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Author Topic: Let’s discuss: the Pillars of Harmony  (Read 428 times)

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Offline Mana Minori

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Let’s discuss: the Pillars of Harmony
« on: October 14, 2020, 02:39:16 AM »
The Pillars were 6 ponies who were emphasized in the later seasonal lore of FiM, although one of them- Starswirl the Bearded- was a mentioned figure since season 1. The Six were: Rockhoof, Mistmane, Mage Meadowbrook, Starswirl the Bearded, Somnambula, and Flash Magnus.
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I feel like the incorporation of The g1 pillars- aptly named- were meant to pay homage to the g1 community, especially with the nod to Somnambula and Starswirl’s friendship with Tirek’s brother, Grogar. In the season 10 comics most recently, it is even revealed that Zecora the zebra was inspired to start making magical potions as a result of Mage Meadowbrook’s influence. I also feel like the Pillars being a homage to this wonderful community of collectors, was completely overlooked and dismissed by the newer generation, which oddly is completely backward from the animated series and its portrayal of the Pillars. (Maybe that’s just how I interpret it, though)

It also bums me out that these ponies never got a toy made of any of them. Not a single one. Not even Starswirl, for all the buildup that he was given.

Anyone want to talk about these ponies?
« Last Edit: October 14, 2020, 02:41:03 AM by Mana Minori »
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Offline Mermaid

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Re: Let’s discuss: the Pillars of Harmony
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2020, 03:53:28 AM »
I absolutely love the pillars! I wish we got more episodes of them settling back into their everyday life! For me, I definitely think it was a callback to g1 or a nod to older generations. My favorite is somnambulant! Although I do love meadowbrooke too! I’d love to se an episode of her and zecora together!
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Offline Zapper

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Re: Let’s discuss: the Pillars of Harmony
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2020, 08:27:52 AM »
I feel like the incorporation of The g1 pillars- aptly named- were meant to pay homage to the g1 community, especially with the nod to Somnambula and Starswirl’s friendship with Tirek’s brother, Grogar. In the season 10 comics most recently, it is even revealed that Zecora the zebra was inspired to start making magical potions as a result of Mage Meadowbrook’s influence. I also feel like the Pillars being a homage to this wonderful community of collectors, was completely overlooked and dismissed by the newer generation, which oddly is completely backward from the animated series and its portrayal of the Pillars. (Maybe that’s just how I interpret it, though)

Just because the writers lifted some concepts from G1 doesn't mean these characters are supposed to represent us or G1 in general.
I think they just got inspired by G1 because that was the first and when you think of old characters you might want to use names and characters of yesteryear. They also did that with G1 Gusty, making her some fabled hero. Sometimes it's not that deep. Also, there is a difference between a shoutout to old fans and the opinion that something is meant for us or supposed to represent us. The latter can quickly lead to delusions of grandeur.

This show is for kids, not for us to build an identity on.

I quite liked the idea of the Pillars, tho. Only problem was how they were obviously an invention for just one season. That's always been the storytelling of FiM, that they loved to change the show's mythos around to fit the plot. All throughout the 9 seasons they never cared to show Luna and Celestia's backstory, how they got to be rulers and, Flurry Heart's important status as a born alicorn was tossed to the side as well. They could have done a lot of lore building with characters that were already there.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2020, 08:30:17 AM by Zapper »
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Offline tailrustedtealeaf

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Re: Let’s discuss: the Pillars of Harmony
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2020, 02:35:40 PM »
These guys are really forgettable to me. I really like the idea of element-parallels but don't think these guys have the most interesting designs or anything. The buildup would have been more interesting if we had an episode for each character. Because of the way things played out, I feel Flash especially is really forgettable.
I'm not sure how G1 comes into play?
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Offline Zapper

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Re: Let’s discuss: the Pillars of Harmony
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2020, 08:46:29 PM »
I'm not sure how G1 comes into play?

"Somnambula" is a sorceress and episode title of the MLP 'n Friends series and one time in FiM Twilight refers to her Starswirl doll as "G1" but thats just a toy collector joke. Starswirl isn't G1, just his doll Twilight owns. Thats all I can think of.
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Offline tailrustedtealeaf

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Re: Let’s discuss: the Pillars of Harmony
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2020, 10:55:41 PM »
Ohh. I remember the Somnambula thing now. I just thought they were looking for cool names and thought it fit an Egyptian pony. Not what I would have gone with, since it was originally a villain's name, but hey whatever.  :P
They also did that with G1 Gusty, making her some fabled hero.
This one I can sort of explain in particular. The Pony Fair I went to had a panel where the writer of that Flurry Heart episode (and a Health of Information?) present and talk about her experience as a TV writer. She is an older gen fan and included the name Gusty as a bit of a nod. Someone on the animator/design team found the appropriate colors for her, but there was no guarantee she would have looked the same. I'm assuming the writers for the next seasons just drew from that name as it was already used.
I thought that was clever that they took some throwaway line and made some lore that made sense and didn't feel forced. Would have loved to see something similar with the pillars...like actually show hints that they existed and were a HUGE part of pony history? I understand it's hard to plan for a show when you don't know how long its going on for, but you can also backpedal to a point and try to piece something in that wasn't before but make more sense when the series is looked at as a whole. Maybe friends to the princesses who weilded the elements beforehand for example?
They didn't even sell toys of these guys so I'm not sure the aim.
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Offline Leave a Whisper

