Shortly after arriving on the moon after her banishment by Celestia, Nightmare Moon takes a look about and discovers a palace run by the creatures of the moon, the Nyx. These innocent and friendly beings welcome Nightmare Moon, thinking she’s beautiful and “sassy”, and show her how they are the ones responsible for giving pleasant dreams to the denizens of Equestria. On mentioning that dreams can have the power to warp memories and even the core of one’s being, Nightmare Moon is eager to learn how, but the Nyx refuse. As a result, Nightmare Moon pretends to befriend an especially cheerful Nyx named Doran and gets him to tell him everything about how to manipulate dreams, but also reveals she can’t personally manipulate an individual’s dream unless a Nyx calls out to it. She has Doran call out to Celestia, intending to manipulate her into ending her banishment on the spot. However, Celestia’s mind is too strong for that, so instead she has Doran connect her to ponies throughout Equestria and give them dreams of a cruel Celestia, soon inciting them to start spreading fear and paranoia about her. Celestia uses her own power to dispel the illusion, but realizes she can’t keep doing this and protecting her own mind from Nightmare Moon due to the magic needed. As for Nightmare Moon, wanting more power, she commands the nightmares to take over and transform all of the Nyx, including Doran, mocking him in the process for ever thinking she was his friend, and then uses their combined power to break into Celestia’s dream again. Celestia confront her inside and dispels all of her illusions at first, until Nightmare Moon believes she manages to get into Celestia’s “head” by showing her a vision of the imprisoned Princess Luna. Yet rather than break Celestia, the vision has reminded her of the power of her own love and that it means “doing what is best and what is right, even if it is hard for you”. Proclaiming that Nightmare Moon will always be too scared, selfish, and weak to know love’s power, she blasts Nightmare Moon out of her dream. While Celestia is confident her memory of Luna will help her withstand future attacks, Nightmare Moon, infuriated, threatens to take out her rage on the Nyx, forcing them to promise to make more nightmares for her to torment other ponies in Equestria…
This really isn’t so much a origin of Nightmare Moon in the show, which is good because that one has pretty much already been fleshed out. Rather, this is more of the origin of Nightmare Rarity, who was nothing more than Nightmare Moon reborn. It goes through how the various creatures of the moon were corrupted and adds a previously unknown “chapter” to the struggle between Celestia and Nightmare Moon.
As for how I rate it, I compliment it for not being “goofy” as in the previous arc (although those gremlins show up again for some reason…). However…
I have to digress for a moment to one of the big episodes of the current Season Five: “Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?” That was one of Luna’s big moments. In many ways, it hit the emotional notes that the “Nightmare Rarity” arc hit. It perhaps wasn’t quite as dramatic, relying on the amorphous entity of the Tantabus rather than a charismatic villain like Nightmare Rarity, but it did do one thing right…it laid “blame” right on Luna’s shoulders. The fact is the one thing the Nightmare Rarity arc did bad was it made Nightmare Moon a separate entity from Princess Luna. Something that could possess others but not actually one and the same. Really just a creature of nightmare. However, that episode made it clear…no, it really was Princess Luna who got consumed by her own jealousy and corrupted into Nightmare Moon. So much so that she believed she deserved to suffer for the rest of her life for her failure.
In view of that episode…arcs like this are weakened. This is making Nightmare Moon a separate individual. That Luna is really “stuck somewhere inside of her” like Rarity was. But in doing so, it sort of weakens Luna as a character to begin with. It makes it that everything really “wasn’t her fault”. And with the power of recent fan animations like the epic “Lullaby for the Princess”, that somehow cheapens things a bit. Hence, I don’t really care for this arc that well.
It’s creative, yes. And I think Celestia’s speech to Nightmare Moon toward the end is one of the more powerful in the series. Right on top with the best of them. And it’s a decent prelude to the Nightmare Rarity arc that patches in a few of the more confusing parts. However…making Nightmare Moon and the nightmares themselves separate entities just doesn’t do it for me.
This arc serves as a prelude to the infamous “Nightmare Rarity” arc in the main comic series. It also presents the idea Nightmare Moon was free to do as she liked on the moon for 1,000 years.
The Nyx chanting over the “dream cauldron” are chanting lines from “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”.
2 Stars out of 5