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My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic by Thejboy88

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July 31, 2011
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It comes as something of a surprise that Applejack represents the spirit of Honesty within "Friendship is Magic". Although one would scarcely dare to call Applejack a liar, Honesty is perhaps not her greatest virtue. Nevertheless, Applejack has so many positive attributes – honesty included – that her representation in the Pilot as this particular embodiment of the Elements of Harmony makes sense, even if it seems a little odd at first. After all, what else would Applejack represent? Her character within the show is synonymous with both a maturity beyond her years and an unmatched compassion for her peers, to the extent that she becomes, to this viewer, the unofficial leader of the group.

Although it is well-established that Twilight Sparkle is the 'main' member of the core six, Applejack has more qualities that could be associated to a lead protagonist. Her behaviour is almost always optimistic; rarely do we see an example where she succumbs to defeat or negativity, even when she's literally working herself into an early grave, as can be seen in "Applebuck Season". It would be accurate to suggest that Applejack receives a lot of focus near the beginning of the season, with episodes focusing less on her in the latter half. Of course, she is an ever-prevalent character in almost every episode, but the Applejack-focused episodes seem to be intentionally directed towards the beginning of the show. This instantly strikes a chord with an audience; Applejack is there to capture the hearts of the viewer with her conscientious work ethic and her family-orientated nature.

The Apple Family are significant in establishing Applejack's character. We learn in the Pilot that Applejack is from a large family; in comparison, few other characters are given this level of domestic exploration. Whereas we, as an audience, learn next to nothing throughout the series about the families of Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy and Rarity, and only receive a brief glimpse into the home-life of Twilight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie during "The Cutie Mark Chronicles", we are reminded frequently about Applejack's position at Sweet Apple Acres: Big Macintosh is the tough and protective older brother, Granny Smith is the elderly stalwart owner of the farm, and Apple Bloom is the adventurous little filly who both relies upon her sister's advice and often subsequently ignores it. Meanwhile in Appleloosa we learn of her cousin, Braeburn, of which her interaction with him and the settler ponies forms the basis of the entire episode.

Indeed, swearing by her family is one of the strongest facets of Applejack's personality. When the Parasprites are attacking, Applejack, alongside her family, are at Sweet Apple Acres ready to defend the family business. In "The Ticket Master", Applejack wishes to attend the Grand Galloping Gala in order to make money for her family and, among other things, restore the barn. Her behaviour is almost entirely altruistic; compare this to the otherwise self-motivated reasons for attending the Gala that the other ponies have, and it becomes clear that Applejack is the most selfless pony. It is no great coincidence that she offers her hoof in helping the Cutie Mark Crusaders explore their special talents by giving them her old club house, even if it is a bit derelict; the significance of this action is once again to prove the generosity of Applejack towards not only Apple Bloom, but the tenacious Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle.

The fact that Applejack is from a family that is vital to the plot on multiple levels acts as a solid foundation for why she is such a caring pony. She's not caring in the Fluttershy sense – articulately helping ducklings cross a road; gently waking up the sleepy-headed critters during "Winter Wrap Up" – but she is caring in the sense that she always has the feelings of other ponies at heart. In "Dragonshy" she is more than happy to volunteer to take Fluttershy up the mountain the safe way, because her friend is too nervous to go up the steep, dangerous path. At the top of the mountain, she takes the time to explain to Fluttershy why they are all afraid of the dragon causing the smog above Ponyville, and that Fluttershy must do her best to overcome her fears. In comparison to the callousness of Rainbow Dash, Applejack seems to have a more productive and nurturing behaviour, wishing for every pony to contribute. Exclusion, to Applejack, is not an option.

Certainly, Applejack and Rainbow Dash are different, and yet they are perhaps the most similar ponies within the mane cast. They are both incredibly competitive towards one another, perhaps to a fault, most evident in "Fall Weather Friends" where they engage in competitions to establish who is the Iron Pony. Their contest drives them to race against one another during the Running of the Leaves, during which time they deceive one another frequently in order to gain the upper hand. Although not every episode focuses on their competition, it is clear throughout the entire season that they are both very confident in their abilities and must, by nature, compete. Thus we see them bobbing for apples in "Party of One" to try and best the other, watch them hoof-wrestle in "The Ticket Master" and even take political matters into their own hands in "Over a Barrel"; Rainbow Dash siding with the native buffalo and Applejack remaining on the side of the settler ponies. What should be a struggle between two nations for a brief period of time becomes a battle of wills between Rainbow Dash and Applejack.

