Page 1601 - Wings of Change

19th Oct 2021, 6:00 AM in Magical Mystery Cure
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Wings of Change
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 19th Oct 2021, 6:00 AM edit delete
I'll just admit it: I really liked the Alicorn Twilight change in the show, almost from the very beginning. Something about the big picture of it really appealed to and intrigued me.

I'm sure that loses me some precious street cred in the My Little Pony fandom, but heck with it.

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Guest 19th Oct 2021, 6:09 AM edit delete reply
This probably doesn't mean much as a hindsight perspective, but I thought it was obvious from the get-go. The kingdom's ruler picks some random individual as their personal apprentice? Rulership is decided by demi-god status, rather than lineage? Nobody knows exactly how the ruler became a demi-god, just that she did?

Twilight becoming a princess was such a "yeah, that tracks" moment for me when it happened, because I was looking at their relationship as Celestia grooming Twilight for the throne since day one. She was always going to be the pony who woke up one day with a crown on her head and no idea how or when it got there.
Jennifer 19th Oct 2021, 7:22 AM edit delete reply
That's a fair point. It happens in a lot of stories (Black Cauldon series comes to mind). Even when the hero is already a prince, he's probably going to be on the throne by the end, simply because the nature of conflict at that level means the people between him and the throne are going to die or otherwise get out of the way.
Stormy Tinker 19th Oct 2021, 12:43 PM edit delete reply
My headcanon for the Princesses being rulers is as follows:
Before they united under one banner, the pony tribes had different methods of leadership, as seen in the holiday pageant.
The Pegasi had a meritocracy - a military where being good at your job meant promotion.
The Unicorns had a monarchy - all about lineage and family history, everyone has a 'place'.
The Earth Ponies had a democracy - who can get everypony organized.
The Princesses had to convince all three groups to let them lead.
Tatsurou 20th Oct 2021, 6:53 PM edit delete reply
There's also the fact that at the Grand Galloping Gala, Celestia had Twilight stand just behind and to her left while greeting ponies...which in midieval, feudal monarchies was the position for the heir apparent.
Achtungnight 19th Oct 2021, 6:33 AM edit delete reply
But pinkie is already a race superior to alicorn…
Guest 19th Oct 2021, 6:45 AM edit delete reply
Oh no, the earth pony supremacists have found us.
The Old One 19th Oct 2021, 10:51 AM edit delete reply
Silly Guest. As if Pinkie was a mere Earth Pony....
Evilbob 19th Oct 2021, 6:51 AM edit delete reply
"Precious street cred"? Haha. Give me a break.

We all stopped caring what the world thought about our street cred when we embraced MLP and decided to enjoy it despite being definitively outside the target demographic, lolololol
Winged Cat 19th Oct 2021, 8:29 AM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
Routinely writing a comic of this quality for this long gives you way more street cred than this admission could possibly risk, Spud. :)
Stormy Tinker 19th Oct 2021, 12:44 PM edit delete reply
Now, expressing an opinion as regards pineapple on pizza... that might do it.
DuoScratch 19th Oct 2021, 9:45 PM edit delete reply
What's to worry about? It's good, and if you think otherwise, you hate pizza, ponies, and things that are delicious. It's just that simple.
Famout 19th Oct 2021, 6:56 AM edit delete reply
To my mind it was never the change that was the issue, just the timing felt a tad rushed. The character development felt spot on though.

In a world where the show wasn't made to sell a toy line, it likely would go for 3-5 seasons, then end with Twilight earning her wings or the like after so much character growth and such. Of course taking into account the compromises required with Hasbro, this was quite fair too and honestly not something I felt was a big deal, plus got a good bit of fun out out of it too.
Ransom4 19th Oct 2021, 7:33 AM edit delete reply
So, I'll fess up and say I watch reaction channels. Watching blind reactions to this episode online and how positive people tend to receive it when they don't know what happens, I do wonder what the reaction would have been if it hadn't been spoiled so far in advance?

