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This article is about the TV version of the character. If you wanted to visit the comic version of the character, visit here at Heroes Wiki.
Villain Overview
Long live the king.
~ King Sombra.

King Sombra (or simply known as Sombra) is a major antagonist of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. He appears as the main antagonist in "The Crystal Empire" and in "The Beginning of the End". He is also the supporting antagonist in "The Cutie Re-Mark". In the IDW MLP comics, he appears as the secondary antagonist in the 13th story arc Siege Of The Crystal Empire; the real main antagonist being his "mother" Rabia.

He is a tyrannical unicorn and the former ruler of the Crystal Empire who is bent on reconquering the empire and later taking over all of Equestria. In Season 3, he returned alongside the Empire and plans to retake it so he can regain his physical form and conquer Equestria with his army of mind-controlled slaves. However, his plans were thwarted by Cadance, Spike, The Mane Six, and the Crystal Ponies, and he was defeated. In Season 9, Sombra was restored by Grogar (who is Discord in disguise) to join his team of villains so they can conquer Equestria together. However, Sombra refused to join the team and he goes out to conquer Equestria on his own. He managed to destroy the Tree and Elements of Harmony and succeeded in conquering Ponyville and Canterlot. However, he was defeated once again by the Mane Six.

In the IDW comics, it is stated that Sombra is actually an Umbrum created to destroy the Crystal Heart and release the Umbrum army trapped underneath the Crystal Empire; although this is considered to be non-canonical to the series.

He was voiced by Jim Miller in Season 3, and was voiced by Alvin Sanders in Season 9.

Appearance

In his true form, King Sombra is a demonic unicorn with a gray coat, red eyes with dragon-slits, a flowing black mane and tail, a red curved horn and sharp teeth. His attire consists of metal armor, a red royal mantle and a grey helm with two curved spikes on each side, a tiny cylinder on the front between two red spikes and three black parts that cover his muzzle and sides of his face. By Season 9, the grey lines on the muzzle part of the helm are gone.

At some points, his irises become green with purple smoke coming out, and when forcing anypony to see their worst fears, his eyes turn completely green with the pupils disappearing for a moment.

In shadow form, Sombra appears as a shadowy mass with only his eyes visible. Later, he shows off his muzzle, two fangs and his horn.

Personality

King Sombra Evil

King Sombra laughing evilly.

Compared to other villains on the show, King Sombra's personality is not too elaborated on. Instead, he is little more than a dark and looming menace for most of the episode. He has very few speaking lines, some of them are partially incoherent, and is a very mysterious character, whose backstory is limited to the fact that he enslaved the crystal ponies. The source of his dark powers and his motivations remain an enigma. However, he is shown to be extremely cruel, fierce, brutal, sadistic, heartless, destructive, merciless and wicked, viewing crystal ponies as nothing more than his slaves, using fear on them and other characters, and licking his lips as the prospect of possibly killing Spike (although he may have primarily been after the Crystal Heart).

He is also shown to be tyrannical, manipulative, and power-hungry, as in the altered future he tried to take over the rest of Equestria once retaking the Crystal Empire, creating a dark future of war. He is believed to be one of the most evil and darkest villains in the show. 

Sombra appears to be very satisfied, thoughtful, intelligent, appreciative, and perspicacious, as he seemingly thought ahead of his enemies and placed a curse upon the empire to disappear if he gets defeated, and he cleverly booby-trapped the way to the Crystal Heart. He ended up outsmarting Twilight as she fell for every one of the traps, more than one of which would have defeated Twilight Sparkle if not for the presence of Spike.

In Season 9, though he still comes close to conquering Equestria and displays intelligence by tricking the Mane 6 into revealing their source of power, he is also shown to be dangerously pompous, arrogant, and overconfident, preferring to not work with the evil alliance formed by Discord, who was in the form of the ancient Grogar, in favor of taking Equestria for himself and ignoring his warnings about working together, which ultimately proved to be his downfall. He is so overconfident in fact, that he left the Mane Six to be trapped in his crystal cage instead of controlling their minds, thinking that without the Elements, they are powerless to stop him. Also, when he reached the throne room of Canterlot Castle and saw that  the princesses weren't there, he immediately assumed it was because they were too scared to face him, when in fact they were responding to the Everfree Forest's overgrowth. When he seemed to defeat Discord (who was, in fact, faking his defeat) with a blast, he quickly boasted that he was the most powerful creature in Equestria, completely ignoring the fact that Discord was clearly winning and he just got in a lucky shot because Discord was protecting Fluttershy.

