The main magical fairy girl Bloom (Abigail Cowen) arrives at magical fairy school Alfea on Fate: The Winx Saga and is almost immediately bullied for being something she didn’t know she was: a changeling. Say what? I don’t know about you guys, but the word “changeling” always makes me think of magical creatures that shapeshift, like werewolves. I’m super wrong, though! In this scenario, “change” means “swap,” not transform. A changeling in Fate: The Winx Saga is a fairy baby that was switched at birth with a human baby — a practice that is something of a taboo in the world of the Netflix series.

Bloom was taken from the fairy world to the human world by a fairy named Rosalind. (She was actually kidnapped from her fairy parents by witches first, but that somehow has nothing to do with her being a changeling. This show has a lot of lore.) There are several unanswered questions about Bloom’s origin story. It’s shameful to be a changeling, even if it isn’t Bloom’s fault, because that typically means a double kidnapping has taken place. The characters on Fate: The Winx Saga call the practice “barbaric.” If you ask me, it’s rude that they consider changelings freaks and antagonize them. It’s not Bloom’s fault she was taken from her biological parents. She didn’t even know!

However, the biological child of Bloom’s unwitting adoptive parents (Mike and Vanessa Peters, who seem nice) tragically died as an infant, and baby Bloom was swapped in before anybody noticed the baby had gone. At the end of the first season, Bloom tells the parents who raised her the truth and they… seem cool with it.

This comes directly from folklore. This is a real superstition that people used to have about children that were ill or strange to them in some way. It’s also not the first time the idea of changelings has shown up on television. Outlander fans can tell you all about how Claire FTFO when she went back in time and discovered that the Scottish villagers who took her in had left a sick newborn out in the woods overnight because they believed it was a fairy changeling and they wanted fairies to take it back and return the human baby they stole.

The general idea that your real family will take you away from your boring life to a magical world has morphed and evolved into all kinds of fantasy tales, from Harry Potter to The Princess Diaries. All Fate: The Winx Saga is doing is taking that concept/trope back to its sinister folklore roots. Being a changeling hasn’t imbued Bloom with any kind of changeling powers. It just explains how she came to be a fish out of water in the magical world she would otherwise be calling her own.

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