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Dark Qiviut posted a topic in Friendship is MagicNote: Credit to @Anti-Villain for linking to the trope on the EQD Forums several months ago, eventually leading me to inspiration for this thread. This thread is also connected to two other threads I created a while ago. One of S5's biggest strengths (aside from using the mane character's strengths to dominate the story at time) is telling a really mature story. When done right, it pulls no punches and tells a really compelling story with often mature and gray morals. S7 follows up that level of maturity in many episodes, too, but also adds another important element into it: not dominating one side of the conflict. Named "Both Sides Have a Point" on TV Tropes, several episodes present the audience both sides of the story and expanded upon that. Examples include: Parental Glideance: Windy and Bow sometimes act really hyper and get to the point of sometimes embarrassing Dash by accident. Can it get overbearing? Depends on your perspective. However, Scootaloo doesn't have parents around her all the time and dreams of having parents like them, because she feels neglected back home and doesn't have parents that stick around and really appreciate her. So, was Dash justified to feel upset at them for crossing the line? Yes. Was she justified to suggest disownment of them because they embarrass her? No! She really crossed a major line and showed a lack of appreciation for both their support and sacrifices. The episode and moral are right on the money. Forever Filly: Rarity's overbearing attitude was written to be in the wrong, and the motive to trigger it was really flimsy, but she has a really good point. She loves SB and wants to generate the memories that bonded them. OTOH, Sweetie Belle isn't interested in those same passions, but doesn't exactly say she's too old to abandon them altogether. She has a really important job and doesn't want to neglect it. Perfect Pear: One of the grandest daddies here. While the Pears' and Apples' tribal hatred of each other is very silly in today's world, it wasn't the case back then, both in Equestrian timeline and our own. Both families competed for supremacy and profit in Ponyville, leading to this lifelong feud. Given historical context, you can see where they come from. Additionally, so do BC and Bright: They loved each other too much for their families to separate them. But this plot presentation was used rather sparingly. Then To Change a Changeling aired, foreshadowing a major shift in the story structures for the rest of the season. Sure, TCaC could've written off Pharynx as some stereotypical throwback grump who hated change "just because" and wanted things to be the way they are. Instead, Lappin went for the high road: Pharynx hates the way the hive's run, because the Changeling kingdom is so complacent and doesn't prepare to keep the hive and its inhabitants safe. He has a very solid point, and luring the Maulwurf away doesn't guarantee their safety. When Haber returned to the show, the gray approach to conflicts took off: Daring Done?: Daring's upset from the collateral damage she caused. While the episode could've absolved her of her guilt and paint Somnambula's residents as the bad guys, DD? doesn't do that. At least, not entirely. She learns at the very end to be more aware of her actions and the consequences they may carry. Secondly, the citizens are absolutely justified to be upset at the statue being destroyed. Somnambula was so important to the town that destroying her statue comes across as a desecration of their ancestry and history. Mane Thing: Despite being told in Rarity's POV, the episode paints neither her nor the citizens of Ponyville as the bad guy. Rarity's justifiably upset for losing her mane, and thus loses her voice. She covers herself from embarrassment and says nothing, but Ponyville doesn't recognize her, consequently. A Health of Info: Twilight is absolutely right; Fluttershy needs to rest. The episode hammers in that lesson: FS catches swamp fever from Zecora, because she wouldn't sleep (shooting her immune system), while Twilight did. However, AHoI goes out of its way to make you understand Fluttershy's position. She believes she caused Zecora to catch it and would do whatever it takes to help her heal. Can you blame FS for thinking this way? Not at all. Marks and Recreation: S7's most underrated episode, outside of All Bottled Up. Rumble was the episode's antagonist, but he has very real reasons to fear getting his cutie mark. He loves everything he does, and he fears getting a mark will ruin his love for them. Rather than shooting him down, M&R justifies it: Apple Bloom loves making potions with Zecora, and Rumble asks her when she last did it. She couldn't answer. Was his approach (sabotaging the camp and making everyone bored) extreme? Yes. But his fears weren't unfounded. The climax handles his fear brilliantly: letting Thunderlane (a WB) lead the charge by giving everyone at the camp activities they love doing, and Rumble joins in. Zeppelin: Fame written correctly. The fans have a very real reason to be on the cruise and are treated like real people. Star Tracker's awkwardness wasn't excused, but he wasn't a stereotype, either; he's a kid who's eager to mke an impression. Think about this. If you won the opportunity to be with someone you idolize, would you be excited or nervous, too? Probably so. Most importantly, Twilight also has a point. She joined the cruise to hope she'll spend quality time with her family, and she accepted IW's deal so she and everyone else would be happy. She was justifiably hurt when she missed a moment so dear to her, but the episode acknowledges that taking her anger out on her family and not sincerely apologizing to Star for accidentally stepping on his hoof was out of line. Rather than undergoing the clichéd result of having fun and damn everyone else, Cadance informs her that she can establish her own boundaries, and Twilight asks everyone for peace. Uncommon Bond: Starlight understandably wants to bond more with Sunburst however she could, but Sunburst also has his own pastimes and accidentally gets caught up with her closest friends instead. Starlight's magic trick (changing the scene and themselves as if they were kids) was creepy, but it's in character, and the episode doesn't demonize her or him for that. Shadow Play: The granddaddy of this presentation. SP wasn't your straightforward good-vs.