Comics

In the comics, Sombra's personality is quite different from the show, depicting him as more sympathetic. Before he turned evil he didn't want to, and in contrast to the show where he was about to murder Spike for being in his way, he is unable to bring himself to kill Amore (which he is implied to have done in the show given her absence) so he turns her to crystal and non-fatally shatters her instead, also turning Celestia and Luna to stone instead of killing them and threatening the same to Chrysalis if she betrayed him. He also still seems to care for Radiant Hope, which led to his redemption.

Powers and Abilities

Eyes of the king

Sombra's shadow form.

King Sombra is a dark and fearsome unicorn with powerful magic unlike any other, inferred by Celestia to be dark magic, fueled by hate and fear. Sombra is likely the most powerful unicorn to have appeared in the series, able to conquer kingdoms without help or any sort of outside empowerment, unlike other villains. Nothing less than the Crystal Heart, Elements of Harmony, Discord, or the Magic of Friendship are capable of neutralizing and destroying him.

Sombra first appears as a being of shadow that Celestia and Luna turned him into in the past. He is presented as a massive force of pure darkness that is impossible to touch, can spread to immense distances, and sink into the ground to spread corruption. Once restored to his unicorn form, he is capable of turning into shadow at will. King Sombra doesn't seem to be a natural unicorn, but a living force of nature that can be dispelled out of existence by magic.

Sombra s empire by mysterymelt-d5skxoo

The entire Crystal Empire is corrupted.

King Sombra's dark magic is mainly affiliated with darkness, corruption, and generating black crystals from surfaces to be used as weapons, platforms, or cages that can also neutralize magic. He can also hypnotize others to show ponies' greatest fears, suppress memories, or turn them into slaves to his will. Sombra can also levitate objects and project blasts from his horn as part of standard unicorn magic.

Other spells he knows include the curse he used to make the Crystal Empire disappear, concealing darkened rooms, and creating traps and items that use his dark spells. The latter includes animated doorways that trigger fear spells, platforms that trigger crystal cages, and conjuring royal guard helmets from thin air that use his mind control spell.

Weaknesses

As a creature affiliated with hatred, fear, and despair, his greatest weakness appears to be magic that is fueled by love, joy, and other such positive emotions. He is thus unable to penetrate Princess Cadance's magical love barrier and is destroyed by the Crystal Heart, an artifact powered by positive emotions. After his revival, his destruction came from magic powered by the six ponies' friendship, which he was unable to overpower either.

Despite his intelligence, he is also shown to be greatly overconfident, which led to his second defeat and being dumb enough like all villains to believe he can defeat the Mane 6 by all himself with or without magic.

Theories

  • Some think King Sombra might have been the "outside force" that magnified Luna's jealousy to turn her into Nightmare Moon. He could have sensed Luna's resentment toward her sister during his battle with them, and cast a curse to magnify it before he was banished (his curses are established to survive his banishment). Others suspected it to be the G4 incarnation of Tirek, but he eventually did appear and does not possess the same powers as his G1 counterpart.
  • Some suspect that Celestia and Luna actually killed him the first time, and that he was a ghost when Celestia and Luna banished him, and all throughout The Crystal Empire, hence his shadow form.
  • Others suspect that Sombra originated as a shadow entity who took pony form.
    • In Fiendship is Magic Issue 1, this is proven to be somewhat true, as Sombra is revealed to in fact not be a real pony, but instead a shadow creature who was created to resemble a pony, explaining his lack of a cutie mark. However, its canonicity is retconned by Season 9.
  • There is a theory based on his voice and his more arrogant personality that Sombra in Season 9 is a clone or illusion created by Discord as Twilight's "warmup" round. Evidence to support this theory is that he did not kill the Mane 6 after trapping them (supposedly so that they could experience their greatest fear), stood by when Discord made his speech before trying to kill them at Canterlot (though both points could be attributed to overconfidence thinking the Mane 6 were no threat without the Elements), and there is no explanation as to how he faked being destroyed by the Elements (leading to the idea that Discord kept the Sombra battle going long enough for the Mane 6 to realize they could defeat their enemies without the Elements), as well as "Grogar" putting up no argument when Sombra said he would take over the Crystal Empire on his own.

Relationships

Allies

Unlike the other main antagonists of the series King Sombra dosen't have any friends, he only cares about himself and being better than anypony, the TV series version of King Sombra hardly has any allies whatsoever. The closest he ever had to allies were his mind-controlled Pony slaves who do his bidding. But they are more pawns than allies. In the non-canonical comics, King Sombra does have one ally before his redemption.

Radiant Hope

In the comics, Radiant Hope is King Sombra's former childhood friend. They first met as children and quickly befriended each other and play together since no other filly wants to play with them. After Hope tells Sombra about the Crystal Faire and the Crystal Heart, they both visit the Crystal Heart and see visions of themselves in the future, with Hope seeing herself as a beautiful princess while Sombra sees himself as a monster.

