This week I learned about the concept of centrality. What determines on how central an item is is how close its relationship is to another object , the number of relationships it has, and how the great of an influence it is to another objects. A good example of centrality would be Princess Celestia from My Little Pony : Friendship of Magic. Despite not being a main character nor playing a huge role, Princess Celestia is pretty important in the show. How can we tell ? Well, let’s examine the number of relationships she has to the other characters.
First of all, she’s one of the two princesses/co-ruler of Equestria so that means she does have a relationship with each and every citizen, whether it is minor or major.
Second of all, she is the mentor of Twilight Sparkle, and ex-mentor of Sunset Shimmers.
Third of all, she is the older sister of Luna who is the second princess of Equestria and co-ruler of Equestria.
Overall, in addition to the amount of citizens Equestria has, 5 +??? relationships in total. This shows that she is quite connected to the a lot of ponies, which is one sign that she is indeed the sun that show revolves around, even if it’s never that obvious. Now, let’s evaluate how strong these relationships are.
First of all, let’s evaluate her relationship to her people.In the show, Celestia only appears physically only in a few episodes. However, I will be focusing only on her appearances when she is with her subjects. From what I can tell from watching the show, many of the ponies *I can’t say all because so far the majority of the reactions are from Ponyville* greatly respect Celestia and wish to please/ impress her. They work very hard to make sure Ponyville is just perfect for their co-ruler, not because they fear her but because they love her. On the other hoof, Celestia is very easy going and forgiving towards them. ( Fluttershy basically once stole her pet and all Celestia did was tell her to ask next time before doing something ).She tries to make sure her subjects don’t over-stress themselves for her. An example of this is when she is having an informal visit at Surgarcube Corner. Mr. and Mrs. Cake, the hosts of this party, over-pamper Celestia by imminently refilling her tea every time she finishes. Realizing how hard Mr.and Mrs. Cake are trying, Celestia decides to pull a small prank to show them that she isn’t as cold and strict as they think she is. She tries to form attachments to her subjects no matter how ‘common’ they are. She is also willing to go out her way and greet every single guest during the Grand Galloping Gala instead of just having ‘fun’ at the event. Overall she has a decent relationship with her subjects. They adore her but at the same time misunderstand her because of her position, and she tries her best to form some kind of relationship which each and every subject.
Now let’s examine her relationship to her student Twilight Sparkle and her ex-student Sunset Shimmer. Celestia appears to have a very strong relationship with Twilight. She puts a lot of faith and trust into her student, entrusting Twilight and her friends to save the day . In addition, she appears to be very loving and kind to Twilight, being concern with her social life and forgiving her even if she did make a large mistake ( like braining washing Ponyville). She also give sincere compliments , instead of just flattering Twilight.
Her relationship with Sunset Shimmer is weaker than the one she has with Twilight however. Despite being in the same position as Twilight Sparkle, Sunset is rebellious against Celestia. She feels that Celestia is holding her back from her destiny. However, Celestia is still very caring about her former student and when Sunset escapes into the magic mirror, she puts the mirror into her throne room hoping that one day Sunset will return.
Her relationship with Luna, her sister, is much more complicated than the three relationships listed above. It is clear that Celestia truly does love her little sister and Luna does love Celestia back in return. Yet when Luna became corrupted and transformed into Nightmare Moon, Celestia’s actions shows that she loves her people more than her sister. Using the elements of harmony, she sealed Nightmare Moon into the actual moon itself to prevent the ponies from starvation. ( Nightmare Moon had planned to lock the world into internal night which would have been a big problem because plants need sunlight to survive and ponies are herbivores). She sealed Nightmare Moon for a thousand years , which meant for a thousand years Celestia lived alone ( just think about it. Even if Celestia did have friends and students, she would always out live them. Luna is the only pony companion who would be able to remain at Celestia’s side.)) After their reunion, there are hints that the sisters have forgiven each other already and are back to be being close sisters again. This shows that their relationship is quite strong even after some complications.
For the final step to see how how central Celestia is in MLP, let’s see how much influence she has on the others. Whenever she comes to visit Ponyville, as stated before, the ponies work as hard as they can to make sure the village is welcoming enough. They become frantic and a bit irrational as they try to please the princess. Clearly, whenever she arrives , everypony is motivated to be on their best behavior just because of her royal status.
Celestia also has as very big influence on Twilight. By giving Twilight the assignment of writing letters about what she learned about friendship, in a subtle way, Celestia modifies Twilight’s behavior by making her become aware of the lessons she learned.( She has to know what she learned before writing it). In addition, in the first episode, Celestia helps change Twilight’s life style so that she would be more social. Even thought it isn’t a direct influence, it is there.
Celestia’s influence on Luna is a bit more mysterious and unknown. From what I can tell, Celestia’s popularity with the subjects is the key thing that influenced Luna to ” go to the dark side”. Other than that not much is known how much influence Celestia has on her sister because all of the events that had happen between them had happened a thousand years ago and no mention of their relationship since.
In conclusion, Celestia has a lot of relationships to the other characters that are decent/strong, and has a good amount of influence on the other characters. Even thought she doesn’t appear that much, Celestia has quite a role in the show.