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To all y'all liberal kids that are getting icky feelings about punching Nazis and other forms of violent protest:

Voldemort was taken down by a left wing anti-fascist group of radicals that used militant violence against the government.

Darth Vader was taken down by a left wing anti-fascist group of radicals that used militant violence against the government.

Jeanine Matthews and the Eurydice faction were taken down by a left wing anti-fascist group of radicals that used militant violence against the government.

President Snow and the government of Panem were taken down by a left wing anti-fascist group of radicals that used militant violence against the government.

The Homeworld Gems were stopped from destroying Earth by a left wing anti-fascist group of radicals that used militant violence against the government.

I mean damn. One Piece, Bleach, Ghost in the Shell, we can stretch it and say The Silmarillion, Eragon, The Chronicles of Narnia, Animorphs, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Voltron, I could probably name more if I had time, all this has in common is that the bad dudes with power WILL NOT GIVE THEIR POWER UP. EVER. It had to be TAKEN from them.

If y'all can understand this and relate to fictional characters, why can’t you do this to your fellow humans in real life?? Y'all are supporting the Death Eaters, the Empire, the bad guys you say you hate. Get your priorities in order. Get over that “Non-violence” bullshit.

I never saw Princess Leia shake hands with the Sith.

But like, i can’t really be the only one that considers “The Fortuneteller“ the second (or third)* most anti-kataang episode of the show?

(*Number one is without a doubt “The Ember Island Players“, number two or three, depending on my mood is “The Southern Raiders”)

Like, it’s an episode that dedicates 22 minutes and 43 seconds of it’s 22 minute and 59 second run-time to showing the audience how Aang’s crush is jut that: a crush.

It isn’t even subtle about it:

Her name is Meng, which is phonetically nearly identical to Aang, AS THE SHOW ACTUALLY TAKES TIME TO POINT OUT TO YOU (“That rhymes with Meng!“) and she’s two years younger then the object of her affection.

THIS IS NOT A SUBTLE PARALLEL PEOPLE

Like, it all but rubs in our faces how it’s superficial:

(It even plays the same music.)

Then it has them using the same technique in an attempt to flirt:

Meng: “Hey, Aang. Don’t you think that cloud looks like a flower?”

Aang: “Hey, Katara, don’t you think that cloud look like a flower?”

And getting dismissed.

Then the object of their affections shows complete and utter disinterest:

(Because, they aren’t actually interested at all.)

And so on.

And then this happens:

Meng: “You don’t like me, do you?”
Aang: “Of course I like you.“
Meng: “But not the way I like you.”
Aang: “Oh, I guess not.”
Meng: “It’s okay. It’s just really hard when you like someone, but they don’t think of you that way.”

Aang: “I know what you mean.”
Meng: “She’s beautiful, by the way.”
Aang: “Huh?”
Meng: “That Water Tribe girl. I can see why you like her so much. She’s sweet, she’s a bender and her hair seems so manageable.”

Aang: “Don’t worry. You’re going to meet a great guy who’s going to completely fall for you. I know it.”

And it’s just… such a GOOD and PURE scene? and such a good message to send to children? “You don’t like me the way i like you and, while it’s hard for me, that’s okay.“ What a wonderful thing to put in a children’s cartoon! Especially considering that we live in a world where “first-love-is-forever” is the norm.

I thought that those 16 seconds where Katara actually seems to consider him in a romantic light were there just so that they could milk the will-they-won’t-they for all it’s worth. I thought that there was just no way anyone could spend all that time telling one story, sending one message only to completely disregard it in the end. (aaand looooooool @mini-me what a fool i was, chakra opening rock anyone?)

Like, honestly, the first time i watched this episode I was completely convinced that this scene was foreshadowing the ultimate resolution of Aang’s crush on Katara: Aang realising that it’s one-sided and displaying emotional maturity and self-awareness. And giving his blessing for Katara to pursue other people.

Instead, the poor boy regresses completely, forces a kiss on her and is then rewarded for it by the narrative.

There is an entire episode of Avatar the Last Airbender where a terrifying old witch literally controls the blood running through people’s bodies, holds them prisoner, and makes them do her bidding. In one scene, she graphically kills a rat by taking the blood from inside it and squeezing the life out of it.

