Musings & Rants
64

“Are you crazy, OP? I don’t wanna love Nex! I hate him! He’s ________!” Insert your own reasons: “He’s rude! He’s like Riven! He’s boring!” Etc., etc.

Here’s another way to look at it. You do wanna love Nex, but those reasons are the barriers to your love. If they weren’t there, why couldn’t you love him?

This quote explains it well: “Hatred is a disguised form of love. You can only hate someone whom you really wish to love, because if you were totally indifferent to that person, you could not even get up enough energy to hate him.”

Both love and hate are forms of caring about someone — i.e., being invested in them. They both take a lot of time and energy. If you didn’t care about that person, you wouldn’t waste your time on them. You only spend it on people who matter to you in some way.

Why does Nex matter to the fandom? Because he’s dating Aisha. If you love her, you wanna share her happiness. You wanna cheer for her and look forward to her future as much as she does.

It’s hard to do that if you hate the person she might spend her future with. That’s why you wish you could love him. If only he wasn’t…insert that list of reasons again.

If we were talking about a real person, chances are you’d never get your wish. People can change, of course, but you can tell when it’s unlikely they will. But a fictional character can always change. It all depends on how his story unfolds. Those annoying traits that keep you from loving him could be gone by the end of next season.

There’s a lot we don’t know about Nex yet. Where is he from? What’s his family life like? What’s his social status? Why did he become a Paladin instead of a Specialist? Heck, what is a Paladin?

I bet Rainbow won’t answer all of these questions, but even a couple answers could change how we interpret his character. Nex is a work-in-progress. That’s what character development is all about.

With that in mind, let’s look at a few reasons the fandom hates him — and how Rainbow can make those reasons disappear. Read the rest of this post

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.

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

Musings & Rants
67

“Sparxshipping,” a.k.a. Bloom and Valtor. They’re a pairing that’s been popular since the 4Kids days. With opposing poles of the Dragon Flame — a flame of light and a flame of darkness — this couple sounds impossible, yet intriguing. How would good and evil fall in love with each other?

A better-known, non-Winx ship is “Zutara” (Zuko and Katara) from Avatar: The Last Airbender. (I’m not touching the “Kataang vs. Zutara” debate.) Some fans can’t resist the fire-water dynamic between the two benders. Even Zuko’s voice actor, Dante Basco, is a hardcore “Zutarian.”

These couples, “Zutara” and “Sparxshipping” (and technically “Kataang,” too), follow the concept of “yin and yang,” two opposite forces in harmony with each other. It’s the same theme Rainbow used for Aisha and Nex.

Yeah, yeah. They’re “Life” and “Death,” right?

Yes, I know I’ve mentioned that a dozen times. Aisha is “life” in Arabic, and nex is “death” in Latin. But remember in my recent Aisha/Nex post when I said I keep discovering things about this couple? Turns out Rainbow took the yin-yang idea further than just name meanings.

Winx 6X15 - Aisha and Nex windsurfing

Same, Yet Opposites?

Wait a minute. Aren’t these two a lot alike?

Being yin and yang doesn’t mean being different in every way. “Yin and yang” is relative. Object A may be opposite of Object B for a different reason than Object C. It depends on what traits you’re comparing them by.

Water and fire are yin and yang because water’s cold and wet, and fire’s hot and dry. But ice and running water are also yin and yang. Even though they’re both water, running water is liquid and active, and ice is solid and stationary. (Yes, that means Icy and Aisha are yin and yang, too.)

It’s actually more complicated than that. If you’re curious (and you’re a nerd like me), TED-Ed has a short video that explains it better than I can.

Back to Aisha and Nex. Most fans think they’re exactly the same: confident, fearless, energetic, athletic, etc. Yes, they have those traits in common — if they had nothing in common, they’d have nothing to bond over — but some of their other traits couldn’t be any more different.

For example, Nex is flirty. In his debut episode, “The Flying School” (6X03), he strutted up to the Winx and said, “Hey, ladies!” Can you imagine Aisha doing something like that? Yeah, right. In fact, it was something she didn’t like about him when they first met.

That’s just one of the ways they’re opposites, but it’s not as important now that they’re dating. Their other differences affect their relationship now.
Read the rest of this post

Musings & Rants
54

If you’ve been waiting for more chapters of my fanfic, don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten about it. The next chapter will be up before World of Winx season two premieres.

I never thought I’d end up writing Winx fanfiction — especially about Aisha and Nex. I didn’t always like this couple. Like a lot of fans, I hated Nex when he was introduced, and I couldn’t imagine her dating him.

After all, I still wanted Nabu to come back. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may remember some of my comments during season five. For example, when Aisha snapped at Roy in “The Power of Harmonix” (5X06), I said she needed Nabu because without him, she’d gone back to hating boys.

Seeing her with another guy felt weird. It still does sometimes. She and Nabu seemed like a sure thing — if for no other reason than we didn’t think Rainbow would break any of the initial couples up. I even said that in a post during season four: “Would Rainbow actually split our sweet couples up? All we can do is keep watching to find out!” Little did I know.

Story-wise, Aisha and Nex don’t feel as stable. Nex is no charming prince. He’s rude and arrogant sometimes, and we’ve seen him and Aisha argue. Plus, it’s not an arranged marriage, so the relationship doesn’t have a goal yet. Who knows they’ll even end up getting married?

This couple’s unfamiliar and unpredictable, offering no promises and guarantees.

Nabu’s death and the season six love triangle add to that feeling. Now you can’t help but feel like Aisha’s love life is always up in the air. She’s been with a different guy every season or two. Why let ourselves get attached to Nex, especially since he seems to be the least likable?

Plus, this relationship’s moving slowly. Aisha’s relationship with Nabu seemed fully developed after less than a season! If he came back, we wouldn’t have to wait for a happy ending. Why should we gamble on Nex and risk getting our hearts broken — again?

If Aisha and Nex have the most strikes against them, why do I love them? Read the rest of this post