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. 😕

If there were ever a poster child for “girls love bad boys,” he’s it. Even Musa admits she likes him because he’s “mysterious and a bit of a rebel.” (Her Italian profile leaves off the “a bit” part.)

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.

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I still ask, “How did Musa know the lyrics to this song if this was the first time she’d heard it?”

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.

capture_036_08072013_163226_642Bottom 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!

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39 Responses to “The Boys of Winx Club: Riven, The Rebel

  1. “But this season, Riven’s almost as big a jerk as he was in season one.” This season? I’ll assume you mean season six. And I guess you haven’t finished “this season” yet, as there are some things surely worth mentioning that you didn’t mention?

    As someone who is newer to the fanbase (and has admittedly not waded too deeply into it), I’m surprised to hear that Riven is so well-liked. I feel that Riven and Musa’s relationship has always been an awful mess, right from start and all the way to… “this season.”

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    And to be honest, it was hard to watch.

    …I’ve just realized that I have many paragraphs worth of stuff to say about this, so I’ll just cut it off here. Short version: I’m with you on this one.

  2. See so I’m not the only person then. I too am curious were his mother abandoning him came from,I think it’s logical but I’d like to see it presented somewhere. But that being said I still love Riven,he’s underwent a lot before the character rewrite in Nickbow.

  3. I think Riven needs a heaping dose of therapy (which is what he got with Nabu in a way). If the fact that his mother did abandon him as a boy (if that’s true) and he’s never forgiven her for it, then all the more reason why he needs help instead of simple pity or hatred. Granted, he could have just have an untreated conduct disorder (like ODD or something). If anyone needs couples therapy, it’s Riven and Musa. They need a good long break to get their acts together (the others could too) and come back to try again if they still want to.
    I really wish Rainbow would give some background on the guys so we can at least get a glimpse of where they’ve come from and possibly why they are the way they are. I’d like to see what their families are like. Riven could very well have had abusive parents/family members and he never got a chance to learn what a healthy relationship was.
    I’m wondering if the “Riven’s mom abandoned him” thing is just speculation of one fan that caught on and passed so often that people forgot where it came from. It’s like when I heard that Mirta is Riven’s sister. I highly doubt it’s true though. Thing is, if Riven’s mom did abandon him, then how’d he survive without her? Did she leave him with his dad or on the streets? And how would he get into Red Fountain with no one looking after him? Going to any of the Magix schools has to cost something. It’s even mentioned in the comics that Musa works at the library to help pay for it and Bloom was given a scholarship so she started working at the White Horse to have some spending money and the others came from “good families” according to Bloom, which means they have to have money even if Flora isn’t a princess like the others.
    I hope the writers realize Riven’s unhealthy attitude and write him as a better character more permanently this season. I don’t know why writers would purposely give a steady bad relationship and expect us to love it.

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  4. Riven’s mother abandoning him is actually canon. It was stated on his page/character bio on the official italian Winx Club website when season 2 was first airing in Italy. When translated it said that she abandoned him for “economic” reasons, whatever those may be.

  5. Riven the worst boy, too much of a drama king.

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    Even if Musa didn’t want Stella to do it i believe that Jared is the perfect guy for her. He gets her and i hate that he got friendzoned and shoved into minor character Alice’s arms with no hints of it. He should have been the boy they designated Musa’s guy. I can’t stand the Riven drama it’s predictable. Riven should have been the one to go. I’m hoping that something happens with Alice to make Jared want to see Musa more, like an offscreen breakup or something. Though i do give Alice some credit for being the only minor character to get a guy.

    • One more thing Musa is the guardian of music magic she can sing every song before it’s sung. She mentioned this in SOTLK that she could hear and sing inner songs. That’s how she did “One to one” to answer your question about that. It was Riven’s inner song and when he sang it it became a duet.

  6. I love Riven because Musa loved Riven. I always wanted them to work out because of the whole “opposites attract” thing but season after season, he just kept disappointing. But you think about it and it’s like “why not just get rid of him” but then I would feel like the guys of Winx Club would be incomplete without him. He’s the thorn in everyone’s side!

