• Member Since 18th Jan, 2017
  • offline last seen Oct 16th, 2018

All Art Is Quite Useless

When I'm not writing stories, I'm writing essays. My keyboard sees fairly frequent use. University student, high functioning Rainbow Dash enthusiast, and satirical activist.


Luna has been considering the matter for a while, and she can't put her hoof on why. Confused and growing increasingly irritated, she goes to her sister in search of enlightenment.

Set between the season six finale and A Royal Problem.

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 128 )

"Of course you didn't, your highness, but I, Grendo, felt it would be fitting to inform you anyway, your highness."

"Of course you didn't, Chapter Master, but I, Cato Sicarius, felt it would be fitting to inform you anyway, Chapter Master."

What they need is magical camera surveillance -- then the guards could sit in a room somewhere and they could be safer in the understanding that they were always safe or at least if anything happened, the guard would know what happened immediately.

This would have worked in all of the instances they listed in the story where they had issues.

Interesting points you have there.

That. Was. Awesome. A guardly salute to you sir!

I honestly felt that this was funny, but it got rather annoying fast. I just couldn’t stand the actions of the guards and Luna’s surprise acceptance of it at the end. And I especially hated Grendo

very nice story. but ima ship it...all of it

Two good reasons for the guards.

1:Eye candy for the princesses, they after all do have needs and desires of their own,

2:Local law enforcement. After all if the princesses responded to every petty crime in Canterlot, they'd be more then a little busy ergo, it falls to the guards to police the town. My personal head cannon states, the guards do not ONLY patrol the Castle. This one also applies to the Crystal Empire, and possibly Ponyville assuming Twi will get guards

Because you get to look at beefcake all day? They obviously weren't hired for their brains.

clubbzz #9 · Oct 21st, 2017 · · 1 ·

I don't know, it was funny at first then annoying. Then it just read like a Celestia is always right and Luna is wrong fic, where Luna just has to accept whatever her sister tells her.

I had to google this to get the reference, I know nothing. Still, very funny, and a cool connection! Thanks for mentioning.

See, I agree that that could work on the palace/castle grounds, but out in public you probably couldn't get away with that without running into some moral issues, so the cafe is already out the window. Still, I know what you mean! Then again, these guards aren't exactly meant to be the smartest of the smart, but it would be a decent fix to a lot of their issues! (Provided that Celestia and Luna didn't mind cameras in their rooms, of course.) Thanks for contributing!

Thank you mate! I'm glad you think so.

And right back at you, dude!

So you're saying I shouldn't write the unabridged adventures of Grendo?

Honestly mate, I can completely understand that point of view. Of course, the annoyance is intentional, as it allows the reader to empathise with Luna, but if I've got to the point where they're so annoying that it's impacting the reader, does that mean my writing is too good, or bad? Strange question, that. Thanks for sharing your thoughts there, mate, and I'm glad you found at least some of it funny!

You do that, sir!


Honestly, eye candy was originally gonna be one of the big arguments in this story, but I changed my mind on what kind of theme I wanted like a minute before I started writing it and just ran with it. Maybe I should have snuck in a line about it anyway! Would have covered all bases.

I think I mentioned something about law enforcement in the story, or at least that not all of the guards were royal guards, but I may not have. I completely agree that that is a very practical use for them!

As I said above, I can completely understand you finding the guards' actions annoying and I'm glad you shared that thought. I'm sure you can see why I did it, but perhaps it was a little too much in delivery for you? As for the 'Celestia is always right' thing? Honestly not what I was going for at all. I feel as if they had both been making these mistakes for a very long time, and it just happened to be Celestia that realised a very small amount of time before Luna that what they were doing could use adjusting. Again, I can appreciate if it comes across that way, but it wasn't what I was aiming for. Glad you found some of it funny though! I aim to entertain.

Thanks for reading!

And thank you to everyone for commenting so far! I'm always happy to see your thoughts and opinions!



Considering most stories on this site tend to paint Celestia as incompetent, bumbling, lost, and Luna as the one who swoops in to save her from something she should have an easy time dealing with on an almost daily basis? I'm not bothered. People continue to be bothered by stories where Celestia is ACTUALLY in the right for once, or where she's not some secret evil tyrant, or a lazy and useless lump, or braindead buffoon who cries to Luna every time there's a problem, and I just look back over the many, many, many stories I've read over the years and shake my head.

