Pony POV Series:7 Dreams/Nightmares:Starlight 2of2
From the shadow who watches:......................(The silence lasts for 1 whole minute, before I start speaking)
When I first read Patch's story, I said to myself, “Man, the writer has set the bar WAY too high now. There’s no way they’d ever manage to top this." And then Starlight’s second half came along. Despite the first half creating a compelling and complex character with several bits of humor, it didn't feel quite as strong as it’s earlier brethren. But this half? It’s probably the best part of the Ponypocalypse stories since Patch went on that dragon fight and ran from Grogar. And in some ways, it shows that no author can be unbiased when it comes to writing about the supernatural. (more on that later)
That said, we start after disaster, where all around is doom and destruction. Literally in one case, as Starlight was witness to Destruction waking up. And it’s at this point that we get a visit from one of the most recurring of the gods aside from the regulars: Mortis Thanatos Charon, lord of death, the ferryman, and the person to push the souls onward.
Actually, now that I think about it, this means that The Father and Fauna Luster actually allow for a bit for flexibility in their kids names. The draconequi are all connected by their family name typhon (aside maybe from entropy), so in a way, they’re all connected by last name. the alicorns on the other hand allow for a great deal of flexibility in how the kids choose their names: they may be blood, but they’re also free to choose their path even if they have to face consequences for breaking pantheon laws.
The lord of death gets an understandably big reaction out of the fallen pony, but the reaction doesn't hold long, because another family member was also reaping the souls of this catastrophe: Misty. Pensilis had seen her self sacrifice, and thus had come to bring her up since she had already shown her love and thus her case would be a different one. And since it was so far away, Starlight knew, starlight KNEW that she was truly no more. And thus, with all the powers of death, Mortis sent her on her way to the next stage of her journey.
You see, such a catastrophe as the destruction of an entire civilization is nothing to sneeze at. And the fact of the matter is that we don’t know whether starlight can really achieve pony heaven with that on her record. And thus, she proceeded to the next stage of her afterlife: The Trial.
You see, Starlight lacked certainty to herself. Then again, this could also be standard procedure for all souls. And since time works differently outside the mortal realm, prosecution and defense could be holding an infinite number of cases at once, and be there all at once as well. It’s all very metaphysical.
The adviser is Judicium: The judge of balance, judgment and fair say. And in perhaps one of the most interesting choices, Judicium is only there to help hold witnesses accountable, and to explain the workings of the court. This goes back to the old joke/adage that even if we don’t believe in higher powers or divine law, we might just be judged by our own judging statements that we all make (like that we shouldn't go to war at all), and that we then must eat our own words when we inevitably fall short of our own views. Also, I liked the idea that judicium spoke in a voice that clearly cares about the accused, but will still hold her to the the rule of court. Empathetic, but impartial.
Anyhow, so in a way, the defense and prosecution are perfect representations of the 2 different ways we can think of how we are to be thought of in life or when we die.
For the “defense”, we have ourselves at our most glorious. Pride, honor, glory, vanity and a heightened view of oneself that we would even consider ourselves a god of our lives. An alicorn alongside others. And ultimately, a big show, as the defense seemed more like an actor than a REAL lawyer.
The prosecution on the other hand is a sign of simplicity and humility: A child of 7 or 8. Old enough to understand some right and wrong, but young enough to still be accountable to something bigger than ourselves. Wisdom but humility. Truth, but with some innocence. a primeval time, but also of big transitions. We don’t hide behind pretenses: we just come as the child we are, and seek what may come.
And so the trial began. It started with the defendant, and it moved on from there. So, let’s take a look at the evidence and testimony, shall we?
So the defendant gave the important information that she did not come up with the project, and sought to check for mistakes. However, the claim of total innocence was thrown into doubt by the testimony that she knew about there being risks. The knowledge of risks means there’s a chance for wrong. If she knew the risks, why continue with the project?
The second testimony could be seen as misdirection by the defense on account of it being a mostly positive affair. Even the prosecution’s cross examination indicates that the presence of the blue shard was in part the will of Starlight that moved it forward. Though it’s also at this time that we get foreshadowing into the true identities of defense and prosecution: the defense tells this pony who we KNOW from Patch’s story that they’ll be seeing each other again, and the prosecution just looks sad at him.
The 3rd witness is a very damning work on the second testimony, in part because it exposes it for the surface trite that it was. In a way, it is a rather somber bit. Defense worked well in an objection, which ended up being carried, although I always thought objections were for misconduct in court, not for in testimonial problems. Hmmm, odd.
Actually, that bit with “stalling the witness” was rather cold stuff. Not in the bad sense necessarily, but in that since they are outside of the realm of beings, Violet must return to a bad situation. And in a special twist, it’s actually the defense that mentions that violet must return to where she came from. Actually, I think I know what prosecution said to her before she left. “Don’t despair. A rescuer will come for you.”
There was a slew of witnesses who had their lives ruined by the explosion, which serves as good news for prosecution, but not very convincing for Ms. Starlight. Then came the testimony of Twilight I. Her testimony is intensely personal, because it’s about how they’d be erased from existence for G3, but that they were willing to go through with it so that there’d be no more monsters to fight also. A pretty handy point for Defense.
Then came the hard evidence. Specifically, the tale of Star Maker. Alluded to in Celestia’s tale, we now know who Starlight G3’d into, and she experienced the curiosity of her past self, and the knowledge that absolute love for one’s child is greater than all the pleasures of life for eternity. and so she died. But, it was a life of joy and happiness. It was a utopia of sorts. Of course, it’s also here that we see the court runner in the back, who had to present the evidence from her storage locker. Again, the foreshadowing.
