The Sexualities of MLP: FiM’s Characters

I have just completed Break Your Heart, my first My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fanfic. As I will do with all of my works, I will do a review of it so that I can discuss discuss it, my writing process for it, and its meaning in depth. Before I can do that, however, I have to discuss my personal theories on the show’s protagonists’ sexualities, as it’ll take long enough that it warrants an article of its own.

One of the characteristics of the body of my MLP:FiM fan works is that they have an ENORMOUS amount of thought put into them. They aren’t merely things that I think would be interesting to see; they are based almost entirely upon my actual, sincere theories on the show and its characters. For instance, in Break Your Heart, I interpret the characters thusly: Twilight and Pinkie are bisexual, Rarity and Applejack are heterosexual, and Rainbow and Fluttershy are homosexual. I didn’t designate them as such haphazardly; those are the sexualities I actually think they are. Without any further ado, here’s my explanation for why:

Let’s start with Twilight, Rarity, and Applejack, as I think they’re the easiest ones to categorize. Of the Mane Six, Rarity is easily the most boy-crazy. She spends a significant amount of time in Season One fantasizing over her encounter with Prince Blueblood, and in Simple Ways she is similarly obsessive over Trenderhoof, another famously handsome Stallion. She’s quite the drama queen, and yet hasn’t shown such an over-the-top obsession with a Mare. Of course, there is the possibility that she’s simply very closeted about it, so I leave open the possibility of bisexuality but at the moment err towards the simpler explanation and assume she’s heterosexual.

I believe that Twilight is attracted to Stallions for the same reason: she has demonstrated canonical attraction to one: Flash Sentry (oh, hush). However, I would argue there is a very good reason to believe that she’s attracted to Mares, as well: her relationship with the Princesses.

If you watch the show, you might notice that Twilight has an enormous, sometimes extreme obsession with Princess Celestia. Celestia was the very reason Twilight began studying magic (her special talent) in the first place; she admired and was awed by Celestia so greatly that she decided to imitate her amazing magical ability. As I’ve mentioned in a previous article, in the episode Lesson Zero Twilight is so terrified at the prospect of being late on an assignment and disappointing Celestia that she descends into madness and attempts to create a problem to solve. She literally tells her friends that it’s the “most horrific trouble [she’s] ever been in,” and this is the same girl who’s encountered a genocidally insane Goddess of the night and an omnipotent, sadistic Eldritch Abomination.

Furthermore, at the end of the first half of A Canterlot Wedding, Twilight’s friends all abandon her for her (perceived) false accusation of evil against (the fake) Cadence. It’s not her friends leaving her, nor her brother leaving her and also telling her to not come to his wedding that she was formerly going to be his Best Mare for, but Celestia’s abandonment that finally drives Twilight to tears.

Along with Twilight’s enormous devotion to Celestia, she also seems to have a crush on Cadence. Of course, she might not have meant anything by it, but I find it interesting that Twilight specifically listed “beautiful” among her descriptions of her former foal sitter. So with Twilight, I think it would be a rather safe wager that her affections extend to both genders.

Applejack is a little trickier, since she never really shows attraction towards anyone in the show. However, I would argue that this is due to deep repression; notice that in Tanks for the Memories, Pinkie says that Applejack only cries “on the inside.” For this reason, I think it’s certainly possible that she’s attracted to Mares or no one at all. On the other hand, she’s the Element of Honesty, so I imagine it’d be rather hard for her to hide an alternate sexuality. Therefore, I assume that she’s heterosexual.

With regards to Pinkie, Fluttershy, and Rainbow, I shall discuss the three of them together, as my theories regarding them are all interconnected; the key to it all is Rainbow.

For those familiar with Break Your Heart, you’ll notice that I raise several questions about Rainbow; why did she move out of Cloudsdale, despite the fact that she’s deeply loyal to it? Why was she bullied, despite the fact that she’s an athletic, attractive, outgoing girl? Her bullies berate her for getting kicked out of Flight Camp, yet she denies that she was, suggesting that she voluntarily left. Why would she, despite loving flying above all things? But above all: why did she become friends with the wildly different Fluttershy, and why did she move to the same Earth pony town Fluttershy did?

Of course, I theorize that she’s gay, Fluttershy is too, and that they were pushed together and out of Cloudsdale by their fellow Pegasi, who due to their competitive and hierarchical nature are extremely homophobic. Rainbow has (in my opinion) displayed attraction to her female friends, as well; in Over a Barrel, her wings extend (a sign of excitement) at the sight of Pinkie in a showgirl outfit. This wasn’t an animation error; a subsequent shot from a different angle shows that her wings are still extended. In Super Cider Squeezy 6000, Rainbow tears Fluttershy’s blanket away from her then stares at her exposed underside for a few moments, causing Fluttershy to cover herself and blush.