Although she doesn't compete with the other ponies in the same way as with Rainbow Dash, Applejack does have established relationships with the rest of the mane cast. The character that she seems to dislike the most, at least initially, is Rarity, as seen during "Look Before You Sleep". This episode is a great example of both Applejack's virtues and her somewhat less desirable behaviour. Whereas Rarity is pristine and regal, Applejack is very much the country-girl; not afraid to get dirty, or to eat with her mouth open, or even to belch in public and be proud of it. The episode also demonstrates Applejack's stubbornness, which is a point of contention for an audience. Although being stubborn is hardly an asset, it's not a trait that we dislike about Applejack. Indeed, her stubborn demeanour often works in her favour, because often-times she is in the right.

Rarity may be right, to an extent, in criticising Applejack's behaviour at times, but as an audience we are almost guided to side with Applejack; after-all, Rarity's attention to detail and insistence on nit-picking every detail is a greater grievance than Applejack's refusal to wash her mane before entering Twilight's home. This stubbornness, however, is something of a mixed blessing; in "Applebuck Season" we feel sorry for Applejack as she gets more and more swept up in her work. It's almost tragic to watch her attempt to juggle being an incredibly likeable and dependable pony with bucking all of the apples on Sweet Apple Acres without the aid of Big Macintosh. Although the episode establishes that Applejack is Equestria's number one athlete, we have to watch her deterioration, from cooking 'baked bads' with Pinkie Pie to causing all of the new baby bunnies under Fluttershy's care to raid Ponyville. But these accidents are not a result of Applejack's incompetence; they are the actions of a pony trying to achieve too much by herself. All members of the audience will know someone like Applejack; those hard-workers who sometimes let their work get the better of them and isolate them from their peers, and it makes her a character that we can relate to, arguably more than any other pony within the show.

After all, no other pony appears to have a consistent job in the way that Applejack does, save for Rarity who also finds herself biting off more than she can chew with her dress-making business. In many ways, these two characters, although very different in behaviour and mannerisms, are also rather similar. They both care passionately about their work, and sometimes struggle to see outside of their employment. Thus, just as when Rarity is disgraced during her fashion show by Hoity Toity's criticisms and subsequently shuns herself from society, so does Applejack struggle to accept help, potentially growing aggressive towards those that offer aid by perceiving the need to rely on others as a sign of weakness.

Nevertheless, the negative behaviour that Applejack displays makes her a more believable character. The show is masterful in the way that it shows the audience how flawless Applejack almost is – Pinkie Pie suggests she is the best baker in Equestria; her herding skills are unparalleled; she can stop a stampede with nothing more than her faithful dog, Winona – but then allows the cracks to show just enough to make her realistic. Although Applejack does have many great qualities, we are still led to believe that she has her faults that she must overcome, and thus she can be greatly admired when she triumphs.

The further we delve into Applejack's personality, the more appealing she becomes to an audience and the wider display of emotional states that she has become clearer. For an intelligent, hard-working and mature pony, she has her adorable moments, especially when treating Bloomberg the apple tree like her very own baby. Her appearance as a cowgirl, complete with little freckles on her face, gives her a sweet little quirk in every expression that she makes. That she almost always wears a hat also gives her a little flair of personality; so much so that when she's without it, something seems out of place. She also has her more fashion-orientated side, posing during Rarity's second fashion show with a sensual grace, and revealing that although her appearance is not her greatest concern, she is more than happy to dress when the occasion calls for it.

When we see her as a little filly in "The Cutie Mark Chronicles", we see another side to her character as well; that of a courageous youngster who wishes to prove herself. It's interesting that Applejack, as a filly, did not wish to initially work at Sweet Apple Acres, but instead had aspirations to become an aristocratic type. Seeing Applejack surrounded by posh-talking nobles is farcical, especially as it is the sort of situation that we would expect Rarity to be in instead. It's testament to the earnestness of Applejack that, although she adopts a lady-like, pompous voice when with her Uncle and Aunt Orange in Manehatten and changes her hair and clothes, she longs to return to her family, finding the greatest nostalgic reference point to be the significant rooster that used to wake her back home. No matter what front she puts on, deep-down she retains her loveable country accent and her fixation with her true family.

