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
AU where Katara married Zuko instead of Aang, wasn’t stripped of her culture or her badassery, wasn’t used as a baby maker, and the two of them became the most famous peace makers within all four nations.
(But Korra was still the next Avatar and actually friends with Zutara’s kid)
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
remember how katara’s legacy was diminished to an airbender brood mare despite being one of the most important characters to the show and one of the best representations of a ‘strong female’ character? I do and I’m still bitter
I’m almost done rewatching season three of ATLA and I keep finding these little momentswhere I can just tell without a doubt Bryke wrote them, because they feel so out of place and out of character.
For example: in Sozin’s Comet pt. 1, Zuko and Toph are walking the length of the beach trying to find Aang, and since Toph sees this as her ‘life changing field trip’, she opens up to him about the abuse she felt with her parents, confessing that she never felt loved by them. Zuko ignores her and finally groans in frustration, turns to her, and asks her to stop talking. Zuko, the boy who has bonded with Toph and feels a deep kinship with. Zuko, the boy who would be there in an instant to support his friends, no matter the danger. Zuko, the boy who also suffered severe emotional abuse from a parental figure and knows more than anyone what it feels like not to be loved by their father.
Don’t try to tell me Zuko would’ve done that. Please, Sozin’s Comet and Aang’s disappearance be damned. The moment Toph told him about her issues with her parents you KNOW Zuko would’ve dropped everything and gone to the Earth Kingdom right then and there and yelled at them.
Lmao for all the character development he received in the show and season three, Bryke was still trying to demonize Zuko to the very end.
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.
Taking emotional situations a step further, let’s dig into how these pairings actuallyfight.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’sbody 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…
Why was Toph put as a police officer? She hates rules and it doesn’t seem like a job she would enjoy wtf?
How about if you just made her a pro wrestler! She loved doing that, maybe she would get super famous and have fan girls, that would be awesome. While I’m at it, why she in a swamp? Makes no sense, she ain’t shrek wtf she deserves a happy family after what she’s been through!!!
Instead of Toph enforcing law and order in Republic City, why not the Kyoshi warriors? They were basically body guards for Zuko and didn’t really have a purpose so why not? That would be cool seeing Suki all badass and expanding the group of the kyoshi.
Why was Katara reduced to just a healer and a mom? I don’t know about you guys but I think she would have made a great president for Republic City, I think that she would be able to help create peace and bring the nations together just as much as Aang would. And maybe she would get a fucking statue!!! Cmon!?
Oh and she could work with zuko and shit, didn’t have to be romantic I just wanna c them hang out instead of pretending like they mean nothing to each other!
Why did you have to make the Kataang marriage so broken and sad? Why couldn’t they just have normal family issues? Why couldnt they be a strong loving family?!?
Need to know more about Zuko dude, oh he had a daughter, mhmm mhhm ok WITH WHO?!? is she an only child or?? Also I wanna c more Iroh Jr cuz damn.
Wtf happened to Sokka? Did he have babies?! With who? Why you do this to me!?!!?
When you think about it, Katara could have just have easily been the trophy wife of Fire Lord Zuko like she was a trophy wife to Aang.
But she never would have been treated that way by Zuko. He saw her as someone deserving of his respect and love. He treated her like an equal, like she had a voice that was worth listening to. He let her scream and rage and hate him because he believed her feelings were valid.
He never told her she was wrong. He never tried to force his own ideologies on her. He never tried to explain things away or rationalize with her. He never tried to stop her from being angry or bitter or powerful.
Zuko wanted to be there for her. He understood that she could protect herself, but he wanted to protect her. And he understood that she was her own person with her own thoughts, and he wanted that individuality to shine and be expressed however she saw fit. But he knew that she didn’t need him.
Zuko never would have diminished Katara to a housewife/healer to be left behind when he went away on Fire Lord business. He would have brought her along… and honestly, he probably would have told a lot of the other world leaders to “Talk to my wife.”
I will always be Zutara trash and the reasons above are just a small glimpse as to why.
no offense but I hated this movie too, anon. Sorry :(
In fact, is it really an unpopular opinion to hate Avatar? Because I didn’t think anyone really liked it. It was offensive and tasteless if you ask me. And don’t get me started with the “make the bond” hair ties.