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King Sombra

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King Sombra

King Sombra ID S3E1

King Sombra in Princess Celestia's flashback

King Sombra shadow form ID S3E01

King Sombra's shadow form

Comic issue 20 Evil Alternate King Sombra

Alternate King Sombra turned evil in Friendship is Magic Issue #20

Kind Unicorn
Sex Male
Residence Crystal Empire (formerly)
Canterlot (alternate universe)
Occupation Ruler of the Crystal Empire (formerly)
Ruler of Equestria (alternate universe)
Other links
More info
Eyes Brilliant scarlet with deep scarlet pupils
Grayish sap green (formerly)[1]
Mane Black
Black with moderate cobalt blue streaks (alternate universe)
Coat Dark gray
Magic aura Black engulfed in a
vivid violet haze with
light brilliant green edges
Light amber (alternate universe)
Nicknames King of All Monsters,[1] Sm (The Periodic Table of My Little Pony)
Cutie mark
None (S3E1)
"darkness" (Fiendship is Magic Issue #1)[2]
"not known" (trading cards)[3][4]
Voice Jim Miller (English)[5]
Mikołaj Klimek (Polish)[6]
Zeca Rodrigues (Brazilian Portuguese)
Adrian Moraru (Romanian)
Nikita Prozorovsky (Russian)
Joan Massotkleiner (European Spanish)
Dan Osorio (Latin American Spanish)
King Sombra is a male unicorn, the former tyrannical ruler of the Crystal Empire, and the antagonist of the season three premiere. Princess Celestia tells Twilight Sparkle that he took over the Crystal Empire a thousand years ago but was banished into the frozen north. Before his banishment, King Sombra put a curse on the Crystal Empire which made it vanish into thin air. When the Empire returns, so does Sombra, who attempts to retake it. He is defeated by Princess Cadance and the Crystal Ponies' use of the Crystal Heart. His dialogue consists of growls, snarling, hissing, menacing laughter, and five lines.

Development and design

The show's story editor, Meghan McCarthy, and another staff member have stated that the character's name is Sombra.[7][8][9] A tweet by Hasbro's My Little Pony Twitter account spells the name as "Somber".[10] "Sombra" is a Spanish, Portuguese, and Galician word for "shadow", which comes from the Latin "umbra". A differently-shaded version of the armor around King Sombra's neck is used for the 2012 Design a My Little Pony Finalists poster, as part of Steel Masquerade's armor. Jim Miller, the show's storyboard supervisor and King Sombra's voice actor, drew inspiration from the vocals of the Mastodon song "Crystal Skull" for his performance as King Sombra.[11] Meghan McCarthy has said that King Sombra was inspired by Sauron from The Lord of the Rings and is meant to be a dark presence.[12]

King Sombra is a dark gray unicorn with a black spiky mane and tail. Unlike regular unicorn horns, which match the pony's coat color and are straight and segmented, Sombra's horn is curved, smooth, sharp at the tip and it gradients from dark gray to red. He has sharp teeth with two visible fangs unlike other ponies and red—green when younger[1]—irises, but most often his otherwise white eyes appear green and have a purple mist emanating from them, which disappears both times he is attacked. He wears silver armor on his legs and neck, a crown with horn-like points on his head, and a red cape that covers his flank. When his flank is shown briefly in Princess Celestia's flashback, he has no visible cutie mark. When he's turned to shadow in the flashback, only his head remains, and when he returns as an amorphous black cloud, only his eyes are visible at first.

The alternate universe version of Sombra in the IDW comics' Reflections story arc has a neatly smooth mane and tail with blue streaks. His horn is a solid color and segmented like other unicorns, and he still has green irises instead of red. He wears a light blue crown with a yellow gem, matching shoes and collar, and a purple cape instead of a red one. After the alternate Sombra absorbs the evil from alternate Celestia and Luna, he closely resembles the original King Sombra.

