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forbloodysummer


"I think I'm gonna piss myself." -Human Twilight Sparkle, 'Mad Twience' 2017 Summertime Short


T

Daniel Ingram is a 41 year-old man based in Vancouver, who for the last seven years has been the songwriter and composer for My Little Pony. Let’s have a look inside his head in the run-up to the 2017 MLP movie.

The idea of the beautiful woman as the composer’s muse dates back to Ancient Greece. Friendship Is Magic has borrowed several things from that mythology, including Cerberus, Tartarus, pegasi, centaurs, minotaurs and... sirens. Oh dear.

My first attempt at a meta comedy, and first story to brave the orange genre tag and associated expectations.

Spoilers here for all four Equestria Girls films and up to the end of FIM season six.

Chapters (3)
Comments ( 37 )

“If you’re asked to write songs for meta-villains, don’t give them the highlights of your whole arsenal.”

Not much to be done, villain songs are pretty much always the best in show. :applejackunsure:

“Meh, too many funny vocal noises at the ends of phrases, especially in the bridge.”

I thought Trixie and her noises were cute, and her usual attitude in song form reminded me of a yapping puppy that earnestly believed it was intimidating. :pinkiehappy:

“Kind of sad though. I hate to break it to you, Trixie, but in many respects the space age is the past. Mankind hasn’t stepped on the moon in nearly half a century.”
“Maybe that’s the point?” I suggest, defending the intent of a song I co-wrote. “For all the boasting she does, sometimes she isn’t very good at it.

...Ouch. :pinkiegasp:
Pretty solid point right there. Maybe Trixie was trying to tell us something? :fluttershysad:

“Think how much better Legend Of Everfree could have been if we’d turned up at the end,” Sonata says.
“...Again, somewhat self-aggrandising here...” I have to point out.

I see what you did there, but I still agree. :trixieshiftright:

Adagio begins, “There are two big differences between the worlds of the series and the movies.”

Not when they cover for it by changing the rules on a whim with pretty much every movie. :twilightoops:

That’s a surprisingly solid condemnation I hadn’t realised before now.

And to think, I thought I was growing sour on the character because of the way some of her fans acted!
...No, wait, that's still mostly it, but I've still got that blog post of strictly-canon reasons to not find her all that amazing either. :applejackunsure:

“And Sunset being hot has nothing to do with it, right?” Sonata says knowingly.

Another thing; I've never really seen this angle, it's just the one I've seen everyone else assume about her and saw no harm in going along with. Nothing is ever said about her appearance that didn't come from own extremely vain mouth when she was in that phase, so if you're not crazy about redheads or the 'bad girl' look (That she realistically has about as much claim to as Flash Sentry), as far as we know, she's average. :applejackunsure:

“Just that Starlight was popular as a villain,” Aria replies, “and so might be seen as being a shadow of her former self now that she’s reformed and not tearing the world apart, along the same lines as Discord.

Might be indeed, I'd say she's been a better hero than Sunset has.

“I guess maybe that was a bit much empathy to expect from someone that age?”
“Right, ‘cause we never see empathy from the Cutie Mark Crusaders,” Aria responds.

I think we might be forgetting Diamond I Don't Care About Feelings Tiara here, pre-whatever-that-episode-was-called. Kids can be monstrous, and Starlight remains a bit of a sociopath even when reformed.

“I have always wanted to say it though,” Aria says thoughtfully. “It feels like something I’d say.”

Hearing other people say things a lot is all it really takes to get it into one's own vernacular, I think, and if they say it in the human world...?

“Someone on the internet said that Starlight had a better backstory as Snowfall Frost than she did as herself, and I kind of agreed.”

...Kind of have to agree too, come to think of it, if only because the kind of insanity Starlight was rolling with is much harder to present to an audience of regular people.

Aria then says, “But we’re not Luna.”
“Well, I kind of am,” Adagio argues, sounding embarrassed, “when she’s singing, just like Rarity...”

Fun thing: Listen to Rarity's songs throughout FiM, hide the screen if you're doing so with a video, then imagine Adagio is the one singing. :pinkiehappy:

I was hoping I Am Just A Pony would have taken over by now.

Just plain hated that one. All I remember of it now was that I came away feeling like the lyrics were practically going down a You Will Now Feel Things checklist, done so cringe-inducingly that I skipped the video ahead. Sorta the same with Midnight in Me and Sunset's song in LoE, but that might just be me.

“You can do these things when you don’t compromise,” Adagio says, “and let nothing stand in your way. Why should the sky be the limit, when there are footprints on the moon?”

♪From the space-age♫, at that.

“You’ve got the muses to get through it, got it all inside, just do it,
Greatness waiting if you try, don’t aim lower than the sky.”

As someone who writes parodies and appreciates this kind of thing in general... LOVE IT! :raritystarry:

Also, hopefully the musical bits aren't too intrusive. It's something I've wanted to discuss for a long time, and since all the characters involved know the precise terminology, no effort is made to explain what they mean to the reader (which would have taken way longer and completely derailed the story). But I hope that they were brief enough moments that they can be glossed over if you don't know what they're talking about, simply being content with the knowledge that they know about something and are discussing it at expert-level with technical terms.

Pretty much. :pinkiesmile:

Dang, dude. How meta can you get on this series?
In all honesty, that's what really got me into Friendship is Magic in the first place. The show itself isn't bad or anything, though it does have it's ups and downs (for me, "A Friend in Deed" is the worst episode, which is kinda sad, since I love Pinkie so much). What really gets me is this show's fandom. Seriously, people are so creative, so passionate about these fan works, it's amazing. I don't agree completely with your observations (Sunset doesn't seem like that much of a Sue, especially in Friendship games, though I've admittedly only watched it once; I actually enjoyed a lot of To Where and Back Again, except maybe the ending, which felt a little Deus Ex), but I can see why you have them. I guess I just turn my brain off more while watching things, I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad one. Anywho, good job.

I take it that "someone on the internet" was DWK, right? I understood that reference. :raritywink:

This story reminds me a little, weirdly enough, of the kabbalism of UNSONG. The idea that a composer creates siren characters, which then change his ability to write music in real life, is such a perfect association that it feels like it's true, even though it's arguably just a coincidence. (But it's not a coincidence, because nothing is ever a coincidence.) Anyways, the point I'm trying to make is I'm sure Daniel Ingram would be proud. :rainbowlaugh: Hope this story strikes it big, and I'm gonna start following you now, 'cuz you're a genius. :derpytongue2:

8109295

Not much to be done, villain songs are pretty much always the best in show.

The This Day Aria, Glass Of Water, all three siren songs, Our Town, Unleash The Magic, Say Goodbye To The Holiday... Eeyup! You're right, there isn't a weak moment among them. I don't remember any of the songs from LOE, but I remember the villain one being the best at the time. And Luna's Future is sort of somewhere in between, it's not villainous but it's ominous. Even when the villains are being sympathetic, like in The Pony I Wanna Be, it still counts to some extent. Thank goodness Sunset didn't get a song in EG1 and let the side down :twilightoops: And it makes it all the sadder Chrysalis didn't sing a second time around :fluttershysad:

I thought Trixie and her noises were cute, and her usual attitude in song form reminded me of a yapping puppy that earnestly believed it was intimidating.

I didn't mind it so much for the rest of the song, but the 'I'm here to take you down a peg, oh-weh-oh-weh-oh-woah-oo-woah' was a bit much for me, the noise bits sounded quite thin and nasal after the first half of the line was quite powerful. Great song though, especially that 'come on, you're just making noise' prechorus. I just wish the chorus had been a bit more ballsy, like how she sings the last line.

...Ouch. :pinkiegasp:
Pretty solid point right there. Maybe Trixie was trying to tell us something? :fluttershysad:

When I first read this, I interpreted it as 'ouch, that's a pretty solid diss against Trixie; but now I'm looking at it again to reply to it I'm thinking it's more about the not having been to the moon since 1972 thing?

If the latter, than yeah, that makes me very sad too. The last man on the moon died in January. And we've achieved some great things since in space exploration (the very idea of a reusable spacecraft, for example; although that's now gone too :fluttercry: ...but if we're really lucky, Skylon will pick up the legacy). Juno and Cassini are doing wonderfully, and the latest generations of Mars rovers have been amazing. My favourite example is this one though:

i.imgur.com/YIOCIcr.jpg

But there is something about putting man on the moon. I teared up reading the bit in Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality about 'The picture, if only one picture in all the world were to survive,' and I would consider it our crowning achievement as a species. And then, four years after doing it, we decided doing it any more wasn't worth the money, and...?

I see what you did there, but I still agree.

Too meta!

That was the point where I stopped writing it for a month or so, because I thought no one would want to read it other than me :twilightblush:

Not when they cover for it by changing the rules on a whim with pretty much every movie.

Yeah, I think they may have forgotten the premise. And I forget that sort of thing, sometimes, like when suggesting that an EG story should explore the wider world beyond CHS, because the point of the EG world wasn't just that they were human, it was that all the important characters were reimagined sharing a class together, and that egotistical magician who turned up for two episodes in five years and nearly destroyed the town both times is now just a classmate no one really gets along with. But I think we've all done that before :twilightoops:

Another thing; I've never really seen this angle, it's just the one I've seen everyone else assume about her and saw no harm in going along with. Nothing is ever said about her appearance that didn't come from own extremely vain mouth when she was in that phase, so if you're not crazy about redheads or the 'bad girl' look (That she realistically has about as much claim to as Flash Sentry), as far as we know, she's average.

Ultimately there aren't many things to set the seven of them apart, so it's largely informed. Different hair, skin and eye colour, hairstyles, eye designs and clothes, but all the same height, width and shape. And yet...

I've never known anyone say Rainbow or Pinkie are the prettiest. Best for plenty of other reasons, sure, but not that. Sunset probably has the brightest eye-to-hair contrast, so it might be that? I'd say she's probably the prettiest of the seven, personally, but I'm not certain why, but I will happily admit that her bike jacket in the first two films is awesome. In fact, she has quite the power dress code going on; mixing the black of the heeled boots and that jacket with that strong magenta and orange of her top and skirt. Also, her eyes are the only part of her that aren't either black or somewhere between pink and yellow, so they stand out all the more - I wouldn't be surprised if that factored into making her look prettier.

