So, went down the the Barnes and Noble after work and picked up "Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell." I'd heard a number of things about it, but given I'm writing a fanfic and this is purportedly in-canon with the series, I wanted to get it right from the horse's mouth, so to speak.
As it turns out, Twilight has her own personal quarters now in both Canterlot and the Crystal Empire, but has opted to remain in Ponyville at the Library, for now.
The story has Twilight stressing to make herself worthy of her new title, and shows her feeling understandably odd about being referred to as "Princess." Naturally, she doesn't exactly FEEL like she's changed, in spite of the wings and height and such.
Speaking of wings, we can despair further over getting a "Dash teaches Twilight to fly" episode, because she's flying in this one from time to time too...
We get some clarification about the alicorn thing from Cadance, when she divulges that she was, in fact, born a pegasus, found in the forest and adfopted by earth ponies as a baby. She found her way to princesshood by challenging a wicked mage who used a special necklace (not the alicorn amulet, trust me, said necklace features prominently into the story) that started sapping love from her town. The necklace's powers increase positivity and negativity in whoever wears it, depending on what they exude, and Cadance's penchant for love overpowered the mage's hate and inverted the necklace.
It's at this point that she suddenly found herself in a "strange place" where she meets Celestia. I think we can guess what this is. More interesting is that evidently Celestia was the only one to ever stand in this place until Cadance, and the book states that from the moment she set hoof in it, her fate was sealed.
Thus, we can conclude that it really wasn't CELESTIA who changed Twilight: Twilight achieved what she did on her own. Undoubtedly she was born special, but in the end it wasn't Celestia's decision to make her an alicorn.
This works with my headcanon that Celestia more recognized that something raw and powerful existed in Twilight, that she was more than she seemed, and sought to guide her as best she could. It speaks to the idea that she was kind of ALWAYS an alicorn inside, but had to earn her wings, to torture an old adage ;-)
The story does get a bit less than stellar though, when Gilda and bewilderingly TRIXIE enter in as minor villains. It's perplexing and tacked-on. Gilda is around for some reason when Twilight sends letters to her friends, asking them to convene for a summit to ask them for ideas on what would make a better kingdom, and for some reason this is a "secret". Gilda must be REALLY bored, because she eavesdrops on the meeting, and when it's over she confronts Twilight out of nowhere, telling her if SHE were a princess she'd listen to herself instead of taking other people's advice. And then she leaves, with no greater purpose.
See, Twilight is given the necklace form Cadance's origin story BY Cadance as a gift, and though she warns her of this, as Twilight despairs the necklace starts having the same effect as the locket Horcrux from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Where the story gets a bit smarter is how Twilight misconstrues Cadance's advice of listening to one's heart with taking for granted that you know better than everybody else. It's interesting territory, weighing the value of an informed Rick Grimes "this is not a democracy" stance and the idea that every opinion is worth something.
For some reason Twilight thinks she should ask Gilda for advice and finds her and Trixie replacing barrels of cider with pond slime... in a plan I don't quite follow in which the Apples will sell the stuff and Trixie will stop ponies before they drink it... I dunno, it was weird and confusing, and I'd have thought Twilight would be a bit more damning of this, being a fucking princess, and that the both of them would act a tiny bit more busted, being busted by A FUCKING PRINCESS.
I don't get the feeling the writer had been made privy to "Magic Duel," because while Trixie didn't behave hostile to Twilight, she didn't appear to have learned much either, because she joins Twilight and Gilda on their way to the Crystal Empire, where Twilight wants to bury herself in books at the Crystal Empire library and Trixie wants to put on a show for a crowd that doesn't know her reputation. Hell, she even uses the fucking ursa major claim! Seriously, I don't think either of them needed to be here.
Either way, Twilight reconciles with her friends and finds out that "everybody's equal" is the gist of princess philosophy, and that friendship was the key like it always was, and she wondered why she thought it would be otherwise as a princess.
Yeah, some good stuff for the sake of clarity, and some really soft fiction...
Harry intentionally used the occlumantic link to see Voldemort's thoughts. He was flicking lit matches at Lucius Malfoy.
"Your pain bores me," said Darth Nonose. "Go fetch Severus. I have some death for him."
Wazit_Blade: "Gah! J-Dude just invaded the thread!"