Memories from the Friendship Ring

Over the years, there have been several websites dedicated to Jewel Riders and its fans.  For Ronnie and I, in the 90s our inspiration was Stormy’s Avalon site.  And in 2006 – just a little over 10 years after the show debuted, a new community was created on LiveJournal called jewel_power.   Today, in honor of the 10th Anniversary of the jewel_power community (which first opened its virtual doors on January 18th, 2006, and which remains an active forum to this day), we reached out to its founder, fantasy author Lisa Dawn, who was kind enough to share her memories with us.

Friendship Ring 4x3 Wallpaper

I believe I was around ten years old the day I was flipping through channels, when a girl riding a unicorn shooting out sparkling beams of light from a magic jewel instantly caught my attention. We didn’t have cable, so there weren’t a lot of options to appeal to someone my age at the time. No one had told me about this enchanting show, and I hadn’t seen any advertisements or merchandise for it yet. Who were these glittering girls who befriended unicorns and defeated evil with the power of friendship, music, glitter, and pastel colors? I had to know more.

That was when I discovered Stormy’s website on a newfangled invention known as the internet. “Stormy” was an alias of course, but the young lady I spoke to turned out to be just as wise and magical as her fantasy alias would suggest. As far as I can recall, she was my first online friend, and certainly one of the best. Her website taught me all about the characters and magical world of Avalon from “Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders.”

In addition to having a gorgeous and informative site that far surpassed the official “Amazin’ Adventures” one, Stormy helped to make sure that I caught up on all the episodes of “Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders” I had missed. I never seemed to catch it on TV at the right time, mostly because of how many time and channel swaps it had before ultimately getting canceled. Even though I had purchased all four official VHS tapes, I never managed to find the episode “Song of the Rainbow,” which was promoted on the merchandise fliers that came packaged with the dolls. It turned out to be a promotional tape only that was unavailable in stores. When I told Stormy of my plight, she immediately came to my rescue and mailed me various VHS tapes containing “Song of the Rainbow” and other episodes that I had missed on TV, along with episodes of some bonus series, including “Tenko and the Guardians of Magic” and one of my favorite anime series, “Revolutionary Girl Utena.”

I feel that my friendship with Stormy very much mirrors the themes contained within “Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders.” The fact that I was able to obtain an episode of the show that seemed otherwise unobtainable thanks to her was magical in itself at my young age, but it was also through Jewel Riders that I got my first taste of the internet and its capabilities to connect people that surpassed previous generations. No longer were we confined by location to meet people with similar interests. Everyone had their own website and could contact each other from all over the world to discuss common interests and share fan fiction and fan art.

Because it was my first introduction to the world of online fandoms, “Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders” holds a special place in my heart that nothing else can take. I even had my own Jewel Riders fan page for a short time, through which I met many other fans who lived too far away for me to have met in person. The internet was like a real-life friendship ring, and we were all able to shoot out beams of text through our computers like enchanted jewels and travel through the wild magic to share our love of strong female protagonists, unicorns, rainbows, glitter, music, and kindness.

Fast forward six years later to when my parents finally got cable. I was a starry-eyed 16-year-old in high school. I instantly found myself drawn to Cartoon Network due to my love of animation, and shows such as “The PowerPuff Girls” and “Samurai Jack” strengthened that love even more. That was when I decided what I wanted to do with my life. Nothing moved more than these beautiful hand-drawn images that brought people together and made them feel such powerful emotions. Determined to start my own animation studio, I began drafting my animated series, which as you can probably guess, drew inspiration heavily from Jewel Riders. “The Legacy of Hope and Love” was going to be the story of a teenage girl and boy who were magically torn from their home worlds and deceived by an evil sorceress to go on a quest to obtain crystal shards from five labyrinths guarded by unicorns. The concept art was done by another friend I had made thanks to the magic of the internet.

It was around that time that I joined LiveJournal and created various communities, one of which, of course, revolved around “Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders.” I suppose I considered myself a bit of an entrepreneur at the time, having spent countless hours creating graphic artwork, writing posts, and moderating all of the communities I hosted. The Jewel Riders community, as always, had a small, yet strong following, which was probably for the best. Odd as it may be, the obscurity of Jewel Riders is one of the things that makes it so special to me. Once something gets too popular, it tends to feel less personal. Take Disney, for instance. It was my Disney Princess community on LiveJournal that blew up like crazy and caused enough trauma for me to delete my LiveJournal entirely and learn a valuable lesson about trust, but I digress.

Today, I’m nearly 30 and currently not doing anything even remotely related to animation, but as always, “Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders” still holds a special place in my heart. It taught me about the magic of friendship long before the current “My Little Pony” reboot, and it will probably be the only show that contains literally everything I love wrapped up in one glittery package. It introduced me to all the things that made this generation unique at a time when forums and fandoms were still new and unheard of. I’m very excited to learn about the Jewel Riders Archives because I feel as though it keeps this part of my past alive and well. In spite of everything that’s happened to me over the past twenty years, I know that I can always return to the friendship ring and have a place to share my love.

JRA Girl's Hug

We’re honored to share these memories, and want to make a special note that the LiveJournal community was where we first found an active group of Jewel Riders fans online since the days of the late 90s Avalon website.  Without that basis of fandom, the The Jewel Riders Archive would not be what it is today, and for that we owe the fans from the jewel_power community a huge debt of gratitude.

Friends Together, Friends Forever!

Chris & Ronnie

P.S. If you would like to read more from Lisa, be sure to check out her published works on Amazon!  (Chris recommends Of Land and Sea, a wonderful retelling of The Little Mermaid!)

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