FimFiction Link - Short ID: 205160/monarchic-melancholy
Published: Jul '14 — Apr '16
I must somehow have offended someone in my past life, because I am forever doomed to long after incomplete fics. Nevertheless, Monarchic Melancholy is a 77k fic about the life of cynical government functionary Blueblood the Beleaguered as he is abruptly thrust into the highest seat of the realm as, not one, not two, but all four princesses disappear overnight.
Few depictions of politics in Equestria convinces me; it is a credit to this fic that ponies in the civil service and the government here actually do feel like ponies. Different ponies might have different perspectives, aims, positions, may be more stubborn or so on, but maintain a very pony decency to them.
This is also a believably Blueblood Blueblood. He has a delightfully sarcastic inner voice that contrasts with the image he presents outside. Blueblood here takes the helm reluctantly; to his own disbelief does the desire to prove himself for once to Celestia, and a strange sense of duty to an Equestria, full of ponies he hates, win out over the desire to just do nothing. And yet you feel for him at the end of chapter 1, sitting in Celestia seat, filling a position that no pony, no matter how bureaucratically competent, can ever fill.
Blueblood may be a cynical paranoid asshole, but at least he isn't alone on this sinking ship. The main characters of this fic is the royal regency council, consisting of Royal Secretary Raven, Blueblood's secretary Frayed Inkwell, Pegasi representative and old friend Argent Typhoon, Chancellor Serene Bloom, Chief of the Equestrian General Staff Augustus Thunderclap and Captain-General of the Royal Guard and frustrating brother-in-law Shining Armor. It is a testament to Celestia that nearly all of them are some level of loyal and competent, and a good deal more realistic than many other fics of this nature. Just as fun is the Stable of Peers, which undoubtedly inspired by the chaos of the Westminister Parliament, is just as filled with the yelling of blithering buffons as its real world counterpart. Undoubtedly, the true enemy facing Blueblood and Equestria is no external enemy, but the sheer incompetence that begins to rest in any bureaucratic organisation overtime and only shows its rot in crisis.
A nitpick is that this fic likes to use some anarchic terms - e.g. alarums instead of alarm. The narration at times descends into fits of egotism and self-congratulation or depreciation - but this is Blueblood! It is completely in character!
8/10 perfect depiction of the tediums of political life.
Incidentally, this remains one of my favorite Bluebloods. If you are wondering, the objectively correct list of most Blueblood Bluebloods goes: Hero of Equestria > this fic > The Flight of the Alicorn > TBNE >>>>>>> literally everything else.