As I said before, I think Fluttershy is gay because of her close friendship with Rainbow. Think about it: no two ponies could be more different, and by all accounts Rainbow shouldn’t have become friends with Fluttershy. Fluttershy is deathly afraid of heights, which Rainbow has scarcely any tolerance for. Rainbow is tremendously demanding, but is preferentially gentle with Fluttershy. She was fiercely defensive of Fluttershy when she was being bullied, despite being about as far from “coolness” as someone can possibly be. There must be something they have in common that gives them such a strong bond, and such commonality being shunned homosexuality makes a great deal of sense.

And finally, Pinkie. I am absolutely, utterly convinced that Pinkie is completely in love with Rainbow. To begin, Pinkie is every bit as obsessed with Rainbow as Twilight is with Celestia. In Griffon the Brush-Off, Pinkie follows Rainbow around relentlessly and is determined to spend as much time with her as she can. When Pinkie throws Rainbow a birthday party, she goes tremendous distances to make it amazing that she doesn’t go with their other friends. Another thing I’ve noticed is that when it comes to Pinkie, Rainbow is shown with hearts rather frequently; her face framed by a heart-shaped hole in a wood in Party of One, or the hearts on Rainbow’s birthday banner (which other birthday banners don’t have). Pinkie loves Rainbow Dash; therefore she likes girls (or at least that particular girl).

I actually have rather little evidence for an attraction to males in Pinkie, but I consider it to still be substantial; Pinkie flirtatiously calls a statue of a Griffon king a “charmer.” I also would think that it… well, fits her personality. It’s a close call, but I lay my bets on “bi.”

Oddly enough, Rainbow doesn’t seem to only have caught the interest in Pinkie; Gilda behaves jealously toward Pinkie when she vies for Dash’s attention, and Scootaloo (another Pegasus living in Ponyville rather than a Pegasus city) has an obsession with Rainbow very reminiscent of Twilight’s obsession with her mentor Celestia.

A final note: the only characters whose sexualities I assigned arbitrarily in Break Your Heart are the two other Cutie Mark Crusaders, Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom, who are straight and bi, respectively. I ultimately decided on assigning them their sexualities for two reasons: number one, I wanted the Crusaders to be “balanced” the same way the Mane Six were (a completely even ratio of all three sexualities). Secondly, I ultimately decided which would be straight and which would be bi because I thought that it would be more interesting for Apple Bloom to be bi, since her family seems to be extremely traditionalist (see the complete lack of Pegasi or Unicorns in the Apple family?).

Here’s to My Little Pony; I cannot commend you enough for being the pioneers of progress in your industry.

Almanac: My Ambitions

Since this blog is essentially my personal diary, I thought I’d establish my ambitions for the future here so that I can both keep my eyes on them and always be able to look back at them and see how far I’ve come.

I wish to create nothing but masterpieces. To elaborate, my ideal is to be so great an artist that every work I produce is equal or greater to another master’s most magnificent piece. I wish for my works to be grand, epic, overwhelmingly beautiful, and unspeakably inspiring. I desire to be a master Midas of every medium; for everything I touch, be it a game, film, show, play, manga, or novel, to turn into gold. I want everything I create to make our world a better place.

I wish to be well-learned, so that my works might give others great knowledge. I wish to be virtuous and idealistic, so that my works might be beacons of compassion and morality.

I wish to become wise. My philosophy is “Learn as though you were to live forever,” and I wish to fully live up to that. I wish to become a sage so that my wisdom might resonate through my works and be passed on to those who hear my words so that their lives might be bettered.

But above all, my greatest ambition is to create the very pinnacle of all human achievement: the Grand Masterpiece of All Literature. I wish to create a story that will shine across every medium and be nothing less than the greatest example of each one. My ultimate hope is that, if it is indeed possible, that this work at last inspires all of mankind to unite in brotherhood, peace, and understanding. If such a universal peace is not possible, or if it is not possible for me to initiate it, I will be satisfied with it at least inspiring happiness and peace in some of my brothers and sisters on this Earth.

Here’s to my ideals; may they be my eternal guides.

Review: Ender’s Game

Ender's Game Cover

My absolute favorite works have one thing in common: each has a major character that I can deeply relate to. But there are a few pieces that especially stand out; these are the works that almost tempt me to say that the author must have known me, as the protagonists bear an uncanny resemblance to me.

