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Oliver


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

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Sep
23rd
2019

Points of Canon: S9x21 - Daring Doubt · 8:30am Sep 23rd, 2019

Daring Do episodes are often far-reaching. Often pretty devastating to the rest of the canon, as well.

  • Chronology markers: Rainbow references the events of Daring Done, producing a hard lock, but no major markers appear. Certain scenes require a significant time investment, spreading the bookends of this episode at least several months apart.
  • “Oh! I just stopped by to thank you for letting me borrow your Daring Do books. I love them!” Fluttershy demonstrated only very passing knowledge of Daring Do canon before – that is, she knew Daring Do has a book series, but couldn’t be demonstrated to know more than that – so the time period this scene is set in could be chronologically important, as it describes a reading binge. Unfortunately, we have little to no idea when this episode could be set.
  • “This is actually my second time through! I read them all! From ‘Daring Do and the Sapphire Statue’ to ‘Daring Do and the Fallen Idol!’” Notice that the dichotomy between “Sapphire Statue” and “Sapphire Stone” persists: We’ve bumped into this before.
  • “Oh. It looks like she didn’t. This book says it’s by Groom Q. Q. Martingale.”

    • This is the first four-component name ever observed in Equestria. Nobody claims the name is in any way unusual, which at least implies the construction of the name is valid.
    • Equestrian copyright law appears to be lax enough to permit the publication of what is effectively fanfiction without an immediate seizure of the print run and other penalties, or even an apparent court case.
  • “‘Daring Do isn’t just a fictional character from over-the-top adventure stories. I’ve met her, and she is a real, live pony!’ That’s supposed to be a secret!”

    • Wait. Even after the publication of the Friendship Journal in Fame and Misfortune? Where this revelation was a plot point, even though the copy of the journal available to us does not contain this information?…
    • The quoted lines would be at home in opinion journalism, but don’t feel like something you would encounter in a novel. Could it be that this is how the book avoided legal repercussions? But then, how exactly would Fluttershy mistake it for a book in the novel series?
  • “A. K. Yearling is signing all her books at the bookstore today.” Now riddle me this: Where is “the” bookstore? The architecture matches neither Ponyville nor Canterlot, looking rather like Manehattan instead. Never mind that there’s another bookstore, a bigger one, right across the street, it’s not the only bookstore in Equestria. Did Rainbow’s house migrate, or is “sky” a point location equidistant from every other location in Equestria?
  • “There’s also a lot of insight into Dr. Caballeron’s life choices. Did you know he’s actually a history professor and amateur bird watcher?” Good to know, if true.
  • “I’m not sure those are all fans.”

    • In fact, there’s way too few of them, (five) considering the amount of people at the convention seen in Stranger than Fanfiction. What exactly could have caused this?
    • At the same time, they’re all dressed up for this. That even includes cutie marks in multiple cases, which are perfectly blended in rather than the paste-on pieces of paper more commonly seen in such situations.
  • “On page 531, it says that Daring Do kicks puppies!”

    • That’s a lot of pages!
    • Yearling later admits to kicking at least one puppy at least once. By accident.
  • “No way! He’s doing a signing across the street?!” There are two bookstores across the street, which is not a situation commonly seen for simple economic reasons. And A.K. Yearling picked the smaller one. Never mind that the number of ponies at the Martingale book signing is many times greater. Did ponies actually like the Martingale book better?…
  • “I can’t risk the chance Martingale might recognize me as Daring Do.” This is a non-sequitur: Yearling’s face is publicly known, it’s on the poster for her book signing. Anyone who knows that Yearling writes books about Daring Do and saw Daring Do in person would have made the connection long before ever seeing Yearling in person. Anyone who failed to make this connection before would keep failing to do so. It would make no difference.
  • “That’s not Martingale! It’s Dr. Caballeron in disguise!” Funny how previously, in Daring Done, a far flimsier disguise was enough to prevent recognizing Caballeron.
  • “Up to your old tricks again, huh? Just like in Somnambula!” See above: This is a hard chronology lock. Actually, the only hard chronology lock I caught in the episode.
  • “But please take a free copy of my book on your way out.” Wat?… In our world, usually, book signings do not involve the signing author owning any of the copies available in the shop. That’s why book shops let the authors do this in the first place, to sell more copies.
  • “In ‘Daring Do and the Quetzal’s Quest’, she states that the Fangthorn Flowers are red when in fact they are blue!”

