- Friendship is String Theory (Star Swirl)
- For the Changelings ride fast! (The Swarm)
- Les Sylphides (The Two Sisters)
- The Crystalling was an inside job! (April Fools 2016)
I bid you welcome, anonymous user. Here I am with another original theory about the workings of the magical land of Equestria. However, this one is not truly limited to Equestria—in fact, the scope of today's subject is significantly greater than the kingdom's borders. Today I will discuss machinations on such a scale that even the majority of the princesses simply cannot be aware of them.
In a previous blog, I concluded that Princess Celestia and Princess Luna are, in all but name, sylphs. I only write these blogs for my most solid theories, and I believe that one certainly merited every word I gave it. Nevertheless, when putting it together, I also had to consider alternatives to that conclusion—I had to ask what other possibilities may be more accurate. One answer came to mind which not only accounts for the mystery of the Two Sisters but also explains such oddities as Nightmare Moon's escape from the moon (S1E01), Flurry Heart's startling birth (S6E01), and the apparent but unspoken distinction between mortal and immortal Alicorns (S3E13).
Buckle up, anonymous user. This one is going to require some imagination.
Pale Blue Dot
We know and love Equestria. It is a pleasant country inhabited by ponies and other wonderful creatures. This country lies upon a world. This world is the core of a system. Also in the system are the sun and the moon. The sun and moon move around the world as directed by Celestia and Luna respectively. Note well that this is not a "star system," for the movements of the celestial bodies are geocentric. Taking the politics of Equestria into consideration, this is only half of the story.
The Two Sisters make their throne in Canterlot. This city is the capital of the nation they rule, which is in turn the crux of all affairs in the world. The celestial bodies in the outer dark orbit this world strictly in accordance with the sisters' wishes. Anything beyond this is currently a mystery. Thus, the known universe of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic revolves around the throne of the Two Sisters.
While there are other nations in the world, e.g. Griffonstone, they have absolutely no role in the behavior of the heavens, the greater system to which their world belongs. Ergo, although the letter of government says that the Two Sisters are merely the rulers of Equestria, it is hardly an exaggeration to say they rule not only the world but also the incredible system whereby it is encompassed.
In short, Celestia and Luna unofficially rule a terrestrial system.
This begs several questions, all of which will soon be considered.
- There are countless stars in the night sky. If any of these stars have planets (likely) and these planets support life (possible), then might they follow a similar model?
- Celestia and Luna are specifically attuned by their cutie marks to the sun and moon of Equestria. Might other life forms be attuned to other celestial bodies?
- The Two Sisters are unique in that they are the only beings in Equestria who can move the heavens without the powers of chaos. How did these beings appear in Equestria anyway?
In order to predict the impact of Alicorn magic on a scope greater than the world of Equestria, it is imperative that these questions be considered. For the present, there is a certain set of deductions—not concrete answers to the questions but instead logical conclusions—that arises when asking these questions in light of modern developments.
Here I ask that you bear with me for a leap of faith.
To Infinity and Beyond
Suppose for one moment that the ponies of Equestria are not alone in their universe: that life exists on other planets, that life has evolved there as far as Equestria or farther, and that this life is capable of manipulating the heavens to its advantage much like the rulers of Equestria.
The series has demonstrated, particularly in Reflections and Equestria Girls, that parallel universes exist such that the conditions for life in the known world are unchanged. Can there not be systems in the same universe that also support these conditions? If there can be pseudo-Equestrias across dimensions, can there not be pseudo-Equestrias as near as other stars are found?
Here is the postulate: Equestria is not unique. There are other worlds in outer space that sustain life, and it is already known that Alicorn life can move celestial bodies to its advantage. It is inevitable that some of these worlds should meet (even through simpler means than trans-dimensional magic mirrors) and interact. Over time, as these worlds interact and discover even more neighbors, a network should form.
Supposing that Alicorns are unique in their specific attunement to celestial bodies, the image that arises is that of an interstellar, perhaps even intergalactic, network of Alicorns who exercise control over their respective terrestrial systems.
But could it be true? Could there really be other Alicorns among the stars? What, if anything, supports such a wild supposition?
At last, we may turn our eyes back to the world we know.
- "The Mare in the Moon, myth from olden pony times. A powerful pony who wanted to rule Equestria, defeated by the Elements of Harmony and imprisoned in the moon. Legend has it that on the longest day of the thousandth year, the stars will aid in her escape, and she will bring about nighttime eternal!"
- — Twilight Sparkle
The stars will aid in her escape?
This is a line that has caused no end of confusion for fans, and indeed there are many ways to interpret it. One of the most reasonable conclusions is that Nightmare Moon governs the whole night sky and the stars are simply the means whereby she bridges the way back to Equestria. Another, somewhat goofier interpretation is that the stars are sentient enough to free her on their own accord. There is no definitive proof in favor of either of these.
