Trotting Through The Snow: A Princess Carol
Hello & welcome to the Hearths Warming celebration here on Trotting Through Life as we once again trot through the snow. And today, we are taking a look at the audio drama/fanfic., A Princess Carol. As you can surmise from the title, this is a variation on A Christmas Carol. The story even points that out and here in the role of the one being visited is the princess of the night, Luna. Now, this take on the classic Christmas Carol is different as it is not about Luna learning to love the holiday but coming to understand how holidays change over time and that while traditions may not be the same, her little ponies haven’t forgotten the spirit of the holiday.
As mentioned, this is an MLP variation of A Christmas Carol with all of the important things that one must find in one of these stories from a character that needs to learn a lesson in this case being Luna filling the Scrooge role but again the story here involves Luna coming to learn that over 1,000 years, holidays change. We then have our three spirits and here the roles are filled by Celestia, Fluttershy, & Zecora. Representing Past, Present, & Yet To Come respectively. We then have one our Bob Crachit stand in in the form of one Luna’s bat pony guards, Coltroy. We open the story in Ponyville, where Twilight & Spike are holiday shopping as she wants to stop to get Flutters a new bird whistle but Spike pulls her from the shopping as he is tired from all the shopping that they had done for the day and pulls a trick to get her to stop by saying that they should get the preparations ready for the arrival of Luna. Sometime later on the outskirt of the town, Luna arrives for the festivities. There Coltroy asks Luna if he can go back to Canterlot to be with his fillies as it is Hearths Warming but Luna scolds her guard for asking for the night off as no guard in the 1000 years ever took a holiday off. His buddy Key Ton tells him that Luna wouldn’t go for it. We then cut to a party being held and Luna is doing most of the talking to Mayor Mare as she is spotlighted by Twily. And this is where the story as Luna complains to her sister’s most faithful student that the holiday is now garish.
â€œI do not understand it,â€ Luna replied. â€œIn the days of old, Hearthâ€™s Warming Eve was a quiet, simple celebration whereupon thou sat with thine fellow ponies and shared a humble meal. Now it is loud, complex andâ€¦garish. Before arriving here I turned on a display of decorative lights with Sapphire Shores before a crowd in Manehattan and raised the moon at a festival in Fillydelphia.â€
After talking, Pinkie and a choir of foals start to sing a pony version of Silent Night but Luna doesn’t take to kindly to it as the lyrics had changed in her 1000 years absence.
All is calm, all is right
Round the fire we offer our grace
Huddled close, warmthâ€™s embrace
Dream of heavenly peace
Dream of heavenly peace
This infuriates Luna to no end as she sings the version that she knew and in her mind is the correct variation of the song. Which I gotta be honest, was really pretty in the audio drama and I wouldn’t mind hearing a whole version of this song sung by Luna.
Silent night, glorious night
Watch the pegasus of flight
Earth ponyâ€™s hoof, unicornâ€™s horn
Together this nation was born
Bless this land Equestria
Bless this land Equestria
Luna’s subjects admit that while this version is pretty, they don’t know it and Pinkie Pie seems to really set off the princess, when Pinkie says that it’s not Hearth Warming-ish. Yeah, let’s just say that this wasn’t the right thing to say and Twilight tries to explain to the princess that the holiday has changed over time but Luna isn’t having any of it. And decides to storm out as she had taken these changes as a personal attack. She was so caught up in her own thoughts that she didn’t notice that a snowball had hit her. And who was the perpetrator? Tia. Eeyup, Celestia had hit her sister with a snowball. Hmm, a snowball fight between Celestia and Luna. I wonder what that would look like.
Well, that answers that question. Back to the story at hand here, Luna is none too amused at her elder sister’s action but Tia couldn’t help to indulge in some fun at her sister’s expense. Luna asks her sister why she had let Hearths Warming change so much over the years and Celestia decides to use the spirit of A Hearths Warming Carol to teach her younger sister, why the holiday had changed. And this leads to one of my favorite exchanges in the story.
A frown crossed the night princessâ€™ face. â€œArt thou serious, sister? Within the last month I have heard more variations of that one single story than I cared to listen to in a lifetime. How often doth thou need to be told not to be stingy?â€
â€œSurprisingly frequently, actually,â€ the older sister remarked.
I feel like this was a slight at how many times, this story has been adapted and modified over the years. And we get our first ghost with Celestia taking her sister back to the past. They went back 999 years ago to when Celestia had to banished Nightmare Moon. I have to say that I really love Luna’s excitement in seeing the past as it brings me memories of every time, I think of Scrooge seeing his sister, Fan or Fezziwig. Celestia explains that the holiday had changed so much over time so much because the wintry season became so much more difficult for Tia to handle and we learn that she felt that she failed her little ponies. But as she told her sister, the young Celestia saw how much her ponies had gone through and had not given up and Tia just felt that she could not deny her ponies, this new holiday. Though, this still isn’t enough to convince Luna.