    • I don’t think we knew the name “Daring Do and the Quetzal’s Quest” before, did we? Unless this is another Berrow book I tried to ignore.
    • I have no idea what Fangthorn Flowers are, but considering that Fluttershy knows they are in fact blue, they’re probably common enough for her to know that.
  • “That sounds like more of an editor’s mistake.” Rainbow believes Yearling has an editor. I’m not entirely convinced myself, but still, how could a mis-described flower even be an editor’s mistake, if Daring Do didn’t make the mistake first?…
  • “My team and I were only ever interested in researching artifacts and taking them to our museum where other ponies could study them.” This phrase would only make sense if Equestrian museums were research institutions, which, in our world, they usually aren’t: they’re exhibition spaces for when after the research is done with them. The subsequent phrase “Since Daring Do kept taking our artifacts, our museum closed” further implies that the function of museums in Equestria is quite different.

    Unless Caballeron is lying out of his ass, which is possible, because Fluttershy isn’t the pony likely to catch him on it.

  • “‘Martingale’ is merely a nom de plume to build my brand.” More français. It’s been a while since we met any idioms in this elusive language.
  • “I decided to find out which author is really telling the truth, so I joined Dr. C’s Tenochtitlan expedition!”

    • Notice that apparently, Caballeron does not have an outstanding arrest warrant even after the events of Stranger than Fanfiction where he kidnapped ponies smack from the middle of Manehattan. In fact, seeing as how Rainbow neither attempted to arrest Caballeron herself nor called the police on him, he is not wanted for anything actually illegal, taking refuge in audacity everyone believing he is entirely fictional. It’s even likely that the same is true for Yearling herself, i.e. her tomb raiding dynamic archaeology activities are not legal either, and that is why Caballeron can act with impunity.
    • I must remind you that Tenochtitlan, in Equestria, is a region somewhere in the Northwest, as per Daring Don’t, and corroborated by subsequent episodes.
  • “He must be after the Truth Talisman of Tonatiuh! It requires the wings of a Pegasus to retrieve it!” Good to know.
  • “We do not want to disturb the fragile jungle ecosystem.” It was a temperate forest ecosystem back when Tenochtitlan was introduced, but who gives a cat’s tail.
  • “Yes, unlike Daring Do, who slashes plants aside with her cruel machete.” Machetes exist.
  • “It has the power to make the pony holding it tell the truth. But Caballeron only wants it because it’s made of solid gold. He’ll melt it down and use it to get rich.” What, really? Considering the amount of gold observed floating around Equestria already? Could you repeat this while holding the talisman, Daring Do?
  • “I-I mean… no, thank you, Biff. Let’s just follow the map.” This is a very strange name to see on a pony.
  • “Withers. Don’t. Move.” These are flyders, first seen in Campfire Tales. Fluttershy is capable of distracting them using a whistle, and I wonder if this works for everyone or just for her.
  • “Get back, Rainbow Dash! It’s Ahuizotl!” Why would Rainbow rush to free Daring Do without even looking where the vine lasso came from I have no idea.
  • “Quickly! Before the sun moves and it closes!” Notice that Caballeron had the optical key, rather than the more common and more trope-y tactic of letting Daring Do use it and then swipe the spoils.
  • “Oh, no! I knew the Truth Talisman could not be moved by magic, but I never realized we’d have to fly to retrieve it!” Whatever happened to bows and arrows. It even has a handy loop!
  • “Give me a hoof here!” Wait. How exactly did Biff even know knocking down a decorative element was an option?…
  • “Guardian-goyles, attack!” Ahuizotl is commanding magical guardian beasts of an ancient temple he apparently has never been inside of and manipulating door controls like he’s done it all his life. Later, he even admits it under lie detector: “Well… the thing is, I’m in charge of protecting this jungle. If another artifact goes missing on my watch, I’m going to be in so much trouble with the other guardian creatures.” What other guardian creatures are there, though, remains undeclared, just like his behavior in Daring Don’t, where he is about to invoke an ancient artifact in an apparent attempt to cause a major disaster, remains unexplained.
  • “I encountered some like this in Marapore!” We still don’t know exactly where that is.
  • “I seem to recall similar creations in Flankladesh.” Or that.
  • “Do you still have the Diamond of Lapis Lux?”

