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A vector of a standard Changeling
Changelings are a race of insect-like equines in Equestria that first appear in A Canterlot Wedding - Part 2 as the minions of the episode's antagonist, Queen Chrysalis. Able to feed off love and take the shape of other lifeforms, Changelings have been depicted in both a positive and negative light within fan works.
- 1 Depictions in fan labor
- 2 Character X is a changeling
- 3 Fandom speculation
- 4 Gallery
- 5 See also
- 6 References
Depictions in fan labor
Many stories about changelings follow a basic setup. It begins with a changeling, who after being blasted away by the force field created by Shining Armor and Princess Cadance, lands somewhere within Ponyville and surrounding countryside. Sometimes the changeling is injured, or in some weakened state. When the changeling finally realizes what is happening, they will not initially go back to the swarm. This is either through losing contact with the swarm, through choice, or through some other inability preventing them from re-grouping. The changeling may end up disguising his or herself as they search for the nourishment of love, which will lead to the events of the story. Often in fan material, a changeling may develop genuine love or affection towards a pony - an example of this being the song titled "The Sameling".
A fanfic which partially explores the homeland of the Changelings, though the focus is on Chrysalis, is Adored, which portrays it as an allegory of Tsarist Russia and other 18-19th century Eastern European peasant nations.
One fanfic tackling the issue of 'Changelings living peacefully in Equestria' is Citizen Weevil, in which Changelings, amongst other species, have immigrated en masse to Equestria, whilst simultaneously addressing issues such as mass immigration and multiculturalism.
Reality Check's Nyx-verse features an alternate and more positive interpretation of Changelings, with chapter 21 of Nightmare Night and Nyx featuring explanations from a pair of adult Changelings. They reveal that they are predators, living off the ambient energy of positive emotions, both their own (though it isn't as nutritious as that of others - Celestia mentally compares it to a cow living off its own milk) and that of ponies and other species, combining it with sugar and water into nectar for later use, and requiring it to digest normal food. However, it takes at least two or three ponies to produce enough energy to feed just one Changeling; having many in an area would be disastrous, effectively causing famine from over-hunting, and so living in a conquered land full of hatred towards them would result in the same thing due to having so little ambient love to feed them. This is why most of their kind regard Chrysalis as a "rabble-rousing fool", and her army as "nothing but young malcontents who bought her promises of plunder and fat living if they helped her conquer Equestria", referring to the invasion of Canterlot as "Chrysalis's Folly". When the popular interpretation of Changelings living in a hive, with Chrysalis in the same role as an ant or bee queen and all of the soldiers as her offspring, is mentioned to a pair of adult Changelings, they are stunned and consider the idea ridiculous: the mother replies that giving birth once was hard enough, producing hundreds is something they can't even imagine. Their new information, along with the family's aid in thwarting the plans of a group of ponies who wanted to eliminate Nyx, leads to Princess Luna taking them under her protection and allowing the family to live in peace as citizens of Equestria, with the young Changeling Flitter even attending classes at the Ponyville Schoolhouse. It is later discovered in that same story that the filly Twist and her family have long been able to use their inherent Earth Pony magic to produce a concentrated version of Changeling nectar, albeit without realizing that's what they were doing, by pouring their love into their most basic candy mixes. Due to the resulting nectar being so potent, they must combine it with other ingredients, turning it into various types of candy, in order to keep from getting sick when they eat it. Nevertheless, the candied nectar they produce is more than enough to sustain a family of Changelings, which makes their lives a lot easier.
Changelings have been expressed visually through comics, vectors, and paintings, as well as other forms of art. Some have used this art to develop their own OC's while others have used it to express their thoughts on the new villains. Still others use the shape-shifting abilities of the changelings for humorous purposes, such as having an annoying character copied a hundred fold for example.
Character X is a changeling
Stories in which one or more prominent characters were revealed to be a Changeling all along exploded in popularity after the release of A Canterlot Wedding, including several that featured the character not knowing they were a Changeling until Cadance and Shining Armor's spell affected them. Stories involving this plot include Princess Celestia: The Changeling Queen and its sequels (in which Princess Celestia, after her battle with Nightmare Moon, entrusted her memories and Equestria itself to the Changeling Princess Alternia, who took on Celestia's form until Celestia, who had gone into a form of suspended animation in order to heal from her injuries, could return; the same story also portrays Zecora as a Changeling Queen who'd created her false identity hundreds of years before), Winds of Change and its sequel (in which Rainbow Dash died performing her childhood Sonic Rainboom and, upon being found by a Changeling who would soon create the identity of Bon Bon, allowed an unborn Changeling to take on her memories and appearance), The Irony of Applejack and its sequels (in which an infant Changeling wound up at Sweet Apple Acres and, after taking on pony form, was named Applejack and raised by the family as their own), The Flower Blooms Twice (in which an infant Changeling wound up at Sweet Apple Acres and, after taking on pony form, was named Apple Bloom and raised by the family as their own), and Change (in which Queen Chrysalis entrusted her infant daughter to the unknowing Sparkle family to raise, causing her to grow up as Twilight Sparkle).
