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Oliver


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

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May
25th
2019

Points of Canon: S9x09 - Sweet and Smoky · 4:00pm May 25th, 2019

The leaks continue: It appears that the Italian channel Cartoonio which airs the Italian dub also has a streaming service, on which the episodes go live immediately after airing – and in addition to the Italian dub, it also allows access to the original English to certain subscribers. So in fact, episodes up to 13 included are already available.

And naturally I procured the lot, but since nobody reads these posts if they haven’t seen the episode yet, I’ll just write the stuff up in advance and post the moment the airing is done instead.

  • Chronology markers: School of Friendship is in evidence, Spike has wings. Treehouse of Harmony is not visible, so it can backslide a bit if needed. The events occur in the middle of a semester, and as far as we’re aware, the schedule for the School of Friendship is the same as it is for a regular pony school. Which, as far as we’re aware, roughly matches the modern US high school schedule. As a result, this episode has to occur in autumn or in spring. We don’t have enough information to decide which of the two it is.
  • “Sorry to bug you in the Teachers’ Lounge.”

    • So that’s what they call the place.
    • Notably, the room includes three (and possibly more) unicorn head statues, all wearing square academic caps. We don’t know who these ponies were (or are) but every statue also has one or two books on the same pedestal. Why?…
  • “In the middle of the semester?” School of Friendship uses semesters. See above.
  • “My brother’s been having a hard time since I left for school.” This statement is a bit chronologically problematic, because it would make the best time for these events the first autumn since the School of Friendship was established: At least during Best Gift Ever, Smolder went home for the winter holidays, and in Uprooted, the students, likewise, return to the school from their summer break.
  • “But the Dragon Lands are really far for you to go by yourself.” Wait, so do they send a teacher to pick her up every time she goes home and back? Really?
  • “Baby… dragon… hatching season?!” Dragons have a hatching season. Not an egg laying season, for some reason.
  • “How many pages?” Twilight has yet to learn to count the number of words instead. Which is my advice to anyone who has to grade reports and essays: Pretend the notion of pages does not exist. That’s what I did to my students. Drove them nuts.
  • Dragon Lands uses the same establishing shot background as the one used for Flash Magnus’ story in Campfire Tales. With the same ruins still intact, but this time, we see Fluttershy pass them by directly. Which is actually more historically important than you would think, as it implies that this is the territory ponies were displaced from by the dragons at some point.
  • “Or friendship bracelet weaving?” Spike does friendship bracelet weaving.
  • “The stink of sulfur.” Volcanoes on Pony Earth also emit sulfur dioxide.
  • “I’ll stay here and finish this comfort blanket.” Spike also knits. Previously, he was established as a master of embroidery, this is the first time he does knitting on screen.
  • “Good morning, little one.”

    • Every dragon egg is a radically different color.
    • They are kept piled together in pits with no obvious way to identify which is whose.
  • “Which one are you again? The party one? Apple Dash! Or was that the country one?” The only way this line makes sense is if Ember is not interested in learning to tell ponies apart.
  • “Watching over eggs is just part of the glamorous life of a Dragon Lord.” That is a very interesting statement, which raises much more questions than it answers. The one it does answer is why do the eggs appear not to be guarded: They are, Ember is just subtle about it.
  • “The eggs should’ve hatched by now. But none of them have even cracked.” Unfortunately, the process of hatching eggs does not involve dragons breathing magic into them as fandom theorized before: As Ember states later, “There’s a lake of molten lava under them. That’s why the eggs are laid here. The heat makes them hatch.”
  • “Give it back! That’s for my friend!” As the dragons are laughing, their flame rapidly shifts colors. Previously, the color of dragon flame was mostly portrayed as consistent (barring Spike, who displayed either green or orange flame on varying occasions) and distinctive, so I thought it would be unique per dragon. Apparently, that is not so. Notably, we’ve seen dragons laugh a lot before, and this usually didn’t correlate to breathing flames.
  • “Oh, brother.” Garble is Smolder’s brother.

