Culture Analysis: The Backlash Against “Perfect” Characters

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While applicable to and inspired by My Little Pony, this video is about a cultural trend that I’ve picked up on and at times been worried about as of late. Namely, the growing backlash against characters that are “too good,” meaning either that they are too morally correct, or that they don’t seem to face significant flaws or character defects.

The pervading explanations for this backlash are, firstly, that characters who are “too good” are “unrealistic,” and secondly, that these characters are poorly written. I don’t think either explanation cuts to the heart of the issue.

First of all, if you think that people who are unquestionably, unwaveringly good don’t exist, then go read up on Mr. Rogers. Yes, the guy from the show from when some of you were kids, and others of you weren’t born yet. I can almost promise that you’ll walk away with some renewed faith in goodness in the world.

And secondly, there are no shortage of spectaculalry-written, iconic, and memorable characters who are unwavering statues of goodness. Look at Captain Picard from Star Trek, or Luke Skywalker, or indeed, the current state of Twilight Sparkle. These are GREAT CHARACTERS, not in spite of, but BECAUSE of their greatness of person.

These are characters that we’re meant to aspire to be, and whose meaningful transformation into better people we get to witness along the way. Twilight Sparkle didn’t start out as a paragon of goodness, she became one, by slowly learning the magic of friendship, conquering her anxieties, and emerging as a powerful force of good. She’s supposed to be a symbol of what we’re capable of. How we can better ourselves, learn from our mistakes and from our friends, and become more rounded, capable individuals. She shows us how we can rise up and seize the reigns of history!

So why are there so many people claiming that Twilight is boring now that she’s conquered most of her problems? Why has this deep, developed, and at this point iconic character been written off by some as a Mary Sue: a derogatory term used for poorly-written characters?

I think what it comes down to more than anything is that Twiilght is difficult to relate to—and by that, I don’t mean because she’s written unrealistically, but that she literally requires the audience to undertake a difficult thing in order to relate to her.

Twilight Sparkle is constantly seeking to better herself, and she gradually succeeds. She faces many challenges, both internal and external, and comes out victorious. Yet, I see people complaining that they miss the Twilight who was always paranoid and anxious.

That’s because Twilight’s anxiety is what made her relatable and interesting to a lot of people. But in conquering her anxiety, Twilight challenges the audience to do the same.

She shows us that in order to ascend to a higher plane of being, we must constantly work to better ourselves and, for many people, that leaves them feeling left behind. Many people feel that they can’t better themselves, and a lot of people outright don’t want to.

The reason people some are upset when villains are reformed, is that it suggests the need to change and better ourselves. Phrases like “good guys are boring” suggest glorifying our own lack of desire to be good or to improve ourselves, and the comfort of doing what we want without having to feel that we’re underachieving. The fear of change evoked by Alicorn Princess Twilight Sparkle is not only a fear of change happening in the show, but a fear of facing the need to change within ourselves.

Those are my speculative ideas on the matter anyways, and I’m curious to hear what you all think. Have you ever felt that you related to Twilight Sparkle? Do you find her personal betterment inspiring, or does it feel like she’s left you behind? How about your relationships with other characters? Tell me all about it in the comments.


47 thoughts on “Culture Analysis: The Backlash Against “Perfect” Characters

  1. Hello, Digi!
    I feel like Twilight changed far too quickly, I mean, sure she has had three seasons, and she develops in all of them to eventually become “Alicorn Princess Twilight Sparkle” but, real change is hard, and while her problems and people were always there for her to to solve and talk to, that isn’t the case in the “real world”. Change is hard and unwanted, and with her being the main character, it happened far too quickly.
    I feel relate more to Rainbow Dash, in the fact that while change has definitely occurred in her character, and it’s definitely noticeable, and for the better, it’s happened slowly, and through her becoming more comfortable with who she is, (embracing her girly side) and becoming so loyal to her friends, that she’d rather quit at her dreams that she’s had for her entire life than being without them.

  2. I think your analysis here has a blind spot, so to speak, which is the nature of change as such. For me, the change in Twilight Sparkle’s identity and person does not become an object of criticism because that change is simply directed towards self-improvement, but because the concept of “improvement” here is left incomplete. Moreover, arguing that some people’s criticism and dislike of “perfect characters” originates from their inner resentment against self-improvement as such sounds very much like an argumentum ad hominem to me.

    What I mean to say is that, while I myself don’t regard Twilight’s ascension as a bad move from the part of the writers, I can understand why some people do feel so. The change of identity Twilight experienced was a shallow one, but not because of the simple fact that the change aimed towards self-improvement. The change was superficial because it was so sterile, so predictable, so… plastic.

    What do I mean by describing Twilight’s development of identity as plastic? I mean that it was too idealistic, but not because of the ideals of Friendship as such, but because the change happened so artificially, in such an obviously planned way that it left no room for difference between Twilight and the perfection she aimed for. Twilight made a perfect fit for the ideals that were presented to her, that were just given to her. There was no clash between the direction she ought to have and where she actually wanted to go.

    Now, for most people, this is not the way life plays out in reality, obviously. The problem isn’t so much that people don’t want to improve themselves but that the nature of this “improvement” is unknown to them. In Equestria, the hegemony of the ideology called Friendship reigns supreme, with the divine authority lining up perfectly with the secular power. Even Luke Skywalker has some disagreements with Obi-Wan Kenobi regarding the way of how to deal with Vader, for example, but Twilight Sparkle’s devotion to Celestia remains unchallenged through the series, up to the point where she ultimately becomes a new Celestia.

    I’d like to note that, for me, the most interesting interpretations of the series arise from this ideological hegemony that remains absolute through the series. Both dissecting and studying this “hegemony of Friendship” is one of the key points in the interpretation of the world of Equestria, in my opinion.

  3. Feel free to prove me wrong here but at least to me, the problem I have had with Alicorn Twilight is not that she has become the epitome of goodness, nor that hse has become unrelatable at least in her struggles in overcoming her anxiety I find hugely relatable. My problem with Alicorn Twilight is that at least to me, it feels like it puts Twilight on an other worldly level than her peers in particular the Mane Six. It almost feels like bringing a level fo Disharmony to the Elements of Harmony and as I cannot imagine all of the Mane Six being princesses, I am left feeling that Twilight should not be one. I also disliked the fact that at least to me it came of that Twilight being an academic wan’t good enough so they had to make her a princess as well, I am sure this at least in part due to the fact that the decision must of been at least a little to do with marketing. Although not all mind you as Lauren Faust wwanted Twilight Sparkle to become a princess as far as I remember. The other way of looking at it is that Twilight has got the equivalent of a Nobel Prize in Magic, which is slowly but surely easing me into the idea that Princess Twilight isn’t awful, I don’t think I’ll ever like it but it makes it bareable. I must also say that it does not help the culture in that most of the perfect goody goody characters aren’t written well, take Bella Swan from the Twilight series and most of the protagonists from that genre, so it leaves a bad taste in our mouth when we see characters we love so much uphlding to that kind of stereotype, no matter what the intentions.
    Just my two cents

  4. This is a convo I had with my friends.

    The Hedgehog:
    Meanwhile, Digibrony’s latest video was rather interesting. It was a video that was his personal take on the backlash against “perfect” characters. He thinks that these “perfect” characters (which include such folk as Jean Luc Picard, Luke Skywalker, Vash the Stampede, and even Twilight’s current state) are great characters BECAUSE of how perfect they are or have become. Heck, he even brings attention to the Late Mr. Rogers.

    I agree with Twilight and Captain Picard. Luke wasn’t perfect, he was just bland. He *becomes* a perfect ideal-esque character in the NJO series

    The Hedgehog:
    He also puts forth the idea that maybe some people find her unrelatable now because in order to do so now, it’d require them to achieve a difficult task (which Digi humorously illustrates with a certificate of completing the National Dex) to get on her level.

    Yeah. And people don’t want to have to achieve difficult things to relate to a character. Of course, I’ll always relate to Twilight regardless of how perfect-ish she becomes

    But I don’t think relatability explains it either. There are lots of characters whom we do not relate to yet appreciate in fiction.


    Kira Yamato from gundam seed might be a good comparison. Starts out as a wangsty teenger, becomes Jesus at the end. The problem is the writer making him win all his battles and forcing the writer’s view on what’s right and wrong upon the audience. The writer does this through him curb stomping opponents who also have a valid set of ideology, but making his opponents more wangsty than Kira once was as if the writer’s trying to use an ad hominem argument. Kira, after his “acceptance” of his role as the world’s messiah, uses his perfect genes to place perfect shots on enemy gundams, always disabling them without killing the pilot inside. Even if it’s done so in space, where the enemy pilot w/o a way to get back would still die from running out of oxygen, water, food, what have you, he is always shown as morally superior. So…. poorly written. But Twilicorn, we still haven’t seen her force her own set of morality onto anypony yet, so I don’t see what the big fuzz is. I think the fear, is that with a powerful character w/o (much) internal turmoil, it is easier for the fiction to slip into Protagonist-Centered Morality.

  5. Hi Digi,

    You mentioned how people relate to characters, and I have a few thoughts on that. When I watch MLP I relate to Rainbow Dash the most. Now I am by no means really athletic like she is, but I relate to her loyalty and her determination, as well as her laziness. While I relate to her quite well, I am by no stretch of the imagination that much like her, in fact I am more like Rarity and Fluttershy than Rainbow Dash. I can be dramatic, and quite. I can also stress myself out and take on too much at once, but I don’t relate to Rarity or Fluttershy as much as Rainbow, because the traits I see in them that I have, I don’t like. As it stands, I have a hard time speaking up for myself when I am face to face with someone.

