What If Wednesday
28

Sorry for skipping “What If Wednesday” last week. I bit off more than I could chew by trying to finish the “Yin and Yang” post, chapter two of my fanfic, and this post around the same time. Hopefully, I can get back on track now.

Today’s “What If” question: “What if Specialists and Paladins could have advanced forms like fairies do?”

What do I mean by “advanced forms?” I don’t mean transformations, per se, but that depends on the class. Specialists and Paladins are different from each other — at least they’re supposed to be. Rainbow hasn’t clearly shown the difference between them, so their development could be a way to distinguish them from each other.

Specialists

Almost eight years ago (yes, it’s been that long), I wrote a post asking what in Magix Specialists are. Griffin calls them “wizards” in “A Friendship Sundered” (1X08), and the season two website called Codatorta a “magician.” Those terms don’t make sense because Specialists don’t have magic powers. (Helia does, but they probably run in the family.)

Specialists just seem to be all-purpose heroes. They fight monsters, save princesses, carry out secret missions, etc. We can guess Redfountain isn’t the only place that trains them, since in season five, Roy wore a different uniform designed for underwater missions.

Is that all there is to them? Maybe not. The word specialist means “a person highly skilled in a specific and restricted field.” In some Winx dubs, the Specialists are called Experts. Same idea.

The first time I remember hearing “Specialist” in this sense is in season six. In “A Monster Crush” (6X21), Tecna’s mother Magnethia asks Timmy what field he specializes in. Aisha says he’s “a pro at mechanic design, navigation, and all-around problem solving.” I’d add strategy to that list, too. He’s used all of those skills in missions over the years.

What about the other Specialists? Do they have specific skills other than fighting? I can’t think of any. Riven was good at picking locks, but he probably learned that growing up. (The season two website said he was “skilled as a thief.”) Maybe Timmy’s the special one. 😛

Thirteen years and seven seasons later, it’s still not clear what Specialists are. That doesn’t mean they’re worthless, though. The Magic Universe needs non-magic beings, too. Magic fails sometimes and isn’t appropriate for every situation. Plus, the Specialists have always known more about magic creatures and how to handle them.

What would an advanced Specialist form look like? Maybe we’ve seen it already. Since Sky’s squad got new outfits and weapons in season six, maybe they graduated. If so, what will their futures be like? How will they use what they’ve learned?

Paladins

Nex and Thoren may be new to the Boys Club, but Paladins aren’t new to the series. Rainbow first used the term “Paladin” in the original Winx season two. In “The Mysterious Stone” (2X07), when Avalon takes off his hood and reveals himself, Bloom, Stella, and Aisha yell, “It’s the Paladin who rescued us from the Trix!”

When they met Avalon in “Magic Bonding” (2X05), he was wearing armor and a pair of angel wings. Some fans think that Avalon was the impostor sent by Darkar. Here’s a question, though: how did those three know he was a Paladin? He didn’t tell them. They said it like it was common knowledge — or it was the first term that popped into their heads.

4Kids tried to expand on the concept of Paladins. In “Professor Avalon’s Secret” (2X09) — a.k.a. “The Angel of Doom” — Avalon says, “There are 10,000 Paladins with the same wings I have.” Yes, I know the 4Kids dub doesn’t count, but why couldn’t Rainbow keep this idea?

The word paladin means a “knightly or heroic champion.” That sounds like the Specialists, but here’s an interesting detail: it has a religious background. Medieval legends talk about an order of Paladins called The Twelve Peers who served Charlemagne, a devout Christian emperor of Rome. (I’m not condoning his actions; I’m just stating historical facts.)

Fantasy games like Dungeons & Dragons and World of Warcraft have adapted this by making Paladins “holy warriors.” They embody chivalry, purity, and light, and they have magic abilities like healing. That sounds like Avalon, doesn’t it? His wings radiated a powerful light, and he was able to restore the Winx’s energy.

No one would describe Nex and Thoren as “chivalrous” and “pure,” though. (Maybe Thoren, but not Nex.) That’s fine, though, because it means they have room for character development. I’d love to see them become holy warriors.

Rainbow could easily make Avalon’s winged form an advanced Paladin form. How would they earn it? A year at Light Rock Monastery? A character arc where they have to confront their inner darkness? Imagine the possibilities!

That’s it for today’s “What If Wednesday.” I’m not sure what I’ll talk about next time, but I have a list of topics already. Stay tuned.

Musings & Rants
65

Warning: if you haven’t seen World of Winx season two yet, turn back now if you don’t want spoilers!

Still here? Okay, here we go.

Overall, I didn’t like this season. I felt indifferent towards it at first, but as my sister watched it, I noticed I agreed with most of her complaints. I’ll tell you what she said about both seasons later.

