Like I said in my ep. 4 review, a lot of fans still see Nex as “the new Riven.” They also call him a “clone,” a “copy,” or a “replacement.” Bottom line: they think he’s just Riven with blue hair.
I thought this phase would be over by now. Nex would settle into the group, and we’d be able to tell how different he is. Boy, was I wrong. 🙄
No matter what this guy says or does, somebody ties it back to Riven:
- He’s teasing Stella? Riven did that all the time! Nex is such a copycat!
- Look at him racing Sky! Riven was Sky’s rival, so Nex must be his new rival!
- Ugh, how could Aisha date him? She might as well be dating Riven!
- No! As long as Nex is here, Riven can never come back! 😥
(No, I didn’t make those up. And that’s just a sample of what I’ve heard.)
Some fans barely treat him like a different character. Check out this description:
…a proud and bossy guy, and he always wants to prove he’s brave and ready to jump into action. He has a rebellious and dark nature, and because of the kind of aversion others have of him, he often tends to isolate himself. He feels he’s in competition with anyone who’s in front of him and is passionate about sports, which he trains himself in constantly, because of a strong desire to improve himself more and more and prove he’s the best at what he does….He’s an excellent swordsman and athlete….
Sounds like Riven, right? Musa calls him “mysterious and a bit of a rebel” on her WinxClub.com profile. He kept to himself a lot (he was a loner), he loved to compete (especially against Sky), he wielded a sword (before season six), and Rainbow said in one of his profiles that he was “good at all sports.” And remember in season six when he kept ignoring Musa and goofing off during missions, because he couldn’t wait to get back to training?
I’d give whoever wrote this kudos — if they’d written it for the right character. This is from Nex’s Italian Winx Wiki page (my translation). All I did was leave out the parts about season seven, The Halberd of the Wind, and being in love with Aisha. That shows you how alike some fans think these boys are.
Time out, guys. No matter how you feel about Nex, he’s a main cast member now. Rainbow’s gonna treat him the same way as the boys we’ve known since the early seasons. And he might be here for the rest of the series, especially since — well, I’ll talk about that in the next post.
Until we let Nex be himself and stop judging him based on someone else, we’ll never understand his character. It’s time to separate him from Riven once and for all.
Here are the three main reasons I hear for why Nex is “the new Riven:”
- He was introduced in the same season Riven left.
- They have the same/similar hairstyles.
- They have the same personality.
1. Telltale Timing?
Nex appeared just as Riven was leaving. That can’t be a coincidence, right? Of course it can.
Here’s a theory. Remember how upset we were in season five, when it seemed like Aisha was getting a new guy way too soon? We know now Roy wasn’t meant to be her new boyfriend. That means Rainbow put a one-season gap between her losing Nabu and finding love again. And since we didn’t see her start dating Nex until season seven, it was more of a two-season gap.
Maybe Rainbow thought writing off Riven so soon after Nabu’s death would be too much of a double whammy. They may have decided to wait to give us some time to recover. So Riven’s exit and Aisha meeting and falling in love with Nex ended up happening in the same season. But they were independent plot lines. The one didn’t cause the other to happen.
Bottom line: Aisha and Riven’s (and Musa’s) lives happened to change at the same time. One of the changes brought a new guy into the group.
The counterargument: “If Rainbow hadn’t planned to get rid of Riven, they wouldn’t have made Nex so much like him.”
He’s so much like him, huh? We’ll see about that. Time for argument #2.
2. Same Hairstyle?
Does this look the same to you? 😕
It’s not even close. Riven had bangs, but Nex doesn’t. The rest of Riven’s hair was molded into a clump on the back of his head. Nex’s hair is wilder. Part of it forms clumps in the front, some of it hangs down in the back, and some of it sticks off the sides. Plus, he’s got sideburns.
The only thing they have in common is they’re both updos. But since when was Riven the only guy allowed to have one? Someone else had one, too: Roy. In fact, his looked more like Riven’s than Nex’s does!
Here’s a Riven-less explanation. Spiky hair contrasts well with Aisha’s extra-long, curly locks. Maybe that’s why both her suitors in the love triangle had it.
3. Same personality?
When people say Nex and Riven have the same personality, nine times out of ten they mean, “They’re both arrogant.” Is that true? Yes…but it’s too simple. There’s more to their personalities than one or two shared traits.
Using their official character descriptions — I’ve only seen one for Nex — and things other characters have said about them, I made lists of their other traits. (I linked each word or phrase to the source it came from.) You might recognize some of these from their “Boys of Winx Club” posts. When you compare the lists, the “Nex is the new Riven” idea starts to fall apart.
|always wants to proves he’s the best in anything/competitive (vuole sempre dimostrare di essere il migliore in tutto)||very competitive (molto competitivo)|
|challenges anyone without fear/brave (sfida chiunque senza paura)||daredevil/reckless/fearless (temerario)|
|extroverted (estroverso)||loner (solitario)|
|friendly (amichevole)||cantankerous (meaning: “argumentative, bad-tempered, and hard to get along with”)|
|thinks every girl should inevitably fall in love with him/flirty (convinto che ogni ragazza debba necessariamente innamorarsi di lui)||doesn’t trust girls (diffidente verso le ragazze)|
|nice (simpatico)||surly (scontroso)|
|—||rebellious/prefers to act…according to his own rules (ribelle/preferisco agire…senza regole)|
I bet some of you read the first two and thought, “How does this prove they’re not the same?” Yes, those two traits are similar. The rest are polar opposites, though, and they’re big ones.
