» Help! My Heart is Full of Pony! – Crossroads

Spike is an interesting character that a lot of folks overlook because it takes him quite a while to get interesting.  His circumstances alone are rather complicated.

While all the other characters are, of course, capable of getting carried away and straying from their moral centers, Spike is young.  He makes mistakes the Mane Six wouldn’t.  In Dragon Quest, for example, he specifically sets out to discover more more about his people because of his passionate need to find out more about himself.  This is a stage of development that the Mane Six already underwent.  (Pinkie left home to become a party pony; Applejack left home to find herself, only to come right back again.)  Spike is still young and uncertain.

Yet, he still goes about his path of self-discovery in a far more mature way than the Cutie Mark Crusaders do.  His age itself is a dichotomy.  Spike is undeniably a kid, and because of that, he is, in a lot of ways, too young to be taken seriously by the Mane Six.  At the same time, however, he bears responsibilities that adults would and should ordinarily bear.

Spike rocks it.  He functions damn well as an adult in the real world, but all of this places him at an unfortunate point in his life, where he doesn’t actually connect with other children as peers, but isn’t fully accepted as an adult either.

The thing about Spike is that he has not really had much opportunity to explore outside the borders of his known emotional world, and yet, he is already exactly where he belongs.  When given the opportunity, he looks for himself in the wrong places (Dragon Quest; Equestria Games).  He is at once, capable of the most in-your-face, over-the-top selfish acts in the show (Just for Sidekicks, Owl’s Well that Ends Well), and yet, he is still the most unshakable in his loyalties, and true in his devotion.  While doing the right thing is always a theme of the show, Spike is the only character who consistently speaks openly of honor and duty.  It’s part of who he is.  It’s his source of pride, even though it has a very real downside: having to constantly play Humdrum to the Mane Six’s Power Ponies.

Why analyze Spike in particular, when I ordinarily go for the moral-lesson-type stuff in this here column?   Because he deserves it, and because thereis rather a lot to be learned from him.

It’s very easy to miss because he is, by his very nature, a supporting character, not just in terms of the show’s narrative, but in terms of his role in the pack.  Spike finds his life’s meaning in the service of others, which automatically puts him at a strange intersection.   His faults are more petty than the others’, not simply because of his age, but because of this position.  Anything he does for himself, he sneaks in on his downtime.  Can we really fault him for getting carried away every now and again after all the nonsense he puts up with?
Ever since they shifted his role in the show from sidekick to straight man, his frustrations have become more and more relatable.  Season Four gave him the opportunity to really blossom.  We finally started to see things from his point of view!  Something as simple as the “I made nachos” gag, or Rarity’s proclamation that Spike wouldn’t know what it’s like to have an unrequited crush – it all puts the viewer in his shoes, and allows us to laugh with him instead of at him.  I, for one, am looking forward to seeing more of this in Season Five.
Yes, he is a spazz, and at times, can be annoying, but Spike, when allowed to shine, really is a wonderful character.  Unlike the others, he is, emotionally speaking, always on the precipice, without ever quite reaching the goal.  Even when he achieves something great, he either masks his insecurity with false bravado, or flat out refuses to recognize his own achievements (Equestria Games).

That mistake is something a lot of us in the grown-up world can relate to, and learn from.  The beauty of Spike is that he’s in a pretty good place, and is surrounded by wonderful ponies, but inside of his own head, he’s still got a long way to go.

Don’t we all?

-Sprocket

You can also follow Help!  My Heart is Full of Pony! on FIMFiction. http://www.fimfiction.net/user/Sprocket+Doggingsworth

http://heartfullofpony.tumblr.com 

» Help! My Heart is Full of Pony! – Talking to the Moon

Source: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Season 1, Episode 24 Source: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Season 1, Episode 24

 

Ever look out at the horizon, see a gorgeous sunset and think ,”What would we do without Princess Celestia to raise and lower the sun for us everyday?”  Ever gaze up at the night sky, ripe with a big old full moon, and think to yourself,  “What would we do without Princess Luna?”

Okay, I am being a little silly, but all joking aside, there’s something I want to address.  I actually do say “Hi” to Princess Luna whenever I see the moon.  From talking to people in the fandom who come from all different walks of life, I’ve gathered over time that a lot of folks do the same thing.  It occurred to me that it might be worth taking a few minutes to slow down, and to just come right out and say that if you do this too, you’re not alone, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.

Man has been talking to the sun and moon for tens of thousands of years, as far as archaeological evidence can tell.  Probably longer.  It’s just about the most natural thing in the world.  It doesn’t even have to do with religion or belief system.  I know Christians who do it.  I know atheists who do it.  It’s pretty universal, actually.  The problem is that a lot of people don’t come out and discuss it.  The problem is that, in this modern world, we are taught that such things are irrational – even “crazy.”

If the show has broadened your appreciation for the sun and/or moon, as it has for me, and you open up to our beloved princesses as you watch the horizon, don’t feel stupid or silly.  It’s the exact same thing that hundreds of millions of other people are doing all over the world.  You’re just calling them by different names.

Now I’m not saying that all bronies talk to the moon, or that all bronies should.  I want to make that perfectly clear.  If that’s not your way, seriously, it’s all good.  I just want to emphasize that if you do, you should never ever worry that that makes you crazy.  It doesn’t.

Besides, hypothetically speaking, so what if it did?  I can’t speak for anypony but myself, but I know that at the end of the day, if calling the moon “Princess Luna” means I’ve lost my mind, then I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in finding it again.  Life is short.