I think we might be forgetting Diamond I Don't Care About Feelings Tiara here, pre-whatever-that-episode-was-called. Kids can be monstrous, and Starlight remains a bit of a sociopath even when reformed.

They can be monstrous, true, but the argument is that if the CMCs aren't, then kids can also be not monstrous, and so their youth isn't an excuse to let them off for it (it's a Harry Potter thing again, come to think of it - "Dumbledore was the same age we are now!")

Hearing other people say things a lot is all it really takes to get it into one's own vernacular, I think, and if they say it in the human world...?

To me it's one of the things that would accompany a facepalm, and doesn't stand out quite as much as "FFS..." I always wanted to have her say it, but try to avoid all mention of religion in EG stories, so this seemed a good opportunity.

...Kind of have to agree too, come to think of it, if only because the kind of insanity Starlight was rolling with is much harder to present to an audience of regular people.

Eeyup, that was those Totally Legit recap videos again, the one for A Hearth's Warming Tail. And, as in the story, I could understand it more if 'equality' was a big part of Starlight's character, even when reformed, but I don't think she's mentioned it since season five. So it just seems an almost intentionally-awkward choice to have to provide a backstory for, and I think her working more like Snowfall Frost in the show would have been more consistent (but perhaps less fun, because she really was great as the cult leader).

Fun thing: Listen to Rarity's songs throughout FiM, hide the screen if you're doing so with a video, then imagine Adagio is the one singing.

Hearing Adagio singing about generosity is odd! I can definitely hear her when Moondancer speaks, too. The weird one is Octavia; I like to think there was a casting director who said, "Kazumi, you've done that haughty mid-Atlantic honey voice before, I bet you can't make it even more posh and British..."

Just plain hated that one. All I remember of it now was that I came away feeling like the lyrics were practically going down a You Will Now Feel Things checklist, done so cringe-inducingly that I skipped the video ahead. Sorta the same with Midnight in Me and Sunset's song in LoE, but that might just be me.

I didn't like the song or the episode the first time around, and after such a strong season, too. I thought they'd genuinely got Lady Gaga for the episode, and had basically written 22 minutes of 'Now Gaga's is awesome doing this, now Gaga is awesome doing that...' so I was quite surprised to learn it was actually Lena Hall behind Coloratura. A few weeks ago I watched the episode for the second time, and liked it a lot more, especially that song. I know what you mean about its checklist, but I liked it. I particularly appreciated that it was clearly Octavia playing cello, but only ever shown in silhouette. It probably wasn't the best example for that bit of the story, as it kind of is happy but also silly, as it takes the classic 'I'm only human' song and flips it.

I would have appreciated more in the episode though about how spectacle absolutely has its place as well, and isn't necessarily bad. People go to see a live show, after all, and from the back of one arena, one pony (or person) playing a piano on stage looks very much like another.

♪From the space-age♫, at that.

I saw that quote on a plaque in Iceland last Spring (on an olympic horsebreeding farm, no less, so if ponies take it to heart, they can go far!) and completely adored it. I considered having Daniel respond here that there are only footprints on the moon in the first place because Princess Luna once aimed too high, and that there was something to be said for knowing your limits, which is why the final line stipulates at least nothing lower than the sky. Decided against it, though, as I just couldn't phrase it right (and also liked the quote slightly too much to sabotage it).

As someone who writes parodies and appreciates this kind of thing in general... LOVE IT!

:pinkiehappy: Hopefully this will be the year when I have enough free time before December to record at least one siren Christmas song!

I was thinking, 'ok, I should end on something inspirational, as that's kind of what they're there for, hmmmm, but how do you actually inspire someone...? ...Of course, you paraphrase Manowar!'

8109304 Thanks!

It was originally just going to be about the sirens helping Daniel write the music, but as I got further into it they kept being distracted and talking about the show itself more, which then went even further onto the fandom itself. And then there were some moments of it going way deeper; so, 'more meta than I expected' would be my answer.

For what it's worth, the author's note here mentions that I'd had a couple of other ideas, and it was actually in relation to one of them that I thought of the story's title. So those are in some respects even more meta :twilightoops:

The mental grip the show can have on fans is bizarrely strong, that's for sure. Last June 22nd, I was obsessed with electronics, and reading my way through Iain M. Banks' Culture series. I haven't picked either up since, it's just all been ponies. I have to make a specific effort not to mention MLP around non-brony friends, because they're tired of hearing about it from me. :facehoof:

I like Sunset, for what it's worth. But being a siren fan primarily, she's quite often in the 'enemy' sort of role in the stories I like, or at least the romantic partner whose standards need to be met, with very little compromise on her own part. So I also see the bad bits of her sometimes. I also tend to think more of Rainbow Rocks than the two films that followed, and I think most of the stuff I read pays more attention to that one, so yes, she has more variety in those ones. But in Rainbow Rocks, well, none of the accusations are untrue, even if they might be intentionally oppositional readings of the situation. Again, that's not how I saw her when watching the films, those similarities just struck me a few days ago.

To Where And Back Again was largely a good episode. It may have spent too much time setting stuff up at the beginning, which would have been better spent at the climax of the second part, but it had plenty of great bits. Derpy's entrance, the cave of Fluttershies, and I really like the Starlight/Trixie interactions, and the dynamic they both had with Discord. I'm not at all keen on Thorax, but I could mostly ignore him, and I much preferred most of the episode to The Times, They Are A Changeling. But Chrysalis' return I thought was disappointing. Even then, though, I was glad that they said she was still doing what she was doing to feed the hive, rather than for selfishly wanting power. And they had her reject Starlight's offer, which was the saving grace. But, erm, yeah, I didn't like the climax and ending overall, and came up with my own headcanon to address it, which ended up making its way into another story.

8109392 Yes! :pinkiehappy:

I have watched those videos so much in the last two or three weeks; Newbie Dash in particular I might know off by heart. I was trying to write character dialogue last week and it just came out sounding like DWK's versions. In a couple of cases I much prefer the episode as he made it to as Hasbro made it; Pony Point-Of-View has a wonderful ending, and the conclusion of Newbie Dash might be the best resolution to the Wonderbolts love/hate thing I've ever heard.

8109403 Thank you very much! :twilightsmile:

One thing the story doesn't do so well is specify quite what's happened with the sirens in the past, because Sonata mentions that they're always there, and Adagio suggests that something has changed since Rainbow Rocks, making his music better. But then he's surprised and alarmed when he first hears them in the story, suggesting it's the first time, and he agrees to letting them guide him at the end like it's not happened before either. So I think he probably saw them as traditional muses in the past, something to aspire to and inspire him, whereas now they're taking a much more active role.

There are a couple of users on here who write blogs as conversations between themselves and one or more in-character ponies, as if they've internalised the characters and can't switch them off. I think most writers do that to some extent when writing, but sometimes it can become more permanent, I think, with one or more special characters. And if the character offers a different viewpoint to what you'd usually think of (even when it's still generated by the same subconscious), that could be harnessed for creativity, just as how creating some scenes can be 'insert characters into situation and watch the conversation write itself.'

I can certainly personally attest that one of the best guitar riffs I've ever written was remembering a Kerry King quote about standing in front of a wall of amplifiers cranked up so loud you can feel the force of the vibrations shaking you, and I was picturing myself in that situation and wondering what I'd actually then play. And the riff just came out in my head (I was on a bus at the time), so I wrote it down. So if your internal characterisation is solid enough, I guess it would be that but with 'what would they play?' instead of 'what would I play?'

So I think the full-circle approach of creating the characters who then in turn influence you would be possible for some people in some situations :twilightsmile:

I hadn't heard of Unsong before, but it looks fascinating! I will have to give that a read when my brain gives me a break from ponies.

Thanks a lot, I'm happy you were able to find something so profound in it underneath all the bickering and meta-commentary, and this was not a comment I expected to receive! :pinkiehappy:

8109597

Great song though, especially that 'come on, you're just making noise' prechorus. I just wish the chorus had been a bit more ballsy, like how she sings the last line.

'Just making noise' is particularly ironic from her for that song now that the noises have been pointed out, so maybe it really was deliberate. (that was what I meant with the trying to tell us something part; that she was voicing her own weakness and insecurities in a spectacularly subtle fashion for Trixie.)

I've never known anyone say Rainbow or Pinkie are the prettiest. Best for plenty of other reasons, sure, but not that. Sunset probably has the brightest eye-to-hair contrast, so it might be that? I'd say she's probably the prettiest of the seven, personally, but I'm not certain why, but I will happily admit that her bike jacket in the first two films is awesome. In fact, she has quite the power dress code going on; mixing the black of the heeled boots and that jacket with that strong magenta and orange of her top and skirt. Also, her eyes are the only part of her that aren't either black or somewhere between pink and yellow, so they stand out all the more - I wouldn't be surprised if that factored into making her look prettier.

It might just be a Eye of The Beholder kind of thing and she's just not that outstanding in my eyes. :twilightsheepish:
Well, that and it being another informed trait on top of her intelligence and arguably her 'toughness' (and maybe even the "Element of Empathy" thing some attribute to her) would be consistent with pattern, if nothing else.

They can be monstrous, true, but the argument is that if the CMCs aren't, then kids can also be not monstrous, and so their youth isn't an excuse to let them off for it

If you mean not let them off for it in terms of it still being the wrong thing to do, then I agree, but it's a pretty understandable reason for her behavior, doubly so if she kept those thoughts into adulthood.

Eeyup, that was those Totally Legit recap videos again, the one for A Hearth's Warming Tail. And, as in the story, I could understand it more if 'equality' was a big part of Starlight's character, even when reformed, but I don't think she's mentioned it since season five. So it just seems an almost intentionally-awkward choice to have to provide a backstory for, and I think her working more like Snowfall Frost in the show would have been more consistent (but perhaps less fun, because she really was great as the cult leader).

It was probably something she never really believed, not at heart, just something she drummed up to protect and justify herself in the face of a world built on something that had hurt her once. It's the kind of childish logic you can find adults applying sometimes when they don't want to face something, and when she (Apparently?) got over her fears of getting hurt again, she didn't need it anymore.

It probably wasn't the best example for that bit of the story, as it kind of is happy but also silly, as it takes the classic 'I'm only human' song and flips it.

I'm a little surprised Apples To The Core didn't come up, as it's the most stupidly happiness-inducing song in the last few years, I think.