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  7. Glad to see other people agreeing with me about Riven. No, I don’t hate him, I hate how they’re always seemed to be resetting his characteristics every season for some love drama. Sure, with Rainbow doing it for four seasons, it’s seemed logical. Riven really did seemed like he was going to change and be more attentive and supportive of his girlfriend by the end of season four. When S05 came, I rolled my eyes when there seemed to be a problem again. At least it wasn’t intentional as Riven only wanted to play her a song. I blame Musa for getting jealous at him. Seriously, girl? You, Stella, and Bloom had to deal with the boys misunderstanding you when you hung out with Andy and his bands the year before! It’s not okay for Riven to jump to conclusion, but when it comes to you it is? But at least by the end of S05, they’re still together after clearing things up. However, I wanted to bang my head when Nickbow decided to reset Riven to being his S01 jerky self in S06. Seriously, Nickbow?! Okay, that’s it! I don’t care if I find this couple more fun to watch than Bloom and Sky. Continuity isn’t a polite suggestion! If Riven has really matured into an understand boyfriend as you’ve implied in S04 and S05, keep it that way! If you’re going to reset it for the sake of having a dramatic plot, you might as well have them break up or something! If that does happen, I won’t even cry about it! Seriously, if Musa does dump Riven by the end of season 6, it better be for good. Don’t make him try and crawl back to her like in season 4 because Nabu’s not here to give him some advise. Go on! Kick him out the door! Give her someone new like Nex, I can totally live with that! You already gave Aisha a new love interesting in Roy. Adding in Nex makes her so flaky. If you’re going to add in another boy like Next, just ship him with Musa or someone who’s available!

    Okay, I’m done ranting. LOL 😛

    • LOL! Well, I don’t know about the Roy and Nex thing. While I agree this is making Aisha look flaky, honestly her relationship with Roy felt awkward, rushed, and shallow. It just kinda…happened. I remember a lot of fans weren’t very happy about it.

      I think this love triangle in season six was a dumb idea, but…I’ll talk about it when I get to these two. But I definitely can’t see Nex with Musa. He’s too hyper for her. He’d drive her crazy!

      I get what you mean, though. Almost anyone would be better than Riven, if he’s gonna keep acting this way. Heck, I’d ship her with Andy. At least they both love music.

      • Andy is a good choice but people tend to pair him with Roxy in fanfics since not everyone reads the comics and don’t know about Manuel.

      • With Andy, YES! That’s a great idea! Now that’s what a great idea! He’s sweet, not the jealous type, and very calm even when some of the Specialists were giving him an attitude back in season four. Now that’s character.

        You know what? I know this may seemed a bit cliche, but if they bring back Andy and Musa starts going out with him, that might make Bloom a little jealous since he was her ex-boyfriend. I don’t know whether or not Bloom would do something like this, but we have seen her getting jealous of Diaspro and Aisha in season two when the latter gave Sky a thank you hug. LOL

        • It’d be super cool to see a Winx with a non magical boyfriend. Of course, then we’d probably have to expect fights beyond the jealousy ones, since there’s bound to be lots of culture shock, but that would be a very good world-building experience, and Andy and Musa having to work stuff out (like where they’re going to date and how to break it to everyone’s relatives 😀 ) will also be good character development.

          In my opinion, Jared from Season 2 was pretty ideal for Musa. He was extremely dedicated to her, thoughtful (which would be important since it seems that Musa and Riven sometimes blow up over little stuff), sweet, and willing to concede–Musa and Riven are both headstrong, so their issues drag on for longer. If appearances are true, then Jared and Musa might even be from the same planet which offers them cultural connections as well. The only thing up with Jared was that he didn’t seem to be as “exciting” as Riven, who knows what he wants to do and just does it…

  8. I love Riven, I have no explanation why but I do. Maybe it does have to do with being a thorn on Sky’s side but I love him. I do however feel that his relationship with Musa is not healthy. Besides, what kind of leader would Sky be if Riven didn’t constantly challenge his authority, its at completely bad times when he does this, I agree.

    • There’s ways to build a better leader than being a jerk to your leader. Yes Sky needs someone to challenge him but Riven could be less of a jerk about it. Aisha challenges Bloom in the right way rather than being rude about it for the girls. You might say that the best way to challenge a leader is to do what they do but better. Take s2’s finale for instance where Aisha is used as the equivalent of Bloom. Notice how she not only calls the shots but is able to say encouraging words when needed. That challenges Bloom to become a better leader by hearing what Aisha did. If Riven wants to be leader of the guys he needs to see Aisha about lessons in common courtesy and battle strategies.

      • All the girls used to challenge Bloom quite a bit at first. Tecna wouldn’t even let her call herself the leader, but eventually they all came to trust Bloom’s decisions. But even in the later seasons, they’d question her sometimes or stop her or shut her up if they thought she was making a bad move.

        I remember in season four when Bloom tried to give Roxy a pep talk after Artu was attacked. It was obviously not working, but she kept talking. Eventually, Aisha told her, “Bloom, enough.” Then Stella gave her orders for once.

        • That is one of my favorite moments in the show which falls under “there comes a time when the student must become the teacher or vice versa.” That was so awesome that we saw that situation dealt with in the midpoint. There’s a time for teaching and a time for being a friend. That was Aisha’s point. Then Stella assigned a job. I do remember Tecna not even wanting a leader (probably because she didn’t realize that they might need one and Bloom used to be better at it..)

