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Oliver


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

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Aug
25th
2019

Points of Canon: S9x17 - The Summer Sun Setback · 7:55pm Aug 25th, 2019

Dread approaching. Okay, here goes something…

  • Chronology markers: This episode overlaps a Summer Sun Celebration, locking the season to summer and locking it to an integer number of years against Princess Twilight Sparkle and Friendship is Magic. It directly references Frenemies, Between Dark and Dawn, Trivial Pursuit, 2, 4, 6, Great, and Sparkle’s Seven. Of these, Trivial Pursuit reference is a soft lock, while others are hard locks. Unfortunately we don’t know just how many Summer Sun Celebrations have happened between here and the start of the series, but I wish we did.
  • “Since you three were unable to retrieve my Bewitching Bell, we need another source of great magical power to defeat Twilight and her friends.” Reference to Frenemies, hard lock.
  • “He’s gone!” Notice that Grogar walks away for some reason, rather than, say, teleports.
  • “Which is why double-crossing him with his own bell will be so satisfying.” Notice that Grogar still behaves like he hasn’t discovered the Bell that he could otherwise track continent-wide before.
  • “Celestia and Luna love to hoard information for themselves.” I wonder. How does Tirek know that?
  • “Road trip!” Nobody wonders what happens if Grogar returns before they do. For that matter, they appear to reach Canterlot on hoof and return before Grogar does. The notion of distance seems to have lost meaning entirely by now.
  • “Sorry to interrupt. We know you’re busy planning the Summer Sun Celebration as we requested.” Season lock, integer number of years lock.
  • “With the exception of the odd trivia night, I’ve made a lot of progress since the Royal Swanifying Ceremony.” This is a hard lock reference to Between Dark and Dawn, but a soft lock reference to Trivial Pursuit: Twilight references an undetermined number of trivia nights, – should we think the competitions run well into the night? – but not the specific trivia night portrayed in the episode, never mind that it’s never actually night in it.
  • “It’s just that the Celebration has always been about us. My defeat of Luna… / …and, thanks to you and your friends, my reunion with my sister.” The notion that the Celebration directly references the defeat of Luna first appears in Princess Twilight Sparkle and I’m not convinced this is what it’s actually about, for a number of reasons which I’ve touched on multiple times before. But Celestia is entitled to think whatever she pleases about it.
  • “Now that we’re leaving, we don’t see a need for the holiday any longer.” Notice they aren’t just retiring to settle in their castle in the forest in peace, like you would expect, but leaving. Where to? Why?
  • “So let this be the last Summer Sun Celebration as Equestria leaves behind the old to embrace the new!” Observe the celestial motion device when it isn’t broken. Wanna bet there’s no backup?
  • “I guess some draconequus isn’t the know-it-all he thinks he is.” Notice that this word actually appears very rarely.
  • “Character growth is so boring.” It isn’t, when it’s bloody consistent!
  • “Have so much to get done before sunrise.” Notice that in Friendship is Magic, Twilight checks all the preparations well before the nightfall, while here, they’re in progress all the way through the night.
  • “It’s that silly sun holiday.” If this isn’t a phrase of a human in Equestria who spent a few years as a pony, I don’t know what is!
  • “Those are new.” And were installed in Sparkle’s Seven making this a hard lock.
  • “More medallions, more problems, am I right?” What, nobody even tries to arrest her?…
  • “They’ve increased security into the castle.”