I considered having Daniel respond here that there are only footprints on the moon in the first place because Princess Luna once aimed too high, and that there was something to be said for knowing your limits, which is why the final line stipulates at least nothing lower than the sky. Decided against it, though, as I just couldn't phrase it right (and also liked the quote slightly too much to sabotage it

I think there's something to be said for villains pursuing ambitions vs. heroes following their dreams (only difference being word choice), and it's the idea of escaping one's bounds and breaking through conceivable limits that might make the former so captivating. It's like, knowing what you can do is great and all, but I'm pretty sure there have been plenty of breakthroughs throughout history, things that were impossible until someone broke down the right wall. Maybe it doesn't always work, but I think the effort of striving for more is still worth pursuing, the only problem being when it's at someone's expense.

However, progress is virtually always at someone's expense, because someone or something may not be needed anymore if the right walls are broken down and the right ceilings rocketed through, so someone is always going to think those reaching past the sky are villains, just on different scales. For the record, though? Stuff like "You are all my slaves" (popular with FiM villains) usually can't be said to be reaching for anything so much as elevating oneself to ridiculous degrees, so we can at least rest safely in knowing that the bad guys are indeed still bad. :derpytongue2:

8109645 Honestly, I really didn't care for Chrysalis, even before To Where and Back Again. Mostly because her debut episode was pretty awful, and I just never felt like she measured up to the other antagonists of the show. Her motives were pretty generic, she had no backstory, you get the idea.

we did Phrygian in 15/8

Oh my goodness, I never caught that it was in a 15, and I love weird time signatures! As soon as I read that line, I went and listened to the song... yep, I love it twice as much now.

8109713

'Just making noise' is particularly ironic from her for that song now that the noises have been pointed out, so maybe it really was deliberate.

Could be! This is the girl who brought a flying-V guitar to a synthpop band, after all :twilightoops: And Trixie had been a fan favourite character for four years at that point but never had a song before, so they could have been storing up ideas the whole time and had them all come out at once :twilightsmile:

(that was what I meant with the trying to tell us something part; that she was voicing her own weakness and insecurities in a spectacularly subtle fashion for Trixie.)

:twilightblush: At least I got to talk about space and stuff?

It might just be a Eye of The Beholder kind of thing and she's just not that outstanding in my eyes.

So, to ask the question and make this weird... are there any other EG characters that are, in your eyes?

Well, that and it being another informed trait on top of her intelligence and arguably her 'toughness' (and maybe even the "Element of Empathy" thing some attribute to her) would be consistent with pattern, if nothing else.

I think it might be ok if we saw as much of her as we do the pony versions of the others; but she's a mane cast member and there's so little to go on. And yet there's far less with Adagio, and I wouldn't say many of her fan traits are informed rather than observed (although it's true we never once see her make an innuendo, kids' show and all, but that can be believably extrapolated from a lot of the behaviour we do see).

It was probably something she never really believed, not at heart, just something she drummed up to protect and justify herself in the face of a world built on something that had hurt her once. It's the kind of childish logic you can find adults applying sometimes when they don't want to face something, and when she (Apparently?) got over her fears of getting hurt again, she didn't need it anymore.

Ah, me and my expectations of logical consistency and rational thinking from villains :facehoof: As in the story, I'd say it could have been done better if that was the angle they properly committed to, and I think there would be quite a bit to say about it.

I'm a little surprised Apples To The Core didn't come up, as it's the most stupidly happiness-inducing song in the last few years, I think.

That one and Hearts As Strong As Horses were the two I really remember from season four, but I must have overlooked it when going through the Pony-wiki list of songs in the show. It was when I was looking for examples of cheesy songs; BBBFF sprang to mind immediately, but so did Love Is In Bloom (that's not to say I dislike either song, but, erm, showing that episode to people as the first MLP thing they see might put them off for life because of those two songs :twilightoops:), and I didn't want both examples from the same episode. So it had to be Let The Rainbow Remind You, which has a way of ruining the last five minutes of Twilight's Kingdom, along with the Rainbow Power forms :facehoof: And yeah, I must have glossed over Apples To The Core on the list.

It's a happy song, and I was humming it for a few days, but I didn't see it on the same scale of happiness as some of the others. Maybe because the idea of being related to Applejack is terrifying :twilightoops: (I like Applejack, and I like each member of her family, but them as a unit, especially with her always banging on about 'family time' and stuff, no, that's way too much for me). My overriding memory of the song is Apple Bloom with a massive smile, though, so it's definitely happiness-inducing.

I think there's something to be said for villains pursuing ambitions vs. heroes following their dreams (only difference being word choice), and it's the idea of escaping one's bounds and breaking through conceivable limits that might make the former so captivating. It's like, knowing what you can do is great and all, but I'm pretty sure there have been plenty of breakthroughs throughout history, things that were impossible until someone broke down the right wall. Maybe it doesn't always work, but I think the effort of striving for more is still worth pursuing, the only problem being when it's at someone's expense.

Absolutely. 'All boundaries are conventions, waiting to be transcended. One may transcend any convention if only one can first conceive of doing so.' That said, if you push something hard enough, either it will break or you will :twilightoops: I think with Rainbow Rocks, Daniel Ingram aimed for the highest target and hit it; he really did knock it out of the park with that one. But I think it may have been partly as it was a movie no one expected to do that well anyway, and so he was able to take risks he might not otherwise. And I can understand that he'd be more conscious of expectations when going into the movie; even just providing him with a live orchestra suggests that there are forms to be followed, things expected of cinematic movies that might not apply to the EG films, which are sort of movie, sort of episode. There's a refinement implied with an orchestra, I think, closer to the musical episodes and movies he's done since than to Rainbow Rocks, which was much more band-centric.

However, progress is virtually always at someone's expense, because someone or something may not be needed anymore if the right walls are broken down and the right ceilings rocketed through, so someone is always going to think those reaching past the sky are villains, just on different scales. For the record, though? Stuff like "You are all my slaves" (popular with FiM villains) usually can't be said to be reaching for anything so much as elevating oneself to ridiculous degrees, so we can at least rest safely in knowing that the bad guys are indeed still bad.

That's an interesting point; I think there are probably some net measures for assessing these things (like 'does it increase or decrease the total amount of suffering among all parties?'), but yes, most MLP villains want power and praise for the sake of power and praise, which is almost certainly not progress in most cases. Another reason why Chrysalis was the best Equestrian villain, with Discord in second place...

8109840 That's completely fair, each to their own :twilightsmile:

I liked that her motives were more altruistic than some of the other villains (it was more about taking care of her race than about her wanting power), and I thought she had a great song. But then I think she's probably the closest to Adagio, so maybe I just have a villain 'type.'

8110179 I'm so glad you got that! :pinkiehappy:

And now I'm doubly glad I went back and checked it again, because for months I've been thinking it's in 7/4 (I even taught it to one of my guitar students saying it was in 7/4 :facehoof:)

But I went back and counted through it beat by beat after writing that line, and it's actually one bar of 4/4 followed by one of 7/8, so yeah, 15/8 overall.

What makes it really, really confusing though, is that the drums in the second half of each bar are half a beat earlier than you might expect, so they're on the upbeats. I think that's just part of the groove there, sort of off-kilter with the bass riff holding everything together, but it might also be that the rest of the arrangement is in one bar of 4/4 followed by one of 7/8, and the drums are in one bar of 7/8 followed by one of 4/4, just to be really strange about it...!

Personally I'd adjust the drums so they're slightly more where you'd expect them, locked in with the accents on the bass, but that's me. Of the irregular ones, I really like 5/4, and 7/4 has grown on me a lot :twilightsmile:

8110509

So, to ask the question and make this weird... are there any other EG characters that are, in your eyes?

I think Rarity stands out a bit, but it might be bolstered by the way she animates and emotes a little more than pretty much everyone else with all the (characteristically) girly little motions she makes.
I like Aria's overall smooth, sleek look with the dark-ish hair and purple eyes, even if a little more black might have suited her better.
Gloriosa Daisy was pretty in her braided, flowy-haired style and the light, friendly look her loose shirt and sandals give off, give or take her scary moments (not helped by her green eyes and their connotations in this show...), but I really liked her look when she went off the deep end (enhanced by the green eyes!).
And then, of course, there's The Poof, that borderline Rapunzel thing she has going and her preference toward poofy shoulders making her look soft, huggable, and feminine in spite of those spikes or the more mature vibe she gives off.

I think it might be ok if we saw as much of her as we do the pony versions of the others; but she's a mane cast member and there's so little to go on. And yet there's far less with Adagio, and I wouldn't say many of her fan traits are informed rather than observed (although it's true we never once see her make an innuendo, kids' show and all, but that can be believably extrapolated from a lot of the behaviour we do see).

The sirens are specifically said to be beautiful as part of their exposition and it goes right along with their MO. What is there from which to extrapolate that Sunset is remotely prettier than anyone else? As far as I can tell, it's just the standard thing where the entire primary cast is naturally beautiful. :rainbowhuh:

That's an interesting point; I think there are probably some net measures for assessing these things (like 'does it increase or decrease the total amount of suffering among all parties?'), but yes, most MLP villains want power and praise for the sake of power and praise, which is almost certainly not progress in most cases. Another reason why Chrysalis was the best Equestrian villain, with Discord in second place...

The two who were, by all accounts, just building their own power* and/or torturing others for their own amusement? If you mean 'best' as in most cartoonishly evil and fun to watch, I can kind of see your point (Tirek was the most successful, yet surprisingly boring about it. :applejackunsure:), but Starlight introduced a conflict of ideology... which, naturally, wasn't explored a step further, possibly because some uncomfortable questions could have been asked.

*Chrysalis rejecting Starlight's offer even after it was clear her swarm was fed suggests to me that the 'food for my subjects' thing was just catty villain banter and she was only using them for her own ends, just like Starlight was with her own village, possibly even aware that they could have been doing that from the start and refusing to. Maybe she has a reason (believing love doesn't last so she might as well scarf it down from others, maybe someone hurt her once), maybe she doesn't, but it didn't look like she had more than complete domination in mind.

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I think Rarity stands out a bit, but it might be bolstered by the way she animates and emotes a little more than pretty much everyone else with all the (characteristically) girly little motions she makes.
I like Aria's overall smooth, sleek look with the dark-ish hair and purple eyes, even if a little more black might have suited her better.
Gloriosa Daisy was pretty in her braided, flowy-haired style and the light, friendly look her loose shirt and sandals give off, give or take her scary moments (not helped by her green eyes and their connotations in this show...), but I really liked her look when she went off the deep end (enhanced by the green eyes!).

