• "The Hearth's Warming Club" Episode Followup - Hearth's Warming Eve is Here Once Again!

    What's this? Another fun holiday-themed episode? Sign me up! I'm a complete softy for holiday episodes and specials, so I jumped at the idea of writing the followup for this one. And I can't say I was disappointed either as I rather enjoyed this 22 minutes of adorable ponies creatures just as excited for the holidays as I tend to be!

    Join me below the break as we dive into a little piece of Christmas in July August!

    And you thought that house down the road went all out on their holiday decorations! Whew, I don't know what Twilight's budget for wreaths, bows, and lights is, but I don't think it's lacking. Looks really nice and well-decorated. I have a feeling this might be the work of one detail and aesthetic-oriented fashionista.

    That feeling when you're just trying to spread a little holiday cheer and everyone gives you the "bah humbug" treatment. Com'on, folks, this is FiM. You're supposed to want to break out into random song and dance numbers!

    *silent judging intensifies*

    This is one tough crowd. I won't even ask what they're like around Nightmare Night.

    Meanwhile, Ocellus here is almost certainly trying to give me a heart attack! She's quite good at that, y'know.

    Sandbar to Ocellus: "Hey, bugaboo, you come here often? You have change-ling-ed my heart."

    Like most kids, Spike's list of what the holidays mean to him has "presents" listed in multiples. Probably of 20.

    It's interesting to note that out of all dragons, Spike is quite possibly the only dragon in existence that celebrates Hearth's Warming the same way ponies do. But I suppose that's a given since he was adopted by Twilight and grew up around them. As we see later on when Smolder explains how dragons celebrate the holiday, I personally think Spike got the better bargain here.

    Knowing what I know now from watching the episode conclusion, it's terribly apparent one creature in particular was excessively negative and frowning during most of this episode. I'm just surprised I'm so oblivious I didn't connect the dots earlier.

    "Tuesday's are GREAT!"

    Ladies and gentlemen, the one and only person positive and always upbeat enough to think Tuesday's are especially great, haha. Well, at least it's not Monday, right? *shivers*

    I knew right out of the gate this one would be trying to give me the beetus. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say it's gotta be one of her special talents. Cute silly birb horse.

    Aw, picking on poor Ocellus. She's just a cute egghead.

    "Now you're alone with me."

    Seriously though, just like at any other school, everyone quickly and instantly books it out once you tell them they're free. It's nice to see those same parallels between their universe and ours.

    Twilight, stop being so utterly adorkable down there. You just can't help it though, can you?

    Also, it's the Pony of Shadows! Well, no. No it's not. But it certainly looks like it from this angle. Then again, I suppose most all cloaked shadowy figures look basically the same from this angle.

    I just thought this was a sorta cool little sequence after the powder was dumped onto the heart. Honestly looks real pretty at the end there. Y'know, right before it implodes into a huge gooey mess all over the room.

    What I found a tad humorous about this scene is how only Dash seems to have had the foresight to actually move out of the way. In her defense, I suppose you could argue she was in the air at the time and thus more prepared to easily move. But you would think Spike and Twilight would have at least been backing up, if not completely running away, at some point. I think they were suffering from the ol' "deer in the headlights" syndrome. They knew they should move, but just couldn't look away. At least Twilight managed to put up a barrier just in time. Poor Spike, though.

    I don't even know exactly why I'm including this scene here. I just thought it seemed quirky!

    And so Dash just leaves the canister sitting up there. I dunno, but I found that perhaps a little silly. Unless she's leaving it up there in the same way people leave things untouched at a crime scene. But she already picked it up anyway! And what are they going to do with it at this point? Dust it for hoof or claw prints? Wouldn't it be interesting if every pony / gryphon / changeling / yak / dragon / hippogriff had a unique imprint like human finger tips do? I suppose in very small and minute detail they just might!

    "No! Don't do it mysterious shadowy figure! You have so much to live for!"

    I just really love nice scenic snowstorm atmospheres like pictured here. There's something dark and foreboding but beautiful and serene about a beautiful landscape or backdrop and heavy snowfall.