On March 15, 2015, Jim Miller was asked, "I would like your thoughts on this: are Sombra and Tirek the redeemable types? This is not about Season 5 at all[,]" and replied, "I don't want to speculate in case we ever decide to use them again."[13]


The show and most other materials do not explicitly specify the exact nature of King Sombra's defeat at the end of The Crystal Empire - Part 2. Meghan McCarthy referred to Sombra as being "dead now" on February 22, 2013;[14] some later merchandise and other media raise ambiguity (in-and-out-of-universe). In February 2015, Jayson Thiessen (having joked a month prior that somepony would die in season five)[15][16] was asked, "why would a pony die on TV-Y show?"[sic], and replied, "hence the joke. Maybe one day someone will deal with death on a TV-Y show...Wait, Sesame Street did in 80s. Mr. Hooper died."[sic][17]

Depiction in the series

Sombra being banished S3E1

King Sombra being banished.

Princess Celestia describes King Sombra as "a unicorn whose heart was black as night" and took over the Crystal Empire. In a flashback, Sombra looks down gleefully from his castle at a chain-gang of Crystal Ponies, when two silhouettes of Princess Celestia and Princess Luna shoot a beam at him that turns him to "shadow" and banishes him to "the ice of the arctic north." Celestia says he was able to put a curse on the empire as he was imprisoned, which caused it to "vanish into thin air". Celestia demonstrates that if the empire is filled with hope and love, then those emotions will be reflected across all of Equestria, but if hatred and fear take over the Crystal Empire, black crystals sprout from the ground. When Celestia creates the black crystals, her horn is engulfed in black mist and her eyes glow green and emanate the purple smoky trail the same way Sombra's eyes do, implying that she may have knowledge of his magic.

King Sombra eyes flash S3E1

Sombra haunting a Crystal Pony.

Twilight Sparkle and her friends travel to the Crystal Empire to defend it under the order of Princess Celestia. When they arrive in the frozen north of Equestria, they meet with Shining Armor on the outskirts of the Crystal Empire. Sombra rises as a cloud of black smoke behind them and pursues them through the snow. Shining Armor confronts Sombra and shoots a beam at him, which Sombra evades and lets the beam pass through the black cloud. Sombra then charges at Shining Armor, and the scene cuts right before they clash. Twilight and her friends pass safely through the barrier and arrive in the Crystal Empire, soon followed by Shining Armor, whose horn is now encrusted with black crystals which prevent him from using magic. When they meet Princess Cadance, Shining Armor explains that Cadance is using her magic to "spread love and light" to protect the Crystal Empire and that King Sombra countered Shining Armor's protection spell.

Later in the episode, Twilight and her friends interview some Crystal Ponies. One pony who Twilight interviews tells her that she can't seem to remember anything before King Sombra came to power and flinches while a superimposed image of King Sombra's eyes flashes over her. She then says she doesn't want to remember anything about his rule.

King Sombra goes to the Empire S3E2

King Sombra appears.

When Cadance's magical barrier starts to fade, Sombra approaches the barrier, but his horn is sheared off as the barrier rises again. It falls to the ground and transforms into a black crystal which embeds itself in the ground and begins spreading to the crystal gates of the Empire.

Twilight performs "a little trick Celestia taught [her]", which gives her the same green glowing eyes and horn engulfed in black mist as Celestia did at the beginning of the story. She turns the throne black with this spell, and slowly makes the throne room look the way it did when King Sombra ruled. She finds a hidden staircase, and at its bottom is "a doorway that leads to your worst fear", created by "King Sombra's dark magic". When Twilight is under the spell, she has the same green eyes as Sombra; Spike wakes her from this state, but then he falls into it himself and his eyes change the same way, and Twilight wakes him in turn.

King Sombra's defeat S3E2

King Sombra's defeat.