Sadly, every year when the Crystal Faire happens, Sombra falls ill with Hope by his side. One year, Radiant Hope heals Sombra with her newfound healing abilities, and she gains her cutie mark. Later, the Princesses of Equestria invited her to study with them in Canterlot. However, she witnessed Sombra's descent into evil and shattering Queen Amore so he can take over the Crystal Empire. Heartbroken and upset about this, Radiant Hope had no choice but to warn the Princesses and they went to defeat the new Tyrant of the Crystal Empire. The remorseful Radiant Hope meets the Umbrum and they invited her to their realm so she can remain in their realm for thousands of years until she is ready to return to Equestria.

In the "Siege of the Crystal Empire" story arc, Radiant Hope resurrected King Sombra and they eventually fix their relationship after Hope reveals that she never fulfilled her own destiny in the Crystal Heart's vision. Thanks to Radiant Hope, King Sombra redeems himself, defeated the Umbrum, gets rid of all his dark magic, and he joins Radiant Hope on a quest to find the missing pieces of Queen Amore's statue.

It is currently unknown if Radiant Hope ever existed in the canonical TV series, due to the fact that the comic story arcs that King Sombra and Radiant Hope appeared in were contradicted in Season 9.

Enemies

The Mane Six

King Sombra proves to be one of the most challenging and biggest enemies the Mane Six has ever faced. They hardly interacted in his debut in the Season 3 premiere. But Twilight is the only one in the group Sombra interacted with the most from the start, making him one of Twilight's archenemies. But in the Season 9 premiere, the resurrected King Sombra physically encountered and fought the Mane Six a couple of times and he managed to almost beat them by destroying the Tree and Elements of Harmony and almost conquered all of Equestria (well only Ponyville and Canterlot, not as much taken over like in the movie). But the Mane Six, with the help of Discord and their newfound confidence with each other, managed to defeat King Sombra one last time at Canterlot Castle. Showing they were still able to defeat him without the elements the whole time when they work together, as Sombra gets scared and desprate as the Mane 6 can still power up with no elements as Sombra gets scared, shocked and desprate as his plan didn't work as he yells at them that he destroyed the source of their powerful rainbow magic, but they tell him that it's their teamwork and friendship is what makes them stronger than him, and Sombra was too much of a fool to think he can defeat them all by himself, then they defeat Sombra once and for all with the rainbow magic, as Sombra screams and disappears in the shadows again.

Princess Cadance and Shining Armor

King Sombra considers both Princess Cadance and Shining Armor two of his biggest archenemies. In the Season 3 premiere, Cadance and Shining Armor attempt to protect the Empire after it has recently returned. When the Mane Six arrive to help, King Sombra attacks them in shadow form and when Shining Armor stayed behind to defend his friends and distract the King, the Unicorn shoots a blast at the shadowy figure. But Sombra dodges his magical blast quickly and places a curse on Shining Armor's horn, blocking his magic with small dark crystals on his horn. Later, when Cadance's magic gave out, the magical barrier that protects the Empire breaks apart, allowing King Sombra to breach inside and attempt to retake the Empire.

Before he was able to grab the Crystal Heart from Spike and regain his power, Shining Armor tosses Cadance right at a nick of time and grabs both Spike and the Crystal Heart quickly. Cadance then encourages the ponies to use the light and love within themselves to ensure that King Sombra does not return. The Crystal Ponies soon powered the Crystal Heart and its power managed to save the Crystal Empire and destroyed King Sombra and his dark influence across the Empire.

In the Season 9 premiere, King Sombra was recently resurrected and attacks the Crystal Empire again. He managed to capture Cadance's and Shining Armor's daughter Flurry Heart, so he can threaten them to surrender. Cadance and Shining Armor reluctantly do so and King Sombra briefly succeeded in reclaiming his kingdom. But this victory was short-lived when the Mane Six arrived to challenge King Sombra and they managed to defeat him easily with the Elements of Harmony and save the Empire. Little do they know, that King Sombra tricked them into thinking they defeated him, so it can lead him to the source of their power and destroy it. Sombra never encounters Cadance and Shining Armor again after that.

Princess Celestia and Princess Luna

The two sisters proved to be one of the biggest enemies to King Sombra and he has a history with them. He has done battle with them one thousand years ago, during the end of his reign. But Celestia and Luna managed to defeat Sombra, turn him to shadow, and banish him to the ice of the Arctic North, where he is to remain there for thousands of years. But it was not before Sombra put a curse upon the Empire, that caused it to vanish in thin air.