If I could sum up this season up in one word, it would be “spectacle.” It put on a flashy show: lots of action, powerful spells, darker scenes, and interesting enemies. But that just distracted us from the major problems, including a plot flaw that makes the Winx look like idiots.

In the first episode, they get whisked away to Neverland — a.k.a. The World of Dreams — after randomly gaining Onyrix. They run into Jim and Smee, who tell them Tinkerbell’s back story: Peter Pan left her, she fell into despair, and she become the evil queen they fought last season. Naturally, the Winx feel sorry for her. They decide to find Peter, hoping she’ll turn back into a good fairy if she sees him again. Nothing wrong so far.

While they’re looking for him, which later changes to looking for his son Matt, the Spirit of the World of Dreams — a.k.a. the Spirit of the Forest — occasionally interrupts to tell them a Neverlander is in danger. Here’s when the Winx start contradicting themselves. After Flora, Tecna, and Aisha save the Alligator Man in “Mermaids on Earth” (2X04), Flora says the Winx and the Neverlanders are “united against the queen [of the World of Dreams].”

What does that mean? Don’t the Winx wanna make her good again? Why is Flora talking like they wanna fight Tinkerbell?

This continues throughout the season. Every time the Winx save a Neverlander, they send them to Jim’s army. At the same, they keep looking for Matt so they can solve the conflict peacefully. But once they find him, they even train him for battle — before they learn about the prophecy!

Because of this, the “betrayal” arc near the end makes no sense. In “Technomagic Trap” (2X10), as soon as the Winx return to Earth, Jim rallies the Neverlanders to march on Tinkerbell. Matt says maybe he should go alone and try to talk to her (the Winx’s plan), but Jim convinces him to join them.

I remember being confused when I watched this scene. Why would anyone, especially Matt, be surprised about fighting Tinkerbell? The Winx made it sound like that was the point. They even helped him find a sword. What did he expect to do with it?

Bloom also says Matt will “help turn Tinkerbell back into the good fairy she was.” Then why did he need warrior training? What was the point of being “the hero of Neverland” if he wasn’t supposed to fight her?

In the next episode, “Jim’s Revenge” (2X11), the Winx’s plan works. As soon as Tinkerbell sees Matt, she gives up her fairy powers and her crown. Problem solved, right? Nope. Jim wants justice and convinces the Neverlanders to attack her. The Winx try to protect her.

It’s a clash of ideals: justice vs. mercy — expect the Winx spent all season planting the “defeat Tinkerbell” idea in the Neverlanders’ heads, too.

Wait a minute. They just wanted to fight the shadow creatures, not Tinkerbell. Right?

Yes, the shadow creatures were everywhere, and the Neverlanders had to defend themselves. But that’s not how the Winx pitched it. They kept saying, “Defeat the queen!”

  • Flora in ep. 4: “We are all on the same team now and united against the queen!”
  • Bloom in ep. 4: “The more we are, the better we can fight the queen!”
  • Stella in ep. 6: Defeat the evil queen ruling in Neverland!”

See? It’s like they forgot she was Tinkerbell! Even if they meant “defeat her shadow creatures,” it doesn’t explain why they trained Matt for battle if they just wanted him to talk her out of her wickedness.

I’m getting confused trying to explain this, so here’s a TL;DR.

From the beginning, the Winx wanted to make Tinkerbell good again. Their plan was to find Peter Pan (later Matt) and bring him to Neverland. Jim wanted to destroy Tinkerbell. They all wanted to save Neverland, but they had different ideas for how to do it. But for some reason, the Winx tried to play both angles: looking for Matt and helping Jim build his army. Why were they surprised by the outcome?

Didn’t he trick them into thinking he believed their plan would work? After all, what he really wanted was power.

It seemed that way, but again, that doesn’t explain why they kept talking about fighting her, too. Bottom line: the Winx’s actions and dialogue didn’t match their goal.

That’s just one of the problems I have with this season. I’ll talk more about it after “What If Wednesday.”

Video
30

World of Winx season two premiered today on Netflix and will premiere this Sunday, June 18 on RAI Gulp. Better late than never for this trailer, right? Enjoy!

Fanfiction
40

I really wanted to finish that “Yin and Yang” post, so that’s what I focused on last weekend. That’s why this is so late. “What If Wednesday” will resume next week. Like I said in last week’s post, I’ll talk about the Specialists and Paladins.

Today, here’s chapter 2 of my fanfic “The Storm.” (Click here if you haven’t read the first chapter.) I hope you like it!


“The Storm”

By: The Oblivious Prattler

CHAPTER II

Oya, the recurring storm. How could anyone from Andros forget it?

