Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
King Sombra by harwicks-art King Sombra by harwicks-art
Personally, I think Sombra gets a bad rap, I suspect mostly due to what people imagined him to be in the long wait between when he was first hinted at and when Season 3 finally premiered.  He was never meant to be chatty or catty like Discord or Chrysalis.  From his backstory to his smoky present-day showing, it seems pretty clear to me that they were going for a ghost-king kind of character such as the Ringwraiths from "the Lord of the Rings" or Lord Soth from the old "Dragonlance" books.  Hell Sauron himself served as the big bad through something like 12 hours of LotR extended films and was nothing but a hissing eyeball that said stuff like "I seeeeee youuuuuuuu" and then crumbled when the ring he wanted was thrown into a volcano miles away.  I feel like Sombra did alright for a not-fully-ressurected-until-the-last-second smoke monster ghost in only 44 minutes of pony episode.

Still, I get that not everything is going to connect universally, and for a lot of fans he just wasn't their cup of tea.  Still, I do have to wonder if he (or his horn) is ever going to make an appearance again.  As it stands right now, he seems to be the only show villain who was actually killed off in his defeat.
Add a Comment:
Nice picture.

King Sombra did use subtlety and wasted no time doing whatever it took to achieve his goal.  King Sombra meant business! There are people who like him, and I can see why.

But the problem is, him taking over the Crystal Empire didn't have much of an impact.  If it afflicted the rest of Equestria, we could at least care if a relentless Randall-Flagg villain tried to reconquer it.  Even if King Sombra didn't need more screen time or dialogue, McCarthy really blundered with his archetype.
AntiVillain1 Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2015
Celestia: "If the Empire is filled with hope and love, then those things are reflected across all of Equestria. But if hatred and fear take hold..."
MyLittlePrimo Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2015
...Sharp black rocks sprout from the ground.  What will they do, poke my eye out?
AntiVillain1 Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2015
That, and they eventually cause worst-fear visions, magic-blocking curses, etc.
MyLittlePrimo Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2015
But throughout the episode, they meant next to nothing.  The door froze Twilight in place, but she and Spike were easily snapped out of it; clearing the obstacle proved equally simple.  And Princess Cadance was the Barrier Maden, so what was the point in crippling Shining Armor?
AntiVillain1 Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2015
To prevent Shining from reinforcing Cadance in her fatigue, of course.
MyLittlePrimo Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2015
You're missing the point.  Whatever good ideas McCarthy had for the king, she didn't bring about very well, because editing clearly isn't one of her fortés.  It's not the character who failed, but the writer.
AntiVillain1 Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2015
The same writer who refuses to develop Flash Sentry, it seems.
HeadphoneMC Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
My new Ipod backround.yay
Doctorshakstine10 Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Sl9086 Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2014
Sombra lacked screentime, btu to call him useless is not something i feel fair. Sure he did not show a lot of details, but his reputation as someone who msut not be messed, the nasty traps he designed and the fear he inspired to subjects, show that he is one of those villains in show who are really twisted . He did not show to attack directly yet he set u nasty deals, if he was confronted...i dobut he would had wasted time talking or getting into a song.
Until Tirek made his moves, i felt him as one of the darkest, if not the darkest villain to be in G4
Scarecrow8642 Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Please tell me that someone is making card sleeves of these... I need new sleeves for my MLP cards...
monkeyking676 Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014
you realy did a amazing work with these portraits and they Always look epic
p.s do you mind if i use this one for my profile picture? i'lle give credit
TheExhorsecist Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2014
"And yet for a thousand years we had full employment and a balanced budget.  Why does no one ever talk about that?"
PKMN37 Featured By Owner May 6, 2014
I will say that while he's not my favorite, I agree that he's underrated. Nice pic also.
Montyclan Featured By Owner May 5, 2014
It's all about presence. For King Sombra, the lack of screentime works in his favor.
postapelly Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Dragonking17 Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Way past cool.
Hosendamaru Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2014  Student General Artist
Love it!!!!!! D:
SoMaFan12 Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2014  Student General Artist
Beautiful drawing I mean umm very evil looking, Sombra looks very commanding and powerful?Clapping Pony Icon - Nightmare Moon anyway nice job.
Ra1nbowScr4tch Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2014  Hobbyist
Love it~!
MyLittlePrimo Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2014
What you call a "bad rap," I call an opinion.  Put yourself in the shoes of those fans and consider the following:
    First off, the Crystal Ponies feared something when they shuddered to hear Sombra's name and see him rear his not-so-ugly head.  Now, while I haven't read far enough into Dragonlance to know who Lord Soth is, I do know that the Ringwraiths had poisonous daggers, and Sauron had a mace which we witnessed him decimating half an entire retinue with; moreover, we know what kind of magic Sauron poured into his ring before Isildur slayed him.  Point being, we knew what cards Sauron and the Wraiths held and played.
    Sombra, however, had apparently nothing to threaten or demonstrate.  If he got the Crystal Heart, what would have happened, and why should I have cared? What made him so dangerous that he had to be killed off in 1 episode? Leaving this unrecognized plot hole made King Sombra feel like a Chekov's Gun that got thrown away of instead of used, rather than a villain.
    As for him being "chatty or catty like Discord or Chrysalis," is that all villain dialogue is to you? You obviously haven't heard the words of Princess Azula, Dark Lords of the Sith, or King Führer Bradley (FMA: Brotherhood, this scene in particular to avoid confusion: They demonstrated how strong words can truly be! If neither words nor any violent form of dark magic amounted to Sombra's dominion, what else could have?
    I can understand if the writers wanted to reference The Lord of the Rings; however, giving him nothing to say or do was simply pushing it.  They failed to realize the potential in him being a conqueror versed in the dark arts, therefore wasting it; like I said before, a discarded Chekov's Gun.  Compare doing almost nothing to 1 of 2 things: virtually defeating Princess Celestia in a rematch OR saying words that either instill fear or sway one to his side, using that ominous voice I actually liked; it wouldn't have guaranteed whether I enjoyed watching Sombra or hated him, but I would have been entertained one way or another.
  That's all I have to say.
MasterSmasher Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well... Yeah. Bad raps are generally caused by opinions...

