| Pony POV Series Season Zero:|
The story's cover art on FIMFiction
|Date published||September 21, 2011 (deviantArt)|
June 16, 2012 (FIMFiction)
|Part of||Pony POV Series|
|Related to||Pony POV Series Season One: Reharmonization|
|Show connection||The Return of Harmony|
"Discorded Ponies" is segmented into eight short stories, each narrated in first person by a different character from the show. The first five and seventh stories are each narrated by one of the main characters—Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and Twilight Sparkle, in that order—and written in a present tense, stream-of-consciousness mode. The sixth and eighth stories (narrated by Trixie and Twilight, respectively) are written in an objective first-person narrative, the sixth written in past tense and the eighth in present tense.
The first five chapters retell Twilight Sparkle and her friends' search of the stolen Elements of Harmony in Discord's labyrinth during the events of "The Return of Harmony, Part 1". Each of these chapters is told from the perspective of one of Twilight's friends, who open their respective chapters by reflecting on instances in their friendship when they acted contradictorily to the Elements they represent. When corrupted by Discord, their mindsets change completely—Applejack decides that lying to her friends is kinder than telling the truth; Pinkie Pie, thinking her friends laugh at her because they never take her seriously, develops a hatred of laughter; Rarity becomes entranced by a boulder, seeing it as a giant diamond, and grows apathetic to everything else around her; Fluttershy feels empty after Discord brainwashes her and begins acting cruel to fill the void; and Rainbow Dash lucidly abandons her friends to protect Cloudsdale.
The sixth chapter changes the story's focus to Trixie, who has gone into self-imposed exile after being publicly humiliated by Twilight during the events of "Boast Busters". She speaks with Discord—who is disguised as a wand resembling her cutie mark—telling him her fears of mediocrity. Offering to help Trixie, Discord teaches her spectacular illusory spells he promises will win over her audiences, and immediately arranges a stage performance with a full audience for her. When she performs the spells, however, the audience does not react and quietly leaves. Trixie angrily confronts two of the audience members, who says that watching unicorns perform stage magic has become obsolete. Discord tells the despondent Trixie that she is too average to perform her new spells properly. Trixie's entire body grays out as she believes herself to be invisible to everyone around her and becomes catatonic. Discord appears above her and says that, having practiced on her (revealing her to be a stillborn Element of Magic), he is now prepared to corrupt Twilight.
The seventh chapter returns the focus to Twilight and her corrupted friends. Twilight is confused by her friends' new behavior, but considers that it is a natural result of the world changing around them and accepts her confusion, turning gray.
An unspecified amount of time later, Discord has taken over Equestria. Twilight and her friends—renamed Twilight Tragedy, Liarjack, Angry Pie, Rarigreed, Fluttercruel, and Traitor Dash—remain corrupted and act as Discord's personal servants, made immortal by a set of artifacts called the Elements of Chaos. The only ponies of the six who have any memory of their lives before Discord's rule are Liarjack and Traitor Dash, the latter of whom breaks down in front of Twilight and says Discord has promised to return the world to normal if Traitor Dash murders the pony who means the most to her. Twilight suddenly regains her memories and rushes to cure her friends, only to be stopped by Discord, who once again erases her memory. The narrative ends with the six setting out to dispatch a group of ponies practicing magic against Discord's will.
Each of the mane six is given a chapter describing their fall into darkness, and how Discord attacks their weaknesses. Rather than simply emotionally torturing them and then brainwashing them, their narratives give the impression of them coming to the conclusion of rejecting their Element of Harmony on their own with Discord's lies prodding them in that direction. In a surprise twist Trixie is given a chapter as well though she was not present in the actual episode, but describe how she came to her selfish attitude in life and her life in ruins after losing everything she owned thanks to the Ursa, and her career destroyed due to their lie being exposed. Twilight is given two chapters, one showing her fall into darkness (which differs from the second episode), and acts as the emotionless narrator of the Epilogue in a timeline where Discord is triumphant.
The small series of fanfics (later retconned as 'Season Zero' of the Pony POV Series) has been largely positively received, spawning multiple recursive fanworks using the same style and premise. However, the work has been repeatedly rejected by Equestria Daily, the reasons changing each time. First because Applejack accent was 'too thick' in the first and shortest chapter. The second time because of grammar and spelling (that has since been addressed and corrected). And the third time because it "read like a conversation piece rather than a story." Ironically, the audio adaption of the series (that has finished Season Zero and has moved onto season one "Reharmonization") HAS been accepted by Equestria Daily and has been included on their media update pages.