Aisha remembered the times she snuck out of the palace to visit the farmers. They talked about Oya all the time. Every year, it provided them with enough rain to water their crops all summer. But it also flooded fields, toppled trees, and tore apart buildings.

The storm was a blessing and a curse, but Andros wouldn’t be paradise without it.

While the sun was still shining, Aisha had plenty of time to share this paradise with Nex. Besides, she hadn’t won the bet yet.

She led him along a bay just outside the palace walls. Her parents, Queen Niobe and King Teredor, had brought her here when she was young to meet her underseas family: the mermaids. Nex had never seen one before. If this didn’t make him smile, nothing would.

Near a boulder in the water, a long, lavender fin poked through the surface. Nex jolted.

“Wait, is that a — ?”

“Uh-huh,” Aisha said, grinning. The frown on his face stayed put, but his shaky hand gave away his excitement. Why hadn’t she tried this sooner?

She knew who the mermaid was right away: her cousin Tressa. This time of day, she’d be patrolling the ocean for pirates, but maybe she could spare a few minutes.

“Tressa!”

No response. Tressa’s fin flicked up and down a couple times, then sank back beneath the waves.

Just as Aisha was about to call her name again, the red-haired mermaid burst through the surface, waving her hand wildly. “Cousin Aisha!”

The fairy beamed. “Hey, Tressa! I’ve got someone I want you to meet!”

Three more mermaids popped up next to Tressa. Perfect timing.

“Tala! Nesia! Kalia!” said Aisha. “Hey!”

As the mermaids waved back, an idea flashed into the fairy’s mind. “Stay there! We’ll come to you! Up for a little swim, Nex?”

“Why not?” he said, keeping his expression still.

Aisha stripped down to her swimsuit and charged into the water. It was lukewarm, the perfect temperature. A smile broke across her face as she took in her surroundings: the sand, the breeze, the seashells prodding her heels, the rhythm of the waves. The ocean was her home. It moved her, energized her.

“Race ya!” she said as she dove in. Her arms spun like turbine blades, digging a path through the water. She rolled with the waves, letting them lift her and propel her towards her goal.

Nex’s voice grew louder, closer. She could see the tips of his hair, the spray from his swim strokes. He laughed between breaths. A taunting laugh.

You won’t beat me! She kicked harder and faster. Her lungs sputtered. No stopping. No looking back.

She sighted the boulder. Just three feet away. Two feet. One.

Her palm collided with the cold stone, and she leaned against it as Tressa and her friends applauded. Nex came in seconds after. For a few moments, they floated there and caught their breaths, with the ocean’s roar and their heartbeats as their soundtrack.

It was Aisha who broke the silence between them.

“Is that all you got, sweetie?”

“You had a head start!” Nex snatched her up into his arms and planted a wet, salty kiss near her lips. The fairy dissolved into giggles.

The mermaids crowded around the couple like paparazzi.

“Who is he, Princess?”

“Is he a Specialist?”

“How long have you been dating?”

Typical mermaids. They loved gossip.

As Nex stared at them with a whale-like grin, Aisha giggled again. Had she looked that bug-eyed and full of wonder when she met the mermaids when she was little? Maybe her parents would remember.

Then it hit her. She leaned right up to Nex’s ear. “I win the bet.”

It took a few seconds for him to realize what she meant. As soon as he did, he buried his head in his hands and let out a frustrated sigh mixed with laughter. Aisha threw her arms around his neck and chuckled.

Who cared about a bet? This was all she wanted, the only thing that really mattered. A day alone with her sweetheart.

* * *

When she and Nex returned to the shore, she snapped her fingers. Two beach towels appeared in a flash of glittering light. After wrapping herself up in one, she picked up her pants and fished her cellphone out of her pocket.

A missed call? From Mom?

She couldn’t ignore it. Her mom only called when she had something important to tell her. Aisha mashed the call button, and a hologram of the queen, Niobe, jutted out of the screen.

“Aisha, darling!”

Her breathless voice made Aisha shudder. “Mom? What’s wrong?”

“I’m sorry to interrupt, my dear, but your father and I would like to speak with you.”

Now? Great. This would set the tour back a few hours — maybe the rest of the day. But family came first. Besides, her mom looked worried.

“Okay, Mom. We’ll be back soon.” Aisha looked up at her boyfriend as she slipped the phone back into her pocket. “Nex, I’m sorry, but I — ”

Before she could finish, he grabbed the tips of her towel and scooped her into his arms.

“I know,” he said, laying a kiss on her forehead. “Don’t worry. I just hope it’s nothing serious.”

TO BE CONTINUED