Q: How could Aang be the best avatar when instead of facing his destiny he took off and left all of the airbenders to die and let the war go on for a hundred years?
Fair question. But unfortunately you’re using historical hindsight to level charges that aren’t actually valid.
Aang didn’t know the Fire Nation were planning a genocidal attack on his people. Aang didn’t know Gyasto was planning on keeping him safe. Aang had no idea that flying out of that window would mean the death of all his people. He didn’t know that a storm would keep him from the world for 100 years.
He was the youngest person ever to be told he was the Avatar. An event that ostracized him from all his friends. He was an outcast, and the only person in the world that stayed closed to him, Gyasto, was going to be torn away from him. So he ran. That’s his character weakness. Aang runs from his problems. And it has disastrous consequenes. But you can’t blame Aang for the Fire Nation committing genocide. Those soldiers are the ones that murdered all the children and peaceful Air Nomads, not Aang.
What makes Aang a great Avatar is he overcame his weakeness. Throughout the series he comes to accept his destiny. This 12 year old guy accepts the fate of the world on his shoulders and faces the embodiment of the ideology that murdered his people and deals with him justly. Aang is a great Avatar because of the circumstances he was presented with. Not only was he unprepared, out of touch the morality of the modern world and dealing with problems 100 years in the making, he did this all at the age of 12. He fucked up back in the past, but that tiny mistake which had huge unimaginable consequences, he was able to get past it and literally save the world. If that doesn’t make a great Avatar, I don’t know what will.
ok a year later and i’m still mad so here’s a post
why couldn’t Tenzin have been a woman why couldn’t Noatak have been a woman why couldn’t Tarrlok have been a woman why couldn’t Tahno have been a woman why is the OWL full of men what if Asami’s father had died instead why did they stuff the narrative full of men who seek to control or intrude on Korra’s life and her space and abuse and harass her why why why why!!
in other news, the gender dynamics in lok are my actual least favorite part of the entire narrative by a long stretch.
the only dude who gets a pass here is Mako because he plays a traditionally female role as a passive love interest being actively pursued, down to his design and fanservice moments, and I appreciate the reversal going on here (and i guess Bolin too, but that’s…. because he does nothing)
EDIT: AND KORRA AND ASAMI ARE BARELY FRIENDS AND IT WAS JUST SO FRUSTRATING
There is literally no male character in the entire show who couldn’t have worked perfectly well as a woman. Contrary to some of the other comments (side-eyeing them tbh) it’s not that EVERY other significant figure in Korra’s narrative needed to also be a woman, though it would have been perfectly okay if they were - but hello, some of them? At all? It’s hard to escape the feeling that “well the protagonist’s a woman good enough” was in play.
It’s like, yes on Korra and Asami. Lin just drops out of the plot, more than once. And it’s not even … I kind of expect Korra to be challenged at every turn by variably antagonistic other characters, from minor inconveniences to the archvillain. But I don’t like that they’re all men.
There’s not a one of them that I don’t find more compelling as a woman, and the bloodbending arc is especially - I mean, it’s my favourite part? But it’s ridiculously male dominated. It ties Amon to Tarrlok and resolves their individual arcs together (and starts them together), it explains the mystery of Amon’s powers, it links them to both Aang (through Yakone) and Tenzin (through Tarrlok), blatantly parallels Korra, and resolves the main conflict. And if you look at that - apart from Korra herself, it’s nothing but men, Noatak, Tarrlok, Yakone, Aang, Tenzin.
Her main relationships outside that are with Mako and Bolin, and we get the barest scraps about her relationship with the women in her life. Asami she hardly speaks to. Her mother? Both her parents are collapsed into a sort of collectively nice supportive image that we don’t much see. Katara’s role in her life is barely hinted at. And while a lot of people were pleased that she was so peripheral, I kept wondering why. Elderly people in ATLA (mostly men, but not all) were engaged in the world around them and Katara has a ton of links to RC, and she’d be a welcome relief from the sea of testosterone that Korra’s swimming in. Kya scarcely earns a mention (it’s Tenzin’s brother - surprise! - who turns out to be the militarily significant figure). Why.
Happy Taang Week! It’s actually one of my favorite friendships.
“Time is an illusion…So, it’s someone I’m going to meet?”
Seeking help from the best healers but it didn’t work, then the spirits intervened and solved the problem.
but they do hurt the same
Escape from the Spirit World: Avatar Yangchen (x)
This is an update of sorts, based on a little concept I did almost exactly 10 years ago. I worked on it a few minutes at the end of each day this week. *Trying* to get better at digital painting. Hope you guys enjoy it. Have a great weekend!