â€œWhile I sympathize with thy plight and now understand the reason behind this new holiday, I am still unconvinced that thou sufficiently attempted to reconcile the traditions of old into this holiday of new!â€
Celestia’s time with Luna comes to a close and we then get our Ghost of Christmas Present. Fluttershy. ….yay!
I gotta say that I love this. And yes, partly because it’s Fluttershy but think about it for a moment. When you think of the Ghost of Christmas Present, what comes to mind. A kind, jovial and happy soul. Okay, two out of three isn’t bad because we know that Flutters isn’t exactly jovial but from what I remember of the Ghost of Christmas Present, he showed Scrooge, how others who had less still had kindness and there is no pony kinder than Fluttershy. Sure, most people of this ghost looking like something akin to this.
Or perhaps, it’s just me that envisions him as he is portrayed in The Muppet Christmas Carol. Of course, Fluttershy wouldn’t boast “Come and know me, better man”. It’d be more like “…come and know me better… that is if you want to”. Still, Flutters feels the same role that Present serves in the original story as she takes the princess of the night to see her two guards talking and Fluttershy points out that Coltroy feels sad about not being with his family but Luna isn’t having any of it.
â€œOh dear, look how sad he was,â€ Fluttershy whispered worriedly, showing the same level of concern she would display for a sick animal. â€œHe really wants to go see his family!â€
â€œI gathered that from what he said,â€ Luna grumbled. â€œBut he should not complain! â€˜Tis tradition for the finest members of the Royal Guard to be in the presence of their princess on this sacred night! He should feel honored!â€
â€œUm, wellâ€¦thatâ€™s nice, butâ€¦um…Iâ€™m not sure that heâ€¦wellâ€¦feels the same way?â€ Fluttershy squeaked.
â€œThen that is his loss if he can not respect tradition,â€ Luna declared.
â€œBut what good is tradition if nopony wants to follow it?â€ Fluttershy asked in a rare moment of assertiveness. Luna opened her mouth to respond but then closed it, finding herself momentarily stumped by the pegasusâ€™ question. She placed a hoof on her chin, pondering over the question.
I really love the moment at the end with Fluttershy standing up to the princess and pointing out something that I think is really interesting, when she asks Luna, what good is having tradition, if no one wishes to follow it.
Flutters then took her companion to see something that Tia wanted to see and Celestia wanted her sister to see that they had not the spirit of the holiday. As Flutters shows her an ornament with three ponies representing the three pony tribes and at this, Flutters makes her disappearance. We then get our Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come and here enters Zecora. Now, I have to admit that this disappointed me a tad because I thought that it would’ve been interesting to see a villain in this role a la Discord. Now I have nothing against Zecora and this was an interesting angle to take by not having the Ghost be so malevolent but I still really think my Discord angle could’ve worked as well but I do like how they showed that the actions taken by Luna affected her. Zecora uses a potion not unfamiliar to that of what she had in the S4 premiere. And there in the future, we learn that Luna had tried to change things that didn’t go so well as we learn from her assistant, Twilight Sparkle. Apparently, we learn that Luna had had the Canterlot tree replaced and Canterlot ponies didn’t take to kindly to this occurrence at all. Certainly not, when you see a headline like this.
â€œPrincess declares War on Hearthâ€™s Warming,â€
Great, not even Equestira can avoid the War on
Christmas Hearth’s Warming happening. Hey, so long as they can avoid this, they’re good.
(As an aside, I am a fan of his younger sister but Candace isn’t nearly as cuckoo as her brother). Then we get some interesting banter between Twilight and Luna as Twilight points out that Canterlot ponies are sensitive to change and would react poorly to fast change. Going so far as to boycott events funded by royalty. Apparently, Luna introduced conflict into an holiday that didn’t have it before. Uhm, where is Celestia in all of this? Seriously, isn’t Tia still the head of Equestira, so shouldn’t things like getting rid of the Canterlot tree be run by Tia first. Because while Luna does have importance in ruling over her pony subjects, isn’t Celestia a bit higher up in hierarchy than Lulu. Apparently, Twilight decides to step down from being Luna’s adviser. Apparently, Twilight would’ve stepped down ages ago but nopony else is willing to work for her. And at this, we get Luna lashing out at Twilight in the Royal Canterlot voice. Ooh, I get to use this again.
THOU HAVE MISSED USING THE ROYAL CANTERLOT VOICE. IT HAS BEEN TOO LONG SINCE THY HATH USED IT. Sorry, I love doing that but clearly not as good at it as Luna.