    Just look at how beautiful this hallway is. The huge tall wooden doors, the majestic arched cathedral ceilings, the beautifully-painted walls. Can I go to school here?!

    Easy there, cute birb horse. The club This blog post can't even handle you right now.

    So it seems one of the student 6 are suspected of being the perpetrator of the crime now. I honestly wasn't expecting the outcome that we got. But as I noted earlier, looking back it should have been much more obvious to me. But more on that later.

    Also, I can totally see Twilight and Dash playing the good cop/bad cop interrogators in this.

    So Twitwi tries the old tried and true everyone-close-your-eyes-and-raise-your-hand-if-you're-the-culprit tactic here. It does work once in a while, this just wasn't one of those times unfortunately.

    I get the feeling Twilight is about to quote Carface from All Dogs Go to Heaven in this scene; "I'm surrounded by morons!"

    But really, I would expect this from Dash, but you too, Spike? I know, I can hear the Rainbow Dash fans sharpening their pitchforks as we speak.

    Okay, whoa, easy there Dash. No threatening the students. That's not something very becoming of a professor of friendship, goodness gracious.

    So whoever the culprit is will have to stay behind with Twilight for some one-on-one friendship lessons. I know at least one or two or two thousand Twilight fans who would instantly confess to the crime on the spot, whether they had done anything or not!

    Pretty much speaks for itself.

    I gotta admit, I like to make a game out of cleaning as well. It really does make things more fun and help to quickly pass the time.

    Every creature begins to explain their own holiday traditions and how they celebrate them. First up are the love bugs!

    That's one way to put the tree up! You certainly can't say they aren't creative or determined. However, perhaps not standing directly under a large tree held up by a single rope would be a good thing to add to the checklist next year. Yes indeedy.

    "Thirsty? Dive into some holiday punch!"

    Okay, let's be honest. We all saw that one coming.

    Bug stew. Yum. It's like when flies land in your soup and you don't notice until it's too late. I know, ew. For that little mental image, what can I say except "You're welcome"?

    These adorable little bugs will be the end of me yet. HNNNG!

    "Carols, carols, carols, carols, carooools~" 

    I think I just found my new favorite song of the series. Forget The Smile Song. Forget This Day Aria. Forget Luna's Future. THIS is the epitome of melodious musical merriment!

    Gee, ya think, Sandbar? Still, they're utterly adorable while they misinterpret things. So it's all good.

    Next up is Yona explaining the holiday traditions of the yaks! Naturally, as you may have guessed, much of it involves the smashing of various things at various times throughout the day. They didn't even bring blue or yellow!

    "Yak song! Yak song! Not very long! Sing again!" 

    A challenger appears! THIS is also the epitome of harmonious folk enchantment!

    And then the smashing commences! With all this violence and long hair, I feel like being apart of the yak Snilldar Fest is akin to being in the mosh pit of a death metal concert. I feel like Yona is channeling her inner Toki from Metalocalypse here. Hmm, yak metal concert... there would be nothing left of the stage, instruments, or venue by the end of the night.

    I think I just realized the yaks true professional calling. It's demolition! You need an old building torn down? Forget the dynamite! Just call in a few yaks! That thing will be down in no time. Especially if it's not perfect. Though, as we can plainly see here, even if the building is perfect, it's coming down anyway!

    Oh, good. I'm not the only one who was beginning to notice a pattern.

    Perhaps. But at least you're the most adorable barbarian around, Yona.

    Is it just me, or do the red bows on that mud pile make it vaguely resemble a very lumpy Apple Bloom with a giant golden nose ring? Just me, huh? Alright.

    And now we know the origin of Yona's braided hair.

    Seriously, guys. Guys, seriously. This one. This one right here. Keep an eye on this one. She's trying to give us all cute-induced heart attacks. All apart of her evil plan for world domination via cute overload, no doubt.