  6. I agree in principle but not in practice.

    I think you’re mistaking lack of interest for lack of ability to relate. A character dealing with inner conflicts between their flaws and their better angels expands the existing personal and extrapersonal conflicts of the story to echo more deeply within the character’s mind.

    But I mentioned practice rather than principle. Here are some examples.

    Homeland – by R.A. Salvatore – is an excellent fantasy novel. The iconic character of Drizzt is an astonishingly noble character. Within a sickeningly evil and treacherous society, hemmed in from escape by the fact his race is hated and feared by all others and the wilderness beyond is a deathtrap, he refuses to yield to society’s desires or compromise his principles. However, if he was a simple iron-faced unmovable object, the conflict wouldn’t go anywhere. What makes the book compelling is Drizzt’s inner conflict. He wants to love his family and take pride in his people, he wants to earn praise and respect and slowly the pedestals of his innocence crumble one by one as he learns more about the truth of his world. He is a deeply noble character without any true flaws, but his inner conflict manifests from warring virtues. Ultimately the novel is a clash of inner, personal and extrapersonal conflict all playing out at once as his personal battles represent his denial of the society and echo within his mind. However, many books later, Drizzt overcame all of his insecurities (including the philosophical ones) and was simply a perfect being that no longer possessed notable inner challenges. This made him boring for the simple truth that a story should mean something to the character and drive that character’s growth. If the character isn’t changed by the end of the story, if there is no inner growth or conflict, we’re just watching glorified action scenes.

    Codex Alera – Jim Butcher’s excellent high fantasy series features Tavi – a character that I once heard, to my shock, described as a Mary Sue. Tavi is a genuinely good person trying to stay alive and do his duty to protect others. He’s the one person without magic in a world where magical power is everything. Consequently, he’s had to find ways to compensate via his intelligence and skill. Almost all the good guys tend to like Tavi and almost all the bad guys tend to hate him. However, that tends to be because Tavi earns the respect and loyalty of the good guys and ruins the schemes of the bad. It’s believable that people react to him how they do. Tavi also has several notable inner conflicts that spring up from lack of confidence in himself due to his perpetual-underdog status and the pain of being scorned as a worthless freak all his life. He’s also constantly being forced into situations that seem far too big for him to handle, which keep him growing and developing. If we stayed with Tavi too much, these subtler inner conflicts might start to wear a bit thin – but Butcher cleverly has each book follow 2-3 storylines with various characters. This approach keeps Tavi fresh without overplaying his core conflicts.

    Woody – Woody from Toy Story is the wise leader of Andy’s toys and a deeply good person. However, the story really gets going when Woody’s jealousy breeds inner conflict due to the arrival of Buzz Lightyear. Woody’s jealousy and pain at being seemingly replaced by Buzz drives the story and would actually wind up in a good letter to Celestia by the end of the movie. Woody’s jealousy is understandable and doesn’t make him a bad person by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s the inner conflict that deepens the story.

    Superman – Superman is often considered a classic mary sue style character. However, the most popular Superman stories – such as “For The Man Who Has Everything” – focus on Clark’s inner conflicts. In that story, Superman is trapped by a psychic parasite that forces him into a hallucination where he lives out his greatest desire. Superman finds himself living a life on Krypton, working as a scientist with his father, happily married and with a son he adores. He, naturally, has no super powers (being on Krypton) and is just enjoying a normal life with his family and people… Thinking it had always been this way. Slowly, however, he begins to piece together that the world isn’t real. He begins to realize that his beloved son and wife might just be the product of a dream. Superman is ultimately forced to shatter his paradise in order to return to reality and save his friends. This story is considered one of the greatest comic book stories ever told. In a genre populated by Mary Sues – the story about inner conflict and character depth is king.

    Twilight Sparkle’s Comedy – This is a sub-example. Twilight Sparkle as a calm and wise princess, Celestia-style, wouldn’t be nearly as funny as the freak-out-prone Twilight. When people say they miss the paranoid and insecure twilight, they might be talking more about this.

    Synthesizing principles from the practice, we can take a look at a character-based show like MLP and it makes sense why a seeming lack of inner-conflict would worry people. Let’s jolt our attention over to Applejack. The most dependable of ponies has pretty much no inner conflicts anymore and episodes built around her tend to be less effective now that her biggest character issues were resolved in the early part of season 1. On the contrary, Rarity is an endless source of material due to the core conflict between her incredible generosity and her often hilarious self-absorption. Rarity’s weakness that leads her to flip out in the most hilarious (and often story-helpful) ways – making everything into “The. Worst. Possible. Thing!” is a comedic goldmine and a great resource for character conflict.

    TLDR; I don’t think it’s that good characters bore viewers, but rather that a lack of inner conflict makes the story feel flat. Especially in a show like MLP, where everything is based around characters and their inner conflicts.

  7. Have you ever felt that you related to Twilight Sparkle?
    Yeah. I guess. We share a lot of charakteristics, just like neurotic, the solitude, the pressure to better yourselve, the shyness (she is pretty shy at the beginning). So yeah, I can totally see inside her head.

    Do you find her personal betterment inspiring, or does it feel like she’s left you behind?
    Uhm, I totally feel left behind anyway, because I always would love to be with them however, but they never take note of me, well, Pinkie does, maybe, you never know.
    I get more inspired by Pinkies Joy and selflessness and Fluttershy’s Chojones and badassery. Sometimes I’m even angry with Twilight, She can cast any spell, but is so uncreative about that.

    How about your relationships with other characters?
    Pinkie and Fluttershy are my favourits, they are most fun in my opinion. I think Applejack is the one you can always come to and trust the most, she’s very sincere. She’s more like a mother for the group than anything else, for that matter, I can’t relate to her at all.
    Rarity is snazzy and creative, totally what I am as well, or try to be. I hold big parts on my outfit, like she does. On the artistic level we would totally get along.
    Rainbow Dash … reminds me of my Ex-Fiance. Tomboys are a terrible thing, don’t do them, never. I love at Dash that she is most loyal, she never let’s you down, but, she IS a huge ashole from time to time, I’m not feeling very close to her.

    I like Owlicious. I think he suits me the most. He is silent, trolls, is helpful, smart, kind … and holds terrible secrets.

  8. Yes! I think you pretty much nailed it here. When the alicoronation rumours were flying around I did feel uneasy, possibly because I couldn’t relate to her anymore. But now that it’s happened and I took the time to try to understand it better and find a way to relate to it, I feel like she is even more inspiring to me. It’s like I kind of need to get my shit together here and do the great things I’ve studied so hard to do. Dreams can be achieved and life doesn’t have to end because of it, nor would I change my personallity at the very core. I might be happier and probably more busy, but I would still be the same pony!

  9. Hello Digi. In response to your video, I have to say that I feel left behind by twilight. I feel as though I have hit a wall in my own self improvement. I Havent done anything of significant self improvement in quite some time. Seeing her become this paragon of Goodness makes me feel like I am less like her and more like a worthless nobody. I still like her character, and I agree with you completely on all other counts, but I dont feel like I can really relate to her anymore.

  10. I’m not saying that it’s “impossible” to write “perfect” or “too good” characters…but I will say that it isn’t easy.

    I’ve noticed that with a lot of “perfect, goody-goody” characters that’re actually *DONE WELL*, we STILL get to watch them struggle sometimes. Captain Picard isn’t always calm and collected. Vash the Stampede isn’t always a happy ray of sunshine. Gandalf isn’t always powerful.

    Do these moments of weakness make these characters any “less” perfect? Of course not! It just makes them human!

    I personally believe that when we don’t get to see this “human” element in a written character, we’re much more quick to write them off as a Mary Sue. Whether they’ve completely lost any and all ability to be wrong, or if we feel like they didn’t struggle hard enough in the first place, it feels…ugh….yeah.

    I’m not saying Twilight Sparkle is a Mary sue just because she’s a princess. But she may have already exhibited mary-sue traits ages ago, what with her infallible ability to use magic to quite literally solve all her problems. (I’m not saying that Magic DOES solve all her problems…but so far, it basically has. Also it’s come quite easily for her seeing as how her talent IS magic..)

    I’m sure season 4 will give us many more hurtles for Twilight Sparkle to climb, hopefully in a much more satisfying way :)

  11. (I am also na Lawliet on Youtube, just in case) I am given the feeling at this moment to share my experiences after the Season 3 finale and how it affected me. You asked, and Digi, I do sincerely hope you read my dictum I’ve prepared for you. I’m am a devout fan of yours, even if I seldom watch your videos and not even all of them in their entirety. I just know you’re a great writer, and I think that I am not. I don’t know just how long this will be, but I will tell you that this has been building up since that episode, and now is the time.
    I feel somewhat ashamed to say this because I want to be one of those who embraced the change, but I was silently horrified when Twilight became an alicorn for real. I hated all the talk of destiny. Who had the right to pass on what they think is best for Twilight? I actually had no idea. I was frustrated with confusion. I had heard from a leak on a forum mid-season 3 from someone on staff that this change was inevitable because of a mandate from Hasbro but they would do the best they could, (unfortunately I cannot cite that at the moment, and I am sorry, although perhaps you’ve heard of it) but I didn’t believe it. I expected this, when it came, to be imaginary in Twilight’s mind or that in some way the change was not permanent. I was still very happily exited for the episode, and I turned it on with my stated expectations. This was the one that I didn’t get to enjoy. My mind was in the wrong place, and when the show was over, I was confused that that was really all. Except for one thing, of course, “Everything is gonna be just fine!”
    I took it to heart when I didn’t really understand it. I think a dangerous mistake. What was it? A lie? An assurance to those who might be enraged? Or while being that, at the same time, a truth? Who really intended this to happen? And who are the one who encourage it, both within the show and outside. These questions don’t matter to me now the same way they used to. The point is, I had made it my mission to find all the truths of the change, and to spread the word that I had the best possible perspective and offer clever new angles and evidence that hadn’t been addressed. And everyone should hear it and that would be how I made my mark in the community. And I see people like you…
    But I know I’ve changed since then. More than I remember. And I read some of my own analysis’s on the subject, and abandon them in disgust at my arrogance. The very thing I feared at the time. I hadn’t conquered that great emotional equation I had laid out for myself, and I certainly haven’t now. But I do have the strength to tell of it. I lacked that before, waiting for it to come, thinking that it had at times and failing.
    I felt myself drift away from the show, I stopped watching, and I only checked updates on it and bought merchandise. I became a moderate fan in a few months. I do miss the way it was, and I wish my feelings wouldn’t get in the way so I could truly enjoy the show. Rather than hope that it pleases me. I just don’t understand her. I haven’t come to grips with the fact that she has transended me. Like many. I wanted to be a special and important one, despite my own faults. Perhaps the whole situation could be used as evidence that My Little Pony is vastly more complicated than it appears. I will give one more idea about what Alicorn Twilight realistically means. I will try one more time at least, before the 25th of November.
    It means that things just happen. Events carry themselves out, some you have caused, others you have no control over. And that even in an instant, your current reality can change. Change for better or worse. Change a little, or change everything. Change that matters, or change that will be forgotten or perhaps never even seen. A change representing, to me, the vulnerability of a current state. Dust in the wind? No. I must be more than that. Attachments are important, unity in friendship is what can keep us alive and even can be the cause of a change, so get invested, knowing that things WILL change. It meant what it said. Destiny.

