WARNING: spoilers ahead! If you haven’t seen the recent sneak-peak and want to go into Season 6 completely blind, turn back now.
That said, this is the kind of spoiler that makes me more excited for the episode, rather than less (for reasons I explain below).
I had planned to make this post a continuation of the last essay, where I talked about the exposition of “Friendship is Magic, Part 1”. Then this happened:
Hoo, boy. Flurry Heart is an alicorn.
Like many other survivors of The Great Twilicorn Shitstorm of 2013, my initial instinct upon hearing this news was to disconnect myself from all facets of the FiM-related internet until the Season 6 premiere. But upon further consideration, I’m much less apprehensive about this development than I was about Twilicorn.
Part of the reason for the controversy over Twi’s ascension was likely the early reveal. When the news of her ascension hit the fandom, no one knew what, exactly, being an alicorn implied. Was she immortal now? Would she become a goddess, like Celestia and Luna? Would she have to leave Ponyville? How would the show’s scope change in response?
In this sense, I’d argue that revealing Twilight’s ascension before the “Magical Mystery Cure” aired was a mistake (though to be fair, keeping it secret would have been nigh-impossible). Not just because we knew she would ascend, but because we knew she would ascend without understanding what it meant.
When the episode actually aired, that ignorance was alleviated, but not solved, exactly; we still weren’t sure what this implied. And of course, if the audience doesn’t understand what the narrative payoff means, the payoff can’t be as effective.
Given all that, you might expect me to regard Flurry Heart’s reveal as a similarly bad move. After all, we don’t know what her alicorn-ness means either.
But actually, I think it’s great.
Here’s the difference: in terms of narrative technique, Twilight’s ascension and Flurry Heart’s birth serve very different roles. Twilight ascended as narrative payoff — in other words, as a reward for resolution of a conflict. Flurry Heart’s ascension, by contrast, serves to introduce narrative conflict.
And as we’ve seen before, when you introduce conflict, you ain’t gotta explain shit (at first, anyway).
To illustrate one reason for this, consider my initial reaction: I actually heard that Flurry Heart was an alicorn before I saw the sneak-peak. Initially, I was concerned. What did this mean for the future of the storyline? How did this affect the worldbuilding and the characters? How would it affect Twilight’s status? Had this happened before, or was it a first?
Watching the sneak-peak actually eased my concerns. Not because I received answers to any of those questions, but because it was clear that the characters had those questions as well. Unlike Twilight’s ascension, we know something about Flurry Heart’s alicornness right away — it’s weird. The audience might be confused and apprehensive about this development, but in this case, that’s great — because that’s a response they share with the characters.
Here’s a point I made last time; if the characters have an emotional response the audience can’t understand, it will hurt the story (with some exceptions). The reverse is also true; if the characters respond in the same way the audience would, it makes them more relatable and draws the audience further into the story. That’s exactly what this scene does.
And since the characters have those questions, it means we might finally get some answers to those questions. To effectively use this development, the show will need to explain why it’s weird, whether this has happened before, and what this means. We might finally get some answers about alicorns that we’ve been hoping for.
So bring on Flurricorn. I’m stoked.
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