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Villain Overview
They belong to me now. And Scorpan, if by midnight I do not have a fourth pony, a head will roll. HIS!
~ Tirac, threatening to behead Spike if Scorpan fails him again.
Ô Rainbow of Darkness, that darkness sends...
Now begin the night that never ends!
~ Tirac prepares to unleash the Rainbow of Darkness into the sky

Tirac[1] is the main antagonist of the My Little Pony TV special Rescue at Midnight Castle. He is a demonic centaur who resides in the forbidden Midnight Castle alongside his minions and his servant/slave Scorpan, whom he orders to kidnap the ponies of Dream Valley to execute his plan of creating eternal night.

He was voiced by Victor Caroli, who is most well-known for his narration of much of the Transformers franchise, having also voiced Megatron in a Micromaster Combiners commercial.

Appearance

Tirac's design is quasi-satanic in inspiration as his character would suggest, with menacing yellow eyes, reddish skin and unique horns that centaurs are not often depicted with. He wears spiky bracelets and dons a metal armor, slightly covered by the pouch hanging from his neck which contains the Rainbow of Darkness, his source of power, main weapon, and, implicitly, his heart, turned into magic.

His fur, horns and armor are all the same color, possibly to fit in with the dark surroundings that he is in, though it is also possible that the budget limited his color scheme.

Tirac,originalandrecolored

In the original special, they are all given a grayish-blue color, but when they remastered the G1 cartoon, they recolored him to be green.

History

My Little Pony 'n Friends

Rescue at Midnight Castle

Though his background is unknown, what we do know is that Tirac wielded the Rainbow of Darkness, a powerful satchel containing evil magic which corrupts everything it touches. It can even turn the ponies he captured into evil dragons which were used to pull his "Chariot of Midnight" and execute the event called the "Night that Never Ends", on which he will use the Rainbow of Darkness to corrupt the sky, and in turn Dream Valley and the rest of the world. To achieve this, he took over a kingdom and made their prince, Scorpan, a gargoyle-like demon to serve as his second-in-command, sending him to capture the ponies and bring them to him.

1980146 safe composite screencap edit edited screencap screencap lord tirek scorpan rescue at midnight castle g1 kneeling male midnight castle panorama tirac

Scorpan bowing before Tirac.

Once Scorpan captured the four ponies his master requested, Tirac turned three of them into dragon-like monsters except for Ember who was too small (something Scorpan knew very well), thus Tirac ordered Scorpan to imprison her and go back to get a fourth pony, and to make sure he didn't try to stall him for midnight again, Tirac threatened Scorpan to kill Spike, a close friend of his.

When Megan and the ponies came to the castle to save their friends, Tirac's guards captured Applejack and Tirac turned her into another dragon-like monster while Scorpan, finally free from the Rainbow of Darkness' control, betrayed Tirac after releasing Spike and Ember and attacked the guards, fleeing alongside the ponies. However, now with the four ponies corrupted, Tirac takes off in his Chariot of Midnight, beginning his spell to turn day into everlasting night. Scorpan tried to stop Tirac but he was easily defeated in a physical confrontation. Megan and the ponies temporarily take the pouch containing the Rainbow of Darkness off Tirac's hands but he eventually gets it back. As Tirac states that the game is over and the power is his, Megan exclaims that they too have a power of their own, one Mr. Moochick (the only being who knew of Tirac's existence) gave them in a heart-shaped locket: The Rainbow of Light, the only thing that might help defeat Tirac.

TiracIsDestroyed

With Tirac and the Rainbow of Darkness destroyed, everything goes back to normal.

At first it's only a small piece that is soon enveloped in darkness, but the Rainbow of Light starts fighting back, and eventually overpowers the Rainbow of Darkness. Tirac was destroyed by the Rainbow of Light, freeing Scorpan from his spell and turning him back into his human form, as well as everything the Rainbow of Darkness had corrupted.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

Main article: Tirek (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic)

In this version, he is known as Lord Tirek and serves as one of the main antagonists of the series. This version is slightly less evil than his G1 counterpart.