Eventually, Twilight and Spike find the Crystal Heart, but Sombra, able to invade once Cadance is no longer able to perform her spell, traps Twilight in a ring of black crystals to prevent her from using the heart. Twilight tells Spike to take the Crystal Heart to Cadance. At first Sombra advances as a pillar of black smoke, and he materializes as his unicorn self at the end of it. Right as he's about to take the Crystal Heart from Spike while standing upon a growing, menacing shard of his own crystals, Cadance, propelled by Shining Armor who threw her at Spike, snatches Spike and the Crystal Heart before he can reach them. With the return of the Crystal Heart and Cadance saying "Use the light and love within you to ensure that King Sombra does not [return]", the Crystal Empire is restored to its former glory and Sombra, much to his horror, shatters to pieces in a flash of light, along with his black crystals, and his remaining smoke dissipates.

In Games Ponies Play, Sombra is briefly referenced when Rainbow Dash says the Crystal Ponies "lost a thousand years to an evil king's curse."

Depiction in comics

Comic issue 4 and 5 Midtown combined covers
The Midtown Comics cover variant of Friendship is Magic Issues #4 and #5 are two halves that when put together feature King Sombra's eyes in the background. Covers A, B and the Hot Topic variant of Issue #18 and cover A of Issue #19 feature King Sombra as well.

He appears at the end of Friendship is Magic Issue #17 emerging from a magical mirror, his figure covered in shadows and his eyes glowing green. In Issue #18, Princess Celestia talks about the King Sombra of another world she'd visited, where he rules Equestria with kindness and benevolence. This Sombra is revealed to be in love with Celestia, who loves him in return. In Issue #19, the original King Sombra is shown in a stained glass window and in Twilight Sparkle's memory of his defeat. The alternate universe King Sombra makes plans with the Mane Six on how to stop the alternate Princess Celestia and Princess Luna. In Issue #20, the alternate Sombra and the Mane Six go to the Castle of the Two Sisters and enact their plan to defeat the evil Celestia and Luna. Upon realizing their plan will imprison the good Celestia too, Sombra uses the Elements of Harmony to absorb the alternate princesses' evil and becomes just like the original King Sombra, disappearing immediately afterward. In the end, he is shown thinking of Princess Celestia and crying, indicating that a part of him still misses her.

Sombra's face is shown on Friendship is Magic Issue #25 covers A and RI.

King Sombra is mentioned by Shining Armor and the crystal bard in Friends Forever Issue #4 and appears in a flashback showing how he captured the bard with the assistance of his guards. Sombra is also mentioned in Friends Forever Issue #14.

My Little Pony: Fiendship is Magic Issue #1 "explores the secret origins of" King Sombra.[18] On page 2, Twilight Sparkle asks Princess Cadance, "So, do you think he's coming back?", and Cadance replies, "Sombra? No. I think he's gone for good. But we should be prepared. They thought they had him beat before too."


Sombra mouth wide open S3E2

King Sombra smiling.

King Sombra is described by Princess Celestia as a unicorn whose heart is "black as night". In terms of personality, King Sombra is shown to be sadistic, fierce, and cruel, as evidenced by his referring to the Crystal Ponies as his "crystal slaves" and appearing to take delight in seeing them suffer. Though rarely speaking, he appears desperate to retake the Crystal Empire, as he chases Shining Armor and the Mane Six during their first encounter and curses Shining Armor, causing black crystals to grow on his horn and nullify his magic, and when rushing toward Spike in an attempt to regain the Crystal Heart.

In My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Issue #18, a parallel version of King Sombra in another world is stated by Celestia to rule that world's Equestria with "kindness and benevolence", as opposed to the King Sombra seen in the series. In his introduction he is shown to be generally very kind and polite. He is also quite dashing (as evidenced by Rarity and Fluttershy swooning over him) and charming. The alternate Sombra is later revealed to be deeply in love with Celestia, who reciprocates his feelings.

Comic issue 18 Sombra and Celestia

Alternate King Sombra and Princess Celestia.