Thousands of years later, Sombra and the Crystal Empire return and he attempts to retake it. So, Celestia and Luna send Twilight and her friends to the Empire to help Cadance and Shining Armor protect it from harm. It proved to be successful and King Sombra was defeated once more.

In the Season 9 premiere, the recently resurrected King Sombra managed to destroy the Tree and Elements of Harmony and he corrupted all the inhabitants of Ponyville so he can lead his hypnotized army to conquer Canterlot castle. When Sombra enters the throne room, Sombra was surprised to see that Celestia and Luna were not there and assumed that they fled, too cowardly to even stand against him, increasing his mighty ego and overconfidence.

What Sombra does not know, is that the true reason Celestia and Luna left the Castle defenseless is to respond to the Everfree Forest's overgrowth after the Tree of Harmony was destroyed. Celestia and Luna heard the news from Twilight Sparkle about King Sombra and the two Alicorn sisters inform Twilight and her friends to go and defeat Sombra while they, with the help of Star Swirl the Bearded, deal with the forest. In the end, King Sombra is destroyed again and Equestria was saved. Sombra only physically met and fought the Princesses once in his lifetime.

Discord

Discord and Sombra never physically met each other up until the Season 9 premiere. Discord decided to come up with a misguided plan to prepare Twilight for anything when she becomes the ruler of Equestria. Not only did he bring back some of the previous antagonists of the series, but Discord even used a magical stick that drew a blue rune on the ground. The rune glows and a black crystal forms out of the ground. Smoke starts spiraling everywhere in the cave and King Sombra is successfully resurrected.

Discord, who was posing as the ancient evil ram sorcerer named Grogar, plans to have King Sombra join his team of baddies in his fake plan to conquer Equestria and defeat Twilight and her friends once and for all (when in reality, he just wants to pose a threat so Twilight could be confident enough to rule Equestria). But King Sombra rejects the offer and proclaims that he only does things on his own and will destroy anypony who gets in his way. Discord finds Sombra's arrogance ironic since he too was defeated for being too overconfident in the Season 2 premiere. So as "Grogar", Discord allows King Sombra to go and try to take back his Kingdom and will send him there himself. "Grogar" also made a deal with Sombra that if he wins he will keep the Empire for himself. But if he fails, he will submit to "Grogar". He also warns Sombra that if he refuses the deal, he will personally send him back into the Ether. This causes the King to finally agree with him and boasts towards the other villains that no one can stand in his way and will defeat all who will oppose him, much to the annoyance of "Grogar" and he uses his magic to quickly teleport Sombra to the Empire.

Later on, Discord, back in his true form, hears that King Sombra has destroyed the Tree and Elements of Harmony and has successfully conquered Canterlot and Ponyville. Discord was forced to help the Mane Six defeat King Sombra, even if Discord was unsure about it. Discord fought off Sombra's magical attacks, but when he brings up that Fluttershy is his favorite friend, King Sombra gets a very devious idea and he shoots a blast, heading towards Fluttershy. Discord blocked the blast by taking a hit and pretends to be injured by Sombra's dark magic to encourage his friends into action. This causes the Mane Six to realize that they still represent the spirit of the Elements without using the artifacts. Discord witnessed Sombra's final demise.

Later, Discord poses as "Grogar" again and returns to his "lair" to show Sombra's demise to the other villains as a warning of what could occur to them if they do not work together to defeat the Mane Six. Later on, "Grogar" was betrayed by Chrysalis, Tirek, and Cozy, thanks to their newfound powers gifted by the Bewitching Bell and they use the Bell to steal Discord's magic, revealing his true form to all of them, much to their surprise. Discord managed to run away to Canterlot and confessed that he was the one who resurrected King Sombra and confesses his motives, much to the shock and horror of the ponies. Luckily, in the end, Discord was forgiven for his actions and the other three villains were defeated. Since Sombra was defeated before the revelation that Discord posed as Grogar all along, it is unknown how Sombra would react if he was still around and learned the truth about "Grogar". It can be assumed that he would be both confused and outraged that he was being used in order to boost Twilight's confidence. If he were to be resurrected again and found out the truth, he would've blamed Discord for his defeat and possibly seek revenge on him. 

In the end, Sombra and Discord had a very poor relationship from the start. 

Others

The Crystal Ponies

King Sombra is shown to be one of the biggest threats to the Crystal Empire and thus he had a poor relationship with his own subjects, the Crystal Ponies. In the Season 3 premiere, the Crystal Ponies feared King Sombra greatly to the point that they never wanted to remember the time he ruled over them. It is not shown what Sombra actually did to some of the slaves, but he was a cruel and heartless King as he enslaved the Crystal Ponies. He will even go as far as to corrupt them to do his bidding.

