• Member Since 18th Aug, 2013
  • offline last seen February 13th

very trustworthy rodent


with direct eyes, to death's other kingdom

T
Source

After several years ruling alongside Celestia and Luna, Princess Twilight Sparkle still yearns for a more complete understanding of duty and power. She observes Rainbow Dash in her proudest moment and regains her focus.


Warning: this was inspired by Yukio Mishima.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 14 )

you had to warp their characters first, so I don't think it does a good job getting your point across

6398116
the characters are meant to be symbolic rather than realistic in this. that's the point.

TLP
TLP #3 · Sep 6th, 2015 · · ·

I approve.

6398834
hah, how very appropriate. thanks! :twilightsmile:

Great story :pinkiehappy:

This was a rather difficult story for me to puzzle out, and I imagine it must have been difficult for many other readers as well, so I'd like to walk you a bit through my thought processes as I was reading it:

...I admit, I don't read a lot of philosophical or older works, fiction or otherwise, and so I had a bit of a hard time following this story. Stuff like Nightmare Moon's talk about "moral order" or whatever was very obtuse to me; the convoluted terms were clearly meant to instill some kind of high meaning and purpose, but just left me confused and perhaps a bit frightened. While reading it, I thought it all sounded like things I would hear quoted out of the Communist Manifesto or something; it had that kind of feel to it.

I found Celestia's views and attitudes and the way ponies treated her to be a bit unsettling. I'm not fond of the whole "death is good" viewpoint, but I understand where it's coming from. I haven't a clue about what the conversation about alicorns and tea was about. It seemed to me that Celestia was saying that she wanted more alicorns around to balance the power a bit - but not too many though! - and she chose Twilight because she's capable and because... she likes Twilight? Which is frankly all fine reasoning with me, but I don't know why that conversation was there and I feel I probably missed some tea-metaphor completely, but I'm a lazy reader, so I didn't bother to go over it again.

I also was suspicious of the way Celestia talked about "mastery" over the nation - seemed like rather strong language, even if I didn't disagree with the denotation - and the way she... what? Expected Twilight to follow exactly in her footsteps, literally down to taking on a powerful female unicorn someday as her student and pseudo-heir? I couldn't tell if that was supposed to be suggestive of some deeper plan for the alicorns that Celestia possessed, or some bigotry on her part, or if she thought she was going to die and Twilight would need to train a replacement, or if she was so narrow-minded that she expected Twilight to do everything exactly as she had done.

Then there was the cult of personality that Celestia seems to build up around herself, and the way she and Twilight think of themselves as "plotters." Both of which are fine to a point - a bit of Celestia-worship is practically canon, and the idea that some people are simply better equipped to plan and to lead than to do is a fact of life. But everyone takes their feelings of respect towards Celestia to an extreme, and it's hard not to see Twilight's view of herself as a "thinker, no a doer" as at least a little bit arrogant, despite her attempts to glorify the sacrifices of others on her behalf. The fact that I don't think Celestia was even seen in the final battle was also worrisome - like she was the real plotter, and Twilight was her instrument.

And then, of course, there's the fact that the only acknowledgement that Nightmare Moon was even a person or had any relation to any of them was Twilight's brief nod in the beginning to the fact that it was odd that everyone accepted assassination as the only recourse. Which IS pretty odd, you know. Celestia neither acknowledges her as her sister nor seems to be mourning her sister's death (which, since the Elements have been shown to be capable of purifying NMM, doesn't seem necessary).

...Somewhere in there I began to wonder if in fact Celestia was the actual villain here, glorifying death, crafting new alicorns that she could pit against each other if need be, building a cult of personality and seeking to eliminate her strongest rival. There was a lot of grand words and deep concepts being thrown about but not an ounce of compassion or remorse.