I think that's a good answer :twilightsmile:

Rarity is one of the few with a markedly different colour of eyeshadow to her skin (probably to suggest that she's wearing a bit more makeup than the others, but perhaps also because her skin is white, and so a darker grey eyelid might just make her look old). And she and Fluttershy are the ones with different eye designs, and Rarity has more lashes than any of the others. I think her voice sounds more mature than the other five, too. And then as you say, the more traditionally feminine traits in her mannerisms.

I really like what they did with Aria's design, that it's one of the sirens, with all the femininity that term implies, who's wearing trousers, when none of the other cast members are. And her jacket is rough-cut, but it's sitting over a white top that curves almost like a corset, and her hairstyle then reflects that, with the front and back hanging loose but the sides tightly held in place. And her double belt is fantastic! And then when it comes to the final battle, she looks so different to everyone else. Pretty much all six of the Rainbooms have the same silhouette:

vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/mlp/images/a/ab/The_Rainbooms_looking_at_the_Dazzlings_performing_EG2.png/revision/latest?cb=20141029093705

Same ankle-height shoes, same skirt cut around mid-thigh, mostly matching sleeveless tops. Only Twilight has some slight differentiation, with the wraparound skirt and her higher collar. Whereas the three sirens have much more distinct looks between them, with three different boot cuts, skirt profiles and sleeve cuts (I suspect the idea was that the Rainbooms look more uniform because they're more 'one,' thanks to the magic of friendship, but the result is that the sirens are the much better display of 'different but still united,' and it makes each of them stand out more without ever making them look mismatched). And it's Aria that has the most wildly exotic design there, with the billowing skirt way longer at the back than the front, and a halterneck-type top that puts Sunset's to shame.

I see what you mean about Gloriosa, I think you're right to call her look friendly, that's the word I think fits best. I did find it weird trying to work out how old she was meant to be, though. Funny how her green eyes looked out of place, yet Sunset's are often considered an attractive attribute. I liked her christmas tree-type villain hair, but I found the mask really off-putting, personally, it made her eyes look insectoid.

And then, of course, there's The Poof, that borderline Rapunzel thing she has going and her preference toward poofy shoulders making her look soft, huggable, and feminine in spite of those spikes or the more mature vibe she gives off.

I think hair looks nice, I think more hair looks nicer, and I therefore think Adagio looks nicest of all. Whether in her usual daywear or her jeans and hoodie (and when people go on about her hips, I think they forget her opening scene, which instead emphasises her supermodel legs), there isn't much of a statement she needs to make beyond her hair. I really like her padded shoulders too! I only just noticed that her final battle outfit replaces her usual hairband for one with even bigger spikes, not far off a crown :pinkiehappy:

The sirens are specifically said to be beautiful as part of their exposition and it goes right along with their MO. What is there from which to extrapolate that Sunset is remotely prettier than anyone else? As far as I can tell, it's just the standard thing where the entire primary cast is naturally beautiful.

So it does say that about them, I'd misremembered it as only mentioning that their voices were beautiful :rainbowhuh: Might be her behaviour, too; she spends most of Rainbow Rocks being self-critical while also clearly trying to help, which tends to provoke an audience reaction of wanting to comfort.

The two who were, by all accounts, just building their own power* and/or torturing others for their own amusement? If you mean 'best' as in most cartoonishly evil and fun to watch, I can kind of see your point (Tirek was the most successful, yet surprisingly boring about it. :applejackunsure:), but Starlight introduced a conflict of ideology... which, naturally, wasn't explored a step further, possibly because some uncomfortable questions could have been asked.

'Best' in this context meaning 'not just after power to lord it over others, and thus a bit different and interesting.' Even if you don't believe Chrysalis, she made more of an effort inventing that story than Nightmare Moon, Sombra or Tirek did (or Adagio :fluttercry:). There are ideological conflicts that could have come from Chrysalis and Discord, but they're even harder to explore in a kids' show (order vs chaos, for example, being the backbone conflict in Babylon 5 and Warhammer 40K, and the issues surrounding changelings needing to feed on ponies and the best way to explore their survival have been explored in depth in quite a few stories on here), so I can understand why they were avoided.

*Chrysalis rejecting Starlight's offer even after it was clear her swarm was fed suggests to me that the 'food for my subjects' thing was just catty villain banter and she was only using them for her own ends, just like Starlight was with her own village, possibly even aware that they could have been doing that from the start and refusing to. Maybe she has a reason (believing love doesn't last so she might as well scarf it down from others, maybe someone hurt her once), maybe she doesn't, but it didn't look like she had more than complete domination in mind.

I don't think that's in her interest. As a shapeshifter, she's almost more hampered having an army than not. I mean, she could have stayed as Cadence indefinitely, or quietly replaced Celestia and calmly enjoyed ultimate power (I appreciate she didn't choose to reveal herself but had her hand forced, but if she'd done it six months earlier, away from the wedding, the heightened security and public scrutiny, she could have been much more subtle about it). Feeding herself with enough love to live happily ever after would have been really easy in seasons two or six, but instead she went with her grand plan so that her whole hive could feed.

And consider that Thorax betrayed her when she was closer to victory than the changelings had ever been before - they had subdued five alicorns, replaced every figure of influence, and were on the eve of all the food (and power) they could ever dream of, until... Bam. Snatched from her grasp, and in front of her hive, and her enemies, no less. She never suggests that the changelings aren't better off with Starlight, but that doesn't mean she personally will be forgiving.

8111211

There are ideological conflicts that could have come from Chrysalis and Discord, but they're even harder to explore in a kids' show (order vs chaos, for example, being the backbone conflict in Babylon 5 and Warhammer 40K, and the issues surrounding changelings needing to feed on ponies and the best way to explore their survival have been explored in depth in quite a few stories on here), so I can understand why they were avoided.

It's not that there wasn't room for ideological conflict from them, it's that it just wasn't there. Nothing was said, nothing was implied, because neither villain cared, whereas Starlight openly imposed hers, even getting Twilight to say some questionable things in the attempt to refute it.

I think Starlight's equality thing is a little complicated for kids, and the changeling thing was addressed directly with Thorax's intro episode, I think. We might even get something noting the necessity and inevitability of some amount of chaos in a future Discord episode, and I don't think any of them couldn't have been handled sooner than now.

I don't think that's in her interest. As a shapeshifter, she's almost more hampered having an army than not. I mean, she could have stayed as Cadence indefinitely, or quietly replaced Celestia and calmly enjoyed ultimate power (I appreciate she didn't choose to reveal herself but had her hand forced, but if she'd done it six months earlier, away from the wedding, the heightened security and public scrutiny, she could have been much more subtle about it). Feeding herself with enough love to live happily ever after would have been really easy in seasons two or six, but instead she went with her grand plan so that her whole hive could feed.

Given her abysmal imitation of Cadence, I'm not sure how far she'd actually get just imitating a ruler alone, doubly so after Luna's return. Granted, ponies bought it, but you can't exactly say "Just pre-wedding jitters" forever.
The impression I got was that she didn't just want to feed herself or even just be powerful, but specifically wanted to reign over someone, have a force under her command, given the specific emphasis Starlight put on leader talk, which one imagines wouldn't have been there if it weren't relevant to the episode.

And consider that Thorax betrayed her when she was closer to victory than the changelings had ever been before - they had subdued five alicorns, replaced every figure of influence, and were on the eve of all the food (and power) they could ever dream of, until... Bam. Snatched from her grasp, and in front of her hive, and her enemies, no less. She never suggests that the changelings aren't better off with Starlight, but that doesn't mean she personally will be forgiving.

I could be remembering wrong (haven't gone back to see episodes again since maybe Season 4), but didn't Thorax leave long before the body-snatchers plan? :rainbowhuh:
Also, her still being angry at Starlight even if she thinks the swarm might be better off only supports the idea that she was just using them.

8111346

It's not that there wasn't room for ideological conflict from them, it's that it just wasn't there. Nothing was said, nothing was implied, because neither villain cared, whereas Starlight openly imposed hers, even getting Twilight to say some questionable things in the attempt to refute it.

I think Starlight's equality thing is a little complicated for kids, and the changeling thing was addressed directly with Thorax's intro episode, I think. We might even get something noting the necessity and inevitability of some amount of chaos in a future Discord episode, and I don't think any of them couldn't have been handled sooner than now.

I don't think Thorax's episode cleared all that much up, and on the whole may have done more harm than good. The problem with changelings is that they're a parasitic (or possibly predator, I'm not completely sure what the distinction is but I think since they need their food to be alive and remain that way, they're a parasite) species, and by definition take without giving. So there isn't really a way they can coexist with ponies; either the changelings will prey on the ponies unseen and take love from them while giving nothing back, or they try to openly integrate into pony society and feed on love freely given, which, as they have no other food source, they'd starve without, and thus are only one Sombra-type pony ruler away from enslavement.

And that could have been so interesting to go over and sort out, and look at how ponies don't want to be preyed on, and changelings know that but still have to eat, and instead we were told 'nope, we're having none of that, they don't actually need to eat love, and Chrysalis is just mean.' And it's like, well, you guys are the show writers, so of course you absolutely have the right to overwrite all fan headcanons, but... If you're going to do that, couldn't you have picked something a bit better to overwrite them with? So it feels like an upgrade? Instead of taking all that wealth of opportunity and giving us 'nope, she's mean, and by the way these guys are clearly good now because dark things are scary but now they're colourful so they're good and I'm Twilight Sparkle and I endorse this message of judging books by their covers 'cause I'm a good librarian like that.'

That said, Starlight introducing a conflict of ideology was a great thing, and I agree she was furthest ahead of all MLP villains in that respect. It was completely mishandled, as we said earlier, but at least they tried that with her.

Given her abysmal imitation of Cadence, I'm not sure how far she'd actually get just imitating a ruler alone, doubly so after Luna's return. Granted, ponies bought it, but you can't exactly say "Just pre-wedding jitters" forever.

The impression I got was that she didn't just want to feed herself or even just be powerful, but specifically wanted to reign over someone, have a force under her command, given the specific emphasis Starlight put on leader talk, which one imagines wouldn't have been there if it weren't relevant to the episode.