Grogar

King Sombra and the real Grogar have never physically met, but King Sombra has heard about him. Sombra has heard tales that he was once the first Emperor of Equestria and the Father of Monsters. The real Grogar could be one of the main inspirations for King Sombra to conquer all of Equestria for himself.

Queen Chrysalis

Queen Chrysalis and King Sombra only met physically in the Season 9 premiere when they were both summoned to "Grogar's lair". They didn't interact much, but whenever King Sombra is boasting or being arrogant, Chrysalis and her fellow villain Tirek was very annoyed. It is currently unknown what Sombra thinks of Queen Chrysalis, but he felt he is more superior to her and he does not need her help. Because Sombra decided to not join the Legion of Doom, their relationship never truly went anywhere and thus they barely have a relationship.

Lord Tirek

King Sombra has heard about Lord Tirek and claimed that he is a "better villain" than he is, as said by Big Jim Miller on Twitter. He feels superior to him and does not need his help. Lord Tirek and King Sombra also only met physically in the Season 9 premiere when they both were summoned to "Grogar's lair". Though they don't interact much, King Sombra does not seem too surprised or intimidated when "Grogar" fed Tirek a small sample of magic and he grew into his second form. Sombra even helps Tirek explain to Cozy Glow who Grogar truly is. Tirek was shown to be annoyed with King Sombra when he starts boasting about how he will defeat all who will oppose him. Because Sombra decided to not join the Legion of Doom, their relationship never truly went anywhere and thus they barely have a relationship. 

Cozy Glow

Cozy Glow and King Sombra only met in the Season 9 premiere and they barely have any relationship whatsoever, since they don't interact much. It is unknown what Sombra thinks of Cozy Glow, but it can be assumed that he disliked the fact that she is a normal Pegasus filly. Like the other villains, Sombra thinks he is more superior than Cozy Glow and that he does not need her help. When Sombra boasts about how he is gonna destroy all who stand in his way, Cozy was the only villain in the team who is not annoyed but more concerned by him. Plus, in The Beginning of the End - Part 2, when Tirek and Chrysalis asked "Grogar" if Sombra succeeded in his plans, Cozy Glow has a strange smile on her face, as if she hoped he win somehow. Because Sombra decided to not join the Legion of Doom, their relationship never truly went anywhere and thus they barely have a relationship.

Reception

Sombra growling at Shining and Flurry S9E1

Sombra growling at Shining Armor and Flurry Heart.

Sombra initially received a mixed reception from both critics and viewers alike, with much criticism going towards his lack of screentime, lines, and character development. The main counter to this is that Sombra was not meant to be a "talkative" villain but a more Sauron-like looming threat and an evil presence.

King Sombra's design has also been criticized by some fans, many calling it uninspired. This is most likely due to the bias against red-and-black Original Characters, as the rest of his design is quite distinct. Tempest Shadow and IDW comic villain Shadowlock received similar criticism regarding their designs, names, backgrounds, and personalities.

Despite his criticism, King Sombra has gained significant popularity among the MLP fandom, and these fans often denied his death and speculated that he survived. In Season 9, it is confirmed that Sombra was banished into the Ether and is revived by Discord, who disguised himself as Grogar. It is another way of saying "killed" but they tone down the word. He was killed off twice in the series. 

Complaints of his lack of screen time and development were likely what drove the comic writers to feature him in “Fiendship is Magic #1” & “Siege of the Crystal Empire”, as well as take the opportunity to explore him and make him in a way that they see fit. Despite the success of his comics, though, fan criticism towards him grew, with many complaining about what the writers modified his character into as well as his redemption.

Sombra gained some slight popularity from The Cutie Remark, when it showed what would have been if Sombra had taken over the Crystal Empire in one of the darkest moments of the show, despite having no lines and less screen time than Chrysalis in that episode.

His reappearance in Season 9 gathered more positive reviews, with fans saying that Sombra finally has more screentime, lines, and has done more evil actions, though his origins are still yet to be explored. Alvin Sanders's performance as King Sombra in the episode, though, garnered a mixed reaction, with some calling his voice not fitting for the character. In response to this, Jim Miller explained that when he voiced Sombra, he voiced him as an ethereal and not completely formed being, like a ghost, while Alvin Sander's voice is his real actual voice. Despite this, his appearance in Season 9 helped the character to become more popular with fans of the show.