But yeah. I liked Sombra. He was this mysterious, ghostly thing that scared the s*it out of everyone. I actually liked him considerably LESS once he reformed completely, because he wasn't an imposing mist of doom anymore.

     Yeah, they feared him. And we never found out why. But that doesn't make Sombra a bad character. Just 'cause we don't see him blowing up a city doesn't mean he can't be imposing or threatening. As I said, for many like myself, he was quite imposing.

     I don't see how you can draw this conclusion. Just because he gets defeated before he does anything terrible doesn't mean he was INCAPABLE of doing terrible things. For all we know, he was ridiculously powerful, and getting the Crystal Heart would have meant the end of all of Equestria. We just didn't see it. And while I agree that Sombra should have gotten a larger role, and actually done something more imposing- IE, getting the Crystal Heart and wreaking havoc for a while- I don't see how his getting defeated before doing so means he had no power.

     I believe you misunderstood what Harwicks was saying. He wasn't saying that all people with dialogue are like that... He was calling Discord chatty, and Chrysalis catty. Because, well, they are. Discord says long speeches, often thoroughly mocking and taunting his enemies and allies alike. Quite chatty, to say the least. Chrysalis insulted and mocked those she'd defeated, and went at length to say how great she was. Catty. And he wasn't saying that dialogue was useless, either- he was saying that it was possible to have a good, imposing character with virtually no dialogue at all. Such as with Sauron, which he referenced.

     I don't mind his lack of dialogue at all- it made him this silent, imposing figure, in my eyes. However, you are right that it would have been interesting to have him do something, such as nearly succeed in conquering. But I think he really WAS close to conquering it all, just in a less flashy way- it was kinda implied that, if he got the Crystal Heart, everyone would be completely screwed. Which is why they had to beat him before he could do so. Nevertheless, from a strictly writing perspective, I do think it would have been more entertaining if he had managed to accomplish something more significant than he did.

But, hey, that's just my opinion.
MyLittlePrimo Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2014
I don't want to be a total stickler on vocabulary, but my only problem here is the word reform, which means "psychologically improve,"  where you may have meant to say rematerialize or regenerate.