  9. This is very well written and true, you should write individual ones like these on the Winx. It’s really good

      • I think your readers would be scared if you left Roxy out of the Winx list but i’m sure you wouldn’t do that to your favorite fairy.

        • No way I’m leaving her out! She’s a Winx, darn it! 😛 LOL! I might even include Daphne, since she’s been so involved in season six (plus, it’d be weird to talk about Thoren but not her).

      • Go for it! Opinions on every character, including some of the minors if you want. They’d be useful posts to fill the gap before season 7 comes to America in an appropriately legal form.

        As for Riven, poor guy got the “first in line when the plot calls for a jerk” thing, and I don’t think he and Musa were a very good match with the way they both tend not to reveal their feelings much. Musa grew more open (or just more similar to the rest of the girls) but Riven just keeps on being first in line when the plot needs a fall guy.

        • …I don’t think he and Musa were a very good match with the way they both tend not to reveal their feelings much.

          That’s what’s weird about these two. All the other couples are compatible because they’re so alike, but Riven and Musa’s similarities make them incompatible. She’d be better off with someone who shared her interests, but doesn’t have the same personality. That’s why I think Andy would be good for her. He’s more outgoing than her, and he’s also a musician.

          • I just wish they wouldn’t always shove potential love interests back into the background also what did happen to Andy and his band anyway after the Winx took that sunset fly? S5 never answered that nor did s6.

        • The only minor we could really include is Mirta on the Winx since she was the “Roxy” before Roxy and blast it! She’s supposed to be a Winx! I hated how they toyed with us like that with her hiding her Charmix then telling us she’s got the “Winx gene” by having her be a sorta guide/sneak off sometimes then ignoring her again. Plus that would even things out to nine each for the boys and girls if we include Mirta and Daphne.

  10. I wonder if he still misses Nabu. He was as close to him as Aisha was, yet in S5 & 6 he doesn’t mention him anymore (at least not that I remember, I could be wrong). I think S5 & 6 roles he plays should’ve been reveresed – Riven acting like crap in S5 as a way to vent his grief, then getting better in S6 & improving his & Musa’s relationship. Then his acting like crap would’ve made more sense.
    If he is still grieving for Nabu, and he’s showing it now through his competitive aggressiveness why is it coming through now, is the question. I don’t like Riven’s behavior in S6 mostly b/c it doesn’t make sense – why now? Why now, right after he was trying so hard to make his and Musa’s relationship work?

    • Guys are more likely to hide things than let it out (speaking from experience here) and when they let it out well…. let’s just say that it’s baking soda volcanoes all over again.

      • Adding to wjen it comes to Ruven that’s how he deals with pain, by ignoring it until…Musa gets hurt.

  11. I have always been a Riven fan for specific reasons. I never thought Nex was Riven 2.0 because Nex is Nex and I actually prefer him over Roy. Now he I think is a Nabu 2.0.

    I relate to Riven because in my teens I had a very self-destructive personality. I bottled stuff too and when I exploded it was not very pleasant to put it mildly. I always felt like Nabu and Musa were the calming influences on him because it meant he didn’t have to look at himself and see his own deficiencies.

    I actually felt like he was growing from season to season but for people like him its a gradual change, he’s not going to be the best person overnight. I also think that Nabu played a really pivotal role in his character development. He really listened to him in season 4 and faced some of his own issues and insecurities. Those are the things I like about him. I also like that those changes stuck in season 5. He kept up being that caring boyfriend who even sang in front of the others.

    I really don’t get why he had that setback in season 6. Why did his insecurities suddenly rare up? I would like to know the writers reasoning for it. And still while you may all jump on my and say I’m making excuses because he is my favorite well you wrong. Nabu is my favorite with Riven a close second and what did the writers do? They killed off the best guy and spoiled the second one best one.

    there are other things I like a out Riven, he’s not a liar, and do blunt that you always k ow where you stand with him because he doesn’t have an evasive personality and while the honesty may not come in a pretty package you can appreciate it later. He’s also a bit clueless and goes with his instincts which is why he is so competitive and is such a jerk. Must jerks act on instinct and impulse for self preservation. Its because they know they have a vulnerable core and act to protect it even if they will never admit it and there in lies his biggest problem. If he exposed that core and embraced it then he would be a while new character. I felt like he was close in season 5 and maybe that’s why they dialed him back because he was on the verge of changing as a character. Its a shame because season 6 could have seen a new best couple especially since he’s the guy that’s good at the grand gestures.

    • Like I said, I don’t hate anybody for liking Riven. I just don’t get it myself. But you seem to have a more valid reason to. You actually understand his character because you relate to it. That’s completely different than just blindly pardoning him.

