The Importance of the Kataangs and the Breakdown of Childhood Idealization
The Legend of Korra is a bold and groundbreaking show. Korra, our muscular, queer, woman of color protagonist, led us through a powerful character arc that was subversive in a variety of ways. It was an arc of self-discovery, of healing, and of maturation that resonated so strongly with so many. This is unsurprising, as the general demographic of LOK viewers tended to be teens and individuals in their early 20s: ages during which the exploration of self-identity features strongly.
Yet another powerful theme runs throughout Legend of Korra: the destruction of the idealized family. From Tonraq and Korra, to the Beifongs, and most definitely to the Satos, each family presented to us in the series is colored by strife and difficulty. Even Mako and Bolin struggled to understand the other’s choices in Book 4. And all the tough familial dynamics touched upon something that is not often dealt with in our media: the awkward and complicated transition into adulthood, which implicitly requires the breakdown of set dynamics.
Sometimes this transition can be smooth, and certainly not everyone goes through something like Asami experienced. But it is often an incredibly messy and stressful stage for young adults. And what’s more important is that the choices we make as we seek to define ourselves outside of the context of our family are touched with moral ambiguity. Opal carried around guilt for wanting to leave her mother and train to be an airbender, while at the same time she chastised Baatar for “betraying Mom” to be with Kuvira. Both siblings likely had similar guiding motivations (world betterment), yet the path forward was never clear.
And that’s how it is in real life. The choices we make affect our family, yet we have to make the choices that are right by us. And in situations where the familial dynamics are particularly complicated, our choices become that much harder.
Bryke didn’t just show us this tension; they actively led us through it, using Tenzin as our guide. It’s almost poetic: the man who had anxieties and pressures that prevented him from becoming Korra’s spiritual guide served to lead the audience through a powerful and cathartic tale.
It wasn’t until I began recapping Book 2 that I understood this catharsis, however. My first time revisiting the material, I was harsh on Tenzin. I hated that he thought of himself as a martyr, while his brother and sister were so actively hurting. I even made light of his climatic moment, as a way of distancing myself from what I just saw. And yet it took me critically thinking about the Civil Wars episodes (ironically to find a way of making light of them) for me to understand why I had reacted that way: I am Tenzin.
Because the questions don't get answered on-screen.
Title: First Flight (I)
Characters: Jinora (others mentioned)
On Jinora’s fifth birthday, her father presented her with a real Air Nomad glider. “The one your grandfather gave me when I was your age,” he said. “I hope you don’t mind having a hand-me-down.” Her mother rolled her eyes at the statement, but Jinora could not have placed more value on it if it had belonged to Avatar Yangchen herself (a statement that would be proven true when she found that glider eight years later).
Meelo wearing some of Kai’s hand-me-downs cause they’re of a similar build
Jinora gives Kai his tattoos, he’s the first of the Nation besides her to earn them when he’s around 19, and Kai gives Meelo his tattoos
Kai’s always down to play some sort of game with them, even if it isn’t always the safest/smartest thing and more often than not manages to drag Jinora into it too
and despite trying not to, she has fun anyway
Tenzin being actually overjoyed when Jinora and Kai start dating because if he had pick anyone who was worthy enough for his little girl it’s him
Ikki and Meelo making bets on when the two would get together
Kai helping break up fights between Ikki, Meelo and Jinora
Kai teaching Ikki and Meelo how to pick locks and Jinora’s not really pleased
all of them sneaking out to see probending matches but Rohan’s like only 5 or 6 and doesn’t really understand the whole concept of, “Don’t tell mom and dad”
Tenzin giving Kai and Jinora a curfew but knowing that if for some reason they break it he actually won’t punish them
Kai working really hard to learn how to cook Jinora’s favourite meal when they’re adutls so that when she’s sad he can help cheer her up and Pema helps it out - it’s kinda a disaster but she still thinks it’s very sweet
BUMI AND KAI WOULD BE BROS THO
Bumi telling Kai off his ridiculous stories and Kai laughing at his tall tales
Kai telling Jinora all about his travels and helping her choose spots to visit when they travel the world together
Kai coaching Rohan with his airbending when he’s a young adult and the kid reminds him a bit like Jinora
Kai being in all the family portraits and the media doesn’t know to what make of it cause he’s so close to the family so like is he adopted?? is it because he’s dating jinora?? they can’t figure it out
Kai having a hard time believing somedays that this is real that he has a family who loves him and Kai loving them all so much in return
Well I’m seeing alot of ppl upset about the episode and I will agree it was a hard episode to watch towards the end, but Mike and Bryan didn’t write it…..the credits say I do believe Joshua Hamilton……they had to throw something dark into the mix and yes I’m very sad and agree with all of you it had to be Jinora and will greatly affect Tenzin and his family as well as Korra……I hope and believe we get our wish of Aang’s presence returning and seeing him in action or something.
Jinora’s pretty much the teacher’s pet, Kai’s one of the very loud hyperactive kiddos
during recess, Jinora likes to play on the swings or the big climbing structure [nicknamed The Cheese] [or one of those geodomes, I can’t find a picture to the Cheese, but it was hella fun] and Kai likes to run around with his friends, though they do sometimes play together.
Jinora beats all the boys at races, climbing, and monkey bars. Kai pouts whenever he loses.
Kai’s desk gets placed against the back wall because he was misbehaving, trying to cut Jinora’s hair with scissors. He proceeds to try and cut his own hair while back there. [this is based off a real kid in my kindergarten class, not even kidding]
while waiting for Tenzin [or Pema or family friend of the day] to pick her up, Jinora waits with Kai in his bus line.
fandom: Avatar: Legend of Korra pairings: Aang/Katara rating: gen warnings: none status: complete length: >1k
summary: Tenzin treads the thin line between his mother’s people and his father’s
ghosts. Set in between The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra.
review: An angsty look at young Tenzin, torn between his Water Tribe beginnings and his father’s airbending legacy. This oneshot makes you feel for Aang, and gives the reader a new appreciation for Tenzin’s burden.