My husband and I arrived at our hotel in San Diego just as the Pacific PonyCon was ending. What is PonyCon you may be asking? I did too. PonyCon is a convention for adults who love the television series, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. In future posts I am going to write about the interesting fan base and the community surrounding the series. But first, let’s explore why there is so much interest in the show.
To learn more, I watched the documentary, A Brony Tale, which explores the unexpected cult following. Fans in the documentary are obsessed with the series, but it isn’t because of the catchy tunes or the cute little ponies. Fan after fan talked about the messages of the show. Deep messages which changed their life. Of course, I had to take a peek firsthand and watched the first episodes – and I was amazed too.
The basis of the show is that the Elements of Harmony, also referred to as the Elements of Friendship, when brought together create magic. And that the spark, the spark that lies in everyone, which releases the magic is when we realize we are all friends. The show’s overarching message is helping people understand each other, accept each other, be invested in our own and others’ growth, and to create a supportive community. To create harmony, according to a cartoon written for little girls, we need to focus on Kindness, Laughter, Generosity, Honesty, and Loyalty. Intentionally or unintentionally, the show lays out ground rules on how to interact with others in a peaceful, caring way so we can all come together.
The characters are archetypal. Each has a strength which is also a weakness. One character is intelligent, but her focus on learning keeps her distanced from others. Another is a hard-worker, who has difficulty accepting assistance. A third character is very generous, but sometimes to a fault. Each of these archetypes explores the positives in our negatives and the negatives in our positives.
The show also explores peaceful resolution and forgiveness. The first episodes are a Homeric, Lord of the Rings quest to save their little kingdom. The kingdom is saved – without violence. Then the evil do’er is not punished, but instead is forgiven and brought back into the community. It was refreshing to see an example of how we can address conflict in a peaceful manner and to not demonize but seek to understand someone who is not acting in the community’s best interest.
I could not believe the uplifting and inspirational messages which were shared within just the first hour of this series. Like one scene where a character who is hanging on a cliff and about to fall is told to “Let go.” She is promised she’ll be safe if she just releases. She trusts her friend and is rescued by others. We learn about supporting each other, having the courage to take a risk, and trusting that everything will turn out well.
A big fight scene with a terrifying beast is disrupted by a shy character (learning to use her voice) who through her kindness realizes the beast is not meaning to attack but is reacting to a thorn in his paw. The power of this scene is that the shy character didn’t know this. Instead she had the courage to approach her attacker with kindness and it was through that kindness she was able to see the truth.
Another scene showed the cast terrified in frightening woods. The fun-loving character teaches them how to “Giggle at the Ghosties” to laugh away their fears. In the documentary, a family talks about how this lesson empowered their daughter to be brave during a bad storm. The little girl told her parents how she was afraid of the midnight thunderstorm, but instead of going to them for support, she just laughed away her fears.
As we move into a new time for our country, take some time to check out this show and be inspired with ways to create harmony with those around you through kindness, understanding, acceptance, and generosity. Let’s make this time magical!