People in this community seem to have a problem with motherly figures, authority, characters presented as truly good, and the idea that a more experienced character knows more about the situations they're experienced in.


It is interesting that a loss of privacy would grant them more apparent privacy. Thing is though, they do spend most of the time in the castle. Outside the castle, they are by definition more vulnerable and it is reasonable for them to have a guard presence at those times.


As for "wiring up" all of Canterlot, that is probably within their abilities as well, but yes, some ponies might not agree with it. You'd essentially have Pony London. What is scary is they would probably go for it if asked by the diarchs.

That was cute, funny and it made a good point.

I think you're reading more into my comment then was actually there. i don't have a problem with Celestia being right and Luna being wrong about things. In fact I think she should be right about more things then Luna simply because she has seen and done more then Luna. My problem is when stories make it seem like she should automatically be right all the time and everyone should listen to her just because she is Celestia. Stories where she barely acknowledges Lunas' concerns and then proceeds to tell her why she's wrong and everyone just accepts that.
She learned not to do that a thousand years ago.
Stories where she listens to her sister and then talks with her and presents her point of view and gets her to understand where she is wrong as opposed to her simply telling her why she is wrong are the ones I like.
And as for stories where Celestia is painted as incompetent and needing Luna to rescue her? I hate those fics too. I hate them with a passion. Anything that is a threat to Celestia where she needs Luna to help her is not a enemy that Luna would be able to beat on her own. i would expect to see both sisters in hospital beds later joking about who did better and who got hurt worse and why.

This is dumb. Arguing that this sort of guard presences is good and necessary would work a lot better if the guards here where shown as actually competent, and with an ounce of sense and tact. And you know what? All this shit would only get you a false sense of security. Because you can never close all avenues.

There's soooo many problems with this. It's infuriating.

So much this ^ i which i could up vote this comment twice. This could have been a great short but the fact that the guards where clearly useless and incompetent undermined Celestias entire rant and made the story, and specifically Lunas acceptance of Celestias argument, frustrating more than anything else...

But if the guards were competent, half of the evil/bad protagonist fanfics out there wouldn't work because guards are like cannon fodder.. If cannon fodder can actually do work, it's not cannon fodder anymore.

:pinkiegasp: What? Is this... defending the Royal Guard? Making them actually seem useful and important? I didn't think it was possible!

Wow... that did not go where I expected! I just saw the MLP movie today and was commenting to someone about the complete lack of appearance by the guard, so I figured this was yet another bash on how useless they are. But you gave some really good points! I approve. ^^ It's honestly rather nice seeing someone take up in defense of these guys that aren't given much credibility in the show, and pointing out how some of the capturing of the princesses could have come from their own blind spot about their vulnerability which mortal ponies might more readily spot. The guards are a LITTLE over-the-top in places, but the spirit of the whole piece is great. Nice job!

"Nothing," Luna sighed, grating her teeth, "Look, I've had a very busy, tiring day, and I would appreciate it if I was allowed to retire without further interruption. I understand that you feel compelled to do your job to the best of your ability, and I commend that, but I would rather take my chances with who or whatever may be waiting in my room than deal with you two any longer."

Should probably be "night" not "day". :P

In the first half especially there seem to be a lot of typos... nothing too major but a quick grammar check in a word processor might be in order.

Luna's attitude toward Grendo particularly at the end seemed sudden. Especially since she seemed to be flirting with him... If it were set, like, "two weeks later" or the like it would have worked better, I feel. This would require an edit on the 'first time she requested an escort' bit but it's not too much work.

I'm minded of the Secret Service and how they operate, at least with some Presidents and first families. Some have preferred that they be as unobtrusive as possible. Semi-famously, Bill Clinton liked to go out jogging, which caused a nightmare for the Secret Service, but a few of them would go along with him and they apparently made it work, seeing as how he was not, in fact, assassinated: https://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2012/02/29/bill-clintons-running-habit-a-secret-service-nightmare

There is the usual issue I have in that I suspect Celestia and Luna are not immortal, just extremely long-lived. But besides that is the fact tha they are probably quite vulnerable to being taken at unawares (as the Movie partially demonstrates... though there it was an apparently specially-designed weapon), and may be vulnerable to poison. Which increases the need for guards, of course.

Ri2 #22 · Oct 22nd, 2017 · · 1 ·

So what's the excuse for the guard's utter uselessness and absence during the movie?