    • Chrysalis can’t grammar.
    • Cozy and Tirek are playing chess on a bizarre 5x6 board.
  • “Let’s go, team!” Discord is wearing a School of Friendship cheerleader uniform, which did not exist until 2, 4, 6, Great, making this a hard lock.
  • “Pinkie, you and I are givin’ Braeburn and the Appleloosan ponies some adjustments to the menu.” I.e. getting catering locally was not an option.
  • “Fluttershy and I are meeting the Pegasi from Cloudsdale to give them changes to the weather.” Getting weather management locally was not an option either.
  • “Spike, we’re going to update the Flaming Sky Firework Unicorn Troupe with Twilight’s new vision.” The words “Unicorn Troupe” sound iffy in the extreme, you know?
  • “I feel weak all of a sudden…” Notice that nobody recognizes the symptoms, even Braeburn, who has definitely experienced his magic being drained by Tirek before.
  • “I-I-It’s a m-much more aggressive weather pattern than what was originally ordered!” Notice barrels of rainbows, clouds, rainclouds, and apparently, sunshine, as well as wind. In a barrel. That’s what it’s labeled as. Don’t ask, because you won’t get your answer. This is the first time we see weather packaged, too.
  • “Who are you?” Notice that there has been no announcement of an escape from Tartarus, and probably, it wasn’t even detected. This can only happen if nobody ever feeds the prisoners or cleans their cages.
  • “The Flaming Sky Firework Troupe is a marvel.” Give whoever drew that face a spoiled cupcake, please!
  • “Horns at the ready!” Notice the very obvious speakers around the stage, as well as lighting equipment shaped like our typical electric stage lights.
  • “Unicorns wield magic. We are the most powerful ponies in the land.” You’d think ponies who presumably have to know magic theory to do what they do would see what’s wrong with this sentence, but they buy it.
  • “We thought perhaps a practice session before the festivities might be in order.” How exactly do you practice something like that without triggering the celebration itself?
  • “Earth ponies sick… Food missin’…” Wait, when exactly did the food go missing? Because when the Mane 5 arrive later, the food is still there.
  • “Something is wrong with the weather!” Nothing is seen through the windows, however, until Fluttershy looks out. It would be explainable if the weather is below the window, but it’s not, as we can see in subsequent shots.
  • “A simple fireworks show is beneath us! We’re better than that!” And will be doing… what, exactly?
  • “Discord is right. Twilight needs us.” Actually, as far as the Mane 5 know, the problem is not social, so there should be no reason to prefer them to Discord.
  • Montage:

    • When Tirek drains a guard, the magic being drained is once again unusual, changing color when the draining is nearing its end.
    • This is the first ever instance of barrels being used to scoop weather, too.
  • “The Archives are in a different part of the castle.”

    • Archives are in the castle, rather than in the library. Someone remembered. Will wonders ever cease. Notice that this means the restricted section of the public library is distinct.
    • Notice the geeze are stil here.
  • “You could do more with your magic than make frilly dresses!” Like what exactly, though?
  • “Nopony makes frills anymore. This season’s actually all about simplicity—”

    • Good to know.
    • Wait, what is Lemon Hearts doing in this crowd, among ponies complaining about misuse of unicorn magic?
  • “I told y’all this was a bad idea!” As far as I can tell, Applejack, no, you did not.
  • Another montage:

    • To split a cloud, Rainbow performs a weird maneuver which looks like a low-power-low-speed Sonic Rainboom.
    • Cozy Glow breaks chains – including links shattering and flying around – with a book, what the hell.
    • Fire Flare and company cast a spell projecting fireworks onto the moon itself. I call bullshit.
    • While doing the sun-moon swap, Twilight continually applies magic to something – though it might be just holding the amulet.
  • “There are two ponies who have watched over us night and day for as long as we can remember. We will no longer commemorate their battle or their reunion.”

    • I.e. there’s no history before the Sisters.
    • Twilight concurs with the view that the holiday commemorates the battle rather than anything else.
  • “You know, it really does seem like you just might be ready for whatever comes next, your Majesty.” Notice that Discord uses “majesty” while Fire Flare just said “highnesses.”
  • “Sooooo did you find what you’re looking for?” Yep, Cozy and company returned before Grogar did.
  • “You had to return all the life force to those Earth ponies so Grogar doesn’t suspect anything.”

    • Once again, “life force” rather than “magic,” as in Frenemies.
    • So I guess Celestia and Luna not suspecting anything is not a concern, but Grogar is? Good to know.

Just how did Twilight convince the fireworkers that fireworks are not a waste of their time is never explained. Where is Trixie isn’t explained either.

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Comments ( 16 )

Just how did Twilight convince the fireworkers that fireworks are not a waste of their time is never explained.

Twilight probably pointed out that they'd signed a contract to provide the fireworks, and threatened to sue the horns off of them all if they didn't fulfill their end of the agreement.

Notice they aren’t just retiring to settle in their castle in the forest in peace, like you would expect

What castle? The only castle in the forest I can think of is a pile of rubble with an already part-time occupied tree house growing in the middle of it.

