"Hearth's Warming Eve" is the first Christmas-themed episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Produced as the thirteenth episode of the show's second season, it premiered on The Hub on December 17, 2011.
The episode starts with a shot of a snowy Ponyville, as the six friends are on a train on their way to Canterlot. Once they arrive, Twilight expresses her delight at Canterlot at this time of year, with Rainbow Dash agreeing and wishing that it could be Hearth's Warming Eve every day. Later, the ponies are seen backstage preparing for the play that Princess Celestia asked them to perform. Fluttershy shows a large amount of stage fright, which is only worsened when Rarity says that there will be hundreds, maybe thousands, of ponies watching the play, prompting her to hide in a box, back to the state that Rarity found her in the first place. The ponies are then called on stage, and the play begins.
The play is about the history of ponykind and how Equestria was formed. Spike, as the play's narrator, explains how life was before the huge storm came. Earth ponies grew food, and in payment for providing weather, the Pegasi were given some of the food. The unicorns also wanted payment for magically raising the sun and moon. This fragile relationship continued until a large blizzard came along, causing a food shortage and destroying it completely.
Without any food, the leaders of each pony tribe met up to discuss what to do. The meeting, however, went poorly, as each of the leaders continued to argue with each other. After the assembly, three ghostly horses called the Windigoes are shown overlooking the earth below from a passage in the clouds. Each of the leaders returns to their second-in-command and explains that the meeting went poorly because the other leaders refused to cooperate. Smart Cookie (Applejack) then tells Chancellor Puddinghead (Pinkie Pie) that they are out of food. Chancellor Puddinghead exclaims that they need to grow food somewhere else, and each leader comes to the conclusion that they must find new land to inhabit.
Commander Hurricane (Rainbow Dash) and Private Pansy (Fluttershy) fly through clouds, while Princess Platinum (Rarity) and Clover the Clever (Twilight) travel through a forest, and Chancellor Puddinghead and Smart Cookie travel across a gem-encrusted mountainside. Each tribe leader finds their ideal land and claims it for their tribe - Commander Hurricane names her land "Pegasopolis", Princess Platinum names her land "Unicornia", and Chancellor Puddinghead names her land "Earth" as a recommendation from Smart Cookie (to replace her original choice of "Dirtville"). However, each tribe has claimed land right next to each other, and more arguments ensue about who gets to own the land. Commander Hurricane calls for a fight to the land, but each of the advisers' votes for everyone to just calm down. Chancellor Puddinghead throws a snowball at Princess Platinum, and then each leader realizes that the blizzard has once again returned.
To escape the blizzard, each pony makes their way to a cave. Once in the cave, they continue to argue over who gets what part of the cave. Once each tribe has marked out which part of the cave they get, they begin to argue over rocks. Due to their constant arguing, the Windigoes return, causing an ice blizzard, which freezes each of the leaders solid. The advisers, however, manage to hold good relations to each other, regardless of the different tribes they hail from. They all joke with each other, exclaiming that the leaders' arguing is what caused all of this, and tell stories and sing, the songs of which became the carols that are still sung in Equestria today.
With their continued display of friendship, Smart Cookie, Clover the Clever and Private Pansy manage to melt the ice surrounding their leaders. In the end, all of the tribes learned that harmony and love to each other can conquer over hatred and grief. After the leaders settled their differences, they all finally live in harmony with each other ever since while founding the new land, Equestria. At the end of the play, the cast and audience begin to sing a carol.
Once the play is over, backstage, Twilight thinks about why the Princess chose them to perform the play, coming to the conclusion that they exemplify what good friends are. Unfortunately, a window bursts open, and they all start arguing about who will close the window. However, when they hear the distant wail of a Windigo, Rainbow Dash comes to her senses and closes the window without further argument. The episode ends with a shot of Canterlot with the same magical heart floating above it that broke the blizzard in the cave in the play.
- Chancellor Puddinghead's line "I am just about to be brilliant!" is a quote from the 1952 film Singin' in the Rain.
- Unicornia, the name Princess Platinum chooses to name her land, was also the name of the city where the unicorns lived in the My Little Pony G3 special My Little Pony Crystal Princess: The Runaway Rainbow.
- The story of Hearth's Warming Eve is recited in the Equestrians' flashback in the later ninth and final season episode "The Ending of the End - Part Two" (925).
- Regarding the Founders' genders:
- Commander Hurricane, while played by Rainbow Dash, was confirmed to be male in The Journal of the Two Sisters.
- Clover the Clever was stated to be male in Equestria Girls: Forgotten Friendship.
- While Chancellor Puddinghead was seen to be a mare in a book illustration, a slide in "Marks for Effort" shows Puddinghead as a stallion.
- Twilight's line, "PINKIE!!!" is recycled from "The Ticket Master".
- Clover the Clever was the student of Star Swirl the Bearded, who was first mentioned in "Luna Eclipsed".
- The flag of Equestria depicts Celestia and Luna on a yin-yang symbol, which was shown at the beginning of "Friendship is Magic, part 1". However, the play notes that Celestia and Luna were not the rulers at that time.
- During "The Heart Carol" at the end, the background ponies in the audience is shown singing with the Mane Six, but in the close-up of the Cutie Mark Crusaders and in the zoom-out of the stage, the background ponies have their mouths closed.
Shout! Factory included the episode on the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - The Friendship Express DVD, released on February 28, 2012. It was later included on the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Season Two DVD set, released exclusively on Amazon.com on May 14, 2013. Its latest release was on the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic & Littlest Pet Shop: Winter Vacation compilation DVD, released on October 6, 2015.
|Tara Strong||Twilight Sparkle (speaking)|
Pinkie Pie (speaking)
|Tabitha St. Germain||Rarity (speaking)|
|Rebecca Shoichet||Twilight Sparkle (singing)|
|Kazumi Evans||Rarity (singing)|
|Shannon Chan-Kent||Pinkie Pie (singing)|
- A Very Minty Christmas
- "A Hearth's Warming Tail"
- "The Hearth's Warming Club"
- My Little Pony: Best Gift Ever
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Wiki: Hearth's Warming Eve
- "Hearth's Warming Eve" at TV.com
- "Hearth's Warming Eve" at the Internet Movie Database
- "Hearth's Warming Eve" recap at TV Tropes