Pony Thought of the Day: The Nature of the Everfree

So, the Everfree Forest. It’s a pretty weird place, full of monsters and strange creatures and an ecology and weather patterns that function without pony involvement.

There’s an odd contradiction there, at least to my thinking: The monsters imply that the Everfree is more magical than the rest of Equestria, but the self-directed nature of it is more like our world, implying that it’s less magical. So… which is it? I lean toward it being less magical, with the monsters bringing in their own magic from outside, but what do you think? More magical? Less? Both? Neither? Something else entirely?

This is a wild speculation post! Feel free to reply with your own ideas, the more wildly speculative the better!

0 thoughts on “Pony Thought of the Day: The Nature of the Everfree

  1. My theory is that there's tons of magic everywhere, but ponies in sufficient numbers shape the ambient magic into useful, predicable patterns that they can affect – so if enough ponies moved into the Everfree Forest, the plants and animals and weather would stop working on their own. I assume the castle in the forest was the old capital, before Canterlot, and the Everfree Forest grew up after the castle was abandoned by ponies a thousand years ago.

    Not sure where the monsters fit in, though.

  2. How exactly does a monster in a certain location imply “more” magic? A quick scan of the MLP Wikia article on creatures gives us:

    – The Cerberus from Tartarus
    – The Dragons from various locations
    – The Hydra in Froggy Bottom Bog
    – The Quarray Eels in Ghastly Gorge
    – The Windigos from the very edges of pony influence

    Yes, the Everfree has a great density of magical flora and fauna, but I'd chalk that up to natural selection more than anything else. In such a harsh environment, only the most aggressively magical species rise to the top.

  3. Well, I don't think Tartarus quite counts, since the monsters are imprisoned there–presumably they all come from elsewhere. Whereas the Everfree has Stephen Magnet, at least one manticore, parasprites, the Ursa Major and Minor, at least one cockatrice, timber wolves… there's a lot of monsters there!

    To me it seems intuitively obvious that lots of monsters = very magical place, but to try to suss out the logic behind that intuition… I guess it's that monsters are magical, so they must need a magical environment to sustain them? So if lots of monsters are living in a place, that means it must have lots of magic, sort of how if lots of grazing animals live in a place, it must have lots of grass? (Or it shortly won't have any…)

  4. Depends on how you define magical.

    Equestria is a masterpiece of social planning and has managed to produce an almost completely homogenized society: the vast majority of inhabitants are ponies, with a few cows, pigs, donkeys, and at least one dragon living there. There is little chance for rapid evolution to occur, because there are no natural predators and no food chain to speak of, so birth rates remain low (there are what, a dozen students at the town school?), and living to an advanced age is nothing to brag about. A good third of its inhabitants are biological magic users. Spells are cast regularly, and there is little novelty about it; note that only Snips and Snails, our resident pair of dunces, are impressed by Trixi's magical display. But these spells are almost completely defense or practical. The most violent spells we see are Shining Armor's force bubble that expelled the changelings and Twilight's activation of the elements of harmony to transform Discord back to stone. Certainly a far cry from the tossing of fireballs and shooting of lightning that usually comes part and parcel with magic use. Twilight charges the hydra to stab with her horn rather than cast something that would kill it.

    The Everfree Forest, on the other hand, displays all the hallmarks of a rapidly changing and wild place. We never see the same monsters twice, going episode by episode. Such a violent and dangerous place that also exists in isolation from the rest of the world, with all the attendant mega-fauna one expects from a place with no human hunters to make easy prey of them. The cockatrice does the same “turn to stone” trick without needing the help of 6 powerful artifacts and appropriate users. There is little deliberate or thoughtful use here, and certainly no planning.

    So, if one takes the rapid change and natural force to be the hallmark of magic, than the Everfree forest has it beaten soundly. If magic is in learning, creativity, and imagination, then Equestria wins hooves down.

    Please note that I don't think these are at all in opposition to one another. The whole world is quite magical and strange 🙂

  5. I guess the part where our opinions diverge is “monsters are magical.” I don't necessarily think so. Supernatural is the word I use in my head – but now we're getting into differences in language and word choice.

    Let's refresh.

    Is Everfree Forest MORE magical than the rest of Equestria? …My gut says that Everfree Forest is ESPECIALLY magical, in its own way, but to use the words “less” or “more” is to take away from what it means in the grand scheme of Equestria.

    'Tis a place where all manner of creatures and plant-life are free to grow, completely independent of ponies. Plants grow into new and unusual forms without earth pony magic guiding them. The weather changes without pegasi managing it. Rare creatures make it their home and live without any interaction with ponies. In that light, perhaps, Everfree Forest possesses an inherent and unusual magic that is unfamiliar to ponies in this day and age – natural autonomy.

    The forest is possessed of a strange, unfamiliar magic that is unconnected to ponies – free. The monsters in there, in my mind, are characteristic of that inherent magic. I don't think it's any “less” or “more” than the rest of Equestria, which has plenty of magic and weirdness of its own – just of a different kind.

    And that, as long-winded as it is, sums up my opinion.

    (See, I could DO this analysis thing, but I think the fandom has more than enough people dedicated to it anyway.)

  6. My guess is that it isn't so much more magical (the entire setting is dripping with magic) as that it's infused with a different kind of magic that blocks out some of the kinds the ponies are used to as a side effect. Hydras and manticores are one thing but the Timberwolves definitely look magical and seem like a good symbol for the forest as a whole–it's some kind of magic, but it's a wild and untamed one and you won't get far trying to cut it down with brute force, so the safest thing to do is give it a wide berth.

  7. I remember, in our discussion of ambient vs. inherent magic, one of the theories was that there is ambient magic in the rest of Equestria holding the clouds and other natural phenomena in place until they are moved manually by Pegasi and Earth Ponies (which would explain pretty much everything about the wonky thermodynamics in the show… my own analysis is “kinetic reactions tend to wind down faster over distances than they do in our world”), but the Everfree is the one place where the ambient magic is not there, allowing the weather and ecosystem to move freely… which explains why those with inherent magic, namely Unicorns, are still able to cast spells there even though the other magic users are effectively powerless (unless you count being able to stay aloft with wings that size to be a magic power).

    I also mentioned that one of the tie-in books implies that the borders of the Everfree Forest are slowly creeping outward, which might indicate that something inside there is draining the ambient magical energy out of the world around it…

    …which, come to think of it, might make for a great mechanism to instigate that “The Magic Goes Away” analysis.

  8. Official guide says its just as magical, but it's chaotically tinged. The reason the stuff works on its own is that it refuses to let the ponies control it.

    And yes, it is heavily implied that the forest is intelligent. And it is expanding…

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