And this is why, perhaps above any other pony, Applejack represents the importance of heritage, of upbringing and of familial ties. She's a source of inspiration for other ponies – when the Diamond Dogs attack in "A Dog and Pony Show", she's there to help the others shake off the eponymous attackers. In the same episode, when Spike is daydreaming about kissing Rarity and almost plants one on Applejack, she charmingly jokes about his behaviour without being immature. Her position in the show is almost always as a voice of reason and strength, and both her and Twilight Sparkle could be perceived as the oldest, or at least most adult, members of the group as a result of this. And speaking of that voice, her accent is arguably one of the most recognisable in the show, especially during her singing performances.

Needless to say, whether it's her independent verse in "Winter Wrap-up", or her contributions to great orchestrations such as "At the Gala", Applejack's singing voice stands up to close inspection as one of the best in the series. It's a shame that she doesn't have any song to herself in the way that Rarity does in "Art of the Dress" or Pinkie Pie does in "Giggle at the Ghosties", but this will hopefully be remedied in future seasons of the show. What is more exciting, however, is what the future has in store of Applejack; whether her personality will undergo any great level of change in the second season, or if she will remain relatively similar to how she is currently. Although nobody would ever want Applejack to change, seeing different elements of her personality shine through will be fascinating. She's proven herself to be just as capable as Pinkie Pie in breaking down the fourth wall – responding to Rarity's concerns about Spike seeing the ponies without their dresses on that, being ponies, they don't normally wear clothes – but she still has much to learn; she is educated about tolerance when it comes to both Zecora and the native buffalo of Equestria, showing that even a character as resolute as Applejack can always be learning to be a better pony.

Ultimately, Applejack is the sort of multi-layered character that makes "Friendship is Magic" the excellent show that it is. She is a loyal friend, a hard-worker and a courageous adventurer, but she is also hot-headed, stubborn and bold. Nevertheless, whether Honesty is her greatest feature, or this award instead goes to her enormous love for her friends and family or her kind heart, Applejack is a natural leader, and the sort of mature, inspirational character that we can all aspire to be like; her cheeky wink during the opening credits to the show says it all.
I plan on writing an in-depth character analysis for every character within the show. First I'll be tackling the main six ponies, and then I'll be doing Spike and the Cutie Mark Crusaders. I really enjoy getting my thoughts out about the wonderful characters, and given the popularity of my review of the show ([link]) I thought I'd do a whole bunch more writing about why Friendship is Magic is incredible.

So for all those AJ fans out there, I hope that you enjoy reading this article, and if you'd like to suggest which pony I should write about next, I'll certainly do so! Thank you very much to those who take the time to read this :3
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:iconrandomredneck1990:
RandomRedneck1990 Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012
Kiss her ass some more why don't you...
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012
Pardon me boy, is that the Chattanooga Choo Choo?
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:iconrandomredneck1990:
RandomRedneck1990 Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012
Track 29. Hey can you give me a shine?
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:iconmillenniumfalsehood:
MillenniumFalsehood Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012
This is a very insightful piece, and one that will prove useful in not only understanding the character, but in writing my own fiction about her, or involving her. Thanks for doing this! :D
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2012
Jeez, this thing is old. Glad it's still useful ;P
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:iconmillenniumfalsehood:
MillenniumFalsehood Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2012
Well, I was having a hard time writing Applejack in a fanfic I'm working on, and it did help me finish the latest chapter. ;)
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:iconrjpugh:
rjpugh Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2012
"Jackie" is probably my favorite pony. One of my favorite points with her was in the pilot: AJ was the first to openly support and listen to Twilight. When Nightmare Moon went on a rampage, Applajack was the first to point out that Twilight "knew what was going on," and therefore should at least be listened to. So in addition to being honest, caring, and hard-working, she's often an excellent judge of character.

