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Twilight Sparkle has never had much appreciation for the softer works of literature. ‘There were books, and then there were books,’ is what she would say when presented with a book of poetry.

One night not long before Nightmare Night, Princess Celestia figured out exactly how to bridge the two worlds together for Twilight: a reading assignment on one of the very first science fiction books ever written, entitled simply Frankenstein.

It was the perfect plan.

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Current Episode: Season Zero – Episode Four
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Comments ( 64 )

Note! Praise intermixed with corrections. The tone of this comment is rather schizophrenic as a result.

Celestia return her attention to the problem at hoof


glanced at his creating


book had wiped Twilight into such a righteous fury

Oh... oh dear. Whipped.

I can vindicate the real Frankenstein! I can do it right!

Oh, nothing wrong with this line, I just wanted you to know it was at this point my smile cracked - shattered really - and devolved into a wretched guffaw that rattled the windows. Oh dear indeed.

My name’s Spitfire; no reason to know me yet

Again, the opposite of something wrong here. A very short, simple line so heavy with meaning and purpose, beautiful.

“We have Science to do!”

Science is, of course, a proper noun. It being a regular noun would be, well, just silly.

So the lesson is be what everypony else thinks you are? Shaking her head, Twilight said, “I still don’t get it. I mean, I can at least understand why everypony was scared of the…monster, but that doesn’t mean he had to become a monster. That was still wrong, even if Frankenstein deserved everything that happened to him for abandoning his colt. I know it wasn’t in the normal sense, but they were family, and he just abandoned the monster. How could he do that? It’s…it’s… Princess, are you okay?”

Worthy of a certain TVTropes page

The ending was... nice. A little unfulfilling, but nice.

It's certainly not the strongest story in the series so far, but it's still well and truly above and beyond most anyone's capability. It's worth me dropping whatever I was doing to read, at the very least.

Well, that was fun.

"at his creating"

Nice. :)

I'd agree the ending is a bit weak. I understand your style is to infer leave it to the reader to infer from the text more than you describe. But this is going a shade too far, I think.

On the one hand, there's Twilight, totally missing the point because of her autism. And Celestia just gives up and doesn't bother trying to explain.

On the other hand, there's Celestia, totally missing the point that Twilight has a point, that society is putting unfair limits on her. She's impatient with the stupidity of ponies just accepting arbitrary, irrational restrictions, and Celestia basically shoots her down. There is a place in their type of society for premeditated transgression and for questioning. Twilight's making a great point in that regard there.

Now, I can grasp Twilight doesn't fathom this mutual swish. But I just find it hard to swallow that Celestia doesn't either.

In fact, if this is Celestia's modus operandus "just let Twilight be Twilight and never try to enlighten her as to how other ponies see things" I'd almost think she was _trying_ to raise the alienated, callous psychopath in Seeking Power :facehoof: The appearance of this policy particularly grates because in point of fact, autistics can learn a great deal about how to get along socially, so it's _not_ futile to try and teach them. Especially the hyper intelligent ones like Twilight.

The ending aside I liked this quite well. If you've decided there's such a thing as the golem in Equestria I hope you have her reaction to reading about _that_ next :twilightsmile:

It took me a bit, but I am detecting an uncomfortable parallel between the book and some event or events in Celestia's life, which is what prompted her reactions. I motion that this is the fact of the matter.

Do I hear a second?

I enjoyed it, but I felt that the ending was a bit weak. Twilight doesn't seem to understand the message at all, and whatever goals Celestia had in their conversation sort of dried up when Twilight unknowingly shoved her horn into old scars. The discussion of the morality of magic was pushed offscreen (or perhaps to be covered in a later story?) and the way it wrapped up overall felt... hollow.

5212554 That's entirely feasible but Celestia never thinking twice and revisiting it after the scar's scabbed over again seems off? That's why I find the ending weak. I could believe there's some reason for her behaviour. But it all just dissolving into murky silence when Celestia knows better than to leave huge issues...? It's realistic perhaps but not in a way that makes for the best storytelling?

The ending seems a tad flimsy, but never mind, I enjoyed it. What this needs now is a twin story starring dear old Bram Stoker's masterpiece, Dracula. Of course, I dare say that in equestria that might fall under the heading of politically incorrect literature.