Oh good, it wasn't just me.


I'm glad I'm not the only one who saw that.

Meh. I think Enderdez45 is right: "surprise acceptance". The discussion (which seems to be more Celestia telling it how it is in a manner of speaking) doesn't really have any back and forth and feels somewhat hollow. It's a surprise that Luna accepts the reasoning so readily without any counter arguments. Rest of the story is fine, but with that discussion being the climax of the story, it detracts more than it would if it were another part.

That the guards were portrayed as so incompetent/silly/overzealous terribly undermines the point Celestia was trying to make.

i'm sorry but celestias arguments don't make a lot of sense, frankly lunas point is right, there is a line the the guards seem to cross it on a daily basis. not even the actual British royal family goes through that much security, there is a certain point where guards would start being court marshaled for going to far.

High-level powerhouse or "Godly" characters having bodyguards has always annoyed me to varying degrees every time I've seen it. As far as I can tell, their only realistic purpose would be to scream as loud as they can when they die, so as to alert their "charge" that an assailant is coming. Otherwise they should really be spending their time guarding people who can't take on entire armies by themselves.

I mean really, anyone strong enough to pose an actual threat to a couple of immortal Goddesses would most likely be able to vaporize their guards by breathing on them. It really is a stupid thing, and usually only serves to show how powerful the bad guy(or good guy, sometimes)is when he defeats the "Elite Guard" in five seconds flat.


It's not even just fights. They're things like, how to handle adventurers and diplomats, how to deal with the Mane 6, how to fucking relate to Twilight, how to handle nobles! Things she's been doing for or during a thousand years on her own, and is suddenly too stupid to handle, or botches it all up horribly and Luna has to be there to set it straight and tell her how wrong she was. It's the most common sort.

I've almost never seen the opposite, and I'm not surprised. In every poll in the fandom, Luna wins if she's on it, especially between the two. Most of the creatives spring for Luna, completely ignoring that Celestia held Equestria together for five times longer than the USA's been a thing just fine on her own, and Luna knows nothing about running a nation that Celestia didn't ALSO know back then and have a thousand years to learn, practice, and master.

Considering the wording of your first post, this is what I believed you were complaining about. That Celestia is depicted as right, and then that it is somehow too common that she is. When that's almost never the case.

Glorified servants who mostly serve to evacuate the other ponies. Haven't read the story yet but that's my opinion of the guards.

Eh. I mean, I'm personally not that impressed by the story. I found the first part to be the best where it's just Luna dealing with incompetent guards. Sorta expected it to turn into one of those deals where Luna uses her royal power to ban the Royal Guard from operating in the castle, then something goes wrong and she needs to have the guard fix it, before realizing "Ohhhhh...".

I dunno. It seems to me that the time Chrysalis got all of them has very little to do with them not expecting something to happen, and a whole lot to do with no one taking preemptive measures to prevent changeling intrusions in the first place.

In fact, a lot of what happens to them seems to be caused by things that nobody could have reasonably anticipated in the first place, or by things that could have been anticipated or stopped had anyone bothered to follow-thru on anything.

Like when Cerberus went missing. Given how surprised everyone was when Tirek and the Bugbear showed up, it’s pretty clear that Celestia and Luna never bothered to check and see if anyone had escaped.

The point is, the Princesses don’t need guards; they need a security consultant.

Hm it's not working... The thing with changeling is simply ridiculous... Having guards there just mean that the GUARDS would be substituted, as there seems to be NO way to identify Changelings... Guards SO invasive are useless... And the protocol of guarding the room for Luna is simply faulty, it is DESIGNED not to defend the Princess but to ANNOY the princess, bodyguards have TWO duty, the first one is obviously to protect their charges the second is to be UNOBTRUSIVE.
The two guards at the door say that there may have been a small window of opportunity for someone to sneak in at the shift change, that means that the guards as a whole are GROSSLY incompetent. Same with the inspection of the room, if you need to do THAT kind of in depth inspection practically EVERY DAY in what should be a SAFE location you are not fit for duty.