As for her singing, Ashleigh Ball does Applajack's singing, so it's curious that the producers *haven't* utilized that yet. Listen to some "Hey Ocean" tracks to see what I mean. On a related note, while Ashleigh also does Rainbow Dash's speaking voice, I don't know if she does her singing.
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:iconfriendofthedoctor:
FriendoftheDoctor Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2012
This is one of the reasons Applejack is one of my top favorite of the Mane Six.
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:icongrieverpon-3:
GrieverPon-3 Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2012  Student General Artist
You my friend, are a god among mortal writers and analyzes
Reply
:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2012
Your words make me feel warm inside.
Reply
:icongrieverpon-3:
GrieverPon-3 Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2012  Student General Artist
I'm guessing you chart this kind of stuff out or do you just really watch the show and then make predictions? Give me an idea of the process to evaluate a character
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2012
Hrm, well when I wrote those reviews season 1 had finished and we were all waiting for the second season, which gave me the chance to look back upon the episodes that had aired and delve into the characters as much as possible. I didn't have to predict anything, as the episodes were already there. As for the process in which I evaluate a character, I don't necessarily have a particular method; I've always found that writing comes naturally to me, so I don't spend a very long time thinking about what I'm going to write. I just start typing and see where it takes me.

That said, it's a good idea in a broad sense to reflect on how a character has acted in the episodes that they have starred in and to use that knowledge to craft an argument. While these articles are in favour of the ponies, it doesn't hurt to point out their flaws as well. A balanced argument is a good one. Thanks for the favourites on the reviews and I'm glad that they're enjoyable to read.
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:iconolihmajor:
olihmajor Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2011
Gah, sorry this took me so long to get around to reading DX Anyways, that was awesome. A lot of it was stuff that could already be seen in the show, but put into words that evoke more reaction :D
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:iconthejboy88:
Thejboy88 Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2011
Great review as always.

Bit of a confession here. If I were a pony, Applejack would be the kind of girl I'd like. She just has all the personality traits I'd look for. True the other ponies have qualities I'd like, but AJ just has more.

Please don't judge me.
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:iconsonofthenorthe:
SonOfTheNorthe Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011
Personally, AJ is my least favorite character. Probably because I have an undying hatred for cowboys.I used to hate Rarity too, but she grew on to me. Maybe AJ will grow on to me too.
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:iconultimadragon88:
ultimadragon88 Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2011  Student General Artist
I always saw her huge family as a bit of a parody of common media. a lot of times, in tv shows at least, farmers tend to have huge families. which they list off extremely quickly to a friend of theres.
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2011
It's very possible that her introducing her enormous family in the first episode is a parody of that, yeah! I thought it was quite funny that she did have such a large family.
Reply
:iconultimadragon88:
ultimadragon88 Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2011  Student General Artist
this show is awsome, simply because of all of the parodies. I love the more subtle ones, like the one I just mentioned.
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:iconthe-shipping-killer:
The-Shipping-Killer Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2011
Your reviews are interesting. They leave much too consider.
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:iconthefoodfoodfood:
thefoodfoodfood Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2011
Please, continue to enrich the fandom with your words of wisdom.
Reply
:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2011
Hrm, I don't usually get two messages from the same user on a review. Was there something in particular you wanted to see me write?
Reply
:iconthefoodfoodfood:
thefoodfoodfood Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2011
Not really, though it would be interesting to hear your opinion on this "Trollestia the Tyrant" fad. (or its much creepier counterpart "Molestia")
After seeing your review on the Lyra and Bon Bon thing, I thought it would be interesting to see your views on how some characters' reputation has been tarnished by elements in the fandom, particularly Pinkie Pie.
Don't get me wrong, I support the fandom's continued creativeness, but when it goes to far...
The word 'Cupcakes' is never going to be innocent again...
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2011
Funnily enough, I have every intention of covering how "Cupcakes" ruined Pinkie Pie in the eyes of fans soon, so that's coincidental. Keep an eye out - I'm rather busy with University at the moment but when I get some more time I will be back into the writing.
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:iconthefoodfoodfood:
thefoodfoodfood Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2011
And what of Celestia? To me she is one of my favorite characters, a pony version of a female Gandalf (I never thought I would ever type something like that). But the fans constantly tear down her character. It is quite lonely being an Applejack fan, but being a Celestia fan is infuriating.
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:iconshattercrazy:
Shattercrazy Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2011
Well done. As a southerner myself I can say Applejack is the perfect rendition in my opinion of the way we live without the normal stereotypes that come because of the way we talk.Thank you for posting this partner ya did a great job:cowboy:
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2011
Thank you very much! :3 I'm glad that the southerners are getting some good exposure from AJ ^^
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:iconthefoodfoodfood:
thefoodfoodfood Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2011
This essay is very good. In depth, with many examples.
Applejack is a one of a kind pony. Also, one of the only ones to survive from the G1 era.
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:iconthedragonwarlock:
TheDragonWarlock Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2011
I can relate to Applejack in terms of getting myself way in over my head with work. I want to help others, but I work myself too hard.
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2011
Learn from "Applebuck Season" and take some time off work once in a while :3
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:iconthedragonwarlock:
TheDragonWarlock Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2011
Oh I do. I find myself having some time to play and write fan fics. :D
Reply
:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2011
That's great! Writing is certainly a productive way to spend your time :3
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:iconthedragonwarlock:
TheDragonWarlock Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2011
Oh I enjoy writing fan fics of this show especially.
Reply
:icondivinespiritual:
DivineSpiritual Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I finally got down to reading this. ^^ despite me liking AJ the least of all 6. don't get me wrong, still love her. I just managed to figure out of the ponies I like after Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy. After them, I love Rarity, then Twilight, then Pinkie Pie, and then AppleJack.