But others have complained that Season 9 reduced him to a stereotypical over-the-top bad guy compared to his original appeal as a no-nonsense threat, not to mention making him too one-dimensional compared to what the aforementioned comics had given him. His humiliations by Grogar and Discord have also disappointed some—making them feel that the writers sacrificed his credibility for the sake of advancing other characters, instead of actually giving him a proper comeback. Coincidently, Grogar and Discord are revealed to be one and the same, with Discord posing as Grogar all this time, thus making Sombra's humiliations to be caused by the same being. It is also revealed that Discord is the one who brought King Sombra back, which makes Discord one of the most powerful beings in Equestria, which is why Sombra cannot take Discord down. 

Despite this, King Sombra remained as one of the most popular and fan-favorite villains in the series. 

Episodes and Appearances

Appearances in the Show

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

Season 3

Season 5

Season 6

Season 7

Season 9

Comics

Friendship is Magic

Friends Forever

My Little Pony: FIENDship is Magic

Nightmare Knights

Quotes

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

Season 3

Crystal Heart...
~ King Sombra
My crystal slaves...
~ King Sombra

Season 9

Sombra: I don't do "ours"; I only do mine! I will take back the Crystal Empire on my own, and I will destroy anypony who gets in my way!
"Grogar": Such confidence. Go! Try to take back your kingdom. I shall send you there myself. If you prevail, you may keep it. But when you fail, you will submit to me!
Sombra: And if I refuse this deal?
"Grogar": Then I shall return you to the darkness from which you were summoned.
~ King Sombra to "Grogar" (Discord) in The Beginning of the End - Part 1.
Ha! You're no match for me! I will finally rule the Crystal Empire. (gasps) Wait, with you out of the way, I will rule ALL of Equestria!
~ King Sombra in The Beginning of the End - Part 2.
Sombra: No! This can't be possible! Your magic can't defeat mine! I DESTROYED THE SOURCE OF YOUR POWER!
Twilight: You can't destroy our friendship, Sombra!
Rainbow Dash: And we keep telling bad guys.
Applejack: But y'all just don't seem to remember.
Mane Six: Friendship is Magic!
Sombra: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
~ King Sombra's last words before being destroyed by the six's power for good.

Comics

What do I do with this power? Why am I the only one with it?
~ Sombra
Restore her? Help me? You've got it all wrong, Hope. I don't need help anymore. And as for Princess Amore, she's not the saint you think she is. Inside she was... broken.
~ King Sombra
I am not just any monster, Hope. I am king of the monsters!
~ King Sombra

