The School of Friendship: The Series 21 members · 0 stories
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This thread is for brainstorming ideas for an episode! There are no rules, no commitments, and no bad ideas! Well, there might be bad ideas. That's up to us, really.

Here's a few ideas to get the ball rolling. Feel free to discuss them or suggest your own!

  • Gallus’ grades are beginning to slip. Cozy Glow has a solution for him: cheating. He falls into a cheating habit, until it catches up to him.
  • Princess Skystar is going to visit Equestria, and Silverstream and Pinkie Pie are determined to make her visit to Ponyville the best ever.
  • Ocellus returns to the Hive to find that absolutely no bug has been able to convince Queen Chrysalis to change. Ocellus tries a different tactic to reach out to the former queen.
  • Sandbar has to babysit for his little sister when he was really hoping to go to a concert. He decides to sneak out, taking his sister with him. Shenanigans ensue.
  • Yona has a strategy to help the struggling Cozy Glow: Good honest work. She and Applejack try and teach her honesty down at Sweet Apple Acres.
  • Smolder spies Cozy Glow secretly sending letters to an unknown party, but Cozy is able to convince every creature that Smolder's just trying to belittle her despite her recent progress. Smolder is determined to prove that Cozy is up to no good.

And here is a whole mess of other ideas, along with a possible way the series could be orgaized or some of the ideas could be folded together.

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Brainstorming can also include concepts rather than episode ideas. Let me float one I've been turning over in my head as an example.

So the Pillars of Equestria were the ones who created the Elements of Harmony, albeit somewhat unintentionally. The Pillars represented Strength, Healing, Hope, Beauty, Bravery, and Sorcery. These, in the Elements of Harmony, became the Elements of Honesty, Kindness, Laughter, Generosity, Loyalty, and Magic, respectively. This changing of their nature occurred long ago, when Celestia and Luna first took the Elements from the Tree of Harmony, but it's best exemplified in the personalities of the Mane-6.

I'd like to float an idea: The Elements have changed somewhat in nature once again, or at least they express themselves through the Young Six in a little different way then they do through the Mane-6. This doesn't have to be anything overt; rather, they can be seen as sort of character or personality cues. Just like how the Mane-6 don't always perfectly represent their Element the Young-6 don't have to perfectly represent their modified Element either, but when they are, then we can know that they're doing the right thing.

  • Honesty in Yona is now expressed as Sincerity. Rather than representing a desire for literal truth, it instead represents being fundamentally true to yourself and your beliefs. Yona is at her best when she is being Yona, rather than trying to be something else that she doesn't really want to be.
  • Laughter in Silverstream is now expressed as Wonder. Wonder is about finding a fundamental joy in the world, both in experiencing new and amazing things, but also in Silverstream's ability to find amazement in the seemingly ordinary.
  • Generosity in Ocellus is now expressed as Peace. Not literally pacifistic, Peace does seek to bring an end to conflict and squabbling, both between individuals and between groups. Ocellus wants folks to get along with one another and share what they have.
  • Loyalty in Smolder is now expressed as Challenge. At first blush it might seem confrontational, but that's sort of the point. Challenge wants to be an example to others so that they can rise up on their own, as well as representing Smolder's desire to be more than what she'd be if she simply followed her base nature.
  • Magic in Gallus is now expressed as Dedication. Magic is Friendship, but Dedication is about more than simply forming a personal bond with another. Gallus' dedication to himself and his friends is his desire to stick by them through thick and thin.

Still trying to think up something for Sandbar (Kindness). But what do you think?

I definitely like the new takes on the Elements of Harmony.

I'm aware that there are a couple of ways one can view the relationship between the individuals members of the Student Six and the individual members of the Mane Six and, by extension, the Pillars. I've heard fans postulate which Student was associated with which Element and Mane character on all those various bases.

One can associate them based on the past interactions or familiarity a given member of the Mane Six had with one species or another: like Pinkie Pie's connections with the Yaks, Rainbow Dash and her ties with griffons, etc. Another way is by the specific colors the Student Six emitted in "School Raze" and "Uprooted" and trying to match those colors (assuming they were consistent in both episodes) with the colors given off by the Element of Harmony and their Bearers.

Another way is by the (in my humble opinion) rather forced and clumsy way the Student Six worked in a mention of a specific Element in their speeches to their respective peoples in "The Ending of the End"--which is problematic even leaving aside the fact that Smolder mentioned two Elements and Sandbar was given none. The connections between the elements given and some characters (like Silverstream and Honesty, Gallus and Laughter) seemed pretty tenuous at best. But more than that, I just didn't care for recycling the same Elements without variation when the Pillars didn't have that happen with the Mane Six.

Generally speaking, I like that the show didn't assign each of the Student Six a designated mentor among the Mane Six like they were characters on Tiny Toon Adventures. I prefer it when the Students are able to work off more than one member of the Mane Six and weren't just associated with a single one.

But if you were going to redefine the Elements and connect a member of the Mane Six to each of the Student Six, this is basically how I would have done it.

The only possible things I would've done differently is that I tend to associate Ocellus with Fluttershy on the basis of their similar personality traits (their shyness) and for the same reason associate Sandbar with Applejack because .... well, you know why. That leaves Yona with Rarity because .... Rarity braided Yona's hair (and because there was no one else left). But that's just me and I think the explanations RDD offers here are quite compelling.

I like the "new elements" angle—

The elements that you've assigned to Yona and Silverstream are perfect.

I think Ocellus and Gallus can be workshopped a little bit, but I'd love to see other opinions before I give my two cents.

Challenge for Smolder is interesting. I like the different facets that you've listed, but I would suggest finding another word. Inspiration, perhaps?