    Next up is Smolder and the dragon's "Feast of Fire" celebration! Personally, "Feast of Fire" sounds like a very cliche name to me. Not that it's a bad name for the holiday. I simply find it a tad too obvious and lacking in creativity is all. But that's just me.

    This is a sorta cute dragon design. Others must have thought so as well because I saw art of her right after I finished watching the episode. As always, this fandom is ridiculously quick and doesn't disappoint. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if she's already been created in plushie form.

    Perhaps this was an actual dragon-lord from some point in history. One of Torch's predecessors maybe? He appears to be quite a lot smaller compared to Torch, who is more akin to a walking building really.

    D'awww! She is adorbs. I'm sure she's different than other dragons and could never harbor any ill will or devious plots. Nope.

    Whelp, nevermind!

    I felt so incredibly bad for this poor guy. He invited a random stranger into his home to spend the holidays with his family and friends, and she ends up stealing his throne and entire kingdom from him and forcing him to live out in the wilderness just as she had. Dang. Some dragon's are real as-err, not very nice creatures.

    Now we get to hear a Hearth's Warming story from Sandbar! A story filled with mystery and intrigued. A story of heartbreak and overcoming obstacles to discover who you truly are. That's right. It's...

    The day his Hearth's Warming doll almost fell into the fire! Dun dun dunnnnn!

    Also, we get to see what his family looks like. I love getting to see established characters' families. And I love their cozy little home. 10/10, would fall asleep curled up in front of that fireplace.

    I am a fan of the Hearth's Warming dolls. I think both the tradition and the dolls themselves are rather adorable. So much better than stockings. Just put a cute little backpack on the dolls for small gifts.

    Basically every Brony's reaction if their custom MLP plushie were to fall into a fire.

    Now, his Hearth's Warming doll in fact didn't fall into the fire but simply fell onto the ground. BUT! It could have. And I think we can all agree the mere thought of that is just as terrifying.

    I concur with Smolder. That was quite the riveting tale. Had me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

    This guy is nearly as sarcastic as I am. Warning, dangerous levels of sass detected in this quadrant, sir!

    Next up in our journey of various creatures' holiday traditions, is this cute little bundle of energy to tell us all about the way hippogriffs celebrate them!

    And no way, they even have a tourism book! Is this the first time we've seen such a book/pamphlet/brochure in this series? I suppose ever since the mane six ventured outside of Equestria, setup the friendship school, and helped to unite various species, tourism might be gaining more popularity recently.

    "There's a book?!"

    This was my reaction as well. Hippogriffs are legit, yo!

    Inb4 A fan creates it into an actual book.

    Party softly cutely.

    It's like having an aquarium to watch. But seriously, I like this storybook art style they did her story in.

    Of course there would be activities involving making things out of seashells.

    D'aww! Happy birb horses.

    And why am I imagining Queen Novo standing there for like 2-3 days handing out presents to each hippogriff one at a time? I suppose a queen's work is never done.

    Where did she just put that book? Y'know what? I don't even wanna know. I guess she keeps it tucked up under her wing. For tourism information emergencies.

    It also seems that Gallus doesn't even know what cousins are. I suppose that says something about his home and family life. Poor birb.

    At this point every student has been questioned and just as expected, no one confessed to the wrongdoing. So in their anger at the situation, they begin to accuse and take out their frustrations on eachother. I still don't know why Sandbar is so convinced Ocellus is the guilty one in all this. Perhaps it's because she appears to be so kind and sweet? But I would think Silverstream would also be a prime suspect if that were the case.

    But there is one student not involved in this quarrel. One student who has been frowning for much of this episode. And one student who we have yet to hear any sort of a holiday story or tale from...

    That's right. Gallus. I knew at this point he was going to be some sort of important catalyst to the story. I just didn't know in exactly what way just yet. I know, it's probably obvious to most by now. But like I stated earlier, I'm terribly oblivious to these things when I watch a show or movie. Both a blessing and a curse I suppose.