But you know, Zuko and Katara sharing a kiss and being a couple would’ve been too “dark and upsetting” for young children

Sometimes I think about how Bryke threw away Zutara with both hands and I just

ZUKO AND KATARA WERE CONSTANTLY PORTRAYED AS A TEAM WHEN ZUKO JOINED THE GANG

FIRST IN THE WHOLE OF SOUTHERN RAIDERS EPISODE

THEN WHEN THEY DID A PRACTICE DRILL OF AANG DEFEATING THE FIRE LORD 

THEN WHEN ZUKO ASKED KATARA TO COME WITH HIM TO BATTLE AZULA LIKE 

I JUST DON’T GET IT EVEN AFTER ALL THESE YEARS

THEY UNDERSTOOD EACH OTHER, SUPPORTED EACH OTHER, PROTECTED EACH OTHER, HAD SOME DEEP FUCKING CONVERSATIONS

ZUKO CARED SO MUCH ABOUT WHAT KATARA THOUGHT OF HIM AND WAS THE ONLY ONE IN TEH GANG TO GET HER. KATARA WAS THE FIRST ONE TO SEE SOMETHING GOOD IN ZUKO AFTER JUST ONE CONVERSATION EVEN THOUGH HE WAS STILL AT WAR WITH HIMSELF.

THEY HAD SUCH AMAZING CHEMISTRY LIKE THAT HUG STILL FUCKS ME UP AFTER ALL THESE YEARS LIKE A LEGIT WOULDN’T CHANGE IT FOR A KISS IT WAS SO INTIMATE AND LOVING AND MY MIND STILL CAN’T COMPREHEND HOW BEAUTIFUL IT WAS. 

FOR FUCKS SAKE HE TOOK A LIGHTNING BOLT FOR HER LIKE THAT BOY WAS READY TO DIE 

OH MY GOD I JUST GET SO MAD HONESTLY BRYKE HAD THIS GOLDMINE OF A LOVE STORY THAT WAS AMAZING AND THEY JUST THREW IT AWAY FOR A SELF INSERT CHILD WHO WASN’T EVEN PSYCHOLOGICALLY DEVELOPED ENOUGH TO RECOGNISE THAT KATARA WASN’T A PIECE OF PROPERTY OR REWARD THAT WAS OWED TO HIM OH MY GOD

Do you ever just think about how the guy who made Katara the feminist character she was and steered her character away from the one dimensional trophy Bryke originally wanted,

the guy who rewrote Toph to become a strong revolutionary girl instead of another stereotypical jock to reinforce the “Nice Guy™” message by competing with Aang for Katara,

the guy who developed Uncle Iroh into the supportive and wise guide for Zuko instead of another villain vying for the throne,

the guy who gave us the amazing untouchable redemption arc of Zuko instead of another forgettable villain,

the guy who suggested an evil Azul become the clever tactician Azula corrupted by mad expectations,

the guy who wanted a fourth season of ATLA with more plots explored and loose ends fixed and characters given satisfying endings instead of a rushed third season for a crappy movie,

the guy who wrote more than Bryke

Shipped Zutara??

Honestly, Katara and Zuko could’ve gotten together if Aang died in The Crossroads of Destiny. Who needs dumb spirit water deus ex machina, anyway? It is a poor plot device, just like the rock that suddenly, magically made Aang into the Avatar. If Aang died, we would have the arc where Zuko fully gets to realize his love for Katara. Katara will learn to reciprocate and deal with the loss of her friend who was like a little brother to her.

It would be healthy and advance the plot in so many good ways. Aang was abusive to Katara, and she needs to move on from the mindset he forced onto her. Aang always goes into the Avatar state without considering how he would affect/hurt Katara. He tries to force her to go to the Northern Water Tribe with him. He is always pushing his ideas onto her whenever he can. Not to mention the Southern Raiders, where he keeps shoving his dumb ideology down her throat. Aang pressures the shit out of Katara, and she is constantly being manipulated by him.

