• Member Since 14th Feb, 2012
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Chris


Author, former Royal Canterlot Library curator, and the (retired) reviewer at One Man's Pony Ramblings.

More Blog Posts105

Dec
24th
2021

Weirdly Meta Seasonal Humor, and a Happy New Year · 2:07am Dec 24th, 2021

Fly Hard is not your favorite Hearth’s Warming story.”

Rainbow Dash blinked. “Uh, yeah it is.”

As impurturbably as before, Twilight repeated herself. “Fly Hard is not your favorite Hearth’s Warming story.”

“Uh, yeah it is. That’s why I said ‘Fly Hard’ when you asked me what my favorite Hearth’s Warming story was.”

“Yes, but you’re wrong. Fly Hard cannot possibly be your favorite Hearth’s Warming story.”

Rainbow looked helplessly over to Rarity, but her friend kept her nose studiously in the mug of hot cocoa that Spike had provided, though her lips betrayed a hint of amusement. The little dragon, for his part, was back in the kitchen. It looked like she was on her own to puzzle this one out.

“Look, I’m pretty sure I know what I like to read. And what I like to read is pretty much just Daring Do. So her Hearth’s Warming story? Yeah, that’s the one I like.”

Twilight shook her head slowly. “Rainbow Dash, I’m not questioning whether you like the story or not, it’s just that Fly Hard isn’t a Hearth’s Warming story. Therefore, it can’t be your favorite Hearth’s Warming story, or your least favorite Hearth’s Warming story, or your anything else Hearth’s Warming story.” She sipped her own cocoa. “Q.E.D.”

“What do you mean, it’s not a Hearth’s Warming story? The whole thing is set at a fancy Hearth’s Warming party!”

“Yes, but that’s entirely irrelevant to the plot, isn’t it?”

No, and also, what? The party is like, the whole point.”

“Exactly.” Something about the way Twilight kept telling her she was wrong was seriously getting Dash off-balance, but she couldn’t quite place her hoof on it. Maybe it was the lack of yelling. If it was AJ instead of Twilight, they’d have gotten into a good yell by now for sure, but Twilight just kept calm and bulldozed on.

“The party is, indeed, the whole point,” Twilight continued, oh-so-frustratingly un-angrilly. “It could be any party, at any time of year, and the plot would be completely the same.”

“But the whole moral of the story is that Daring Do has to, like, learn the true meaning of teamwork or something!”

“Well, ‘or something,’” Twilight agreed. Or maybe disagreed. Dash wasn’t quite sure. “But it wasn’t a Hearth’s Warming lesson. It wasn’t about any of the core spiritual or magicological tenets of the holiday, nor did it incorporate any particular festival imagery that any generic party wouldn’t already have, nor was that ‘moral’ specifically tied to the season in any way. The entire story could have been set on any day of the year, and it would have worked equally well.”

“Hey, is it just me, or is Twilight basically just saying that you like stuff wrong?” asked Spike, as he trundled in from the kitchen, a tray of cinnamon cookies in claw.

A simultaneous “Yes!” “No!” and one amused Mmm-mm answered him. He sighed.

No,” Twilight repeated, with a little more force, “I’m not telling anyone what they should or shouldn’t enjoy. I’m just–”

“She’s just saying that Fly Hard isn’t a Hearth’s Warming story, even though the whole thing is set on Hearth’s Warming!” Dash finished.

Spike looked back and forth between the two of them, then shrugged. “Sounds like a Hearth’s Warming story to me.”

“But it’s actually an enjoyable but generic Action/Comedy hybrid in which any Hearth’s Warming elements are purely cosmetic.”

“There’s also the romance.” Rarity finally interjected herself into the conversation. "I thought the light touch in that regard made it all the sweeter.”

“Sweeter, sure, but that still doesn’t make it a Hearth’s Warming story.”

Dash threw her hooves in the air. “Fine, whatever. Fly Hard is awesome, but it’s apparently the wrong kind of awesome for eggheads like you. Happy?”

Spike sidled up next to Dash. “Don’t worry, I’ve got this,” he whispered. Then a little louder, he said, “Anyway, you know what I like? Cookies!” He proffered the tray, and it took no convincing to get each of the three mares to fill their mouths. For a moment, blessed, un-confrontational silence reigned, interrupted only by chewing.

Unfortunately for that silence, Spike pressed on.

“You know what my favorite Hearth’s Warming story is?” he said, just a little too brightly, “Hearth’s Warming Cookies! I mean, I guess it’s more of a legend than a story, but as Hearth’s Warming tales go, it’s–”

“No it’s not,” said Twilight. 

This time, Rarity didn’t even bother to hide her snigger, while Dash was preoccupied with choking on some crumbs.

“It’s not–” Spike fumbled, but tried to soldier on. “I mean, it’s a classic story of the season, and it’s literally why I baked these cookies we’re eating right now, so–”

“And yet,” Twilight said again, “it’s still not a Hearth’s Warming story. Those cookies are a secondary traditional element, and the story behind them–” she briefly turned her attention away from Spike and to the other two girls– “which Celestia tells me is apocryphal, incidentally–fits more cleanly into the ‘Nightmare Moon/Banishment' category of literature than it does into anything holiday-specific.”

Spike blinked. “But… but…” Finally, he lifted up the tray he still held, as if it were a talisman against Twilight’s insistence. “But… cookies! For Hearth’s Warming!”

