• Editorial: Can Starlight Glimmer Be Reformed?

    "Soon... Also I'll have the lamb. Of course I eat meat. I'm evil." Source.

    We are just one day away from the Season 5 finale, and Starlight Glimmer is on everyone’s mind. Soon enough, we will see her return, since she has never been reformed or completely defeated yet. She may come back sooner than later if hints throughout the last few episodes are any indication. But I have one question: is it possible that Starlight Glimmer could be reformed into a side character or student for Twilight? If she comes back, can she come back for good?

    We’ve had two notable reformations this season. Both Gilda and Diamond Tiara accepted the magic of friendship, and we saw their lives slowly improve as their episodes ended. However Starlight Glimmer is in an interesting predicament, in that both her magic and ideology are purely evil in the FiM universe. Let’s talk about Starlight Glimmer and whether she can be reformed after the break.

    (Possible finale spoilers below. The video version of this editorial is above.)

    Alright well we all know that she’s coming back. Just had to be safe for the crowd that somehow haven't been spoiled yet. Anyway, villains are in an interesting position in MLP, because they exist to contrast the main character(s) of the week. How well they challenge the main character’s morals or special talent will translate into a better episode. Lightning Dust is a good example, since she was essentially Rainbow Dash before she learned what loyalty was and as such, only cared about being #1. The loud-mouthed and ostentatious Trixie is also a good contrast for Twilight in season 1, who was self-conscious about her powers.

    What is Starlight Glimmer’s contrast? Well, she is the enemy of all cutie marks, which makes her the enemy of the main six (and Equestria as a whole). Starlight Glimmer’s utopian town is antithetical to how the main six have lived their lives, because it relies on having no talents at all, and the fact that the townsponies are happy with their lives is what makes the main six so uncomfortable. We saw this with Pinkie’s suspicion over their smiles. To Pinkie, they were not smiles made by happiness or laughter. They were dead smiles, or perhaps smiles of defeat.

    Starlight Glimmer was also the enemy of Equestria because if the main six lost, her ideology would soon spread throughout Equestria and forever shape a country that relies on cutie marks to be part of a pony’s personality (and arguably their destiny). Without talented farmers, weather ponies, and magical users, Equestria would be as bland as Sugar Belle’s muffins. The only one who would benefit from this type of utopia would be Starlight Glimmer, and the villains who would no longer be afraid of imprisonment by the Elements of Harmony.

    What I love about Starlight Glimmer is the fact that her premiere contrasts so well with Tirek’s season finale. As I said in our podcast about villains, I was a little hesitant over the Tirek episode considering another finale that focused on “DBZ” fights would quickly get old. Starlight Glimmer on the other hand was on the other side of the spectrum when it came to how she was conveyed. She didn’t rely on smashing Twilight through a mountain when her silver tongue could win battles for her.

    The environment and tone within both Cutie Maps is what drove the episode, but also slowly painted Starlight Glimmer as more evil than she feels within the script. While Starlight walked the walk and talked the talk, it was the propaganda playing within the speakers, the townspony’s creepy smiles, and the overwhelming sense of defeat that painted Starlight as unstoppable. She is a classic case of the setting characterizing her, much like a more intricate and mature Discord. Discord is a wacky yet powerful being that melds things to what he wants, while Starlight Glimmer lets her disciples and ideology soften up her prey, before she goes in for the unmarking.

    I’ve always been fond of the psychological villains more than the physical ones, since being a physical villain seems like it’s too easy. That’s not to say that the Tirek finale didn’t convey what it was trying to do, it’s just a personal preference. I love Starlight Glimmer because her magic seems objectively evil, much like the love-draining powers of Queen Chrysalis and her changelings. The inherent evil within Starlight’s powers is that stealing a cutie mark feels equivalent to stealing a soul. Applejack couldn’t think of country phrases while Pinkie turned into a ball of deadpan when their marks were taken. Their minds were scarred in a way, along with their spirit.

    This picture actually creeps me out a little bit. Well done, artist. Source.

    This type of magic seems almost impossible to meld into something “good”, since (as far as we know) it can only steal and place marks that were already stolen back onto a pony. Starlight is a little harder to reform considering both her ideology and powers are objectively used for evil (at least in this universe). Along with that, if her power were to be reversed and she could place cutie marks onto blank flanks or enhance the power of their current cutie mark, it would seem like unnatural magic (which it is), the pony equivalent of steroids. But what if the main 6 need that edge in Season 6?

    This is where I think Starlight Glimmer could be reformed. Her predicament would be worse than Discord’s, in that she wouldn’t be able to use her magic unless it could be moulded to serve the main 6’s purpose. She has to start from square one, which makes it all the more tantalizing to fall back into her evil tendencies. She could end up as a student under Twilight Sparkle, her own sort of Cutie Mark Map that could sense magic which tampered with cutie marks in any way. Much like a more niche Zecora, Starlight Glimmer could begin her research in the other direction from her evil magic as she finds exactly how ponies get their cutie marks. Or perhaps she is too far gone, and needs to end up like Sombra: spread throughout Equestria since she was too evil to live.

    What do you guys think? Do you think Starlight Glimmer could be reformed tomorrow? Does she have a place in Season 6? Or is she too far gone in her ideology, and will stay evil until her very end? Let me know in the comments. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you guys after the finale.