Commander Zhao

Haha, yeah, “Commander Zhao” has been lost in the “Fog of Lost Souls” for ages. How should he know that he’s talking to Avatar Aang´s son Tenzin. ^^

(As we see in “The Legend of Korra” where Tenzin finds his daughter Jinora where she have been placed by Unalaq)

Powerful Bender

I’m such a slut for the ‘powerful bender’ trope in fanfics so here’s a ‘The Fortuneteller’ AU 

Why did it have to be papaya? 

Walking through the market street, holding her disgusting fruit, Katara wondered if maybe Aunt Wu had just told her papaya to get rid of her. No way. She thought. I’ve given her so much business recently! There was no reason for her to try and turn Katara away. If Aunt Wu said papaya, there had to be a reason. 

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When A:TLA Fans Take Potshots at the Deepest Relationship in the Show to Defend a Crappy Ship

Good evening, everyone. A post was dropped, somewhat like a dungbomb, into the “Zuko” and “Iroh” tags of A:TLA a few days ago, which proceeded to try and smear their father-son bond in order to defend an emotionally unhealthy romantic relationship in the show. Additionally, the original post not so covertly accused their detractors of sexism in order to make their so-called point. I’m usually fairly easygoing (Okay, that’s a lie. I have no chill button),  but today I am working with @araeph on a no-holds-barred rebuttal.

I’ve never had the pleasure of discussing a familial relationship within the shipping of Avatar, so I will ignore the opening paragraph of the original post as the meat of the argument is below it. Let’s begin!

Alternatively, they’ll use it to confirm their weird idea that Mai was secretly working for Azula the whole time, which means she can’t possibly love Zuko.

That is a weird idea–because Mai wasn’t secretly working for Azula the whole time. She was openly working for Azula the whole time. She willingly and happily joined up with Azula in “Return to Omashu” to track down Iroh and Zuko, which meant actively helping to imprison them at the very least. Now, Mai’s relationship with Azula does not negate that Mai might have loved Zuko; however, the romantic relationship was not as deep as some like to think.

In Going Home Again, we witness the immediate aftermath of Zuko’s infamous betrayal and the fall of Ba Sing Se. In an effort to encourage Zuko’s return, Azula claimed he’d be welcomed back. Naturally, her motivations are of a sinister sort: she needs a scapegoat. If the Avatar survived, who will take the blame? Surely not her–Ozai’s most prized possession. So who better than the once banished Prince and the bane of Ozai’s existence?

But how to do it? Oh! I know! Why not prey on a childhood crush?!

Perhaps there was a mutual attraction. Perhaps there was a mutual interest. I am not negating those aspects… however, based on the comic, it cannot be said that some long-burning, unconditional love brought Zuko and Mai back together. It was Azula who brought them together–as such, Maiko was only plausible after Zuko joined the Fearsome Threesome.

Clearly, the depth of Maiko, the understanding and soul-mate-level connection that shippers spout off (Oh, they’ve been in love since their childhood!!!), was not there. If it had been, don’t you think Mai would’ve refused an offer from Azula that would surely result in Zuko’s imprisonment? In fact, until Mai changes sides in the “Boiling Rock, Part 2”, there’s no reason to believe her loyalties lie with Zuko over Azula.

But Mai’s honorable sacrifice proves how perfect she is with Zuko, because she loves him more than she fears Azula, right? There’s no doubt Mai loved Zuko, however, is Mai compatible with Zuko? Did she change, as he changed? Did she speak to Zuko with love, console Zuko with love, direct and instruct and critique Zuko with love? Is it possible that Mai so wholly cared for Zuko that her actions are on par with Iroh’s?

To begin, the OP brought to light three separate moments–the first two between Mai and Zuko, and the last between Iroh and Zuko.

You know, this scene?:

And this scene?:

Or, they’ll call her a bitch for trying to cheer Zuko up, by misinterpreting this scene:

Which is weird, because I seem to recall Uncle Iroh…

What a heartless asshole, right? How could Iroh be so fucking insensitive?

In these scenes, Zuko is wrestling through the emotions that surround his relationship with Ozai and each counterpart attempts to console Zuko. While both fail, the OP ignores Mai’s callous insensitivity in favor of making false comparisons to Iroh’s tender hearted mistake in an effort to make Mai look better.