After Aang dies, Zuko will go join the Gaang (except Aang is dead so now it will be the Zukrew). He will support them through the time where everyone is mourning, thus proving his loyalty to their cause against his own father. Zuko’s plot has always been much more compelling, and in a perfect world, his redemption arc will end with him killing his father. In the end, Zuko will Agni Kai with Azula, and while Katara defeats her, and Zuko and Katara kiss, then Zuko will run off and go to fight his father as it is his destiny.

While fighting Ozai, Zuko will be thrown onto the rock and his eye scar will hit the rock, and Zuko will become the Avatar. And Defeat Ozai. It is the redemption he deserved, and Aaron Ehasz planned it out from the beginning. And we the audience would get our lovely Zutara make out at the end and Katara will say, “I love you. I always have because you are NOT an abusive, midget twelve year old who is bald.” And Zuko will say, “I know baby”

And then the credits roll as they passionately kiss a lot.

I don’t get why anyone would ship Kataang, even just because of the age thing alone. Yeah, it’s only a two or three year difference, but when you’re a kid, a couple of years can mean an extreme difference in maturity and personal (and physical, sorry to go there, but it’s true) development. Put yourself into Katara’s place. When you were a teenager in, say, ninth grade, were you into sixth graders? I should hope you weren’t. I know I wasn’t. When I was Katara’s age, 12-year-olds were little children to me. The idea of dating one was unthinkable. Hell, in real life, girls Katara’s age babysit kids Aang’s age.

I could give you this whole long-ass essay about why not to ship Kataang, but I won’t right now. Because to me, this point should be enough.

The argument against Korrasami that pisses me off the most is "but it's a kids show"

Aside from the blatant homophobia, people act like this show was completely “appropriate”. Every canon couple has made out/kissed, Sokka and Suki fucked in the southern raiders, Katara and Sokka found their mothers dead body, the entire first series was about war and genocide, Ozai’s abuse to Ursa and his children, Lu Ten died, Korra was graphically poisoned and suffered from PTSD, Aang addresses cultural appropriation, Mai talks about teenagers acting out sexually, people died like all the time, Amon was killed in a murder suicide, FEEL FREE TO ADD MORE EXAMPLES. Bisexuality is not inappropriate, and even if it was, please read above.

Araeph’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 2


Vol. 1 here.

It’s Araeph’s 1000th post! Thank you so much to all my followers, people who’ve messaged me for discussion, and fans who’ve filled my inbox with such thought-provoking asks. Below is the latest master list of my essays and fiction that I’ve compiled over the past year or so, as well as a few choice reblogs from other tumblr users that are mentioned by name. Have a fantastic 4th of July, everyone!


Fic Recs

A:TLA Friendship Recs
Favorite Zutara writers

Araeph’s fics

Hatchling, Part 1
Spitting Image, Part 1
Breath of Fire
Confidants
Sunrise
Moonrise
Love Is a Marathon
Defiance, Part 1
Defiance, Part 2
Defiance, Part 3
Defiance, Part 4
Defiance, Part 5
Defiance, Part 6
Defiance, Part 7
Defiance, Part 8

Other Meta

Araeph’s fandoms
Mulan: contrasting messages in pop song vs. theatrical song
The arranged marriage plot in Mulan 2
Mulan and Shang: military dynamics vs. a relationship
What did you think of the Red John arc in The Mentalist?
Was the Jane/Lisbon pairing in The Mentalist treated well?
Did Lizzy marry Darcy for his money?
What advice do you have for up-and-coming authors?
What do you think makes a good romance?
Are there particular directors you gravitate towards?

Steven Universe Criticism

What are your favorite critiques of Steven Universe?
Who did Pearl belong to before she joined the Crystal Gems?
How Pearl responds to toughness vs. niceness
Can autism explain Pearl’s behavior toward Greg?
What do you think of Pearl’s character and her treatment of Steven?
Are there similarities between Aang and Pearl’s clinginess to their partners?
The Diamonds: taking “compassion for one’s adversaries” too far
What do you think of the “Rose is Pink Diamond” theory?
Rainbow Quartz: requited love
I miss the way they used to draw Peridot
The decline of Steven Universe