Trivia

  • Prior to his introduction in the series, Sombra first appeared on Hasbro's Pony Wedding micro-site before any information about the character was released publicly. The quiz does not refer to him by name. In the microsite's Wedding Quiz section, the quiz "Your dream wedding location!" includes the question "Who should be the MC?", with Sombra as the choice that steers the quiz's result to the Crystal Empire. Writer M.A. Larson wrote on Twitter regarding the quiz's image of King Sombra that was presented to him: "Interesting. I read about that in a script but never seen it before."
    • Sombra is also mentioned by one of the crystal ponies and Twilight Sparkle in the promotional clip for The Crystal Empire shown at Hasbro's My Little Pony panel at the New York Comic Con 2012 and later uploaded to Hasbro's My Little Pony Facebook page. His distinct eyes briefly flash over the crystal pony who mentions his name.
  • Sombra has a few distinctions as being the first major antagonist in the fourth generation who is:
    • A male character associated with darkness (Discord is more associated with chaos and based on Q).
    • A pony who is not an alicorn (Trixie, Diamond Tiara, Silver Spoon, and the Flim Flam Brothers are minor antagonists).
    • Inspired by a Lord of the Rings villain (the Diamond Dogs are minor antagonists).
    • The first character in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic to die (not counting the Windigos, who were never truly destroyed). He also dies a second time in the "The Beginning of the End - Part 2", only this time, he dies a permanent death.
  • Sombra appears to be a blank flank, as he has no visible cutie mark during the scene when he is turned to shadow. This is shown in more detail in "The Cutie Remark".
    • In Fiendship is Magic Issue 1, his status as a blank flank is revealed to be due to him not being a real pony. This is confirmed to not be canon to the show, however, and his past remains a mystery.
  • Prior to the episode "Magic Duel", many fans believed Trixie's Alicorn Amulet to have a connection to him. One common theory is that Sombra was corrupted by it and was so far gone that he gained its power and malevolence permanently, another state he was the creator of it. The Amulet also shares the King's color scheme.
  • "Sombra" is a Spanish, Portuguese, and Galician word for "shadow", which comes from the Latin umbra.
    • "Umbra" is also the inspiration of the name "Umbrum", which is Sombra's species in the comics.
  • A differently-shaded version of the armor around King Sombra's neck is used for the 2012 Design a My Little Pony Finalists poster, as part of Steel Masquerade's armor.
  • When he is destroyed, his horn is shown flying past the screen, giving some the impression that he survived and would regenerate from his horn. However, at Unicon 2013 Meghan McCarthy confirmed that Sombra is dead. The Fiendship is Magic comic books have, in response to this theory, depicted him as a ghost tied to his horn, from which he is revived. In the show, his severed horn is not shown when Sombra is revived by "Grogar", and thus does not seem to be significant.
  • He shares traits with Tirac, as both are creatures who work in shadow, have a looming, threatening presence, and end up destroyed. His first death also almost mirrors that of Lavan, another G1 villain.
  • Since he has no known motivation for acts of unspeakable cruelty, he is, along with Tirek, Chrysalis and Cozy Glow, one of the darkest and most evil villains in Friendship is Magic. In fact, he could even be the most evil antagonist in the series as he has no redeemable qualities whatsoever. Sombra does not show any compassion towards anyone and he refuses to ally with others, unlike the other villains in the series. This shows that the TV Series version of King Sombra has no allies whatsoever.
    • However, his evil intentions are revealed in the Fiendship is Magic comics. Though non-canon to the show, this incarnation of Sombra was tragic and redeemable. The comics also show Radiant Hope, Sombra's only true ally and former childhood friend.
    • The TV series version of King Sombra is also the closest the series had to a Pure Evil villain because of his tyranny and enslaving the Crystal Ponies and appears to take delight in seeing others suffer such as casting a spell to show others their greatest fears. Furthermore, unlike the Legion of Doom members, he does not show any moments of compassion. He will even go as far as to hypnotize fillies and colts to do his bidding and enslaving a baby, Flurry Heart and used her to coerce Shining Armor and Cadance to surrender. However, despite all that, Sombra was still not heinous enough due to the standards of the show he appeared in. Plus, his huge ego, overconfidence, and boasting are unintentionally a bit comedic as it annoyed "Grogar" and the other villains. Also, it is still unknown if or not Sombra's past is the same in the comics. Therefore, he is not truly pure evil, but he is still one of the most sadistic and heartless villains that ever appeared in Friendship is Magic, and was also evil enough to be destroyed by the magic of love and friendship on two separate occasions.
  • It is possible that King Sombra murdered Princess Amore, the Crystal Empire's previous ruler when he took it over since she is never seen in the Crystal Empire, which Princess Cadance and Shining Armor take over after Sombra's death.
    • In the Fiendship is Magic comics, he turned Amore into crystal and shattered her into pieces, though it is confirmed this did not kill her. However, as the comics are now confirmed to be non-canon, this might not have held true to the show, in which Sombra is more violent and murderous.
    • Ironically, the pony who defeated him the first time, Princess Cadance, is a distant relative or descendant of Princess Amore.
  • Sombra was intended to appear in Octavia's dream in the episode "Slice of Life" and have a Devil Went Down to Georgia style cello battle with her, but this was cut due to time constraints.
  • He, along with the Storm King and the Mean Six, are the only characters on the show to actually die. Chrysalis, Tirek, and Cozy Glow get something close but not technically the same.
    • Sombra is also the only villain to actually be destroyed by the Mane Six.
    • He died twice in the show. First is in Season 3's premiere, where he was shattered to pieces by the Crystal Heart powered by the Crystal Ponies. He was resurrected in Season 9's premiere but was killed again by the power of friendship, powered by the Mane Six, and is turned to dust. Since "Grogar" decided not to revive Sombra, this proves that Sombra is gone for good. 
  • Some fans believed Sombra was brainwashed by the crystal that claimed itself to be his mother when it unlocked his shadow powers, and Sombra having already been in emotional turmoil made it easy for this dark power to take him over; in which case he could be considered a tragic villain. However, this was proven to be false.
  • Sombra and Nightmare Moon swap villain defeats in the comics; in the show, Sombra died and Nightmare Moon reformed, as she and Princess Luna are established to be one and the same. In the comics, Sombra is resurrected and reformed, while Nightmare Moon is a separate entity from Luna and Rarity and is killed by Spike.
  • Meghan McCarthy has stated in an interview that Sombra was inspired by Sauron and was only meant to be a dark presence that brings fear to the crystal ponies.
  • He says, "Kneel before Sombra," a reference to a similar quote by General Zod.
  • Elements of darkness and shadow have occurred in several other previous MLP villains - most notably Nightmare Moon and Tirek. Interestingly enough, both Tirek and Sombra (though the former comes from a different generation of My Little Pony) have tried to kill Spike and are the darkest antagonists in their generations. Both are also ultimately destroyed.
  • His voice is different in Season 9 than in Season 3. Jim Miller explained that this is because in Season 3 he is "ethereal and spectral", implying that in Season 3, he may be a ghost, though he could just refer to him being in a disembodied state.
  • He is the first villain who has actually managed to destroy the Elements of Harmony.
  • He is the third villain to be the main antagonist of two separate two-part twice, the first two being Starlight Glimmer and Queen Chrysalis.
  • As displayed in "The Ending of the End - Part 1", of all the villains to be summoned by "Grogar" (who, as revealed in the episode, was really Discord in disguise), Sombra was the only one who actually played into his true plan of making the Mane Six confident rulers of Equestria, since his return served to push them in this direction.
  • The "Long live the king" quote is possibly a reference to Scar from The Lion King.
  • Sombra is similar to the Dark Dragon from the American Dragon: Jake Long television series, as they are both evil members of a usually benevolent race who possessed dark magic, unknown pasts and were both resurrected from the dead.
  • The only reason the elements didn't work on Sombra in season 9 is because he already got defeated the first time by the elements from his enemies Celestia and Luna, and he knew what kind of powers that come from them (although he was still dumb enough to think it was power that made his enemies powerful), and used his shadow powers to phase through the rainbow lasers when the Mane 6 blasted, knowing that trick won't work on him a second time, explaining why Twilight and her friends couldn't use the elements on him in season 3.
  • In the Season 9 premiere, Sombra appears to love fruit as he is seen eating grapes while relaxing on his throne room in the Crystal Empire. 
  • It is confirmed by the writers of the series Michael Vogel and Josh Haber that Sombra is bisexual.
  • Sombra is similar to Toffee from Star vs. the Forces of Evil, both are defeated by Star, Twilight and her friends with their powerful magic force and later are permanently dead. 
  • Strangely, despite his magic-nullifying crystals being able to subdue Alicorns (who seem to be semi-Discord in terms of power) and even incapacitate the Tree of Harmony (which, even without the Elements, still had enough residual magic to inhibit Discord's Plunderseeds for centuries), he never even attempts to use them against Discord (who was vulnerable to the similar effect of Chrysalis's throne).