And that's what really disturbed me. I have no problem with violence in fiction, even pony fiction; even in real life I think it can be justified, even necessary. And I don't actually have any problems with the basic motivations for the characters - I can certainly see a world in which Celestia chooses execution as the final solution to save the land from her power-hungry sister. Many authors have done something along this line, and handled delicately, I think it be a powerful basis for a story.

But the way in which that war was pursued, not just without remorse, but by glorifying it at every step of the way - that disturbed me. By the time Twilight confronts NMM I was wearily wondering if there was a real irreconcilable difference here or if it was just some of philosophy-nerd argument that got out of control. The hunt for NMM and then her murder - I have a hard time calling it anything but murder at this point, it no longer feels like justice - invoked a lot of emotion in me, and most of that of that emotion turned to disgust at Twilight's reaction to the deaths of her friend and enemy.

...Anyway. I always tell people that one of the most important things a work of fiction should do is stir emotions in the heart of the reader - and not necessarily good emotions, either. Sorrow, anger, fear - those all have their place. The only truly negative emotion for a writer to inspire is apathy.

And so your comment at the end about fascism - and I think and hope you were referring to everyone's views in this story and not just NMM - made me a bit relieved and maybe, perhaps, impressed, because if it was your goal to write a story that on the surface seems to glorify fascism - or whatever view was evidenced herein - but on deeper reflection makes it seem disturbing, even loathsome, you have certainly succeeded. And you did it without invoking ethnic purges or jackboots or any of the other outward, more superficial signs of fascism that people would recognize, so, kudos for that. It probably made it much too subtle for most people (including, perhaps, me), but I appreciate the effort that went into it.

Oh, and the grammar and mechanics and writing itself were all excellent too, of course. There's a few typos, especially towards the latter part of the story, and the use of flowery language and metaphors was quite heavy, but it seemed to fit this... polemic style fairly well. Ditto for character portrayals and plot; no one acted as they really would in the show and things like the conversation about alicorns didn't seem to advance the plot, but they all served (or I assume they served) the purpose of getting the story's point across. It wasn't really a story about a rebellion, after all: it was a story about fascism. Or whatever this ideology was.

Anyway! Good story, made me think. Though, I'm really starting to wish authors would put trigger warnings up for when they're going to kill off Nightmare Moon (disclaimer! - she's my favorite character), but since it seems like all of my favorite authors have written at least one story where her brutal/tear-jerker murder/suicide is the climax... at least you're in good company!

Keep up the good work! ~ Sable

6949369

And so your comment at the end about fascism - and I think and hope you were referring to everyone's views in this story and not just NMM - made me a bit relieved and maybe, perhaps, impressed, because if it was your goal to write a story that on the surface seems to glorify fascism - or whatever view was evidenced herein - but on deeper reflection makes it seem disturbing, even loathsome, you have certainly succeeded. And you did it without invoking ethnic purges or jackboots or any of the other outward, more superficial signs of fascism that people would recognize, so, kudos for that. It probably made it much too subtle for most people (including, perhaps, me), but I appreciate the effort that went into it.

You're more or less spot on. Thank you very much for your comment; I have very little to add because you've grasped what the story is about, so far as I can see.

Thing is about fascism is that it's just as you say—ethnic purges and jackboots may be the superficial signposts for fascism in the popular consciousness, but what I find more interesting and more elemental to the philosophical character of fascism is the glorification of death and violence as ends in themselves, ends that might renew a threatened political order against entropy, decline, degeneration, etc. Obviously this story isn't particularly show-accurate, but in a more symbolic sense, the structure of monarchal leader-worship makes it prime to explore how such a system would seek to justify and reinforce itself through fascistic means. The fact is that ponies appear remarkably happy to live under Princess Celestia—I'd even argue that the show presents Equestria as morally utopian insofar as the virtues of Harmony are accepted as universal—but outside of the context of a family show about pastel horses, even the happiest and most secure countries in the world have to justify themselves with violence on occasion, and therein lies the seduction of fascism as this form of renewal.