You know, I've never read Frankenstien, or seen any movie of it either, but I have heard the basic story. I've also seen a couple of slips of movies. I have to agree with Twilight, pretty much right after he brings life to his creation he declares he's made a big mistake, why? It's what he was toward! "Oh no, it moves, it's actually alive! What have I done?! What a failure!" (I know he didn't say that, but he may as well have) It just makes no sense.

That's fair. It was a bit of a struggle to get this finished before Halloween ended due to a week long sickness. I'll see about touching up the ending sometime in the next couple days/when I can summon up the energy to do so. The real problem was when I actually got to the end, I thought, "Oh, right. Frankenstein was a horrible book that made me want to burn it. How do I make Celestia have a non-strawman argument." Yeah, the dark magic scene is something I need to add, but I didn't have time before for a well thought out discussion of it before (I submitted the story with ~1hr of Halloween left). And I think I'm rambling now, so I'm going to go back to sleep. I hope this still makes sense when I next wake up.

The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts

Here we go...

Great little story. Makes me want to go out & read the classic. :twilightsmile:

I am now feeling more fluffy on the inside. Thank you! :twilightsmile:


To be fair? It was incredibly vindicating to have you hate Frankenstein as much as I do. Celestia's response must have been challenging, as a result.

It's one of the most ridiculously overrated stories of all time and it needs to be forgotten in terms of everything but historical significance.

Ugh! I don’t get it. Maybe there’s some reason outside the book. Maybe Princess Celestia wanted me to learn from a bad example. Maybe she wanted me to do…better…

Uh oh.

Nice theatrical setup, Twilight, that really made this so much more dramatic.

I think that in the end, Celestia's argument falls apart because there really wasn't a lesson intended for Twilight, just an attempt to get her to read some fiction that goes mildly south because of Twilight being Twilight (Not that it went that far south since the end result was her receiving permission to semi-permanently have Smartypants around as a come-to-life golem).

Another wonderful story about filly Twilight, but the ending left me a little confused. Why did Twilight's analysis of the book trouble Celestia? It seemed spot on to me. My best guess is that Celestia once tried to resurrect somepony a long time ago (maybe in this universe the book is based on her?) and it didn't go very well. If this series had more continuity I would expect to find out the answer in a later chapter, but unfortunately for my curiosity these stories are mostly unrelated, so I may never know.

I love these little slice of life moments with young Twilight. Adorable and amusing as always!:pinkiehappy:

5212947 Worst of all is that the 'monster' itself was actually sentient. It could speak, and feel emotions, observe and understand. One thing that always pained me when reading the original was how when the monster was telling its story to Frankenstein, he described his first moments and the happiness, then confusion he felt upon discovering and being promptly abandoned by his creator.

5216806 Smegging heck, it sounds worse than I thought, no wonder Twilight hated it.

It's kind of funny. I've read Frankenstein a few times, and the only reason it didn't get more of a like from me is the writing style.

Twilight, you have just created an abberation of desecrated corpses and unnatural life-power in the eyes of god. go to hell, you worthless abomination.

5216984 honestly i enjoyed it. I saw it as a story of decisions. The' monster' made its way through a world that hated it just for existing, something he didn't even chooseto do ;but through all his pain he managed to retain a sense of humanity far better than the actual humans themselves. There at the end he even told Frankenstein that all he wanted was someone he could love and he would never bother humanity again. And when Frankenstein denied him even that He ranted and raved but never actually harmed his creator. In the end the elements did in Frankenstein, and his 'monster' carried away his corpse very gently.

I would recommend reading it if you're keeping in mind that the story has no true villain.

Princess Celestia let out a small sigh. “I suppose it was just wishful thinking on my part. Still, it is an important part of Equestrian history, so it was not a waste to read it anyway.”

Wait, WHAT.

5218418 She did not. She used magic to animate Smarty Pants. She substituted the doll for the cadaverous assemblage. NO desecration of the dead occurred. The lightening was for dramatic flair.

One little thing. Would Twilight be averse to Dark Magic? Her talent is for all magic, therefore Dark Magic is a subset of that. She might have moral objections to using it for certain purposes, but the magic itself may be innocent in her eyes. Any magic could be used for good or ill when used with creativity.

