You know, I feel like A:tLA really found a way to resonate with the struggles that a lot of kids face.
Aang is the struggle of the “gifted child”. He’s told from a young age that he’s going to do incredible things that puts him under a lot of pressure until he finally pulls off the ultimate procrastination trying to avoid the stress. He shows a lot of talent in what he’s good at, but when he tries learning something he’s not immediately good at he is easily discouraged. He’s also almost paralyzed by the fear of failing. (To be fair, the stakes are very high in his case).
Katara is the child with all of the talent she could ever need, but none of the opportunity. She has a real natural talent for waterbending, but no place at home where she can get training to develop the talent. It reminds me of kids from my school who were extremely talented in theatre, but couldn’t afford to participate after they instated the $200 “pay to participate” rules on extracurriculars.
Toph is the child with plenty of talent, but physical limitations that she has to go beyond. She has to prove that she is twice as good to get the same respect (and boy does she ever)! And she has to balance making sure that no one treats her disability as her defining characteristic, while still making sure it’s accounted for. Her parents would have let her blindness rule her life and she had to fight just to get the chance to show her talents.
Sokka is like the kid with lots of talent, but in an area that’s not very valued. At least not when compared to the benders. Like the kid who draws incredible comics in their notebooks, but is looked down on because they just can’t get an A on their report cards. Or the kid who is a talented pianist that everyone asks about getting prepared for a “real career” while the kids on the football team are being told to watch for recruiters.
That’s just the Gaang, but you could keep doing this with so many characters (I mean, everything about Zuko!), but I’m just really grateful that even in this fantastic setting there were a lot of things people could identify with.
Mi-chi:Your destiny - this is incredible! You will be involved in a great battle! An awesome conflict between the forces of good and evil, a battle whose outcome will determine the fate of the whole world!
Alanna:Yeah, yeah, I knew that already, but did it say anything about love?
Azula:Well, peasant, I imagine that is one of life's greatest questions. 'Why AM I here'?
Azula:Do you suppose I am the product of some cosmic coincidence? That I was merely conceived as a result of some cold eugenics experiment to make a Master Race?
Azula:That I was born into a world of chaos, meant only as a child soldier to be swallowed up in the massive whirlpool call war? That I am meant to wander this earth on my own, with no one to love or love me back, to accept me for who I am, these shattered pieces of glass? This crippled dragon?
Azula:I do not know, Sokka, but I have spent sleepless nights wondering about this question myself.
Sokka:... What? No, I meant why are you HERE? Out in the SUN? You're red all over!
Azula:... Oh. Yes. Sunburn.
Sokka:What was all that stuff abo-
Azula:I said it was nothing, peasant!
Sokka:... Do you want to talk about it? In the shade? I got ice cream!
Written by Alabaster86 and submitted on her behalf for maikoweek2016.
I was chatting with Al and mentioned it was Maiko week. I mentioned how I missed her writing and told her that someone anonymously asked about her recently. She remembered an unfinished fic which I think is great and asked her permission to post it here.
“So when I was like six was when the live action Avatar Last Airbender came out. At the time I wasn’t a big fan of the show. After seeing it I thought holy shit I love this. Then my brothers said: ‘Really? The pronounce Ang as Ung.’ So then afterwards I was like: ‘Holy shit this is shit.’”