• Pony Spotlight #18 - Princess Celestia


    Howdy, folks. We may have reached the mid-season hiatus for the show, but that doesn't mean we can't continue putting ponies in the Spotlight. That's right, Pony Spotlight is back from it's own short hiatus. We're also trialing a slightly different format this time.

    This week we're going along with the Celebration of the Sun going on here at EQD. That's right, it's time to spotlight everyone's favorite sun-controlling alicorn: Princess Celestia!

    She's a pretty important pony. But if you look below the break, you might realize that she's taken a giant step into the background to let others shine...


    Name: Princess Celestia
    Aliases: Sunbutt, Goddess of the Sun, Celie, Tia
    Cutie Mark: The sun
    Appearances: 40 episodes, Equestria Girls, Rainbow Rocks, Friendship Games
    First Appearance: Friendship is Magic: part two
    Speaking Roles: Lots!
    Random Fact: While not entirely canon, a story arc in the IDW comics suggests that Celestia and an alternate-reality King Sombra shared a tragic romance.



    History

    Princess Celestia has a history that spans over one thousand years, and the details of that time period have only been hinted at in-show. The very first episode of the series, Friendship is Magic part one, establishes the fact that Celestia and her sister, Luna, ruled over all the ponies of Equestria. Celestia controls the sun, causing it to rise each day, while Luna controls the moon. Over a thousand years ago, Luna grew jealous of the fact that ponies seemed to appreciate the sun much more than her moon, and the jealousy grew into something that consumed her conscience, transforming her into Nightmare Moon. Tragically, Celestia was forced to banish her sister to the moon for a thousand years, and the series begins on the longest day of the thousandth year of Luna's banishment.

    Season four's Princess Twilight Sparkle part two digs deeper into this history through a vision as seen by Twilight Sparkle. In this episode, we see that Celestia is initially reluctant to fight her sister, who attacks without provocation. Celestia displays some admirable flight skills as she attempts to outmaneuver Nightmare Moon, but she is ultimately struck down by a bolt of energy. Afterward, Celestia realizes that she has no choice but to use the Elements of Harmony, six powerful artifacts that had, up to that point, been used by both sisters to keep threats such as Discord and Sombra at bay. It is uncertain whether it is a show of her power that she was able to control all six elements at once, as they'd never before been used by a single character, and there's no in-show record of what would happen if anypony else tried to use them all. Regardless, with tears streaming down her face, Celestia harnessed the incredible power of these artifacts and completely overpowered Nightmare Moon with a single blast of energy that sent her straight to the moon.

    From the time of her sister's banishment up until the first episode of the series, Celestia had become the sole rule of Equestria, and the summer solstice was celebrated yearly as the Summer Sun Celebration, in which ponies would gather to witness Celestia raise the sun — an act that is assumed to otherwise take place privately and without fanfare.

    In the book, The Journal of the Two Sisters, which pre-dates Luna's banishment, Celestia and Luna are asked by Star-Swirl the Bearded to become princesses and unite the three pony factions because they are both alicorns and can represent all three types of pony: earth, pegasus, and unicorn. This occurs before either of them actually have their cutie marks. Celestia proves to be quite studious and learns as much as she can about the various types of ponies, as well as many magical spells with the help of Star-Swirl. She even helps him perfect his time-travelling spell.

    The book covers many details, but one of the most important is when Celestia and Luna come upon a weary Star-Swirl who has just attempted to control the raising and lowering of the sun and moon. According to the book, adult unicorns once handled the responsibility of raising and lowering the sun and moon, but would often become completely drained of magic upon doing so. Celestia and Luna agree to take a crack at it, and are able to do so with little effort, thereby earning their cutie marks.

