discord nightmare moon

2

Pages 7 and 8

The dance and the departure! 

Luna almost ended up on the couch on her own wedding night. Why are you trying to crash your own wedding, you silly pony? …And giving your MiL even MORE fuel.

ONE MORE PAGE! And then they can disappear on their honeymoon for a month or however long it is before I feel like drawing them again.

OC’s at the dance in no particular order:

Golden Notes and Harmonic Waters

Solidsnapper and Sunlit

Spellbound and Willow Wisp

Blue Glacier

Krezzi

Dank Nugs (Oh how I wish I could justify coloring the whole thing just for his horribly gaudy suit)

Sun Daze

and the nameless piggy being chased by Silpone.

4

I thought I’d sum up all of the different characters and events that happened in Equestria one thousand years before the current timeline. Turns out Equestria was a dark and terrifying place. :v

8

The Fall of Sunset Shimmer + Lullaby for a Princess

A quick juxtaposition. Because reasons.

Why of course, I know absolutely everything about //looks at smudged writing on hand// fire and shit.
—  Every reformed villain on the show

Very Small Big Baddies

I just wasn’t feelin very artsy due to some blah mood, so to get through this art block, I smooshied some ponies ( and not pony ) who would really NOT appreciate being called “cute”.  And I know one of them isn’t canon, but I really, really like Solar Flare.  I feel like if she ever met NMM, the two would cause a war so massive for claim over the land, that there wouldn’t BE much land left over.  And Trixie.. well she is the GREAT and powerful Trixie, so she made it into the group shot of Great villains.

( and I’m so sorry Sunset Shimmer and Starlight Glimmer, Solar Flare and Trixie took your spots ; u ; please forgive me )

It’s Always Been About Redemption.

Season 6 of MLP premieres tomorrow morning and one element we know is carrying over from season 5 is Starlight Glimmer, the latest in a series of reformed villains. And that’s not a turn of phrase.

At this point in the game, Friendship is Magic has had, by my count, approximately 36 antagonists (not counting non-sentient creatures or the EQG movies, just for argument’s sake), and about 11 that are either major or reoccurring.

Of those 11, not even counting Sunset Shimmer, 7 have been redeemed. That’s a lot of bad guys! It’s been especially noticeable because in season 5 where we had not one, not two- but four major reformations: Gilda, Diamond Tiara, Silver Spoon, and of course, Glim Glam herself.

It’s to the point where some fans question whether all this willy-nilly soul-saving is harming the believability of the universe. Which is fair. Not everybody should align to the same school of thought or get along quite so easily. Even in a show called Friendship is Magic, we hope for there to be enough character depth so that every character’s own perspective makes them an individual– which is of course where the best conflict comes from.

And while I can agree that at some point, redeeming too many of your antagonists ends up taking away some of the dramatic tension when they bring in a new baddie (because you’ll just expect this one to be redeemed, too)– I would also argue they haven’t reached that point. 

In fact, the abnormal amount of reformed villains in this show speaks to something special about it. Not every show can pull off redeeming 7 villains, after all, and not only is it because of the something special I’ll talk about in a bit, but because, beyond the titular friendship, redemption has always been a prominent theme.

So, let’s look at the most important redemptions in the series and what they accomplish. This post is already long enough, so I won’t go into Gilda or Trixie, despite the fact that I adored their reformations. Without further ado, I give you Redemption is Magic.

Dizzy/Chaos Grampa

Let’s start in the middle, because why not?

Discord’s redemption has probably been the most divisive one. He was a great villain- no. A GREAT villain. So, some people didn’t want to see him restrained or otherwise neutered. 

It’s a great point to have because one thing I don’t want them to do is make him too clingy, or whatever, where it takes away the dignity of the character. He has a rich, unknown history, a whole whack of power, and a certain air of cool I’d miss if they went too far in the cutesy direction.

Still, beyond fueling a thousand ships, this move allowed for a lot of cute and mischievous stories. Discord’s still sort of a loner character you can’t pin down, and the writers have admitted this is because if he was just willing to go along with every adventure the girls had, they’d never have any problems he couldn’t snap away.

So, as it stands, I like having chaos grandpa around, doing his own thing, but still trying to connect with others, and maybe trying to balance all that. 

One comic I actually really love for this is Friends Forever Issue 20, the Luna and Discord comic. If you’re not following the comics, I still recommend that standalone story, because it gets to the heart of the connections he’s made so far, but still keeping Discord in line with who he is.

Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon: Pacifica Northwhere?

Diamond Tiara was redeemed when the Cutie Mark Crusaders showed her she doesn’t have to use her natural talent for manipulation to hurt the ponies around her, thereby helping her emotionally mature enough to stand up to her mother and learn the error of her ways.

Silver Spoon was redeemed when she burned Diamond Tiara.

Either way, it’s starting to remind me of another recent cartoon redemption. I believe the term was “bleach-blonde, valley-girl stereotype” was used? Pacifica Northwest from Gravity Falls was once a stereotypically girly bully character, as well, before getting proper redemption story in the show’s second season.

Just for comparison’s sake, I’d say Pacifica’s redemption was done just a little bit better, since it was foreshadowed and the more vulnerable scenes with Pacifica are especially effective, but for what this was, DD and SS’s reformation was glorious.

Crusaders of the Lost Mark was the bookend I never knew I wanted. The only pacing issue comes from the fact that Diamond Tiara wasn’t presented as a redeemable character beforehand– I mean, she literally made fun of Scootaloo’s disability – so her reformation can feel rushed from that perspective.