“Pinkie, you and I are givin’ Braeburn and the Appleloosan ponies some adjustments to the menu.” I.e. getting catering locally was not an option.“Fluttershy and I are meeting the Pegasi from Cloudsdale to give them changes to the weather.” Getting weather management locally was not an option either.

Alternatively, local catering and weather management were options, but the Appleloosan and Cloudsdale versions were considered more desirable.

Notice barrels of rainbows, clouds, rainclouds, and apparently, sunshine, as well as wind. In a barrel. That’s what it’s labeled as.

The clouds and rainbows I get -- at least those two are well-established to be actual and physical substances in the show's world. Rain too, if you assume it to mean rain-bearing clouds specifically. I can think of a few ways to get wind in there too -- compressed air? Moving air kept isolated until needed? A smaller-scale version of whatever it is that Aeolus did when he gave Odysseus all the winds of the world in a bag?

But how do you fit sunshine in a barrel? I mean, isn't generating that just Celestia's and soon-to-be Twilight's job?

“Unicorns wield magic. We are the most powerful ponies in the land.” You’d think ponies who presumably have to know magic theory to do what they do would see what’s wrong with this sentence, but they buy it.

You know, I'm personally of the opinion that, in terms of overall utility they can get out of their magic, pegasi are probably the most inherently advantaged pony tribe. I mean -- the vast majority of earth ponies have no special powers on way or the other; the vast majority of unicorns are like earth ponies but can also pick up small objects; the vast majority of pegasi can fly, stand on clouds, inhabit isolated cloud cities as a consequence, generate wind, move clouds around and kick rain, snow and lighting out of them.

I mean, you get the occasional Twilight or Starlight or Starswirl, but they're so few and far between as to be essentially statistical errors.

Plus, I have a hard time believing that the stuff pegasi and a fair few earth ponies do on a daily basis isn't magic.

Once again, “life force” rather than “magic,”

Hmm. The show's really trying to push the idea that earth ponies and pegasi have no magic of their own, isn't it?

Out of curiosity -- I can't recall just now and don't know where you talk about this -- but what do you believe the Summer Sun Celebration to actually be about?

  • “Character growth is so boring.” It isn’t, when it’s bloody consistent!

Both Chrysalis and Discord would say that consistency is boring in and of itself, for slightly different reasons. The only place I disagree with them in that regard is the implication that being boring is necessarily a bad thing.

should we think the competitions run well into the night?

Well, if we sum the scores seen at the end of the episode, then account for negative points, that's hundreds of questions asked per game. It'll take a while.

If this isn’t a phrase of a human in Equestria who spent a few years as a pony, I don’t know what is!

Oh. Huh. That would explain a lot.

I.e. getting catering locally was not an option.

Which, given Restaurant Row, is kind of surprising. Maybe it was cheaper to transport the Appleoosans and their supplies than get that much big city cuisine. Or they refused after the Festival of Friendship. ("No offense to the princess," Saffron Masala told Rarity, "but Father still tries to snap yeti necks in his sleep.")

Notice that nobody recognizes the symptoms, even Braeburn, who has definitely experienced his magic being drained by Tirek before.

The best explanation I've seen for this is that while the symptoms may be similar, the ponies won't just assume the cause has escaped Tartarus. Again. Though that leads into the question of how they snuck Tirek into Canterlot in the first place. To say nothing of the guard who saw Tirek and may not report it before the final confrontation.

... as well as wind. In a barrel.

We did see the weather factory's wind vault in "Tanks for the Memories," but yeah, wooden barrels would not be my first guess for containing pressure differentials outside of a Donkey Kong game. Cooperage is magic, I guess.

Cozy Glow breaks chains – including links shattering and flying around – with a book, what the hell.

Ah, but there's a key on the cover. Clearly it's a book on lockpicking. (In all seriousness, this is the Star Swirl the Bearded Wing. He may have enchanted the thing for precisely that purpose.)

You know Oliver I was reading some of these analysis blogs again and your enjoyment in writing them seemed to drop pretty hard around late season 6 and never seemed to improve.

Remember this kind of thing is supposed to be fun. If it feels like a chore you don’t need to keep going out of completionism.

5111400
Don't be absurd, we know how Twilight deals with labor disputes: send in the Pinkie-tons.

5111626
:rainbowlaugh: Terrifying!

5111631
Don't dismiss them as strikebreakers - they come with giant tortoises.

5111631
Oh, that wasn't sarcasm! Pinkie enforcers would be terrifying, tortoises or no!

5111404

What castle? The only castle in the forest I can think of is a pile of rubble with an already part-time occupied tree house growing in the middle of it.

They could have restored it, presumably. Before the treehouse, at least.

Now they’re gonna be homeless.

I can think of a few ways to get wind in there too – compressed air? Moving air kept isolated until needed?

In Sonic Rainboom and Top Bolt, one can observe a funnel-like device that generates hurricane-scale wind upon application of light blue fluid. However, outside the machine itself, the fluid appears inert.

But how do you fit sunshine in a barrel?

By dissolving it in alcohol, presumably.

I mean, isn’t generating that just Celestia’s and soon-to-be Twilight’s job?

Precisely my objection to the whole thing.

You know, I’m personally of the opinion that, in terms of overall utility they can get out of their magic, pegasi are probably the most inherently advantaged pony tribe.

If we’re talking about an average member of a subspecies, I definitely agree. Exceptional unicorns appear to consistently beat exceptional pegasi in terms of personal power, however, so I can see how the notion of unicorn superiority could be perpetuated based on those exceptions.

Hmm. The show’s really trying to push the idea that earth ponies and pegasi have no magic of their own, isn’t it?

It flipflops between nearly outright saying that the underlying mechanism behind pegasus and earth pony abilities is magic and refuting this every so often. No series bible, remember?

Out of curiosity – I can’t recall just now and don’t know where you talk about this – but what do you believe the Summer Sun Celebration to actually be about?

The first time it comes up is in the notes and comments for Friendship is Magic, but I refer to it afterwards. To summarize:

  • The book Twilight is studying is not a restricted book as far as we can see. She didn’t even know the library has a restricted section, even after becoming a princess. Therefore the prophecy of Nightmare’s Return is public, if relatively obscure, knowledge. When in our world, nothing interesting happened in year 1000 AD, they had to start the Crusades to take the edge off.
  • There is no reason whatsoever for Celestia to condone celebration of the defeat of her sister. As far as we know from Princess Twilight Sparkle there was, in fact, no battle to speak of and the whole thing amounted to a short unscheduled eclipse.

Therefore, while Celestia might treat it as a reminder of the battle for whatever reason, and even tell Twilight about it, coloring the speech Twilight makes, in the public mind, the holiday itself is not connected with Nightmare Moon at all. Nightmare Night probably is, but is limited to Central Equestria.

5111459

Oh. Huh. That would explain a lot.

I did present this theory in detail when she did her Empress of Friendship flip out, I’m pretty sure.

Clearly it’s a book on lockpicking.

I don’t see how that would be helpful seeing as how there’s no lock to be seen. :twilightsmile: The chains are directly hammered into the shelves.

Never mind that Cozy wouldn’t need a book on lockpicking: I just noticed that she picks the lock on the door to the restricted section of the archives with just a piece of wire.

5111487

You know Oliver I was reading some of these analysis blogs again and your enjoyment in writing them seemed to drop pretty hard around late season 6 and never seemed to improve.

My enjoyment with the new entries in the series itself dropped pretty hard with the ending of Season 7, and they never actually improved since. This is just a consequence.

But I am a completist.

“I told y’all this was a bad idea!” As far as I can tell, Applejack, no, you did not.

I never noticed that, because it’s the sort of thing she would have done and she did question the lying in the first place. Now that you’ve pointed it out, I went and rewatched it, and yup, you’re right.

5111404

But how do you fit sunshine in a barrel?

I ain't happy, I'm feeling glad,
I got sunshine in a bag
I'm useless, but not for long
The future is coming on.

I kinda liked this one. The Cabal of Malignant Amity palling around, causing trouble, being themselves. It's fun. The M5 less so, but it was a busy script.

5111805

My enjoyment with the new entries in the series itself dropped pretty hard with the ending of Season 7, and they never actually improved since. This is just a consequence.

We're kindred spirits, you and I.

Feels like this is a Rising Action episode, more about future payoff down the line.

Notice that Grogar walks away for some reason, rather than, say, teleports.

But also notice that Grogar is walking directly towards a cliff-face, and right before he would fall off the camera cuts away. So I would guess that was a teleport after all, we just didn't see it.

Notice that Grogar stillbehaves like he hasn’t discovered the Bell that he could otherwise track continent-wide before.

I think his scrying powers can only look at locations, not people or objects. So if he picks a location he can see what is there, but he can't pick an object and see what is around that object. Or, the wards around the Bell's original location prevent Grogar from scrying it, he hasn't bothered to check because he assumes the bell is still unscryable.

I wonder. How does Tirek know that?

That period of time when he was quietly sneaking around Equestria, slowly gathering power. He probably noticed no one seemed aware of him or Scorpan. He might even have snuck into a library just to check the history books.

The notion of distance seems to have lost meaning entirely by now.

As in Game of Thrones, everyone has unlocked fast travel points by the end.

Twilight references an undetermined number of trivia nights, – should we think the competitions run well into the night? – but not the specific trivia night portrayed in the episode, never mind that it’s never actually night in it.

Seems a pretty hard lock, since she's saying she still freaks out for Trivia nights, but she doesn't seem aware that she is freaking out until the end of the Trivia episode.

But Celestia is entitled to think whatever she pleases about it.

Like Nightmare Night, this seems like a holiday where the meaning shifts a lot over time. The end of this episode is probably the main proof. Summer Sun may have started celebrating Celestia's defeat over NMM (at the urging of others onto Celestia) but given that most people think she is a myth at the start of the series, they clearly think its a celebration of Celestia more than anything. Celestia I think remembers the original purpose and assumes that Twilight still does.

Notice they aren’t just retiring to settle in their castle in the forest in peace, like you would expect, but leaving. Where to? Why?

David Silver has a great fic about them becoming traveling mercenary/adventurers. I think they are going to take a 70 year vacation and then come back to help Twilight when the rest of the Mane 5 have dropped dead. You do bring up a good point though, they were on a vacation for like a week or two together and found they were completely incompatible. What the heck are they going to do in the long-term?

Observe the celestial motion device when it isn’t broken. Wanna bet there’s no backup?

I mean, the sisters kind of are the backup, presumably if it broke they would notice Twilight hadn't moved the sun/moon and do it themselves. But will this artifact last forever? Do Celestia and Luna need to charge this thing from time to time?

If this isn’t a phrase of a human in Equestria who spent a few years as a pony, I don’t know what is!

You oughta publish a blog post just on your theory about Cozy sometime. It's interesting, deserves some more digging.

  • “More medallions, more problems, am I right?” What, nobody even tries to arrest her?…

Classic mistake. Management wants to increase security so they spend more money on new systems, but they don't ensure personnel are adequately trained in the new system, so it's vulnerable to social hacking.

“Spike, we’re going to update the Flaming Sky Firework Unicorn Troupe with Twilight’s new vision.”

Where the heck is Trixie? How the heck is their a Unicorn Troupe dedicated to fireworks and Trixie is not part of it! :trixieshiftleft:

Notice that nobody recognizes the symptoms, even Braeburn, who has definitely experienced his magic being drained by Tirek before.

True, but this time the cutie mark isn't taken away, when it was last time. I suspect Tirek is deliberately doing a light drain to make it harder to identify, so it can be confused with food poisoning.

This can only happen if nobody ever feeds the prisoners or cleans their cages.

Yup. This is very important to anyone saying Cozy being thrown in Tartarus isn't that bad because she gets school furloughs and counseling and stuff. Also leans into the idea that Tartarus is like the Astral Plane, ponies don't need to eat or poop, because they don't age.

You’d think ponies who presumably have to know magic theory to do what they do would see what’s wrong with this sentence, but they buy it.

I don't think the writers intended it this way, but actually the troupe seems like a really good target for extremist radicalization. They're part of a unicorn-only group, but if they were very good at magic they would probably be doing something better than running a fireworks show. Notice how at the end they just fire their fireworks out of cannons for the finale, which anyone could do without magic? When you recruit someone to be an extremist based on the component of their identity, generally you target the lowest-status members of a high-status identity, because for those members being in that high-status group is incredibly important to them, and its easy to convince them they are under threat.

Wait, when exactly did the food go missing? Because when the Mane 5 arrive later, the food is still there.

Well, we saw Tirek take 1 cake. He must have taken 39 more. How terrible!

And will be doing… what, exactly?

See above, but these unicorns are not smart. Probably like random weather bureaus in small towns, fireworks troupes are basically a jobs guarantee by Celestia to keep useless ponies from starving.

  • Notice the geeze are stil here.

And are actually following intruders around and investigating them. They're a better version of the Guard!

  • Wait, what is Lemon Hearts doing in this crowd, among ponies complaining about misuse of unicorn magic?

Lots of energetic passionate stallions in that crowd I guess.

As far as I can tell, Applejack, no, you did not.

I think she means when she wanted to tell Twilight the truth and the rest stopped her.

  • Cozy Glow breaks chains – including links shattering and flying around – with a book, what the hell.

Magic key book.

  • Fire Flare and company cast a spell projecting fireworks onto the moon itself. I call bullshit.

Luna helped as part of calming tribal tensions?

  • Twilight concurs with the view that the holiday commemorates the battle rather than anything else.

I think other than Twilight, the Sisters and a few scholars, 99% of the population figured the Summer Sun was just Celestia's birthday, so of course they are happy to cheer. It's like if it was announced in the USA that from now on, Xmas would no longer be about the birth of Jesus, but instead a celebration of Santa.

Just how did Twilight convince the fireworkers that fireworks are not a waste of their time is never explained.

I myself would like that explanation. Or maybe she asked the same question you did "ok, no more fireworks, what are you going to do for a job that you're actually qualified for?" And all of a sudden they decided fireworks are great.

I felt like the Mane 6 were kind of boring here, but they are basically the beta-plot/antagonists this episode, so that's ok.

Also, this is very important:
"Cozy Glow: You know, it really was super easy to get all those Earth ponies and Pegasi and unicorns to turn on each other.
Queen Chrysalis: It was, wasn't it? Now that is something to think about..." Time for a tribal war!

5111404

But how do you fit sunshine in a barrel?

Sounds about as hard as solving a problem like Maria.


5111459

Maybe it was cheaper to transport the Appleoosans and their supplies than get that much big city cuisine.

Or its a taxpayer funded celebration and the government wants to spread those government contracts around rather than just give all the money to Canterlot ponies.

5111626 That's really good. :pinkiecrazy:

5112023

I don't think the writers intended it this way, but actually the troupe seems like a really good target for extremist radicalization. They're part of a unicorn-only group, but if they were very good at magic they would probably be doing something better than running a fireworks show. Notice how at the end they just fire their fireworks out of cannons for the finale, which anyone could do without magic? When you recruit someone to be an extremist based on the component of their identity, generally you target the lowest-status members of a high-status identity, because for those members being in that high-status group is incredibly important to them, and its easy to convince them they are under threat.

That's actually a very good point right there. You want to radicalize someone, you go for the people with the most precarious self-esteem -- the people who feel like they should be part of the privileged elite, but don't have the skills or luck to actually make it into it. You wouldn't get far trying to radicalize the haves -- the Twilights and the Raritys -- because they're not going to be easily convinced that they, personally, are being done poorly by and deserve more respect than they get (they're more likely to be the ones doing the radicalizing, but that's another story).

See above, but these unicorns are not smart. Probably like random weather bureaus in small towns, fireworks troupes are basically a jobs guarantee by Celestia to keep useless ponies from starving.

... I may just adopt this headcanon for myself.

Notice that Grogar still behaves like he hasn’t discovered the Bell that he could otherwise track continent-wide before.

I'm willing to believe this is a form of cartoon resolution; Team Villain have actually hidden it better, but we need to quickly transition to show it and not bog down the show with thaumobabble explanations (which, to be fair, people like us would pick apart anyway.)

How does Tirek know that?

Weren't the sisters alive when he came to Equestria the first time?

Cozy Glow breaks chains – including links shattering and flying around – with a book, what the hell.

Clearly it's a magic book enchanted to do exactly this and that's why it has a picture of a key on it! :P

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