Putting forth the element of C H I L L V I B E S for Sandbar. (No but I'd say something like Empathy, in tune with what people have been theorizing what Starlight's Element would have been had she been a part of the original group. Someone who appreciates and understands different individuals and perspectives, and relays that understanding to others).

I agree with Semillon, Sincerity for Yona and Wonder for Silverstream are spot on.

For Smolder, I’d suggest tweaking challenge to Confidence. She is confident just as part of her personality, which you can see when she confronts authority figures (against the apparent Chrysallis in What Lies Beneath, and against Rainbow Dash in the cheerleading episode). She’s also got a confidence in her friends, although I don’t think it got enough of a chance to be explored in the show. In the episode with Spike’s molt, she coaches him on what’s going to happen, but she never babies him. She basically says “Yeah, it’ll suck, but you’ll get through it big guy.” From a writing perspective, her being the representation of confidence also has some natural fault lines. First off, she’s still a little uncertain about sharing her interest in cute stuff, so there’s still some parts of herself she’s not confident about. Second, confidence can turn to defensiveness or obsteniveness, and finding what differentiates them can be part of a storyline.

I’m going to suggest Gallus stay the element of Magic, but with a twist. This actually some support in the Pillars, since Starswirl was basically the pillar of Magic, but in a different way from the mane six. In the Pillars, Magic was manifested in a mythological sense: it resulted in Celestia and Luna, two demigods who had a Greek Pantheon-style story arc. In the Elements, Magic manifests as these 1980s sci-fi inspired rainbow beams that blast their opponents. In this fellowship, Magic takes another turn by not having a metaphorical manifestation. It’s going to be demonstrated purely in the characters’ actions. This could set up a story line where the young six say, “Hey, we’re Elements 2.0, Pillars 3.0, so eventually we’re going to get some cool power up to beat Badicuss Ultima, right?” They even spend some time trying to activate the artifacts from each of their cultures, only to realize later those artifacts are just things, they don’t have any power. As the arc progresses, and they keep not getting not power up, they realize it’s never going to happen; it’s all up to them. And when they succeed through working together, that’s the actual, not metaphorical, magic of friendship. (This sort of implies that Gallus comes to this realization, since he’s the Magic of this group, but I’m not sure I like having any single character being the one to “figure it all out.”)

Here’s an idea for Sandbar, very much in the spirit of throwing stuff at a wall to see what sticks: Risk. He’s a Ponyville native, and as far as we can tell, he hasn’t explored the rest of the world much before Season 8. Yet he makes friends with all these different creatures, and even hides his connection to them from the mane six to get them cupcakes in the first two episodes. We see in What Lies Beneath that he’s got a thirst for adventure, and later on he throws himself into danger to help his friends. Finally, he asks out Yona to the school dance, and as everyone knows, asking out someone to a school dance is the most dangerous thing anyone can do. Seriously, though, there are a lot of risks in making new friends, especially friends with huge differences in backgrounds. For example, your new friends might not appreciate something you’re proud of, or you might do something that insults a friend in a way you didn’t intend. Sharing parts of your life makes you more vulnerable, and there’s a chance that your mistakes are going to hurt someone that you now care about. Sandbar demonstrates that when he goes from Ponyville background pony to being friends with the rest of the Young Six.

I’m stuck on Ocellus. I’ll think about her some more and come back with an idea (or conveniently wait long enough for someone else to come up with an idea I can just say, “Yep, that.”)

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Confidence! That was definitely more the word I was working for with Smolder. And yeah, it kind of gets across what I was going for more.

I like the idea of "Risk" for Sandbar, and actually just your write-up for him in general. Sandbar suffers from having most gotten the shaft from the writing staff, never getting anything close to a real focus episode or time to shine in his own right. Ocellus too, to an extent, although she at least got a moment to shine in the comics a few issues back.

Comment posted by Trinary deleted Jul 19th, 2020

That actually begs a really good question: is there going to be a 'focus' for these Elements? The physical Elements of Harmony were shattered into tiny pieces (only to be shown to be broken in half and easily glued back together just two episodes later, but I digress). Using the artifacts from Season 8 as substitute Elements is interesting, but I'm not quite sure if they really have that much significance to justify it. Yes, Cozy used them as part of her ritual to drain magic, but I don't think that means that the items themselves were magic. Plus it seems a little odd to give them all new Elements (in terms of virtues or strengths) and then have the foci be artifacts that are unrelated to those virtues and the only connection between them and the Students is "oh, this came from my respective culture however many centuries ago." I could see the artifacts working more if the Students actually derived their strength from their respective cultures (I'm picturing a Power Rangers-style transformation scene: Dragon Power! Yak Power! Changeling Power!) but I don't think that's what we're looking to go with here. So the question is, should they have some sort of physical Elemental focus at all and if so, what?

I like the thought processes behind what you were thinking of with Gallus and magic. As the show went on I found myself wishing they would focus more on the Magic OF Friendship (i.e. the amazing things one can do with friends and as part of a group of friends) rather than the more literal sense they went with that Friendship IS Magic (i.e. friendship is the power source for our magic rainbow lasers). I was actually really hoping that destroying the Elements would mean that, for once, they couldn't magic brute-force their way through a problem. That said though, I don't quite think giving Gallus the Element of Magic works. It doesn't really say much about his character or his strengths. Even him figuring out how things are different really doesn't make it quite click with him; yes, he's smart enough to figure it out but that doesn't seem like enough of a connection that shows who he is as a character. There's also the awkwardness of having all the other Elemental virtues change but Magic remaining the same, even if only in name.

For Smolder, those are some good points and I find myself wishing there was a word in between what you describe and what RDD does. Confidence is probably closer than challenge.

I think RDD might be, in part, basing himself on some concepts I explored in my story (see Writing Workshop) for Smolder since when I was writing it and sharing ideas with him he was still working on coming up with new Elements for Smolder and Sandbar. Now, in her group of friends, Smolder is the one who is most likely to speak up when she doesn't like the way things are going, or challenge someone when things are clearly off, even if others might be more concerned about not appearing confrontational (her calling b.s. on Cozy Glow's story for Starlight's disappearance springs to mind). And, of course, dragons love competition, showing their strength, and all that flows from that. While that's part of the idea behind challenge, that's not what I focused on.

The idea I went with is that characters grow when challenged; be it by events, ideas or other people. If nothing around you changes, then why improve yourself? It's easy to fall into a rut, or to adopt a mentality that some things just are the way they are and can't be any different. Especially when dragons live for centuries or millennia and already fancy themselves the strongest and best around. Why change?

Then you see something, or someone, who challenges that outlook by going out and just being different; forcing one to reevaluate their conclusions and assumptions just by example. That's really powerful, in my opinion and I think that's what RDD is saying Smolder best represents. While all the Students are bringing back new ideas or new ways of doing things to their respective cultures, that's nowhere more dramatic than with dragons. As Smolder commented to Gallus in What Lies Beneath, she and him aren't ordinary dragons or griffons anymore. And when other dragons scoff at the school and what she learned there, she stands her ground against them.

I guess challenge is a bit too narrow a term for an Element and is included under confidence. I wouldn't mind hearing some more ideas in that vein though.


For Smolder, those are some good points and I find myself wishing there was a word in between what you describe and what RDD does.

Challidence! :pinkiehappy:

I don't quite think giving Gallus the Element of Magic works. It doesn't really say much about his character or his strengths.

I'll suggest



1. the nonphysical part of a person which is the seat of emotions and character; the soul.
2. those qualities regarded as forming the definitive or typical elements in the character of a person, nation, or group or in the thought and attitudes of a particular period.

Gallus rising above the loneliness instilled in him from growing up alone and unwanted, Gallus learning and embracing friendship as a concept to live his life around, Gallus eventually coming to become the epitome of how friendship can lift a person up—

Spirit is at once the indispensable quality within oneself that makes one unique, and at the same time, the gestalt formed by those unique qualities in a group of individuals to make something greater than themselves.

alternatively Essence, Soul, Character

I adore Risk for Sandbar, would support it wholeheartedly. The idea of the Elements no longer having an external magical part to them is really cool.

For Smolder: Certainty? Courage? Determination? Though I feel like those could also work for Ocellus, too...

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See the thing is that with me pegging Yona as Sincerity I now almost feel like raiding the Digimentals from Digimon. Which, for the record, were Courage, Friendship, Responsibility, Sincerity, Love, Responsibility, Hope, and Light. Oh, and Kindness from Zero-Two.

Eh, it's fine, there are only so many adjectives in the english language :twilightblush:

If you ended up using two or more of the Digidestined stuff, maybe that'd be cause for concern. But just using Sincerity--which isn't even one of the more recognizable ones--I don't think is a big deal. I hadn't made the connection until you mentioned it, and I was a big Digimon fan back in the day.

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Ooh, I do like Spirit, actually. It keeps a degree of mysticism to the whole lineup. So that's Sincerity, Wonder, Spirit, Risk, Confidence, and Peace. Risk feels like the only odd one out; I love the sentiment of it but something about the name still "feels" out of place.

Instead of Risk, maybe...

Adventure: Friendship is an adventure. Sandbar joins his friends for adventures.

Faith: Although friendship is risky, Sandbar has faith it will work out. Sometimes friends do unexpected things (like when Sandbar tricked Neighsay), so have faith they’re doing it for a good reason.

Chance: Friendship depends a lot on chance meetings, or having some connection to the people around you. Sometimes you have to take a chance on people to find out what makes them who they are.

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Faith seems like a neat choice. I prefer it to chance since that seems like something that isn't really controlled or part of someone.

Sandbar does have a bit of hero-worship for the Mane Six, placing an awful lot of faith in them--which was his trial with the Spirit of Harmony. It could be part of his arc to learn this difference between a blind or gullible faith (*meaningful glower at Fluttershy in Daring Doubt*) and a faith in others that isn't blind, but still believes in friendship, in his friends, his heroes, etc.

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I think that follows.

So let's workshop Ocellus a bit. While she's timid when we first meet her, she really doesn't keep too much of that timidity in later stories with her. She's not the same kind of doormat that Fluttershy was when we first met her, and she did volunteer to be on a cheerleading squad, something Fluttershy would never do of her own volition. She also displays quite a stubborn streak at times, not easily giving up on something that she's set her mind to - though I admit that I'm principally thinking of Comic #84 and the fact that she worked herself to the point of exhaustion trying to put on the best presentation she could.

Speaking of, I think we should view the comics as a useful resource to draw inspiration from, but it would probably be way too messy to try and integrate them fully.

Ocellus’s brand of timidity seems to branch from some form of internalized self-hatred or pressure to perform as a representative of a race once thought of as purely villainous. Her test in What Lies Beneath was partially about accepting herself as worth it and deserving of kindness and friendship, and this idea of being “good enough” comes back in the comic arc where she designs a creative project focused on Friendship and ends up working herself to exhaustion while trying to put on a brave face for her friends.

I nominate Esteem as Ocellus’s element.

I think there's something else in What Lies Beneath. She feels that the problem isn't just with her people, it's something she specifically did or was going to do. Something she was guilty over. I've seen a lot of speculation--is she a queen? Was she being trained as an infiltrator?
Bit of a tangent, but made me think

Definite agreement re: the comics.

As for Ocellus: Starlight once mentioned that Ocellus was having identity issues, something apparently not uncommon for changelings, but we never got any follow up or clarification what that actually entailed. This might be a bit roundabout, but I find it interesting that we keep running into this theme with changelings of doubting whether or not a species whose very name means change are in fact capable of change: Thorax, Pharynx, Ocellus -- there's a lot of doubt, from others and even self-doubt from the changelings in question, that they are capable of changing their ways.

I find this kinda interesting and a stark contrast to, say, the changelings from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (not cute bug-pones but fascistic goop-people). Those changelings are convinced that to become a thing is to know a thing, arrogantly assuming their own superiority because they can imitate and, ergo, "think like" anything they transform into. They're extremely wrong, of course. But the point is that there's no trace of a similar mentality among our bug-pones.

I'm left pondering: perhaps changelings in MLP have the opposite mentality? They know they're just putting on a disguise and, no matter what form they take, they're still themselves---which, before the Reformation--meant they were always hungry? I'm not quite sure, but I think there is something to dig into with this 'changelings not being able to change' angle.

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Obviously in my own stuff I went with the "training to be an infiltrator" angle. For my part I'm not a big fan of the idea that she's a nascent changeling queen, but that's mostly because I'm not a big fan of the queen bug thing in changelings to begin with. If the group wants to go that direction I'll go along with it, but I'd like it more if Ocellus was, at least in terms of physiology, just an ordinary changeling.

Ditto on the "Ocellus as a potential changeling queen" deal.

Her feeling guilty for having been trained as an infiltrator can work, but honestly? I don't think it's even necessary for any guilt from Ocellus to necessarily stem from something specific that she herself had done in the Bad Old Days. I've seen enough examples in real life of people who take it upon themselves to feel and express acute feelings of guilt for things they were not actually responsible for out of sheer empathy for others; while other people who WERE actually responsible for causing harm to others act bereft of even the most basic empathy for anyone else.

To cite one of my favorite book series, "Wings of Fire," after a character freaks out to learn that a friend has the ability to read his mind. This from the mind-reader: "He never thought anything more terrible than any other dragon. He's more interesting and kinder and more insightful on the inside than almost anyone else I met."

This from another mind-reader: "He doesn't know that. He's never seen inside anyone else, the way you have. After a few years of reading minds, you'll see--it's often the most brilliant dragons who are the most insecure. And the ones who are most afraid of having their minds read--because they think they must have the worst, lowest thoughts of anyone--are nowhere near as bad as the ones who complacently don't care because they assume everyone else is as terrible as they are."

Just food for thought!

I’m really liking something like Esteem for Ocellus. Changelings as a whole had to realize that they could share love, as opposed to only take it, and part of that means having something inside worth sharing. I think that feeds into Ocellus’s identity issues, too. She now knows she wants to share something of herself, but she might struggle with what she has that’s worth sharing. Her struggle is about more than learning who she is; it’s about getting the sense of self-esteem or self-worth that she needs to share who she is with everyone else.

A little late to the game here and playing catch up, so bear with me here. :derpytongue2:

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First off, she’s still a little uncertain about sharing her interest in cute stuff, so there’s still some parts of herself she’s not confident about.

Maybe then it's more about being confident in others that is her stand-out trait...there's probably another word we could use to better convey that if wanted. "Trust," perhaps? Or, actually, to steal one of Jay Bear v2's (7277529) suggestions for Sandbar, "Faith," as in having a faith in others to the point she's not afraid to outright say so. Personally, I'd prefer tagging Faith to Smolder than Sandbar, given all of the arguments presented thus far on the subject of both.


Here’s an idea for Sandbar, very much in the spirit of throwing stuff at a wall to see what sticks: Risk. (etc.)

I really like this idea too. I hadn't thought about it before, but you make a good point, Sandbar has shown a willingness to take risks, at least when there's a chance for a good payoff all around with it--so not taking risks just to show off sort of risks, risks in the sense he's willing to step outside his comfort zone and experience new things. Speaking as someone who isn't always so daring to do that himself, I can confirm that is a very landmark trait for someone to have, definitely something that would seem element-worthy. :pinkiehappy:

Again, I, for one, prefer Risk still, because there can still be a positive side to taking risks too. But, if that cannot come to be, then I personally put my vote in for Adventure, as that seems like that'll sum up the intended points behind Risk nicely too. This strikes me as a better fit than either Chance or Faith, at least.


Yes, Cozy used them as part of her ritual to drain magic, but I don't think that means that the items themselves were magic.

Okay, first of all, the opening moments of the episode that introduced said artifacts explicitly states that they're magical. :raritywink:

The show just never goes into explicit detail on how they're magical...though you can certainly speculate from their names and what little is given on their history.

I agree that using the artifacts as replacement Elements is unnecessary (in fact, I rather like how the show ended saying you didn't need any physical items so to harness their powers at all and would rather keep rolling with that). However, they're definitely still magical in some way and that's why Cozy used them in the manner she did. Personally, I figured she was using them to power the spell altogether. Sure, she had that spell circle all drawn out, but from what we've seen in the show, a spell circle alone isn't necessarily enough and would seem to need to be activated by powering it with donated magic, usually by a unicorn charging it with their horn. But as Cozy's a pegasus, she used the artifacts as that power source instead, cleverly circumventing her limitations as a pegasus in this field so to still "cast" what had to have been an extremely complex spell to build, even with Tirek's outside guidance.

Which leads me to a related thought I wanted to pitch for this series: the idea that Cozy might have a natural knack for this sort of thing, the creative use of using magical artifacts to perform feats of magic. She clearly demonstrates that she seems to have enough of an understanding for how this works to at least do so and was willing to learn more if needed to accomplish what she wanted. Indeed, the story for this series that I plan to start in on writing here very soon (speaking of, probably should give the synopsis on that over in the Writing Workshop too once I'm done here) is reliant on Cozy having such a skill, as part of the plot has her again using a couple of magical artifacts to power yet another complicated spell. So I'm wondering if, since one of the core points of this series is to attempt to reform Cozy, we should run with that idea, have her professors take notice of this apparent skill of hers (say Sunburst) and start encouraging her to pursue studying more on that skill and using it more proactively, giving her something constructive and positive to channel her energy into for a change, as well as helping give her possible goals for her to shoot for as she grows up, thinking of her future? Maybe make all of this part of her overall character arc? Personally, I think it'd fit in well with what we've already got set out as planned. :twilightsmile:

Heck, maybe we could even have some fun with her trying to refine these skills too, but it only gets her in trouble and other shenanigans along the way. I know RDD has it planned to keep the plots mostly so each it's of the Young Six is teamed up with one of the Mane Six all throughout...but the thought has occurred to me that you could do the same sort of team-up with Cozy and Trixie--say Trixie takes interest in Cozy's skills in magical artifact usage and gets her to help her with a new stage trick she needs help developing (because Starlight and others are too busy with other work at the moment), but it ultimately leads to them getting themselves in trouble and they both have to help bail each other out. And maybe bond a little along the way. Weirdly, I can actually see Trixie and Cozy bonding in a positive way like that...kind of like how Fluttershy was for Discord, and how it was Fluttershy's friendship and example that helped Discord to reform (and continue to reform afterwards). :pinkiehappy:

So yeah, throwing that out there. If nothing else, it might make for a good B-plot if we have any "episodes" that we feel needs a bit more padding out.

I'll double Gallus being the Element of Spirit--that does seem like a great match for Gallus. :twilightsmile:

Ditto this times INFINITY. In fact, I think you and I have discussed this in comments before in the past, so we probably already know we're both on the same page on this. :rainbowlaugh:

I'd argue strongly for keeping Confidence for Smolder. The point about her not being comfortable with sharing her softer/cuter side with more people doesn't necessarily mean a lack of confidence. Some things are just personal or private; that's not the same thing as lacking confidence because you don't want to shout everything about yourself to the world as a whole. But even if one to grant that her desire to keep her personal life private somehow reflected a lack of confidence--so what?

The virtues behind the Elements are just that virtues. Abstract concepts. By definition, a thinking, living, flesh-and-blood creature is not going to perfectly embody that virtue in all aspects of their lives, 24/7. There have been plenty of times where Rarity put herself first, or Pinkie Pie was serious or Applejack lied her rump off. That doesn't mean they don't fit being the Element of Generosity, Laughter or Honesty. If anything, that just led to greater character nuance and made them more interesting than being a perfect(ly boring) avatar of an abstract virtue.

As for Sandbar, I think I'd like to keep things in the Risk/Adventure wheelhouse. Sandbar is clearly enamored with the stories and adventures of the Mane Six (see his trial), to the point where he tries to make the utterly mundane and boring seem far more exciting than it is (i.e. almost dropping his doll in the fire or staining a couch with juice). It offers a fun contrast to his fairly chill-mellow personality.

I'll concede the point on the magical artifacts. That scene was from "Matter of Principals" wasn't it? Yeah, that makes sense why I missed that. I haven't watched that episode again since it aired because, well ... do I have to explain why?

But regardless of that, I would still come down in the camp of saying the Elements of Harmony don't need a physical item to represent them, as Scyphi said.

However, that does bring up something. I had forgotten the artifacts were themselves magical because, well, they never really amounted to anything in the show. Cozy used them in her ritual and that was it (and as I hypothesized--albeit incorrectly--the ritual itself could've worked without needing the artifacts themselves to be magic). But they're not the only thing introduced in Seasons 8-9 that never really went anywhere, which we should probably try to think about: namely the Spirit of Harmony and the Crystal Treehouse.

Neither the Spirit of Harmony nor Crystal Treehouse ever really amounted to much after their introductory episodes, being almost superfluous in the grand scheme of things. Given their connection to the Student Six and the lack of follow up they got in the series, we should probably think about what, if anything, we should to do with them.

Also: I really like the Trixie-Cozy connection Scyphi brought up. That has some fun potential.

I'm totally okay with keeping Confidence for Smolder. I just saw a couple commenters wondering if there was maybe a better term to use instead, so I was trying to be helpful and offer some alternatives. :twilightsmile:

And I know I already said so, but yet again, I'm really for keeping Sandbar in the Risk/Adventure area too. To me, that's the best fitting one we've presented for Sandbar yet.

I personally could understand why the Spirit of Harmony didn't really go any further than it did in the show, seeing they destroyed the Tree of Harmony, and the Spirit was basically the Tree and all that. I'd like to think that had the show gone on for another season, the writers would've found a way to reintroduce the Spirit and do more with her, but since they hadn't, I can understand why they kept her to what they did. No need complicating the matter trying to fight it, after all.

That and I always thought the Spirit being in Twilight's image and having several parallel character traits made her feel like she was merely Twilight 2.0--Supernatural Edition, so it was hard to know what more one could do with the character than what wasn't already done via Twilight herself. True, I've seen plenty of fics out there already where writers attempt to address that, and some are pretty clever...but it was also hard for me to see how those ideas could be ideally implemented in the context of the show itself without butchering it or just falling short, so...not sure what we could do with the character that isn't, at least, just regurgitating what's already there. :unsuresweetie: But if anybody's got any ideas on that, by all means present them.

The Crystal Treehouse, on the other hand, should've gotten waaaay more screen time than it did, and it in fact bugs me still to this day that we barely got to see anything of its interior. Which is a darn shame--it's a wonderful design, much better than a certain Friendship Castle. In fact, I would've rather we'd gotten the Crystal Treehouse (or something just like it) instead of the Friendship Castle instead in the S4 finale, but so much for regrets, right? :rainbowlaugh:

Point is, we totally need to get the Crystal Treehouse in on all of this too, and implement it way more than the show ever did. Since the core focus of this series is the Young Six, it shouldn't be hard to find excuses to visit it, even if just to establish it as a background setting rather than because it's actually pertinent to the plot or anything. Though that said, if the Cutie Mark map was ever going to get revived and reactivated, I kind of figure it'll be through the Treehouse in some manner, so that's something we could discuss.

Related thought: perhaps, relatively late in all of this, as Cozy Glow progresses in learning friendship and working towards reforming, the Young Six agree to introduce her to the Treehouse and grant her access to it, mostly as a show of faith that she's earned that right now and is now closer to perhaps being a part of their ranks as an equal, which can also up the stakes for Cozy should she do anything to seemingly betray that trust afterwards, if we decide to go that route.

I really like Confidence for Smolder and something like Adventure or Risk for Sandbar.

Trixie and Cozy shenanigans would be an A+ in my book :pinkiehappy:

Right, sorry if I came off a bit more strident than I intended!

It just happened to intersect a bit of a sore-spot with me. Some writers just seem totally bewildered by the idea that a character (or person in real life) can actually BE confident about themselves. They seem to operate on the assumption, "oh, anyone who ever SEEMS confident is really just putting up an act! It's all false-front and that person is, in fact, a huge quivering bundle of crippling self-doubt! That's the way it always works!" And I hate, Hate, HATE this thinking and the methodology behind it. But that's not a rant that needs to be here.

I was always a bit bewildered about the Spirit and the Tree. To be frank, I never saw the point of the Spirit. I liked "What Lies Beneath," in fact it might be my favorite Student episode, but I never really saw it necessary for the Tree itself to have some sort of avatar, much less for it to take the appearance of Twilight. It could've worked without it and just didn't feel needed, in my opinion. I THOUGHT the Spirit was shown to still exist with the reforging of the Tree into the Treehouse. At least, SOMETHING spoke to the Students after that went down. But it is kind of a big deal for the show to introduce something that big to the lore and then never have it pay off.

Definitely in agreement with the Treehouse stuff.

I suspect the Spirit originated out of a need for a quick and easy story-telling device, so to clearly convey what was going on in the episode without potentially causing confusion with the audience. Sure, there may be other ways to achieve this too, but the others all run a significantly higher risk of the intended meaning not getting across to the audience. By doing it this way, they could just dedicate a character who can sit down and explain it to them. With that in mind, it might have been better if they had just left the Spirit to that and not tried to explore her any further later on, especially once they decided to destroy the Tree and give the impression this took her with (whether or not that's actually true remains unclear as the show never really clearly says).

That being said, they had already implied before that point that the Tree had some sort of budding intelligence behind it and that it may be more aware of the world around it than it's form might suggest, so giving it a sort of avatar does make a degree of sense...assuming you do something worthwhile with it afterwards.

It probably would've been better if they hadn't had the Spirit take the form of Twilight or any other already well-known character--it would've at least helped prop the door open on ways she could be made into a character of her own easier.

Group Admin

I'm always down for bringing in the Great and Powerful Trrrrixie, and since she's the school counselor one presumes that she'd be pretty involved in Cozy Glow, to...interesting results.

Rule Six for stories: rules one through five can be ignored if the story concept is good enough. So if anyone has a good enough idea for a story like the Trixie-and-Cozy-Glow one you mentioned and we as a group think it sounds like a good time, then the fact that it doesn't star the Student Six isn't an issue.

And even then, I can see it also working as a side plot for any story that does have the Young Six, etc, so there's that option to consider too. :twilightsmile:


I can easily see Trixie watching the Mane Six split up to do some sort of one-on-one exercise or project with the Student Six (Rainbow Dash with Smolder, Pinkie with Silverstream, etc. ) and be her usual pouty-self that she's not included and doesn't have her own potential protege to mold. Then she finds Cozy and things proceed from there.

The only thing I'd be cautious of is in striking the right balance. The show really ate up a lot of audience goodwill (at least, it did with me) with episodes that showed the Mane Six to be utterly out of their depth, if not outright incompetent, as teachers. It took a while into Season 8 for me to really get onboard with the students because it felt like their positive moments were just there to underscore the ineptness of the Mane Six. When the Students were off doing their own thing, they showed a lot more of their strengths and, obviously, won me over in a big way. But showing the staff at the school in a consistently negative light really hampered things. There's a reason one of RDD's notes read: "As a quick aside, care should be given to make sure that the Mane-6 come across as competent and mature. They can still make mistakes but they should also be quicker to recognize them." It also hurts the humor when the antics of the characters resulted in, well, child endangerment. Like I said before, there's a reason I haven't rewatched "A Matter of Principals."

At the same time, Trixie is decidedly less mature than the Mane Six. So I can definitely still see her making mistakes with Cozy, or more generally. But all the same, we should probably be aware that having Trixie go too far--even if just for the sake of comedy--can paint her in a really unlikable light given that she's working with kids. Just something to keep in mind.


I can easily see Trixie watching the Mane Six split up to do some sort of one-on-one exercise or project with the Student Six (Rainbow Dash with Smolder, Pinkie with Silverstream, etc. ) and be her usual pouty-self that she's not included and doesn't have her own potential protege to mold. Then she finds Cozy and things proceed from there.

This is a good idea, but the writer'd need to account for an issue: would the Mane Six really trust Trixie to do this? While she's in the redeemed category, Trixie's not exactly... she's more Starlight's friend than theirs. Plus Trixie's main weaknesses (particularly her ego) is a pretty obvious flaw that plays right into Cozy's strengths.

More Trixie is always good and she's great literary lubricant, but the moment the phrase "And Trixie shall tutor Cozy Glow!" is said, you could hear Twilight screaming "NO!!!!" from clear on the other side of the continent. And the others probably wouldn't be far behind. That problem would need to be at least hand-waved at.

I was thinking it'd be one of those things where Trixie just forwent asking for permission and just goes and does it on her own volition, maybe as her way of demonstrating that she was perfectly capable of doing so and could be trusted to do so.

She might also just play the "counseling business" card, in case anyone asks. As RDD pointed out, as the school counselor, it wouldn't be out of the norm for her to be pretty involved with counseling with Cozy as needed, and Trixie could always argue this is just an extension of that.

I think a fairly easy way to address that issue is to have Trixie walking out of the whole situation having managed to successfully teach Cozy something worthwhile from the whole experience, something that shows that even Trixie would be a good example on. Maybe, when they're trying to work out a solution to whatever mess they've gotten themselves into, Cozy presents some ethically questionable solution that you;d expect her to do, and Trixie's all taken aback and going "Hay no, we're not doing THAT!" and proceeds to pursue a better, less ethically dubious plan that ends up working just as well, if not better, showing to Cozy that there can be other ways to solve her problems too than the villianish sort of things she's typically done before.

I could see them having Starlight tutor Cozy, and Starlight gets Trixie involved. Starlight is now a thoroughly reformed villain, so she’s in the “best” position to help Cozy as far as the Mane Six are concerned. However, Starlight is presumably running the school at this point (since Twilight is running Equestria, even if she micromanages the school from time to time), so she’d have both the motivation and authority to bring in someone else for help. Starlight might struggle with connecting to Cozy, since she’s further from villain life, and she looks to Trixie as an intermediary first. In addition, Trixie is still working through her issues, so Starlight might see this as teaching Trixie by having her teach Cozy. Some early success between Trixie and Cozy gives Starlight enough reason to think Trixie might be able to handle Cozy on her own, although she intends to keep supervising them. Then, some massive EEA report comes along that Starlight needs to finish for plot reasons, and all of a sudden it’s just Trixie and Cozy.

An interesting thought, but I'm not so sure about bringing in Starlight. The whole premise of this series is that Twilight and Starlight ask the Student Six to be responsible for Cozy's reformation. If they thought Starlight could do a better job, they would've/should've asked her to do it at the start. Also Starlight tends to have a pretty iffy track record with her decision-making skills. I mean, as a school counselor she was .... well, ask Silverstream how that went. She has her strengths, but this really doesn't feel like one of those. Trixie I think is the better choice and it feels like something Trixie would just go off and do on her own--while Starlight is left pulling her mane out when she finds out and worries that Trixie is going to mess things up (not an unreasonable concern).

Group Admin

The Student Six being responsible for Cozy's progress doesn't mean that Starlight can't occasionally step in herself for one reason or another. Likewise she would presumably at least make an occasional "checkup" on Cozy to see her progress, and Trixie, as counselor, would presumably be there as well.

And then at some point Starlight is called away for something important, leaving Trixie and Cozy alone.

Cozy: [[Ha, she's away! Now's my chance! Trixie's ego is so big it'll be sooo easy for me to convince her to let me go. Still, better safe then sorry, I'll just get to know her first]]
Cozy: "So - "
Trixie: "Wanna get out of here?"
Cozy: "...bwah...?"
Trixie: "Yeah, these meetings are boring. Let's go, I dunno, have a spa day!"

Then it could be revealed that this is all part of the Great and Devious Trixie's secret test of Cozy's character. That she didn't tell anypony about. Starlight is having a conniption imagining that Cozy is talking Trixie back into being evil.

The odd check-up I can see working, but not so much Starlight working one-on-one with Cozy to try to reform her as a regular thing; the way the Mane Six would work with their Student Six counterparts. I just don't see the two clicking as characters. Trixie and Cozy, definitely.


Hey guys! I just wrapped up my story, "Art of the Dragon" which will be my first entry for the Student Season. It's currently in a Google Doc awaiting feedback, editing and the like. The link is under the description for "Art of the Dragon" that I posted in the "Writer's Workshop." Feel free to give it a read and let me know what you think.

Group Admin

Checking it out now!

So I was thinking about the Trixie and Cozy matter while at work today, and had a possible pitch on how to do it.

The school's holding some sort of celebration for the staff and students, whether for a holiday or something else--heck, maybe they're doing a talent show or something but something along those lines--and naturally, Trixie decides to use it as an excuse to put on a magic show because why wouldn't she? Looking to up her game for it, she has an idea for a spectacular light show (or what have you) for it, but needs help getting it to work. Unfortunately, Starlight and the others she'd normally look to for assistance are all busy with preparations for the celebration and can't spare the time. Then Trixie learns Cozy, who's not been interested in the celebration at all and deliberately hasn't been participating, has been working on a little project (details to be determined--if I have my way that whole Cozy-has-a-knack-with-magical-artifacts thing I talked about before) that would work perfectly for Trixie's needs, and seeing it would also get Cozy to not just be a part of the celebrations but also play a positive part in it, she sees it as win-win and works to recruit Cozy to help. It takes a little urging, but Cozy eventually agrees, on the grounds that none of it will get her in trouble, as she's already been in hot water recently and is not interested at going through that again right now. Trixie promises that she won't, and goes on to say "what could possibly go wrong anyway?"

So now that they've sufficiently jinxed themselves...