  12. First and foremost, Twilight is my favorite pony in the show. She was the first character to catch my attention when I watched the pilot episode for the first time about a year and a half ago. And unlike a good majority of the brony community, when I found out that Twilight was going to become an alicorn, I was pumped! it was going to be a really exciting change for me. And in all serious I do believe that one reason that I like twilight so much is becuase she is one of the characters I can relate to the most. She’s afraid of failing. I’m also afraid of failing a task. And after seeing her overcome her fears, it has helped me get over my fears of failing. Sorry for the lack of response im not the best when it comes to explaining things.

  13. But no matter how much we better ourselves, we will always end up making more mistakes. Part of what makes a show entertaining is seeing the flaws in a character, the problems they face, and the mistakes they make and being able to feel for them.

    The first three times or so I watched the BBBFF song I couldn’t get through without shedding a tear, because Twilight’s relationship with her brother mirrored mine with my father (hanging out with them all the time, moving away, seeing them less and less, and ultimately watching them grow without you). I agreed with her suspicions of Cadance, not just because they was obviously something up, but mainly because her situation was relatable. The problem was, she reacted in the wrong way. That way, it was all the more rewarding when she made the right choice and succeeded.

    The same goes for the Failure Song. When I saw the preview clip for Season 3 of that song, that was when I decided Twilight was my favorite character. I too have strived for something only to think I have bitten off more than I can chew. Again, seeing her realize that Spike had to bring the Crystal Heart to the fair, and hearing the reprise of the Failure song (which was a great conclusion for people who saw the first part months before), inspired me.

    The problem with MMC was while she made a mistake and fixed it (and admittedly the True True Friend song was somewhat heartwarming), the reward for it was way too great. Maybe if her struggle was stretched out into two parts like in the Mare in the Moon, Return of Harmony or the examples above I would feel her princesshood was earned. You could argue her previous achievements also played a part, but she should have been given a huge test before becoming a princess, bigger than all the others. This was the final boss, the last exam, the hurdle never jumped before. And what did she have to do? Write a spell. Something tons of unicorns had done in the past.

    While I enjoyed Equestria Girls, I was completely disconnected from Twilight throughout it. I NEVER felt for her, not once. Why? She never made a mistake. Besides not being used to her human body (which was kind of adorkable), she always takes the good-guy path, never even having to stop and think “Should I look out for just me this time, the instinct implanted in all of us, or help others?”

    Now Sunset Shimmer on the other hand, I found incredibly interesting. She’s Twilight if she chose the wrong path, donning even a similar name. Many people hate her reformation at the end, calling her a crybaby who gives up the second she doesn’t get what she wants, but while it was a tad rushed, I otherwise completely disagree. She was bested by Twilight multiple times before realizing her ways were wrong and changing to good. I genuinely felt for her when she was defeated. I know how it feels to make a fool of myself, to have everyone turned against me because I made a mistake. Even if she did somewhat deserve it, everybody also deserves a chance to correct themselves, so when the mane 6 offered her friendship I felt quite satisfied.

    At this point I feel the same way about Twilicorn as I do about Derpygate: I don’t think it should have happened, but the only thing I can do at this point is accept it and move on.

    Without flaws we can’t have mistakes. Without mistakes we can’t have conflict. Without conflict, we have nothing to risk, nothing at stake, so why should we care about what happens?

  14. When people talk about ‘character development’ in terms of Twilight, they’re usually talking about the sort of stuff that appears in the friendship reports. But it seems to me that that “I don’t need friends” mentality was pretty much completely resolved in episode 1. Throughout season one she basically acts as an extension of Celestia. This goes as far as her finishing Celestia’s sentences and stuff. We almost never see her acting as a bad friend. Indeed, after season 1 it was mostly other members of the mane six who wrote letters. Her real problems, namely her paranoia and OCD, remain unresolved, and thus she remains an interesting and entertaining character.

  15. A very interesting hypothesis, Digibrony. Of course, characters who are perfect, in the sense that they actually have no flaws, are unbelievable and uninteresting, but that doesn’t seem to be what you’re discussing here. I would say that the inability to relate to “too good” (non-perfect) characters probably stems as much from insecurity as laziness, but whether that makes it any better is up for debate.

    Here’s something I think fuels a lot of the concerns over the transformation; we have seen nothing of how Twilight is going to be written in the main series post-coronation. She could immediately shed any vestige of the frantic shut-in she was and become a completely unrecognizable character, she could continue along as her old self as though nothing had happened, or (hopefully) she could end up any number of places in-between. So it seems to me that any statement about whether Twilight is or is not a Mary Sue now is inherently unsupported — outside of Equestria Girls, we have basically no data to work with. So that question, I think, remains unanswered until Season 4 begins.

    Also, it’s important to keep in mind that overcoming a flaw for a character doesn’t necessarily mean losing that flaw, so much as learning to handle it. So the character can be shown to still struggle with the imperfection, they just have it “under control”, whatever that entails. I think a great example of this sort of character development is when Dash stops herself from yelling at Fluttershy in “Hurricane Fluttershy.” It allows the character to noticeably improve themselves while still remaining relatable.

    But there’s another issue I’d like to address. It occurred to me as I was watching your video, and I think it may be a fundamental challenge of character development. As I said before, it’s generally much better to show the character handling the flaw, rather than have them “lose” it per se. And in real life, there’s generally no single point at which we can be said to have “finished” handling our personality flaws — they come up again at intervals, and hopefully we gradually get better at dealing with them.

    But if one is trying to write a narrative based upon character development, this inherently doesn’t work. Because narratives and story arcs have set endings. Even if the flaw never completely disappears, there needs to be a point at which the narrative essentially says “at this point, this character flaw is no longer a major point of conflict — for the purposes of the story, it’s ‘resolved'”. Clearly, the coronation was that point for Twilight and her antisocial nature.

    And because, of course, any character has a limited number of flaws to be addressed, if the series continues for long enough, one runs out of internal conflicts for them to resolve. So at that point, while they might still possess some character flaws, they are “perfect” as far as the narrative is concerned, insofar as none of their personality flaws are severe enough to make for an interesting narrative conflict. If they hit this point at or near the end of the story, then bob’s your uncle. But if they don’t, then we’re left reaching for an interesting way to take their development.

    There are ways around this, of course. The most obvious one is the introduction of new flaws, and this can be done well — many of us have found ourselves in positions where personality traits we once thought benign suddenly become major problems. But that’s a serious challenge to write believably.

    To bring this back to FiM, now that Twilight’s social awkwardness and anxiety are “resolved” in the sense that they’re (probably) no longer a major point of narrative conflict, I’m not sure where they have to go with her as regards internal conflict. Of course, there’s always external conflict, but many find that less interesting — YMMV, of course.

    So I guess TLDR: I think it highly unlikely that Twilight will become flat, but there’s a real danger that she’ll become static. I’m eager to see if that happens, or if the writers can give her new internal conflict in a way that’s believable and interesting.

    • What comes to speculations about season four, I’d say that the widened social gap between Twilght the Alicorn and her “common” friends is going to play a major part there. The comment as such is rather obvious and was pointed out straigth at the end of season three, but “how” of the thing is quite not so obvious. Does Twiligth move to another castle (insert a Mario joke here) like Cadance did, or simply to Canterlot? Does she aquire new friends? Or does Celestia begin to occupy more of her favourite pupil’s time from now on? Evertyhing is possible.

      And that’s only Twilght were’re talking about: How about the other five? Surely they also need to make progress, perhaps in ways similiar to Twilight? Perhaps they, too, will ascend to a higher level in their own way. A bit dystopic (and more political) approach would be to deny any real progress from the other five mane characters, to highlight the stiff social hierarchy that defines Equestria, but more likely than not that option will have to be investigated by the fanfiction.

  16. I have been using Cadence’s breathing technique in real life ever since I saw that episode. It actually helps me calm down, and I have had less panic attacks thus far. It is amazing what a good example to look up to can do for somepony who is struggling like everypony else in this world.

    The “too good” characters are what I truly and wholeheartedly aspire to become one day. I have had several trials and tribulations, as Twilight has, and it will take time to become my ideal self. I know people like that can exist, and I want to be remembered as one of them, and hopefully, inspire at least one other person to do the same.