    • Why the hell would he carry it on his person, though?
    • The Diamond of Lapis Lux amplifies light shined on it, where the energy comes from we have no idea.
  • “If I wanted to play games, I would get out my pinochle deck!” Pinochle? Whut? Why!?…
  • “I’m gonna need the deluxe spa package after this adventure. That doesn’t leave this temple!” Rainbow Dash is still embarrassed about attending spa.
  • “That’s it! I’m quitting the henchpony business to finally follow my dreams of becoming an opera star!” Not with your cutie mark.
  • “I was so scared, I had to change my ascot.”

    • The clothing Caballeron wears is in fact an ascot.
    • How would having to change it be connected to being scared exactly, I have no idea.
  • “Your next book? You mean you’re actually A. K. Yearling?” What, he still didn’t realize this?!…
  • “We’ve been upstaged by a new author.” Ahuizotl is sufficiently acceptable in pony society to pull this entire thing off.

Ahuizotl being a guardian beast is an interesting idea, which is not particularly consistent with his prior behavior.

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Comments ( 15 )

Maybe Ahuizotl thought the 'eight hundred years of heat' thing was a good way to drive off treasure-hunters?

5125592

Or invite tourists.

5125592 News just in! Ahuizotl supports global warming!

“My team and I were only ever interested in researching artifacts and taking them to our museum where other ponies could study them.” This phrase would only make sense if Equestrian museums were research institutions, which, in our world, they usually aren’t: they’re exhibition spaces for when after the research is done with them.

Really? This may be a cultural thing, but here in Britain several of the bigger, older, more prestigious museums are also research institutes. Not the little local museums, but places like the Natural History Museum are absolutely research centres.

It's an old-fashioned approach nowadays, as research increasingly requires investment in hardware that doesn't easily fit into old buildings.

5125612

Really? This may be a cultural thing,

In the more general sense – I think yes, really: The practice of public museums originates from art collection rather than from the study of history through artifacts. It is a cultural thing to a degree, but museums that are research institutions are more likely to be exceptions rather than a rule.

In any case, notice that the hypothetical museum Caballeron describes goes bankrupt because no new artifacts are recovered, which a normal museum usually wouldn’t – they can occasionally pitter on for decades without changing anything.

Yeah, it seems like their museum is entirely funded by visitors. Not clear whether that's direct ticket sales, public donations, or some sort of visitor-scaled subsidy system.

Honestly, "pinochle" sounds funny enough said out loud for that to be the sole reasons it was chosen. (In-universe explanation is probably the same, because being fun to say is a legitimate upside in what's mostly meant to be banter between rivals)

The One Where We Learn That You Shouldn't Steal Other People's Cultural Artifacts and the Show Desperately Pretends That Daring Do Keeping Her Identity Secret Is Something That Could Conceivably Happen.

Ahuizotl is commanding magical guardian beasts of an ancient temple he apparently has never been inside of and manipulating door controls like he’s done it all his life.

Hmm. How do we know that he has never been inside this temple in his life? Even ignoring the question of motivations, the previous episodes tell us jack squat about Ahuizotl's backstory, day-to-day life, knowledge or anything beyond he and Daring Do being at odds -- him being personally familiar with at least one specific temple isn't at odds with his previous portrayal, if only because there's nothing for it to be at odds with.

Pinochle? Whut? Why!?…

I know, right? Parcheesi would have been much more appropriate!

5125592
Or maintain a tropical climate in a northern temperate zone?

5125616
Or Dr. C made the whole thing up, and doesn't know how Equestrian museums work nearly as well as he knows the black market for artifacts?

Quite a good one. And an episode crying out for a good points of canon analysis!

Equestrian copyright law appears to be lax enough to permit the publication of what is effectively fanfiction without an immediate seizure of the print run and other penalties, or even an apparent court case.

It's basically Wicked for the Daring Do series. I guess Oz was public domain though.

Wait. Even after the publication of the Friendship Journal in Fame and Misfortune? Where this revelation was a plot point, even though the copy of the journal available to us does not contain this information?…

I think a lot of ponies thought Rainbow Dash was just lying. On the other hand, no one other than Rainbow Dash really seems that excited about Daring Do being real, the other fans we see are just mad that she seems to be a jerk.

Could it be that this is how the book avoided legal repercussions? But then, how exactly would Fluttershy mistake it for a book in the novel series?

Maybe they classified it as a parody to get away with fair use. Or maybe it's just illegal, but Caballeron knows Daring Do isn't likely to take him to court because then she'll have to testify about the truth about all the events in her own novels, which she probably doesn't want to do.

Now riddle me this: Where is “the” bookstore?

I'm going to guess Canterlot. It definitely doesn't look like Ponyville, but presumably this bookstore is a regular place that the Mane 6 visit if they want to pick up books, so they all call it "the bookstore."

“There’s also a lot of insight into Dr. Caballeron’s life choices. Did you know he’s actually a history professor and amateur bird watcher?” Good to know, if true.

Good to know if true covers almost everything Caballeron says in this episode. I'll bet history professor is accurate, Caballeron isn't going to publish a book with lies in it that are easy to disprove, and he has to assume Daring Do and others who don't like him will read it as well. Daring has called him "Doctor" in the past, so he's a professor of something, history makes as much sense as anything. The bird watcher thing is less provable and more likely added in just to soften his image, so I am much less confident about that.

“I’m not sure those are all fans.”

I was surprised at the lack of line. But Daring does not have a new book out, while Caballeron's book is probably attracting most of the fans in the area. These are just the ponies so incensed they went out of their way to find and yell at Yearling.

At the same time, they’re all dressed up for this.

Probably the ponies at Caballeron's line dressed up as Daring Do before they read the book, then they all speed-read it, got angry and rushed over to the other signing without changing costumes.

Yearling later admits to kicking at least one puppy at least once. By accident.

Reminds me of Gabby Gums, where almost everything that was reported could be seen as true in a certain light. Also if Ahuizotl has an attack kitten, one of the other guardians could have an attack puppy.

Did ponies actually like the Martingale book better?

The beginning of the episode establishes Daring's hasn't released a new book that recently, and new books drive a lot of the excitement. Daring has some free time and is trying to drum up sales of her existing inventory, probably on the way to/from her publisher's office to pick up a check, but clearly this is not a big event for her.

Anyone who knows that Yearling writes books about Daring Do and saw Daring Do in person would have made the connection long before ever seeing Yearling in person.

Clark Kent and Superman rules apply here I'm guessing. Also Daring could just be paranoid. The shocking thing is, Caballeron tried a very similar plot just a year or two ago, and he's the sympathetic protagonist in Daring Do and the Fallen Idol (which is a clever title BTW). How Daring and Dash didn't immediately guess it was him I wonder more about.

In our world, usually, book signings do not involve the signing author owning any of the copies available in the shop.

You know who does give away books like that? Scammers when the book mostly exists to get you to buy into the scam, like "12 Principles of Fast Money-Making" or something. It's weird, I guess Caballeron is more focused on doing this to demoralize Daring Do than to make money off his book, which, Cut Lex Luthor a Check.

Unless Caballeron is lying out of his ass, which is possible, because Fluttershy isn’t the pony likely to catch him on it.

I think this is pretty clearly a lie. Caballeron correctly Fluttershy believes the common misconception that artifacts are researched in museums, and he sticks to using them to make his story simpler. He later admits he only stole the artifacts for money, so this statement has to be false, unless they were planning to get rich off the research of historical relics.

More français. It’s been a while since we met any idioms in this elusive language.

Between the name and the beard, his persona is supposed to reference JRR Martin the same way AK Yearling references JK Rowling.

Notice that apparently, Caballeron does not have an outstanding arrest warrant even after the events of Stranger than Fanfiction where he kidnapped ponies smack from the middle of Manehattan

I thought we established that convention happened in Maretania or something? It seems more likely than ever, if he doesn't have an arrest warrant in Equestria.

It’s even likely that the same is true for Yearling herself, i.e. her tomb raiding dynamic archaeology activities are not legal either, and that is why Caballeron can act with impunity.

Which is why he doesn't fear enforcement of copyright.

What, really? Considering the amount of gold observed floating around Equestria already? Could you repeat this while holding the talisman, Daring Do?

I mean, at the very least he could sell the intact artifact for more than the raw value of that gold, which in Equestria is probably not worth the cost of the expedition. Perhaps Daring doesn't want to get into an argument about whether its really a bad thing if some rich pony has an old artifact that makes people be honest, so she wants to make Dash think he's going to destroy an ancient relic.

Notice that Caballeron had the optical key, rather than the more common and more trope-y tactic of letting Daring Do use it and then swipe the spoils.

This time he genuinely didn't expect Daring to show up, which given his experience was pretty stupid.

Whatever happened to bows and arrows. It even has a handy loop!

It would be tricky, if moving it at all makes the whole area erupt with lava, that better be a really powerful bow shot that works perfectly, or the artifact could be destroyed.

