There's a New Princess in Mysticons

The action-packed girl-power Nickelodeon cartoon, Mysticons, just had a plot-shattering reveal in their latest episode. Before you begin reading, please be aware that this thread contains major spoilers for the episodes "Three Mysticons and a Baby" and "Star-Crossed Sisters." If you don't want the episodes spoiled, feel free to watch them on Nickelodeon's website and come back after you've finished. I was surprised to learn that the series did not have much of a break between seasons one and two. Instead, they decided to kick off the second season in a big way. Are you ready for it? It turns out that Princess Arkayna is not the only daughter of Queen Goodfey. Years before the show began, Nova Terron, the authoritarian leader of the astromancers, separated Arkayna from her (fraternal) twin sister at birth in order to prevent a dangerous prophecy from coming true.

Who is the new princess who spent her life in isolation without knowing her family? It's someone who had already been introduced to the show but did not play a major role until now. Proxima, the bookish astromancer who was introduced late in the first season, was just revealed as Arkayna's long-lost sister. That doesn't mean it's all smiles and giggles between the two princesses from here on out, though. Just like the rest of the main cast, Proxima and Arkayna have two very different personalities. Proxima is a stickler for the rules and a willful loner, while Arkayna is sociable and not afraid to bend the rules to suit her own purposes. True to both of their characters, it takes some convincing for Arkayna to get Proxima go out for some sisterly bonding time in spite of the strict rules the other astromancers have to keep them apart in the most recent episode.

What I found interesting about this new development is that Proxima never even acknowledged that being Arkayna's sister makes her a princess. Unlike most girls, it was not something that she ever dreamed about or cared about. When she reluctantly revealed her real dream to Arkayna later in the episode of having a mother, it made the situation that much more tragic due to the unfortunate circumstances that had befallen the king and queen. Unlike in Anastasia, being a newly discovered princess does not always mean entering a life of luxury. In fact, learning the truth made Proxima's already lonely life even more lonely because being seen in public with Arkayna could potentially put the whole world in danger.

When Proxima was introduced, she did not particularly stand out. She was a quiet nerd who did as she was told and spent most of her time studying in solitude. Learning the truth about her past did not change this in any way. Even when Arkayna pushed her into having a girls day out, there was no stereotypical makeover scene where Proxima would remove her glasses, change her drab clothes, and get a more interesting hairdo à la The Princess Diaries. In the Mysticons universe, being a princess does mean the nerdy girl must change her physical appearance and learn to put on airs for her people. After spending a carefree day with her royal sister, Proxima was still the same mousy introvert she was before. The only difference was that now she knew she had a family, not that there was much she could do about it without putting everyone else's lives at risk.

The Mysticons universe is not a kind one, even if you're a princess, or perhaps especially so. Even though it may not be the most captivating cartoon on TV, it does continue to cross boundaries by deconstructing fantasy stereotypes. The idea of a nerdy girl becoming a princess is certainly not a new one, but it is rare for the nerdy girl to stay nerdy upon learning that she's royalty. By doing this, Mysticons subtly conveys the message that there's no need to change who you are in order to match the circumstances you were born into. Becoming a princess does not magically solve all of Proxima's problems. She is still tragically separated from her family, and she still has just as much trouble opening up to people as before. Proxima and Arkayna both have a lot more growing to do but in very different ways. I look forward to seeing if their unfortunate circumstances will improve any time soon.


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