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Over the course of season one it seemed as though Twilights repertoire of magic was rather narrow, but as season two has progressed she has gained more and more magical power. She can perform time and space travel, force fields and the like.

Is there any indication of a grade or power level she has achieved? Perhaps in a letter from Princess Celestia? Is her level of magical aptitude normal for a unicorn?

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    Here's a really excellent post from Reddit outlining all of the abilities Twilight has demonstrated as of Season 6: reddit.com/r/respectthreads/comments/56b180/… (Updated) – Ajedi32 Dec 27 '16 at 4:11
  • @Ajedi32 Bountied! – AncientSwordRage Dec 27 '16 at 17:37
  • Do you think I should post that as an answer? (With additional explanation and the relevant parts from the Reddit post quoted, of course.) The only reason I haven't yet was that your question currently seems to be asking for some kind of official ranking or grade, rather than just a raw analysis of Twilight's demonstrated abilities. – Ajedi32 Dec 27 '16 at 18:32
  • @Ajedi32 only because I didn't know/think such an analysis would be a succinct 'good subjective' answer. It sounds worth posting though. – AncientSwordRage Dec 27 '16 at 19:26
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    Are you interested in temporary abilities as well? There was an episode where Twilight was arguably one of the most powerful entities in the universe. She reverts back at the conclusion. – Ellesedil Dec 27 '16 at 22:22
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Is there any indication of a grade or power level she has achieved? Perhaps in a letter from Princess Celestia?

The only thing offhand I can think of that would fit this description is her status as Princess Celestia's apprentice/most loyal student (see the character sidebar and summary on Twilight Sparkle's wikia page).

Twilight Sparkle is a unicorn pony who is a special and loyal apprentice of Princess Celestia [...]


Is her level of magical aptitude normal for a unicorn?

She's actually quite capable with magic in contrast to most unicorn ponies, who usually only get a basic couple of powers (mainly telekinesis AFAICT) and one or more special spells related to their cutie mark (for example, Rarity's gem finding spell).

She has shown that there are limits to the power she can exert (only barely being able to levitate the Ursa Minor back to its cave in Boast Busters being a prime example), and she's demonstrated that she can quickly learn even complex spells (glancing at the time travel spell scroll in It's About Time, then nearly immediately casting it).

As far as present limits, it seems to vary based on the spell in question. A few examples:

  • Twilight's teleport spell is dependent upon distance traveled and what she's teleporting with her. In Dragon Quest, she exerts considerable effort to teleport her, Spike, Rainbow Dash, and Rarity to safety (this is as far as Twilight has attempted to stretch her teleport spell), whereas she can ordinarily use her teleport spell with next to no visible effort for short-range teleportation. (An aside, if she's not careful with how she uses it, the teleport spell will drag others nearby with her, with somewhat unpleasant results)
  • She apparently has the ability to make cutie marks appear on ponies who don't have them, with effort expended roughly corresponding to speed at which they appear. (this spell is of questionable utility, but shrug)
  • The effort required to use telekinesis seems to vary based on the weight of the objects being manipulated. She is seen in Applebuck season harvesting an entire orchard with little effort, while the Ursa Minor was difficult to move. (entirely speculation would be that it takes more effort to lift large objects, and more coordination to manipulate things in quantity)
  • She also had the ability to manufacture facial hair (Spell 25), and if memory serves she progressed fairly quickly with the use of that spell throughout Boast Busters.
  • She gained the ability to fire what are essentially lasers from her horn as of A Canterlot Wedding - Part 2, ostensibly through off-screen/inter-episode studies. (side note: this results in the most awesome clip ever)

As a more general statement, I would speculate that Twilight is running into spell limits before she's running out of energy to execute them (given that she easily cast the aforementioned time-travel spell, and the only thing stopping her from reusing it is the spell's once-per-caster limit). Just conjecture though, since the science of unicorn magic isn't well defined to us viewers.

Twilight is exceptional in regard to magic, having dedicated herself to studying the art. Spike mentions in Boast Busters that Twilight's magical ability is exemplary, and Princess Celestia comments about Twilight's enormous raw magical power in The Cutie Mark Chronicles. Unicorn magic requires concentration and effort, as Twilight explains to Spike at the beginning of Feeling Pinkie Keen and to the Cutie Mark Crusaders in Call of the Cutie, [...]

Twilight is shown developing her skills in a flashback in The Cutie Mark Chronicles, where she has some difficulty using magic to turn a page in her book; the scene shows her progressing in her studies, a theme which continues throughout the series.

Twilight possesses the ability to teleport, which was also common among previous-generation My Little Pony unicorn characters. She first teleports on the show in Friendship is Magic, part 2 when she charges Night Mare Moon and disappears only to reappear behind her and next to the Elements of Harmony. She teleports short distances in Applebuck Season to get ahead of Applejack trying to confront her about her over-exertion, and she unintentionally teleports with Spike from the thoroughfare into her library in The Ticket Master, which leaves Spike slightly singed. She teleports multiple times in Lesson Zero, seemingly without effort. As seen in Secret of My Excess, she is able to teleport other beings as well, teleporting Spike several times to clean a lipstick mark off his cheek.

