Equestria Uncovered: Looking at Lyra and Bon Bon

LB pic 1 As if the title of this column wasn’t suggestive enough, I follow up my debut post with Equestria’s number one lesbian couple.  It seems strange that one of the first things that the fans picked up on was these two background ponies standing close to each other, and then deciding they were in a sexual relationship.  Well, that’s one of the side effects of having an adult male fan base who loves posting on the internet.  As dismissive as that sounds, I feel it’s one of the more interesting memes to come out of the fandom because despite the more ‘obvious’ reason that some of us enjoy this pairing, it’s a great example of how the themes that the show has been trying to impart on its audience can be represented in unconventional ways, at least in terms of what’s usually associated with children’s television. So what do we know from canon?  In this case, very little.  Unlike background characters such as Derpy, these two haven’t been upgraded from ‘background clone’ yet, which means they’ve made several appearances all over Equestria.

I give you 'The Clones of Lyra' and 'Cowboy Bon Bon'

I give you ‘The Clones of Lyra’ and ‘Cowboy Bon Bon’

The closest thing to canon we have is that Lyra’s last name is Heartstrings, and she’s apparently Irish.

or some horse pun for Irish.

or some horse pun for Irish.

As for Bon Bon (who is sometimes referred to as “Sweetie Drops”), she’s had some lines but in several different voices.  The most prominent of them sounds like Ellen Greene from Little Shop of Horrors.

♪ Suddenly Lyra!  Is standing beside me! ♪

♪ Suddenly Lyra! Is standing beside me! ♪

Fan canon on the other hand tends to come in three different flavors; the aforementioned relationship, Lyra’s obsession with humans, and Bon Bon being a changeling.  We’ll start this discussion of the characters with a question I’ve had since I’ve been aware of this paring.  Should Hasbro incorporate these characters into the show, and have an episode about their relationship?  In these increasingly progressive times, the LGBT community has made massive strides towards, not only legal rights, but societal acceptance.  A lot of people believe that the rapid rate at which this community has been advancing is because of the prevalence of gay and lesbian characters in our media.  Marshall Gregson from the United States of Tara, Cameron and Mitchell from Modern Family, Will Truman From Will and Grace, and many more have invaded the average American’s household and have since become a part of our popular culture.  It only makes since that a show whose creed is love and tolerance would be willing to have such a relationship take place in its world.  Friendship is Magic has always been trying to push boundaries as far as what is expected from children’s (and especially young girl’s) entertainment so it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary if the writing staff went ahead with this idea.  A real honest to goodness gay or lesbian couple just being a natural part of a children’s cartoon can do wonders for normalizing these kind of relationships for kids who are just learning about love and gender roles.  It would also be pretty simple to do.  You wouldn’t want an episode focused on it, because there would need to be an antagonist of some sort, and I doubt the writers would want to put that kind of bigotry in Equestria.  The best way would be to make a Hearts and Hooves day version of “The Cutie Mark Chronicles” where the CMC ask how people fell in love, and Lyra and Bon Bon could be a couple they ask about.  Done.  I’ll take my check now Hasbro.

make out to “CASH”

make out to “CASH”

So given all these great reasons to do so, will Hasbro ever do a Lyra and Bon Bon episode?  No.  Never.  Never ever ever.  Assuming one of the writers actually writes a story about them, Hasbro has little incentive to have it made.  Hasbro is a toy company who doesn’t have a real stake in this fight, and picking a side definitively could potentially alienate some of their target audience.  It’s the same reason Derpy will never return in a significant role because  no matter how delicately they handle the subject matter, there’s gonna be people who have issues with it.  Look at what recently happened when Hasbro announced they were bringing SheZow to the hub.

despite the hero not being transgendered and the humor mostly coming from making fun of the overtly feminized costumes worn by female superheroes. But whatever.

despite the hero not being transgendered and the humor mostly coming from making fun of the overtly feminized costumes worn by female superheroes. But whatever.

