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
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

Musings & Rants
17

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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.

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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
58

nex and riven comic -- not alike

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.

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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. Read the rest of this post

Opinions
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So, about that season seven premiere…

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Yeah, I’m annoyed, too. The waiting game’s getting unbearable. I hope Nick Jr. fixes those so-called “technical issues” soon. Wouldn’t it be sad if World of Winx premiered in the U.S. first? (Great. I bet I jinxed it. 🙄 )

At least this give me time to wrap up my season six reviews. Sorry for the lack of posts these last few months. I just finished floundering through another semester of college. Now I’m working on a custom template for the blog, and I hope to have it ready it by early January.

I could use a break from coding and color scheming, so let’s talk about the best and worst episodes of season six. For me, the worst were easier to choose. I enjoyed many of the episodes, but none of them stood out to me. In the end, I picked two I liked a lot and the one I felt was obviously #1. (You can probably guess it already.)

Let’s start with the three worst episodes, so we can end on a positive note. Read the rest of this post