A fallen people
A different rendition of Changeling society is depicted in Hole Hearted. Rather than a wholly evil entity, the Changeling race is revealed to be a product of a curse through their own mythology and pony. Curing the curse becomes their driving motivation. Lost to the ages, it is now uncertain whether such a cure exists. The hope of a cure is dangled by Changeling Queens as a means of controlling the masses. The Caste roles: Worker, Warrior, and Infiltrator thus have origins in the pony races Earth, Pegasi, and Unicorn respectively. Their fall has biblical overtones.
It can be presumed that like Equestria, the Changeling Kingdom is an absolute monarchy, with Queen Chrysalis as thus the absolute head of government and state. Little has been speculated about her relatives or whether there is a cabinet of ministers or advisers, but one fanfiction, Maternal Instinct, has Chrysalis as a member of the Royal House of Roachanov, whom have ruled over the Changeling Kingdom for around half a millennium and who have a reputation for royal intermarriage, both to keep their blood pure and to lower their female members' fertility (while the average Changeling has a very high birthrate) in order to whittle down the size of the family thus to prevent too many contestants to the throne.
In some story, the changeling are said to eat blood instead of love. These story often show that the Changeling have the same emotions that the pony, but, as they often starve for blood, they need to attack other country. The royal family act the same way than in the other story (Intermarriage), but it's often said that they care for their people.
Old Eastern European society
A new but growing theme within the changeling fandom is that they come from a kingdom far away from Equestria. This Changeling Kingdom is one based on Tsarist Russia and other 18-19th century Eastern European nations. It is a mountainous, winter beset country, overwhelmingly populated by a large and extremely poor peasant population who are ruled over by an extremely rich, but incompetent and inept autocratic monarchy. Queen Chrysalis is essentially the Tsar; incompetent, having little grasp on the reality of her subjects' suffering, living in an extravagant palace and even has a royal adviser called Weevil.
Imperial Japanese society
In the fanfiction, Maternal Instinct, an unique take on Changeling society bases it on 18-19th century East Asian society, primarily Imperial Japan, serving as a contrast to much more Western society of Equestria.
A different but still widely accepted theme within the changeling fandom include the fact that the race works with a "hive-like manner" otherwise known as eusociality. The drones, or workers of the hive, are under the leadership of a queen. This is however, based on the evidence shown within the show itself. Mainly being the fact that the changeling's appearance and behavior is already reminiscent of typical insect societies we see today.
In Smoke and Mirrors, the author explains how changelings could be a corrupted version of the flutterpony race. That is, they were flutterponies until they were morphed by Discord into what they are now. Chrysalis, being somewhat immortal-or at least has an impressive longevity- remembers this disaster quite vividly.
Briefly seen in the show itself, what appears to be an armored changeling is briefly seen before the main characters charge to battle. Many speculate he or she is some sort of leadership caste, perhaps a captain, general, or commander. This idea of an "officer" in the changeling ranks has led to fan fictions, and artists recreating the changeling in various stances. Some have speculated the caste may be some sort of general or second-in-command. Surprisingly, the changeling officer is another element found in "changeling in Equestria stories". In some of these stories, he/she represents the changeling swarm itself, being the element that tries to convince the main character to abandon their new-found life and return to the old one they served back at the swarm. In other depictions, he himself is the main character of the story. Whatever one might think, the changeling officer has been shown to be very loyal to the queen, to outright hating their job, as seen in Tales of a Changeling Commander 
The Armored changeling is featured again in the Official Comic Book Series which not only shows that there is more than one of them but confirms their role as advisors and guards to Queen Chrysalis. The Armored changelings are also capable of intelligent speech.
- vren55 (2013-07-24). Princess Celestia: The Changeling Queen. TV Tropes. Retrieved on 2016 June 19.
- Masterweaver (2013-02-25). Winds of Change. FIMFiction. Retrieved on 2016 June 19.
- Masterweaver (2014-09-04). Lyra Is Crazy: Many Months Of Mommy Madness. FIMFiction. Retrieved on 2016 June 19.
- Mister Friendly (2014-05-13). The Irony of Applejack. TV Tropes. Retrieved on 2016 June 19.
- Tatsurou (2013-01-22). The Flower Blooms Twice. FIMFiction. Retrieved on 2016 June 19.
- tom117z (2015-10-18). Change. FIMFiction. Retrieved on 2016 June 19.