FimFiction Link - Short ID: 505676/resolution-of-a-queen
Published: Oct '21 — Nov '21
'Resolution of a Queen' is an eight thousand-word shortfic. All were hoping that with the Changelings reformed and their endless hunger sated, the species can now turn a new leaf and leave its past behind. Yet, as more and more of them fall to an illness nopony has heard about before, Twilight, in her desperation, turns to their former queen for help, whom reveals the harrowing diagnosis and "cure." Through multiple perspectives the reader is shown how both sides cope with the news and whether they ultimately accept the queen's offer.
As much as I like the "A-plot" of this story, what truly made me appreciate it is how it presents clashing philosophies. The ponies' over-reliance on control is not something the show every directly spells out, but the way the author introduces the concept just makes things click. They want everything under control or else they get, as the fic puts it, "panicky." I personally find this brilliant. It turns the well-intentioned species into unwitting antagonists who, in a way, infect everything just like the Changelings infiltrated their lives.
Then the fic goes one step further and just as it establishes this notion, it immediately also calls it into question. Is Chrysalis right about her assessment? Do ponies really corrupt everything or is it her who's so stuck in "how things always were," that she's completely unreceptive to change and that there might actually exist a cure for the Kuru? Furthermore, I really like how spiteful and cold she acts, yet her mask slips every once in a while and she shows just how desperate and hurting she is for her children.
I'm also a fan of how this story was capable of making Spike intimidating and nuanced. The way he talks about his compulsion and how he already faces discrimination due to who he is is a nice way of broadening the world, without going to far from the main narrative. I'm not sure if the author was thinking of G5, when mentioning the idea of the "collapsing pillars" of pony-creature relations, but it's a foreboding analogy.
There is one big pain point in the whole narrative in my opinion: The story's crescendo, in which Chrysalis is forced to euthanize much of her own hive, feels... insubstantial. I don't even mind that it happens "off-screen," the issue is rather that both Starlight and Spike take the whole thing so nonchalantly compared to how anxious they were earlier that I didn't even realize what has happened until I went back and re-read the chapter. It's almost played as a joke with Chrysalis saying that Starlight is "going to hate this plan" and then the next chapter begins with her saying "I hate this plan." It's an amusing gag, don't get me wrong, but it further made the whole situation feel less dignified than the story was building up to.
Overall: 7/10 Despite this, I very much enjoyed reading this story and I recommend it to anyone who likes impactful dramas and ethical dilemmas.