• Theories of Magic: The Draconequus Effect

    Like most, the first thought I had watching "Discordant Harmony" was, "Where's Discord gettin' that money? It's gotta be better than where I'm working now." But while filling out my application to work in chaos, I got to reading the job description. The retirement plan was bad and the occupation hazards were, well, let's just say my insurance won't cover them.

    But it got me wondering about the nature of chaos in a world so obsessed with order and friendship; a world where real chaos (like the weather) is completely controlled by magic; a world where there are not enough draconequi to go around. Wait . . .

    If you're still on the fence about the position of "Mischievous Spirit of Disharmony," I invite you to join me after the break to cross-examine Chaos Magic in Equestria.

    I hope everypony is ready for a little magic theory, I know I've enjoyed the distraction.

    For a world completely built around magic, it's surprising how hard it is to piece together exactly how it works in Equestria.

    Feel the friendship!

    Besides the Magic of Friendship requiring, of course, friendship, there aren’t perfectly set rules or limits for how characters use their powers.

    There’s the magic of the Crystal Heart, Love, Friendship, Dark Magic, Cutie Marks, Sensing (Pinkie, Cheese, Maud sense and maybe even Discord’s own ability to sense powerful shifts in magic), and just about anything can have magical properties to it.

    Interestingly there's one aspect that appears in almost every form of magic: the link to relationships. The Crystal Heart requiring the joy from the crystal ponies for example. Or Cutie Marks appearing among friends or family members; similar marks for mentor/student relationships like Celestia having the sun ( a star) and Twilight have a, well, star.
     "Hey, you have a star for a mark and so do I. Let's Be Besties!"

    I propose that chaos magic isn't much different than any other in Equestria and it is linked to some form of relationship. However, chaos isn't the same kind of song and dance we've come to expect from a colorful world of peace-seeking ponies.

    But this doesn't mean chaos is conjured by hatred and pure disharmony either.

    Chaos was used by an ancient foe who came to be recognized as the Spirit of Chaos. No other creature was mentioned to have chaos before Discord at the time of his first appearance in “Return of Harmony.” I'd say most fans took this introduction of Discord to mean he was Chaos embodied. A “creature of pure chaos” to quote Fluttershy from the episode “Discordant Harmony.”

    But if Discord were chaos:
    How come the chaos dimension didn’t start to fade when Discord did?
    How was Tirek and Pinkie Pie (In the comic universe) able to take Discord’s magic?
    Wouldn’t Chrysalis’ throne cause Discord to fade too?

    There would be no way for him to act independently of it or Chaos of him.

    Perhaps like assuming Celestia was some sort of goddess, headcanons elevated Discord to a status that he simply wasn't.

    The magic isn't the draconequus. Even if he were born with a natural talent in chaos, there's no way that trickster is completely comprised of disorder.

    So now that we've established the individualistic nature of this brand of magic, let's see how it is relationship based. (Keep in mind I haven't read all the comics, books, or other complementary media; so feel free to point out inconsistencies.)

    Remember the Windigos and the Sirens. They were "evil" spirits that were feeding off the hatred and disharmony of ponies. Back in the "Return of Harmony" part 1, we see that Discord does something similar in breaking free due to an argument in front of his statue. I'd like to argue that these forms of magic are all variants of Relationship Magic; powered by strong emotions around them.

    The passion of these relationships fueled the magic. Of course, these characters were using it for evil, but chaos seems to be more of a neutral party. It's happy so long as there's disorder happening.

    I'd say the whole reason Fluttershy could save Discord wasn't just because she was acting disorderly, but because she was saving the friendship as well. Perhaps that's the reason Discord started fading; he was hurting their relationship.

    I say this because of the episode "Princess Twilight Sparkle."

    Perhaps avoiding those windows saved him from disapperaing that day.

    Not only has Discord helped clean up Ponyville, there have been plenty of times where he's corrected his own mistakes using his magic to reestablish order. He's done a lot of general good for those around him.

    "I know something you don't know; but I'm actually gonna tell you!"

    Chaos isn't strengthening by the sheer amount of pandemonium it creates, but rather the relationships its current bearer choices to engage in.

    I have a second theory, one that's a tad darker than the one above. If Chaos isn't a relationship based magic like the others, perhaps it's more like parasitic magic. (Maybe not exactly a parasite so much as an autonomous being needing a host to operate through.)

    I can't say if other forms of magic are ever really personified in Equestria, but Chaos does have one line in the comic book Friendship is Magic #57 in which I'm led to believe that it might be a character more than just a random force of nature.

    As was pointed out to me, this moment in the comic is a nod to Nietzche's "Beyond Good and Evil" and becoming the monsters you fight, but it's still odd that Pinkie personifies Chaos by saying it can be "staring." And that chaos is compariable to a monster (even an inner demon one) still puts it in a parasitic role.

    The conflict of party pony aside, Chaos Magic has just gone through an experience where its older host almost faded out of existence. The moment another creature entered the dimension with a substantial amount of creative energy, Chaos latched on.

    And, to those of you who've studied dynamical systems in our universe, it adds a new perspective to the comic "Chaos Theory" in which Discord becomes Accord. With Discord completely consumed by depression, the natural order of chaos could manifest identity without constant changes in its initial conditions; or, in other words, Discord couldn't inhibit the magical flow. I'm proposing that Accord is actually chaos: the secret order.
    Nothing like a parasitic power taking full control of a host's mind, and the minds of all around him.

    On a side note: Being of a parasitic nature, it makes sense that the chaos drives ponies insane as it is taking a lot more magical energy than the victim is able to provide.

    I wonder if Screwball can relate.

    In this scenario, it would seem Chaos is treatable with Harmony.

    I know calling it a parasite is possibly too harsh, but it makes sense that Discord's magic could be taken by Chrysalis' throne without causing harm to him. It explains why suddenly acting too orderly causes the parasite to drain even more from the host. It explains why Tirek, having just stolen Harmony magic, isn't hurt by it.

    And this brings me to my last thought.

    I know it's not chaos, but it's a great picture.
    Perhaps there is a better use for Discord's magic, hmm?

    Assuming I'm correct at least in the assumption that Chaos is a free acting agent, Discord's role as the Master of Chaos could become one of being a guardian.

    Perhaps a draconequus' role in Equestria is not to spread chaos, but to protect from it. Not just any creature could do that, Chaos would literally suck them dry.

    Discord then acts as a gatekeeper. While anyone could be chosen by Chaos, only Discord has either been born with or learned how to master the disordered magic enough to get a desired response from it.

    Ponies don't like being out of control, and there's seems to be a fear of things spontaniously operating.

    It's so natural and free. That's just plain un-Equestrian.
    What holds places like the Everfree Forest from becoming all of Equestria? Perhaps having a creature possessing chaos helps keep it contained.

    This, of course, is only speculation. These interpretations are fairly different from what Lauren Faust planned to do, I'd imagine. Yet the world of our colorful ponies has grown and evolved over the years. The original ideas we had for their powers have also changed shape with time.

    So what are your theories on chaos?