Sure, we could stop talking to Luna if we really wanted to, but what would be the fun in that?  More importantly, how else is our beloved princess supposed to know that her beautiful nights are appreciated?!  I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to tell her.

-Sprocket

You can follow Help! My Heart is Full of Pony! on tumblr. http://heartfullofpony.tumblr.com

You can also follow Help!  My Heart is Full of Pony! on FimFiction. http://www.fimfiction.net/user/Sprocket+Doggingsworth

 

Also keep your eyes peeled for this article on Derpy Hooves News. 

» Help! My Heart is Full of Pony! – Small Acts of Kindness

640px-Rainbow_glow_on_Rarity's_iris_S4E08 Source: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic – Season 4, Episode 8 – Rarity Takes Manehattan

My Little Pony goes out of its way to show how small acts of kindness – acts of friendship – change the world.  From Pinkie Pie’s smile philosophy, to the keys that unlock the Box O’ Harmony, little by little, the show has been building on a rather powerful message – that the little things make a big difference when you add it all together.

This is a truth that is just as powerful and important in real life as it is in Equestria, but we seldom get to see the full results of our actions, because magic here on Earth is a bit more subtle than it is on the show.

It’s hard to be a giving person – to be a virtuous person – when you don’t always feel like you’re making a difference.  That Every Mare for Herself attitude we see in Rarity Takes Manehattan?  It can come to feel like that’s all there is to life.  And when you judge your own actions only by the results that you can actually see, it is easy to come to the conclusion that only in Equestria can friendship really truly be magic.

But Pony isn’t just 85 happy-endings that happen for the sake of happy endings.  It’s deeper than that.  It’s showing us the better side of ourselves. What we can be.  It’s showing us a truth that we seldom get to witness in real life – the plain and simple fact that the little things can and do make a difference.

About nine years ago, my kids were a lot younger and needier, and I had to keep them occupied in the city while my wife took care of some important business.  We found ourselves at an overpriced Manehattan pizza shop and I was in the rather unfortunate position of having to tell my daughter that I couldn’t get her the type of pizza that she wanted because it was simply too expensive.  When I went to collect the slice, I found that it was not what I had ordered, but rather, what my daughter had actually wanted.  At first, I thought the pizza guy was trying to get me to pay for the more expensive slice, but he soon explained that it had already been paid for.

I only saw his back as he stepped out the door, and I never got to thank him, but a total stranger had overheard my conversation and had quietly picked up the bill.

I had an epiphany that day, and for years to come, whenever I felt down about the state of the human race, I remembered that small act of kindness, and thought of the millions of quiet gestures like it that people do every day without recognition, or expectation of it.  I thought of how somebody had brought a smile to my daughter’s face that he never even got to see.

I’m willing to bet that he, like so many of us, probably sometimes feels that it’s impossible to make a real difference in the world.

How could he possibly know that a $5 slice of pizza helped me turn my life around, and start actively getting out there and practicing random acts of kindness myself?

You may not get dazzling spectacles of light, and epic battles, and castles out of it, but when you reach out in kindness and friendship to your fellow man, you are still defeating a very real evil – the notion that goodness isn’t worth it – that we are powerless to make a difference.

It’s a fight that each one of us goes through everyday.

So whenever you are generous, kind, honest, funny, or loyal, and you feel drained because you think your efforts have been wasted, please take heart.  They haven’t.

I know this because somewhere out there there is a totally random guy who bought my daughter a slice of pizza back in 2005, and I still owe him a key.

-Sprocket

You can follow Help My Heart is Full of Pony on Tumblr.  http://heartfullofpony.tumblr.com

Bronies for Good is doing a wonderful thing this summer – holding a good deeds drive to encourage people in the fandom to get involved in their communities in a sprit of volunteerism, and to get people sharing ideas on how best to make a difference. It’s this very spirit that really makes me love this fandom. Check out http://broniesforgood.org/2014/06/summer-o-good/ for more details 

» Help! My Heart is Full of Pony! – For Girls

Image source: http://leekfish.deviantart.com/art/Fight-like-a-Girl-437635773

Our final piece of content for International Women’s Week is courtesy of Sprocket. TRS will join DerpyNews as an additional host of “Help, My Heart is Full of Pony!”

Every time the show does something adventurous or epic, somepony will inevitably say “there’s no way My Little Pony is for girls.”  Conversely, when the show goes in a direction that somepony thinks is lame, it is not uncommon to hear “cut it some slack; My Little Pony is, after all, for girls.”

“For girls” should never be a synonym for “lame.”  The great thing about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and, in fact, Lauren Faust’s entire career, is that it challenges notions about what “programming for girls” is supposed to be, and at the same time, is still undeniably feminine.  The great thing about the brony phenomenon is that we came along and said, “You know what?  This show is awesome, and we aren’t ashamed to love it!

It’s a liberating feeling, a beautiful thing, and one of our greatest strengths as a culture.

Own that.

As for little girls, why not just be happy that this generation of children is getting quality programming that they deserve – the empowering role models that they deserve?  Claiming that My Little Pony is so awesome that it couldn’t possibly be for girls isn’t really much of a complement.  Look at it this way: If you found yourself back in time, face-to-face with a little red head named Lauren Faust, and could give her only one message, would you really want it to be “you’re lame”?

My Little Pony, while designed to be enjoyable by everyone, still has a primary intended audience of little girls.  I’m not afraid to admit that.

I love Equestria with all my heart.  Happy International Women’s Day.
-Sprocket

Help!  My Heart is Full of Pony! is a column on Derpy Hooves Newsa blog on the heartfullofpony tumblr, and a new addition to The Round Stable.