The previous postulate about an interstellar Alicorn network is as valid an interpretation as any. Bearing in mind Celestia's attunement to her sun and symbol, it is entirely possible that four other Alicorns might be found in space with similar attunements to similar stars. Therefore, it may not have been four stars that freed Nightmare Moon: it may have been four Alicorns whose symbols were those stars.
This does not only account for the apparent sentience of the stars in question. It also explains why Nightmare Moon could not have sprung herself from her imprisonment the moment she arrived. Coordinating the movement of four stars under the control of four individual beings could easily take a millennium.
Thieves in the Night
But, supposing there is any accuracy in this interpretation, who were these four Alicorns? It is extraordinarily improbable that they were Princess Luna's lackeys, given their potential to move their stars at will. Luna's moon is certainly young in comparison. However, this possibility cannot be ruled out, given the sheer number of stars out there.
More likely is the possibility that the greater part of those thousand years were spent pleading to one stellar governor after another, and four of them who heard the plea were sympathetic. The more difficult question to answer is who would have been in charge. Could the pathetic and defeated Nightmare Moon have guided those stars, or would their masters have prudently left her in the dark? It is hard to say, for in either case, the movement of these stars may well have been what led bygone ponies to predict her return on the longest day of the thousandth year.
One thing is all but certain though: if there were four such Alicorns, then it is improbable that any of them were Celestia's and Luna's parents or any other relation...
Because of what Nightmare Moon does next. For a long time, fans have wondered how Nightmare Moon was able to pull her great switcheroo: imprisoning Princess Celestia immediately following her escape. Normally, such a feat is only attainable by using the Elements of Harmony. The help of four other Alicorns may be a viable substitute.
It is impossible to say why these four Alicorns would support Nightmare Moon's tyranny, but their presence accounts for not only her escape from the moon but also her greatest magical triumph. When Nightmare Moon is defeated by the Elements a second time, they too would have to accept defeat, and thus Celestia would be freed. In a timeline when Nightmare Moon is not defeated, Celestia remains imprisoned.
While attributing the whole of this process to Nightmare Moon is mostly a reasonable outlook, the idea here is that the help of four other Alicorns 1) explains the otherwise anomalous influx of power during the incident and 2) is not discounted by the aftermath of the incident.
On the Origin of Alicorns
- "The birth of an Alicorn is something Equestria has never seen!"
- — Princess Celestia
A full five seasons later, this line threw fans for a loop unlike any in a long time. According to Celestia herself, an Alicorn has never been born in Equestria. There are many ways to dismiss the statement, most notably observing that Celestia and Luna were born before the founding of the nation. Alternatively, some fans have taken it to mean that the Two Sisters were born into another race, though this contradicts not only the story of how they earned either cutie marks but also our knowledge of "artificial Alicorns"—one of the most often quoted bits of Twitter wisdom ever to reach the fandom is that Twilight Sparkle will not outlive her friends, and the Two Sisters have been around for over a millennium.
This is where the interstellar Alicorn network theory really starts to look promising. It easily explains this perplexing line too, since it enables us to consider the possibility that the Two Sisters are not native to Equestria. It could be that they were born in another terrestrial system.
Considering the birth of Flurry Heart, a known requirement for the conception of an Alicorn is that one of the parents also be an Alicorn. In the case of Flurry Heart, one parent is an Alicorn by promotion, the other a common unicorn. Incidentally, Flurry has inherited magical power unlike any even the Two Sisters have witnessed and also the characteristics of an Alicorn by promotion—wings and horn, stature tall but not huge, and a colorful but otherwise unremarkable mane.
However, the Two Sisters are known to be Alicorns by birth. They are quite unique in their characteristics—large in stature with supernaturally flowing manes and particularly horsey features. The conclusion follows that they could not have been sired by an ordinary pony or even a promoted Alicorn. They could only have been conceived from the union of one full-blown natural Alicorn and another creature of equal or lesser power.
No such Alicorn exists in Equestria. Moreover, only the sun and moon orbit its world, and these are governed by the Two Sisters themselves almost inseparably.
In order for the birth of the two Sisters to agree with the lore we know, we must acknowledge the probability that their parent belonged to another world and held sway over an unknown celestial body.
Take Me to Your Leader
Still, even with the nature of the Two Sisters' parent in mind, the status of the sisters themselves among this grand scheme remains a mystery. There are countless possibilities, but there are several broad ones worth considering.
The Equestrian system is the Two Sisters' cosmic inheritance.
- The sisters have dwelt in Equestria for centuries because it is their birthright. Their Alicorn parent secured a life-supporting system for them long ago, and they have ruled over it since like their parent intended. Whether they know anything about the network depends on the circumstances of their arrival.
The Two Sisters discovered their subjects by accident.