Personality

Then try again. If by midnight my chariot does not roll, the head of your little friend will.
~ Tirac does not accept Scorpan's excuses, no matter how hard the ponies might be to capture
Tirac is a horrifyingly sadistic and power-hungry monster who especially stood out in a show that was meant to be for a fairly young audience. He was a Devil figure who only sought an eternal night and used the Rainbow of Darkness to transform Little Ponies into horrific monsters, alongside anyone else who opposed him. He is a menacingly monstrous and hateful creature with a disregard for innocent life, and takes particular sadistic pleasure in turning especially children into horrendous creatures deprived of any sign of individuality or innocence. Tirac was surprisingly violent and cruel as well, as particularly shown when Scorpan failed him several times he threatened to behead Spike as punishment, which is exceptionally wicked as Spike is a baby dragon. 
1706893 safe screencap lord tirek centaur rescue at midnight castle animated death threat decapitation threat fangs g1 gif looking at you male pointing solo su

Despite his violent tendencies and apparent barbaric sadism, Tirac is actually very intelligent and mindful, as he knows full well on how to manipulate his victims into working for him, even if it means brainwashing, threatening, abusing, and even killing them, all to keep them all under control.

Compared to all the other My Little Pony villains, old and new, who are either obsessed with total power, or more importantly, either lost their way, have their share of morals, or have redeemed themselves in the end, Tirac openly understood the difference between good and evil, but gleefully embraced his evil side, and has a disturbing enjoyment on spreading his darkness to other creatures, not even caring if they were innocent or even harmless. By that logic, his utter sadism and obsession with darkness, domination, and power makes him all the more irredeemable, and thus makes him one of the most (if not the most) demented and hateable of all the other villains in the franchise, especially compared to the other villains in the older My Little Pony series, who are almost as bad as him. And considering the fact that he comes from My Little Pony regardless, that is certainly an achievement in itself.

When Tirac reappeared in Friendship is Magic, now known as Lord Tirek, he somewhat retained his menacing and manipulative nature, despite having a new story and goals, and remained obsessed with power. So even though he wasn't quite as depraved and violent as this version is, he still stood out in terms of villainy there nonetheless.

Powers and Abilities

Behold, the power of darkness!
~ Tirac as he unleashes his mighty weapon
Tirac possesses incredible strength, being able to take down his second-in-command Scorpan (who is strong enough to rip a prison door off a stone wall with apparent ease) in just two blows. Mr. Moochick also states that the only thing that might help defeat Tirac is the Rainbow of Light. The implication that his main weapon was once his heart which he removed from his chest also suggests he has astonishing pain tolerance and endurance, as well as potentially some degree of immortality, assuming what Mr. Moochick said was true.

The Rainbow of Darkness

Quiet, my friend, your time will come...
~ Tirac pets the pouch in which the Rainbow of Darkness is in
Tirac'sRainbowOfDarkness
Tirac's main weapon and source of power. It twists and corrupts anything it touches, be it sentient beings or even the sky, turning the former into monstrous versions of their former selves (like butterflies and ponies into draconic monstrosities or birds and humans into demons like what happened to Scorpan and his guards, who were also given weapons created by the Rainbow of Darkness) and causing the latter to become night for eternity. Its ability to warp reality to such an extent, to where it created Midnight Castle out of a large tree and the huge body of water surrounding the fortress, is quite frightening, especially with the implied range that, once it was cast into the sky, victory would've been assured for Tirac, as the Rainbow of Darkness would've potentially spread across the Earth and turned the planet into Tirac's own version of Hell.

Everything that was transformed by the Rainbow of Darkness followed Tirac's every order without second thought, even a transformed prince like Scorpan, who presumably only managed to break free of its control by the end thanks to how much he'd seen Tirac do and/or thanks to his strong power of will.

Army

The Rainbow of Darkness helped Tirac create his fortress, Midnight Castle, and his small army consisting of Scorpan, the Stratodons (or Stratadons) and his Midnight Castle guards. While Scorpan was originally human, the Stratodons and guards were originally butterflies and birds respectively, and Midnight Castle was a tree surrounded by fertile and lively land, before Tirac turned it into a dark and gloomy castle surrounded by a large body of water.