    So now Gallus begins to be the voice of reason, explaining the holidays aren't about arguing, no matter how you celebrate them. And we're about to see why he feels so strongly about being thankful for friends, family, and love around these special times...

    The griffins do have a sort of celebration after-all that they call "The Blue Moon Festival".

    Unfortunately, it sounds like it's not a terribly joyous occasion as griffins tend to be rather off-putting and ill-tempered overall. Actually, come to think of it, it sounds a lot like your typical holiday family get together to me, haha!

    Also, yay Gilda and Gabby!

    This face is breaking my heart.

    And now we learn that Gallus doesn't have a family and never felt like he had a place in Griffinstone. Now this is breaking my heart. There's a lot of heart-breaking going around right now.

    It does make me wonder what happened to his family, however. Certainly he came from somewhere. Certainly he had parents at some point. Perhaps even siblings. Did they run away because they felt they couldn't properly take care of him or simply didn't want to? Or perhaps Gallus and the Apple siblings share something in common? In any case, it's all very sad.

    And it seems Grandpa Gruff isn't anyone's actual grandfather. It's just his name. I wonder how he felt about having "grandpa" as part of his name as a youngster. Him and Granny Smith should get together and chat. Naming protocols are weird in Equestria.

    And so we learn Gallus doesn't want to go home for the break (who could blame him really?) and that's why he's the one who caused the mess by pouring goo powder onto the fire of friendship. As a means for them to be together a little longer. Unfortunately it worked better than he had expected when Twilight announced if no one confessed, they would all be spending the break at the school. A major positive for him, but a major negative for everyone else.

    I honestly wasn't expecting it to have been one of the students in the beginning. I was expecting some bigger sort of plot twist. Don't know in what form, but that's what I was expecting at least. But like I said, I am hopelessly oblivious to seeing obvious conclusions incoming. If nothing else, it means I get to be surprised more often.

    "So it wasn't Ocellus?"

    Dammit, Saladbar.

    Looks like some other folks overheard him confessing as well. Luckily these professors are caring and understanding. Though it seems he's still going to have to stay at school over winter break, alone.

    Or will he.. ?

    This is a sorta cute smile. Or maybe it's just because we're not used to him smiling much this episode, so this instance caught us off-guard.

    Nope! He will not! D'awww! So cute! That's what friendship and having good friends is all about; people who are there for eachother through thick and thin!

    Haha, cute. So Twilight and Dash see the students have learned that Hearth's Warming is about friendship and coming together and decide they don't need any extra lessons. Instead, she invites them all to join her friends as guests at their holiday table.

    I still feel a little bad for them, since they still won't get to partake in any of their own cultural festivities or see any of their other friends or family during the holidays. And I'm sure their families are really going to miss them all the same. But they seem delighted all the same at least.

    "Hey, this reminds me of another story! The time I almost spilled grape juice on the white couch!"

    To most parents, I think that one has all the makings of a horror story. 2spoopy4me

    "Does it have a depressing ending?"

    This line from Smolder simply made me chuckle. But I dunno, ask his parents. Hah!

    "Gallus want Yona braid feathers?"

    Uhh, I don't even think that's possible, Yona. But who knows, perhaps yaks are so good at braiding they can braid pretty much anything...

    Don't let Yona near your nose hair.

    And we have the cute birb horse to sing us to the closing credits! Hearth's Warming Eve is here once again!

    All-in-all I really enjoyed this episode. I tend to like holiday-themed episodes more on average, especially Christmas ones as Christmas is my favorite holiday. I was really glad we got some insight into the students' families and how each species celebrates the holidays differently as well. More backstory and world-building is always good, eh? I still feel a little bad for them and their families since they aren't going home for the holidays, but the students seem really happy with the outcome and hopefully their families have a great holiday regardless. So it all worked out in the end. And look at how beautiful the school is in that ending scene. Not the worst place to have to spend the holidays. Especially with all your friends.

    So what were your thoughts on this episode? Love it, hate it, or simply thought it was tolerable? Discuss down in those comments!

    This is Cobalt Comet signing off. Until next time you snow birds!