  17. The reason most people dislike a good number of “Perfect” characters can be summed up in 3 words. Deus. Ex. Machina. There are very few “Perfect” characters in fiction that maintain their perfect status without having some amount of Deus Ex in their portfolio. People see Twilight as a Mary Sue because for the most part she is. Lets look at the ending of the season 3 finale for example. Twilight has a 2 minute cry session in her room and then immediately with no real explanation finds a way to fix everything.

    Another classic Mary Sue issue Twilight seems to run into a lot is a weakening of canon abilities for the sake of plot. When a writer starts to realized their character may have a little to much going for them they will sometimes start to just “forget” about certain things the character could do previously. Most commonly harped on is Twilight teleportation abilities. It has been shown Twilight has mastered the art of at least short ranged rapid teleporting yet so very rarely does she do it, why? Because her flaws as a Mary Sue would be far more apparant if she used all of her canon abilities to their fullest.

    Let’s jump to another fictional character shown in the video. Kenshin yes is a paragon of good, a defender of the weak and a champion of justice. Kenshin how ever is a huge Marty Stu. He is only able to be the amazing “Perfect” character he is because of massive usage of deus ex machina plot devices. I mean just look at the amakakeru ryu no hirameki, I mean come on Seijuro Hiko even remarks that the attack is perfect and nothing can beat it. Kenshin wouldn’t be the amazingly good character he is if he stopped getting so much god tier writing help.

    In closing I’d like to say I have no problems with “Perfect” characters as a concept. I would agree Gandalf is a pretty good benchmark for a Paragon esk character but he is one of a very select few.

  18. I may not be Digi, though I am a fan, and I do consider myself to be pretty analytical so I thought I’d add some thoughts to this discussion. First on Digi’s initial post then as a response to some of the points raised by others.

    In response to: Digibrony
    On the topic of relatability, when I first started watching the show I could not relate to most of the main cast. Of the main mares the most relatable to me was Applejack having overcome some seriously dark implied depth and come out the wiser, more sensible mare because of it, though while still maintaining her stubborn streak.

    Unfortunately this immediately disqualified her as interesting to me because I consider myself to be boring and I see much of myself in her. Due to the relative darkness of family death or abandonment, her most interesting stories (the main points by which we diverge), are not likely to be discussed and canon representations of the character hold little lasting interest to me.

    As for Twilight and the need for change, when I first started watching the show the first three episodes were a painful grind to watch, and I only did so ironically with my friends to mock them. Applebuck season won me over, even though it is an AJ episode, because it went into detail with how in this universe my greatest Vice (Pride) is percieved and was a subject I initially thought was beyond the scope of the series. While it eventually gave way to my greatest virtue (prudence) I feel like that was only the first step in AJ’s further evolution. Primarily because this step was through defeat, as it usually goes, rather than mastery as a master of Pride will force themselves to be prudent for the sake of maintaining their pride.

    The difference it would seem (as Digi also pointed out in one of his other vids), is that we are present for all of Twilight’s struggles that are occurring in the present, whereas AJ’s was the opposite.

    At the point of Twilight’s transcendence into alicorn status (an event I wasn’t spoiled to), amidst the sea of emotional turmoil, never once did I think to myself “this is a bad move” but rather, I relegated myself to giving my t.v. a slow clap while uttering “s’bout goddamn time…” remembering my very first impressions of the show, where ‘sun, moon, twilight’ were all given co-dependant subtext by phases of light and a sort of ‘the light of the world’ type intro-narrative.

    To me, the moment seemed to mark a crowning achievement in maturity where 3 years of FIM has given Twilight the level of depth implied in 3 episodes of AJ, but with a “difference in kind” as opposed to the “difference in scale” I’ve seen others interpret it as.

    In response to Finlay May:
    From what I’ve read of others opinions on the topic, seems to suggest there is a misinterpretation of the physical transformation of Twilight as a correlation between the states of physical or emotional maturity that such a correlation usually implies. This tends to lead well into the idea that the deep rooted changes you’re talking about (the really hard ones) were not present for these changes.

    I disagree with the premise that lead you to that conclusion, in fact, it seems to me that there is more than overwhelming evidence to support the notion that the two are wholly unrelated. Citing:
    After being an alicorn for god knows how long, decided that it would be awesome to overthrow Harmony and Order. Not just a tantrum or a spat, but be the source of sufficient threat to the entire world of equestria that the elements of harmony must be turned upon her.

    Fill in the blank, the art of being a troll is one has the understanding and power to know and do better, but refuse to anyway.

    This Alicorn has had two back-to-back epic two part arcs centered on her, (to date) one comic, and even a mention in a book and still manages to remain wholly two-dimensional.

    Because wings and a horn don’t make you mature, hell they don’t even make you an alicorn apparently.

    Now that I’ve addressed what this transformation is not, let me address what it seems to be, and why I am so god-damn glad that it has finally happened.

    In the universe of FIM friendship is a literal force in the world, as powerful as magnetism and electricity, something Digibrony has illustrated previously, however I postulate that it goes much farther beyond this.

    The very concept of the cutie mark illustrates that the pony body is a conduit for the raw magical energies in the world, (whether or not they are unicorns [see Zecora and Cadence]) with varying degrees of capacitance. After all nothing says ‘channels magic’ like ‘Magical butt-tattoo appears during puberty.’

    Only by understanding the magic of friendship, not specifically the emotional maturity of being a good friend, does Twilight evolve into a unicorn. I’ll later explain the unparalleled importance of that why distinction is one that Celestia does not make.

    If my postulate is true then when Celestia says Twilight did something even a great wizard like Starswirl the Bearded couldn’t do because he didn’t understand magic, because he doesn’t understand friendship, implies a level of raw mechanical synchronicity with the natural energies of the world.

    In short, a ‘Cloud and the Lifestream’ moment where her physical body reflects the level of energies it channels.

    Oh, and as for too soon, I don’t think three years is too soon to get at fleshing out one of the core fundamental mechanics of the world.

    In response to: JR
    One of the main personal critiques I had of Twilight coming into the show, something I can’t actually fault the show for because of it’s necessity, is that Twilight is too predictable. Though still fun to watch, from start to finish any plot involving her is immediately dry and predictable to me because I have 2-3 times the life experience of a human teenager, and learned from an even younger age still who and what I am in regards to the importance of bettering myself.

    But you know what? I’m a god-damn adult and that shit is expected of me. Twilight is not, and therefore to hold her to such a standard is both negligent of one’s own growth-process and irresponsible to press another harder than oneself. Especially if that those standards are 2-3x higher than your own.

    Further to say that the idealistic process of being better than what you are, to any end, is too idealistic precludes the very concept of ascension, which by definition in this context is perfect idealism. The reality is that every major faith has such a concept and let us not forget that, despite all her scientific aptitude, Twilight is still extremely faithful in her idolization of Celestia (as a god-figure). She is less of a Saint Michael that Anthony C coined her, and more of a Saint Anselm as she uses science only so far as to justify her faith (made painfully evident in the Feeling Pinkie Keen episode).

    This is important because while you indicate that no one’s life ever turns out so cut-and-dry as Twilights the reality is that some actually do, and it is a dark and twisted road of subversion and manipulation that gets them down this path.

    Without going into too many details on chaos theory, let me just say that if we know all the variables, the future can be accurately predicted, Chaos suggests we can never know all the variables but even in chaos there is order.

    Consider for a moment that in reality a horse reaches the age of physical maturity (capable of pregnancy, thereby having passed puberty and would be a comparable age of the Mane Six) by two to four years of age, that Celestia has been not just alive, but ruling as a Goddess for over a thousand years. Further that our protagonist was hoof-chosen by Celestia, separated from her family and place in the ideal setting for molding by the princess. Every thought Twilight ever had since the appearance of her cutie mark has been influenced by Celestia, every realization carefully observed, coerced, or cataloged. Every aspect of her Id was shaped under Celestia’s ever watchful eye.

    Understandably the illusion of free will is not a hard conjuration to make when one not only knows, but expressly forged every aspect of another’s psychological profile. Phrasing, context, and presentation of a situation can be crafted in such a way to provoke a desired response (literally the essence of marketing IRL) and because this mind was shaped by the desires of Celestia, it does not question the fact that it was shaped by the desires of Celestia.

    And by the all mighty Fausticorn’s own words it was her intent, at the start of the show, that Twilight eventually succeed Celestia, a demonstrably manipulative ruler who in a thousand years had seen but one half-respectable candidate for succession.
    If none emerge, one can be created, designed to be better than any other.

    In response to: Anonymous
    With respect to the elements of harmony, and the implied imbalance between Twilight and her friends, the reality as expressed in the series opener is that Magic is the culmination of all of the other elements. It is forged of them, and it stands to reason it takes more physical aptitude (as discussed earlier) to channel all the elements at once than it does any one piece. Further, it has been demonstrated that none of the other element bearers have any desire to see a more intimate understanding of the group of elements as a whole that define magic, being content to be the best one element they can be. It is later demonstrated in the Discord arc that if a single element is out of alignment the entire thing falls apart, and Twilight is robbed of these powers even if she is still fit and willing to wield them.

    In response to: Dan
    I agree with you here in principle but not in practice on two accounts.
    I have had the delightfully dark misfortune to live with such a perfectly principled individual for four years before life beat the ever living shit out of that perfect ideology. He’s since become a stronger person with a more realized understanding of how to pursue his more thoroughly understood idea of personal ascension.

    One of the defining aspects of such hyper-altruistic people is how the shades of grey fade away into the black of their black and white reality. There is always a right thing to do, and if you have any question about if it’s the right thing to do, then there is your red flag that it is not.