Judicium also got a nice nod in for Starlight’s family life, and how her mother did love her, and wanted the best for her.
While prosecution won’t dispute the greatness of the utopia, he then presented exhibit B: the unfortunate side-effect of the move was that by her inner wish that Ms. Pandemonium “Pandora, Desire” Ate Typhon saw, all stallions were eradicated by becoming mares. After all, she was closer to where the wish was strongest, and thus got first say. It was a hard pill to swallow. But, perhaps a good prelude for later, as she was sorry that it happened. We even get a sweet moment from Pandora, who wanted to give her the comfort of imagination to move forward.
Then there was the bit on the eradication of individuality in G3, with all her old friends made somewhat generic. (which, to be fair, was mostly true, although at Twilight, they did change a bit, especially the pony Patch turned into.)
To counter, Defense brought up a sampling of the G3’ers that did have some neat quirks that made them unique: The Darling Rainbow Dash, Kimono, Minty, Wysteria, Princess Rarity, Master Kembroth Heathspike, and so on. Yet these were few and far between, and thus not total evidence.
Actually, at this point in the trial, it was more a referendum on whether G3 was a good world that Starlight created. However, given that defense had not produced convincing arguments, he was forced to bring the act in question back to the front with the calling of Destruction.
Destruction at first could be the dead ringer witness for the defense, but ended up being a dead giveaway for Starlight’s importance in the shared guilt for the project: All he did was blow up a spell that had contradictions waiting to happen. It was very convicting to the judge.
Then came the final testimonies. The testimonies of her friends. Starting with Bon Bon, who admitted that since she was on the project, she bore some responsibility, but that she forgives her for it. The same went for the daring warrior Patch who told of how she was bringing the rainbow shards back together (and presumably was called from after the defeat of film critique) and how things changed, and that starlight was responsible in some way, but that she was forgiven due to the unforeseen consequence. And so did all the other ponies whose chapters haven’t been written yet. Responsible, but forgiven. It got very confusing for the judge.
At the very end, Defense tried one more tactic: showing her what Pony Hell was like. Eternal running, alone, with heat and cold all around in extremes. Chilling, and frightening.
And ultimately, it’s at this final stage, that starlight had to choose between truth and fear. She had been shown enough evidence to see that she was responsible in some way, but her main reservation was that she didn't want to go to pony hell. However, like AJ of a time later on, the truth also brings on a big responsibility. To say she’s fully innocent is almost a naive and childish thing to say. And thus in her verdict, “..I find the defendant...Starlight...guilty..."
And then came the big surprise:”"Do you feel Starlight should be forgiven?" She had given the verdict, but now the prosecution would provide the sentence. And as Starlight accepted the gift of forgiveness, the prosecution in turn told her “You are forgiven.”
Then the truth came out. The prosecution was in fact The Father of All Alicorns. Defense was Havoc, and the court observer was Entropy. Actually, does this mean that The Father has a nickname of Buddy? Or is that just a Havoc sort of thing to say?
Actually, all things aside, I actually did find that trial fun, even if it was for a pony’s soul. And the argument between havoc and entropy was pretty amusing as well. Fear and nothingness arguing over fun stuff to do. It did bring a little chuckle despite the darker ramifications, especially since it’s revealed that husband and wife have been more strained ever since Entropy killed their eldest son.
And it’s right about here that I’d like to comment that this is a truly Christian way to look at the POV afterlife. If the forgiveness part wasn’t obvious enough, the fact of the matter is that there is no amount of intent and goodness alone can get a pony in. They must admit that they are responsible for the wrongs that have been committed, and only then, when seeking the forgiveness, may they truly get admittance. It’s what sets apart Christianity from SO many other traditions. Not bad, just unconventional in the “traditional” view of the afterlife.
Also, the way Havoc was justified was pretty neat, in that he likes it when fear saves lives. (in a sarcastic voice) Well then, I suppose that he finds things like seat belts to be just the most darling things, since they wear them out of fear of a crash. (You Make A Mockery Of Fear?) (No lord Havoc, just having fun with other shadows.)
Actually, is the child who cannot control his impulses Destruction or Discord?
And for one flickering instant, Starlight knew what it was like to know that existence itself loved her. It made her feel joyous, free, full of love. But, remembering what happened by her hands, she asked to have a stay of sentencing, if only to greet her friends as they enter the afterlife. And as we saw with Patch, she stayed to the very end in order to see her circle home.
So Mortis gave her a resting zone, and while waiting, she watched. she watched her daughter in the lost timeline stay happy. She watched her friends grow and struggle in the new world of apocalypse. And when their time finally ended, she was there to welcome them in.
Twilight meanwhile found parallels between her and clover. Namely, that Clover changed into Minty in the transition, and minty’s light was then placed into Twilight. But even if she had bits of both in her, they are NOT her. In some ways, Pinkie is a great mystery. Her G4 self is G3 pinkie mixed with princess rarity and surprise, but what was her G3 template based in?
And after a brief meditation that friendship lasts after friends go their separate way if they maintain it, it was time to move on to 4 more ponies. And hopefully before the dark world and shining armor runs into too much trouble.
Let’s hope so. After the last 2 chapters, they have a high bar to meet. This chapter rocked. Totally rocked! From trial to themes, it rocked like a star. Totally cool.