In the case of Mai, both moments are excellent examples of her invalidating Zuko’s emotions. He is made to feel foolish for wanting to go to the war meeting, even though it is an important mark of his status and the security of his position as heir … and Mai should know this. Instead, Mai uses a painful experience from his past to further deter Zuko from any thoughts of the meeting and then, she completely dismisses him by changing the subject.

Regardless of her intent behind it, Zuko’s body language is all she needs to realize A) He is extremely upset and uncomfortable, B) He is very much resigned to his father’s distaste for him, and C) Her comment about ‘his last war meeting’ is not taken well. But, this wouldn’t be the first time Mai missed his body’s cues… Hell, even his verbal cues go ignored.

On his return trip, Mai disregards Zuko’s attempt to open up about his troubled past. (Wait, doesn’t she later dump him for not opening up? Hmm… shouldn’t’ve have blown him off the first time, Mai). She asks if he’s okay, but when he responds with a ‘No’ and further explanation, Mai cuts him off, saying she didn’t ask for his life story. Even as a joke, which so many claim it is, Mai’s comment is extremely crass. He is made to feel like his three-year banishment should be dismissed because she doesn’t feel like talking about it.

As for Iroh: Yes, his comment was equally reprehensible when taken out of context. No, you cannot ignore Iroh’s intentions to make Mai look less abusive. Let’s examine the entire scene, shall we?

Iroh notices that Zuko is downcast, leaning against a wall, and he walks over to sit beside him:
Iroh: I see. It’s the anniversary, isn’t it?
Zuko: (dejectedly) Three years ago today I was banished. I lost it all. (He looks up suddenly.) I want it back. I want the Avatar, I want my honor, I want my throne. I want my father not to think I’m worthless.
Iroh: (with exaggerated optimism) I’m sure he doesn’t! Why would he banish you if he didn’t care?
(Zuko gets up and walks away. Cut to Iroh’s surprised face with the attendants in the background.)
Iroh: (negatively to himself) Erg… that came out wrong, didn’t it?

The part OP conveniently leaves out is that Iroh immediately realizes he said something stupid. Additionally, the OP ignores Iroh’s continued support of Zuko throughout the episode (and the series).

While helping Zuko mull over Azula’s announcement:

  • Iroh: (skeptically) It is unbelievable. I have never known my brother to regret anything
  • Iroh: I care about you. And if Ozai wants you back… well, I think it may not be for the reasons you imagine.
  • Iroh: (gently) Zuko, I only meant that in our family things are not always what they seem.

After Zuko makes the decision to go with Azula, despite Iroh’s disagreement:

  • Iroh: (calling out urgently) Wait! (Cut to a full view of the staircase, with Iroh descending and waving behind Zuko.) Don’t leave without me!
  • Iroh: Family sticks together, right?

Following the fight with Azula and the decision to leave their titles behind:

  • [Zuko brings out a knife with some writing on the blade. He stares at it for a moment. Iroh nods solemnly and turns to Zuko. Zuko takes the knife and brings it behind his head and… cuts off his pony tail. He passes the knife to Iroh, who does the same.]

But, I get it, Mai made a wrong turn. It’s not like she ever really meant to hurt Zuko. Everything she ever says to Zuko is taken completely out of context, right? She’s really a sweet, caring, loving girlfriend, right? Well, if that’s the case, let’s assess the context surrounding Iroh’s supposed ‘cruelty’ (because if Mai is completely innocent, then Iroh must be, too!)

Let’s investigate:

But, I get it, he made a wrong turn. It’s not like he ever re–

Iroh brings up something so serious because he is trying to save Zuko’s life. Zuko is about to duel Commander Zhao, an experienced firebending master whom he’d just challenged to an Agni Kai. Had Zuko heeded his uncle, he would not have almost been killed when Zhao tried to backstab him after being beaten.

Well, that was just for his agni kai with Zhao. He was just looking–

Again, Iroh brings up something so serious because he is trying to save Zuko’s life. Zuko is about to run a blockade into Fire Nation waters, which could result in his capture and possible imprisonment, if not execution. Had Zuko heeded his uncle, he would not have been captured as a traitor by Zhao at the temple, which he only escaped when Roku’s spirit freed him. 