    The universe of FIM is a generally altruistic place, or so far as the places that the ponies of ponyville have exposure to (with but one exception in the comics) and this exposure seems to be intentionally limited to fit in the frame of the show. In such a context it therefore stands to reason the ability to relate is not based on the real person the viewer is, but the idealized version of themselves they aspire to be. Something that Digi hinted at himself in this very video.

    For example: Despite my proclivity to the appreciation of depravity, I still have a semi-altruistic aspiration and a well realized perception of that person, and that person is most relatable to Zecora and Cheerilee. As such these two learned and educational mares of my favorite ponies because I relate to them on an ideological level. Where, on the other hand, my proclivity to depravity and appreciation of subtleness and subversion draws me to Chrysalis as such she is my favorite villain.

    Point Two:
    Real people are not well realized.
    As a general rule I have have come to learn this in my time working in mediation it is not held within the general population to thoroughly ask themselves how they came to be the person they are. In any medium of storytelling however this is the first and foremost innate question that must be tackled by the writer before a story can begin as it shapes the entire experience.

    As such there are deep running threads behind the some of the near-shallow justifications of resonance when one describes that which they appreciate in a character as those qualities are more often than not aspects of the archetype the character is designed to portray. This was made no more brutally clear to me than when browsing where every idea that I was capibile of conciving for moving a story forward already existed with a full article, a witty quote, and a funny picture.

    In response to: A.Morris
    Innovation for innovation’s sake is a blight on the creative process, I would much rather spend my time riding around in a sweet-ass new car to that hospital/school I designed and built, than get stuck trying to reinvent the wheel.

    In response to: Lori Padar
    I noticed your examples were all in relation to external forces exerting pressure on the character in question rather than an internal conflict. This provokes only the internal questioning of one’s own validity, often expressible in terms of Anxiety, a subject that has been done to death with Twilight Sparkle.

    This is an important distinction to make because such a conflict drives internal growth exactly once. That lesson is that external forces have no bearing on the realization of one’s character, but serve as a reinforcement of character developed by internal conflict. We have already seen this exact lesson be taught expertly by the Return to Harmony, and again in Lesson Zero (where an internalized perception of external force was substituted for an actual external force) trying to teach this lesson again would just be insulting because it would be beating a dead horse.

    I also noticed you’re going well out of your way to imply the things you’re saying that you aren’t saying. I’m not saying this makes you sound like an asshole… so I’ll just say that this makes you look like what an asshole sounds like.
    An asshole.

    In response to: Aidanfvt
    You must HATE Dragon Ball (Z) then.
    The situation of a main character being “perfect” or overly altruistic leads to some potentially interesting and underexplored or underrepresented stories. Two most obvious is that one, life beats the ever living good out of your protagonist and that character undergoes a polarity shift. And the other most obvious is that this creates a level of dysfunction between the other cast members and this character which drives the conflict for several varying reasons.
    There are other imaginings of this scenario but I found those to be my most obvious picks.

    In response to: HyperNerd
    I want to address the core concept here, and let the rest follow through the raw power of implication (The premise changes; the conclusion follows).
    Both the terms: “Mistakes”, and “Flaws”, are inherently subjective based on the interpretation of the equally subjective “correct” by virtue of the intention of the action which is further derived from both context and subtext. Unfortunately intention is not always expressed and in those cases it is impossible for a viewer to know with certainty what that intention was, thus if it can not be known, it becomes irrelevant to the action, and it’s relevance only serves to define the intender who acted rather than the action itself.

    An example from my own personal head canon library.
    Imagine for a moment that Chrysalis, who is basically the Sarah Kerrigan of the Zerg, created a plan that played to her strengths (while avoiding her weaknesses) in finding food for her changeling nation. Now imagine that she is as old as Celestia (implied by her physical stature and rank), implying that she has heard of the heroics that caused Celestia’s rise to power, and the fall of Nightmare Moon. Further the fall of the Crystal Empire having also heard tale of a certain crystal princess that spreads love wherever she goes.
    Then consider that she must have heard of Luna’s reformation, a heart as black as night made whole and able to love again and further share this love with her subjects, and to be loved by them as demonstrated in Luna Eclipsed. An ability that would prove crucial to transferring her nation to “Clean, renewable energy.”

    It would therefore stand to reason that two very viable options to obtain this knowledge would be available to our master of espionage. First infiltrate posing as said propagator of love to understand it through it’s reflection in those around her, as the pretender archetype can only know themselves (who they are pretending to be) through that reflection of the perception of that self found in others. Who these others perceive the subject to be is whom the pretender emulates, these perceptions are not always an accurate representation of the true self. We’ll call this plan A.
    Note a weakness to avoid is her hunger/starvation might preclude her from studying Cadence properly should she have posed as a close-personal-friend this would pose an unnessisary risk that could jeopardize the whole mission.

    Plan B would then reasonably be reformed by force, considering how momentous Nightmare Moon is in the lore of the world, if such a creature could be reforged then surely so could she.

    Though it stands to reason that the method of Luna’s reformation wasn’t made overly public else this would be demonstrated by instantaneous fame for the Mane Six in the eyes of other ponies, fame and general recognition that they do not possess.

    It therefore stands to reason that the elements of harmony should be kept from the Mane six as they were only demonstrated in the past to be a weapon of destruction of disharmony. Disharmony that the Changelings do not suffer from, having one face, one voice, and one reality.

    In this interpretation, it was Twilight who made the critical mistake that lead to Chrysalis being prevented from reaching new growth. By not consulting Celestia privately about her suspicions that Chrysalis intentionally led her to, she basically bumble-fucked the part that she was cast into (albeit unknowingly). It was then not Chrysalis who was in err when she went through the dramatic reveal and invasion sequence that forced the other ponies hooves but instead an execution of Plan B.

    In response to: XthForm
    Your conclusions seem to stem from observations that I find fault with, and will try to illustrate wherein the fault is perceived in the premise rather than debate the conclusions directly.

    Deus Ex Machina is literally translated to “God out of the machine” and thanks to Anthony C we know this is a reference to the days of greek plays when the gods were characters and would show up at the end to save the day, reminding us why they are gods.

    Celestia literally never does this, in fact no outside force does this in MLP, but rather an internal realization through retro/introspection. Therefore Deux Ex Machina fails to apply.

    Twilight’s “2 minute cry” is distinctly a montage, beginning with a visible shot of the sky in the background with no weather in effect. This montage distinctly implies that the cry was much longer given the alternating presence weather in the background. Consider that Rarity had all of ponyville carpeted in weather during her scene that it stands to reason that she did so only for (up to) hours each day, but gave it a rest from time to time she would know from experience that storms last on average 20 minutes or less so it would stand to reason that the cry went on for at least several hours, if not days as Rarity would also know it is uncommon for more than one storm to occur in a day.

    However I choose to believe that the writers/animators knew how insulting it would be, to even little girls, if it went on any longer so the length is implied-by-montague rather than stated directly through actual air-time.

    And just thinking about Twilight crying for days because she knows she’s gone-done-fucked-up a spell that even her idol Starswirl the Bearded couldn’t get right depresses the shit out of me making her struggle all the more real to me.

    Teleportation has inherent counters, “cost”, “cooldown”, “implied limitations”, and “feasibility” for using the spell. In terms of magic both Twilight Sparkle and the GaPT have been shown to have limits when it comes to the raw amount of magic they can channel before they straight up burn out. Cost and Cooldown is a ratio of how much exertion it takes to execute the spell and how long it takes to recover that exertion. Though, you know who doesn’t suffer from this? Rarity.

    Presumably ‘bending the fabric of space-time’, or ‘matter-energy conversion, translocation, and reconstitution’ (depending on how you want to perceive teleporting) takes a massive toll on the body, if not at first, then gradually. Like mathematics this is a skill that she learned after becoming fluent in magic in general, and also like mathematics, it is easy to forget to use it when it will make your life a hell of a lot simpler or otherwise deemed impractical when that much raw power just isn’t necessary.

    Example: As a person who has studied calculus I myself know that it is basically a method of adding a whole bunch of shit up really fast. Further, there is a formula for finding the average a definite integral (all that shit that I’ve added up) and do you know what method I usually find myself using to find averages to this day?
    That make a list, add by hand, and divide by the number of things in the list.
    Shit that I learned in third grade.
    In essence, the reality is that while a super-cool ability such as magic-calculus may be handy and work well for the problem at hand (if one even thinks of it at the time), most of the time is straight-up not worth the effort to bust it out. Yeah, I could define a definite integral for a list of thirty numbers then find the average of the function, but that’s hardly worth it when I can also add thirty numbers then divide by thirty.
    Teleportation follows the same logic, yeah, I could teleport thirty feet, but I could also run thirty feet while using my magic for something more important like constellation busting telekinesis.

    • In response to your response handling my (JR) response: Indeed, if one is to identify the relationship of Twilight and Celestia as one of the key concepts of the series in question, one should be aware of the nature of this relationship. The idea that Twilight is the end result of a plan created by a virtually immortal being is quite an intriguing one, as it opens up endless opportunities of interpretation, some of which I have strived to discuss in my fanfics. While there is a lot to say here, I will settle for only stating this: Despite my first comment, I don’t actually view Celestia’s influence on Twilight as necessarily depriving her of her autonomy or of the possibility of difference to Celestia. Twiligth is an extension of Celestia, in the psychological and philosophical sense, but the question whether she is simply meant to remain as such an image or a “subcategory” of her remains open, in my opinion. At least before we witness the season 4.

      Celestia trained Twilight to believe in Celestia, or to the figure of Celestia she wished Twilight to see, but did she do this so that Twilight could ultimately start believing in herself instead? Is ultimate, self-conscious confidence only possible through an interphase, such as the represented belief in somepony else than yourself? Or is the hegemony designed to be absolute?