A:TLA Gen Criticism

I just don’t know how to feel about Bryke!
How do you keep A:TLA’s flaws from ruining the show for you?
Should Teo, Haru, and The Duke have had bigger roles in Book 3?
Should there have been a scene where Aang mourns the dead at the end of Book 3?
The structure of the first half of Book 3
Is energybending Ozai enough to delegitimize his rule?
Could Aang lying to the tribes in “The Great Divide” have been handled better?
Was the Fire Nation secretly looking for the Avatar in the Southern Water Tribe?
Parallels between the Fire Nation Royal Family and the SWT chief family
Does the GAang idealize their parents and mentors too much?
The significance of Momo
How did the characters age visually throughout A:TLA?
Was Ozai an abusive spouse as well as father?
Do you think the Avatar universe has a legitimate afterlife?
Detachment and unlocking the chakras
Avatar cosmology @peacockarehot
What happens before each Avatar is old enough to master the elements?
How well was the challenge of being the Avatar told in A:TLA and LOK?

A:TLA’s Four Nations

Four Nations and childhood education
Four Nations’ view of sex and gender roles
Four Nations: a food contest analysis
Four Nations eye color
What is the best way for the SWT to develop?
What is your opinion on Water Tribe betrothal necklaces?
Why an earthbender shouldn’t be able to lavabend alone
Is the Earth Kingdom united under a cohesive value?
What is your opinion on the Air Nomad council of elders?
Did the Air Nomads get shortchanged in development?
Is Ty Lee an untrained airbender?
Stormbending
What kind of benders would mixed heritage kids be?
Could firebenders draw power from the Earth’s core?
Can waterbenders heat water to create steam? Part 1
Can waterbenders heat water to create steam? Part 2
What is your favorite nation and what type of bender would you be?
Who are your favorite minor characters from all four nations?

Alternative A:TLA Finale and Book 4 Speculation

Zutara would have been a better bookend, even with only 3 books
How would the Book 3 Zutara moments change with Book 4?
What should have been the theme of the A:TLA finale?
What do you find disappointing about the A:TLA finale?
Aaron Ehaz’s plan for A:TLA and beyond @kataraaandzuko @terminaschosenone
Anything you would like to see from an A:TLA sequel?
How do you see the relationships of the Gaang progressing through adulthood?
How would hidden airbenders have been revealed?
Koh in Book 4

A:TLA Comics Criticism

Rosy colonialism in “The Promise”
“North and South” : a settler’s fantasy  @fireladykatara
“North and South” and the issue of progress
The A:TLA comics do not follow A:TLA’s visual style
Bryke’s interference in the comics
What do you think of the role the Air Acolytes played in the comics?

Legend of Korra criticism

A:TLA vs. LOK: simple vs. complex beginnings
LOK and inconsistent bending origins
Which element is the hardest for an Avatar to learn?
How would you write Korra’s development in Books 1-4?
Mary Suyin
How would you write Suyin Beifong?
Suyin: complex vs. annoying characterization
Zaheer and compelling belief systems
Is Zaheer Korra’s foil?
Thoughts on the Red Lotus
What do you think of the concept of Raava and Vaatu?
What do you think are the most well developed secondary characters in LOK?
Varrick, Zhu Li, and abuse
Could Makorra have become compatible?
Bolin and Lavabending
What do you think about the Dai Li surviving into the era of LOK?
Bumi and Air Nomad colors
Bryke’s extreme responses to fan theories
How would a sequel to Legend of Korra play out?

Zutara Meta

A:TLA non-canon shippers keep A:TLA fandom afloat
Zuko and Katara: Color symbolism in “Cave of Two Lovers” @marsreds
Zuko and Katara: character parallels
Zutara is toxic and unhealthy!” (again)
Zuko and Katara, twin flames @peacockarehot
Zutara parallels with Darcy and Elizabeth
Zutara parallels with Beauty and the Beast
Blue Spirit/Painted Lady parallels
The Blue Spirit vs. the Painted Lady
Were the Blue Spirit and Painted Lady connected?
How Zuko shows respect when saving Katara from falling rocks @theadamantdaughter
Zuko and Katara’s parenting styles
Zuko jumping in front of lightning was sacrificial
What would young viewers learn from Zutara?
On Zuko interacting more with the GAang
Thoughts on School Time Shipping