-evil story, even though the villains and heroes are established. Villains aren't completely encased in a vacuum. Heroes have their flaws and missteps, turning them into fuller beings. SP presented a high-quality story where you can understand everyone's perspective. That's how gray the conflict is. The Pillars are absolutely justified to feel upset at Stygian, accuse him of trying to steal their magic, and eject him from their group. During a very dark time in Equestria, Stygian stole their priceless artifacts and told them nothing about it. It was not a magically friendly era. But Stygian is also a person. He feels worthless in their group, since he's basically Equestria's Squib. Yes, he was wrong to steal, but you can see where he's coming from. Becoming one with the Pony of Shadows gives him status equal to his ex-friends, because the PoS listened and comforted him. On the other side, Twilight's reason to release Star Swirl et al from Limbo was really short-sighted of her, but her motives were also justifiable. Star Swirl and the Pillars altogether are Equestria's most important figures, and bringing them back can help make Equestria in a safer place. Unfortunately, she completely overlooked the PoS, and SS was rightfully ticked at her for it. She was so embarrassed for what she did that she did that she'll do anything to prove to him she's no slouch or idiot. With the PoS released and Ponehnge destroyed, the Elements were needed to push him back to Limbo and keep the Realm secure. But what the RM7 knew about the PoS was the story Sunburst told them and the Pillars' side of the story. To use the Elements to banish him again stung Starlight Glimmer, a former villain. Blasting them felt so extreme and didn't go after the source of the problem. Her strength as a detective took over here, and she was able to piece together the jigsaw puzzle. Seasons four and five really brought forth a mature approach to storytelling in FIM by telling really risky and adult conflicts and attaching gray morals, but S7's presentation feels even more mature by telling really gray stories. Many earlier seasons' conflicts were mostly one-sided, although they did go to a middleground at times; whether they succeeded or not depended on the execution. So, why is it important to tell a gray story? Like telling a deep moral or theme, you're showing a respect to the audiences watching it. FIM is an all-ages, family-family program with very young kids as the base demographic. Like I wrote in one of the threads linked above, kids may not the mature brain development as adults, but they understand respect. You're not talking down to them by writing a deep, multi-sided story. High-quality, gray stories show children stories and characters don't have to be so black and white. Some of FIM's best episodes prior to S7 — like Sisterhooves, Amending Fences, Mane Attraction, Lesson Zero, Winter Wrap Up, Testing Testing, Flight, Fault, and Times — were told through a multi-sided conflict. S7B ran with this trope and was successful most of the time. The majority of S7B would not have benefited without that complex approach. So, here are some questions for those reading my thread: What episode(s) would greatly benefit by telling a multi-sided conflict than one only? How would you revise the episode to make it better? What do you feel about S7's gray approach to their stories? Do you hope Seasons 8 and beyond continue to follow through it? Do you have any possible episode ideas that could tackle a conflict while validating both or more points equally? How would you go about it? Which episodic themes do you want to see tackled in a multi-sided perspective rather than have just one shot down and ignored?
Maybe not so much a suggestion as an idea. But what might the forum developers think of more themes than the two available now? Each with its own banner, forum and subforum icons, colors, and maybe font? I enjoy personalization and variety, so it could be fun if it's not too much of a hassle for the developers.
Got any special, organized selections of brony music that you set aside for listening pleasure? Any lists you curated beyond the "throw it all in a folder and hit Shuffle" method? Back when I was totally and utterly broke, as in could no longer afford to gas up my car, there were a couple of people I could still gift on special occasions by making a mix disc of brony music. I took pains to select tracks that would 1) Not give away the pony-ness in the title or lyrics, 2) Not sound too amateurish individually, 3) sound coherent when played together in order, 4) fit the person for whom they were intended. For example, one of my friends has always had a thing for vampire fiction and heavy metal. So I created a 10-track concept album with the themes of immortality, evil deeds, inner struggles, and the supernatural. I arranged them into a kind of "arc" tracking the progress of a protagonist from human on his deathbed to vampirization, then through the ups and downs of being a vampire lord towards an ultimately final but fairly typical ending; renouncing undeath and embracing mortality again. In fact I have that whole playlist on Youtube. I've been able to pick out some really great pieces and make different mix CDs for several people and it's always been a rewarding experience, but I don't typically create playlists for myself. What about you guys?