What other guardian creatures are there, though, remains undeclared, just like his behavior in Daring Don’t, where he is about to invoke an ancient artifact in an apparent attempt to cause a major disaster, remains unexplained

I think we need to re-asses the idea that the "800 years of unrelenting heat" was really a disaster. Ahuizotl and his tribes-ponies appear to be the only sapient beings in the area, and they want to turn the heat up on themselves, its probably fine. Heck, the rings of scorchero probably explain why there was a jungle in the northwest in the first place.

Not with your cutie mark.

Pow's cutie mark could work for opera, ponies scream and curse a fair amount in that medium.

How would having to change it be connected to being scared exactly, I have no idea.

Fear-sweat?

Ahuizotl being a guardian beast is an interesting idea, which is not particularly consistent with his prior behavior.

It does explain why all those ponies served him in Daring Don't though. He definitely laughs and talks like a maniacal super-villain. But the other guardian creatures that could fire him? One of them is possibly the Cipactli, which was almost a mindless killing machine. I think whoever originally assigned/created these guardian creatures, the guardians are pretty much there to murder any non-local who shows up in the area, they're not nuanced.

Overall, a good, fun action episode. Nice way to close out the Daring Do section of the setting. All the principals retire from the field to get rich selling books.

5125750
5125592

Maybe Ahuizotl thought the 'eight hundred years of heat' thing was a good way to drive off treasure-hunters?

Or the rings are periodically necessary to maintain the jungle's ecosystem at that latitude. All the local ponies who lived in that fortress presumably wanted that unrelenting heat.

If this was an earlier season, I bet we could see some great stories about this proud pre-Windigo culture that built all these temples and summoned mighty guardian creatures to protect them and even managed to hold off the cold of the Windigos with the Rings of Scorchero for a while, only for civilization to collapse to a fragment of its former glory.

5125667 It actually fits well with Read it and Weep, where Ahuizotl was setting elaborate traps that Daring got pulled into. That makes a lot more sense if Ahuizotl is the creature in charge of maintaining the security of those temples in the first place.

5125947

Also if Ahuizotl has an attack kitten...

Which Daring kicked on purpose at one point!

I like your proposed history of the Tenochtitlan basin!

5125947

Heck, the rings of scorchero probably explain why there was a jungle in the northwest in the first place.

... you know, I hadn't thought of that at all, but that's actually a pretty fair point -- and it explains both why Ahuizotl wanted to use the rings to begin with and how a tropical jungle can exist in what by all rights should be the colder end of the temperate hemisphere.

Plus, the idea of an area's climate being artificially micromanaged by means of magic... I mean. It's hardly a foreign concept in Equestria.

Hmm. You know, I think a case might be made that at least most of the temples that Daring Do has dealt with, or at least the ones involving Ahuizotl in some capacity, are up in Equestria's northwest. We know for a fact that at least one is a few minutes' walk from her house, which is northwest of Canterlot and southwest of the Crystal Empire; if Ahuizotl is the guardian of a specific region as he says then it's logical to assume that his activities and interests are mostly restricted to that region; the flyders are apparently native to the Luna Bay region, which isn't that far from where Daring Do's house seems to be located; and the Rings of Scorchero or similar artifacts or enchantments can provide a mechanism by which the tropical climate remains what it is that far north.

5126019
Yeah, I feel like you've really pulled a bunch of the pieces together.

This is the first four-component name ever observed in Equestria. Nobody claims the name is in any way unusual, which at least implies the construction of the name is valid.

It might be more lax for pen names.

Equestrian copyright law appears to be lax enough to permit the publication of what is effectively fanfiction without an immediate seizure of the print run and other penalties, or even an apparent court case.

This is actually in line with what we saw before when Flim and Flam stole Twilight's book and sold it as lessons, so good on the writers for being consistant for once!

“‘Daring Do isn’t just a fictional character from over-the-top adventure stories. I’ve met her, and she is a real, live pony!’ That’s supposed to be a secret!”

Does Equestria not have the 'true story' framing as an established literary device...?

How would having to change it be connected to being scared exactly, I have no idea.

I assume this is just a joke for the adults in the audience, since ponies don't wear pants or underwear...

Ahuizotl being a guardian beast is an interesting idea, which is not particularly consistent with his prior behavior.

Clearly somewhere around season 6 we switched to an alternate universe where the everfree is a malevolent force and not just a patch of untamed wilderness and ahuizotl is sympathetic.

I thought that the stuff on display was a fraction of what museums actually have, and there's lots of stuff in back rooms where scholars study it. But maybe I got this impression from media about british museums or something? I couldn't cite examples.

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