“What Would [X] Gain from Zutara?”
Katara
Zuko
Sokka
Toph
Suki
Aang
Mai
Hakoda
Iroh
Azula
Ozai
Ursa and Kiyi
The Fire Nation and Water Tribes
The cabbage merchant

Kataang Criticism

Irrefutable proof that Kataang was NOT always going to be canon @peacockarehot
Do you think Katara felt some pressure to date Aang?
Kataang and unwanted advances (with @theadamantdaughter)
Aang’s possessive behavior toward Katara @theadamantdaughter
Why Aang’s behavior in “Love Is a Battlefield” is dangerous
Love vs. attachment
Does Aang respect Katara?
Why “The Fortuneteller” is anti-Kataang
Fanon Kataang vs. canon Kataang
Could Katara and Aang still be happy together?
Katara is aged down in scenes with Aang
Kataang and the magic aging (with @jasubb-8)
Does Aang’s age excuse his unwanted advances?
What if Katara couldn’t give Aang an airbender?
Will-they-won’t-they and Kataang
Aang’s romances vs. Sokka’s romances @peacockarehot
Kataang’s lack of substance in “The Headband”
Kataang’s lack of substance in “The Cave of Two Lovers”

Maiko Criticism

Would Ty Mai be more compatible than Maiko?
Ty Mai and understanding each other
Were Zuko and Mai’s relations consensual? with @theadamantdaughter
Why Maiko is prime for failure @peacockarehot
Maiko, Zutara, and Conflict @theadamantdaughter
The pitfalls of Maiko @peacockarehot
Is Maiko or Kataang worse?
Is Maiko or Kataang worse? – part 2
Why do Maiko shippers ignore the problems in their ship?
Mai never dated the real Zuko
Pros and Cons of Maiko

Character Analysis

Aang
How would you have written Aang’s character development from Books 1-3?
Aang exalting Air Nomad culture above everyone else’s
Should Aang’s introspection have followed Buddhist tenets more closely?
Rewriting energybending to improve Aang’s character @terminaschosenone
Should Aang have had a more prominent teacher or guide?
Do you think Aang’s grief at the loss of the Air Nomads was properly presented?
Why was Aang not worried about killing Ozai on the Day of Black Sun?
Aang vs. the vulture wasp
Aang’s reaction to the other Avatars’ advice
Aang’s reaction to Yangchen’s advice
Aang’s response to Jetara
Aang’s anger vs. Katara’s
Did Aang truly exhibit contrition for the EIP kiss?
How Aang idealizes Katara
Did Aang really know how Katara felt because of his own loss?
Who would be a good match for Aang?

Azula
Could the dragons heal Azula?
Do you think any little part of Azula ever loved Zuko?
Azula’s motivations for the lightning strike
Azula’s motivations for the lightning strike, Part 2
Would Katara feel a moral obligation to help Azula post-A:TLA?
How would Azula have compelled Mai to go with her initially if Mai had refused?

Iroh
Iroh’s character journey
Do Iroh’s values align better with Mai’s or Katara’s?
Maiko shipper bashes Iroh and Zuko
Zuko and Iroh’s relationship parallels with Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver

Katara
Katara and her emotional iceberg
Katara would have been more independent if she’d married Zuko
Katara puts her emotional needs in front of Aang’s
Katara is abandoned at the South Pole
Katara crying over Aang vs. Zuko
Did Katara’s character development stall?
Should Katara have been at the Boiling Rock?
Should Katara have forgiven Zuko earlier?
Katara lashing out at Sokka during Southern Raiders
How do you think Kya would feel about the Southern Raiders?
Would it have been in character for Katara to murder Yon Rha?
Why does Katara’s character become so irrelevant? @zuzusexytiems
Why Katara is not a Mary Sue @daughter-of-water @theadamantdaughter
Why do people continually try to make excuses for Katara not fighting in LOK?