AppleJack is a pretty cool character. ^^ she does have flaws like showing she can be a bit selfish and stubborn as a mule. but she is also very mature and willing to be a good friend. :3

like I said, I love all 6 ponies. I don't have a really dislike for any of them.
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2011
I don't dislike any of them either :3 My favourites would probably be...Applejack, Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rarity and Rainbow Dash. But really, as you say, they're all excellent characters ^^
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:iconimhappy4ever:
ImHappy4ever Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2011
Cool review, Applejack is awesome! :3 Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash are my faves, I can't wait to see what you say about them!
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2011
Both Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash will be coming up in the near future :3 Keep an eye out!
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:iconbombomdubbie:
BombomDubbie Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2011  Hobbyist Artist
Excellent writing. I always thought her as the oldest of the 6 than it is to Rarity.

I'm looking forward to more and on that note; Keep it up!
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:iconladyfoxling:
LadyFoxling Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Please analyze Pinkie Pie next. I think Pinkie Pie is a bit misunderstood. Everyone thinks she's simply the pony jester but if you look at the episodes that focus on her you see that she has a lot of self esteem issues. I enjoyed your analysis on Applejack and think you're right about her in every way! She could very well be the leader if Twilight Sparkle weren't the established leader.
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2011
I will certainly have a lot to say about Pinkie Pie. I also believe that she has some self-esteem issues. You can tell early into the season, such as how she gets so upset when Rainbow Dash hangs out with Gilda instead of her. If I don't do Pinkie Pie next, I'll certainly do her soon, so keep an eye out!
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:iconfunkyflump:
FunkyFlump Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2011  Student General Artist
Great Analysis! Got everything across in an easy to understand way, AJ was always my favourite and now I understand her a bit better, great stuff!
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2011
A thousand thank-yous, oh patient one :3
Reply
:iconmaxayson:
MaxAyson Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
This is awesome very well writen analysis of my favourate character
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2011
A thousand thank yous, your majesty :3 AJ is also my favourite pony.
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:iconsiogaagusarrachtaigh:
SiogaAgusArrachtaigh Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011
Now that I think about it, Applejack DOES have a lot more qualities expected in a protagonist. :P
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2011
I think it's cool that all of the characters bring something to the table that you'd expect to find in a lead ^^
Reply
:iconsiogaagusarrachtaigh:
SiogaAgusArrachtaigh Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2011
I know. It's like the lead character was split into a bunch of separate ponies. :la:
Reply
:iconmousesquisher:
mousesquisher Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011
Orange pony is best pony :3
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:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2011
Country pony is best pony :3
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:iconpap64:
pap64 Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2011
Wow! This is a very detailed character analysis! I can't wait till you get to the eccentric characters, like Rarity and Pinkie Pie. Both are so deep and layered I want to read what you think about them.

You should submit this to Equestria Daily. It deserves to be read by many people as possible.
Reply
:iconcuddlepug:
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2011
I attempted to submit it to Equestria Daily as per your request. Right now, however, I don't think it's been put up x3 Thank you for the kind words - Rarity is looking to be the next one I take a deep look at.
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