      Moreover, while the closest comparison for the relationship of Twilight and Celestia is that of a mother and a daughter, I do believe that alternative analogies exist. I don’t have the theory in my hooves, but I could see room for power hierachy illustrations that are analogous to the Celestia-Twilight concept, illustrations such as state-citizen dichotomy, for example. I’m not saying that one could seriosuly find any new theories (in the academic sense) from the series MLP: FIM, but rather I claim that this series, like any pop cultural artifact, can be mobilized for the use of philosophical interprepation of power as such. This is a vague thing to say, but I’m still developing this idea, mainly through fanfiction.

      • I disagree, Princess Celestia sanctioned Twillight’s desire to flee, something any other pony would have simply done instinctively, but Twilight could not because of her obligation to her mentor as demonstrated by her hesitant glance at Celestia. This act by Celestia only freed Twilight of her obligations is not one of changing events, and only allowed the events to flow naturally as if she was not present.

        She followed them to Doughnut Joe’s to offer her congratulations on livening up a party that she has had to endure (semi?)annually for a thousand years, with almost a frat-boy attitude. Again her appearance in this scene isn’t Deus Ex Machina. She contributed literally nothing that AJ or Frat-boy-Spike, (or any of the other Mane Six), couldn’t have contributed with equally sound and down to earth advice.

        However, the fact that they were all smiling and laughing about how bad their night had been makes me think that they had already come to that conclusion, but this is still season 1 so the moral of the story has to be blatantly stated to Princess Celestia at the end of the episode.

        The ‘dictionary’ definition of Deus Ex Machina is when something/someone else comes to save the day because no one else is able to.

        • No. Celestia says that she invited Twilight and her friends because <i<she knew they would cause a disaster. To the viewer, this makes the episode seem like “Oh no, a catastrophe! No wait, it was all according to plan.” There was a problem and then there wasn’t, because of Celestia’s appearance. Deus Ex Machina.

  19. I’ve always connected to Twi stronger than the other characters. A bookish girl who has no friends – duh. And her getting a company of friends and learning social skills (ooh, Look Before You Sleep! I know if I threw a slumber party it would look like that )= ) was like wish fulfillment for me. I laughed when I realised how Twi is the least organised pony of all the cast – I mean, seriously, why does a librarian, for God’s sake, need checklists for what she should do, how did she end up without assignment on Winter Wrap Up, and her time management skills in It’s About Time just say it all.

    However, I didn’t see her grow. We all saw her freak out and make mistakes, but I never saw her fix those mistakes, receive a character arc like Rainbow did… There was never any focus on her communication problems, they were mentioned in the first episode, played for laughs a couple of times after that, and never explored seriously. There was some focus on her organisation problems, but they were never solved. It’s About Time ended with Twilight causing herself to make a mistake instead of preventing it, so it’s not like she ever learned anything. And I’m not going to take the writers’ word on her being socialized now until I see her throw a party that is not percieved as awkward by anyone involved.

    The only thing Twi overcomes during the course of the show is being afraid of Celestia. I do wonder what kind of teacher Her Alicornness is that Twi needed a year in Ponyville (or however much time passed, I have no idea) to realise that she doesn’t have to fear her. Anyway, Twilight shows that she can think on her own during Discord episode (which was horrible save for this moment because rushed and unrealistic). She does finish this arc, but what kind of growth is this? “You were perfect all along, you just needed some confidence”? Seriously?

    And during the last episode? She still can’t predict consequences of reading the unfinished spell out loud, she is not shown to have no problem connecting to new people outside her friends cirlce, but she can come up with a witty solution to a problem like some logic puzzle. I don’t know, was any of her arcs about her having problems with logic or making up new spells? She’d already solved a similar problem with her friends being brainwashed before – during Discord episode she received an epiphany and came up with an idea to use a spell to return them their memories. All she does in the last episode, besides sing really cute, is re-state this two seasons old lesson. Anything else? Oh, she also fixes the spell. No clue as to why she couldn’t do it, say, directly after saving Crystal Empire – I mean, it’s not like she received any character development during this last arc. Except self-confidence. So what, “you were perfect all along”? Feel fine being a disorganised social outcast, you are no longer afraid of your mentor and you are a princess now? It’s not like receiving wings and authority even helped her with any of her problems… it just came out of the left field.

    I WANT Twilight to evolve. I WANT Twilight to, I don’t know, show me a way to solve problems that I have that are similar to hers? I don’t want to leave Twilight behind as I learn to be organised and outgoing while she is the same freak from Lesson Zero (who did not remember about her supposedly weekly assignment before Spike reminded her, and God can I relate to that).

    Hasbro has a lot more to explore about Twilight. What I don’t see is any reason to give her wings and princess title right now. It’s not like there even was a single Twilight episode in this whole season except the first two-parter.

    So you missed the mark like you were shooting from the wrong end of the gun. I love perfect characters. I’d love Twilight to evolve beyond me. But she does not, and that’s the problem.

    PS I can’t post the comment right now so I’m going to add some more to it as an afterthought.

    Most important of all that I posted above, Twilight never aspired to be a princess. She never had this ambition. This may have been Celestia’s ambition for her, but we never knew that. We never got to empathise with that idea and root for its success. We never wanted her to be an alicorn because there wasn’t a single reason presented in-series for her to be. Her wishes and aspirations had absolutely nothing to do with it. It wasn’t even something logical for her to become, because we never knew that becoming an alicorn was even an option for magically gifted good guys. It just came out of the blue, even more so than her big brother and his wedding. It should have been a big plot point, but it never was. It did not finish any arcs except one presented in this very season in exactly one two-parter episode.

    They might yet fix it, by the way. Stop pretending that it was something that Twilight needed and show it as something Celestia wanted from her, like she wanted help from another princess or something. Let it be like the protagonist getting superpowers/magic/McGuffin in the start of the anime series, a beginning of the character arc instead of the end of one. That would bring me to love the change, I guess.

  20. PPS Sorry, I can’t find an edit button, and I have a pretty important point to add. And attempt to reply to my post, or any other, just eats up my post and does not give it back. At least I managed to publish one comment in this regular fashion, so there, I’ll try again.

    MLP:FiM is pretty good at maintaining continuity (except with Fluttershy’s character) and avoiding plot holes. They have one gaping like an open wound, though: lack of acknowledgement of Twilight’s sky-high social status.

    It was more-or-less ignorable in most cases, but in Rarity-episode-about-Canterlot-and-Twilight-birthday-party-sorry-forgot-the-name it get to define new levels of ridiculousness.

    The very point of the episode is that for some ponies in the Canterlot social status is a big thing, and their opinion is a big thing for Rarity. And that proximity to royalty is what plays a major role in defining that social status. Rarity gets their attention by mentioning that she has room in the palace. How did she get it? By being Twi’s friend, that’s how. And yet, when the episode approaches the end and moral starts being drawn, Twilight gets the role of “socially awkward, embarassing friend that you should not be ashamed of even though you have all reasons”. Rarity could have mentioned that this weird unicorn who dances like it’s her first try is Celestia’s personal apprentice, and I bet the whole party would have turned into the extension of Twilight’s birthday party and Rarity’s status would skyrocket, no matter how stupid Twi’s dress looked.

    But no, the only times in the series that Twi’s status gets any mention is during action episodes – when Celestia needs something from her. They seem to have their own internal continuity that has nothing to do with the main series – or they would if there were not “mainstream” episodes about Luna, Cadance and Discord. So it’s just weird.

    I really, really hope that with Twi’s change Hasbro is going to break that habit. It would really be a good moment to bring up issues like fame, loss of privacy, power, responsibility and other “celebrity/politician” stuff that was so far just ignored like it did not exist in this setting.

    Perhaps ponies have short attention span and they can remember someone as a celebrity even if they see them in this status every day. Of if they are obviously important persons like alicorns – Celestia and Luna seem to have no problem being recognised, probably because they have wings and you have to be pretty retarded to ignore that clue.

    Twilight has wings now, too. If she is still treated as an ordinary person in the fourth season, I’m going to assume that it’s her secret superpower. And that MLP:FiM writers and executives have absolutely no idea about what they are doing.

  21. DERP. Sorry, I didn’t notice the comment about leaving longer comments here. To make life easier, and maybe get a reply, I’ll repost/revise it here. :P

    You’ve touched on the reason, but here it is precisely. Twilight Sparkle’s goals are mostly about self-actualization. This is harder to make exciting and consumable without getting overly technical or dry. Philosophy, psychology, and sociology are fascinating, but some of this can take some serious contemplation to absorb. FiM has mostly just scratched the surface, and they’ve done a decent job so far, but they don’t want to get repetitive.

    Now, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a good guide for how to easily make a plot engrossing. While certain abstract concepts might leave them ambivalent or perplexed (another possibility would be clashing morals turning a viewer off completely), everyone can readily relate to physiological needs, which lead to death if not gained. This also serves to keep the character grounded and human, so to speak. Without requiring any of these other levels on the pyramid, they become alien, or at worst without any other driving goals, though they don’t need to constantly be near death to inspire interest.

    Coelasquid is my source for the original essay detailing this analysis and she describes it better, but any character can be stripped down a level to become more relate-able, more so the further down the pyramid the character gets (self-actualization is at the very top, and the least concerning need; every other level must be met before it can be pursued.) This is where Mary Sues(c) tend to falter. Even if they’re not the most powerful ever, the author doesn’t know how to give them a proper conflict (they ignore the lower levels, and aspire to the higher levels which require both a lot more in-depth thought to address and a lot more quality to entertain.) Beyond that, the biggest problem is working out how Twilight fits into the grand scheme of Equestria.