But, taking that into account, I stand by the opinion that Crusaders is by far the most well-paced, most satisfying musical episode we’ve had to date. And it was an ambitious story– redeeming the two characters, who from the beginning, antagonized the CMC for their blank flanks, while also finally teaching the crusaders their purpose in life, and then going on to have the most heart-warming celebration in the show. It could’ve been a mess.

Instead, by doing something I never even considered, but in hindsight, seems so fitting and perfect, I can safely say this redemption was earned, and means a lot to the CMC as characters.

The Original Queen/Night Night

So, I’ve been rambling for a while on the most impactful redemptions of the show, but I can’t make a post like this without going back to the very beginning.

Nightmare Moon– the first heel-face turn reformation! 

Which, for the record, has been a problem with almost all the redemptions, but at least NMM here had a reason. Y’know, being literally possessed by demons that thrive on depression, jealousy, and hatred, and all.

Even still, it’s the reason Princess Luna was such a fan favourite (still is, but she shares the spotlight with characters like Sunset Shimmer, now). She’s the one character with dat angst and that dark history. She needs love, basically.

The Princess of the Night was able to be saved from the darkness with giant glowing rainbow lasers. It set the tone for the series, and the many redemptions to come.

But, despite how it might seem, Nightmare isn’t the really the reason I’m arguing that it’s always been about redemption.

Twilight “Second Chance” Sparkle

Oh, yeah. We’re going there.

So, no, Twilight was never “evil” per se. She never “tried to conquer the world.” She was a skeptical loner with what by all means should be diagnosed as a panic disorder, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with that.

And, on several occasions, the show goes out of it’s way to make sure viewers know it’s alright to be introverted, and that even if you are a complete shut-in, like, say, Moon Dancer, you aren’t a bad pony, just someone who could improve their life if they let go of the past hurt keeping them from interacting more.

But, even with that said, you see what I’m saying, right? All this time, Twilight’s been living out her second chance. 

Beyond the idea that she never valued friendship, we don’t know what particularly made Twilight that way, but I could hazard a guess. We know she actually had ponies who wanted to be friends with her – heck, ponies who considered themselves her friend – during her primary or middle school days, but there are two events we know came before that:

1. Magic Kindergarten. It was a one-off joke that Twilight, to this day, is haunted by whatever happened in Magic Kindergarten. The most we have is that vision of her being laughed at by all the other children in class.

2. Becoming Celestia’s Private Student. Twilight is a naturally humble character, so now that she’s a princess the lime light makes her uncomfortable, but I think the reason for this is because she grew up on a pedestal. 

I think whatever trauma she went through in Magic Kindergarten, coupled with the fact that she was constantly elevated above the other kids and probably grew to expect them to either assume things about her or pick on her for being special– well, it formed some anti-social habits.

So when she gets another chance at learning what it means to be friends, that’s Twilight’s second chance at life. And from then on, the entire show is her redemption story (which, funnily enough, suffers from the same sort of heel-face turn as the other redemptions in the series; there’s moments where she’s less enthused with her crazy new set of friends than she would be now, but the point still stands).

From day one, it’s been about trying again, and moving forward from past mistakes.

Sunset Shimmy Shams

WHICH brings me to Sunset.

This leather-jacket wearing, motorcycle riding nerd constantly feels guilty for her past mistakes, but keeps moving forward anyway. The fandom has fallen in love with her (myself very much included) because even if she wasn’t a great villain, she’s become a well-developed character since.

Also, no matter what, she’ll always be Twilight’s first student. Never forget.

And, as it happens, she’s a character paralleling Twilight. An angrier, angstier version for sure, but a parallel nonetheless. If you’re still not digging the this has always been Twilight’s redemption story thing, you can at least agree there’s been a lot of awesome what if’s raised throughout the series, particularly with Sunset Shimmer. A sort of ‘There, but for the grace of Celestia, goes Twilight herself’ message.

Speaking of …

Glim Glam (Sunset 2.0)

Ah. And now we get to the real most divisive redemption.

Glim Glam’s control issues and ability to manipulate might make for some interesting stories moving forward, but even though I don’t just want Sunset Shimmer 2: The Shimmening, I have to make the comparison to at least give props where props is due. Starlight was an excellent villain, in both her outings. So we know they’ve got an interesting character to work with, even if her original motivation was lacking.

As the season goes on, we’ll get a sense for Starlight’s new character and I think more people will make up their minds about her one way or the other (I’m willing to bet we’ll see her approval ratings go up as we get used to her, but you never know).

Still, as it stands when I’m writing this, I’m so excited for yet another redemption story.

Because that’s part of what this show does best. It takes what, by all means, should be sickeningly sweet concepts, like friendship and constant redemption, and looks at them from a genuine, loving place.

That’s what Friendship is Magic is to me– I mean, it has to be. If it was any other show and they redeemed seven major villains, I’d be out the door. But because of the unpretentious, openly and unashamedly corny heart that this show has always had at it’s core, I know I’m going to fall in love with Starlight the way I fell in love with every other character on this list. Including Twilight herself.

Keira and Discord enter the old ruins.
Keira: This is where we found the Elements of Harmony in our fight with Nightmare Moon.

Discord: If I remember correctly, this is where Starswirl would study the Elements of Harmony. He’d be here for days on end sometimes.

Discord and Keira got closer to the contraption. It was silent for a while, and then Discord suddenly spoke up.
Discord: I would be right here sometimes watching him study them. There were these six here, and there should be a slot someplace for the seventh.
Keira: I thought the middle one had Magic?
Discord: I guess there’s really only one way to find out.