Riven fans, I apologize in advance. You might hate me by the time you’re done reading this post. Please know I have nothing against you personally. I just don’t understand why he’s so popular.
For some reason, Riven seems to be the darling of the fanbase. Who cares if he’s the rudest, most aggressive, and most unpredictable guy in the Boys Club, and has a terrible relationship with his girlfriend? That just makes him even more charming. 😕
This is the guy who doesn’t cooperate well with others, constantly challenges Sky‘s leadership (whether he’s right to or not), willfully betrayed his friends in season one, and treats Musa poorly every other season. Yet, no matter what he does, the fanbase rushes to his defense. Even stranger, they want him and Musa to stay together! We don’t want her to be unhappy, so why would anyone want her to keep dating a guy who antagonizes her?
Supposedly, Riven’s mother abandoned him when he was young, hence why he’s so angry all the time and has trouble dealing with women. Where’d this back story come from? I tried researching it, but I’ve found nothing that supports it. It’s never mentioned in the show, and I don’t remember it on any version of the website.
The only thing I found was a book, The Power of Dragon Flame, that mentions “Riven’s rough childhood.” But it’s an adaptation, so it shouldn’t be considered canon. It’s the same with the comics; those stories are supplemental to the series and didn’t truly happen. In the comics, Roxy was definitively the seventh Winx (at first), Tecna’s the princess of Zenith (King Cryos is her father and looks different than in the show), and many of the Winx have had several love interests.
Yet, the fanbase treats the story like fact, and his fans use it to excuse his misbehavior. Will anyone admit he might be an unstable person who’s bad, even dangerous, for Musa? (The Muse, whose favorite Winx is Musa, has felt that way for a while.)
Something else that annoys me is while the fanbase always forgives Riven, other characters can’t get away with anything. I’m talking about Nex. He does a couple aggressive things in eps. 6X03-04 — first knocking Roy out of the ring during a training match, then leaving him dangling from a floating platform in Aisha’s gym. We were right to hate him for it.
But after the second incident, he seems to understand he went too far and tries to make up for it by helping with the Lynphea College rescue mission. He and Roy are still rivals, of course (for obvious reasons), but Nex has since controlled his aggressiveness and has even cooperated with him at times. He tries to protect Roy in the same episode, then the two of them save each other in “Zombie Invasion” (ep. 6X16). Aisha even says they “make a pretty good team.”
Yet, who do the fans call a “jerk” and an “a-hole?” Who do they call — ironically in a negative sense — “the new Riven?” Nex. Riven, with all his antics and his mistreatment of Musa over at least five seasons, is just “misunderstood.” The fans didn’t give Nex five episodes before they turned against him. Talk about a double standard!
The truth, though, is Nex and Riven aren’t much alike at all. In fact, in many ways, they’re polar opposites. I’ll talk more about that when I get to Nex.
To be fair, Riven has learned from some of his mistakes, too. In season one, after realizing the Trix are after world domination and he was just their puppet, he escapes from them, saves and reunites with his friends, then apologizes for betraying them. He’s then instrumental in defeating the Army of Darkness.
In season four, Nabu helps him curb his jealousy after Musa breaks up with him. It’s not easy, but he does make the effort. He also tries (on Helia‘s suggestion) giving her gifts to show his love, though that doesn’t work very well. In the end, of course, he does win back her heart.
Riven has had some sweet moments, too, like in “Morgana’s Secret” (ep. 4X25), when he cries after Nabu’s death. That was the first time we saw him show that kind of emotion. Nabu was his best friend and the person he confided in the most, particularly during the drama with Musa. Theirs was one of the closest and most interesting among the guys’ relationships (maybe even more interesting than Sky and Brandon‘s). I almost started to like Riven after this.
In “The Shark’s Eye” (ep. 5X23), he surprises Musa by learning to play guitar so he can play a song he wrote for her. This was the one season where I fully blamed Musa for their problems. She jumped to conclusions about what he and that blonde musician were doing. Sure, he hadn’t been very trustworthy in the past, but just seeing him talk to another girl isn’t evidence of cheating. Not only was she wrong, but he had been thinking only of her the whole time.
After season five, I thought their relationship was improving. But this season, Riven’s almost as big a jerk as he was in season one. He’s ignoring Musa now, he goes off by himself during missions (which he now thinks are a waste of time), and he picks awful times to compete against Sky — like in the middle of a zombie invasion. Sometimes, it feels like every time he makes progress, it gets reset so that Rainbow can add drama to the season. But that doesn’t make him innocent. What he’s done is still canon.
As much as he fights with Sky and Musa, I know he does truly care about them. He’s just terrible at showing it. He’s too aggressive and bottles his emotions, which makes it hard for him to control his temper when the cap comes off. Because of this, he’s a loose cannon. You never know when or why he’ll go off on someone.
As for he and Musa, I understand that “real” couples don’t have perfect relationships. Everyone fights with the person they love at some point. But there’s a difference between having occasional spats and frequently being at each others’ throats. What these two have isn’t healthy for either of them.
I don’t think Riven’s ready for a relationship yet. He needs to mature a bit first. Whether the back story about his mother is true or not doesn’t matter. As the saying goes: “You have to play with the cards you’re dealt.” Life may have dealt Riven a lousy hand, but he needs to learn to cope with it before he can be a supportive partner.
Bottom line: Riven’s my least favorite guy, and I don’t understand all the love for him. But I still think he brings something to the Boys Club. He’s a foil to Sky, the flawless prince with a fairy tale romance. I hate to say it, but even he and Musa are more interesting to watch than Sky and Bloom.
I’d like to see him mend his ways for good and become a stable member of the group (without becoming boring). But I doubt that’ll ever happen.
Well, that’s done. Time to talk about the brain of the Boys Club, Timmy. Stay tuned!