This Sombra also has a humble side, considering himself a normal pony who is also a king, shown when he has a heart-to-heart with Twilight Sparkle, helping her in her doubts of being a princess. Unlike the original, this King Sombra is selfless, as he gives up himself to evil to spare the good Celestia and restore balance to both their worlds, even if it means never seeing the pony he loves again, as even after being taken by evil he mourns his beloved Celestia, now lost to him, possibly forever.


Sombra evading Shining Armor's magic S3E1

King Sombra in his shadow form.

King Sombra is shown to be a proficient and powerful user of dark magic, able to generate black crystals at virtually any location. While in his shadow form, Sombra can phase through physical objects, dodge attacks, and travel wide distances, demonstrated throughout the season three premiere.


Sombra is shown to be susceptible to protection magic in his shadow form, seen when he attempts to invade the Crystal Empire and has his horn severed by Princess Cadance's magical barrier. He is also defenseless against the magic of the Crystal Heart.


King Sombra trading card
Series 2 of Enterplay's trading cards includes a card featuring King Sombra, #28. Both sides of the card list his name with a trademark symbol, and the back of the card includes the description "After being turned to shadow and banished to the frozen north for 1,000 years, this black-hearted unicorn is back for revenge! The mere mention of King Sombra's name strikes fear into the hearts of ponies all across the Crystal Empire, and it's easy to see why! Sombra recently returned, only to be defeated again by Princess Cadance and the Power of the Crystal Heart. Some say that his horn survived his defeat, but only time will tell if he will ever return."[3] Sombra also appears on the WeLoveFine T-shirts "Minimal Sombra", "Sombra's Wrath", "King Sombrero", "RD Big Adventure", "Sombra Crystal Silhouette", and "Mythical Sombra", and is shown on Acidfree's first art print.[19]

Promotional material

Hasbro Pony Wedding Quiz Crystal Empire MC
King Sombra first appeared on Hasbro's Pony Wedding microsite, which has been accessible since July 2012, before any information about the character was released publicly. The quiz does not refer to him by name.[20][21] In the microsite's Wedding Quiz section, the quiz "Your dream wedding location!" includes the question "Who should be the MC?", with Sombra as the choice that steers the quiz's result to the Crystal Empire.[20]

Writer M.A. Larson wrote on Twitter regarding the quiz's image of King Sombra that was presented to him: "Interesting. I read about that in a script but never seen it before."[22]

King Sombra is included in Hasbro's online game Crystal Empire Seek & Find as one of the items in level 5.[23]

In the HubNetwork game Adventure Ponies 2, King Sombra is the first boss.

Other depictions

Discovery Family description

He's only the scariest pony ever -- he can even appear as black smoke. King Sombra enslaved the Crystal Ponies, and when Princesses Celestia and Luna banished him, he made the Crystal Empire disappear. The ponies used the Crystal Heart, plus the power of love, to restore the Empire -- and shatter this evil Unicorn forever.

The Elements of Harmony guidebook

KING SOMBRA ruled the Crystal Empire thousands of years ago but was banished and turned to shadow. Before he disappeared, the snarling black-hearted monster made the kingdom disappear and destroyed hope and love in the process. He recently returned but was thwarted by Twilight Sparkle and her pony friends.[24]

Chapter books

In the My Little Pony Equestria Girls screenplay novelization My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Through the Mirror, chapter 3's narration states that without Twilight Sparkle's Element of Harmony crown, "everypony back home in Ponyville and everypony else in the Kingdom was left completely vulnerable. What if Queen Chrysalis somehow came back again? Or King Sombra? Or somepony even worse? It was a horrible thought."

My Little Pony (mobile game)

King Sombra is a character in Gameloft's mobile game. His in-game description states "The former tyrant ruler of the Crystal Empire, King Sombra is one unnerving unicorn! With his powerful dark magic, piercing green eyes and crazy laughter, this shadowy shadow dweller is the stuff nightmares are made of!"


