Today’s story explores the consequences of a royal error.
Long Live The Queen
[Dark] [Drama] [Sad] • 6,853 words
During her time-twisting battle with Starlight Glimmer, Twilight finds herself in an Equestria ruled by a tyrant alicorn that calls herself the Queen of Equestria. In this world, Twilight’s friends are gone and beyond her aid, and Equestria’s citizens live in fear of their ruler’s wrath should they anger her.
The Queen herself suffers worst of all.
FROM THE CURATORS: One of the great joys of fanfiction is that it can explore topics we know the show won’t cover — and one of the greatest pleasures in reading fanfiction is finding a story which can do that while remaining faithful to the source material. “I think the highest praise I can give this story is that it feels exactly like what we would have seen in the show if the show ever acknowledged the existence of the Equestria Girls movies,” Horizon said, and Present Perfect explained: “It slots in well to Cutie Re-Mark by virtue of being the ‘Sunset Shimmer bad end’ universe.” That merger drew broad praise: “It’s a solidly put-together glimpse of yet another way Equestria could’ve gone sideways,” Chris said.
The reasons for that quality were wide-ranging and spoke to the story’s depth. “This manages to get into the ‘Queen of Equestria’s’ character without resorting to lazy storytelling,” Chris said. “It explores its dystopia succinctly and without a lot of overdone angst, has a nice mid-story reveal, and the ending is a nice mix of bittersweet and hopeful.” And while several of us found the early going exposition-heavy, we found that eclipsed by the story’s powerful second half. “It would’ve been so much stronger if Twilight and Spike had been forced to leave the map rather than wandering away from it on their own, and there is an awful lot of standing around and explaining,” AugieDog said. “But from the reveal in the middle on out, the slowly dawning horror of the AU is handled very nicely.”
And despite that Alternate Universe tag, this was a story that had a great deal to say about the world of the show. “I’m especially impressed by the way that the tone works both as a standalone piece and as a poignant contrast to the unrepentant villains of Cutie Re-Mark’s bad timelines,” Horizon said. “That examination of a world doomed despite regrets and good intentions is a powerful one.” And one that will stick with you, as AugieDog said: “I found the ending to be positively haunting. Sunset knows she’s trapped, she knows it’s her own fault, and she knows her best chance to make things right again.”
Read on for our author interview, in which DrakeyC discusses bad OC origins, evil Scootaloo, and Final Fantasy fillies.
Give us the standard biography.
My real name is Adam. I’m 28 years old, living in southern Ontario. I got into fanfiction as a teenager, writing for Inuyasha and Yu-Gi-Oh, and then later moved into Final Fantasy. It was during the S3-S4 hiatus that I got into the show — a couple of friends of mine were into pony so I figured let’s check it out, I need something to watch. And it hooked me, and here I am.
How did you come up with your handle/penname?
The name “Drake Clawfang” is a holdover from when I started fanfiction and was in a dragon-obsession phase. My very first Yu-Gi-Oh fic featured my OC of the same name replacing Marik in the Battle City arc, and he crossed off most every “Villain Sue” trait you could list, including that he was a self-insert that used a variation of my real deck. I’ve even been told “your name sounds like a bad OC char” — well, he was. I moved on from that story, which isn’t even around anymore, but the name stuck and I’ve used it on numerous websites for ease of recognition online. In recent years I’ve shortened it to “DrakeyC” which sounds more whimsical and fun and less pretentious and stupid.
Who’s your favorite pony?
Pinkie Pie. I don’t think she’s necessarily the best developed or most interesting pony, but she’s just so happy and loving and perky. Her life’s mission is to spread joy and happiness to everyone. She doesn’t have a deliberately mean bone in her body — she doesn’t hate or even really dislike anyone. It’s so childishly inspiring to have that perpetually optimistic mindset towards others and the world.
What’s your favorite episode?
“Amending Fences”. It’s humorous and heartwarming, it introduces new characters while growing old ones, it has strong continuity with other episodes, and it has a moral that isn’t overt but still present on analysis. I consider this what pony can be at its best, showing off the strong characters and story it can do while also giving us emotional moments.
A runner-up would be “Pinkie Pride”, and I don’t think I have to explain why on that one.
What do you get from the show?
I love the humor and sincerity of it. The humorous episodes of the show tend to be some of my favorites and are always worth rewatching to laugh again. For the sincerity, I like the idealism of the show. The characters are all likeable but none of them are perfect — they fight, they act like jerks, they make mistakes. But at the end of the day they’re good ponies and they’re friends that stick together. That idealistic worldview, that all creatures are good deep down, that any villain can be redeemed no matter how vile their deeds, that any misunderstanding and problem can be resolved through friendship and hard work, really appeals to me.
What do you want from life?
I’ve attended college to study television broadcasting and am currently a volunteer at a local cable station. My eventual goal is to find steady long-term employment in that field, at a news station working to inform and educate the public. It’s a hard industry to break into because by its nature it demands a lot of networking, freelance work, volunteering, and “paying your dues” to build your resume up to the point you can find that 9-to-5 job at a studio. But I’m not giving up.
Why do you write?
I write to express myself and my worldview. Again, I come at writing from that idealistic, sincere mindset that there is good in all waiting to be brought out. Going back to even before pony, a lot of my stories regardless of genre focus on heroes triumphing over hardships, overcoming self-doubt and limitations, finding love and acceptance, while the behavior of the villains is shown to be futile: they will fail in their goals and even if they succeed it will be a hollow victory. I want to express how self-destructive and pointless a life of evil is and how much stronger and happier the heroes are for living normal lives.
