Editorial: Cutie Mark or the Name?

I'mmmmmm A Celestia! by *MutatingRaven


This question has plagued my mind for a while now, and I’m sure it has been festering in the minds of others as well; which came first, the cutie mark or the name?  Some may say that it was obviously the name, but then why do their names match up with their cutie marks so well?  We could just accept the most probable answer, which is that the creators of the show created most ponies in their adult form and gave them a name AFTER drawing in their cutie mark, but as Discord might say… where’s the fun in that!?  So for your entertainment, I present to you, the top ten cutie mark discussion quotes, in no particular order, that I could find on the Internet.

(Note: For now, most quotes will remain anonymous, especially since so many bronies don’t seem to know that “Granny Smith” is a type of apple.  However, if you find yourself quoted here and wish to take credit, just leave a comment and your name will be added in.)

(More after the break)


Anon1 “Basically, they come up with visual puns to sell pony toys first, and try to cram it into a backstory and rationalize it in the real world second.
You don’t want a toy pony named Leonard that has pink hair and cake on her butt. You want it to be appropriate so that children can remember their names. <no-fun practicalscotch>”

Anon2 “I don’t know, when I see a cake, I think “Leonard”. It all steams from that incident with Leonard Nimoy in the Black Forest…”


“So, one of the most easily visible inventions of the My Little Pony universe are cutie marks – images that appear on ponies’ flanks after they’ve discovered what makes them uniquely special.  These come in many shapes and sizes – Twilight is good at magic; Rainbow Dash is good at racing; Fluttershy is good with animals; and so on, and so on.  Most of them seem innocent enough – they’re perfectly in line with dreams that the fillies who received them never knew they had until they were shown the way.

But then we have the dark side.

Meet Diamond Tiara.  She just recently found her cutie mark: a tiara.  Unlike most ponies, this cutie mark doesn’t represent a talent.  We never see her make jewelry.  We only see her wear it.  The conclusion?  What makes her uniquely special is the fact that she is a conceited, shallow individual.  Before earning her cutie mark, the possibility of redemption was still open, but now her heart has been hardened by her cutie mark.  She will never know happiness or contentment in life.  Her cutie mark forbids it.  When one of the ponies at her cuteceañera learns what it means to have a blank flank, she even supposes that she found her cutie mark too soon.  But now it’s too late.”


Cupcakes “Two words… Zebra soothsayers”


“plastic surgery is a very important aspect of the pony community, y’see. Wing-implants, horn extensions, cutie mark erasement… not every problem of a pony can be solved with money, but your cutie mark issue sure can”


“…If name=cutie mark, I really want to see riverhippo’s. I’d give all my cupcakes for it.”

(this is actually in reference to another poster on the forum in which this discussion was taking place)


“I’ve been mentally stuck in a loop on this topic for 8 hours. I’ve almost submitted multiple times. But now I’m ready to dazzle you with my wisdom.
Thesis: names that hint at cutie marks and life’s purpose are harmful and irresponsible.
Take the Apple family.
Sure the names are inclusive, loving and traditional. But the message: You are part of the Apple family and if you have a passion outside of our field, you will need to actively pursue it on your own. AJ moved away from home and found that what she was running away from is what she really cared about. I guess striking out to find your purpose is part of growing up.
And I broke the thesis.
My poor mind. I can’t reconcile my logic with my emotion on this one.
And usually my emotion is warm and caring, while my logic is cold and exacting. But with this issue, my emotion is saying “DANGER! BACK OFF!” and my logic saying “aawwwwwe, how sweet!”


“This is now my headcanon. To paraphrase a Penny Arcade comic:
“Yes, but how do they – ”
“They are marshmallow ponies and it happens through magic.”


“I’m hoping tomorrow we’ll get a flashback or something to give some insight/history of Granny Smith. She couldn’t have always been Granny, right? If it was she must have had a very interesting fillyhood with a name like that.
Or I could just let the creative license of the show go and ignore all the existential pre-determinism and how it occurs for our ponies.”


Anon1 “I had a thought today. Suppose your special talent was insulting people. If you’re good at insulting people, you must have some kind of understanding of what causes emotional distress. So perhaps after you’ve matured a bit, you could turn that around and use that understanding to help council people who’ve been bullied. I betcha there’s a lot of ways different talents could be used for good or ill depending on how you choose to apply them.”

Anon2 “You could make an argument that Steve Jobs’ special talent was insulting people. Of course, he also changed the music industry, the cell phone industry, the animated film industry, etc. Maybe he had a bad case of the Cutie Pox as a kid, and that’s what was really hidden under his black turtleneck: dozens of cutie marks.”