Oh! And there it is, again!!! Like every other time, Iroh brings up something so serious because he is trying to save Zuko’s life.  Zuko is considering returning to the Fire Nation with Azula, whom he has no reason to trust. Had Zuko heeded his uncle, he would not have been nearly electrocuted when he badly lost to his sister in a fight.

So, the OP, who so often claims that Mai’s words are taken out of context, deliberately ignores the circumstances surrounding Iroh’s words to uplift Mai’s unacceptable behaviors.  Iroh’s warnings and advisements are pulled out to stand alone and thus, Iroh is twisted into a cruel, harsh old man, thereby justifying the cruelty of Mai. Because if Iroh can be an ass, Mai can too, right?  

Here’s the understanding the OP so clearly lacks: Iroh has Zuko’s best interests at heart. He always does. The context surrounding Iroh’s comments make such a thing very clear. Should a sixteen year old boy be left to squander away his potential? To act rashly and rudely? To willfully throw his life away? Of course not! Acting as Zuko’s father–more of a father than Ozai ever was to Zuko, according to the Prince himself–Iroh was providing Zuko with the stern discipline and guidance he needed to grow.

Mai, on the other hand, never offers anything to Zuko but underhanded comments about his past trauma– comments that are hurtful and derogatory, even when considering the context. We never see her acknowledge that she might have said something belittling or condescending to Zuko. She does not apologize; her expression doesn’t even show a hint of remorse!

But let’s disregard this as we wind down and get to the nitty-gritty of this ‘analysis.’ Overall, the OP is justifying Mai’s behaviour by comparing it to Iroh’s behavior. Surely, if Iroh can make ‘snarky comments’ to his nephew about his scar and his past, then Mai is in the clear, too!

However, Iroh, for all his silly proverbs and outdated recitings, always came to Zuko with love in his heart and acceptance on his mind. He wanted to help Zuko and discipline him when he needed it. Iroh treated Zuko as he treated his own son. OP is twisting that to justify the way Mai treats Zuko… even when the context shows that she’s coming to Zuko in anger, irritation, or complete apathy.

Iroh loves Zuko - unconditionally. The same cannot be said about Mai, at all.

[Coming soon in Part 2: OP continues to skew Iroh’s actions, taking ‘Teachable Moments’ between father and son, and uses them to justify abusive behavior. Oh, and ‘SEXISM!!!’]

Admiral Zhao's backstory, as imagined by me and splickedylit
  • Young Zhao: Mommy, what's that shiny thing up in the sky?
  • Zhao's Mommy: That's the moon, honey!
  • Young Zhao: >:I
  • --
  • Private Zhao: Sir, I have a question.
  • Zhao's Commander: What is it?
  • Private Zhao: Is it possible that one of our missions as Fire Nation troops will involve killing the moon?
  • Zhao's Commander: What kind of a question is that, Private?! Of course not!
  • Private Zhao: >8I
  • --
  • Zhao in the Great Library: Oh look information about spirits OH LOOK I CAN KILL THE MOON. This is my destiny.
  • Zhao in the Great Library: >8D
  • --
  • Admiral Zhao: I intend to eliminate the moon as a factor.
  • Iroh: What? Oh, I see. Because without it, the waterbenders will be powerless.
  • Admiral Zhao: Hm? Oh, yes. That too.
  • --
  • Zhao the Invincible, Zhao the Moon-Slayer: My greatest dream.
  • --
  • Zhao, looking up at the Ocean Spirit: My greatest fear.

How Wrinkles Form

by Peter Gwynne, Inside Science

From raisins to fingerprints, and from tree bark to the surface of the brain, wrinkles appear throughout nature. But scientists have struggled to explain how wrinkles form.

Now two independent research teams at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge have developed key insights into the process.

One group has developed a mathematical theory, confirmed experimentally, that predicts how wrinkles take shape on curved surfaces. The other explains in more general terms how layered materials form different types of wrinkly patterns.

Taken together, the new insights promise to improve understanding of biological organisms and to lead to the creation of objects with complex shapes in industries such as electronics.

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