What advice do you have for the authors out there?
Know how to properly take criticism. When you publish a story you put a piece of yourself out there for the world to see. Your opinions, your beliefs, your passions, your interests, they all permeate what you write even if you don’t consciously write that way. And the harsh truth is that when you put yourself out there not everyone will accept you. Your story will get criticism, fair or not, and it may even get hate or disgust. You have to know how to not let hate and criticism get you down and ruin your enthusiasm for the story — but at the same time closing yourself off to opinions that conflict with your own means you’ll stagnate, if you’re shutting yourself inside an echo chamber where you only hear praise and support.
Learn how to tell the difference between the useful criticisms and the empty criticisms. When you can listen to the critics and follow their advice without letting the negativity get you down, that’s when you’ll grow not only as a writer but as a person.
What inspired “Long Live the Queen”?
Sunset as a villain fascinates me. My personal headcanon is she was being groomed as a princess by Celestia, but her character flaws made her unfitting to receive that destiny, and the possible presence of Cadance and/or Twilight in her life wouldn’t have helped. I think Sunset’s ultimate goal was to get the respect and adoration she felt came with the title, and deep down she misses Celestia and wants to be with her again. That conflict is something I reuse in a lot of my works depicting her — that she’s trying to achieve something that by its nature cannot be achieved through villainous means. You can’t make ponies love you by conquering them.
LLTQ came from the idea that Sunset had achieved her goal: nothing and nopony could oppose her, and she ruled Equestria with an iron hoof. Yet her victory was completely empty because Celestia is gone forever and her subjects all hate and fear her. And in this Sunset realizes how fruitless her efforts have been, but it’s too late to change things. As Sunset sums up, the best she can achieve is fearful obedience, until memory of Celestia fades from public mind and any seditious sentiment she might inspire is gone. She’ll only get that complete victory by stamping out her mentor’s legacy, at which point she’ll have to live with the knowledge she did so. At the end of her dark path there is no happiness, only bitterness and loneliness. And I think that tragic element makes Sunset unique compared to the rest of the major villains.
What elements do you feel are most important for a good Alternate Universe story?
With any AU, I find what draws my interest most is seeing what elements of the canon are preserved and how they are changed. I’m always waiting for characters I recognize to pop up and see what they’re up to in this world — see how familiar events might go differently. I think that’s the big appeal of AU fiction, to take the familiar and spin it on its head. You’ll not only have the entertainment of the AU itself, but contrasting it to the original can offer new insights and perspectives.
What draws you so often to the “Equestria Girls” characters and setting?
Well, the fact that they’re human makes it a lot less awkward reading and writing clop about them. laugh
Equestria Girls, really, is a canon AU story. So right off the bat that familiar-yet-different dynamic is there. We’re all eagerly awaiting the arrival of characters we recognize from Equestria, especially the villains. What would Sombra be like in this world, or Discord? How could they be preserved as the characters we know from Equestria, but how would they be changed? It’s a major reason I want an Equestria Girls spin-off show so much: the AU elements in this entirely different setting are an untapped geyser of story potential that the movies can’t explore fully.
And on the other hand, Equestria Girls is a world with a constantly shifting status quo. Each of the first four movies has built on story and character ideas from the previous one, creating a continuous, flowing narrative. It’s a method of storytelling the main show doesn’t utilize, and it’s unfortunate because it makes the Equestria Girls universe much more compelling. Even if an individual entry is not as good as the one before, I still want to watch it to see how the story continues to develop from before and get hints to how it may continue to develop in the next entry.
Do you plan your stories out ahead of time, or do you prefer to let them grow during the typing process?
A bit of both. I usually plan my stories out in at least a point-form outline so I know which major plot points I’m going to hit. I sometimes write those critical chapters ahead of time to solidify my view of what I’m building up to, but mostly I write in a linear fashion one chapter at a time. I find that this approach lets me work in new ideas and feedback from readers. I have to know where I’m going with the plot, but the path there isn’t set, and if I have a really good idea I can work into the story without scrapping what’s already there, I want to have the freedom to do so.
A good example, if I may, is my current story “Duelists of the Autumn Crown”. In an early plot outline, Scootaloo would be influenced by Sunset Shimmer, corrupted to evil, and duel Twilight. But then I had the idea to use Rarity instead, to go for the Nightmare Rarity angle and add Rainbow Dark Dragon and Advanced Dark to her deck, an homage to the anime where the Crystal Beast user there was possessed and began using the same cards. And that change worked much better while not hugely shifting the narrative structure or direction otherwise.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
With an eighth season on the horizon — a great achievement for any cartoon, especially one primarily aimed at children — I wonder how long Hasbro intends to keep G4 and FiM going. Personally I’d like to see a G4.5, set in the same world but following a new cast of characters on new adventures in Equestria — keep the familiar setting but bring in new characters and ideas to offer a fresh direction. Or, again, an Equestria Girls spin-off show, which would offer much the same.
Also, a big side project of mine the last year or two has been Filly Fantasy VI, a ROM hack of Final Fantasy VI with ponies (in the spirit of Pony Fantasy VI, made several years earlier). Version 1.0 has been out almost a year now, and Version 2.0 will be out later this year. Folks interested in checking it out can head to the project’s Fimfiction group for information, a download link, and updates on 2.0’s rollout: https://www.fimfiction.net/group/209828/filly-fantasy-vi