Mai
What would Mai’s ideal character arc be?
Mai doesn’t understand Zuko’s values @honxrable
What personality would be best for Mai’s partner?
Was Mai originally going to be a villain?
Is there any evidence that Mai was scared of Azula?
Debunking Mai’s affection for Tom-Tom

Sokka
Sokka’s quest to be a man
On Sokka seeing Katara’s face instead of his mother’s
Sokka’s protective nature

Toph
Could Toph and her parents reconcile?
Toph and law enforcement

Zuko
Is Zuko emotionally unstable?
How would Zuko handle the issue of bloodbending?
Was Zuko more open in Book 2 or Book 3?
Hair cutting symbolism in A:TLA
Do you think Zuko has PTSD?
Zuko and Aang’s relationship
Locations of Zuko’s Agni Kais and their significance
The symbolism of Zuko’s scar
Zuko is not stoic (@honxrable)
Why I Feel Zuko’s Betrayal Was to End Zutara @peacockarehot
Piandao as Zuko’s mentor

The fact that the ATLA writers were originally making the Southern Raiders episode “too shippy” for Bryke and Bryke had to constantly tell them to make it more and more toxic to prevent any sort of shipping moments makes me almost as happy as the fact that Bryke’s attempts still backfired

There are a lot of indicators of just how healthy/happy a relationship is, but in my opinion, one of the most telling is the body language between a couple. This form of nonverbal communication, that includes facial expressions, body movements, eye contact, hand gestures, touch and space, speaks volumes about the state of any given relationship- how content the couple is, how well they communicate, how well they handle conflict and resolution…

Can you guess where this is going? 

Let’s compare two separate relationships from Avatar: The Last Airbender - one that displays unhealthy body language by both parties and tells of an unhappy pairing and one that displays healthy body language by both parties and shows potential for happy relationship. 

First up, Zuko and Mai, sharing an emotional conversation… or rather, attempting to share. (I’ll be including verbal communication here just for some context and reference of the body movements).

After supposedly being shut out of his father’s war meeting, Zuko is upset and spends the evening with Mai, who tries to console him: 

Mai: Zuko, it’s just a dumb meeting. Who cares?
Zuko: I don’t.

Disregarding her words for a moment, look at what his face is saying in the first image. He won’t look at her. He’s staring off into the distance with furrowed brow and a set jaw. He has literally built up a wall between himself and her. This shows that he has stopped listening entirely, he’s done emotionally and he’s already trying to plan an escape from the dialogue. 

But Mai doesn’t pick up on this cue, and she continues to throw out reasons why he shouldn’t be sad: 

Mai: Well, good. You shouldn’t. I mean, why would you even want to go? Just think about how things went at the last meeting you went to.
Zuko: [Sighs.] I know.
Mai: You know what will make you feel better? Ordering some servants around. I might be hungry for a whole tray of fruit tarts. And maybe a little palanquin ride around town. Double time. 

Ugh. So much ugh. Using a painful experience from someone’s past does at all help coax the “sad” out of them. In fact, the comment only seems to make things worse. 

The sigh, first of all, displays resignation. He doesn’t want to talk anymore, at least not with her and certainly not about the scar on his face when the conversation centers on a war meeting. He still refuses to look up, wearing a glazed expression, and Mai literally has to pull his face up to hers. 

Then she offers him his escape- distractions. 

But he hardly even reacts to that. This is perhaps the most dangerous sign: no sign at all. He’s showing disinterest. He’s disengaged from her and whatever she’s saying - and the issue they are really fighting about (his regret/resentment for himself & the Fire Nation) will likely never be resolved.

Oooh shocker… when they are shown together the next morning, Zuko’s emotional disconnect seems to be even worse. Again, we see the glazed expression, the refusal to look at her, and now, his entire body is pulled away from her. He’s probably still reeling from that comment about his last war meeting, Mai. Good one. 

And you might be sitting there, screaming at your screen, ‘Well, Zuko and Katara fight too! Doesn’t that make them unhealthy?” 

Funny you should ask, because I’m actually prepared to show you how well the couple communicates with each other, how they handle a fight, and beyond an angry situation, how they handle their emotions.

Ah… the Crystal Catacombs… The first moment of real interaction between Zuko and Katara. We start with Katara raving at Zuko about his inherent “evil-ness” just because of his parentage and his element. She also goes so far as to tell him that he’s the face of the enemy, directly tying his scar to her hatred.