The whole thing about Celestia choosing Twilight as co-ruler/heir because she likes her is principally a nod to another element of the fascist world view—the Great Man view of history, which I believe is first attributed to Thomas Carlyle. The notion is that history is moved primarily by the actions of great individuals who transcend their social conditions. This is also something that the text makes it very easy to play with, since ponies have their socio-economic roles more or less assigned to them at puberty, and even in the show are presented as happier for it. It's reflected in the fandom when you see memes like Princess Applejack; the show makes the idea of Princess Applejack ridiculous. It's almost impossible to square the notion of Applejack becoming a princess (or indeed anything other than an apple farmer) with the metaphysics of a world where you often settle on your destiny before you've even left home. Why should Twilight be chosen as princess? Because Celestia decides that she is special in herself.

Thanks as well for the watch! I'm considering writing an equally cynical counterpart to this story about Starlight Glimmer (working title is The Revolutionary), so look out for that if you enjoyed this.

A very intriguing story. I had to pay attention with this one. You are better read philosophically, poltically, and historically than I am. Reading the comments helped.

I had wondered about the purpose of the Celestia-Twilight scenes, until I got to this point:

Celestia wants ponies to know their place. She thinks them happier there.

"Ahh," I said. Then I began to see. I had my doubts though, which persisted until the end. I liked this story a lot, and if I had to suggest any changes, it would be that you give Luna a little more time to hammer in her argument and make her case to the reader. See, I was uncertain whether the story was siding with her or not, because she's given as much foot room as a typically villain you're not supposed to side with. So my investment did not commit one way or the other. But it's tricky. I know you don't want to make it too obvious.

Once I realized what the intent behind the Celestia-Twilight scenes might be, I thought it was brilliant. They allow the reader to switch sides at a critical moment and realize the truth, while also realizing Twilight will not do the same, and that's very important. (The evidence for Luna's case is in Celestia's very words with Twilight, yet because they came from Celestia before NNM's return and Twilight of course listened, because it was Celestia, we know Twilight will stay the course. She is blinded.) This frees the narrative of the responsibility to work out a happy ending for the real hero, leaving the characters to charge ahead on their destined courses, while the reader watches in full understanding and helplessness (the worst mixture). Had I been more sure of NNM's validity (in other words, that all this was the narrative's true intent and not simply my mistaken perception), the effect would have been pure and not, sadly, somewhat muddled.

But! As it is, this is a good and very well structured story. Many writers cannot even prime the thematic cannon shot, let alone fire it bullseye. You had it beautifully prepared. All the gunpowder just didn't ignite, that's all--and that's only in my opinion.

So great work. :yay:

I give this a 2 out of 4. Could have been better.

6949369
Would you mourn the death of someone who betrayed you twice? Luna ripped Celestia's heart out, stabbed it repeatedly and then threw sat on the wound. Politics aside, that was just cruel.

I love how Twilight called Luna out as the power-hungry psycho she is.

Lovely example of how character death isn't always sad. Dash will live on forever in the heart of her nation.

Sol Imperium Vivat.

Sir, I am going to take your copy of Being and Time and I am going to burn it. I do this for your own good.

This was a beautiful, if sad, story. Tell me, did you mean to make Celestia seem like the real villain, or did you mean for the readers to decide for themselves who was right and who was wrong?

I definitely needed the disclaimer at the beginning and to do a little bit of wiki-walking before I could really grasp the story.

Without going into specifics, I just disagreed with the worldview that Celestia laid out, but I found it really compelling and interesting in its construction (and its effect on Twilight).

... but I think I would have been more amenable if I hadn't read up on some ethno-nationalist history. I am sympathetic to the idea that death can hold meaning, I just firmly disagree with the notion. Really made me hope that Nightmare Moon would have an interesting take. When she gave her reasons I realized that this story was a representation of a propaganda piece more than a pony fic. Really well done!

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