• Editorial: Why I Hate Me Some Starlight Glimmer

    Starlight Glimmer might be the most divisive character in the show. Some people love her to the point of awarding her the coveted title of Best Pony. Others tend to go completely bonkers whenever this little unicorn is mentioned. You ever see somebody foam at the mouth and gargle out incomprehensible insults at a fictional horse, then collapse as madness consumes their mind until all they can do is scream out "Ia! Ia! Glim Glam fhtagn!" for the rest of their days?

    I have. It ain't a pretty sight.

    I'm algernon97, and I've done nothing but watch Glimmy episodes for the last few weeks. I am tired, I am cold, and I have a bone to pick with this horse.

    You can find Seth's pro-Starlight editorial here. Below the break, some negative Glim.

    Starlight Glimmer was quite an interesting villain when she showed up. It was as if Kurt Vonnegut came back from the dead and plopped the villain from Harrison Bergeron into this little pastel pony universe. Personally, I still think she's the best villain the show's ever had. She was a more subtle threat than a cackling shapeshifter or megalomaniacal centaur. The fact that she used true to life cult tactics and psychological torture, and can be seen as a commentary on a ton of things that'll fly over most kids' heads (Stalinism, McCarthyism, cults in general, etc), made her creepy and helped her leave an impact on the fandom after she ran off into a cave at the end of The Cutie Map.

    Then, after some timey-wimey shenanigans and a quick little backstory that I'm not even going to go over or we'd be here all day, she was reformed into the pony we've come to know over the last two seasons.

    Reformed Glim is a very different pony from Evil Glim. She is also far less interesting. That's a bit of a problem whenever she gets the lead role in an episode.

    If you ask me, Starlight doesn't work as a protagonist (most of the time). As a supporting character, she's alright. I'd even say she's great in a few episodes. But as the main character of a story?

    I'm sorry, but she's blander than styrofoam-flavored tofu. That video from American Beauty where a paper bag floats around in an alley has a more interesting hero than Starlight. In fact, she's so uninteresting as a lead she often gets upstaged by other characters in her episodes. If you want examples of that, you need to look no further than A Royal Problem and To Change a Changeling.

    A Royal Problem sees Starlight turn into a supporting protagonist not too long after Celestia and Luna enter the picture. The episode starts out with Glimmy getting sent to Canterlot by the map, and she even has some nice banter with Sparkles the Wonder Ballerina Horse. But once Starlight swaps the princesses' cutie marks, she stops being important to the story.

    After that, she just sorta tags along with Luna for the day and provides a dreamscape for the climax. Heck, even the camera stops following her after a certain point and focuses on the princesses instead.

    She's like Moby-Dick's Ishmael in this episode: Introduced as the protagonist, overshadowed by more interesting characters a third of the way into the plot, and mostly unimportant by the third act.

    To be fair, at least she still exists throughout the story. I'm pretty sure Ishmael phased out of reality halfway through Moby-Dick.

    In To Change a Changeling, Starlight isn't even the real protagonist. Sure, she's the point of view character, but the story's really about Pharynx. Almost all of the dialogue is about him, the plot hinges on whether or not he'll return to defend the hive, and his transformation is the big payoff at the end. 

    All Starlight does is ask Pharynx if he'd maybe like to stop being such a grump, lure a giant monster to the changeling hive, and attempt a Braveheart moment. She only succeeds at luring a monster to the hive, which leads me to Glimmy's poor decision-making skills.

    Saying that Starlight has some of the worst ideas in the long, sad history of bad ideas is an understatement. Most Glim Glam episodes have a moment that makes the viewer go, "Starlight no what are you doing stop." And the undisputed king of these moments is the entirety of Every Little Thing She Does.

    In this episode, Starlight uses magic to mind control her friends and sees nothing wrong with it until Twilight tells her that it was a terrible idea.

    Surprisingly, I'm not upset about that. It's a bad thing to do, and Starlight should've known better, but it did lead to some funny moments. However, there is one thing about this episode that irritates me to no end.

    The thing that irritates me is that Starlight should've known better because she figured out the moral of this story fifteen episodes ago.

    "Wouldn't it be amazing if you an' me already went over somthin' like this and you just forgot about it? Good thing that's never happened."

    In No Second Prances, Starlight casts a spell on Big McIntosh that turns him into a motormouth. Applejack gives her a death glare that could kill a weaker pony until Glim Glam undoes the spell. Before that, however, she says something that she really should've thought of before she used magic to mind control her friends:

    "And I guess my first instinct shouldn't be to magically command ponies to act the way I want them to?"

    When you marathon through these episodes, that line stands out like a lizard in a dog show. Perhaps I'm being too nitpicky by using that line, so let's assume it didn't matter. Surely Starlight learned her lesson after Every Little Thing She Does, right? She didn't use magic on other ponies again, right?


    Starlight uses magic to try to make ponies act the way she wants them to at least two more times. What this tells me is that Glim Glam knows she shouldn't do this, but does it anyway.


    Because screw you, she's Starlight Glimmer, that's why. You think a little moralizing is gonna stop her from mucking with other ponies' minds and bodies? Get outta here.

    Point is, Purpal Smurt does this sort of thing well beyond the point where she should've learned not to. Some people might argue that this makes her more interesting. I think it's frustrating. It doesn't endear me to her or make me want to see her grow as a character. After all, what's the point in watching her learn a lesson if she's just going to ignore it in her next episode?

    People have way more problems and issues with Starlight than this, but these are my biggest gripes with her. She's a bland protagonist that often fades into the background of her episodes, and her inability to learn from her mistakes is more annoying than it is interesting. Combine that with the loss of the best villain in the entire show, and the end result is a disappointing, irritating waste of a character.

    So with all of that being said, I don't actually hate Glimmy.

    I said earlier in this editorial that Starlight can be great as a supporting character, and I really do think that's the case. When she's part of an ensemble and doesn't have to carry the story by herself, she works extremely well. Rock Solid Friendship, To Where and Back Again, and Shadow Play are Starlight's best episodes, in my opinion. They play to her strengths, give her another character that has good chemistry with her, or both.

    And of course, there is always the amazingness that is Starlight and Trixie.

    This is the greatest thing to ever happen in the history of all things and you will never convince me otherwise.

    algernon97 cannot sanction your buffoonery