Musings & Rants
68

“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.

What If Wednesday
81

I guess I shot myself in the foot by calling this What If Wednesday.” A lot of fans thought I meant, “What if [insert major event] didn’t happen?” or “What if So-and-So had been [insert different role] instead of…?” Nope. That’s not what this is about.

I’m not trying to make fodder for alternate universe fanfics (but you can use it if you want to). What I’m gonna talk about are things that can still logically happen in the show. Remember how I said this will be focused on the future, not the past? The “What if” isn’t, “What if this had happened instead?” It’s, “What if this happens in a future season?”

Just a warning: this will set us up for disappointment. It’s inevitable. The ideas we come up with may never happen; in fact, chances are they won’t.

But do we ever know what was gonna happen in a season? Guessing, theorizing, and wondering are part of the fun of watching a series. Even if the end result is different than we hoped, we don’t have to change things to make something out of it. New possibilities and new angles are still hiding in the story, waiting to be discovered.

Maybe this first post will clear things up. Why am I starting with Helia? I was talking about him with a friend on Instagram recently, and I realized he has a lot of loose ends in his back story. If Rainbow tied these up, he could become a more interesting — and more powerful — character.

What if…Helia followed his dream of becoming an artist?

A lot of fans were happy to see Bloom drawing again in World of Winx, but it’s been a long time since our other artist has picked up a sketchbook. Bet you never realized Bloom and Helia had that in common — or at least, you never thought of it as a shared talent. That’s not the only similarity between them. I get to that later.

In comics #35 and #36, “The Trial” and “New Challenges,” Helia leaves Redfountain — like he almost did in the show — and tries to sell paintings for a living. Of course, it doesn’t work out because the comics always reset everything back to how they are in the show. But it begs the question, “Could he have become a famous artist instead of a Specialist?”

But since season two, we’ve barely seen him draw at all. His only artistic talent seems to be making origami. (That started in season two, too.) Did he give it all up to become a Specialist again? Why did he have to do? He can be a Specialist and an artist, right?

Or can he? Would his love of art conflict with his job? After all, he can’t paint while he’s battling monsters, and Specialists have to be on call at all times. How would he handle it?

I’d love to see this internal conflict in him in a future season. Should he stick with what he’s been training for for years (and keeps him close to his girlfriend), or should he follow his dream? Which one is he better at? How would leaving Redfountain affect his relationship with Flora? Read the rest of this post

Musings & Rants
17

capture_001_24072016_134304_897

You’ve been really patient — more patient than I’ve been about World of Winx, that’s for sure. 😛 Sorry for dragging this out so long. Let’s jump right into this!

I kept saying in my reviews that something made me write off Orlando as a love interest for Musa. Only one of you got it right: a Winx fan called SpiderBraids. He wrote this in an email: “Anything to do with the meta reference, perhaps? :-)”

Bingo! Remember this line from the script reader in “Back in the Middle Ages” (7X08):

“Let me introduce to you The Rainbow Company…”

Admit it: you rolled your eyes at that one. So did I. “The Rainbow Company?” Really? 🙄

That’s when I stopped taking Orlando and his troupe seriously as characters. I think they were just Rainbow’s way of writing themselves into the show. Two more possible hints:

  • Where did “Back in the Middle Ages” and “The Fairy Cat” (7X09) take place? Medieval Italy. Not England. Italy.
  • The troupe’s play was about six fairies who save a dying kingdom. That could have been a reference to how Rainbow wasn’t well-known till they created Winx Club, which helped them become a big name in the animation industry.

capture_002_24072016_134618_647

If the troupe was supposed to represent Rainbow, who did each member represent? I’m not sure. I don’t know the company well enough to match each character to a specific staff member. They could have even been based on inside jokes. All I can do is guess based on the little knowledge I have.

Let’s start with Orlando. When I first watched those two episodes, I thought for sure he was Iginio Straffi. The reader implied Orlando wrote the play, just like Mr. Straffi created Winx Club. He also played the prince in the play, who believed in magic and atrracted fairies with his music. It felt to me like some sort of metaphor about imagination, but I might be reading into it. 😛

Here’s another possiblity. Orlando might have been Alessia Orlando, one of the Winx Club singers. That might explain why he was a minstrel (a pop singer of the past) and why he was interested in Musa. Why would Rainbow base a male character after her? I don’t know. Maybe they just named him after her.

What about the tall guy? He might have been Mr. Straffi, too. The reader said he was the leader of the company, and the guard captain interrupted the reader just before he said his name (as if it might have given it away). Also, he played the king and the queen in the play. That could have been a reference to how Mr. Straffi and his wife, Joanne Lee, are the co-CEOs of Rainbow.

I’m not sure about the reader or the donkey. They may have been two of Rainbow’s writers, two of the animators, two of Mr. Straff’s friends — I don’t know. Someone with inside knowledge of the company might be able to tell right away. Read the rest of this post

Musings & Rants
18

IMG_4856
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