[quotes sourced from the My Little Pony wikia]

  • The thing is she's performed more powerful magic since lifting the ursa minor, and that was season one. Do you see my point about a progression? – AncientSwordRage Apr 26 '12 at 18:46
  • @Pureferret: I'd be happy to expand a bit on that if you'd like :) – RCIX Apr 26 '12 at 19:05
  • Yes please! That would be ace. – AncientSwordRage Apr 26 '12 at 19:06
  • @Pureferret: Done. I'd be making stuff up if i wrote any more on the subject I think :P – RCIX Apr 26 '12 at 19:19
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    On second thought, I could probably ramble on for a few more paragraphs. But this is a good enough answer, so I'll leave it. – RCIX Apr 26 '12 at 22:52
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As the seasons progress, Twilight's power grows.

Notice the spell of teleportation:

  • In S1E2, while confronting Nightmare Moon, the single teleportation across the room takes a lot of effort and leaves her visibly dizzy.
  • Sometime later in the same season, during S1E4; "Applebuck Season" she teleports around casually, chasing Applejack around. Apparently, after confronting Nightmare Moon she got to training that spell thoroughly. Nevertheless, during several dangerous situations throughout this and next season, she at most teleports herself.
  • Then, in S2E21 - "Dragon Quest" she casts a mass teleport, taking herself, Spike, Rainbow Dash and Rarity by a distance that apparently took days to cross on hoof.

Her power was way beyond that of any normal unicorn during the whole timeline of the story, even fairly early on, as is clearly outlined in Boast Busters (S1E6) when she hypothesizing that since most unicorns have assorted talents aided by their magic, and Twilight's special talent is magic, her skill exceeds that of everypony else. Nevertheless, this isn't purely inborn. S1E16 - Sonic Rainboom - reminisces at her as a small filly struggling to flip a page in a book using her magic. Then, the rainboom wakes her potential up, but it still takes years of careful study that let her master that magic - and her studies in Ponyville are just another phase on her way to ascension.

Events of S4 finale shed some light on her power levels as alicorn: they are similar to power of other princesses, and considering the even match against Tirek while wielding power of all four - alicorn power is about one fourth the power of the whole pony population of Equestria.

Note that independently from her "normal" unicorn/alicorn magic, while in cooperation with the rest of mane 6, Twilight wields a separate type of magic - the magic of friendship - and it's a game-breaker power, implied to be limitless: "There is magic without the end".

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Twilight has always possessed a much higher than usual level of raw magical potential (S1E25 The Cutie Mark Chronicles), with Celestia stating that:

You have a very special gift. I don't think I've ever come across a unicorn with your raw abilities.

Keep in mind that Celestia was well over 1000 years old when she said this, and knew legendary unicorns like Starswirl the Bearded personally, so coming from her this statement means a lot.

Twilight and Spike later elaborate on this in Boast Busters (S1E6), stating that most unicorns only posess a small amount of magic related to their unique tallents:

Spike: Twenty-five, Twilight. Twenty-five different kinds of tricks and counting. I thought unicorns were only supposed to have a little magic that matches their special talents!

Twilight Sparkle: True, for ponies whose talents are for things like cooking or singing or math. But what if a unicorn's special talent is magic?

Your perception that Twilight's magical powers have grown over time however is also correct. Since Twilight first took on her role as Celestia's student, her skill at utilizing various spells to perform feats of magical strength has improved considerably.

A couple examples:

Back when Twilight was still quite young, she struggled to perform even a simple levitation spell (S1E25 The Cutie Mark Chronicles). Later, she is able to, with considerable effort, use that same spell to levitate a large magical creature (an Ursa Minor) and the town's water tower a considerable distance (S1E6 Boast Busters).

In Season 1 Episode 2 (Friendship is Magic), Twilight needs to power up and concentrate in order to teleport herself a short distance in front of her. Later she accidentally teleports herself and Spike a longer distance, with unfortunate side effects for Spike (S1E3 The Ticket Master). The very next episode we see Twilight casually teleporting herself around during a conversation with one of her friends (S1E4 Applebuck Season), and eventually we even see her cast a mass teleport (S2E21 Dragon Quest), taking herself, three other characters, and an egg a very significant distance (all the way out of a forest). She continues to cast teleport spells frequently throughout the series, sometimes casually (S4E21 Testing Testing 1, 2, 3), sometimes seemingly without thinking (S4E1 Princess Twilight Sparkle), and sometimes to get herself out of sticky situations (S5E21 Scare Master), demonstrating that she's mastered this ability.

In these situations it appears that it's not so much Twilight's level of magical power increasing as it is her skill with each individual spell.

As of Season 6 Twilight has demonstrated skill with a wide variety of spells, ranging from force fields to gravity manipulation to brainwashing. /u/selfproclaimed on Reddit has compiled an extensive list of these abilites. Here is the section from that list related to magic:

As a member of the unicorn race, Twilight can manifest her inherit magic into a multitude of spells through her horn. Through her years of study and hard work, Twilight’s spellcasting abilities far exceed those of any naturally born Unicorn for at least a thousand years. She is capable of copying any spell she's seen, sometimes even improving it, even if she has only seen it once before and a type of magic she is unfamiliar with.

Concussive blasts

Force Field

Teleportation

Telekinesis

Transmutation

Miscellaneous Spells

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