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Re: Let’s discuss: the Pillars of Harmony
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2020, 01:09:59 AM »
I don't see how they're nods to the original at all. Starswirl is a reused name throughout all 4 generations. Somnambula doesn't look anything at all like a youth stealing human witch. And nowhere was she ever buddy buddy with Grogar and Tirek who were two completely different villains and species. Meadowbrook is a G3 name and I don't see any of them with her colors. So yeah. Just names reused and nothing more.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2020, 01:12:51 AM by Leave a Whisper »
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Offline SaraMari

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Re: Let’s discuss: the Pillars of Harmony
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2020, 01:24:49 AM »
tbh they felt like a plot device, I didn't understand them since there wasn't much lore or explanation. A lot of details got glossed over then they were forgotten when that whole school thing came along

It could've worked better with good world building
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Offline Marshie

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Re: Let’s discuss: the Pillars of Harmony
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2020, 02:18:42 AM »
Personally, these characters are not that interesting. I did enjoy throwbacks to G1, but that's all I cared about with them. None of the story or their short-lived run in the G4 series stuck out to me and if you asked me to recall anything about them personally, I wouldn't be able to tell you.
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Offline Zapper

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Re: Let’s discuss: the Pillars of Harmony
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2020, 07:20:34 AM »
I thought that was clever that they took some throwaway line and made some lore that made sense and didn't feel forced. Would have loved to see something similar with the pillars...like actually show hints that they existed and were a HUGE part of pony history? I understand it's hard to plan for a show when you don't know how long its going on for, but you can also backpedal to a point and try to piece something in that wasn't before but make more sense when the series is looked at as a whole. Maybe friends to the princesses who weilded the elements beforehand for example?
They didn't even sell toys of these guys so I'm not sure the aim.

The only one they did that with was Starswirl the Bearded. His name was dropped from the very beginning as a magical pony that was teaching Celestia and Luna, and Twilight admired greatly.
So to me it would have been better to see backstory on Starswirl together with the princesses. The entire plot with that shadow pony was a Nightmare Moon rehash: pony gets jealous of more powerful ally, gives in to darkness to gain power, dark power morphs them into darkness pony TM, they try to make everything dark literally, power of friendship compels them, they are redeemed. This is something that could and should have involved Luna.

I actually really like some of the Pillar's designs. Somnambula especially reminds me of the G3 Egyptian art pony.
The idea to base them on ancient Egypt, Rome, Scandinavia, etc. was a cool idea, imo. And to be fair, they built them up in the season they appeared in via introducing them as legends. However, somehow FiM always had these constraints that story driven plot could only ever be in a two-parter and the rest of the season could maybe drop one or two hints but had to stick to the friendship lesson stuff for the most part.
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Offline Taffeta

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Re: Let’s discuss: the Pillars of Harmony
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2020, 11:25:11 AM »
I sometimes wonder if the G1 nods were not so much about representing G1 or even acknowledging it (though clearly Gusty was that way). It might've been with a view to the fact parents watching FIM with kids might remember things from G1, thus be able to share it with the kids a bit more...I dunno. This isn't pillar related but I've always hated that G4 uses 'Sunburst' as a name, because now when you google it that's what comes up instead of the Mountain Boy. But the reality is there are only so many reasonable names out there and that one is probably a coincidence.

However by using these threads to G1 it's almost Hasbro saying, look, this is our super impressive franchise that has gone back SO FAR that we can create these ancient world characters that nod to things we were doing in the 1980s. Isn't our franchise amazing? You should support it, it's a toy mainstay that kids have enjoyed for thirty+ years!

...Other than that, I'm not familiar with the pillars except in passing discussion. But I would have genuinely rather G1 had been left out of G4 entirely.

It's ironic that there are more ponies named Starswirl across the generations than Applejack, since in G2 there was Bright Bramley instead. (Unless you are counting individual M6 AJ toys).

Meadowbrook also a G3 pony methinks? Suspect Starswirl actually was lifted from G3 not G1 and it was a coincidence that the name goes back so far.  Somnambula does seem like a vague nod though naming a pillar of harmony after an age stealing witch seems a bit...interesting.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2020, 11:27:00 AM by Taffeta »
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Offline Shaz

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Re: Let’s discuss: the Pillars of Harmony
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2020, 08:53:40 AM »
I was never sure about Somnambula being reused, it's not really a nod to G1 if the character is so completely different....
I guess G1 Somnambula was so named because she hypnotised the ponies and made them follow her like sleepwalkers (somnambulism = sleepwalking). What did G4 Somnambula do, I can't remember: did she cross a tightrope with her eyes shut or something?

I liked the design of some of the Pillars, but the storyline didn't impress me much as it was the time when I was getting really fed up with FiM. Rockhoof was my favourite. I wish they'd made toys of them. Then again, I feel it might have involved painted-on clothes....

 

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