"Yes... crystals..."
The Crystal Empire - Part 2
"Crystal Heart..."
— The Crystal Empire - Part 2
"My crystal slaves..."
— The Crystal Empire - Part 2
"That is mine!"
— The Crystal Empire - Part 2
"What? No... No! Stop!"
— The Crystal Empire - Part 2
My Little Pony: Fiendship is Magic Issue #1[1]
"Destruction was my talent and darkness was my cutie mark."
My Little Pony: Fiendship is Magic Issue #1[2]


Sombra mouth wide open S3E2

King Sombra image gallery

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 My Little Pony: FIENDship is Magic #1: Sombra. Retrieved on 2015 March 20.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Jeremy Whitley (2015-02-10). Jeremy Whitley on Twitter: "Best Sombra line from Fiendship #1 or best line of anything ever?: "Destruction was my talent and darkness was my cutie mark." #MLP #Sombra". Twitter. Retrieved on 2015 February 17.
  3. 3.0 3.1 File:Series 2 trading cards 28-36.jpg
  4. File:King Sombra trading card series 2 back.jpg
  6. Guests of honor at Pony con-gress Cracow 2013 (Polish). Retrieved on 2013 September 16.
  7. Season 3 SPOILERS! (2012-10-13). Retrieved on 2012 October 13.
  8. Twitter / MMeghanMcCarthy: @jordanolling SomBRA. (2012-10-13). Retrieved on 2012 October 14.
  9. Season 3 SPOILERS! (2012-10-14). Retrieved on 2012 October 14.
  10. Twitter / MyLittlePony: Princess Celestia introduces ... (2012-11-07). Retrieved on 2012 November 6.
  11. Twitter / TheBiggestJim: Sombra voice ... (2012-11-14). Retrieved on 2012 November 14.
  12. GuyWithNoNickName (2012-12-04). Meghan McCarthy Talks About King Sombra On "Stay Brony My Friends". YouTube. Retrieved on 2012 December 6.
  13. Jim Miller (2015-03-15). Big Jim on Twitter: "@Blue5Girl I don't want to speculate in case we ever decide to use them again.". Twitter. Retrieved on 2015 March 19.
  14. Writers Panel - Las Pegasus Unicon 2013 (2013-03-01). Retrieved on 2013 May 4.
  15. Jayson Thiessen (2015-01-18). Jayson Thiessen on Twitter: "@platypusbrony somepony will die". Twitter. Retrieved on 2015 February 23.
  16. Jayson Thiessen (2015-01-19). Jayson Thiessen on Twitter: "@platypusbrony @MLBrony of course it was a joke. And the 7th is obviously Spike.". Twitter. Retrieved on 2015 February 23.
  17. Jayson Thiessen (2015-02-19). Jayson Thiessen on Twitter: "@corneygirl109 hence the joke. Maybe one day someone will deal with death on a TV-Y show...Wait, Sesame Street did in 80s. Mr. Hooper died.". Twitter. Retrieved on 2015 February 23.
  18. my little pony fiendship is magic #1 sombra. PREVIEWSworld. Retrieved on 2015 January 21.
  19. My Little Pony by Amy Mebberson. Acidfree Gallery (2014-07-03). Retrieved on 2014 July 6.
  20. 20.0 20.1 My Little Pony Wedding Quiz. Retrieved on 2012 October 12.
  21. Pony Wedding Micro-site + Possible Season 3 Character?. Equestria Daily (2012-07-15). Retrieved on 2012 October 12.
  22. M.A. Larson (2012-07-12). @DlSCORD Interesting. I re .... Retrieved on 2012 October 12. Archived locally
  23. Game: Crystal Empire Seek & Find. Retrieved on 2013 January 9.
  24. File:King sombra in elements of harmony book by anzu18-d68czwd.png

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