    As ILoveKimPossibleALot has noted, there wasn’t really a prior set-up for other alicorns, before Cadence appeared. Even though Twilight’s progress was hinted at, her transformation wasn’t, and everyone assumed Celestia and Luna were gods. When this perception was altered by more alicorns, the viewers didn’t know what to expect. There was no precedent. Even Cadence had only just arrived, so we were given limited answers from her. This makes people uncertain, and some simply lost faith in the writers. I’m hoping for the best myself.

    One of the reasons that Mary Sues are so plentiful, and that people are so willing to throw the term around, is because Mary Sues are often the result of inexperienced authors. They haven’t yet developed a proper understanding of the Elements of Harmony in writing: good plot, good characterization, good conceptualization, good world-building, good editing, and good criticism. Lacking these factors often lead to common bad rookie decisions, which are also why many Mary Sues seem so similar. They tend to go with the most obvious, least thought-out idea which is either impossibly hard to make good, or they take ideas from outside sources, without recognizing how to properly appropriate creativity and incorporate it into something else.

    Unfortunately, it’s MUCH easier to identify the trappings of a bad decision than it is to identify why this decision was made in the first place. This is why you see more people pointing at the traits these various Mary Sues have in common, rather than what I’ve mentioned. Perfection is an illusion; none of these characters are truly perfect, they’re simply poorly executed. Typically the author didn’t know how to drive the plot without their character simply stealing the spotlight, or they were too tempted by that idea. Alternatively, they just weren’t capable or comfortable coming up with a realistically flawed personality. Flaws are a lot harder to choose and implement than most readers realize, as is a fully realized character overall.

    But ultimately it’s a matter of perception, and not everyone takes the same analysis away. This is how some people may call a character from an official canon source a Mary Sue as well. Although, that said, even official sources can be created by the inexperienced. Sturgeon’s Law and all that.

    I don’t believe that ultimately it’s a refusal of betterment in the actual RL self that has lead to her rejections by fans, although I will uncomfortably admit that I do have a problem with change in real life. I am also frequently depressed, but currently poor and somewhat frightened of what taking anti-depressants might be like. But enough about that.

    I love all of the mane six, and I’m not against alicorn Twilight. I have some reservations, until I see where the writers take her, but I’m not against her in principle, other than the simple confusion regarding Celestia and Luna, at this point (among other things.)

    Incidentally, your analyses, the link to your friend’s 3-part essay (I forget the name, sorry) and the analyses by Bronycurious, are what got me to give MLP:FiM a second chance. (The pilot and Applebuck Season initially turned me off, the first time I watched them.) Thank you. :)

  22. Also, think I may have not even replied to your essay/analysis correctly… I think I got carried away, but I’m pretty tired at the moment. Sorry if none of that was the slightest bit relevant.

    I’m not suggesting that what they’ve done with Twilight is necessarily bad, but that it has some of the trappings of the most common flawed ideas seen in fandom (more princess alicorns thrown in; Cadence appears twice as badly in this light, for obvious reasons), and that it’s making people nervous about what direction season 4 will take. I guess that’s the root of my argument. That and writing about self-actualization as a theme and driving goal in a fictional work isn’t easy, and may turn people off because it doesn’t seem to have as much gravitas. There is a hidden impact, and the stakes aren’t generally that high.

  23. Well, with regards to how relatable the characters in MLP are, I think that they’ve done a very good job. When I initially started watching the show, I adored Rainbow Dash (and I still do) despite the fact that I’m not really an athletic individual. Twilight Sparkle wasn’t really a pony even on my radar until one of my friends who also watches the show pointed out to me that Twilight Sparkle and I are eerily similar. At first, I was in denial, but the more I thought about it and the more of the show I watched (and re-watched), the more I not only accepted, but embraced the fact that I’m totally Twilight Sparkle. Right down to the list-making. I even drew an MLP fan art of Twlight with a list that I had written several years ago. (which can be found here:

    As far as the main subject of the analysis goes, perfect characters tend to be less interesting than characters with flaws. For me, I think this has something to do with why I like Princess Luna more than I do Princess Celestia. The only time you really see Celestia not calm and composed is when Discord breaks free and for the very short time before Chyssalis totally wipes the floor with her. By all accounts, Celestia is and has been a constant force of good in Equestria. Luna, however, we know used to be Nightmare Moon and Luna Eclipsed shows she still harbors some resentment for the ponies not appreciating her. Although this gets resolved, it makes Luna immediately more relatable than her sister. With Twilight having basically ascended into godhood, having always been a good character, it could be difficult to continue to relate to Twilight. We need to see that she still has flaws, even as an alicorn princess. Perhaps even showing moments when, despite her best efforts, her anxieties and fears still get the best of her on occasion, showing that they still effect her and that she still has to deal with them, and that they haven’t gone away entirely because that’s a part of her.

  24. Here’s my problem with Alicorn Twilight: it’s one more manifestation of the classism that is pretty rampant in the show. Whether consciously or not, the show repeatedly shows unicorns as royalty and alicorns as a cross between royalty and deity. The issue with making Twilight an alicorn is that it reinforces the idea (and in most cases, the sad reality) that the lower classes must have relatively modest aspirations, while the upper classes are destined for greatness. In a show about fantasy and friendship, I don’t like to see this unfortunate aspect of the real world represented, anymore than I like to see racism in MLP (ie: dragons??).

    Sure, you could argue that princesshood is not something that any of the other Mane Six would want. But I don’t see much indication that Twilight was exactly aiming for it either. Her studies have always been shown to be about expanding her knowledge and improving herself. If that’s all it took to become a Princess (achieving a higher state of self, conquering your demons as Twilight has done, etc), then any Pony could become a princess- but honestly, what are the odds that Applejack will ever ascend to Alicorn status? Even if her entire (non-existent) character arc was about improving herself and bettering the lives of the ponies around her, the writers would not make her an alicorn, and I suspect it’s not just because she’s not the main character.

    I was rather relieved to hear that Cadence was originally a pegasus, which absolutely makes me appreciate her more as a character, but you can’t deny that the show features unicorns as the Upper Crust of pony society. Given some small, easily-imagined developments in her character, Applejack could be described in many of the same ways as Twilight: responsible, intelligent, a strong moral compass, the ability to lead, a capacity for empathy. What separates Twi from AJ? Two main things: her social status (as indicated by her upbringing, her royal connections, her education, and her status as a unicorn), and her ability to use magic better than just about anypony else. This basically means that Twilight’s ascension, while directly caused by bettering herself, could only have happened to her because of things outside of her control: luck, coincidence, innate supernatural gift, whatever.

    Which, in the end, makes the moral this: if you better yourself and work hard, (…and have influential connections, an upper-class background, extraordinary natural abilities, extensive schooling, etc….), you can truly achieve anything! Great lesson for the real world, but not the one I want in my fantasy world.

    • @ApplesToTheCore: Except that AJ has wealthy family in Manehatten, and could have potentially gone that path while looking for her cutie mark. :P

      I agree that the Unicorns are portrayed as Old Money… the Earth Ponies are portrayed as New Money (Hoity Toity, Photo Finish, Sapphire Shores, Filthy Rich, etc.) The bigger question comes from where all the wealthy and influential pegasi are. Fluttershy was the only one to reach that kind of status, during Green isn’t Your Color.

      I think the bigger problem isn’t classism or breedism or anything else. Explaining how ascension works isn’t exactly easy, and wasn’t really introduced in the beginning, where it needed to be. It also has stronger elements of religion, than anything else (for obvious reasons), and only leads to further questions, since this process potentially removes Celestia and Luna from the role of deities.

      In all honesty, it just adds so much confusion, regardless of what reason irritates someone the most, but I think it all boils down to whether or not the viewer is willing to ignore that in favor of embracing the possibilities ahead.

  25. Way late to the party, but no, I don’t feel left behind by Twilight, especially not since the most recent episode. She was in graduate school, she graduated, and now she’s an assistant professor and hence is expected to know everything while being hopelessly out of her depth. Someone who said that she was an academic and now she isn’t: good Lord, clearly you’ve never had the experience of having to call your Professors Tom or Harold when you are used to calling them Dr. So-and-So, or wearing the big swaggy doctoral robe to a graduation and feeling like “how did this happen?” One reason TS is admirable is precisely because she knows she will never know it all, or at least, she’s beginning to learn that, which has been one of Celestia’s implicit lessons.

    Of COURSE a lot of people are going to feel uncomfortable about that, because we are sitting around on our butts watching a kid’s cartoon instead of improving ourselves by reading or whatever.

    That said, I may recognize Twilight in myself, but I don’t enjoy her nearly as much as I enjoy Rainbow Dash or Pinkie Pie, the characters with whom I probably have least in common. And that’s probably a good thing, because liking those characters has helped me appreciate the extroverted people who just won’t let me not socialize and make friends or who value competition and athleticism. Because I don’t really identify with them, I find them less predictable and therefore more entertaining. Plus, I found that when I thought about it, I have more in common with them than I thought. No, I’m not an athlete, but do I have a big flashy ego and leave everything to the last second because I know that I can rock whatever it is even when I don’t work hard and take lots of naps in the meantime? Regrettably, yes.

    • I like your thoughts on Twilight’s position! I think they’re the most accurate I’ve seen, when compared with our world, at least. :)

  26. I originally posted this to the youtube comment section, but since that’ll probably get buried in there eventually, I’ll throw this in there as well:

    Here’s a small essay reply explaining in detail the problems with having perfect characters:

    Digibrony you miss the entire problem with Twilight’s “perfection” as a character. The problem is not about what kinds of ideals you might or might not learn from the show. I don’t care about how anyone can better themselves as a person modeling after these characters. That’s not the point. What I do care about is my level of entertainment when watching this fictional media. And it all comes down to a writing.