    All of this history, and we've only just now reached the events of the show itself. Actually, no we haven't. Flashback time! In season one's The Cutie Mark Chronicles, we learn how Celestia came to take on Twilight Sparkle as her pupil. It turns out that during one Summer Sun Celebration, Celestia's efforts to raise the sun inspired a young Twilight Sparkle to study everything she could learn about magic. It was enough that her parents enrolled her into Princess Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns. During Twilight's entrance exam, the young unicorn lost control of her magic as a result of Rainbow Dash's sonic rainboom. Celestia herself witnesses the aftermath and recognizes the raw talent Twilight possesses, and allows Twilight to become her personal pupil.

    Now that we've finally caught up to the events of episode one, let's quickly touch on a few highlights in the series. In Friendship is Magic part two, Celestia is finally reunited with Luna thanks to the efforts of Twilight Sparkle in defeating the Mare in the Moon, Nightmare Moon. In The Ticket Master, Celestia is revealed to have no problem with giving Twilight Sparkle multiple tickets to the Grand Galloping Gala, despite the latter's worries about who she should give her one extra ticket to. Swarm of the Century hints that Celestia may have been quite aware of the parasprite infestation of Ponyville, and that she simply allowed Twilight to learn her lesson before arriving. A Bird in the Hoof reveals that Celestia has a pet Phoenix named Philomena, and that Celestia is much easier to approach than the ponies first thought. Season two's finale, A Canterlot Wedding, shows that despite her power, Celestia can be bested when Queen Chrysalis defeats her in combat thanks to a substantial boost in her power from Shining Amor's love for Cadance. In season three's finale, Magical Mystery Cure, Celestia grants her pupil Twilight the gift of becoming a princess, which also includes the bonus of becoming an alicorn herself. Season four's finale, Twilight's Kingdom, sees Celestia surrender her alicorn magic to Twilight Sparkle in order to give her former student a chance of defeating the powerful villain. She would regain her power once Tirek was defeated. Seasons five and, as of this writing, six, saw Celestia mostly relegated to the background, while Twilight Sparkle and Starlight Glimmer took more of the limelight.

    Celestia's movement to the background is more noticeable when you take a look at her role in recent seasons. After season three, Celestia's appearances were mostly unimportant until the season four finale. We actually went nine episodes in a row without a single mention of Celestia, the most in show history. Season five mentions her more often, but she has no crucial roles to play, and while she did assist the Mane Six in episodes one and two of season six, she has since been seen very little of.


    Personality

    Celestia's personality has long been an area of contention within the fandom. Some see her as an all-knowing goddess, others see her as a troll, while others have even stranger views. Here, we're going to focus solely on what has been seen in the show.

    Season one! Friendship is Magic part two shows that she can be forgiving, as she forgives her sister for becoming Nightmare Moon and embraces her. Griffin the Brush Off shows that she knows how to take a joke, as she giggles at the invisible ink that was sent along with Twilight's friendship letter. As mentioned earlier, Swarm of the Century hints that she was aware of the parasprite problem in Ponyville, and is one of the first signs that she is allowing Twilight Sparkle to learn her lessons without her assistance. In Fall Weather Friends, Celestia states that Fall is one of her favorite seasons. The aforementioned A Bird in the Hoof shows that Celestia is very approachable for being royalty, and The Best Night Ever highlights her mischievous side, as she finds the disasters that occurred during the Grand Galloping Gala to be entertaining.

    Season two! The Return of Harmony shows us that Celestia had no patience for Discord's antics at the time. Lesson Zero has Celestia remove the requirement for weekly friendship lesson updates, and she instead allows each of Twilight's friends to write her letters... only as required. In Sweet and Elite, Celestia shows her generosity by offering Rarity a room in the palace to stay. She also becomes creeped out by Rarity's continuous thanks and hoof-kissing. In It's About Time, Celestia casually strolls by Twilight who is hiding in the royal library, comments on liking the new mane-style she's sporting, and walks away, proving that Celestia has no problem with Twilight being in her palace, and that the latter wasted a lot of time in trying to sneak in. A Canterlot Wedding gave us a firsthand look at Celestia's willingness to directly face a foe, and it also showed us her first defeat. The episode also gave Celestia a chance to be a little more casual around her subjects, as she happily joins in the dancing at the wedding after-party.

