FimFiction Link - Short ID: 507268/the-archivist
Published: Mar '22
'The Archivist' is a thirteen thousand and seven hundred-word G5 shortfic. A figure from the past appears to deliver some important books and perhaps more.
Contrasting G4 characters with G5 will be a genre I think many writers will likely take up. It provides some nice opportunities to compare the two, give fanon answers to what just happened, and so on. This story plays into this and I think it does it quite well for the most part.
Trixie steals the show, >no hooves down. I was a bit disappointed at first, because she acted in a very subdued and, dare I say, uninteresting way, but this turns out to be a very intentional move from the author. As the story progresses and she opens up, we are given plenty of reasons to understand why she gave up her bravado and by the end she even regains most of it. Either way, she is written with plenty of wit, charming grumpiness, and yet also a surprising amount of emotional depth. So much so, that the rest of the cast really just feels like almost background characters, with perhaps the exception of Sunny. It's not that rest of the M5 doesn't get enough lines, hell, they even get a few serviceable jokes, but them being there didn't particularly add anything to the story. This isn't a big issue, the tags after all don't even mention the others, just set your expectations accordingly.
As mentioned before, in terms of humor, I find this story really entertaining. When Trixie begins to unload her cart and books like "The Little Spellcrafter" or the "Dragon Book" come up, I can't help but find it hilarious. And the story even incorporates its humor into the otherwise serious plot, which makes it all the better.
However, sadly there are a few things I didn't like and all of them have to do with the story's ending. For one, I really, really don't like the elements the author chose for the characters. "Authority"? "Influence"? What's this, My Little 1984? I know this isn't G4 anymore, but still, I find these choices, with the perhaps the exception of "Optimism" and "Trust" to be a very far cry from what the elements are supposed to be. I also don't like the Tree of Harmony speaking. Even if this does happen in the show, it feels just as much of an exposition dump and I think this takes a lot away from the solemnness of the moment. A bunch of vague threats and promises only hurt the self-containedness of the story. The archivists suddenly popping up and claiming "oh by the way we survived and passed down our knowledge" is similarly questionable. It's a fun joke, don't get me wrong, but it takes away a lot from the gravitas of Trixie being the last remaining link.
Overall: 6/10 Hard to score this one. On one hand, the humor hits, Trixie is a gem, and her personal arc is great. On the other, the ending trips on itself by wanting to be more grandiose than it needs be.