Pony POV Series: Shining Armor Part 7Pony POV Series
From the shadow who got here first: this is almost bizarro looking back on it. On the one hand, it's possibly one of the BEST ways to show a romance develop naturally, and a great way to show the complexities of how the goddess of harmony tries to preserve harmony thought the planet. It also has some great character explorations and a few jokes that had me laughing for quite some time. And yet, it also has something of a plot tumor in it that just feels a bit distracting. But, I suppose that's a matter of preference. Anyhow, on with the review.
So, we start where we left of with Shining Armor: he's escaping from Markov, and resting on the shuttle in route back to the embassy. Also, the side note about whatever that dog is was interesting, though significant for later in the story (I'll get back to it)
We also learn about magic age firefighting techniques: use rainclouds to keep roof fires low, rather than having to solely rely on ground houses. Clever.
There's also a good degree of contrast in looking over a difference of nations in this chapter. And nowhere is this more apparent in looking at the difference between the equestrian and columbian politics/society. Perhaps the first sign of this was how the colombians, as a coping mechanism congradualate each other on a night of "success", while the rest of the equestrian team seems shocked and horrified at the death and danger they had in their fight. the apple especially took it hard with the thousand yard stare. Hearing of Shining's indignation that Markov caused this to happen was especially a good moment.
Despite the gravitas of the situation, we still manage to find a little comedic relief in Private Gag. Who says he's not funny. First with the "improv" comment in the shuttle, then about to go for the obvious sexual joke, only to be helmeted by someone who knows it's not the time. "Why does everyone keep hitting me with helmets?" Reminds me of Michelangelo of TMNT some ways.
The hug on return was actually really sweet, though it's also here we get a clever reference to Sherlock Holmes, with Dr. Watsun. It's actually really nice to remember that Watson wasn't always a dectective sidekick, but a soldier.
Then for the inquiries on who Watsun is, as a unicorn with captain brestplate (was that in the logs last chapter? I can't remember?), and then we actually get an interesting meta joke, where shining armor writes on the interviewer "notebook" for "what's the problem?" So the interviewers here communicate with a notebook, and it's probably a recollection of the time then, which is probably significant in talking about when the interview's taking place, and how it ties into A Canterlot Wedding.
Also, love the reference to The 6th sense. "Well, Princess, it turns out Shining's been dead all along and that only a little colt that sees dead ponies can talk to him, which raises an awful lot of plot holes about the last few days." Brilliant way to lighten the mood.
Then came the report, followed by a nice breakdown of what the military aftermath of this incident will be, which then leads into my one big complaint about this chapter.
While the discussion here on Thou Shalt Not Kill was a good meditation, it just felt a bit out of place where it was, particularly coming from minuette. It's interesting to be sure, with the talk on killing and fighting and prudence in the line of service, but like I said, it just feels a bit out of place, and for that, I must take a star off of the vision and technique points.
All things said though, it's not horrible, as the tough realities of real life are showing there, but well, you know my feelings.
Hmmmm, and cadence's glow flickered? It appears harmony was flickering briefly there, and the assault of equestria hurt her. It appears minuette's growing up on this excursion, maybe to become the straight man to the other hoofmaidens. But, that's for later plot to pick up.
All together, the next section on a potential investigation's pretty good, though at times, a bit tiring. Though I do appreciate that it advances the question on who was the man of the third investigation? Who was the equestrian guard who killed that shining keeps bringing up?
And then this came up: "I had this feeling something was after you specifically. This instinctive dread gnawing at the back of my mind about you. It grew so loud and shrill, I could barely keep myself from coming unglued. Like something wanted your blood. It wasn't any of our Guards, not Sunset, not Commander Shepard, not me. It wanted you." I think that Cadence sensed the wolf. I think she already knows something about it, and it's going to be a VERY significant plot point in the future.
And general shepherd eh? Call of Duty reference. I never played it mind you, but I did look it up. It appears that it's an interesting shout out, but I just hope that we don't have a repeat of Call of Duty in plotting, since authors should be more original than that.
the comment on shepherds was really funny in an ironic way. And the discussion on what happens next after the firefight. In a way, shepherd does have a point: equestria is only a guest in this land. Shining armor might be their soldier, but they're causing trouble on their territory. The whole discussion was interesting, though perhaps saddening that to prevent problems, you have to lie to the public to a degree. I don't know what the AJ's would think of that, though I suppose reharmonized AJ would understand trying to prevent more harm on one person might be more important than the truth at times, and epilogue jack might understand it as a kindness to try to keep Markov in good behavior afterwards.
However, it's by far the last part that's the most interesting to me, not only for shining's distinct understanding of international politics, but delving more deeply into the character of both these ponies destined for greatness. First, though the death of one guardsman, no matter prominant, would not be grounds to send equestria back to war, since that's something Celestia would NEVER want if possible.
Also love the reference to alicorn's impecable memory with the 503697310 ponies in all of equestria at one point.
Then came the big reveal about occupation and the like: first with shining being a guard, ready to die for people, and the the knock-out with your take on who Cadence is: she's a trained diplomat, goddess of harmony, an amnesiac powerhouse, and in her current form: crippled in fear that people only care for her because she's an alicorn. Not a totally unique take on things, since I read about a similar idea in another fic, but one that I'm sure all modern royal lines might wonder about: would anyone really care about me if I wasn't a princess?
And it actually hurts a bit that in a way, Cadence is right. Celestia does consider her slightly more important than anypony else in equestria. She's her sister from another life with amnesia. She's a physical goddess. She is considered important because of such an important connection in the eyes of some. She is in control of something VERY important: Harmony and Music. Her life being a disciplined but good one is essential to maintain those things in the universe. BUT, this isn't the whole story. Cadence is a good alicorn. She made a young friend. She's beloved among people, and it's right about here that the bonds of venus began to sprout, when Cadence smiled a "beautiful thing" and said this:
"And that's what I adore about you, Shining. You're one of the few ponies I'm one-hundred-percent sure likes me for who I am. And then you turn around and call yourself an 'acceptable loss!'"
After the heart stuff was out of the way, then came the lighter bounding, and is it just me, or did Cadence just ask HIM out on a date?
Then came the wedding joke, which I suppose is significant for some reason. I suppose it's because the wedding hasn't happened yet?
Yeah, something's definitely forming between the two of them. To quote from a good movie, "There may be something there than wasn't there before." But we'll have to wait and see where it goes.
Also, I'm almost wondering how shining's story is going to stay relatively short, if it runs parallel to a story nearing its climax. Oh well. This is the shadow, signing off.
Well, in defence of using Minuette to air the morality issues there, she's the only "normal" Equestrian in the room. SA's been trained, Cadence may be a little biased right now, and Watsun is a soldier and a doctor. It's all come as a great shock to her, especially since she's learned that someone just standing around in the background who was easy to ignore (IE Audience) turns out to be capable of such a thing. She's the only one to really be quite as worried as Equestrians should be.
I can understand why it might seem out of place, but I felt it was something important to have. Otherwise the reactions could have all be military and clinical without any contrast to "normal" life. I don't want to sound defensive, you've got a good point, but I just wanted to explain a little why it was done in this instance.
The scene was also extended quite a bit over what I'd put down, so I'm assuming the other editors were thinking that such a contrast was important too.
But thanks for a fair critique.