There is a fan theory I've seen discussed before that Chrysalis may have played Cadence that way not out of poor acting ability, but as a deliberate choice to rile up Twilight. The only other pony that knew the real Cadence, after all, was mind-controlled at the time, and she did have the perfect excuse with being bridezilla, so she didn't have much to lose in trying. And if that was her plan, then it works, and by the end of part I Twilight is completely alienated from her friends, her brother and her mentor, effectively neutralising the element of Magic, and the combined power of the elements of Harmony as a whole. Given that that's what brought down the last two big villains (as commemorated by stained glass windows in the palace where Chrysalis has been hanging out in the lead up to the wedding), that seems a smart precaution. And it works, and the elements of Harmony do not save the day.

Of course, Cadence gets free and that saves the day - I'd need to rewatch the episode to be sure, but I don't think it's Twilight who breaks Cadence out of her cell in a way she couldn't have achieved on her own, so I don't think imprisoning Twilight costs Chrysalis anything. She just should have imprisoned the real Cadence a lot better or bumped her off entirely.

And she sort of is ruling over plenty of people already; I know, every tyrant wants more power, but still I think if she really wanted that she could have achieved it much more easily with deception, and if she really was that bad at acting, then perhaps having a few other changelings infiltrate everyone else around and impersonate half the royal court would be an option, so there was no one left to see how unlike the real Cadence she was.

Thing is, Starlight had known Chrysalis for about two minutes when she said that line, so I don't see how she'd get some profound insight into Chrysalis' true mindset without elements 7 and 8 again. It might be that it takes a former villain to see the true motives of a current one, but it's just as likely that Starlight's just projecting herself onto Chrysalis and assuming a lot of stuff that's true for herself and not at all for Chrysalis.

I could be remembering wrong (haven't gone back to see episodes again since maybe Season 4), but didn't Thorax leave long before the body-snatchers plan?
Also, her still being angry at Starlight even if she thinks the swarm might be better off only supports the idea that she was just using them.

Yeah I think he sneaks off after the wedding, if I remember rightly. And I think it's fine he did his own thing in a cave for a few years, or even that he defected after a while. But he then led ponies to the heart of her hive and helped distract her while Starlight tried to break the throne and undo all Chrysalis' and the changelings' hard work; that's the betrayal I mean.

8111737

There is a fan theory I've seen discussed before that Chrysalis may have played Cadence that way not out of poor acting ability, but as a deliberate choice to rile up Twilight. The only other pony that knew the real Cadence, after all, was mind-controlled at the time, and she did have the perfect excuse with being bridezilla, so she didn't have much to lose in trying. And if that was her plan, then it works, and by the end of part I Twilight is completely alienated from her friends, her brother and her mentor, effectively neutralising the element of Magic, and the combined power of the elements of Harmony as a whole. Given that that's what brought down the last two big villains (as commemorated by stained glass windows in the palace where Chrysalis has been hanging out in the lead up to the wedding), that seems a smart precaution. And it works, and the elements of Harmony do not save the day.

Theories are nice, but they almost always rely on a bunch of assumptions. In this case, those are that she knew about Twilight at all, made sure that absolutely no one else Cadence knew (Twilight's parents, perhaps, having worked for them for years?) would be around, no one she got to know just living in Canterlot (which may include a lot of palace staff), and that Twilight's friends (supposedly bound by their extremely powerful friendship) would all take her side over Twilight's. That it worked anyway doesn't make it any less preposterous a thing to try, but I guess Chrysalis has Pinkie's kind of luck. :applejackunsure:

Of course, Cadence gets free and that saves the day - I'd need to rewatch the episode to be sure, but I don't think it's Twilight who breaks Cadence out of her cell in a way she couldn't have achieved on her own, so I don't think imprisoning Twilight costs Chrysalis anything. She just should have imprisoned the real Cadence a lot better or bumped her off entirely.

Twilight breaks down a crystal wall in a fit of rage after Chrysalis taunts her, freeing Cadence in a way that she apparently couldn't have achieved on her own. Then Chrysalis stands there and gloats, not making even the barest effort to intervene as the two whose primary abilities up to now have been love power and shields that propel a whole city's worth of invaders draw closer, telling them there's nothing they can do now. Pretty sure she didn't do anything as Twilight freed them from the goo, either.

In her defense (or not, I'm honestly not sure), I think the case could be made that there was about as much reason to think them rubbing their horns together would stop the entire invasion as there was to think her plan (which she went with rather than mimicking Twilight or having a drone do it to get her arrested, or even abducting her or any other bearer right away) had any hope of working at all.

And she sort of is ruling over plenty of people already; I know, every tyrant wants more power, but still I think if she really wanted that she could have achieved it much more easily with deception, and if she really was that bad at acting, then perhaps having a few other changelings infiltrate everyone else around and impersonate half the royal court would be an option, so there was no one left to see how unlike the real Cadence she was.

Using other changelings to cover for her own poor acting requires acknowledgement of her own failings, which I'm not sure she ever does. That might have been what led her to refuse Starlight's offer, actually, but as with Starlight's own refusal having had a much goofier reason than first speculated, time may tell. :applejackunsure:

Thing is, Starlight had known Chrysalis for about two minutes when she said that line, so I don't see how she'd get some profound insight into Chrysalis' true mindset without elements 7 and 8 again. It might be that it takes a former villain to see the true motives of a current one, but it's just as likely that Starlight's just projecting herself onto Chrysalis and assuming a lot of stuff that's true for herself and not at all for Chrysalis.

Could be, but given Chrysalis's behavior, Starlight's theory (which, as indicated above, we can't assume to be true) makes a bit more sense than most of the other explanations so far. And that was giving Chrysalis the benefit of the doubt, if I remember right, that Chrysalis wanted to be a good leader for the swarm, not just the one leading it for herself. That that didn't appeal to her could lean either way; her not caring about the swarm or thinking Starlight (who's only led a village a fraction the size of the swarm) doesn't really understand her situation and taking offense.

Yeah I think he sneaks off after the wedding, if I remember rightly. And I think it's fine he did his own thing in a cave for a few years, or even that he defected after a while. But he then led ponies to the heart of her hive and helped distract her while Starlight tried to break the throne and undo all Chrysalis' and the changelings' hard work; that's the betrayal I mean.

So, he (apparently) had the courage and strength of will* to defect from and depose his (apparently) crazy, selfish tyrant of a queen when none of the others did. I hadn't really noticed that angle before now, but I guess with all the rest just being drones, he was more fit than any of them to step up.

This conversation has left me thinking higher of Thorax and lesser of Chrysalis, cop-out love-sharing and hideous bug-moose bodies aside. :applejackconfused:

*That said, I can't remember a single line of his dialogue even from his most recent appearance, couldn't tell you what his personality was, and don't know that I'm not just badly misinterpreting his actions based on the context.

Theories are nice, but they almost always rely on a bunch of assumptions.

This is true :twilightoops:

In this case, those are that she knew about Twilight at all, made sure that absolutely no one else Cadence knew (Twilight's parents, perhaps, having worked for them for years?) would be around, no one she got to know just living in Canterlot (which may include a lot of palace staff), and that Twilight's friends (supposedly bound by their extremely powerful friendship) would all take her side over Twilight's. That it worked anyway doesn't make it any less preposterous a thing to try, but I guess Chrysalis has Pinkie's kind of luck.

I think she could excuse most of that away as wedding jitters; if the noble and wise Princess Celestia bought that, then I suspect Twilight's parents would. And if not, she might be able to bewitch them in the same way as Shining Armor if really necessary.

Then Chrysalis stands there and gloats, not making even the barest effort to intervene as the two whose primary abilities up to now have been love power and shields that propel a whole city's worth of invaders draw closer, telling them there's nothing they can do now.

Ok, that was very stupid on her part. She did send the three bridesmaids to stop them, and she only needed to stall them for a bit, but still.

In her defense (or not, I'm honestly not sure), I think the case could be made that there was about as much reason to think them rubbing their horns together would stop the entire invasion as there was to think her plan (which she went with rather than mimicking Twilight or having a drone do it to get her arrested, or even abducting her or any other bearer right away) had any hope of working at all.

True, though I think mimicking Twilight or having a drone get arrested as her would mean fooling Celestia, who has known Twilight for much longer than Chrysalis has, and so would be likely to see through any deception there. Likewise, replacing any bearer would have warned the others that something was up (look how quickly Starlight realises there's something wrong in the later appearance), where only Cadence (and Shining Armor, but you know, gender stereotypes :twilightoops:) has the built-in bridezilla excuse.

But yes, there were probably other things Chrysalis could have done to accomplish the same task in an easier or more reliable manner.

Using other changelings to cover for her own poor acting requires acknowledgement of her own failings, which I'm not sure she ever does. That might have been what led her to refuse Starlight's offer, actually, but as with Starlight's own refusal having had a much goofier reason than first speculated, time may tell.

True, though her downfall in both cases is quite heavy on deus ex machina, so I'm not sure how many failings she has that need acknowledging. Though I have just had a story idea, in which she could admit she mostly hammed up her performance as Cadence because it was fun, which would be irresponsible and callous (given the changeling lives at stake on her mission's success) and a much less happy angle than I'd usually go for, but I think it might make a good story.

Could be, but given Chrysalis's behavior, Starlight's theory (which, as indicated above, we can't assume to be true) makes a bit more sense than most of the other explanations so far. And that was giving Chrysalis the benefit of the doubt, if I remember right, that Chrysalis wanted to be a good leader for the swarm, not just the one leading it for herself. That that didn't appeal to her could lean either way; her not caring about the swarm or thinking Starlight (who's only led a village a fraction the size of the swarm) doesn't really understand her situation and taking offense.

Could be :twilightoops: I can't think of much else to say to this, but, could be, and more light may be shed on it in the future.

So, he (apparently) had the courage and strength of will* to defect from and depose his (apparently) crazy, selfish tyrant of a queen when none of the others did. I hadn't really noticed that angle before now, but I guess with all the rest just being drones, he was more fit than any of them to step up.

This conversation has left me thinking higher of Thorax and lesser of Chrysalis, cop-out love-sharing and hideous bug-moose bodies aside. :applejackconfused:

*That said, I can't remember a single line of his dialogue even from his most recent appearance, couldn't tell you what his personality was, and don't know that I'm not just badly misinterpreting his actions based on the context.

To some extent, on paper, yeah. But there's a flashback in his episode which shows he was the only nice changeling around, right from birth. So it's less that he's the only one brave enough to stand up to her, and more that he's the only one who wants to, because he's defective by changeling standards. And while it no doubt takes some courage to desert your unit in battle (with all the repercussions that might follow if they ever find you again), he ran away from a fight and hid in a cave for months/years. In his defence, it's implied that it's because he's too nice to want to fight, rather than afraid to.

He then returns to the hive only when he absolutely has to (he's being fed by the crystal ponies, but if the changelings have replaced every important pony important in the crystal palace, he might not be safe there for long). So, despite (in his/ponies' view) him having found a better way for changelings to live, he doesn't share that with the rest of the (apparently suffering) hive until he's forced to. Then he bumbles through it mostly by luck (although gets lost a lot too), his main achievement being leading Starlight to the throne room and then him getting captured to create a distraction.

Not entirely without merit, for sure. But the wimpiest and most accidental hero (not to mention new leader) in the show so far, I'd say.

8113571

I think she could excuse most of that away as wedding jitters; if the noble and wise Princess Celestia bought that, then I suspect Twilight's parents would. And if not, she might be able to bewitch them in the same way as Shining Armor if really necessary.

I'm not sure "noble and wise" means "particularly perceptive," especially with all the blunders we've seen from her. Still, given that Twilight apparently spends even less time around her own family than she does Celestia, maybe it worked out fine?

True, though I think mimicking Twilight or having a drone get arrested as her would mean fooling Celestia, who has known Twilight for much longer than Chrysalis has, and so would be likely to see through any deception there. Likewise, replacing any bearer would have warned the others that something was up (look how quickly Starlight realises there's something wrong in the later appearance), where only Cadence (and Shining Armor, but you know, gender stereotypes :twilightoops:) has the built-in bridezilla excuse.

Given that Celestia easily bought Twilight freaking out and chastised her for it, I have to think it'd be the same no matter what a changeling did. :applejackunsure:

That, and Starlight saw through the other changelings in a hurry because it seems that, lacking an understanding of pony (that is, decent and civilized) behavior, changelings are universally terrible actors. I don't think the plan to replace all the leaders would have even worked in the long run, because it hinged on everyone adoring those ponies and the changelings apparently couldn't naturally pull off likable behavior to save their lives.

True, though her downfall in both cases is quite heavy on deus ex machina, so I'm not sure how many failings she has that need acknowledging.

Terrible acting, questionable planning skills, really questionable quick thinking ability, possibly topped off with being the kind of person that would lie to her swarm entirely for the sake of her personal interests?
Granted, at least she was more proactive in actually trying to stop the threat the second time around.

To some extent, on paper, yeah. But there's a flashback in his episode which shows he was the only nice changeling around, right from birth. So it's less that he's the only one brave enough to stand up to her, and more that he's the only one who wants to, because he's defective by changeling standards. And while it no doubt takes some courage to desert your unit in battle (with all the repercussions that might follow if they ever find you again), he ran away from a fight and hid in a cave for months/years. In his defence, it's implied that it's because he's too nice to want to fight, rather than afraid to.
He then returns to the hive only when he absolutely has to (he's being fed by the crystal ponies, but if the changelings have replaced every important pony important in the crystal palace, he might not be safe there for long). So, despite (in his/ponies' view) him having found a better way for changelings to live, he doesn't share that with the rest of the (apparently suffering) hive until he's forced to. Then he bumbles through it mostly by luck (although gets lost a lot too), his main achievement being leading Starlight to the throne room and then him getting captured to create a distraction.
Not entirely without merit, for sure. But the wimpiest and most accidental hero (not to mention new leader) in the show so far, I'd say.

By that description, he sounds like Fluttershy's brand of brave; only doing these things because they feel they have to, too nice to hurt someone (even Chrysalis) when given the choice to run away instead (which is different from just being bold enough to stand up to her on his own). This still leaves him looking better than Chrysalis to lead the swarm, if only because we know from the start that he has more compassion for the swarm than Chrysalis seems to (not having looked remotely pleased that they were all fully fed for once).

Having said that, we know that Chrysalis, for all her faults, held the swarm together give or take apparent mutants like Thorax, and thinking of how Pipsqeak (I think was the British colt's name?) relied entirely on the CMC and later Diamond Tiara to do pretty much anything as class president, I'm not sure we can say the guy with zero leadership experience/training/idea of what he's doing will automatically lead them to greatness without difficulty. It would fit right along with the running theme of good guys usually winning by sheer virtue of being good guys, but I wouldn't count on it, especially as he came across as kind of uncertain when Twilight directly asked him how it was going. He has every right to be doubtful with such sudden change thrust upon him, but still...

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I'm not sure "noble and wise" means "particularly perceptive," especially with all the blunders we've seen from her. Still, given that Twilight apparently spends even less time around her own family than she does Celestia, maybe it worked out fine?

I agree, but I don't think Chrysalis is wrong to guess that 'particularly perceptive' might be a quality of the princess and plan accordingly, better safe than sorry.

Given that Celestia easily bought Twilight freaking out and chastised her for it, I have to think it'd be the same no matter what a changeling did.

I'm not sure, I mean, her freak out was in-character for her, so much so in fact that it didn't raise alarm bells with Celestia enough to be taken seriously.

That, and Starlight saw through the other changelings in a hurry because it seems that, lacking an understanding of pony (that is, decent and civilized) behavior, changelings are universally terrible actors. I don't think the plan to replace all the leaders would have even worked in the long run, because it hinged on everyone adoring those ponies and the changelings apparently couldn't naturally pull off likable behavior to save their lives

Yep, that may well be true :twilightoops:

It's possible that the populations would have enough residual love towards what the authority figures used to be like until they were replaced that the changelings would last for a while, either enough to make the effort worthwhile, or enough to sustain them while their continued exposure to ponies lets them study them and learn to act better, but it's not likely.

really questionable quick thinking ability

Definitely this one! I think this may be the chief difference between her as a villain and Adagio; that Chrysalis sets everything up long in advance and isn't good at deviating from her plan even when obstacles crop up, where Adagio shows up and twists things around her as she goes. That said, Chrysalis did strike down Celestia when prompted, and I don't know if that would have been the plan all along or just made itself necessary at the time. And they both do the freezing up like rabbits in the headlights thing a few second before they're hit with finishing blows, when there might still have been things they could do to stop it if they'd been on their toes enough (might; it'd be a long shot, but perhaps better than nothing at all).

By that description, he sounds like Fluttershy's brand of brave; only doing these things because they feel they have to, too nice to hurt someone (even Chrysalis) when given the choice to run away instead (which is different from just being bold enough to stand up to her on his own). This still leaves him looking better than Chrysalis to lead the swarm, if only because we know from the start that he has more compassion for the swarm than Chrysalis seems to (not having looked remotely pleased that they were all fully fed for once).

I'm not sure; Thorax only really steps up when he himself is threatened, when Fluttershy ultimately faces her fear (we mean Dragonshy, right?) when other options are exhausted, but she still isn't personally in danger (if I remember rightly). Which to me rather suggests he has cowardice to the point of selfishness.

Having said that, we know that Chrysalis, for all her faults, held the swarm together give or take apparent mutants like Thorax, and thinking of how Pipsqeak (I think was the British colt's name?) relied entirely on the CMC and later Diamond Tiara to do pretty much anything as class president, I'm not sure we can say the guy with zero leadership experience/training/idea of what he's doing will automatically lead them to greatness without difficulty. It would fit right along with the running theme of good guys usually winning by sheer virtue of being good guys, but I wouldn't count on it, especially as he came across as kind of uncertain when Twilight directly asked him how it was going. He has every right to be doubtful with such sudden change thrust upon him, but still...

A compassionate leader versus a strong one is kind of the oldest debate there is; and the reality is that they're probably both best suited to different circumstances and each have their strengths and weaknesses. They could definitely conquer more under Chrysalis, but assimilate more under Thorax. My own preference lies with charisma and great songs, but...

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I'm not sure, I mean, her freak out was in-character for her, so much so in fact that it didn't raise alarm bells with Celestia enough to be taken seriously.

I guess that's fair, it was just that season in which she resorted to mind control over being tardy. That in mind, however, I think a changeling just making a nuisance of itself might not be considered out of character for her either, especially as Twilight had shown her friends she was already stressed the second she heard about the wedding. That, and if Cadence being a completely different person doesn't raise so much as an eyebrow from anyone else, they could probably come up with an excuse for Twilight in their own minds too.

Definitely this one!

All of them have something backing them up. It's why I mentioned them in the first place.

-Terrible acting, as seen in her Cadence impression. As with Sunset Shimmer's reign, I sort of get the impression that it only worked out for her because everypony around her had the idiot ball stuck to their heads. :applejackunsure:

-Questionable planning skills, in that her plans (in her goofs when handling the wedding and the replace-everyone plan not having much long-term hope) have some holes in them from the start. (like her legs!)

-Really questionable quick thinking ability, as outlined.

That said, Chrysalis did strike down Celestia when prompted, and I don't know if that would have been the plan all along or just made itself necessary at the time. And they both do the freezing up like rabbits in the headlights thing a few second before they're hit with finishing blows, when there might still have been things they could do to stop it if they'd been on their toes enough (might; it'd be a long shot, but perhaps better than nothing at all).

Fighting Celestia, given that it only happened because Cadence and Twilight came back, was definitely not part of her plan, the look on her face says she didn't think she could win, but she lucked out in that gorging on love for the past while had left her stronger. The difference between her and Adagio freezing up is that Chrysalis just stood there and watched, telling them it wouldn't work where the sirens were completely frozen offscreen as Sunset took her time in starting up the rainbow beam.
Seriously, if the villains didn't politely wait for their enemies every time (Tirek is the only one that tried, but only when it was too late), even the omnipotent Friendship Laser would be a complete joke. :applejackunsure:

-possibly topped off with being the kind of person that would lie to her swarm entirely for the sake of her personal interests.
We can't be absolutely sure of this one, but if anyone in the world knew, it would have been the changeling queen herself, and if she knew and just didn't want to share on top of not caring at all that her swarm was now permanently taken care of in terms of food...?