Yes… Zuko did have his back to her during this conversation, which one may argue is a sign of disengagement, but I would argue that it’s not. Or, at the very least, his resulting interest in and apology at the mention of her mother shows a re-engagement.  

Zuko turns around to face her - his shoulders are relaxed, his face is calm, his stance is trusting. All these signals are reflected by Katara and they end up having an open, honest conversation despite only knowing each other for five minutes. 

More telling, is the end result of the relented emotions. After Zuko and Katara are free to open up - Zuko, about his scar and his journey, and Katara, about her mother - they come together. They are quiet. They are listening. They are trusting each other. 

In fact, Zuko closes his eyes in the face of his sworn enemy, a girl he knows can sit his ass down faster than he can say honor, and lets her touch him. And Katara reaches out to him, within seconds of using her spirit water on him, a boy she knows would likely stop at nothing to hurt her and her friends just to redeem himself. It’s beautiful. It’s pure. It shows something that could easily be a redemptive, whole-hearted, wholly-open relationship. But Brkye doesn’t think functional is funzies.

Originally posted by thearmada4231

Taking emotional situations a step further, let’s dig into how these pairings actually fight. For the first example, we have Mai and Zuko in the Boiling Rock. Mai is upset -some might she’s justified, but she’s mostly not- because Zuko left and informed her through a letter.

Well… the fact that he couldn’t face her only confirms my point that he is emotional closed off from her. If their relationship was a healthy, open one, Zuko would’ve had no issue informing Mai of his decision in person. Instead, he chooses a nonverbal form - a letter and a disappearance. 

Furthermore, Mai is literally looking down her nose at Zuko, her partner, her boyfriend, some she loves doesn’t hate, and sending the signal that he is inferior. She’s rolling her eyes, blowing off his answers, throwing things at him. Her signals actually say, “I’m not going to listen to what you have to say, because it’s worthless.”

He believes it too. He believes he is worthless in her eyes and nothing he says matters - just look at how he’s sitting. He’s hunched over, he’s silent, he’s completely shut down and disengaged again. 

And before you get in my inbox, blabbing about how any fighting could be seen as unhealthy and healthy couples don’t fight, (because Kataang never fought post-war and that ship was totally healthy right?) take a step back. 

Fighting has nothing to do with how healthy a relationship is. Fighting can actually be healthy and productive if it is handled, then resolved, correctly. 

A couple may, for instance, look enraged, but they also look emotionally engaged. (See first image) A couple may, for instance, be furious with each other, but their torsos are facing each other. (See second image) A couple may, for instance, see no resolution, but they are making eye contact. They are talking. They are trying. They are working through it. (See third image)

It shows a lot of respect to A) Face someone you know is livid and B) Turn around and give the person you are livid with the time of day. It takes an even greater amount of respect to trust that person on a life changing field trip, to trust that person with a side of you no one has really seen, and then offer that person forgiveness.

You know what shows a huge lack of respect? Finger pointing!!! which we see from Mai several times when arguing with Zuko. This gesture signifies the accusing partner’s conscious or subconscious attempt to threaten the other into submission. That, coupled with the clenched fists on both sides in the first image, and the look of contempt on Mai’s face in the second, only furthers my point that Maiko’s body language alone tells a story of a very unhealthy, unhappy relationship. 

But if you need more proof, what’s the end result of both scenarios? 

Well, following the first image, Zuko explodes on the beach in front of Mai and his other friends. While this outburst isn’t necessarily Mai’s fault, it goes to show that he doesn’t feel comfortable or safe being open with Mai. If he did, his internal debates would have arisen in a calmer setting between the two, long before Zuko was pushed to a breaking point by toxic drama that Bryke throws in for funzies.

After the second scene, Zuko is coronated, works to maintain peace while his nation is threatened, and Mai dumps him. And you might try to blame Zuko, to pin the fault on him and justify Mai’s behavior by saying “Oh well, Zuko was closed off and Zuko didn’t talk to her,” but why would he when his first attempt to be open and honest was met with “I just asked if you were cold. I didn’t ask for your whole life story.”

Right… becuase that’s conducive of a healthy, happy relationship

And this isn’t: