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» 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 

» Buckeye Blitz! Trotcon 2014

Trotcon returned from June 20th to 22nd of 2014 for it’s third year and biggest event yet, set as always in Columbus Ohio. For the first time, the event broke 1,000 attendees! With show guests M. A. Larson, Peter New, and Andrea Libman, IDW comic colorist Heather Breckel, as well as playing host to the wedding of the con chair, Trotcon was a whirlwind weekend of fun and friendship! Read on for the full (albeit long-delayed) writeup! [READ MORE]

» 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 

» Pony Comics Day! MLP: FiM #11: Neigh Anything, Part One

Issue #11 Cover snippet Do you like her?

It’s a Wednesday, and it’s one of the good ones! Today the first half of the next story in pony comics is out for you to buy, and it’s very eighties inspired.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #11

Katie Cook (w) • Andy Price (a) • Price, Stephanie Buscema (c)

Love is in the air as Katie Cook and Andy Price reveal the secret history of Shining Armor and Princess Cadence’s love! Before they were royalty, they were two teenagers who had no idea how to talk to each other! Find out how the romance started right here!

You can find the comic at your favorite local comic store, online retailers like Things From Another World, or digital distributors like iTunes and Comixology. If you’ve already procured the comic, be sure to talk about it with us in our forum

» Hot Topic’s Hot Minute: Applejack

Hot Topic has released another of their hot minute character videos featuring ponies, this time putting Applejack under the spotlight. You can discuss all the Hot Minute videos on our forums here. 

» Nightmare Nights Dallas Announces Jayson Thiessen

Nightmare Nights Dallas Banner

The last guest of honor at the upcoming Nightmare Nights Dallas is none other than Jayson Thiessen, director of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Jayson is heading down to Texas for his first pony con and joins an extensive list of guests including voice talent, writers, and more.

NMND is being held on November 8-10 at the Addison Crowne Plaza in Addison, Texas.

For the complete release, check behind the cut.

[READ MORE]

» Everfree Northwest Update: Charity Proceeds Delivered, Staff Positions Available

Everfree Northwest

Although it’s the offseason, there are still some loose ends to wrap up from cons, and this one is a pretty big one. At Everfree Northwest 2013, the crew there held a big charity auction, and raised a bunch of dough. Well, now that money is in the hands of those who need it. The EFNW crew has delivered the proceeds of its charity auction, totaling $21,070, to the Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Meanwhile, several staff positions have opened, like web content administrator, secretary of the committee, director of information technology, and more. If you want to get involved with the staff, send an email to staff@everfreenw.com. Check behind the cut for the full list of openings.

[READ MORE]