Fixing The Flats: Fleshing Out The Winx’s Love Interests
Posted On July 1, 2021
Did you know Brandon loves engines and is an excellent climber?
Did you know Helia lives at Redfountain — with Saladin?
Did you know Riven‘s mother abandoned him when he was little?
Oh, you knew that one? Okay. Name the episode where we learned it.
Can’t? Exactly. If it was never mentioned in the show, is it really canon? I’d say no, so he has no backstory.
And he’s not alone. Even though most of the Winx’s boyfriends have been around since Winx Club began, they are some of the least developed characters. We know where a few of them are from (Eraklyon, Andros, and Lynphea), and we know their interests and abilities. But we don’t know most of their family lives, backstories, goals, or internal struggles.
“What about Nabu?” you say. “He was well developed.”
Second, even with a backstory, he had the same problem most of the Winx’s boyfriends have: he didn’t grow as a person. I’m not talking about the arranged marriage subplot where, again, he piggybacked off Aisha — I mean overcoming his own flaws. Hard to do that when you don’t have any. ?♀️
I think Rainbow overloaded Nabu with positive traits and made him a relationship expert at only 20 years old because they planned to kill him off all along. His character and his love story with Aisha were designed for maximum audience heartbreak — and boy, did the writers succeed! But I won’t talk about that today.
Anyway, the only guy with a unique backstory that’s fleshed out in the show is Sky. But he hasn’t changed at all, either! He’s the same bland Prince Charming wannabe he’s always been and hasn’t learned jack squat. No wonder he still falls for Diaspro’s tricks!
So if you’re a love interest in Winx Club, you either get a backstory but no character growth, or character growth but no backstory.
Because these guys are so flat and shallow, we identify them only by their personality traits: nerdy, cocky, poetic, flirty, wise, etc. If one guy’s traits overlap with another’s, the Winx fandom considers the guy introduced second to be a copy of the first. That’s why they’ve labeled Nex “Riven 2.0” or “a second Riven”.
If they think it’s that easy to confuse these two, it’s not because Nex is a copy. It’s because both of them are too simplistic. They don’t have enough depth to distinguish themselves from each other.
A Winx fan on YouTube acknowledged Riven doesn’t have a “deeper backstory”, but of course, they blamed Nex. In their mind, this “identical” character stole screen time that could have been used to develop Riven instead. That’s funny — that’s why I’m merging Nabu with Aisha! Rainbow even admitted he was a redundant character, yet no one calls him “Aisha 2.0”!
More double standards, I guess. A character can get away with being a copy of another if they date them. ?♀️
The real problem is Rainbow doesn’t care enough about the guys to develop them. Except Sky. He’s Bloom’s boyfriend, so that makes him special. ?
What’s frustrating is the details in the guys’ profiles set up lots of possibilities for them. It’s like Rainbow had ideas for their development but abandoned them.
Fixing the Flats
The guy with the most wasted potential is Helia. We learned a lot about him in his debut scene from “Party Crasher” (Winx season 2, episode 8):
He’s Saladin’s nephew (or grandson — who cares?)
He was once the best student at Redfountain.
He’s a pacifist.
He dropped out of Redfountain.
Yet two episodes later, after meeting Flora, he was back in his Specialist uniform like it was just another Thursday.
Seriously, Rainbow? You dumped all that backstory on us, and none of it mattered? ?♀️
Giving nothing away, I’ll say I’m planning to do a lot more with Helia than what we got in the show (i.e., nothing). I think you’ll like his new story.
Riven’s story is obvious: he needs to at least look for his estranged mother. Where is she? Who is she? Is she still alive? Can he forgive her?
It’s been eight seasons, but Winx Club has never answered these questions and probably never will. So it’s up to the fans.
As for Brandon, we know he’s from Eraklyon, and we know he’s been a player since he was a kid. (I couldn’t find the episode where they showed his past. I’ll look again later.) The rest of his story has revolved around Sky. But how did this Casanova — and a commoner at that — become the prince’s best friend and bodyguard?
Some Winx fans think Brandon is an orphan, and the royal family took him in. Maybe, but I might do something different.
Nex and Timmy are the only guys we know nothing about — only their interests and personalities. Well, okay: Stella said Timmy’s not from Magix in “A Friendship Sundered” (Winx season 1, episode 8), and we know he’s not from Zenith because of his meet-the-in-laws episode in Winx season six. So where is he from? Don’t know.
As I said in the rewrite intro, I have a backstory for Nex already. It’s nothing like Riven’s, so they can safely coexist. Here’s a hint: I got the idea from Nex’s civilian outfit in Winx season seven. What does it make you think of? ?
Also, these two will still have their weird friendship because it’s hilarious. They’re like that joke about how an introvert makes a friend: an extrovert adopts him. Sorry, Timmy. Accept your fate. ?
So that means the best friend pairs in my rewrite will be Sky and Brandon, Helia and Riven, and Nex and Timmy. Hmmm…that works. 🙂
It Takes Two
Speaking of pairs, let’s talk about the Winx couples. Another side effect of the guys being flat characters is their relationships are one-sided. For example, we can’t say any of these couples are supportive of each other. Why not? Well, think about it. How often have the Winx needed to support their boyfriends?
Let me put it another way: how often have the guys looked to the Winx for encouragement, comfort, or advice? Hardly ever. It’s usually the other way around. The girls will compliment them now and then, but that’s it.
Part of the problem is…they’re underdeveloped! They have no goals or dreams, so there’s nothing for the Winx to support, and without internal conflict, there’s nothing to help them through! So the Winx have had few opportunities to be there for their boyfriends the way their boyfriends are there for them!
Fleshing out the guys’ backstories and arcs will deepen the couples’ relationships and allow the guys to grow through them like the Winx have. I have a few ideas already, especially for Flora and Helia. Yeah, even though I started this project because of Aisha and Nex, I’m coming up with lots of stuff for Mr. and Mrs. “Flowers and Sunshine”. They need it, too.
When I’m done with my rewrite, I hope the Winx fandom will feel the guys (and the couples) were written better than in Winx Club. I wish Rainbow had put more effort into these characters, but that’s what fanfiction is for, right?