Ember proves determined and stubborn, desiring to become Dragon Lord so she can be more than just a "little princess". Though she is initially against the concepts of friendship and helping, she forms a bond with Spike, even saving him from Garble and the other Dragons from a cave-in, and agrees to share letters with Twilight regarding the ways of dragons.
When Torch gathers the dragons of Equestria together to compete for the title of new Dragon Lord, Ember expresses a desire to participate, but her father forbids her due to her small size. Against Torch's wishes, Ember disguises herself in armor and green body paint and takes part in the Gauntlet of Fire. She nearly goes down in the first leg of the race, but Spike saves her from drowning. Believing that "dragons don't do friends", Ember's views about friendship conflict with Spike's. However, she agrees to partner up with him in order to face the Gauntlet's more daunting obstacles.
After making it through several parts of the race together, Ember and Spike's views about friendship diverge again when he risks his well-being to save Rarity. As such, she ends their partnership and continues on by herself. Near the end of the race, however, she saves Spike, Amethyst and Scarlett from Garble and accepts them as her friends. One of the "Dragons" causes a cave-in, and Ember leads the Dragons to safety. In a final verbal confrontation with her father, Ember declares that there is more to being a leader than size and strength. Torch comes to understand his daughter's sentiment, and Ember is crowned the new Dragon Lord.