    • Which makes it rather surprising that Spike didn’t meet Smolder until the School of Friendship, seeing how Garble has been around for every prior time Spike visited the Dragon Lands.
    • Notice complete absence of resemblance between the two. It appears that dragon phenotype is effectively random, since Ember doesn’t resemble her father at all either.
  • “Eh, just ignore them, Gar-Gar.” Garble has a nickname used within the family.
  • “Scales away!” …what?…
  • “I know there must be something worse than lava up your nose.” Dragon heat resistance is not due to their scales – ingesting lava, even in their airways, is not life-threatening.
  • “Cannonball!” Dragons know what cannons and cannonballs are. Which actually wouldn’t surprise me much – they’re probably the reason ponies have cannons in the first place.
  • “Try this. Red velvet.” Wait. So what’s actually in that cupcake?…
  • “I dunno about you, but a change of scenery always turns my frown upside-down.” The cloud behaves like dust or cotton in regard to Spike even without the presence of ponies, implying that either dragons have some degree of cloud displacement of their own or the clouds are actually pony-manufactured even that far out. Which is it?
  • “Who wants to make vision boards?” Ponies use vision boards. Which is very voodoo if you ask me.
  • “I don’t think the eggs are shaking because they’re afraid. They’re cold.” That has interesting implications for the physiology of unhatched dragons. That said, Ember should have noticed much earlier that it isn’t hot enough.
  • “Are those… bongo drums?” I was about to ask “so whose skin are they made of,” but the drums appear to be entirely made of stone, membrane and all. How exactly could that possibly work I have no idea.
  • “You know how fragile those things are? No way we’ll be able to move them all safely.” Dragon eggs are fragile. Not a given!
  • “Sure sounds like poetry to me.” Pretty bad poetry at that.
  • “I’m a beat poet. Dig?” Now, I wouldn’t be too surprised for a pony to know what a beat poet is, though, with the way this particular art form was determined by human cultural history, it’s once again strange for anyone else to have it. But how does Garble know what it is, and why exactly does he think this is cooler than being just a poet? How exactly could he possibly have acquired this hobby in a culture that shuns it so much?
  • “How about we wrap the eggs in a bunch of baby bwankets?” Actually, if the blankets were made with asbestos, it would improve the situation considerably, and it’s very likely dragons are immune to the effects of asbestos.
  • “Their laugh fire’s so hot, it’s hatching the eggs!” The fire resulting from laughter is hotter than one emitted consciously, for some reason.
  • “I’ll take them all!” So where exactly are their parents at the time? Or are we meant to believe that the few adults present are parents of all those eggs?

The particular mechanics of how is it that it’s the Dragon Lord’s duty to guard the eggs, and how does any dragon know whose child is whose are probably the most canonically important result of this episode. However, they also happen to be an almost total blank.

It might even be that the familial relations between dragons have nothing to do with genetics and they just pick the children out of freshly hatched set first come first serve.

P.S. Throughout this episode, the methodology of attaining and keeping friendship that is presented appears incredibly shallow to me, and that’s even before Spike gets to the vision boards. If this is the best Twilight has come up with, I’m disappointed in her. If this isn’t, she’s not a very good teacher.

Which wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest.

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Comments ( 11 )

since Ember doesn’t resemble her father at all either.

Both are blue and have underslung horns. That's not much, but it's not nothing either.

This statement is a bit chronologically problematic

Sometime in Season 8, between Spike getting his wings and Xmas break?

Wait, so do they send a teacher to pick her up every time she goes home and back? Really?

That does seem really unlikely. Hmmm. Maybe she's escorted by a traveling wagon like Trixie or that other guy. Plenty of merchants making the treck at least to Southern Equestria.

Pretend the notion of pages does not exist. That’s what I did to my students. Drove them nuts.

you monster! What's the point of even spacing out paragraphs and using 14 point Arial then?

Which is actually more historically important than you would think, as it implies that this is the territory ponies were displaced from by the dragons at some point.