â€œOUT!!!â€ Luna screamed, adopting the Royal Canterlot voice for her demand as her eyes flashed white. â€œGET OUT! YOU ARE HEREBY NO LONGER MY ADVISOR! IF YOU THINK NOPONY CAN HANDLE MY REQUESTS THEN I SHALL RETIRE THE POSITION FROM THIS DAY FORWARD!â€
This of course causes Twilight to run out in tears and present-day Luna looked upon in shock as she asks Luna to show her no more. And of course, Luna wants to know if these visions are what could happen or will happen. Zecora tells the princess that the future is obscure and always uncertain. I like this touch as it is important for our Scrooge stand in character to learn this lesson. The next day , Luna reunites with her subjects as she gives her guards, the night off. And thanks Fluttershy for showing what Luna needed to see. And Luna admits that she was wrong for judging the new traditions of her beloved holiday and Twilight informs the princess of the night, that she read up on the holiday of old and suggest that perhaps, they could put on a play about the founding of Hearths Warming, next year. Ah, so that places this in season 1. As the play was put on in season 2.
I love this story/audio drama. I came across it last year and found it to be one of the more enjoyable takes on my all time favorite Christmas tale. I had always wondered what an MLP take on A Christmas Carol would be like and this answered my question. But now, they are popping up like crazy and the common Scrooge character appears to be Diamond Tiara. I personally enjoy this more as while Luna is learning a lesson, she isn’t your typical Scrooge character as she still loves the holiday but thinks that it has been ruined. So instead of learning to become a better person err pony, she learns that while things may change, the spirit of the holiday lives on.
Narrator – Sleepypony
I loved the narration in the audio drama as it just had this old timey feel to it, that you heard in classic holiday specials that just sparks visions of sitting by a fireplace sipping hot cocoa opening presents on Christmas day.
Note: Why the video does list all of the voice actors, I will only be focusing on the characters that were crucial to the story.
Luna voiced by Hannah
I really enjoyed the voice actress that played Luna. Certainly no Tabitha St. Germain but for a fan project, she was really good and was able to get into all of the emotions that Luna was feeling and I liked how you could feel her portraying Luna’s struggles with the changes that have been made to her beloved holiday. She that got across rather well.
Celestia voiced by MemJ0123
I was quite impressed with the voice actress that portrayed Tia in the story as she captured the loving, yet playful tone of Tia. Who has always been portrayed as the one that knows how to have fun while remaining rather astute. Because as we saw when Tia took her back to the past, you could see how much she cared for her subjects.
Fluttershy – Voice Not Listed.
Sadly, Flutters’ VA wasn’t listed. Whoever did the voice for Fluttershy was quite commendable. Sure, at points it was a little too quiet but I have to think that Fluttershy is one of the harder characters to try and intimate. Because you need to find the right balance between being quiet but not overdoing it, to the point where no one can hear you.
Zecora voiced by Mochi
I gotta give props to the voice actor that played Zecora because having all of your lines be in rhyme cannot be easy but she pulled it off rather well.
Twilight Sparkle voiced by Meredith Sims
The VA for Twily in this sounded like Twilight Sparkle. Seriously, she sounded like season 1 Twilight voiced by Tara Strong. She was rather good and easily, the best VA in this excellent audio drama that every pony fan needs to hear.
Pinkie Pie voiced by ProjectSNT
Pinkie is another hard pony to emulate and while I do think that her VA did a commendable job, something did feel a bit amiss but she was still rather good.
Coltroy voiced by Rev897
With this character being an OC, the voice actor didn’t have to try and emulate any voice and therefore was allowed to come up with his own and it fit. Though, I do have to wonder that if this character is meant to be one of the guards that we’ve seen of Luna’s in the past or a character that was just created for the story. The former wouldn’t surprise me as Bronies and Pegasisters have given personalities to the most obscure background characters.
What Land Is This?
Along with the audio drama, a song was made for the special and ooh, that singing just sends chills up on my spine. It is so good. That singing is just so gorgeous and is just something else to add to my love of this.
My Final Thoughts
If I haven’t made it clear, I love this. I was first introduced to this via the audio drama and it is now a Christmas tradition to listen to it around this time of year for me. I’d say that this is one of my favorite variations of A Christmas Carol as it does some interesting things with the story and hey, the official MLP doesn’t have much Christmas stuff (I refuse to review A Very Minty Christmas). And sadly, the Equestira Girls Holiday comic hasn’t come out yet. Still have some time before it does. Even still, if you are a fan of MLP and are looking for something to feel the Christmas window after Hearths Warming Eve, take a listen to this as you will not be disappointed. Join me tomorrow for something special. Peace!