Such works include Calvin and Hobbes, Sherlock, Matilda, Code Geass: Leleouch of the Rebellionand, of course, Ender’s Game. For those familiar with all of these works, you can probably guess which characters I’m comparing myself to. For those who can’t, I’ll give you a hint: the titles are all named for them.

The ones who probably most resemble me are Calvin and Leleouch Lamperouge. In fact, I would go so far as to predict that Calvin will grow up to be remarkably like Leleouch. If you don’t believe me, allow me to list their similarities: both are easily bored, have very dark senses of humor, desperately wish to destroy their enemies, have ridiculously lofty ambitions, are very sensitive and compassionate, and are insanely intelligent.

I’m not going to mince words. I speak bluntly and honestly: I am one of the most intelligent, sensitive, compassionate people I know. All of the traits I have attributed to the aforementioned Calvin and Leleouch I also attribute to myself. But along with their strengths, I also admit to their weaknesses: I’m arrogant, socially inept, completely void of humility, and cruel.

I would argue that sadism and compassion are not necessarily mutually exclusive; I argue that they are two sides of the same coin. The sociopath, I suggest, and the cold-blooded killer can actually be among the most sensitive and empathetic people in the world. Ender’s Game is a novel that understands this little-spoken truth. After all- who but Ender, a cold-blooded killer- could empathize with those who no one else would- those who would have him killed?

The novel opens with the dialogue of a pair of officers discussing how they plan to manipulate Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, which is what opens every chapter. A doctor then removes Ender’s monitor, a device which allowed the Earth-defending International Fleet to experience all Ender perceived. Ender then returns to school, where it is noted by his classmates that his monitor has been removed. He is then insulted by being called a “third,” as the world is under population limitation laws that only allow every couple to have two children and Ender is a third child.

As Ender leaves school, he is stopped by a group of bullies led by a boy named Stilson. They begin pushing him around, and Ender decides to end the fight before it escalates. He convinces Stilson to fight him alone and then attacks him. Though Stilson is rendered prone, Ender decides to preemptively end all other fights they might have, so he continues to attack Stilson until he unwittingly kills him. He despairingly goes home convinced he is like his psychopathic brother Peter.

When Ender arrives home, his kind sister Valentine comforts him. Peter then arrives home, and as their parents are out he tells Ender to play Buggers and Astronauts with him. The game is a pretend battle between a human astronaut and a formic, also known as a “bugger,” which is the alien species that invaded Earth twice and resulted in the International Fleet’s formation. Peter makes Ender be the bugger, and then Peter attacks Ender and positions himself to kill him, which he threatens to do. When Valentine threatens to inform the authorities that Peter murdered Ender, Peter claims it was all a joke and laughs at his siblings for believing him. That night, he apologizes to Ender and tells him he loves him, which causes Ender to cry again.

At breakfast the next day, the Wiggin family is visited by Colonel Graff of the International Fleet, the principal of a Battle School that trains soldiers for the Fleet. He convinces Ender to come, despite his desire not to leave his parents or sister, by appealing to his desire to defend them.

While Ender and several other boys are preparing to launch and fly to Battle School, Colonel Graff isolates Ender and singles him out for hatred from the other boys by praising his intelligence and insulting the others’. The boy behind Ender, named Bernard, begins striking Ender’s head, and after realizing no one will help him Ender breaks Bernard’s arm and throws him through the air of the shuttle. After Graff splinters Bernard’s arm and puts him back in his seat, the shuttle launches and they are taken to Battle School.

Once at the school, the boys (who are known as “launchies” by the older children) are introduced to the facilities and their living quarters. They are shown a game room, where ender plays a strategy game against an older boy and wins a two-out-of-three match after losing (and learning how to play) the first game. This establishes Ender in their minds as a potential threat.

Bernard forms a gang that continues to bully Ender, to which Ender counterattacks Bernard by sending all the other boys a message that reads, “Cover your butt. Bernard is watching. – God”. After Bernard attacks Ender for this, Ender sends the boys another message that reads, “I love your butt. Let me kiss it. – Bernard”. Bernard leaves him alone after this. Ender befriends nother boy named Shen, who knows he did it, but doesn’t yet know how.

The launchies are introduced to the Battle Room, a zero-gravity chamber where the students’ main game is played. Bernard’s best friend, Alai and Ender together acquaint themselves with the basics of moving around the room and learn how to operate their laser guns. Once they do, they fire them at the other boys and freeze them. Alai soon becomes a leader for the other boys.