Which is backed up by Garble finding Flash's old shield in the S7 Finale. That is important. Flash was presented as this unique hero agile and quick enough to provoke the dragons and get them near storm clouds, the main weapon pegasi have against dragons. But then after Flash gets sucked into Limbo, I guess no one else could hold the dragons back.

Though considering the dragons need that area badly to hatch their eggs, it's actually pretty understandable on their part.

  • They are kept piled together in pits with no obvious way to identify which is whose.

True. But also Smolder is Garble's brother, and dragon parents apparently raise their kids until they molt. So do we think dragon parents can tell by smell which egg/hatchling is theirs, or do they just grab a hatchling or two at random and take them home to raise?

The one it does answer is why do the eggs appear not to be guarded: They are, Ember is just subtle about it.

Makes sense. From the molt episode we know there are a lot of predators who would love eating dragon eggs.

“Oh, brother.” Garble is Smolder’s brother.

It also makes me wonder about how Ember picked Smolder to be the Friendship Student. Garble is in some ways the closest thing she has to a rival, the dragon who would have become Dragonlord if Ember and Spike hadn't teamed up. I don't know how perceptive Ember is, but sending away Gable's closest ally to isolate him is quite an interesting outcome.

Notably, we’ve seen dragons laugh a lot before, and this usually didn’t correlate to breathing flames.

Yeah, laugh-flames are a pretty big flank-pull for this episode.

Ponies use vision boards. Which is very voodoo if you ask me.

Given that Ponyville-adjacent basically has a working voodoo practitioner, that's not a bad thing.

Dragon eggs are fragile. Not a given!

And yet Spike's egg was perfectly intact before Twilight got a crack at it.

But how does Garble know what it is, and why exactly does he think this is cooler than being just a poet?

The second part is easy. It's got the word "beat" in it, so its like he's giving a beating to words. For the first part, like their elaborate armor, we see enough manufactured goods around that dragons can't have an entirely stone-age society. I would wager they trade extra gems and minerals (or raid for them) in and around Klugetown, or someplace like it. That's where they can get berets and books of poetry.

“I’ll take them all!”

This episode really needed a coda where Ember was forced to pat Fluttershy down to prevent her from smuggling out some hatchlings.

If this is the best Twilight has come up with, I’m disappointed in her. If this isn’t, she’s not a very good teacher.

Which wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest.

Don't forget, she makes the teachers write a report, rather than the students.

Overall I liked the episode, genuinely shocked about Garble, and Fluttershy was adorable even by her own standards.

So let's talk about Twilight hatching Spike. First off, if the eggs are so delicate, the teachers must have put some kind of warding magic on the eggs so the students don't destroy them trying to hatch them.

Also thinking about it, maybe the eggs do need magic to hatch. Ember tells us first off that she has no idea what she's doing hatching/guarding the eggs. After Spike says the eggs are cold without the lava, Ember seizes on heat as the necessary component to hatch them, but she's just guessing. When we see the eggs hatch, the dragons are all breathing on them. Not only that, but the eggs only hatch when dragons breath that bright blue "laughflame." Ordinary flame doesn't do it. We know dragons have magical fire, or at least Spike does.

Given that we also see Twilight hatch a dragon egg without any noticeable heat, to me it seems that dragon eggs may well need lots of heat to mature, but they need actual magic to break out of their shells. Previous generations had Torch just breathing his own magic fire on the eggs to hatch them.

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Plenty of merchants making the treck at least to Southern Equestria.

But not to Dragon Lands. Nothing to trade with dragons, it seems.

you monster! What’s the point of even spacing out paragraphs and using 14 point Arial then?

Precisely. Mwahahahahaha!

So do we think dragon parents can tell by smell which egg/hatchling is theirs, or do they just grab a hatchling or two at random and take them home to raise?

No idea.

When we see the eggs hatch, the dragons are all breathing on them. Not only that, but the eggs only hatch when dragons breath that bright blue “laughflame.” Ordinary flame doesn’t do it.

Certainly an option.