      Nabu was a great influence on him. I’m glad they had such a close friendship, but it is a shame the progress he helped him make practically got erased in such a short time.

      By the way, who were you saying is Nabu 2.0?

      • Oh sorry. I felt like Roy was Nabu 2.0. It’s like they created him just to replace Nabu and even had almost the same intro for him as they did Nabu. I was so pissed and upset when I saw that. I felt like they were trying to appease me with this boring replacement. As you can tell I have real issues with Roy. I was actually hoping Aisha would spend season 5 alone like she did in season 2 and then move on in season 6. I really like that Nex is so different from Nabu and Roy but I also feel that while he is a bit like Riven in some ways he is still a different guy. I haven’t quite grasped him yet but I do like him for Aisha.

  12. I was actually more on his side with the whole Jason queen thing then musas. He was jealous, but musa was deliberately and shamelessly flirting with him. And the only reason she considered getting back with riven was because she found out Jason was engaged and married. I know if my boyfriend flirted with a girl the way musa flirted with Jason, I would be jealous. And maybe it’s just because I’m a 4kids girl, but I actually preferred the altered subplot where Darcy spelled him. He has been acting like a big jerk, but that’s the way they’re writing him. That’s not the guy he was after five seasons and two movies taking his lumps and learning his lesson.you may be right that it’s still canon now, but I am sick and tired of rainbows character growth retcon. I wan himto learn, musa to learn, and both to end up together ultimately and not have these “plot forced” problems because the writers can’t think of anything better to do in a season then mess with relationships. Let’s see some new problems be resolved rather then re resolve the ones we already finished with, turning gave characters into hateful bully’s.

    Forgive my rant…. That’s just how I feel. I noticed that when 4kids had winx, all problems show wise were their fault, now when Nick got it it was nicks fault, but I have seen the original rai version, and though the dubs have problems, I think that rai has its own that should be recognized and dealt with.

    • The thing about the RAI dub, though, is it didn’t usually change anything. Most, if not all, of it was exactly like the original. The 4Kids and Nick dubs made changes, though I do agree that some of those changes weren’t so bad.

  13. “That’s not the guy he was after five seasons and two movies taking his lumps and learning hi1s lesson.you may be right that it’s still canon now, but I am sick and tired of rainbows character growth retcon. I wan himto learn, musa to learn, and both to end up together ultimately and not have these “plot forced” problems because the writers can’t think of anything better to do in a season then mess with relationships.”

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. I was actually watching season 4 over this weekend with my niece and even thought I love Musa I thought she was a bit self-centered and felt that Riven needed to support her while she didn’t really consider his feelings of jealousy. She knows Riven and she could have simply said that she loves him but she needs Jason to help her get her career going and just reassure him a bit. She sort of takes him for granted though not as much as he does her. I love Riven but his faults are glaringly obvious.

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    I know you would disagree but I feel that if he were the guy from season 5 then he would actually be worthy of Musa and they would have a much better relationship. However she needs to change as well because she is half the problem in this relationship

  14. I love Riven and I do know why. We often talk about that the show needs some serious and more mature elements, well, I think Riven is one of these elements. He is a good contrast to the other characters being all kind and nice, also, he is more complex and interesting than the others. I’ve always thought of Riven as the antihero of Winx Club.

    His relationship with Musa is far from perfect, but couples like that exist in real life, I think it is good to show to kids more realistic couples instead of just fairy tale ones. On the other hand I kinda feel their relationship to be a little abusive and even masochist. Do I support it? No, but I think it is good and interesting to show how they solve their problems and learn how to get along with eachother. Also, Riven’s changed a lot since S1 and I like how [most of] these changes come up. I think he is the most realistic character.

    For some reason I kinda like his temper and I even feel identified in some aspects [even though Tecna in S1 is the character I feel identified the most to]: I hate to work in team, and I am often quite competitive but in a more subtle way: I’m usually a smart guy, but I feel it is not enough, I feel I have to show it to the others, so I’m usually showing off what I know, and whenever anyone else in the class is showing off, I start to show off even more.

    Another thing I like about Riven is that he’s always honest in the rawest possible way and he can give us some huge surprises, like the time he learnt how to play guitar for Musa or when he cried after Nabu’s death. Also, for experience, people usually refuses to change, even if they really want to and they are progressing so well, they may change their mind and decide they don’t want to change, maybe that’s why Riven ignores Musa in S6 after all he did in s5.

  15. Don’t care what anyone say’s I’ve been a huge fan of Musa and Riven since the first season, love them together and I’m super sad they broke up and Riven left. =( I want Riven to come back in one of the season’s soon!!! Hopefully him and Musa can work everything out if he come’s back.

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