Celestia: Look, Luna. I hate to admit it, but... You play Ogres and Oblates, right?
Luna: Well... Yes. The small dragon introduced me to the game. It is quite invigorating.
Celestia: Oh, good. Well, the Royal Guards have been... built on a point system for years.
Luna: Well, that makes... no sense at all. They're dumb as posts.
Celestia: Int is a dump stat.
Luna: They have no common sense at all.
Celestia: So is Wisdom.
Luna: They're incompetent at combat--
Celestia: No dots in weapon skills at all.
Luna: --and furthermore, they could not spot an assassin if he or she were to wear a shirt proclaiming such.
Celestia: (shakes her head) Terrible spot rolls. No points--
Luna: Spent in that either. Yes, I know. So what do they have points invested in?
Celestia: (long silence)
Luna: Celly. You didn't? (looks at the sheets of paper that she's passed) Oh. You did. Well. That's... different. Ahem. (flips through the sheets and passes one of them back. ) I will be taking a walk in the gardens this evening. See to it that this one is available.

First funny and I was REALLY looking forward to where she exploded and beat the crap out of her guards and at last attained freedom.
Then she was convinced to let a bunch of incompetent idiots stalk her and take away her privacy.
It was well written and a good idea, I simply don't agree with the direction.

Heh. Fun story with a cute ending.

I always thought of the Royal Guard as being there to protect the normal ponies from the Princesses.

Hear me out:

The guards are useless against extraordinary threats like Sombra, Discord, etc. This much is obvious. So why have them? Well, for more normal threats, such as the ones talked about in this story. Sure, Celestia or Luna could easily deal with an assassin or a thief or what have you. But the amount of power those two wield is on a completely different scale from anypony else. What is, to them, a flick of a hoof, would flatten a house elsewhere.

Maybe the guards are there to make sure that the Princesses don't go around dealing with thieves or assassins with building destroying force? A sufficiently nimble pegasus could very easily dodge the alicorns' normal magic blasts. They'd feel impelled to break out the big guns just to hit them. But what if the guard is there, flinging a dozen smaller beams around? It's much harder to dodge that, resulting the capture of the pegasus in question with a whole lot less property damage and terrorizing of the castle staff.

Just my $0.02.

Competent weaklings can still get the job done better than stupid weaklings. Hell, there are a number of things that a policing force could handle that would only require competence and coordination rather than very high personal power. That the guards are simply cannon-foddered is a weakness on the behalf of the writer—it's not very difficult to make the guard competent but still significantly weaker than the protagonist/Big Bad/etc. If they all go down in one good hit but do their damnedest to signal alarm or get their charge(s) to safety, they're both competent and weak. It makes them look especially competent if the assailant very nearly fails to subdue the guards before they can raise an alarm because the guards react better than the assailant expects.

Princesses could just pick up the assailant(s) with their magic and squeeze. No need for flashy combat spells.

True! But also keep in mind that their combat instincts, such as they are, were not honed against beings they could do that to. They were honed against Discord, Chrysalis, Sombra and others. Hence my speculation that they'd use way more power than necessary without thinking about it.

Going over my first post, I agree that it was a bit vaguely worded and for that I apologize. And I agree with all of your other points, she's been doing this a long time so she shouldn't need help to handle things, most of the time at least. This is just me, but, having done this alone for so long I can see being set in her ways a bit, and Luna coming in with fresh eyes should be able to see that and point it out.
It shouldn't happen a lot, but there should be instances of it happening.
As for Luna being more popular, that is more hasbro studios fault then anything. Luna has had more screen time for character development then Celestia. And most of Celestias' screen time has been her needing the EoH or just Twilight to help her with something she should be able to take care of herself. The only character development episode she got she shared with Luna, and surprise, she was wrong in that one. Saving grace is so was Luna.

I am surprised that Luna accepts anything Celestia says as she is spoken over in such a manner. I count 4 times Celestia interrupted Luna and she kept reading a book when her sister came to meet her.

If i did not know any better from Dark tag not being present i would say this was all an abusive power-play aimed to gut punch Luna and show that she really has no power, and should know her place under the thumb of the guard.

Most series do the overly powerful poorly. As Celestia points out, there are times when they are vulnerable to an attack (such as sleeping, pooping and bathing), and while the guards might not be able to stop said attack, they may be able to fetch those who can much faster.

And the guards likely keep out those with low morale, but high ambition; i.e. the possible thieves, usurpers and assassins that aren't so confident that they can handle a Princess AND multiple guards.

But we'd likely never see those types as they would look at the guards and go, "WHOA! This isn't as easy as I thought it would be."