I wasn't a fan of this one. The moral is delivered in a really shallow, preachy storybook way. No subtlety at all.

Fluttershy's not just gotten over her dracophobia from season one, she's completely forgotten about it. While none of the dragons we see on screen are huge, you'd expect her to be at least a little bit worried about it.

She also doesn't seem to be at all worried about getting hit with lava. The globs that splash next to her should be so hot, she's forced to back away from them. Only Spike cares about dodging.

ingesting lava, even in their airways, is not life-threatening.

This is probably unintentional, given the show staff clearly don't know much about lava, but that scene implies something else very important: dragons have a very high internal body temperature. Lava that comes in contact with something the temperature of a human throat would solidify into a plug. Even if you're fine with the heat, having your lungs full of solid rock has to be a hazard.

Alternatively, the lava isn't actually lava as we'd understand it.

I suppose it's worth mentioning that Ember's blush at the suggestion any (or all) of the eggs were hers indicates that dragons do think of sex as something emotional. Not a given.

"but since nobody reads these posts if they haven’t seen the episode yet, I’ll just write the stuff up in advance and post the moment the airing is done instead"
Ah, thanks. :)

So let's talk about Twilight hatching Spike. First off, if the eggs are so delicate, the teachers must have put some kind of warding magic on the eggs so the students don't destroy them trying to hatch them

Maybe now it's non-canon but Faust said that this dragon egg meant to test Twilight only.

  • “Baby… dragon… hatching season?!” Dragons have a hatching season. Not an egg laying season, for some reason.

Eh, one tends to imply the other. If all the eggs are laid at once, it follows they'll also hatch around the same time.

Unfortunately, the process of hatching eggs does not involve dragons breathing magic into them as fandom theorized before: As Ember states later, “There’s a lake of molten lava under them. That’s why the eggs are laid here. The heat makes them hatch.”

This does, however, play nice with the other fandom theory that Spike's egg was just outright sterile and Twilight's magic both "fertilized" it and speeded up the incubation process.

Previously, the color of dragon flame was mostly portrayed as consistent (barring Spike, who displayed either green or orange flame on varying occasions) and distinctive, so I thought it would be unique per dragon. Apparently, that is not so. Notably, we’ve seen dragons laugh a lot before, and this usually didn’t correlate to breathing flames.

Yeah, this episode's treatment of dragon flame is... not very consistent with the show's previous use of the same.

since Ember doesn’t resemble her father at all either

As a matter of fact, Ember and Torch do share a fair bit of resemblance. They both have blue scales (granted that one's teal and the other sky-blue), and they have the same diamond patterning in their scales, the same overall horn shape -- heading back then curving down and forward to just below their jaw -- and the same tail fin. The horns and tail fin, especially, are not things a lot of other dragons have.

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This is probably unintentional, given the show staff clearly don't know much about lava, but that scene implies something else very important: dragons have a very high internal body temperature. Lava that comes in contact with something the temperature of a human throat would solidify into a plug. Even if you're fine with the heat, having your lungs full of solid rock has to be a hazard.

Alternatively, the lava isn't actually lava as we'd understand it.

Considering that lava, being molten rock, has the fluidity of molasses at best and molasses mixed with coarse gravel at worst and does not behave in any way like the hot orange water in the show -- and would be hot enough to blister exposed skin at several paces away -- we can probably assume that real-life pyroclastic science doesn't... really apply here.

Not that this is specifically an issue with FiM, granted. Almost every visual work to use lava treats it like boiling kool-aid.

Oh, NOW it's a big deal for her to go to the dragon lands on her own? Where was that concern in Uprooted?
Also, if a student leaving for a week is potentially a problem, what about a teacher? Who's covering for Fluttershy?

Smoulder keeps mentioning her brother but never his name. It's gonna turn out to be Garble, isn't it? And she just has a wildly different perception of him.

Okay, Garble's here so I guess it's not him.

Or it is! Called it!

Fluttershy you know not to do that to animal nests, you think it's a good idea to sneak into a dragon nest?