Anon1 “So, about those names…. Filthy Rich and Stinking’ Rich? I didn’t pay attention to their Cutie Marks but who names their kids Filthy and Stinkin’?”

Anon2 “badass parents, thats who.”

So there we have it.  The top ten.  Whilst looking for good quotes I did find a comic with a similar idea to one of my own ideas, however since I do not know whom the artist is I will not post it (for now) and instead will explain the idea in five simple words from the comic; “Ponyville Department of Name Changes”


And now, my own personal theory which I present to you…

When parents are deciding on a name for their foals, they create a subconscious link with Princess Celestia, which said princess uses to implant a desired within the parents as well as embedding the foals destiny.  Results may vary.  Perhaps the Princess was drunk when Snips and Snails were named?


Think you can beat the top ten?  Go for it!  Post a comment about your own theory!



  • Kwiemakala

    I would think it may be more along the system that several Native American tribes used. Each pony is given a name at birth, and later in life, they earn a new name, in this case, with their cutie mark, and from that point on, they are known only by their new name.

  • Science tells us that humans process their own names a split second faster than they process any other sound. That makes the sound of their name a subconscious draw. My name is Luke, so I became interested in Star Wars. A foal whose name includes “Belle” might subconsciously absorb everything they hear about bells, beautiful sounds, and singing, and later find that they have an affinity for it.

    The land of Equestria is rooted in Harmony. Everything is cohesively harmonious. There’s probably some sory of harmony magic involved too. I bet during the reign of Discord, names and marks were wildly different.

  • filledwithsolutions

    Off the top of my head these seem to be missing a few things
    1. We dont really know that many pony names, unless you also count toys, previous gens and fan names. Honestly I think fan names poison the entire debate. If you go by Lyra then her cutie mark and talent is the lyre, If you go by Heartstrings who knows what her talent is which brings up
    2. Ponies can interpret their cutie marks in bizarre ways. Cheerilee has smiling flowers which obviously mean she is a good teacher. Fans also do the same, Rarity could be easily argued as a pony whos cutie mark doesnt have anything to do with her name. If I had all night and this wasnt already going to be way too long I would.
    3. Ponies who dont fit peoples arguments are ignored. Cheerilee, Pinkie Pie, Nathan, Caramel(I believe his name is canon), Joe(depending on whether or not his actual name is pony joe, donut joe, or just joe)
    4. For alot of ponies names seem to be way more based on either what race they are, what they look like, or their family history, rathar then their eventual mark. Rainbow dash isnt called rainbow lighting and Lemon Hearts isnt called green and blue hearts. If you give birth to a pegasus Cloud Kicker is going to be an apt name regardless of her cutie mark. Filthy and Stinkin may be bizarre but if Rich is a family name it makes sense, maybe Rainbow or even Fluttershy have names based family names.

    Anyway I cant remember if I ever had a point.

    I think in show names match up to cutie marks fairly well because marks can be interpreted in any way(by us and them), family history(live on applefarm, work with apples whole life, its safe to name you something apple related) and marks that dont match are ignored

    A pony named Rose probably couldnt end up with a sunflower cutie mark, but if she wasnt interested in flowers, I think any nonplant cutie mark could fit her. Diamond Tiara may be good at wearing a Tiara, but we have no proof of what her cutie mark really means or what her skill set is. Featherweight, a small pegasus, what creative parents you have.

  • NZBrony

    3 most intelligent comments I’ve seen in a long time, to the above people. Although, I thought I posted this already. Unless comments are subject to approval?
    Didn’t think so. Maybe I’m just so tired I forgot to click ‘post comment’.

    Oh and my response generally boils down to ‘it’s a kid’s show.’, so the ‘puns’ explanation comes closest to that I spose.
    I mean, you’ve got the apple/cakes/oranges family, but then you’ve got the ‘sparkle’ family, and the ‘fluttershy’ family?
    Perhaps everyone just picks names as they feel like it.
    Seems there’s two or three styles of naming going on – Actual family names, like the aforementioned, the ‘we have different names but we’re a family’ type, which (given that it’s not really discussed in the show) could mean hidden/omitted/formal last names, which gives rise to the third, which the cakes also come under – same deal but for first names. The parents first names are never discussed, nor are those of the princesses.

    It would be interesting to see it elaborated on, but I’m happy calling them all ‘my’ little ponies for now.
    I don’t know.