In hindsight, I suppose if they had known it was going to be 9 whole seasons maybe they could have held off on it till later. But I enjoy alicorn Twilight insofar as making Cadance an alicorn had already deviated from the "Faustian" plan that I confess I sort of wish we had seen play out more fully.
Emtu 19th Oct 2021, 7:45 AM edit delete reply
Clearly Pinkie has her Mane of Holding full of party supplies, in case of a party emergency.
Prairie Son 20th Oct 2021, 9:11 AM edit delete reply
So Pinkie is related to Eda the Owl Lady? Actually, that makes a weird kind of sense.
Digo 19th Oct 2021, 7:59 AM edit delete reply
Rather than talk about alicorn Twilight within the context of the show, I wanna take a minute to talk about alicorn Twilight within the context of the campaign.

Boosting a PC's power level is a big deal, especially when that boost comes with really good abilities like flight. Something like this would go over best if all the players were informed of the idea, not just the one getting the powers. Especially if I lay one player is getting the boost.

Because not every table has such good support like we see here. I've had the unfortunate experience of being in a campaign where the wizard got their familiar upgraded from house cat to Battle Cat as a free gift from an NPC. Having a really powerful familiar that also serves as a mount with exceptional intelligence as well as the ability to do more damage than our martial characters... well the player let that go to his head and pretty much dictated the course of the campaign onward. It left the rest of us felt bitter about it.

Digo 19th Oct 2021, 8:17 AM edit delete reply
Communication is often an underappreciated thing. Talking to all your players helps alleviate their concerns. You wouldn't want to be seen as playing favorites (I really hope y'all didn't have experiences like I did) or making one player the "chosen one". Sometimes a player might feel like they're falling behind the curve and want a boost too, but they don't know how to bring it up to you.
Winged Cat 19th Oct 2021, 8:32 AM edit delete reply
Winged Cat
What exact powers did Twilight pick up, though? If her magic isn't more powerful, is it just wings (and thus flight speed and maybe cloudshaping) and social elevation (with all the campaign hooks coming with that)?
Digo 19th Oct 2021, 8:45 AM edit delete reply
I would say her magic did get stronger after becoming an alicorn.
zimmerwald1915 19th Oct 2021, 9:18 AM edit delete reply
I don't think that's right. Rather than between seasons 3 and 4, Twilight's magic took a big jump between seasons 2 and 3. In The Crystal Empire she was doing new things like self-levitation, reversing gravity, and using Sombra's magic. In Magic Duel she was able to summon and banish a parasprite, which she hadn't been able to do in Swarm of the Century, and to teleport in front of an iris wipe. She was also credibly able to attempt an age spell. Her magic wouldn't make another such qualitative jump until season 5.
Tin Cormorant 19th Oct 2021, 9:27 AM edit delete reply
Alicorns definitely do have stronger magic, though I think we don't see Twilight use her alicorn magic much in the show because it takes a long time to learn how to control its power. Like how she's really unsteady with her wings at first, except that messing up alicorn magic means blowing up a city rather than just crashing into a tree. It's been a while since I saw it, but I'm pretty sure there was a boss fight later on where she turned to her alicorn magic as a very last resort and nearly blew herself up.
Digo 19th Oct 2021, 1:25 PM edit delete reply
Also, I feel that you underestimate how powerful flight and social standing can be in a campaign.
Anvildude 19th Oct 2021, 3:11 PM edit delete reply
Interestingly, I have a very relevant experience!

I was DMing for a small group (just 3 people at that point- there had been a 4th, but they'd decided to skedaddle- just weren't feeling the kind of narrative campaigns I run) and they got their hands on a Deck of Many Things.

Long story short, the Wizard got the one that gives you a BIIIG chunk of experience, and jumped up a few levels.
They also got a flying castle, and a personal knight as well. (The whole party was STUPID lucky with their Deck draws- out of, like, 10 draws, only a single significant bad one, which was promptly un-done with another card draw...)

In my case, because I was running a highly narrative game and because the Wizard was already acting as "Party Dad", this actually worked out pretty well. The flying castle meant we didn't need to worry about base or carrying worries (though it was fun because they had to figure out how to get up to it in the first place!), the Knight helped fill the meatshield gap that the missing player caused, and the Wizard mostly used their newfound power to roleplay, with the occasional show of overwhelming force against monster hordes.

