warning: contains ponies
I was lucky enough to spend the weekend as my ponysona, Star Chaser, at the world’s largest My Little Pony convention. (That’s her over to the side.) Mostly, I had fun, but I also spent some time trying to put a finger on what makes My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic so important to over ten thousand people that they’d pay close to a hundred dollars each (plus travel and hotel in most cases) to be with other fans. If I could figure that out and apply it to my own creations, then surely I could better achieve my goal, which is to make as many people possible happy while they’re reading my books. Even if you don’t like Friendship is Magic, or think it’s weird that adults love it, you must acknowledge that it makes its fans happy.
There are three things that you most hear fans describing when someone asks them why they like My Little Pony: the characters, the plots, and the themes.
If you’ve never watched the show, you may not realize how complex and real the characters are. One of the reasons I started watching the program was because of a unicorn named Rarity. Rarity is not the pony I identify most with; that would be either the quiet mascot of kindness, Fluttershy the pegasus, or the guardian of the night, Princess Luna the alicorn. Rarity isn’t even much like anyone I know. On the surface, she is prim, proper, and always well-presented. She is highly concerned with fashion and feels a driving need to look her best at all times. It would be so easy for me to dislike a character like Rarity. But guess what? She embodies the element of generosity. She cares what people are wearing, yes, but her response to “bad fashion” isn’t to insult the wearer but to give them nicer things to wear. In short, she could easily have been a “queen bee” stereotype, but she isn’t. She’s someone I would sigh at, but get along with.
The plots of Friendship is Magic are solid. Events happen as direct results of other things and not just because the writers wanted them to. There is also a strong series development where things don’t stay the same all the time but characters evolve and grow. For example, one of the leaders of the pony land of Equestria, Princess Luna, used to be a villain. She was redeemed by the main characters and accepted back into the palace by her sister. Things could have been left at that, but instead we have seen her struggle to overcome her guilt over the things she did while evil, we’ve watched her battle to win back the trust of the populace, and we’ve witnessed her fight to love herself again and to let herself be loved.