Much of the second half of the pilot takes place in the dreaded Everfree Forest, which is home to all manner of perilous flora and fauna from poison joke to hydras to cockatrices to timberwolves. The Mane Six faced none of these things. Every single one of the obstacles that they ran into in the Everfree was orchestrated by Nightmare Moon, or that “tacky little cloud of purple smoke,” as Steven Magnet put it. (Even the manticore only attacked because of the thorn in its paw).
This begs the question: Did Nightmare Moon screw up on purpose?
Think about it! Those six challenges are what brought the Mane Six together, and what empowered Twilight Sparkle to ignite the “spark” of friendship, and every single one of them was put there by Nightmare Moon her own self.
What if our beloved Princess Luna was still inside of Nightmare Moon, trying to get out? What if she used the remains of her strength to make Nightmare Moon’s plans fail in such a way that would lead to her defeat? What if Luna tugged just a little bit at the strings of fate to help that outcome along?
Ever since man first learned to trace and predict the motions of the heavenly bodies, our destinies were rumored to be “written in the stars.” Personally, I think the stars not only helped Nightmare Moon escape her lunar prison, but provided Princess Luna the opportunity to tweak destiny—to break free from the mental bonds of what she had become. Prophecies have a way of being double-edged swords. What if the stars actually aided in her escape? Princess Luna’s escape from Nightmare Moon.
Regardless of whether or not you believe in fate, we all stumble into crossroads in our lives every now and again, and every now and again, there are moments in history when we, as an entire species, hit similar moments of truth. That’s when opportunities come along to make a difference in a big big way. If you read up on the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, you’ll find dozens of stories of everyday people who tipped the balance of a very delicate situation and almost caused a nuclear war, and dozens of other stories of everyday people who just barely tipped it back. We are all alive, here on this planet, enjoying My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic right now because of those who succeeded.
While I doubt any of us here will ever be called upon to save the world, you may one day be faced with a single opportunity that could change the entire outcome of your life or someone else’s. Those are the moments when you have the most power to steer your own course. It could come down to a calculated decision, like whether or not you choose to practice civil disobedience, or just a question of whether or not you have the courage to take your friend’s car keys when he is clearly far too drunk to drive home.
If my theory is true, then it took a thousand years for Luna to find the right window of opportunity to invoke the favor of the stars and orchestrate her own escape, but timeframe doesn’t matter. What matters is that she was ready. She was strong enough to fight her darker nature in her pivotal moment, and influence Nightmare Moon in ways that the villainess could not have been conscious of.
(I think it was this strength and power that enabled her to come to Scootaloo’s aid in the last episode. After all, if Luna had been helping ponies in their dreams all along, then she would never have gotten upset about them sleeping through her beautiful nights in the first place. Luna grew as a character, and has since learned to use her power to help others. How beautiful is that?)
Bob Marley said to “emancipate yourselves from mental slavery,” that “none but ourselves can free our minds.” I like to think that the princess did just that. She saw an opportunity. She took it. She was strong, and she won.
This gives me hope. If she can rise to the occasion, maybe so can I (if I’m alert enough when the time comes). So can you. Maybe we all can.
Remember that the next time you look to the stars.
Help! My Heart is Full of Pony! is a new column featuring reflections on love, tolerance, friendship, and other pony feelz.