Stratodons

Stratodons

Also spelled Stratadons, either spelling meaning something along the lines of "tooth from the sky", befitting their draconic appearance and powerful jaws which they used to carry the ponies back to Midnight Castle. They are strong enough to smash through trees and carry ponies on their jaws or arms (or Scorpan on their back) with ease, and fast enough to contend with most pegasi, even catching the fastest among them, Firefly, off guard at one point.

Midnight Castle Guards

MidnightCastleGuards

As their name implies, these are Tirac's minions who are tasked to protect Midnight Castle from intruders. Unlike the Stratodons, they are capable of speech and thus have greater intelligence, at one point sneaking up on the ponies once they've infiltrated Midnight Castle and capturing one of them while the others don't realize it. They are armed with sharp spears which can also be thrown, and a single guard is already strong enough to overpower a pony like Applejack, who is among the strongest of her kind.

Reception

Tirac is often considered to be the best antagonist in all of My Little Pony, not just the G1 series, with the only ones able to challenge that claim (as far as the G1 villains go) being Grogar, thanks to his ruthless nature and overall satanic-inspired character. He is one of the main highlights of the first generation and the Rescue at Midnight Castle special as a whole, due to being a big surprise for most who watch the special, expecting something fun and cutesy up until Tirac's Stratodons attack and carry them somewhere, with Scorpan ominously saying "You are all doomed! Soon every pony will belong to Tirac, the Master of Midnight Castle!" being the selling point that there's more to the special than meets the eye, without having seen Tirac yet, who is smartly kept in the shadows, with only his powerful voice along with his hand and hooves being heard and seen, until the end of the first half of the special, or the end of the two-parter after it was re-released on DVD, and once he is revealed to the audience, he steals the show for most people with his surprisingly intimidating appearance and the threat to behead Spike, a baby dragon, a threat that could've only been allowed in such an era and has yet to be duplicated in the franchise (though honorable points go to Chrysalis for almost doing something similar, albeit with a much older Spike).

Trivia

  • Tirac is often spelled Tirek, as the original pilot in which he appears in had no credits, leaving many to wonder how his name was spelled. However, it has been confirmed by the MLP cartoon bible as well as multiple VHS covers, plus how it is pronounced in the episode, that it is indeed Tirac and not Tirek. His G4 counterpart, Lord Tirek, kept his often misspelled name. Thus, the two counterparts have names that are pronounced and spelled differently.
  • Tirac may have been the origin of the phrase "Night that never ends", and he is considered the trope namer for that trope.
    • The "Night that never ends" aspect and motive is shared and was given to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic's first villain: Nightmare Moon, likely because Lauren Faust took some inspiration from Tirac when creating Nightmare Moon (the ethereal shape she takes somewhat resembles the Rainbow of Darkness, for example). Accordingly, it's often stated that she had been brainwashed, and many speculated to be by Tirac himself, but when he eventually did appear and return in G4 as Tirek, he did possess this kind of power and was not responsible for Nightmare Moon's creation.
  • The Rainbow of Darkness beating like a heart and being used as a weapon takes notes from lich mythology, as many of the people who worked on the G1 series also worked on the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon and had a fair amount of knowledge on mythology. It's one of the character's darker implications, that he ripped his own dark heart out and now uses it as raw magic to corrupt others, much like the satanic archetype he's meant to be, and according to Vector Prime, he is one of the vilest beings he's ever encountered, as well as a "planeswalker", whatever that may mean.
  • Tirac was the first threat that required the Rainbow of Light and is also the reason the Little Ponies came to the real world, resulting in the events that would start the Original Series: he was also one of the more serious and malevolent villains in the show (which is saying something as most early villains were greedy, corrupt and only a few redeemed themselves).
  • In Tirac's first scene, his face is unseen, and he is running his hand across the Rainbow of Darkness as if petting a cat. This is most likely a reference to the James Bond villain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, or an even earlier villain, Lady Tremaine.
  • Tirac has no villainous theme song (though the creepy tune that goes with Midnight Castle could count as one), while Tirek shares one with Queen Chrysalis and Cozy Glow.

References

  1. It's Tirac, not "Tirek"

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

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