So really, I think a lot of it depends on how the player reacts to it- a roleplayer, especially someone who's deliberately put weaknesses into their character in order to roleplay them, is pretty safe to get a power boost. What you need to watch out for is the player that's always trying to _remove_ all their weaknesses.
Jennifer 20th Oct 2021, 6:12 PM edit delete reply
In Twilight's case, the increase is in soft power, not physical power. Not that having the ear of the queen-goddess isn't already significant soft power. In practice, and of course assuming that the comic will continue to "follow" the show, she's still basically a small librarian. Even outside Ponyville, no one really treats her like a princess, and I'll be interested to see how and if Spud reworks the dialogue to that effect.

What still gets me is her physical growth in the final episode, which is jarring - especially given that someone (I forget who) among the writers said Twilight wouldn't outlive her friends... That's where the power disparity is first really obvious.
Borg 19th Oct 2021, 8:07 AM edit delete reply
I found "Magical Mystery Cure" as a story to be rushed, but I never had a problem with it as a plot event.
zimmerwald1915 19th Oct 2021, 8:45 AM edit delete reply
Couldn't Rainbow have looked at Luna's character sheet for alicorn abilities?
TheCorporal 19th Oct 2021, 10:38 AM edit delete reply
Debuffed alicorn, doesn't count.
TheCorporal 19th Oct 2021, 10:37 AM edit delete reply
I always wondered if the initial change actually made Twilight more powerful, or if it just gave her wings.

Like, I presume she'd EVENTUALLY become Celestia-level powerful given her form in the epilogue finale, I'm just not sure if it did so when she became the same but with wings.
Prairie Son 19th Oct 2021, 12:23 PM edit delete reply
It gave her a lot of new abilities, but no training in said abilities. Witness her flight training at the start of season 4, where she makes Fluttershy look accomplished.
zimmerwald1915 19th Oct 2021, 12:51 PM edit delete reply
At least she bothered to learn to fly. Her earth pony magic remained untapped through the end of the series - she even used her unicorn magic to make flowers grow in Not Asking for Trouble.
vegetalss4 19th Oct 2021, 12:24 PM edit delete reply
I'd like to first say that I too really liked Twilight's alicornification some of the later seasons lost me a bit, but the transformation itself was neat.

Secondarily I just had a fridge realization about Rainbow Dash's comment, they/she got to see Luna's character sheet back during the nightmare moon session when the in-universe plan was for Rarity's player to switch character.

Of-course it's possible that she just forgot, it has been some time
Ariamaki 19th Oct 2021, 2:12 PM edit delete reply
Naw, if anything it gives you more cred: The anti-corn people always sucked. :V
Anvildude 19th Oct 2021, 3:18 PM edit delete reply
To be perfectly honest, I was FULLY expecting the entire rest of the Elements to get Alicorned by the end of the show, as well.

I figured, Twilight becomes the Princess of Friendship, which is her Element (FiM, after all). And the other elements are her friends. Her closest friends, her fire-forged friends. As a Princess she'd be immortal, and it wouldn't make much sense for the immortal Princess of Friendship to _lose her friends_ after a measely 70 years or whatever.

I thought the later seasons would each have some major situation (and I mean MAJOR) that would earn a new person the ol' horns&wings. Like, Fluttershy befriending and sort of 'cleansing' Discord via Kindness. Seems like teaching the incarnation of elemental Chaos how to be nice to people would be worth as much as finishing a spell. Rainbow would have some huge showcase of Loyalty, Applejack Honesty... Maybe Pinkie could have gotten Our Town out of their funk with the Party to end all Parties, and use Laughter to poke through their brainwashing by pointing out the funny weirdness (Or her preventing war with Yakyakistan- that's a pretty big deal too). Rarity would maybe have some situation where it looks like she's gonna die, even, and that act of ultimate Generosity would have triggered an Alicornication for her.

