Note: This post is about a scene in the “My Little Pony” episode “Lesson Zero.”
In “Lesson Zero,” Twilight says the following: “The ‘Want It, Need It’ spell. Works every time.”* The “Want It, Need It” spell causes anyone who looks at an object that has been enchanted by it to want that object more than anything: The spell basically turns anything into The One Ring from “The Lord of the Rings.”
I believe that this is the first time that Twilight has used the “Want It, Need It” spell. The reason I believe this is because she is unprepared for the consequences of her actions. Twilight uses the spell on her doll in order to get three ponies to fight over it so that she can then come to the rescue. But after she is unable to get the doll away from the ponies, and the pony she asks to help her falls under the spell too, soon everyone in Ponyville is fighting over it. As everyone fights over the doll, Twilight says “Oh, what have I done?!” If she has used the “Want It, Need It” spell before, then she should know what its effects are.
On a side note: This line from the episode “Feeling Pinky Keen” could explain Twilight’s line: “…magic is something you study and practice. It only happens when you decide to do it, and it’s meant to make something specific that you choose to happen, happen.”**
To the episode’s credit, Twilight’s behavior is not condoned: Twilight realizes that casting the “Want It, Need It” spell was a mistake, and we are never shown any of the other times she apparently cast the spell so the reasons why she cast it are ambiguous.
On another side note: “…there is a huge difference between portraying evil and condoning it.”*** The reason why Twilight’s behavior surprised me is because, I realized, I thought of Twilight as someone I could learn from. Someone I could re-learn all the “right” lessons from, anyway — the “right” lessons being lessons like be social, take a friend’s worries seriously, don’t hog the spotlight, etc. Until now, I didn’t know that Twilight had more to teach me: I didn’t know that Twilight’s actions would cause me to examine my own actions, to see where I’ve fallen short.
If I’m honest with myself, at times I’ve been Twilight — I’ve manipulated others, I’ve overreacted, I’ve been a control freak, I’ve wanted things the way I want them.
This reminds me of something I once heard. Paraphrasing Sirius Black from the movie “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”: “We all have good and evil inside of us. What matters is the part we choose to act on.”
I’m not perfect. We’re all not perfect. Twilight is another imperfect person/pony. She is a more complex character than I first thought.
I want to end this post with a quote from Steven D. Greydanus’ review of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”:
“J.R.R. Tolkien once remarked that as a Catholic he did not expect history ‘to be anything but a ‘long defeat,’ though it contains (and in a legend may contain more clearly and movingly) some samples or glimpses of final victory.’
“Eucatastrophe, as Tolkien called such ‘glimpses of final victory,’ is among the noblest functions of fiction. But there is also something salutary in catastrophe, in glimpses of something like final defeat. It dramatizes what is at stake in our efforts, for one thing, and brings home to us all that we have to be grateful for, and to lose.”****