It seems weird that accidentally swallowing lava is bad for dragons. They eat rocks, and their insides can withstand dragonfire...

How does lava surfing work?

Fluttershy seems awfully unconcerned for someone having balls of lava thrown at her.

The idea of cannonballs does make clear that cannons are not only for shooting confetti in this world.

The cloud interacting with spike is weird, but I guess I could dismiss it as a cartoon gag. Noone comments on it and there's no reasonably process by which the clouds could shape into a diaper and pacifier.

Need dragon eggs hatched? We know one way to do that... Twilight could just teleport over here...


Pages are how I remember it being done in school. Given how stuffy the EEA is, I bet educational reform is really slow. And Twilight's focus has been on running a school of Friendship; you'd think she'd have her hooves full with the curriculum, so I'm not surprised she hasn't had time to innovate either.

That they can shake means they must be very close to hatching indeed, right? Perhaps the lava draining away was only enough to affect them at the very end -- the dragons are whole inside the eggs, but are too busy shivering for warmth to break their shells. Though it does seem like hatching and seeking warmth would be a better instinctive behavior...

Yeah for a moment I thought egg blankets really would be the answer. Cue Ember commanding all the dragons to knit.

How good is anyone in this show at friendship, really? Remember the Rarity and Rainbow Dash episode last season? Although to be fair, TV show friendships are often pretty bad to allow for dramatic misunderstandings.

but every statue also has one or two books on the same pedestal. Why?…

I don't know the details, but I'm sure it boils down to 'Because Book-Horse'

At least during Best Gift Ever, Smolder went home for the winter holidays, and in Uprooted, the students, likewise, return to the school from their summer break.

Well, we don't know for sure she went back to the Dragonslands, just that they all went somewhere else. And we do see Yuna at home. But it's possible some of the others went home with others as well. But valid point on the summer break.

Wait, so do they send a teacher to pick her up every time she goes home and back? Really?

Yeah,..... that one did not make a lot of sense.

Dragons have a hatching season. Not an egg laying season, for some reason.

No reason they can't have both.

The only way this line makes sense is if Ember is not interested in learning to tell ponies apart.

She's got a lot of stuff to deal with. Plus... has she ever actually met any of the Mane 6 besides Twilight and Rarity?

Notably, we’ve seen dragons laugh a lot before, and this usually didn’t correlate to breathing flames.

Blatnet, poorly retconed in plot device is a blatent, poorly retconned in plot device.

Which makes it rather surprising that Spike didn’t meet Smolder until the School of Friendship, seeing how Garble has been around for every prior time Spike visited the Dragon Lands.

To be fair, every time that has been it's been Garble hanging around with his dragons bros, who Smolder doesn't really seem to care about. Though there is the question of where the hell Smolder was during Gauntlet of Fire.

How exactly could he possibly have acquired this hobby in a culture that shuns it so much?

Do keep in mind, most of our exposure to the culture so far has been from Garble and his bros, who seem to be extreme examples of a 'dragons are dicks' mentality. There does seem to be a lot more to it then what we've seen from just those morons.

It might even be that the familial relations between dragons have nothing to do with genetics and they just pick the children out of freshly hatched set first come first serve.

Would explain the lack of family resemblances, and why no dragons has made even the slightest hint at even wanting to care about who Spike's parents were, if they'd have no way to know biologically.

Throughout this episode, the methodology of attaining and keeping friendship that is presented appears incredibly shallow to me

Not really, as it was mostly just Spike's ideas. The core of it all was 'Help out another struggling dragons with issues being looked down on due to being 'sensitive' by letting him know he's not alone' is very valid. And was what Spike was trying to do The method's to do so were just Spike coming with things he likes and make him feel better based on Smolder saying how alike they were.

It might even be that the familial relations between dragons have nothing to do with genetics and they just pick the children out of freshly hatched set first come first serve.

Sounds like the Rainwings from Wings of Fire. They had communal hatching spaces, hatchlings were raised by the entire tribe and named off a rotating list.

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