Monday, July 20, 2015

Spike of My Little Pony -- an Adoptee in Search of His Roots

Top (Rainbow Dash), middle left (Rarity), (Twilight), (Applejack), (Pinkie Pie), front (Fluttershy and Spike)













In honor of Trotcon 2015 that was held this past weekend in Columbus, Ohio, my daughter (a HUGE fan of the show) gave me the idea of writing about Spike, the adoptee of the My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic series (created by Lauren Faust).  This is hands-down one of the best series out there teaching about lessons of friendship. The music is top notch as well.

Elements of Harmony

In Season Two, Episode 21, "Dragon Quest," Spike's story is explained more thoroughly.

Spike, is a purple and green dragon.  (not to be confused with the purple and green dinosaur) who was raised in Ponyville, not knowing his original parents.  In one scene, Spike is speaking with several of the Ponies.

Spike does not realize at this point he does not act like a "real dragon"  He is seen wearing a pink heart apron.

Rainbow Dash tells Spike he is "lame".

Rarity replies, "Spike is unique -- he doesn't have to look like other dragons"

Twilight adds, "Or act like them."

Rarity replies, "My little spiky wikey is perfect the way he is"

Spike looks distressed and asks, "I don't act like other dragons?"

The Ponies go on to tell Spike he is so cute which results in Spike becoming increasingly upset (he is turning red and angry)  and states emphatically,

"DRAGONS AREN'T SUPPOSED TO BE CUTE!"

These series of events ignite Spike to question where he came from. You see him laying in bed asking Twilight:

"What am I?"
"Where am I from?"
"Who am I supposed to be?"





Twilight yells in frustration, "I DON"T KNOW! For the last time, Spike, you were given to me as an egg!"  I don't know where they found you!"

Spike:  "That doesn't tell me anything about WHO I AM! I need answers!I feel like I'm looking at a complete stranger!"

Twiilight: " Oh, Spike, why don't we do some late night research and see what we can find out."

They start looking through mounds of books at the library and find nothing because "ponies know next to nothing about dragons" and "dragons are too rare and scary to talk to and look at."

Spike cries and then finds his strength and proclaims, "I WILL DISCOVER WHO I AM IF IT IS THE LAST THING I DO!"

Spike decides to leave Ponyville to go on a quest to discover who he is.  He plans to follow the dragon migration.

The Ponies try to talk him out of it, but then later become supportive.


During his travels, Spike comes up upon dragons much larger than himself who harass and bully him.

The other dragons do not believe he is a real dragon so they challenge him to "prove it".  They put him through numerous tests and begin to accept him.

Nearby Twilight, Rainbow Dash and Rarity are hiding in a Dragon costume spying on Spike and the other dragons.  They overhear Spike proclaiming that he would like to stay with the other dragons forever.

The group of dragons decide to travel to the Phoenix nest to steal eggs.  However, when Spike finds a defenseless Phoenix egg that fell on the ground without cracking, the other dragons pressure Spike to smash it and he refuses.  Before the dragons can retaliate against Spike for taking a stand, the ponies reveal themselves and Twilight teleports them to safety.

Teary-eyed, Spike proclaims to the other ponies,  "You are more than friends, you are my family"

You see spike penning a letter toward the end of the episode:

Dear Princess Celestia (the ruler of Equestria):

Seeing the great Dragon migration, made me wonder what it meant to be a Dragon, but now I realize that who I am is not the same as what I am.  I may have been born a Dragon, but Equestria and my pony friends have taught me how to be kind, loyal and true.  I'm proud to call Ponyville my home and to have my pony friends as my family. 

Yours truly, Spike


What themes do you see in this episode that are familiar?  Do you believe that the writing confirms what many adoptees feel after their searches?  Or do you, like me, feel that a few important elements were left out of the story (i.e. where did Spike come from and who were his parents?). . . . .

Although I doubt the intent of the writers was to minimize search and reunion, I feel that this episode confirms the mainstream idea that only the people who you grew up around are your "family".  Some of us may come to these conclusions after search and reunion but many of us will believe we finally found our family within reunion.

Many of us learn that by loving our biological families and incorporating them into our identities, it only adds to the love we already feel about our adoptive families. You see a hint of that when Spike admits he would like to stay with the other dragons forever and appears to feel more complete upon his arrival back to Ponyville.

I do wholeheartedly embrace the idea that your friends can become your family. Because that has been true for me within the adoption community.

Would love to hear your thoughts!




























2 comments:

  1. I wish the dominant narrative weren't so "easy" for anyone not living it.

    I think Spike's story could be really great. I imagine there are adoptees who search and find that they don't really feel they fit in with their natural families, but who do feel they fit with their adoptive families, and I'd hate to undermine that feeling. I would think that you could feel that way and still feel better about knowing your origins.

    The problem with making that the story told in a children's cartoon, though, is that you're right -- that's what we, as adoptees, are told should be the case. It sounds as though Spike's natural "family" is portrayed as rather awful, unethical, possibly criminal but at least unfeeling and destructive. Doesn't that sound like a lot of adoptive parent/social worker narratives? Ones that justify "saving" children from their "horrible" original circumstances? The one that says that adoption is "better for" adoptees?

    For me, my half-completed reunion has made me figure out how I fit into both families. Now that I can see some of my own traits mirrored back, I understand better the place I carved for myself in my adoptive family. The thing is, I don't really fit in either one very well. It's not seamless, at least. I have a long history with my adoptive family. They know all my stories, all my quirks, and my entire path. My natural family (or, rather, the side of it that I'm in contact with) doesn't know any of that, but they held a place for me and we relate to one another rather easily.

    Poor Spike.

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  2. Thank you for your thoughts, Yan.

    "THIS. -----> "Now that I can see some of my own traits mirrored back, I understand better the place I carved for myself in my adoptive family. The thing is, I don't really fit in either one very well. It's not seamless, at least. " YES!

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