I also hate to say it, but the prevalence of the clop community will provide enough ammunition for anyone who finds the episode objectionable.  Does this mean I have a problem with cloppers? Not really.  One of the side effects of having a fan base like the Bronies is that we have that kind of baggage associated with us.  Look at anything else that has adult fans, and you’ll find porn of it.  To judge anyone because of what they yank it to is one of the more hypocritical things a person can do.  Everyone has that folder on their computer that they never want anyone to find.  If you’re one of those people who don’t, you either have an AWESOME partner, or an INCREDIBLEY boring life.  Despite the prevalence of this within our ranks, the adult oriented influence has actually given us some of the best things in our community.  We have fan fiction that spans from epic adventures to intimate character pieces.  Studio quality animation and music can be found all over YouTube.  Tumblrs with great art and storylines are popping up all the time.  The adult influences on this franchise have far outweighed any of the negatives.  That being said, it makes it that much easier for those who want to attack us to find the kind of questionable material that makes us and the show look bad.

] Don’t forget that this shit happened WITHOUT us antagonizing them.

Don’t forget that this shit happened WITHOUT us antagonizing them.

Okay, so the gay angle is about as likely to happen as Laurent Faust coming back to the show.  No biggie.  There’s more that can be done with these characters to make them an interesting addition to the series.  Let’s get into Lyra being obsessed with humans.  Obviously this began with the ‘sitting Lyra’ meme, and has since spun off into her most defining characteristic. LB pic 8 Lyra being obsessed with humans never really clicked for me.  I always felt that the existence of humans in this universe would seem way to out of place and would end up overshadowing the original charm of the universe in which they live.  We’ve seen this kind of thing before.  One of the problems (like there’s only enough problems to feasibly count) of the Transformers films, is that despite being about giant robots in an intergalactic war, we had to focus on the problems of a twenty something douche bag.  However, I’ve become much more amenable to the idea since seeing Equestria Girls. Having humans only exist in an alternate reality allows the show to let humans to be a part of the universe without having it interfere with the mythology of Equestria, which is one of the more brilliant things about Equestria Girls and why I think that universe shouldn’t be dropped after the movie.  One thing that having this remain a part of MLP is that they can finally give Lyra a significant role in the series.  She would be a pony who is a so called expert in humans but has no real experience in their world (an Arthur Weasley type if you will).  It would be a great way to introduce Lyra into the series while maintaining one of her most defining features.

"From what I've gathered, humans are able to communicate with their un-sharpened claws, their "hands" if you will, and there's one particular gesture that tends to get a significant reaction.

“From what I’ve gathered, humans are able to communicate with their un-sharpened claws, their “hands” if you will, and there’s one particular gesture that tends to get a significant reaction.

As for Bon Bon, she’s considerably underdeveloped when compared to Lyra.  The only reason I bring up the Bon Bon is a changeling meme is that there’s almost nothing else that defines her outside of her relationship with Lyra.  The meme started as a reaction to her appearing repeatedly in several shots, as well as her voice changing each time she appears.

This is the extent of Bon Bon changeling art I could find.

This is the extent of Bon Bon changeling art I could find.

Unlike Lyra’s obsession with humans, I don’t see the changeling angle having a real future in the series.  I could see them reintroducing the changelings into Pony society at some point; after all, Equestria is all about Love and Tolerance.  They saved Luna from corruption, and even gave Discord a second chance, so having a changeling show up in Ponyville looking for acceptance would be a good premise for an episode.  Using an existing character model however, would be distracting.  There’s already merchandise about her, so having Bon Bon suddenly be a changeling would be unnecessarily jarring.  Personally, I don’t mind if her whole deal is owning a sweet shop.  You could make an episode about her opening one up that competes with Sugar Cube Corner. Once again, Hasbro can send me a check.

First you get the money, then you get the power, then you get the women.

First you get the money, then you get the power, then you get the women.