Other than that, opinion acknowledged.
Pancake-Sketches Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2014  Student Digital Artist
i love this great job!
Telanore Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I actually really liked Sombra, he had this threatening presence through the whole story, constantly growing stronger and nearly succeeded in enslaving a whole kingdom. And considering the Mane6 were in the area at the time, if he had won through, wouldn't they also have been enslaved? oO

And he's got the best design I've seen on a pony, period. Nice work in bringing out his evilness
StandardBronyBrowser Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2014
Well hello there handsome. 
And I agree, he's really pretty underrated, and while it's probably unlikely, it would be sooooo good if the writers brought him back but developed him a bit more of a personality; in theory, he's potentially the most dangerous villain they've faced, and could be awesome if done well.
Here-for-the-ponies Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2014  Student Digital Artist
I totally understood what they were going for with his character, but it just didn't have enough of an impact on me, probably because there was a lot else in the premier to outshine him. I absolutely LOVE his character design though, and think it's the best by far of the villains.
GreenBolt-PonyArtist Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
TwiWrite-Flare Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014
Sombra is an example of how Charisma trumps capability in the eyes of people.  He didn't make a single mistake and was actively doing his best to win every second he was on screen (instead of running his mouth off the whole dang time), but all anyone cares about is the fact that he wasn't singing and dancing for them.  He's honestly one of the best villains I've seen in a long time.  Ridiculous power, genius mind, talented craftsman, and clever tactician; if he'd had had a Disney villain song he'd have been labeled perfect.
Foxraven23 Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014
I take it, perect.
Tikonka Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Those reflections on his metal armor. Awesome
Tarascus101 Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014
Amaizing art. Very good job.
sleepinglizard Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014
who here wants him to return somwhere in the series like luna did say "yay".
Evehly Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
TheExhorsecist Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2014
I figure Sombra is a sadomancer: just as a necromancer practices a magic of death, so a sadomancer practices a magic of cruelty.

He would need his victims to live, then, though they suffered agonies. That's probably why he chose the crystal ponies as his slaves: they could endure more than other ponies, so they furnished him with more power.
cajobif Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2014
What ticks me the most with this character is that people think that he was talking crystals and slaves, when he was refering to his "crystal slaves", showing his desire to control them again as slaves. Too bad there wasn't any development for Sombra, because we would probably could have get the darkest villain of the show. Chrysalis was invading to feed her colony, when the king was for his own desire of control. Oh well. He still lives in several Tumblr blogs and fanfics.

You did an awesome work this portrait of the dark king.
Max-The-Cukcold Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Have you thought about drawing Cheese Sandwich? I Think you can make a incredible portrait :)
SQuietSonamy Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Holy crud-! You sure went for the sinister and ghastly look :iconsonico-oplz: I dunno why, but it's his teeth that I'm most frightened about XP Okay, his evil grin too XD 
My compliments on the steel parts on his body! It looks very real and reflect a lot like steel would :)
Fixap Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2014
DZMaylon Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's really awesome. Best pony.
Lurks-no-More Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2014
Yeah, I liked Sombra too. He's a shadowy evil undead pony wizard-king; a shadow of fear and tyranny, only barely a person any more.
SwanLullaby Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Amazing job oh his snout and teeth!
templar127 Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2014
Anzu18 Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2014
Oh my, he looks so epic here! ;u; Just fantastic!

King Sombra is my favourite villain. ;u; He is amazing. :heart:
tetramegaman Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2014
Well, at least we got a few fun tumblr blogs about this guy.  One of the more iconic is
raggyrabbit94 Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Very awesome picture :clap:
I think Sombra needs more love :iconkingsombraplz: :heart:
and I would like to see him (or Chrysalis) make a return in the show
Shizhaokai Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2014
Didnʻt need minions, not a hybrid type, took two alicorns to defeat him, planned defensive measures incase of downfall that still worked 1000years later, and was still able to enslave ponies for period of time. Just mere thought of him cast fear into the crystal ponies..... Yep. pretty. bad. ass.
AntiVillain1 Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2014
And was the only villain to actually die.

Nightmare Moon: purified, Discord: resealed and later reformed, Queen Chrysalis: banished, Lord Tirek: reimprisoned, King Sombra: f***ing dead.
Add a Comment:


Submitted on
March 4, 2014
Image Size
467 KB


10,845 (14 today)
1,271 (who?)


Creative Commons License
Some rights reserved. This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.