For example:
Using necromancy to keep a pony alive when they are an inch from death so that they survive long enough to receive medical attention.
Using love magic to force a pony into cheating on their significant other to destroy the relationship.

Both are inversions of the assumed 'morality' of a field of magic.

5224553 Perhaps. But this is a filly. I think most unicorn fillies would have at least been told about how EVIL 'Dark Magic' is, and have some trepidation.

Let's pick something not evil ... say, a shotgun. People have these, even in non-US areas, as a sporting or hunting piece. But a shotgun owner with any sense will make sure his or her children know that it is NOT A TOY. And I think a normal 5 to 8 year old would be at least hesitant to pick up a shotgun, even if they grew up around them.

Dark Magic is not a toy, Twilight :twilightsmile:

5226046 True. Teaching her the ways that Dark Magic can cause suffering is important. That way, she will be able to avoid using it for those purposes. I just wonder what percent of Twilight's mind is pulling away from the Dark Arts because of years of being told 'no'.

I just like thinking about how morality is subjective, especially around entities like Twilight and Discord. Both of them can have some twisted senses of morality compared to modern sensibilities if they are written that way.


Ooooo! She should read War of the Worlds, now! Then she can... how did she put it? "Vindicate" Wells. She can do it right.

Also she needs to find something to do with those thunderclouds. There is simply too much galvanic potential there to be wasted. :moustache:

You do have to keep in mind though, it's over 200 years old, so the writing style is going to be quite different. Some people in one of my English classes(my Creative writing one iirc) did a project on the book and that was their criticism of it.

It bugs me so much that this is always forgotten in adaptations of the story. At least any time you see the creature on screen it's depicted as a mindless brute, or at least like a giant toddler. The books paints it in a much more sympathetic light. If you think about it, it's a really sad story. If memory serves, the creature even asks/wonders at one point, why do these people fear him/treat him like a monster when he hasn't done anything.

How old is Twilight here? And it'd be adorable to have Celestia find out about Twilight's wish [for a second mom / AuntLestia], as well as Twilight easing that sadness in Tia. Adorable season, good characterizations in the Season 0 so far.


How old is Twilight here?

Eh, generic filly age. I generally aim for the eleven to thirteen range with these short stories. Writing filly Twilight as clearly age X is rather difficult, as she is incredibly well-developed in some areas but very childish in many others. I'm more or less leaving it up to the reader here to place an age they feel comfortable with on Twilight. If they want a specific age, that is.

i can't stop liking your stories :derpytongue2:

5228960 He did. The story made me very sad when I read it since the creature never got the happy ending he should have.

So, after trying to parse it a few times, I'm still kind of uncertain as to what Celestia wanted Twilight to get out of it. The obvious is the 'Hey, maybe I shouldn't recklessly pursue magic without pondering the consequences', but things seemed deeper than that, like Luna is playing into it somehow.

Any chance of enlightening on what the goal was? I do love these stories, but this one I think travels a little far in the disorientation direction

Love this little series. :heart: Hope to see Episode 5 soon! :twilightsmile:

I think i may be jumping to wrong conclusion here but... If you consider that Celestia wanted a child and that she try to create one in a fit of madness when she was young, maybe just maybe she is the writer of Frankenstein, and at first when she wanted Twilight to read something that will make her more passionate and she thought her own book will be perfect without thinking why did she write the book in the first place.
Celestia have obviously have a past with creating life and when Twilight talk about how she couldn't understand how Dr Frankenstein abandoned her colt... Well it fits and don't forget how Twilight thinks Frankenstein as a similar person (pony) like herself. It is canon Luna sees Twilight as a young Celestia. It seems Celestia had a similar character when she was Twilight's age. That fits too and we all know a Frankenstein monster who have mismatched body parts in Equestria Discord:pinkiehappy: cue Twilight Zone Music:
So ending was not that weak Celestia was just trying to stop Twi from taking the same path as her. But also she can see if Twilight takes a similar path she may do better than herself too. She understand while She and Twilight have many similarities there is differences too like how she did see her creation as a monster while Twilight is adamantly against this way of thinking. So she is teaching her Dark Magic and letting Twi decide where is the line.
Edit: Thinking it over Celestia probably didn't write the book. Most likely she omitted some parts and tell her acquaintances and her acquaintances connected the writer.