Ender plays a fantasy game on his tablet. In the game, he always eventually encounters a giant, who plays a game with him involving two shot glasses. The giant tells him that one is poison, and if he guesses which isn’t the giant will take him to “fairyland.” As Ender plays over and over again, he finds that the glasses are always poisoned. Eventually, he decides instead to attack the giant; he digs into its eye until he kills it. A bat tells him he can now go to fairyland, but he doesn’t; he is convinced that he is a murderer and that Peter would be proud of him.

Just after Alai tells Ender that he knows how Ender entered a fake ID for Bernard (by entering a blank space after his name), Ender is given an early promotion to become a soldier in one of the older boys’ armies. Alai gives Ender a kiss on the cheek and whispers “Salaam” to him as he leaves.

Ender goes to the barracks of Salamander, the army he was assigned to. Its leader, a boy named Bonzo Madrid, angrily calls him useless and tells him that he’ll trade him away as soon as he can. However, the army’s best shooter, a girl named Petra Arkanian, befriends Ender and takes him under her wing. Petra teaches Ender shooting, but Bonzo attempts to prevent Ender from doing so. Ender defies him by pointing out that though he can order him to not fight, he can’t keep him from practicing. This causes Bonzo to begin resenting and hating Ender.

During one battle, Ender singlehandedly saves the Salamanders from defeat against Bonzo’s orders to not draw his gun. Bonzo trades Ender off to Rat Army and hits him before he is transferred.

In Rat Army, Ender is placed in the toon of Dink Meeker, a boy who the school attempted to promote several times. He tells Ender that there is no bugger war, and the school is training them to fight on Earth for them. Ender continues practicing with the Launchies and becomes the school’s top student. During one of the Launchie practices, several boys attack them and they are able to escape; however, Ender has to tear the ear of one to do so. When Ender returns to his chambers, he is beginning to believe that no one will help him.

The book takes a brief detour to focus on Ender’s family. Valentine has not forgotten, and celebrates his birthday by building him a little fire. The Wiggins have moved into a wooded area because they have begun to notice troubling behavior in Peter. Valentine finds a skinned squirrel and immediately knows that Peter is responsible. While she confronts him about this, he asks her to help him gradually gain influence in the blogosphere under the pseudonyms “Locke” and “Demosthenes.” Valentine agrees to do so to in order to monitor and keep Peter in line.

Back at Battle School, Ender is beginning to grow depressed and disheartened- as reflected in his continued attempts at playing the fantasy game, where he is always devoured by snakes after smashing a mirror which reflects a bloody Peter with a snake in his mouth looking back at him. The Fleet commissions Valentine to write a letter of encouragement to Ender, and once he reads this he is at last able to make peace with himself- which is reflected in the game by his being reunited with Valentine and gaining the approval of a crowd of Peters.

Ender is again promoted early- this time to being the commander of the just-revived Dragon Army. He then meets Bean, a similarly brilliant young boy who immediately comes into conflict with Ender through insubordination. Ender proves to be an efficient, effective commander, and immediately begins introducing original concepts to them such as that the enemy’s gate is downward, so you should “fall” towards it.

However, Ender finds himself growing more isolated and lonely, and he finds that he has nearly lost all of his friends, including Alai. He decides to channel that anger into beating the teachers at whatever challenges they throw at him.

The teachers begin making Dragon Army perform in unusually biased games- including several battles closely together and battles beginning unusually early. Ender begins to confide in Bean and makes him a toon leader.

As Ender continues securing an unbroken string of victories, he becomes aware that other boys are wishing to kill him. After one battle, he is confronted by Bonzo and a couple of other boys in the showers. Ender convinces Bonzo to fight him naked and alone, and then in the pursuing fight Ender unwittingly kills Bonzo.

Immediately afterward, Dragon Army is called again to another battle- this time against two armies. Using a human shield-based formation, Ender is able to push his men into a swift if unorthodox victory. He then declares that he’s not going to play anymore.

In response, Colonel Graff takes Ender back to Earth for a brief vacation. While there, they bring Valentine to Ender to convince him to complete his studies. Though she has trouble doing so, she ultimately succeeds.

Rather than Battle School, Graff and Ender fly to Command School, as Ender has been graduated early. There Ender is given a tutor: Mazer Rakham, the commander who defeated the buggers in their last invasion. He tells Ender the nature of the buggers: that they all share one mind, and therefore work as one and have no forms of “conventional” communication. Mazer tells Ender that he believes that the inability for the buggers to communicate with humans is the source of their conflict. They begin training Ender to battle the buggers specifically.

The training becomes harsher and harsher, and Ender grows more and more traumatized and exhausted. Eventually Ender is given a final examination where he commands several of his former friends in a simulated attack of the bugger home world. Using a similar defensive technique to the “human shield” that won Ender his last game at Battle School, they reach the bugger home world and destroy it.

Those watching Ender’s examination cheer in celebration, and it is revealed to Ender that he was in fact commanding a real fleet as they invaded the buggers’ home world, and that he had just won the wars between them by destroying them. Ender exhaustedly sleeps for several days, during which there is fighting over him.

Peter takes control of and stabilizes the Earth while Valentine begins a colonization effort of the bugger worlds with some other humans. While Ender is governing one settlement, he goes to an area which is an exact recreation of the world of his fantasy game. As he delves deeper into it, he discovers a bugger queen pupa. The pupa communicates with him, and reveals to him that the buggers are remorseful, ashamed, and repentant for what they’ve done to mankind, as they didn’t realize that every human was an individual in their own right. The unborn queen begs Ender to find her a new home so the buggers can survive, which Ender reluctantly agrees to.

Ender becomes the “Speaker for the Dead,” who becomes a venerated religious figure. He speaks on behalf of the deceased buggers, and later for Peter, who has established peace on Earth. The novel ends with Ender and Valentine beginning their search for a new home for the queen.

My first experience with this book was having it read to me by my father. I took to it immediately; I was astounded at how much I related to Ender. I was actually six (the age Ender is at the beginning) the first time I heard it, so I’ll tell you now: I was not capable of advanced mathematics or computer coding at that age. My days of coding would instead begin at the ripe old age of seven.

I wasn’t as superhumanly brilliant as Ender was, but I was still a surpassingly brilliant young boy. I absolutely loved being told the story of another little kid who could comfortably discuss complex or abstract ideas with adults. It was essentially my introduction to science fiction literature, so needless to say I was immediately hooked. To hear of that same kid going to a cool war academy and play games with laser guns in space was an immensely satisfying experience. I’m especially grateful that the tale was written with uncommonly great skill; after all, first impressions are the most important ones, so they better damn well be the best.

This novel had a special place in my heart from the beginning. However, I found that my love for it would only grow deeper as I grew older- not only because my knowledge and capacity for comprehension of the novel’s ideas grew, but because my identification with Ender also grew.

When I was in elementary school, I was viciously bullied. I was subjected to both verbal and physical abuse by my peers. In response, I threatened to kill them- and part of me meant it. But I didn’t want to kill them for the sake of killing them; I just wanted them to stop hurting me. Just like Ender.

There aren’t enough books like Ender’s Game. This book understands that every action always has a reason behind it. Nobody wants to be evil. Too many works portray their villains as heartless monsters who are and always have been incapable of anything remotely like guilt or remorse. Ender’s Game knows the truth: if everyone truly understood each other, there would never again be malice or wickedness. This, I think, is the true nature of mankind: everyone is born good, but many (perhaps even most) get that inherent goodness pounded out of them.

But this novel also understands that no soul is truly lost; Ender commits that most unforgivable of acts: the genocide of an entire race. However, he is redeemed through his dedication of his life to the atonement of his sin. Valentine, who is even more compassionate than Ender, begins to understand lust for blood. The sociopath Peter develops empathy and begs forgiveness from his siblings. There is evil in everyone. There is good in everyone. Not enough books understand this.

The novel’s astonishing wisdom aside, it’s also ridiculously entertaining. I can think of no book that could be a better introduction to science fiction than this; the games are very fun, fascinating, and suspenseful to watch. It’s the rare author who makes a character a genius strategist- and proceeds to give them truly brilliant strategies. Orson Scott Card is one such author. The drama is excellent; the characters are extremely memorable. The writing is top-notch, as well; it’s rather minimalistic, describing only what truly needs to be described, but that’s all that’s needed. As a result, the novel is very fast-paced and tight. But most importantly, the characters are wholly three-dimensional and believable. The novel knows that Ender is a child soldier, and a great deal of it deals exclusively with the trauma he suffers as a result of it. Friendships are made and lost; much regret and sorrow befalls every character. But the characters also love. In fact, it is the love for his planet, his family, and especially his sister that drives Ender forward throughout the entire tale.

This book is thrilling, compelling, fun, nuanced, and profoundly wise all at once. It is, in my opinion, everything a book should be.

This book is, of course, a masterpiece that I adore.