Time for a mini science lesson. According to research, personality is made up of five “dimensions,” which psychologists call “The Big Five:” Openness (how much you seek new experiences), Conscientiousness (how much self-discipline you have), Extraversion (how outgoing you are), Agreeableness (how well you get along with others), and Neuroticism (how emotionally stable you are) — OCEAN for short. How high someone scores in each area gives you an idea of what traits they have. For example, someone with high Extraversion is probably talkative and positive. Someone with low Openness probably doesn’t like to try new things.
Since Nex and Riven aren’t real people, we can’t measure them very well. But we can look at the traits Rainbow gave them and figure out where they’d fall in each range. I found a bunch of charts that list traits of people who score high or low in each area. (Google “big five personality charts,” if you care.)
To be honest, I’m not sure about Conscientiousness and Openness. I don’t think we know enough about these boys to score them. Plus, in everything I’ve read, the traits of those areas seem to overlap. For Conscientiousness, I think Nex would score high and Riven would score low. I think they’d both be in the middle for Openness, but I think Nex would score a little higher.
As for the others, these boys are as different as night and day:
- Nex would probably score high in Extraversion (extroverted, friendly), high in Agreeableness (friendly, nice), and low in Neuroticism (extroverts tend to be less moody).
Riven would probably score low in Extraversion (loner, wary, cantankerous), low in Agreeableness (cantankerous, rebellious), and high in Neuroticism (cantankerous, surly).
In real life, it wouldn’t be this clear-cut, but I don’t wanna get too technical on you. (I already have. You know how I am. 😉 )
Bottom line: do Nex and Riven have the same personality? No, they don’t. They have a couple traits in common, but if you look beneath the surface, they’re opposites of each other. That doesn’t mean Nex would never do something Riven would do. But he wouldn’t have the same motivations because he thinks and responds to life differently.
Bonus: Another “Bad Boy?”
One “bad boy” leaves the group, and another joins? No way that’s a coincidence, right?
As I’ve said in the past, Nex’s name is Latin for “death.” No, he doesn’t represent death in the show! I think they gave him that name because it corresponds with Aisha’s, which is Arabic for “life,” “alive,” or “she who lives.” Would you expect a guy with a name like that to look and act like Timmy? 😛
Most people are afraid of death, so it makes sense Rainbow would design Nex to look a little scary. He’s the closest thing to a punk they’ve ever put on the heroes’ side: spiky hair, earrings, necklace, metal bracelets, scary scowl, etc. Of course, they couldn’t go too far — or he’d look like Duman! 😛
But since the personality they gave Nex doesn’t match our feelings about death (friendly and nice?), maybe the idea behind his character is, “Death isn’t as bad as it seems.” (Nobody should wanna die, but death isn’t something to be scared of.) And since he’s dating “Life,” maybe she’ll soften him up more and more throughout the series.
THE CHARACTER NEX IS REALLY LIKE
Speaking of Aisha, I’m about to undo what I said at the beginning a bit. Nex isn’t a copy of Riven, but he’s not 100 percent original, either. He’s obviously based on her.
Look at him! Everyone’s so focused on his hair, they’re not looking at his face! It’s practically a light-skinned, male version of Aisha’s: same shape, same type of eyes, same thick eyelashes — even same lips! These screenshots show it well:
Some fans think he may be designed to look mixed race. That’d be a good way to explain it in-universe, but I think Rainbow just modeled him after her. We won’t know unless we meet his parents in a future season (or in the comics).
Let’s go back to the personality traits he has in common with Riven. The one fans point out the most is “arrogance,” and as the character descriptions showed, they’re both competitive, too. They also both love sports.
Here’s something those fans didn’t factor in: Aisha has all those traits, too.
I wouldn’t call her “arrogant” — some fans would — but her season two character description called her “proud.” The Italian version used the word orgogliosa, which sounds more like confident and self-assured. But in some contexts, it can mean “arrogant” — like when you say someone is “too proud” (troppo orgoglioso) to admit they’re wrong about something.
Aisha’s also competitive. We know she especially loves beating the boys, since she likes to prove girls are just as capable. She even turns things into competitions sometimes. One example is in “The Fairy Hunters” (4X01) when the Winx were showing off on their obstacle course. After Bloom’s turn, Aisha said to her, “You were fast, but watch this!” When she finished, she said to Flora, “Now for the grand finale! Beat that!” Flora reminded her it wasn’t about winning.
What about sports? That’s Aisha’s department in the Winx Club. Her descriptions talk about how athletic she is and how she keeps herself in shape. We’ve seen that in the show, too. She dances, lifts weights, runs on a treadmill, plays every sport that exists, etc.
If Nex is “the male Aisha,” and hers and Riven’s traits overlap (look at their character descriptions), wouldn’t Nex’s traits overlap, too? By making him so much like Aisha, Rainbow couldn’t help but make him like Riven, too. What sets Nex apart are the traits he and Aisha have, but Riven didn’t: being friendly and outgoing.
Yikes, this post was long! In case you didn’t read it all, here’s the summary.
Nex is not “the new Riven,” a clone or copy of him, or his replacement. They don’t have the same hair or personality, and the timing of his debut had nothing to do with Riven leaving. He’s “the male Aisha,” right down to his facial features. Even the traits he has in common with Riven are traits he also shares with her.
There’s something else that proves Nex is “the male Aisha.” I’ve been hinting at it since the ep. 4 review. Look at this screenshot. Here’s a clue: if he and Sky aren’t rivals, what’s really happening in this scene?
Have you figured it out? I’ll reveal it next time.