example.

5041565 I think you nailed it. If you had to leave your location but you could take your entire house with you, there would have to be a really, really good reason not to do so. We haven't seen such a reason demonstrated. That's a really good analogy comparing the Pegasi to nomadic societies.


5041555 What makes you say the city itself was destroyed? I thought the Hearth's Warming episode just claimed the Windigos made life too cold for comfort (and lack of food from the local earth ponies meant the Pegasi had to go somewhere else to scavenge food).


5041574 Didn't we establish in Hurricane Fluttershy and Tanks for the Memories that Cloudsdale moves around gathering water from reservoirs and distributing snow clouds to cities? At least in modern times they seem to be able to port the city around.

5041621

Didn’t we establish in Hurricane Fluttershy and Tanks for the Memories that Cloudsdale moves around gathering water from reservoirs and distributing snow clouds to cities? At least in modern times they seem to be able to port the city around.

In modern times, yes. We have no idea how though, and the entire necessity for this activity results from the use of a very modern-looking (Tanks for the Memories) weather factory.

Considering that weather factory appears to also manufacture wind (see Sonic Rainboom, Top Bolt, etc) it might be the actual engine that permits the city to be moved.

I.e. we don’t know. I do think such a supposition makes sense and is reasonable, though – I just wanted to point out some solid counterarguments exist as well.

Tartarus has arts and crafts classes. Or Cozy is still required to go to school being a minor and all and then gets sent back to Tartarus when the school day ends.

5041624 That's fair, certainly Cloudsdale has much more advanced technology than old Pegasopalis, and the existence of dedicated cloud factories that people like Papa Shy work in suggest that clouds are probably built of much sturdier stuff than they were a millenia ago.

I just think that, given the incredibly strong motivation people have to not abandon their houses if they don't have to, without any evidence to point us in either direction it seems more reasonable to default to "they took their houses and city with them" than "they left them behind."

From the Royal Historian of Equestria-
The idea that Gusty the Great was a Pegasus who defended Old Cloudsdale is nonsense spread by the Goldwings, the Royal Family of Old Cloudsdale who had Gusty as an ancestor and spread the propaganda that she was a Pegasus warrior rather than the Unicorn magician she actually was. When Dream Valley was incorporated into the Equestrian Empire the tales of Dream Valley were mixed with Equestrian lore (to confuse the matter the old country was in Dream Valley). That Gusty had an affinity for wind magic did not help matters. Gradually her tale became mixed with the story of Wing Gust the Pegasus warrior who fought against a Grogar worshiping cult. The original Gusty was a Unicorn, one of Megan's companions, who stole away the bell belonging to Grogar thus dispelling him into the ether.

In addition, Wing Gust was, strangely enough, a descendant of Gusty the Great who apparently found love with a Pegasus stallion whose name has been lost to history. She was a defender of Old Cloudsdale who lived to see the Great Winter that would bring Pegasopolis to a freezing end.

5041565
1. The name Pegasopolis implies city-state rather strongly. The country would particularly be identified with the city if pergasi never have more than one cloud city which is what you're arguing.
2. Pegasopolis is specifically founded in what is now Equestria following the Exodus. That does not really fit with having simply moved the entire nation together with the capital.
3. Especially since the Pegasus Tribe already laid claim to that land/sky in that griffon treaty. The country didn't even move, it just lost the core territories.

5041621
The Wendigo that pursued the Exodus were shown to work so fast ponies can fail to notice they're being frozen. While during the earlier parts of the conflict the climate merely got too close for comfort, I've no doubt some kind of final battle between ponies generated a critical mass of Wendigo that turns everypony it reaches into popsicles in a matter of minutes, and that mass destroyed about 95% of the Three Tribes in a matter of days at most.

5044513
There's not really any evidence a final battle took place. The leaders who failed to negotiate a fixture are next shown leading their tribes on a migration, and when they meet up they argue, but they don't immediately attack. It's not impossible there was some big battle that wiped out the population, but it seems more like they went straight to migration when they realized there was no food left to fight for.

5044773
I just went with a battle as an obvious sort of climax of hate in that conflict, but it isn't really important what caused the critical amount of Windigo - only that it existed and was chasing the Exodus.

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