So do these characters have a future in the show?  I’d say it’s pretty doubtful.  As much as we may like these fan characters, they haven’t had much success in the series.  Even characters that were prominent in certain episodes tend to get pushed aside by the Mane 6.  For now, it looks like we’re gonna have to stick to what we have, which isn’t something to dismiss as long as the fan base remains strong.  Here’s to Lyra and Bon Bon; Progress may come in strange forms, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome! LB pic 12

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FAN FAVORITES

Fan Fiction

Stability by SlightlySerious

I recently discovered this story, and so far it’s the best Lyra and Bon Bon fic I’ve read.  A lot of people like to say “When Lyra met Bon Bon” is the quintessential Lyra/Bon Bon fic, but for me that story lacked any real punch or poignancy.  It’s always more interesting to find out what happens after the first kiss than to just assume they lived happily ever after, which is what “Stability” is all about.  It’s a story that chronicles the daily hardships that these characters have to endure just to get by, and yet it still manages keep a light hearted tone.  Love may not be enough, but with enough determination and hope, anything is possible.

Tumblr

Heartstrings by TriteBristle

The story follows Lyra who has just woken up with amnesia in the Everfree forest and is found by Bon Bon who decides to take her in.  The art is very show accurate, and the writing remains solid throughout.  Has a large cast of character which include most of the more popular fan and secondary characters (Berry Punch, Colgate, Cheerilee, etc).  It’s one of the better explorations of their budding relationship that I’ve seen.

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One more down, hopefully a bunch more to go! Think I’m an idiot? Most likely. Let me know in the comments below!

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Image Sources

Lyra and Bon Bon (Bench) by nikolaz15

Lyra’s Destiny by Cyberglass

Lyra?! That’s whose hand? by jggjqm522

No Hands by DragonBlood6400

lyra in pants by egophiliac

Part of Your World by bipole

Lyra The Science Pony by Roflpony

I Can Never Tell Her by mostlyponyart

Loving one’s True Self by mostlyponyart

A Night To Remember ~ Third Class Dance by Icaron

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9 thoughts on “Equestria Uncovered: Looking at Lyra and Bon Bon

  1. Phyra

    Good article! You covered everything I knew and wanted to know. It’s a pity we’ll never get a Lyra/Bon Bon/Any other kind of Background pony centralized episode, you’re right, like you said.

    The story Background Pony by shortskirtsandexplosions, was a delightful and refreshing new take on the Lyra Heartstrings “usual fandom tropes” I just read recently…. It’s pretty popular as well, 3.8k likes, countless views, lots of good rep. At 432k words though, it’s not light. I recommend checking it out if you like the more mellow and slice of life kinds of writing.

    http://www.fimfiction.net/story/19198/background-pony

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  2. Xanni

    One thing you didn’t mention is that the show often shows Lyra and BonBon together and once showed Lyra with BonBon’s saddlebag and vice versa, which no doubt encouraged the shippers!

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  3. maxponymike

    I’m amazed with as much as you like Egophiliac that you missed the take on Bon Bon in Slice of Pony Life. The many voices and appearances are explained there as different identical “twins (quints, sextuplets?) of Bon Bon, each with a different name and personality: Bonnie, Bombe, Bon Suite, Bonelle, Bon-Bond, Bonita, Sweetie Drops and of course, Bon-Bon.

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  4. Vree

    I’m surprised too thaqt you missed BonBon’s “mare of a thousand voices” meme as it is a lot more prevalent than the changeling one. The fact that she’s had a different voice every time she spoke on the show is joked about and has been explained as a talent or hobby (see for example botchan-mlp’s “prank” comic), voice altering candies (tritebristle’s “Heartstrings” series) or being one among a set of identical twins (egophiliac).

    There’s also singificant art about their NORMAL life which I think is an angle we are much more likely to see on the show. BonBon’s shop has been imagined a number of times (I like the romantic gift shop one for example, because it seems to click with how important romance is to their depiction; but her being an associate or rival of the Cakes works too).

    Lyra’s usually shown as a bit of a slacker, so being out of a job wouldn’t be completely unfitting, but there’s actually a significant amount of fanart&fiction about her being one of the musician ponies and/or a rival of Octavia. (There used to be more hints about her escaping family pressure in Canterlot – the pony fan-named Lyrica is usually depicted as her mother – but this has not been explored much since s1.)

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