What If Wednesday
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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
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Nex is not “the new Riven.” Got it? Good. 😛

Why did I write that post before this one? I mentioned why at the beginning of it. Whenever Nex says or does anything, the first thing people say, “He’s ‘the new Riven'” or, “He replaced Riven” or, “He’s just Riven except —,” or something like that. The fanbase keeps trying to force Nex into a role he wasn’t created for.

We’ll never understand his character until we stop comparing him to Riven. The truth is we still don’t know him well. He’s only been around for two seasons.

Here’s what I’ve been hinting at since the ep. 7X04 review. In season six, Rainbow began his love story with Aisha. This season, they focused on his relationships with the Specialists. In most of the episodes he was in, he interacted with one or two of them at a time:

  • “First Color of the Universe” (7X04) — Brandon, brief moment with Helia
  • “Back in the Middle Ages” (7X08) — Helia
  • “Winx Trapped!” (7X10) — Timmy
  • “Mission in the Jungle” (7X11) — Sky
  • “Back to Paradise Bay” (7X16) — Sky, brief moment with Brandon
  • “Lost in a Droplet” (7X17) — Timmy
  • “Baby Winx” (7X20) — Helia
  • “New Magic Harmony” (7X25) — Helia, Sky
  • “The Power of the Fairy Animals” (7X26) — Timmy, brief moment with Helia

The types of interactions varied. Sometimes he talked to them, sometimes he raced them, and sometimes he just exchanged glances with them. You could always tell who the chosen guy was for each episode. He and Nex would be isolated from the others, or Nex would be beside him in almost every scene. For example, in “Baby Winx” (7X20), he was almost always next to Helia:

This is nothing new for TV. For example, when Zuko joined the Gaang in Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang, Katara, and Sokka each got an episode (or two) alone with him. When it was Toph’s turn, she lampshaded what the writers were up to: “Everyone else went on a life-changing field trip with Zuko.” (It didn’t work out for her, though. 😛 )

The guys’ moments with Nex didn’t change their lives, but they did reveal his real role in the Boys Club. (Hint: it has nothing to do with Riven.)

Read the rest of this post

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Once again, thanks for reading these posts. I had fun writing them, and I hope you enjoyed them.

I learned some things as I was writing these. First of all, I like the guys more than I thought I did. They’re not just “purses with legs,” as I’ve always treated them. Some of them are boring as a white wall (I’m looking at you, blue-eyed Goldilocks), but others are pretty cool and I like having them in the show.

Other things I learned:

  • Not everyone likes Timmy, after all. My sister, The Muse, hates him. Passionately. She thinks he’s boring and too stereotypical. Go figure. 😛
  • Sky and Riven are two of my least favorite guys, yet I talked about them a lot in the others’ posts. Either they get way too much attention in this show (Sky sure does), or I subconsciously like them more than I think I do. 😛
  • I’m obsessed with the Log Horizon opening. 😛 I spammed that video a hundred times while I was writing Timmy’s post. 😛
  • I had more to say about Nabu than I thought I would. Hey, he’s worth it. 🙂 And his voice in the season three RAI English dub was hot. Full stop.
  • Whatever that indentation on Nex’s chin is supposed to be — a cleft, I guess — annoys me to no end. But when I was looking for screenshots of Nabu, I noticed he had a cleft in his chin, too! What’s with Aisha’s love interests and distinctive chins? 😛
  • Thoren gives off a big brother vibe to me. If I had an older brother, I wouldn’t mind if he were like him. 🙂

Well, that’s it for this series. Feel free to suggest another theme for me (the Winx, the Pixies, the villains, etc.)!

Just for convenient access, here are all the posts again:

Musings & Rants
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Before you ask, the answer’s no. Beginning with Sky and ending with his cousin Thoren was not on purpose. I wanted to start the series with the guys we’ve known the longest: Sky, Brandon, Helia, Riven, and Timmy. Then I wrote about Aisha’s love interests one after another, starting with Nabu since he came first. Thoren was just the leftover guy.

It makes sense to put him last, anyway. He’s not part of the Boys Club the way the other guys are, since his love interest, Daphne, isn’t one of the Winx. The only reason he’s here is because she’s tagging along with them.

Thoren’s introduced in ep. 6X03, “The Flying School.” He’s immediately established as a rival to Sky by choosing to be his opponent in a training match. Since he calls the blond prince out by name, everyone knows they’ve got some kind of a history. (I still don’t get how Bloom knew Thoren, but Brandon didn’t. Just for laughs, I guess.)

Objection!

The first time I watched this episode, Thoren came off as aggressive and unfriendly, so I called him a “hothead.” (His character description does say he’s “grumpy.”) But during a recent rewatch, I noticed after Sky knocks him over with a sword slash, Thoren — while growling like he’s disappointed — gives him a thumbs-up! Huh? 😕 Talk about mixed messages!

If I’d seen that gesture, I might have known this “rivalry” was gonna go nowhere. But that’s not what the rest of the episode suggested. Read the rest of this post

Romance
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Remember that Nabu guy?

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Yeah. I miss him too.

In season 5, Nick was all for pushing Roy on us, and even though I personally found it annoying (Nabu X Aisha forever), I eventually came to terms with it.

Then came season six, and suddenly, we’ve thrown a paladin into the mix—a paladin that, can I just say, acts a lot like a second Riven. Now there are two guys competing for Aisha’s affection. Two! Apparently, Nabu is worth two men. I’m starting to think that Nick/Rainbow might regret taking Nabu out of the picture, because now it seems like they can’t make up their minds as to how to handle Aisha and her lack of a love interest.

Next thing we know, they’ll throw in the two guys Stella was trying to hook Aisha up with at that party.

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What do you guys think of the budding Aisha harem? Which man should stay: Roy, Nex, both, neither…or just bring back Nabu?