Honestly, I think it's more that the guards or maids haven't already done various tasks ahead of time that annoys Luna the most. With the right amount of setup and discussion, the entire process could be made far smoother and MUCH less annoying.

How about having the doors to her room open when she isn't within?
How about having maids check the bath for her?
How about guards disguised as maids lingering in hallways?
How about plain-clothes maids acting as an escort?
How about a female plain-clothes guard clears the restroom before Luna even finishes ordering, and the guard keep watch to make sure no one climbs in the window? This solution, in particular, would've avoided the most public fiasco in story.

The sign of a good staff is that they're hard to notice. These guards have good ideas, but terrible executions. They're very.... Keystone Cops about issues.

Plus, I'm pretty sure Grendo is a changeling. Probably a friendly one, but still.

Truth be told I didn't have much respect for the guards either. This has changed that. :twilightsmile:

The guards in this story? No respect. They're too incompetent to rely on.

What if the royal guard was actually an adult daycare for the mentally challenged/ill? It sort of makes sense if you think about it. but don't think about it too much because than you imagine Grundo's elderly parents picking him up at the castle gates... And now your sad.:applecry:

Make sense, Thanks.

Where I work we used to have a security guard to patrol the parking lot and the front of the store.

The company decided it was a waste of money and got rid of the patrols to save money. About a month later we had an armed robbery where several customers were robbed at gunpoint in the parking lot.

Now to be fair the security guard could not have resolved a situation like that, as they aren't armed and have almost no authority. But just knowing someone is watching and that you'll be reported to the cops immediately and they'll get your tag numbers... I realized was a rather good deterrent. Even if the guard can't stop you, knowing they are there makes you a lot less likely to even try.

It wasn't Shining's spell that repelled the changelings... it was Shining 'and Cadence' that did it. Shining was drained at the time and incapable of casting a spell, especially since his shields failed to keep out the threat. The very threat that they were actively warned about ahead of time and were on the lookout for, the only thing I can say is that they didn't know changelings existed so that wasn't the guards fault.

Technically Cadence was the catalyst that solved that problem, the problem where Shining ultimately failed to protect her or even recognize a switch happened and lost most of his energy to Chrysalis. As far as competency goes, he didn't save the day by himself and as such the royal guards are not self sufficient to handle anything close to a crisis. You'd expect the guard and at least a diplomatic expert would have been called in to handle a dragon when said being was causing smoke problems with his snoring, but no, Celestia instead sent six civilian ponies against said dragon that could have killed them. Sending Shining Armor would have mitigated the danger by a large margin and would have made Celestia look more competent.

So Celestia isn't exactly what I'd call competent either if she actively puts civilians at risk, dragons are not exactly peaceful beings and are known to be violent.

Celestia or Luna probably knew that Changelings existed though, it would be odd if a thousand years had passed and Celestia hasn't had to face a Changeling trying to replace her at least once. Celestia didn't seem particularly shocked by Chrysalis's actual appearance, mind you the Changelings not only managed to catch Celestia off guard once, but twice, so where were they the last thousand years and why weren't they just as successful? The second was when the Changelings successfully kidnapped Celestia, Luna and all of Twilight's friend and managed to smuggle them to their hive, you'd think you'd notice someone as large as Celestia or Luna being kidnapped.

There is no such thing as 'perfectly safe' or 'fool proof', but quite frankly where is the royal guard whenever you really need them to do something really important? Eating distraction cake and allowing an ex-Wonder Bolt member to frame Rainbow Dash for something she didn't do. There's also being nowhere near the problem or when a problem happens, they can't actually do anything to help.

At this rate I bet that when the guards are shown in a halfway competent manner, as they are in the Philomena episode, it will involve some kind of huge misunderstanding. One thing for certain, as deterrents they work. They aren't really that great overall and deterrents won't stop the truly determined, it certainly didn't help Brockton Bay.

Celestia can be none of those and still be fallible.

I am trying t owkr with the events of the movie with someting, and one thing that came to mind was the idea that Celestia KNEW the storm king was coming, and was trying to ensnare him. REmove all the guards, make them look vulnerable, and beat the living shit outta him.
Course he himself did not show up then, and she did not have enough information. She thought he acted as a somewhat intelligent brute, and that could be used to their advantage.

Well, sometimes it is good to be in a little bit of peril. Even if it might be a little too perilous.

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