I'm not sure; Thorax only really steps up when he himself is threatened, when Fluttershy ultimately faces her fear (we mean Dragonshy, right?) when other options are exhausted, but she still isn't personally in danger (if I remember rightly). Which to me rather suggests he has cowardice to the point of selfishness.

Given that he was in on the Friendship Train several episodes before and the entire world (and everyone he'd grown to care about in the Crystal Empire) was threatened just as much, I think that's a bit of a stretch. Even if it's true (and him being on the heroes' side, it's a pretty safe bet that it's not), it means he won't go picking fights like Chrysalis did.

They could definitely conquer more under Chrysalis, but assimilate more under Thorax. My own preference lies with charisma and great songs, but...

But as those don't help one's subjects much in the long run and assimilation works a lot better with the Friendship Pilgrimages Twilight and the rest are doing to spread their philosophy to wherever the map sends them, Thorax is probably the better bug for the job? That's still assuming he isn't hopelessly incompetent, but at the rate she was going, Chrysalis was probably going to lead them to ruin anyway sooner or later.

I dare dream that her reform could come with Thorax not knowing what he's doing, her seeing that, and being convinced to come back to share her expertise (in keeping the swarm together, not conquering nations) for the sake of the swarm, in which she could still be as haughty and hilarious as she liked, they just wouldn't be following her orders anymore. Of course, this sets the two up for a king-and-queen dynamic and I don't think a romance between them would be handled well, no matter how much the joint rulers of the changelings being in love would fit. :twilightoops:

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I guess that's fair, it was just that season in which she resorted to mind control over being tardy. That in mind, however, I think a changeling just making a nuisance of itself might not be considered out of character for her either, especially as Twilight had shown her friends she was already stressed the second she heard about the wedding. That, and if Cadence being a completely different person doesn't raise so much as an eyebrow from anyone else, they could probably come up with an excuse for Twilight in their own minds too.

True, there is a good chance it would have passed ultimately unremarked on. Especially since the implication at this point is that nopony knows about the changelings (I'm guessing from now no one suspected Cadence might not be herself, not even Twilight, and Cadence then had to explain it to everypony in the hall when she got there).

Terrible acting, as seen in her Cadence impression. As with Sunset Shimmer's reign, I sort of get the impression that it only worked out for her because everypony around her had the idiot ball stuck to their heads

Unfortunately, I think this is a TV trope we're stuck with (as you said, it's a horrible reason to pull out, but...). It's not even a kids' show thing (though they may be even worse about it); so many times when a character is not completely sincere about something, the audience gets it and the other characters don't. I remember after watching Rainbow Rocks for the first time wondering how the sirens managed such a perfect, flawless and naturally human infiltration of CHS. Then I watched it again and that notion disappeared completely! Although at least on that occasion the other side cottoned onto it within the first few minutes, rather than, as you say, Chrysalis and Sunset, which took a lot longer.

So I tend to think all parties there had the idiot ball; Chrysalis for her poor acting and everypony else for not picking up on it. I put it down to plot necessity, unfortunately, and so I try not to hold it against either side.

Questionable planning skills, in that her plans (in her goofs when handling the wedding and the replace-everyone plan not having much long-term hope) have some holes in them from the start. (like her legs!)

Yeah, they're certainly not perfect, but I still think they could have been workable, if not for a few problems. I totally only just realised that Chrysalis never considered the hostage option; that she only had to threaten to hurt any of the helpless important ponies in their cocoons to force Starlight to back off. It all went down so fast, though, I guess she thought her position was too strong to need that kind of leverage.

...Thinking about it, the changeling infiltration method is doomed from the start, on whatever scale. If they can't act nice enough to be lovable (ironically the only changeling who is a decent actor is Thorax, which does suggest that it's their 'inhumanity' that makes them unconvincing), then all they can do is steal love meant for others until the way they act when disguised as those others is so off-putting that the love dries up (meaning not just with their replacing the royalty plan, but with every individual infiltration ever). It's not a long-term strategy, by definition. You'd hope they'd know that by now (I guess as a strategy it's sustainable if you move on quickly, staying only a short time in each disguise; but even that is likely to raise alarm bells when the originals return), so possibly their replace everypony important plan was only meant to be a short-term stepping stone to begin with?

Fighting Celestia, given that it only happened because Cadence and Twilight came back, was definitely not part of her plan, the look on her face says she didn't think she could win, but she lucked out in that gorging on love for the past while had left her stronger.

Like, maybe, given that effect, they'd only need to be disguised as the ruling ponies for a short time before they'd be too powerful to stop with whatever force could be thrown at them?

Seriously, if the villains didn't politely wait for their enemies every time (Tirek is the only one that tried, but only when it was too late), even the omnipotent Friendship Laser would be a complete joke.

True! Hopefully sooner or later a villain will completely puncture that :twilightoops:

-possibly topped off with being the kind of person that would lie to her swarm entirely for the sake of her personal interests.
We can't be absolutely sure of this one, but if anyone in the world knew, it would have been the changeling queen herself, and if she knew and just didn't want to share on top of not caring at all that her swarm was now permanently taken care of in terms of food...?

I just can't get my head around this one. I find it inconceivable that no changeling had ever thought of sharing love before, in the entire history of their race ever. Because once one does, the others see that it works, and immediately follow suit. So I completely agree, if any of them knew, it would be Chrysalis.

Given that he was in on the Friendship Train several episodes before and the entire world (and everyone he'd grown to care about in the Crystal Empire) was threatened just as much, I think that's a bit of a stretch. Even if it's true (and him being on the heroes' side, it's a pretty safe bet that it's not), it means he won't go picking fights like Chrysalis did.

That's a fair point. It does run the risk of him being too slow to defend, though. If he'd pre-empted the changelings, and gone back to the hive earlier to tell them about his better way, they would have avoided the whole kidnapping ordeal. And not picking fights is good, but a leader does need to have the strength to stand up for their principles.

But anyway, I'm sure he'll make a great leader, and the changelings will be shown to be notably happier under his rule.

But as those don't help one's subjects much in the long run and assimilation works a lot better with the Friendship Pilgrimages Twilight and the rest are doing to spread their philosophy to wherever the map sends them, Thorax is probably the better bug for the job? That's still assuming he isn't hopelessly incompetent, but at the rate she was going, Chrysalis was probably going to lead them to ruin anyway sooner or later.

If they can seriously feed each other with love, then they can do whatever they like. They needn't ever leave their hive again, just stay in there loving each other forever and let ponies go about their lives. So if that's true, it hardly matters if they integrate, invade, whatever; they'll be fine regardless. And he's almost certainly the best one for the job, short of defending them from external threats (which, on the one hand, they're more vulnerable to now that they've lost the secrecy of their hive, the magic of their throne, and the natural ability of a changeling's best defence mechanism (I don't think it's been ruled out, but I don't think we've seen any of the rainbow moose change form at all)), but, on the other, they're less likely to have half as many enemies now they're a lot nicer to everyone.

I dare dream that her reform could come with Thorax not knowing what he's doing, her seeing that, and being convinced to come back to share her expertise (in keeping the swarm together, not conquering nations) for the sake of the swarm, in which she could still be as haughty and hilarious as she liked, they just wouldn't be following her orders anymore.

I think the nature of their survival would be so very different with the love sharing thing that there isn't a lot she could teach him. And I think that would just be a bit sad, to see her reduced to maintaining her old arrogance and pride but with nothing to back it up, and no one taking her seriously. :fluttershysad:

Of course, this sets the two up for a king-and-queen dynamic and I don't think a romance between them would be handled well, no matter how much the joint rulers of the changelings being in love would fit.

I think each of them would probably find the other utterly abhorrent :twilightoops: Which would make for a very interesting story if they had to mate to ensure the survival of the species!

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Especially since the implication at this point is that nopony knows about the changelings (I'm guessing from now no one suspected Cadence might not be herself, not even Twilight, and Cadence then had to explain it to everypony in the hall when she got there).

That she was able to tell them anything about changelings at all suggests that the knowledge existed, but for all we know, Chrysalis herself told her everything while she had her captive. :twilightoops:

so many times when a character is not completely sincere about something, the audience gets it and the other characters don't. I remember after watching Rainbow Rocks for the first time wondering how the sirens managed such a perfect, flawless and naturally human infiltration of CHS. Then I watched it again and that notion disappeared completely!

It could be that the writers in all such cases want the audience to clue in for purposes of dramatic irony, but have a hard time doing so in ways that don't make the main cast look like idiots. Sonata's "It's how we get people to do what we want." was about as blatant as it gets (Adagio's slasher smiles should have been a red flag too, if only in the form of "...By the way, the counselor's office is right over here. Just throwing that out there.") and all Sunset could say was that they acted 'kind of off.' Heck, maybe that's why Sunset seems a little less observant in subsequent movies. :derpyderp2:

so possibly their replace everypony important plan was only meant to be a short-term stepping stone to begin with?

For the swarm or for Chrysalis herself, one wonders. :fluttershysad:

Like, maybe, given that effect, they'd only need to be disguised as the ruling ponies for a short time before they'd be too powerful to stop with whatever force could be thrown at them?

Depends whether or not the love they feed on permanently makes them stronger. Like, if Starlight was able to use her magic at the time, would Chrysalis still be packing alicorn-frying heat (thus making her a match for Starlight Ridiculously Overpowered Glimmer, at least), or just whatever she had prior to the wedding?

If he'd pre-empted the changelings, and gone back to the hive earlier to tell them about his better way, they would have avoided the whole kidnapping ordeal. And not picking fights is good, but a leader does need to have the strength to stand up for their principles.
If they can seriously feed each other with love, then they can do whatever they like. They needn't ever leave their hive again, just stay in there loving each other forever and let ponies go about their lives. So if that's true, it hardly matters if they integrate, invade, whatever; they'll be fine regardless. And he's almost certainly the best one for the job, short of defending them from external threats (which, on the one hand, they're more vulnerable to now that they've lost the secrecy of their hive, the magic of their throne, and the natural ability of a changeling's best defence mechanism (I don't think it's been ruled out, but I don't think we've seen any of the rainbow moose change form at all)).

He didn't know about the better way until Starlight riddled it out and told him to do it while in the throne room, so I don't think that was an option. That, and if the sharing love thing eliminates the need to go look for sustenance, does it even matter if the changelings never bear their fangs again? If they still have their shape-shifting powers (which Twilight's Instant Fanfiction spell suggests they do), they could run around a corner, turn into a lamp, and flee when the threat has gone by, making them the ultimate race of pacifists by craftily avoiding any and all possible threats.