Navigation

           My Little Pony G4 logo Villains

Television
My Little Pony 'n Friends
Ahgg | Beezen | Catrina | Dragon Gang | Erebus | Flores | Grogar | Hydia | King Charlatan | Lavan | Princess Porcina | Queen Bumble | Raptorians | Reeka & Draggle | Somnambula | Squirk | Tirac

Friendship is Magic
Apple Bloom's Shadow | Ahuizotl | Arimaspi | Bugbear | Changelings | Chimera | Cockatrice | Daybreaker | Dr. Caballeron | Diamond Dogs | Diamond Tiara | Discord | Dragons (Dragon Lord Torch, Garble & Sludge) | Flim Flam Brothers | Gladmane | Grogar | Hydra | King Sombra | Legion of Doom (Queen Chrysalis, Tirek & Cozy Glow) | Mane-iac | Maulwurf | Mean Six | Nightmare Moon | Parasprites | Pony of Shadows | Puckwudgies | Roc | Sable Spirit | Shadowbolts | Silver Spoon | Snips and Snails | Sphinx | Starlight Glimmer | Storm King | Svengallop | Tantabus | Tatzlwurm | Tempest Shadow | Timberwolves | Trixie Lulamoon | Vampire Fruit Bats | Windigos | Wind Rider

Equestria Girls
Dazzlings (Adagio Dazzle, Aria Blaze & Sonata Dusk) | Juniper Montage | PostCrush (Kiwi Lollipop & Supernova Zap) | Principal Cinch | Snips and Snails | Sunset Shimmer | Trixie Lulamoon | Vignette Valencia | Wallflower Blush

Comics
Accord | Bad Apple | Blonn Di and Shining Light | Changelings | Chupacabra | Cosmos | Daybreaker | Dazzlings (Adagio Dazzle, Aria Blaze & Sonata Dusk) | Diamond Tiara | Discord | Flim Flam Brothers | Grogar | King Diomedes | King Sombra | Mane-iac | Nightmare Moon | Nightmare Rarity | Pony of Shadows | Princess Celestia | Pseudocorns | Queen Chrysalis | Rabia | Rough Diamond | Sendak | Shadowbolts | Shadowfall | Shadowfright | Silver Spoon | Smooze | Snips and Snails | Starlight Glimmer | Storm King's army (Storm King, Tempest Shadow, Grubber & Storm Creatures) Swift Foot | Terri Belle | Tirek | Trixie Lulamoon | Vampiric Jackalope

Movies
My Little Pony: The Movie (1986): Hydia | Reeka & Draggle | Smooze | Ahgg
My Little Pony: The Movie (2017): Storm King's army (Storm King, Tempest Shadow, Grubber & Storm Creatures)

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