They proceed with implementing Cozy's project with Trixie's show in the manner desired, and during a practice run get it to work largely as intended, barring a minor timing issue of getting it to do what they want when they want. What they don't know at first is that the display's test run manages to attract an annoying critter--I'm thinking the MLP version of a gremlin, but that's open for debate--to them, and now it is proceeding to go around and discreetly start messing up everything, running the risk of ruining the whole shebang for everybody, and potentially get both Cozy and Trixie in trouble should the blame get traced back to them, so now they have to figure out a way to get rid of the critter before anyone notices and save the celebration, and shenanigans ensue as they work to figure out how to do that. Along the way, Trixie and Cozy butt heads over the best way to do it, with Cozy's ideas naturally being the more malicious towards the critter, but its ultimately Trixie's approach that saves the day (maybe she notices the critter is a showboater like her or something). Regardless, they both have to work together to do it. In the end, they succeed without anybody fully catching on, Cozy learns something about how to best approach her problems while also admitting that she ultimately had fun, while Trixie also sees a different side to Cozy and is impressed with some of her ingenuity and recognizes that Cozy might not be so bad after all.

Then, as I really like the idea of using this as all as a B plot, I also have the idea that, while this is all going on, you could have some of the other Young 6 also going about trying to prep for their own thing for the celebration but face their own problems amongst themselves trying to pull it off. I have a few ideas as to what, but I'll let some of you other folk pitch a few ideas for that first. :raritywink:

Anyway, that's my idea on how to do the Trixie and Cozy thing.

I really this general premise! I'm not as sure about there being a specific creature causing trouble as opposed to it just being due to Cozy and Trixie's respective ... eccentricities that cause the problems, but I'm sure it can work.

This actually reminds me of a half-conceived story me and some friends batted about some time ago. Trixie is looking to put on some big show which could be her big break for, say, Las Pegasus or the like. But the Flim Flam Brothers are up to their usual tricks, perhaps even some insurance fraud, and want Trixie to 'accidentally' burn down the stage when she goes on. She'd make a lot of money--but her career would be shot. So she refuses and they try to sabotage her show in response. I can see Cozy Glow getting roped in and using her own wiles and manipulative tendencies to match wits with Flim and Flam on Trixie's behalf.

A talent show going awry sounds like an MLP episode, and I like how this outline leaves room for an A plot to be going on too. Plus, not going to lie, you sold me with gremlins.

Group Admin

I actually almost wonder if you could also combine this idea with the time loop idea you PM'd me about...

A little late to the party, but I'll chip in on a couple of things:


For my part I'm not a big fan of the idea that she's a nascent changeling queen, but that's mostly because I'm not a big fan of the queen bug thing in changelings to begin with.

I'd prefer Ocellus to be a regular changeling, too. Better biological parity with the rest of the Student Six, if nothing else.

I am, however, very partial to the queen bug thing in changelings. :twilightsheepish: But I'll go with the group consensus on this.


Gallus rising above the loneliness instilled in him from growing up alone and unwanted, Gallus learning and embracing friendship as a concept to live his life around, Gallus eventually coming to become the epitome of how friendship can lift a person up—

I do like the idea of Spirit for Gallus. Or maybe Devotion.

To expand on his background there, I got the impression from the show that Gallus isn't particularly fond of his homeland as a result of growing up in poverty and neglect. No national pride and no loved ones, aside from maybe a sort of grudging respect for Grandpa Gruff (who is maybe his reluctant guardian?). No ideals to stand for, either, aside from doing whatever it takes to keep himself fed and sheltered.

Through friendship, he eventually finds things worth fighting for in Equestria: his friends and the ideals that steered Equestria away from the self-inflicted misfortunes of Griffonstone. This can lead in nicely to his career as a royal guard, which is one of the canon aspects of his character from the show that I would like to preserve. He doesn't have to become Twilight's royal guard per se, but I am rather fond of Gallus getting into a martial career of some sort.

I thought of that already for that idea, as well as the pranking idea, but the time loop one would make such a plot pretty impractical to the point that it's probably not worth it, and with the pranking one, Cozy's already set to play a prominent role in the A plot, so...

I do think I need a B plot to go with the pranking one though, I just haven't come up with one yet. But that's okay, I'm almost certainly writing the time loop one first. Which I will hopefully be starting into in earnest here soon, just need to tie up loose ends on another project first. :raritywink:

What should the dorm arrangements be?

The show had them be in separate rooms for "Hearth's Warming Club" but I really like the idea of the Six pairing off (non-romantically) in dorm rooms since that leads to a lot of natural character interaction. It can also show their growth in how they were on their own and now want to bunk together. It can also lead to some issues with Cozy who doesn't have a roommate (naturally enough).

For "Art of the Dragon" I wrote Smolder and Ocellus being roommates, with Sandbar and Gallus being in another room together and Silverstream and Yona being in a third double.


Group Admin

I think we should assume that everyone has a roommate, if for no other reason then the storytelling opportunities. The comic would seem to suggest that Ocellus and Silverstream are dormmates, if Silverstream's comment that Ocellus was late coming back to the dorm in Ocellus' focus issue is anything to go by. That being said it's a single line and in the comics, which we're using as a resource rather than canon.

The page, incidentally.

Repeating what I said on the Writer's Workshop thread, just to cover all the bases:

The show actually wasn't consistent on this, and it seemed to vary on the situation of the given moment. However, I strongly believe there is a roommate arrangement on the grounds that every dorm room that was shown had bunk beds, suggesting two occupants.

As for who is rooming with whom, only the episode "2, 4, 6, Greaaat" showed a specific example, showing Ocellus and Yona actually bunking in the same room. The rest were never shown, but if we assume they're all just bunking with another of the Young 6 (though it could be fun to break the trend and have them bunk with some random schmuck background character) and that the dorm rooms are gender segregated (e.g. only guys in one room, only gals in another), then presumably it'd be Gallus and Sandbar in one room, leaving Smolder and Silverstream to occupy another.

For these reasons, this is how I've personally been doing the bunking arrangements as of late.

This also assumes the room assignments don't change with every new semester, in which case all bets would be off and we could literally do it anyway we wanted at that point. But at the same time, I don't see too much need to reinvent the wheel on this case. :twilightsmile:

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