about as interesting as eating cardboard tbh
very glad we share this :D
Noatak and Tarrlok (because they’re bound up together for me):
- total lack of self-awareness; they’re both convinced they’ve put their pasts behind them, even as those pasts dictate pretty much every move they make
- relatedly, they both hate themselves—it’s closer to the surface with Tarrlok, as Noatak’s cognitive dissonance runs a lot deeper
- also relatedly, they’ve constructed images of themselves that they live out, revolving around their respective failures (“failures”) as children—Noatak is an invincible protector to a large group of downtrodden
Tarrloks people, Tarrlok is NOT A WEAKLING OK, both have saviour complexes a mile wide—they reinvent themselves as heroes. Both also have nerves of steel.
- Tarrlok is the only human being that Noatak gives a single fuck about. Tarrlok cares abstractly but not much about particular people
- Noatak has no moral compass beyond what’s dictated by his own psychological needs; he broke long before he fled the North. Tarrlok does have one, a bit warped, but there, and it’s on those morals that his self-image rests; when he’s no longer able to deceive himself, he’s thrown into a deep depression.
- Noatak and Tarrlok are both power-hungry and true believers; they feel genuine, extreme zeal for their respective causes (Noatak really hates bending, Tarrlok really cares about Republic City) and simultaneously grab as much power as they can in the process of fighting (Tarrlok maneuvering, Noatak seizing it). WRT the parentheses there, Noatak, former fearless prodigy, is much more assertive and confident and direct than Tarrlok, who (accustomed to weakness) relies on manipulation, exploiting, arranging, overwhelming advantage, etc
- bold, straightforward
- has a gentle side
- utterly, indomitably resolute
- extremely dutiful
- self-identity tightly linked with her performance as Avatar
- forgiving (yes! pulpofiction can tell you I harp on this a LOT)
- extremely short fuse and a deep well of rage
- a Ravenclaw mistaken for a Slytherin who hates himself for not being a Gryffindor
- not very approachable, but sensible, charismatic, and reasonable
- proud, iron-willed, extremely strong-minded, fierce but cautious
- does not ~hate Faramir, but does love Boromir a great deal more, partly because of Boromir’s sheer likableness and mostly because of Denethor’s own pressures and concerns and issues and staggering lack of self-awareness
Team Avatar- pillow fight by Lukia-Lokelani on deviantart
Tenzin vs. Zaheer
i know it’s been pointed out that, out of the red lotus, ming hua’s style of fighting is the most brutal, that she’s the most ruthless of the four of them
but if you think about it, it makes complete sense???
the red lotus were locked up in specialized, isolated prisons, with the goal being to keep each member away from their respective element (sans zaheer, obviously)
p’li was kept away from any source of warmth, ghazan was kept away from any source of earth, and ming hua….
see, the difference between ming hua and the other two is that water is so much harder to be isolated from than earth or fire, because the human body literally cannot survive without it. and it’s been shown that water benders don’t need much fluid to be dangerous; ming hua could have possibly escaped by bending her own sweat.
so the only solution the white lotus could have come up with was to completely deprive ming hua of water. just give her enough to keep her alive; maybe a a mouthful or two once a week.
a mouthful of water a week for thirteen years; it’s inhumane. it obviously takes a toll on her body, too—
when we first see ming hua, she has sharp, prominent cheekbones and eyes that are sunken into her face, both classic signs of dehydration. (also, the neckline of her dress is ripped; maybe she tore the cloth off with her teeth and chewed on it so her mouth would keep producing saliva??)
when she first speaks, her voice is raspy— which can be attributed to grey delisle’s incredible voice acting, but also to the fact that ming hua hasn’t had enough to drink for more than a decade.
(when we see ming hua again in republic city, she still seems pretty emaciated;; long terms affects of dehydration, probably??)
so yeah, having the health of your body abused like that would obviously tick you off, which is why ming hua is so brutal when it comes to dispatching those white lotus guards.
but ming hua is also different from the rest of the red lotus in that she needs her element to function; not on a biological level, but to do everyday tasks, like…picking up a pair of chopsticks.
but she couldn’t do anything like that for thirteen years! she couldn’t tie back her hair or scratch her neck or wipe her mouth or anything. when the white lotus guards brought her food, she must have eaten while kneeling.
can you imagine how humiliating that must have been? one of the most powerful, most talented benders of her generation, being forced to eat on her knees, like she was begging. how embarrassing. how horrible.
no wonder she tossed that one guard into the volcano.
…I didn’t consider the ripped neckline thing, but… wow. That makes a lot of sense in a horrible way.
My guess for how they kept her hydrated is that they took one of those tiny sponge things they give you in the hospital to keep your mouth wet when they don’t want you actually drinking fluids, stuck it on the end of a long pole, and only gave her enough water to keep her alive. =( It’d have been utterly miserable and humiliating.
It’s hard to imagine crueler conditions to keep a person in. Taking Ming-Hua’s water away constitutes a complete denial of her agency and must have put her in all sorts of dehumanizing positions on a daily basis. It really isn’t any wonder that she ended up vicious.
(Interestingly, in this context, the idea that she made up stories about the guards to stay sane is actually really clever. She has no agency in reality, so she creates a fantasy world where the guards are her playthings)
One of the things I noticed actually watching the season—not in little gifs but full-screen—is that Ming Hua looks older than the others; not literally, perhaps, but worn. It’s especially noticeable by comparison to P’Li, I think: I noticed but didn’t really think through why.