    A perfect character is boring. If your character is always controlled, morally unwavering, calm, unbeatable, perfect friend. Someone who you can trust to do the right thing every single time, no matter what. Then that character is too perfect, with no room for improvement.

    We all love to cheer for the underdog. You know that character who’s down on their luck, in a bad place with their lives and not everything always goes perfectly for them. The drama is born from us, the viewers, rooting for them against the opposition they face. It’s a story writing 101.
    Eventually then in a story that character grows and overcomes their odds, winning at the end. This is called an ‘character arc’. Once they attain that arc, we see them walking to the sunset with the girl on their arm. And at that point you roll the credits. The story is complete. After attaining their goals there’s no reason to keep following that character anymore. But if you do decide continue, then you have to take them down a peg to restore that goal for them to aim for. Conflict translates into a story. I trust you have heard of the saying “the journey is more important than the goal”. This is in a nutshell what I’m talking about.

    If you have a perfect character, they cannot grow anymore. You need your hero to be imperfect to have their shortcomings to overcome. Remember in Return of Harmony, the main crux of that story was Discord using the faults of each mane-6 as a weapon against themselves. A perfect character would never fall into Discord’s trap.

    Almost every character in MLP is flawed. Which really is not that common for children’s show these days. Most often the problem with cartoons is that the characters are too perfect. This problem is especially potent in girls cartoons. Which partly was the exact reason why G4 MLP gained so large following, it didn’t do that. The characters are not perfect superhuman beings. They all are multidimensional flawed characters. Which in it’s core is interesting.

    The difference between Gandalf and Twilight is that Twilight is the main character of the show, and Gandalf is just a supporting character. If LOTR was solely about Gandalf, yes it would be boring. But no, instead LOTR is mainly about Frodo, who’s a wholly flawed character. At the end of LOTR Frodo outright refuses to destroy the ring and decides to keep it to himself, dooming the entire Middle-Earth were it not for Gollum. He is not unflawed.
    Now you can have a perfect characters in your fiction such as Gandalf to serve as a moral beacon for the main character to look up to. But you don’t write your main character as one. In MLP Celestia is that perfect character. She’s to Twilight what Gandalf is to Frodo. Now you can have character to reach their goal, you just can’t keep the story going on and expect the same drama to be there. But if Twilight were to become Celestia, then she would have to step aside and become a supporting character for some other protagonist of the show to keep the interest up.
    Also ask yourself, why is it that Luna is way more popular character than Celestia is in the fandom?

    Luke Skywalker was a morally good guy, yes. But he also was the underdog. He was nowhere near perfect character. At the beginning of Star Wars he was a frustrated young soul trapped to his boring life in the desert farming moisture. He wished for glory and adventure but his family wanted him to stay home.
    And when his family died horribly he not only gained a reason to seek justice and embark on a journey, it also put him down to the lowest possible place, homeless and unsure of his future. His only option was to leap into the unknown and make friends with a suspicious bounty hunter, a old mentor figure and weird robots, just to deliver a message to someone he does not know.

    Now it’s apparent that Meghan McCarthy realised all this after MMC, and wrote Twilight imperfect in the S4 two parter intro. Even through she’s now a princess alicorn, she’s still the same awkward, unsure, adorkable character she was before. They even made a point to show that with twilight fussing and apologizing to Celestia. She still has conflict and flaws to her character to overcome. In fact she now has even more flaws than before. She’s unable to fly well and control her wings, unlike what was shown at S3 ending.
    Further to counterbalance the problems of Twilight’s alicornification, McCarthy wrote the Elements of Harmony super weapon away. So that now when a new threat faces equestria they don’t have that easy way to solve problems anymore creating more tension to the story.

    • Preach. I think that Castle-Mania has confirmed that Twilight is, unfortunately, no longer an equal of her friends. She appears to be more of a role-model now, even if she has maintained a few of her personality quirks. Also, Han Solo is a smuggler, not a bounty-hunter.

      • I’d like to hold judgment for that at least a while longer. Sure she may not be equal to her friends anymore, which is unfortunate, to say the least. Some of the dynamic of the show is long gone. And won’t be coming back anytime soon. But that does not mean the show can’t still hold some merit.
        The question is: Is she a “perfect” character? In castle mane-ia she was the voice of reason. But that episode needed someone to be that for the type of story they were going for. It may have just been a one-off fluke. You really can’t expect every writer to depict the characters perfectly on constant basis. With different people writing, you’ll end up having characters behave unlike themselves now and then. I would in fact argue that many characters, not just Twilight, in that episode were out-of-character. But that is a topic for another place and another time. Now, will this trend continue in future? If so, then unfortunately you are absolutely right calling her a role-model unequal to her friends. Which is something none of us really wants to see.

        And thanks. Of course I meant smuggler, silly me.

        • I agree. Admittedly I was a little presumptive when I said that it was “confirmed.” I could have just been a fluke of a first-time writer, or just a bit of random deviation. But given the high-profile, closely scrutinized nature of the episode, particularly Twilight’s role in it, I would think that the powers that be would be very careful not to present any unintended intonations. I think that even if she turns out to be more of a role-model than a friend-group-member, she will never be a perfect character. I mean c’mon, the writers aren’t that bad.

  27. The one thing that makes me in particular dislike the change quite a lot is the fact that it is THIS show the change is occurring in; a show that constantly disregards and sometimes even voids things established in the past. It is a similar problem with what happens to Fluttershy throughout the series; she’s learned to ‘get over her fears’ several times now because the show just keeps forgetting she has already done that for the sake of having an episode to present. I wouldn’t mind Alicorn Twilight as a ‘Perfect’ character if I didn’t know for a fact that the show is going to retcon lessons and developments she has had already for the sake of plot, or worse, humor. The writers themselves have said that “this is still the same old Twilight with wings” when in reality that is the worst way to take this. Twilight becoming an Alicorn Princess is basically her becoming the best she can be, the ultimate Twilight; you can’t continue writing her as the imperfect Twilight from before for that simple reason. Princess Twilight has a short but glaring scene of Twilight freaking out about disappointing the princess, even though this scenario was supposed to have been solved and gotten over about 3 separate times now in 3 different approaches; even if the point was to make a joke, it shows the writers have no intention to correct the lesson-omitting the show has present for all its running time so far.

    As for why people may feel Alicorn Twi may be boring as a character is basically the reason why Celestia isn’t part of the main cast; It’s overpowered. Any and all problems can now be solved by Deus Ex Machina Twilight who is always brave and has limitless magic powers and has no flaws, which is the character she SHOULD be for being fully realized. If she isn’t perfect, the ascension is meaningless. If she is, she’s predictable and boring. Either way, she’s bogged down.

    Twilight no longer fits the premise of this show: To learn and grow. People have been justifying this evolution as being part of Faust’s original plan, the problem is that Faust’s original plan was for a completely different premise; an adventure story with growth subplots. Princess Twilight is a character made with the intention of a story with the latter premise; since the character has resolved all major flaws and some minor ones, the story can only progress with external conflict. Something the show only really demonstrates around 3 or 4 times per season. None of the characters mentioned in the video starred front and center in a series about growth and development. (except for Vash which I disagree in being perfect in many ways)

    If Twilight is to work in the show as an actually tolerable character; they’d have to ditch the episodic-lesson format for a more adventurous one. It is possible this could happen, what with the MYSTERY BOX OF PLOT IMPORTANCE from the season 4 pilot, but knowing this show, its probably going to end up basically making the wings meaningless to make Twilight relearn lessons or go the opposite way and glorify her into becoming God Jesus Allah Rah Twilight, incapable of bad and always right even when she’s wrong.

  28. First of all these commentaries about the mechanics of the show and its characters are very interesting. I also enjoy the analyses you make of the different episodes.

    I’ve noticed that Celestia seems to have gotten a lot of flack for whatever reason. She seems like one of those characters who are too perfect and it feels like they want to make her more interesting by vilifying her and interpreting some of her actions as evil or at least disruptive. Others probably do it because the show doesn’t give them much to go by.

    I personally don’t see it that way. She’s a mentor figure to Twilight and many of her subjects. Unlike, say, Discord, she has a reason for many of the things she does and for being a bit manipulative. Usually its to either test Twilight or teach her a lesson or to protect the country. Since you talk about Twilight I’ll just mention an article I found about her on Deviant Art(I don’t want to draw attention away from the original video). The article is called “A Defence for Princess Celestia” and it is by NikoAccampora.

    As for Twilight, I still think she’s relate-able. She may have the wings and the new title but she’s still the same Twilight Sparkle as before. Her personality and what she likes are still pretty much the same even though she may be a bit more mature than she was.

    I like that she reached this high point in the series. She went through a lot and has grown because of it. Because of this it is inspiring. I don’t see why people are writing her off yet. She still has more growth to go. Growth into the world of Equestria as a whole and possibly really figuring out her relationship to her friends while balancing her new title (the second part of the first episodes of the fourth season could be foreshadowing a possible change in relationship dynamics). Twilight’s story is nowhere near over and I predict this coming season might bring more development and changes.

    The converting of villains is an interesting concept. I haven’t heard of many series that do that and I like it. It kind of shows a moral high ground for the heroes of the stories because they are willing to try to work with their enemies rather than fight them all the time. Discord in particular is evil but he’s a necessary evil. Without him there would technically be no harmony since they wouldn’t have anything to compare. Its a light and dark sort of thing.

    That’s my take on things anyway.

  29. Do I feel like I can be related to Twilight? Maybe, but not completely. I don’t exactly feel left whims by her transformation, but I also don’t find it ‘inspiring’, though it doe give hope that I can be better. Lastly, whenever I’m somewhere new, I pretty much can related to some mix of Fluttershy and Twilight. Usually I can relate to Fluttershy and Scootaloo, though there are those times where I don’t relate to anyone. Anyway, great stuff!

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