    Season three! The Crystal Empire shows us that Celestia is aware of the danger of the tasks she sends Twilight to complete, and that she is already considering her pupil as a candidate for becoming a princess. She refuses Luna's assistance, assuring her sister that Twilight will succeed in defeating King Sombra. In Keep Calm and Flutter On, Celestia shows her foresight when she suggests that Fluttershy may know best how to reform Discord, as well as ensuring Discord is on-hand for developments that occur in season four. And of course, Magical Mystery Cure shows Celestia's pride in Twilight when she finally becomes a princess.

    Season four! Princess Twilight Sparkle reveals that Celestia actually privately resented the Summer Sun Celebration until Twilight defeated Nightmare Moon, as it was a yearly reminder of being forced to banish her own sister to the moon. It marks the first Summer Sun Celebration (in-show) in which she shares the responsibility with Luna (and a little help from Twilight). Twilight's Kingdom shows that Celestia is still nurturing and kind-hearted when she joins her sister and Princess Cadance in showing Twilight that she will play her part as a princess. She also once again shows foresight in transferring her own alicorn magic to Twilight in order to hide it from Tirek. She would give Twilight her official title in this episode: the Princess of Friendship, and would also forgive Discord for his treachery.

    Season five! Make New Friends but Keep Discord would show Celestia's... interesting... sense of humor when she laughs at Discord's joke about Twilight Sparkle being a terrible flier. She also once again thoroughly enjoys the Grand Galloping Gala despite Discord and the Smooze causing mayhem. Slice of Life highlighted her sisterly arguments with Luna, which we imagine happens quite often behind the scenes.

    Season six! Celestia hasn't shown up often, and the season isn't giving us many hints of personality. Celestia is surprised to see that Baby Flurry Heart is an alicorn in The Crystalling, as she says 'the birth of an alicorn is something Equestria has never seen.' Her facial reaction to Flurry Heart's random bursts of power also suggest surprise. No Second Prances gives us the most personality, as Celestia barely conceals her annoyance with Twilight as her former student comes up with excuses for why Starlight Glimmer isn't attending their dinner.



    Theories

    In this new section of the Pony Spotlight, we'll look at some theories the fandom has come up with for the characters. While we can't confirm or deny any of these, we can at least have a look.

    There are several theories revolving around Celestia. One is that she is a goddess of some kind. The fact that she has been alive for over a thousand years would certainly suggest some godlike longevity, and the existence of Heaven may have been confirmed in Filli Vanilli when Applejack says Fluttershy's singing voice was like 'a little slice of Heaven,' but this certainly doesn't prove anything, and the fact that Celestia has been beaten in combat discredits the idea that she is all-powerful. We'll let you decide.

    Another theory is that Celestia is a troll and enjoys watching Twilight and her friends struggle to overcome the many obstacles they face. It has certainly been suggested time and time again that Celestia has an uncanny ability to predict how things will turn out, and we already know her sense of humor can be somewhat interesting if the many Grand Galloping Galas are any indication. Even if she's not a full-blown troll, it's certainly amusing to think that she gets a kick out of watching the other characters' struggles.

    One more theory for the road: Celestia LOVES cake. As in, she can't get enough of the stuff. She's been shown eating cake more than once within the series, and while that certainly isn't proof that she's addicted to it, that's usually more than enough for the fandom to just go with it. What do you think? Is she just a victim of misinterpretation, or is she a cake-gobbling goddess of mischief?

    And now for the fiction, art and video sections. Bear in mind some of these may have been highlighted already during Celestia Day. Do you have a favorite Celestia video or piece of art? What's your favorite Celestia moment in the show? Which pony would you like to see in the next Spotlight? Do you like the different format? Let us know in the comments below!


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