Hmm, so Celestia used the duplication spell and the animation spell when she was young? So she must've been interested in magic like Twilight. I'm interested in how the rest of the series will go....

more episodes now. I mean now.

5317156 I thought it was just the general "Abandoning Family" which reminded her of Luna.

While Twilight was reading the book, a part of me thought she was going to do what Bradley Cooper did to A Farewell to Arms from the movie Silver Linings Playbook (my favorite movie of 2012).

Wouldn't the Equestrian equivalent of Frankenstein be something like Frankenhoof?

Twilight Sparkle's mind in this story is a bit odd. It's perfectly in character for her to expect to be learning a lesson, even when Celestia's just trying to get her to enjoy herself, but some of her conclusions are make strange jumps. The oddest being when Celestia says "the monster was only a monster because people made him one"-- here the logical lesson, if you must have one, is "don't force people to be monsters" not "be what people make you out to be". Twilight's sympathy for the monster should make it a natural conclusion, she was, after all railing against Frankenstein for reacting the way he did.

Although I do agree that the titular Frankenstein is frustrating. It's a weird turn of events when the 1931 film adaption feels more nuanced than the original novel (Universal did an excellent job with that one, the monster means well and he's mostly just reacting to abuse and threats, but he's also legitimately dangerous and flawed in ways the book one isn't). This makes it actually serve better as an exploration of the dangers of artificial life than the novel, while still retaining the sympathetic nature of the monster. He's not malicious, just poorly made and poorly treated. Accidentally creating something hazardous can be done without creating something cartoonishly evil (as is usually the case in these stories). The book's monster on the other hand is so human that Frankenstein's revulsion seems pure prejudice.

Maybe she was issued a court order to never write again. She certainly deserved one.

Once again. I agree with Twilight Sparkle. I really should stop doing this, but...well...I FREAKING HATED THAT BOOK! For the reasons that Twilight Sparkle hated it even! I'm ashamed. :pinkiesad2:

When will be the next Lesson Zero episode? I liked this little stories very much...

No idea. I have a few more ideas mulling around in my head, but I have too many other things to get done right now.

Shaking her head, Twilight said, “I still don’t get it. I mean, I can at least understand why everypony was scared of the…monster, but that doesn’t mean he had to become a monster. That was still wrong, even if Frankenstein deserved everything that happened to him for abandoning his colt. I know it wasn’t in the normal sense, but they were family, and he just abandoned the monster. How could he do that? It’s…it’s… Princess, are you okay?”

This paragraph pushed this fic from "good" to "great" for me. I'd completely missed the parallel to Celestia's interactions with and banishment of her newly-monstrous sister, but this shines a spotlight on all of the emotional baggage involved. Well done.

The book's monster on the other hand is so human that Frankenstein's revulsion seems pure prejudice.

That might actually have been considered normal and right, at the time the book was written. The idea that racial prejudice is bad is new (and probably a minority viewpoint even now, globally). The past is a scary place.

I find it a little odd that Twilight understood the book in the exact same way I did (other than how Twilight overthinks what Celestia's purpose was in lending it to her) but she hated it while I liked it. (Granted, I didn't like it enough to ever re-read it, but that doesn't make it bad.) For me it was a tragic tale about a being born into a world too full fear and prejudiced to accept it, with Dr. Frankenstein himself the true monster for turning on his own creation just because he didn't realize how physically ugly it was until after he brought it to life. The morals of the story (as I saw it) were don't judge by appearances, and don't create a life you're not prepared to love.

Granted, I too was pretty upset when Frankenstein turned his back on his creation (and the fact that his disgust didn't set in until after the creature came to life feels like a plot hole), but it didn't take me long after that to mentally label him as the villain and start rooting for the "Monster". (Although I seem to remember wondering when I finished the book whether Mary Shelly would have agreed with me that Dr. Frankenstein's death was a "happy ending"...)

Was this series put on indefinite hiatus?

I haven't been motivated to work on it lately, so more or less, I suppose.

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