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Synopsis:

Following his somewhat disastrous “story reading” to Princess Luna, Sunburst decides to read the next story, one about Mistmane, in privacy. Unfortunately, Starswirl’s enchanted book refuses to allow itself to be read until he goes into the Canterlot Gardens with it:

Years after her infamous act where she sacrificed her beauty for the sake of her friend and country, Mistmane was wandering through the forests of Equestria and befriending the local wildlife when she heard a clamor nearby. On investigating, she found the site for the new Castle of Canterlot being constructed, but apparently the work crew was running into numerous setbacks; including having their work undone overnight and hazard endangering life and limb. Although none of the workers recognized Mistmane, when she offered to rid the place of the disturbance they allowed her to stay there alone to find and stop the cause. That night, Mistmane got a visitor in the form of the young Princess Luna who was looking for the one responsible for ruining her future castle. Mistmane responded by showing her the local wildlife, who soon revealed themselves to be the ones responsible for the damage to the construction site. Luna immediately tried to stop them by force, but Mistmane cautioned her to stop and listen to them. When Luna insisted she couldn’t speak “animal”, she answered that there were other ways they could speak to her besides words. Luna ended up sitting down and listening to them and found they were distressed as the future castle would destroy their home in the forest. Realizing their valid point, Luna worked with the animals to draw a plan not for a protective fortress but for a castle that would be a “beacon” of hope to all Equestria, and would feature a large garden where the animals could reside. Luna ran off and showed Starswirl and Celestia the plans, never realizing Mistmane had disappeared during the discussion, and on accepting it the modern Canterlot Castle was built…this time with the animals secretly aiding its construction rather than sabotaging it. When Starswirl himself went to apply the finishing touches by making the gardens, he was stunned to see they were already done…and thought he caught a glimpse of Mistmane herself briefly moving through it.

Sunburst finishes the story only to think he sees Mistmane himself briefly, but on seeing it was just an optical illusion he laughs at himself for ever thinking Mistmane was a real pony and picks up the next book off the shelf: this one about “Flash Magnus”…

Review:

Another pretty good one. It kind of amazes me how much story they manage to put into these single-issue comics. There used to be a time where I could get through an entire comic’s story with a short paragraph, but most of these stories take a page just to sum up.

This one is much in the same vein as Starswirl the Bearded’s one, only this time we get a bit of lore put into it: namely the story of the founding of Canterlot Castle. I’ve kind of slammed the IDW series over the years for their depiction of the adult Princess Luna, but now I have to dial it back a bit as the “Legends of Magic” series not only paints a more show-canon version of her but one who has a child depiction that’s more continuous and understandable.

It’s kind of hard to tell if this story comes before or after Starswirl’s own comic. Celestia’s few scenes have her continuing to act like a snob and dismissive toward Luna, although that could simply be a case of “old habits die hard”. Luna’s own depiction is a bit interesting. A far cry from the “ruler of the night”, here she’s more like a somewhat-spoiled princess herself who thinks her own title somehow insulates her against the dangers of the world and makes her inherently important enough to command respect and obedience. Naive, but understandable for a child. She gets an important lesson in empathy while still retaining more lore from the Journal of the Two Sisters in her reactions to the animals. She thinks they have no right to ruin her castle because she’s the princess, but at the same time she still calls them”cute animals” and, in the end, may not quite be like Fluttershy but still “understands” them. It was kind of an interesting move that they had the young Luna be the one who came up with the design for the modern Canterlot Castle…and adds a touch of irony to the show’s own lore.

Mistmane, on the other hand, doesn’t get to do much by her own admission. In a way that’s akin to the better depictions of Princess Celestia, she simply gives Luna a nudge in the right direction and then lets things play out. On one hand, that helps accentuate her sagacity and wisdom as well as her passive nature. On the other hand…it doesn’t really give us anything new to like about Mistmane. Whereas with Rockhoof we got to see him have a character flaw that he recognized and worked past, Mistmane clings to the same problem most of the show depictions of the Pillars of Old Equestria has: she’s nice and brings beauty…and that’s it. Kind of ironic, because Mistmane actually did show off her own character more than the others on the show by willingly making a permanent personal sacrifice for the sake of others. On this one, though, she kind of gets upstaged by Luna and Starswirl.

However, it is worth noting that we once again see one of Starswirl’s more “negative” characteristics in his original plans for the Canterlot Castle. Although I think that the MLP movie kind of showed that they can’t always count on “being nice” as a defense against potential enemies.

It was still a nice little story with a bit more lore to it, however. Maybe not fantastic, but still good.

Fun Facts:

Early cover art for this issue concealed the fact that Mistmane had lost her youth as part of her origin story by depicting her in her younger form.

The rabbit attacking the castle uses a karate chop to break boards.

Celestia loves the design for Canterlot Castle that Luna proposes so much she gets hearts in her eyes.

The continuity of this story is a bit off, but not necessarily inconsistent with the show. The Castle of the Two Sisters was apparently only abandoned when Nightmare Moon partially destroyed it, at which point Princess Celestia moved to Canterlot. This only happened after Starswirl and the rest of the Pillars of Old Equestria became stuck in Limbo with the Pony of Shadows. Considering how young they are in this story, the fact that Starswirl the Bearded actually set foot in the newer Canterlot Castle seems to mix up the continuity. However, there’s always the chance that this part of the story occurred years after the bulk of the events in it, as it’s pretty unbelievable that Canterlot Castle would have been built in a few weeks, months, or even years.

Rating:

3 Stars out of 5