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.

What If Wednesday
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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