This assumes they never run into hate-crimes or anything that can't be fled from/talked to, but if pressed, I figure they can fall back on their strength in numbers.

Furthermore, if they can just sit in their hive and not need to worry about feeding, do they even need a leader at all? Seems like they're all set to just exist now, and are learning more peaceful interaction because they don't need to be drones anymore. It's like having an army of child soldiers and telling them they can all go play now. Maybe Thorax was declared their leader (before Chrysalis had even emerged from the rubble to snarl at them) not to actually govern, but to show them what the ponies had shown him? Like, leader in being a decent person like Twilight was for Starlight, not in national/organizational terms?

I think the nature of their survival would be so very different with the love sharing thing that there isn't a lot she could teach him. And I think that would just be a bit sad, to see her reduced to maintaining her old arrogance and pride but with nothing to back it up, and no one taking her seriously.

Yup. If they don't really need that kind of guidance anyway, I'm not sure what she'll end up doing, but I hope it makes her happy. :pinkiesmile:

...I mean, y'know, ideally that isn't something like griding foals into meat paste or burning down hospitals, because the soft-canon IDW comics seem to consistently depict her as more evil than Sombra. :applejackconfused:

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That she was able to tell them anything about changelings at all suggests that the knowledge existed, but for all we know, Chrysalis herself told her everything while she had her captive.

I'd thought that because nopony guessed that might be the case with Cadence, assuming she was just unfriendly rather then not being herself, then nopony knew about them. But then I'd forgotten about her wedding nerves excuse until you mentioned it earlier here :twilightblush:

My guess would be that Chrysalis told her; somewhere between her love of monologuing and perhaps needing explain herself and justify her actions (and Cadence was the only person she could have confided in at that point, even if as a jailer).

It could be that the writers in all such cases want the audience to clue in for purposes of dramatic irony, but have a hard time doing so in ways that don't make the main cast look like idiots. Sonata's "It's how we get people to do what we want." was about as blatant as it gets (Adagio's slasher smiles should have been a red flag too, if only in the form of "...By the way, the counselor's office is right over here. Just throwing that out there.") and all Sunset could say was that they acted 'kind of off.' Heck, maybe that's why Sunset seems a little less observant in subsequent movies.

I think that's exactly it :twilightoops: Couselor's office would have been a funny way to go :twilightsmile:

For the swarm or for Chrysalis herself, one wonders.

Could go either way, but I'd have thought if it were just herself she was after, she could have done something like the wedding again; the plan here is much grander in scale, which I think suggests a lot of her soldiers will get the power too. Though, of course, whether that will be used for her betterment or the hive's is down to the individual to decide.

Depends whether or not the love they feed on permanently makes them stronger. Like, if Starlight was able to use her magic at the time, would Chrysalis still be packing alicorn-frying heat (thus making her a match for Starlight Ridiculously Overpowered Glimmer, at least), or just whatever she had prior to the wedding?

As in, as we saw the episode, inside the hive? I don't think it actually says they're feeding on the ponies, there; they could be in some kind of love-inducing trance within their pods, but I don't think that's mentioned. So presumably Chrysalis is no stronger there than she would be normally (though she's still quite possibly very close to alicorn level to begin with, and her mind control spells rendered Shining Armor helpless before she'd been feeding on his love for very long, so Starlight still might be in trouble, perhaps not far off an even fight).

He didn't know about the better way until Starlight riddled it out and told him to do it while in the throne room, so I don't think that was an option.

Yeah I was thinking that, but he could still have told them that friendship was sustaining him in the Crystal Empire without needing to feed, which would have given them something to think about and perhaps won them over without needing to defeat Chrysalis or turn into rainbow moose.

That, and if the sharing love thing eliminates the need to go look for sustenance, does it even matter if the changelings never bear their fangs again? If they still have their shape-shifting powers (which Twilight's Instant Fanfiction spell suggests they do), they could run around a corner, turn into a lamp, and flee when the threat has gone by, making them the ultimate race of pacifists by craftily avoiding any and all possible threats

I think you're right, they'll be fine like that. Doubly so if Twilight's fanfiction (I'd forgotten about that) turns out correct about them still retaining the ability.

Furthermore, if they can just sit in their hive and not need to worry about feeding, do they even need a leader at all? Seems like they're all set to just exist now, and are learning more peaceful interaction because they don't need to be drones anymore. It's like having an army of child soldiers and telling them they can all go play now. Maybe Thorax was declared their leader (before Chrysalis had even emerged from the rubble to snarl at them) not to actually govern, but to show them what the ponies had shown him? Like, leader in being a decent person like Twilight was for Starlight, not in national/organizational terms?

I saw it more in that way, yeah. I don't think we've actually seen him do any 'leading,' Celestia-style, in the episode since, so yes I think he's more of a spiritual guru for them serving as an example of how to live. In fact, come to think of it, he's there to teach them friendship lessons :facehoof:

Yup. If they don't really need that kind of guidance anyway, I'm not sure what she'll end up doing, but I hope it makes her happy.

I agree :twilightsmile: I think she should retire while she's on the run in the wasteland, and live out the rest of her days in peace somewhere (or perhaps infiltrate a pony settlement in disguise and do so there).

...I mean, y'know, ideally that isn't something like griding foals into meat paste or burning down hospitals, because the soft-canon IDW comics seem to consistently depict her as more evil than Sombra.

Well, as long as she gets a good song while doing so...

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Yeah I was thinking that, but he could still have told them that friendship was sustaining him in the Crystal Empire without needing to feed, which would have given them something to think about and perhaps won them over without needing to defeat Chrysalis or turn into rainbow moose.

I like the idea of circumventing the conflict altogether, but given that he himself (apparently a mutant of niceness by changelings standards) seemed kind of doubtful about the prospect when he met Spike and they only went along with him when he had queen-overpowering proof right there in front of them, it's just as likely that they'd have laughed at the idea before ripping his wings off and feeding him to a tatzulworm. :twilightoops:

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I like the idea of circumventing the conflict altogether, but given that he himself (apparently a mutant of niceness by changelings standards) seemed kind of doubtful about the prospect when he met Spike and they only went along with him when he had queen-overpowering proof right there in front of them, it's just as likely that they'd have laughed at the idea before ripping his wings off and feeding him to a tatzulworm.

I'd been thinking he could shout to the guards at the hive entrance, seeing if they came around, and then pushing in deeper. But, with the magic-cancelling throne, he'd be helpless and vulnerable without pony backup. even if his very existence after how long he's been away from the hive sort of is proof that he's right. So I suspect you're right that that would have been a realistic fate for him.

So, the Sirens are having the conversation and mention that they set out to make the world adore them. Then Dan says something and we get this.

“It needn’t be,” Adagio says, “especially not now you need us.”

Cue me just staring blankly at the screen for several long seconds, thinking, "Was that... was that intentional?"

This is hella meta and kinda made my head spin for a bit (cause references that I understand but never was actually present for). I like it.

8133427 I would say, with this story, if it sounds like a reference to something, there's a very good chance it is. In that particular case, the very next line is:

“I see what you did there.”

The real question is: is it a reference to their song Welcome To The Show, or a doubly-meta reference to the story by RadiantBeam?

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Ooh, that's a good fic. Gods, I hope it's updated soon. I really like it. Also, interestingly enough, I was recommended This Day Aria on youtube before ever even hearing about the Equestria Girls movies. I was happy to know at least one MLP related reference (I knew quite a few, to my surprise, but I was happy when I realized). That rocks as a double reference, though.

8133490 I know the feeling. I remember seeing RadiantBeam saying he/she was working on the next chapter, but that was months and months ago. But I still have some hope that that one might be updated again. Taco Quest and Shackles Unseen are the other two that would be wonderful to see updated - the first of which, according to a blog hint, may be in the works but probably won't appear for quite a while, but the second I'm not so hopeful about. And then there's We Are What We Are, which generally sits in a league of its own.

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Shackles Unseen (I found it on FF.net as Homeward Bound) makes me shudder every time I think of it. Not because it's a bad fic. By the gods, it is extremely well-written. No, just because there's so much that could happen and it's left up to the unknown and I'm worried. It's literally spawned several ideas of my own of what could happen.

We Are What We Are... is long. I've had it up in my tabs since the very beginning and I always want to touch it and then I remember it has, like, forty nine chapters. I think that's something to read over finals week when I have time to burn on bingeing a fanfic.

8133791 It's a good idea, Shackles Unseen, because it treats them as still dangerous and isn't compromising in how it deals with that. On the other hand, separating them and using one as a ward is firstly splitting up the one friendship they already have, and secondly likely to lead only to resentment of ponies and people even more. It's one of those ones that made me angry in a really good way.

I started We Are What We Are when I first showed up here, and gave up after a couple of chapters as I don't really like ponified sirens. Really need to give it another chance, though, as I've since grown a bit more used to that, or at least realised how many otherwise-good stories it writes off.

Sorry, I forgot to respond to your earlier point about the This Day Aria - I think it was probably the biggest song the franchise had seen up until that point, and may still be. As in, biggest outside the fandom, so appealing to Disney fans and so on. It's perhaps telling that people hardly remember the two songs the heroes sing in that episode, but the villain song is top of most peoples' lists.

Yeah, it just made me really anxious. Like, you want them to learn friendship, but you're taking them from the only people they would ever consider friends? This is gonna end in disaster, Twi. If Aria doesn't try to attack everything in sight immediately, then she'll be an antisocial little shit for the most of it, only doing the bare minimum to be certain Adagio and Sonata aren't punished for her actions. And Adagio is most likely gonna be livid when Aria is taken (she was pretty upset about it in the third chapter). Just, I love the execution of it. It's really good.

Then yeah, definitely gonna save that for finals week.

I wouldn't know. I don't know much about the fandom, but it sounded really good and definitely made me a bit more susceptible to liking stuff from My Little Pony because of it.

Ha, reading this story has just got me more hyped up for the mlp movie! :pinkiehappy:

8323861 Thanks! :pinkiehappy:

I think the movie has a tough job to do, appealing to both established fans and new ones, with only a short run time to introduce the mane cast, the princesses, the Elements of Harmony and all the new characters. But I hope it will be wonderful :twilightsmile:

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