• Editorial: Princess Celestia is Not Boring

    To paraphrase a fine quote: “You can easily judge the character of somepony who treats those who can do nothing for you”. Princess Celestia has remained in the public eye as the princess at the top, the one who is benevolent and perfect. When compared with her sister, Princess Celestia appears to be the more mature and experienced ruler. A lot of people would call her the boring one, and I am here to refute that claim. Last week was Princess Luna, and now it’s Sunbutt’s turn. Let’s talk about her after the break.

    I always find a fandom’s love towards characters that have a lack of screen time compared to others interesting. As I said in my previous editorial, Princess Luna has had far less attention on her in episodes, but her popularity remains at the top. I think of Princess Celestia in the same way, but to a lesser extent. Both Princess Celestia and Luna are products of Luna’s banishment. While one was placed in a torturous purgatory as the Mare in the Moon, the other had to deal with the effects of Luna’s banishment.

    That’s the part where I think a lot of fans miss the point. The fridge logic behind Princess Celestia is almost as terrifying and depressing as Luna’s, which is why I find it so endearing and admirable. Banishing your sister for a thousand years because you were incapable of finding any other solution is harsh, both on your sister and yourself. Princess Celestia lost a member of her family that day, the only member of her family that stood with her through thick and thin. Luna was Celestia’s ally against Discord and Sombra, which is why it’s so heartbreaking when a friend and someone that you love becomes an enemy.

    This isn’t a headcanon either. These statements aren’t (completely) a byproduct of a fanfiction author’s overactive imagination. Celestia was able to watch (and perhaps ignite) the expansion of pony civilization, take on students in her School for Gifted Unicorns, and usher in a new era of friendship and cooperation. But the cost was dire. Celestia had to live for a thousand years without her best friend, and was given a reminder of both her pain and her choice every night. Much like Starlight Glimmer’s propaganda room, sometimes the same reminder can drive one insane. But Princess Celestia persevered, and helped build a nation that would make her parents proud.

    My respect for Princess Celestia is tied into my love for Pinkie Pie, and why I understand Applejack fans. All three characters are selfless and do the most that they can to help their subjects and friends, despite whatever demons might be lurking in their minds. In any other show, Princess Celestia would be comparable to House from House M.D or the “edgy” character with a dark past that left them cold and distant. However Princess Celestia is the opposite of these characters. Without wishing to insult “dark” characters, there’s an admirable quality within characters that stand strong and positive despite their inner demons.

    I’m positive that Princess Celestia cried herself to sleep for a while once she banished Princess Luna. I’m positive that she was assaulted by negative thoughts and “what if” scenarios, all threatening that she didn’t deserve to be a princess because she couldn’t even save her sister. While Luna was trapped within the moon and had all of her negative thoughts piling down upon her, Celestia still had royal duties. She had to smile among her subjects and promise that she wouldn’t fall to the same fate, even if she didn’t believe it herself.

    Princess Celestia reminds me of Albus Dumbledore, Yoda, or even Rose Quartz (spoilers, don’t look it up), where their loss remains in the back of their mind but doesn’t detract them from the present. Sometimes it’s certainly hard to do that. Every day is different and as such, it has the capability to be completely ruined by a reminder of your failings. But Princess Celestia (as far as we know) doesn’t let this happen. She has fun with her subjects and helps anyone that asks for it. She points towards the answer, but doesn’t hand their lesson on a silver platter. She takes the stage when she is needed and steps down when her royalty speaks more than her words. There’s nothing terribly manipulative about her actions, which is why I passionately disagree with the “Tyrantlestia” headcanon.

    Sure, Tyrantlestia is an acceptable headcanon and structure for an alternate universe fanfiction, but nowadays we’ve had way too much canon information that simply renders this headcanon as nothing more than that. Princess Celestia does everything for the good of her subjects and any of her mistakes (from each villain's return to episode premises such as Lesson Zero) are incapable of any other negative subtext. Unless you wanted to put a tinfoil hat on, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Princess Celestia is a benevolent and flawed ruler, but there is no way that she’s a tyrant.

    I can see where the headcanon is coming from, since Princess Celestia has notably had a few plans that were questionable to say the least. Keeping in mind that the failure of her plans could simply be writer incompetence, I like to think of Princess Celestia as one who was thrown into a role of authority when she wasn’t exactly ready. She was going to rule Equestria with her sister, but had to deal with her sister’s loss and the growing pony civilization alone. With double the workload comes double the stress, and there is bound to be errors as a result. Nowadays, Princess Celestia’s errors are sort of a narrative problem, since she should have learned how to rule by now. But I’m a firm believer in Hanlon’s Razor, and the examples of her benevolent ruling are far more numerous than her examples of “Tyrantlestia”.

    A quick and subtle response to the idea of Trollestia: Don't.

    I’ve heard many people call Princess Celestia boring because she’s perfect, and I will never understand that. She’s not perfect, but she is equivalent to Applejack in that all of her characterization happened before the show’s timeline. We see her teasing the Cakes or acting royal as opposed to the struggles of second-guessing and the immediate effect of losing her sister. But the flashback scenes help drive this characterization home since we can see her crying as she imprisons her sister, hugs Luna upon her return, and sing with pride and joy when she sees her student ascend into royalty. Princess Celestia is not boring. She’s the epitome of a good leader and her flaws are just as apparent as any of the Main Six. One just needs to do a little digging and the intricacies behind her will become clear.

    Well, that about sums up this week’s editorial. I leave you all with a few questions: does Tyrantlestia seem like a headcanon that can still apply to the show (assuming that this show wasn’t catered towards its demographic)? Are you still not convinced that Princess Celestia is an interesting character? Finally, what are some episode ideas starring Princess Celestia that you would love to see? Leave it in the comments!

    My apologies that I couldn’t do the editorial on one of the writer’s styles this week. I just need to do a little more research, so it should be ready for next week. Thank you for reading and I’ll see you next time!