Twilight shook her head. “Yes, and if the story were about how Celestia baked those cookies every Harvest Festival instead of every Hearth’s Warming, the story would be the same. Hearth’s Warming Cookies informs the holiday, but the holiday doesn’t inform it, even tangentially. So it can hardly be said to be a “Hearth’s Warming Story” in any meaningful way.”

Rainbow Dash swiped another cookie off the tray. “Yeah, no, I think these cookies are pretty meaningful. Meaningfully awesome.” Stuffing one in her mouth, she added, “Thanks for cooking those, Spike. You would not believe what a pain it is to bake cookies in a cloud oven.”

“These are delicious,” added Rarity.

“Yes, they are,” agreed Twilight. “Just not inspired by a Hearth’s Warming story.”

Spike, who had been on the verge of accepting the compliments and quitting the conversation while he was still ahead, deflated. “I… you know what? Whatever.”

Dash patted his back consolingly. “What about you, Rares? Do you like any stories that pass the Twilight test?”

Rarity sipped at her cocoa again, clearly in no hurry to answer.

“It’s hardly a test,” Twilight said. “It’s simply a question of whether the story uses Hearth’s Warming elements in a way that can’t be trivially divorced from the work itself.”

“Well in that case,” Rarity slowly said, “I suppose that lovely little romance I read the other day could hardly be objected to. To Warm a Mare’s Heart in Two Hours. A sweet, short tale about Equestria’s second Hearth’s Warming, and how two of the new nation’s leaders–” 

“Not a Hearth’s Warming story.”

“Oh, come on!” Rainbow interjected. “I read that o–I mean, I ah, I glanced at the blurb on the back by accident while looking for something awesome to read. Yeah.” The other two ponies and Spike rolled their eyes in unison. “Anyway, it’s totally about Commander Hurricane and Princess Platinum. You know, the Hearth’s Warming ponies?”

“And it is about them, specifically,” Rarity added. “You can’t tell me that you could replace them with any two other ponies without completely altering the story.”

“Plus, not only is it set on Hearth’s Warming, but it’s entirely about ponies coming together despite their differences,” said Spike. “Which is what Hearth’s Warming is all about!”

Twilight sighed. “Yes, it is about ponies from an actual Hearth’s Warming story…”

“Good, because if you said the actual Hearth’s Warming story wasn’t actually a Hearth’s Warming story, I was gonna blow a primary,” muttered Dash.

“...and yes, its setting and theme are both Hearth’s Warming-related…”

“This had better be one heck of a ‘but,’” muttered Spike.

“...but…”

“‘But I’m going to concede the point and enjoy the cocoa and cookies?’” muttered Rarity.

“...The story itself is a pure romance. Yes, it uses some Hearth’s Warming themes, trappings, and characters, but its fundamental appeal is totally divorced from Hearth’s Warming itself. It’s a love story, not a Hearth’s Warming story.”

The other three looked at one another. Finally, Spike spoke.

“Twilight… that was a real stretch.” 

“Yeah, I didn’t really buy the first two, but I really, really didn’t buy that one,” Rainbow added.

Rarity nodded. “It was a good effort, but I’m afraid it fell a bit flat.”

Twilight grimaced. “Darn it. This was where I was supposed to deflect instead of rebut, wasn’t it?” Horn lighting up, she picked up a large book and started rapidly flipping through the pages. “Hmmm… actually, it looks like I was supposed to attack Rarity’s character and go on an irrelevant tangent, there.”

Rarity sniffed. “In that case, I suppose I should be glad you didn’t do what you were ‘supposed’ to.”

“I guess you’re right,” Twilight said with a chuckle. With a snap, she closed the book again. “Thank you both for letting me try out my Hearth’s Warming gift, even if its lessons aren’t exactly friendship-compliant.”

“You’re very welcome, of course,” said Rarity.

Rainbow grunted. “Honestly, I’m just here for the cookies and cocoa.”

“And thank you for the thoughtful present,” she said, as she turned her attention to Spike. “It might not be a traditional Hearth’s Warming story, but I think Winning Pedantic Arguments at Any Cost for Dummies is my favorite, at least for this year.”

Spike gave Twilight a hug, as Rarity beamed and Rainbow mock-gagged. “Aw, I’m just glad you like it. Happy Hearth’s Warming, Twilight.”

*****

A seasonal bit of writing, loosely inspired by real-life pedantry. Thank you to Aragon, Everyday, and Timaeus for writing good holiday stories that don’t feature the Ponyville crew, and to everyone for reading.  Happy Holidays!

Comments ( 9 )

Okay, you got me good there. :rainbowlaugh: Well played.

Die Hard is a Christmas movie. This is a hill I will die upon. Alan Rickman's third best portrayal, with Galaxy Quest and the whole Harry Potter series barely edging themselves in there.

I was wondering where the story was going right up to the very end, and then it all made sense :)

GaPJaxie, is that you?

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Glad you enjoyed!

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Can't be, not enough mindrape-pony-who-never-got-big-enough-to-merit-an-emoji :twilightblush::rainbowlaugh::raritywink::moustache:

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To be fair she has multiple emojis on the Discord server but you're too much of a old head to be on Discord I imagine

We can bug knighty to add more Pony Emojis all we want but he's very much over Pony emojis at this point

Fly Hard is a Christmas Story, for sure

This is cute. It's an interesting style of writing despite its brevity and strange subject matter.

Oh, and merry Christmas and happy Hearthswarming.

Bravo!

And Happy Hearth's Warming, you smartass. :raritywink: 🎄

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