- Unlikely as it is, the Two Sisters could have been roaming space by some unknown means when they happened upon an inhabited world in need of guidance. They have aided this planet by moving the heavens since. In this case, they are fully aware of the enigmatic Alicorn network.
The Two Sisters were left behind by another Alicorn.
- The sisters were orphaned or else abandoned in Equestria, either by design or sheer misfortune, and left to fend for themselves. They were discovered by Star Swirl the Bearded and made princesses before they knew anything about their origin. In this case, they know little about other Alicorns aside from what they've gleaned from the "stars."
Equestria is a colony.
- It is distinctly possible that the whole pony species originated elsewhere. Without even knowing it, the ponies of Equestria belong to a far greater nation dominated by Alicorns. The Two Sisters are the local governors, and they actually receive orders from some higher authority. Cadance and Twilight are their ignorant deputies.
None of these cases would shed any light on the mystery parent's identity. It could be the fabled Fausticorn, the elusive Queen Parabola, or somepony else entirely. However, each of the above cases presupposes some kind of government among the Alicorn network such that they can organize travel between terrestrial systems. For this reason, I have taken to referring to the suspected network as the "Secret Empire," even if applies more aptly to the last case than the others. It is a secret to the ponies of Equestria anyway.
At last, the Establishment
This is admittedly a heap of inference, but there may yet be explicit evidence of such a Secret Empire in official MLP material.
While considering these things, I wondered: "Does it have a leader? Is there an Arch-Princess watching over the whole galaxy, or is there a council of ruling Alicorns? Could Celestia be part of this council, or is she actually a small fry by Alicorn standards?"
After a long time, I remembered Celestia actually does belong to an obscure council of rulers that sweetly fits the bill. The illustrated book Under the Sparkling Sea very briefly mentions a mysterious Cosmic Council. It describes both Princess Celestia and her cousin King Leo, the ruler of Aquatria, as members of this anomalous congregation, whose purpose and structure are completely unknown.
Even so, an esoteric body of rulers that includes Celestia and dares to style itself "cosmic" is exactly what the above deductions suggest. Nightmare Moon's escape, Flurry Heart's birth, and the Two Sisters' origins all invite the possibility of extraterrestrial Alicorns—and, digging deep into MLP lore, we do find that there is a real organization spearheaded by Celestia which concerns itself with the cosmos itself. Whether the Cosmic Council is an institute of an empire or a much looser confederation is unlikely ever to be clarified. Nevertheless, we have proof that Princess Celestia answers to an assembly of sovereign powers of equivalent power to her own.
I have presented my Secret Empire hypothesis, including three enormous mysteries that the hypothesis can easily account for and also the barest of what the truth behind these mysteries could mean. However, if taken to be true, it breeds scores of additional questions that I invite the reader to consider. Some of these may prove a little chilling. For instance...
- What business might have led the Secret Empire to Equestria and enabled the Two Sisters to settle? Were there ponies here before, or did bovines and monsters rule? Is this how ancient Anugypt fell? Who was Queen Parabola?
- How do the four Alicorns who sympathized with Nightmare Moon's plight fit into the Secret Empire? Is there a whole faction of disgruntled moon princesses ready to snap? Is there an interstellar war on the horizon, to which the ponies of Equestria will never be privy?
- What does the birth of Flurry Heart mean? Do the Two sisters fear the political ramifications of the matter? Does the Secret Empire know about the foal? Would Celestia seek their guidance on the matter, or could there be reason for her to keep that knowledge from them?
- Is the Cosmic Council proof of the Secret Empire?
- If so, how does Celestia's fellow councilor King Leo fit into the network? What about his Seaquestrian counterpart Queen Novo? If not Alicorns, what other strange creatures may be dominant?
- Celestia and Luna are attuned to the sun and the moon, and they are the most magical ponies we know. How much stronger or weaker would an Alicorn or other ruling creature be if she were attuned to a white dwarf star? A red supergiant? A pulsar?
- Are there binary systems? Could a system have two stellar governors and even more lunar governors? Could one stellar governor rule over multiple planets?
- Equestria's contact with the Secret Empire has seemingly been minimal. Do its agents frown upon Celestia's modest kingdom, hence the backing of Nightmare Moon? Are they so scattered that they do not even care? What else might be occupying their attention?
- Further supporting the hypothesis is that, for all its lore, the series lacks a creation myth. Do Celestia and Luna know the truth? If there is a Secret Empire, why does it remain secret to the ponies of Equestria?
Alas, this theory is significantly different from the variety I usually post. It leaves more questions than answers. In an effort to unravel a couple of the franchise's greatest mysteries, I have come upon an outstandingly cryptic knot of possibility. Although a Secret Empire explains much of the Two Sisters' mystifying dialogue, it is wickedly mystifying in its own right.
We may never know what goes on among the distant stars.
Thank you and good day. (sun)