It just feels... unbalanced to me, that the Elements will be separated so completely by something as simple as Time and Age.
Khyrin 19th Oct 2021, 5:38 PM edit delete reply
I always figured that Twilight would have to learn to let go of friends when their time comes, as grieving is the final, most lasting part of friendship. Learn to let new friends in, and not let the pain of loss take the joy of befriending away... And maybe... Just maybe....
Her fire-forged friends come back to her in a thousand different ways.
The way their daughters and sons bear themselves in motion and stillness.
The quotations they leave behind? Spoken by a million tongues.
The cities and businesses they founded? Thriving.

And then, when all else is undone... Join them in their passage through the Shadowlands to frolic eternal in the Summerlands.
Composer99 19th Oct 2021, 3:41 PM edit delete reply
I daresay there was much to be desired about the specific way Twilight's becoming an alicorn was implemented in the show (IMO it was very rushed - a two-parter episode might have been the way to go), but I think that in and of itself it was a perfectly fine development.
redwings1340 19th Oct 2021, 4:38 PM edit delete reply
While I think the show made some major wrong turns over its later season, Twilight becoming an alicorn felt completely natural and justified to me. The actual episode where it happened felt a little rushed, but as a concept, I think it was brilliant. Over the first few seasons, Twi mastered friendship and was groomed by Celestia to learn everything a great leader needed to know, so I think Twi's overall arc in the series was a very natural fit for her character.

I could go on a long rant about how the map and friendship school was really poorly thought out, how the other species in equestria being insanely poorly developed, and how nearly every episode in the last few seasons was either a rehash of season 1 or super boring, but I won't complain about alicorn Twi. She more than earned that transformation in the show!
FanOfMostEverything 20th Oct 2021, 4:08 AM edit delete reply
I'd honestly doubted they'd go through with it at the time, but there were tears in my eyes by the time "A True, True Friend" reached its climax. It did take me a bit to internalize the change, but I definitely wasn't declaring the series ruined forever.
Wulfraed 20th Oct 2021, 8:06 AM edit delete reply
A late silly diversion...

Panel 3...

Are there any Pegasi customs involved with fondling another's wings? "Bad touch, Bad touch!"

Granted, Twilight is unlikely to know of any, but Rainbow Dash should know better...
TonySki 21st Oct 2021, 12:43 AM edit delete reply
Pinkie Pie keeps pulling out all these party supplies reminds me of that episode of On the Spot by Rooster Teeth where Blane kept pulling out guns for a showdown even when Jon was taking them away.
Philadelphus 21st Oct 2021, 1:15 AM edit delete reply
I liked it too. We can be street-cred-loss buddies together!
Guest 29th Nov 2021, 12:35 AM edit delete reply
I definitely always liked it as well, but I could tell even as early as Season 2's first two episodes that they were starting to move away from the Divine Myth of the Alicorn Princesses and well, in that light, how wouldn't Twilight's character endgame be following in Celestia's hoofsteps. The student becomes the master and all that. Especially with Twilight always having been Celestia's Personal Student. Well, my own My Little Pony street cred is already tarnished by being a Gen One-er though instead of some internet troll who just started watching for the lols and then stayed because it was a pretty solid show actually.

Well, and a lot of the complaints about it were mostly based on fan extrapolation of the S1 pilot's mythos that being a myth might not be that historically accurate to the setting anyways and questionable ideas of the power that becoming an alicorn must grant (because fans were completely bought into the concept of Luna and Celestia being Special Dieties of Diety-like power that comes from their Princess/Alicorn "race", instead of say just having crazy cutiemarks and experience and maybe a larger pool of magic to draw from. Way too many Mary Sue justifications and not much "thats more things someone might screw up with having to juggle that many extra abilities that...aren't necessarily accompanied by innate skill in whichever ones don't have the practice put in" or other interesting ideas. That and often it seems like people mainly tried to get cred by claiming the sky was falling every five seconds like they had no faith in the people writing the show, "Pink Alicon Pony Princess is going to ruin the show, she's obviously just there because Hasbro has realized they can't sell Pink Plastic Celestia Toys, also pink is super girly and girly shows are garbage." was another thing you were expected to jump on board with, until the wedding episodes actually aired and everyone tried to pretend they hadn't talked shit right before that.