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When You Realize That ATLA Isn’t Just Another Kid’s Show

Book 1: Water is definitely more “kiddie” than the following two books in the series, as well as the show’s spin off, Legend of Korra. However, it is apparent from the first three episodes of The Last Airbender that the story will tackle some dark issues, including the destructive nature of war, genocide, and the weight of self-responsibility.

One of my favorite scenes in the entire series is in S1E2 “The Avatar Returns”, which not only preludes these larger issues but calls attention to the personal struggles and growth of three major characters. It also communicates that this is no ordinary children’s cartoon but a subversive telling of humanity’s fight for freedom, equality, and individuality.


Aang, upon the threat of drowning, enters the Avatar State for the first time in the series and displays a powerful show of waterbending prowess to the amazement of Katara and Sokka.

When Katara asks Aang why he never told them he was the Avatar, Aang expresses that he never wanted to be the Avatar in the first place. 

Katara and Sokka are silent in response to Aang’s confession. Aang, physically separate from his newfound friends, sits cross legged at the edge of Appa’s saddle, slightly elevated above them. Holding his staff, a relic of his lost heritage and people, a lone cloud passes over, touching Aang first, then Katara, then Sokka: a single sweep of darkness among the brightness of the setting sun. Then light shines through the breaks in the clouds above. 


Aang, physically separate from his newfound friends, sits cross legged at the edge of Appa’s saddle, slightly elevated above them

Aang can never be Katara or Sokka: his constant grasps at childhood fun (penguin sledding, surfing with giant koi fish, riding hog monkeys) are self-reminders that even though his responsibility is to the world, he wants to be an ordinary kid more than anything else. But most people, including Katara and Sokka, will look up to Aang, hoping that he will guide them back to peace and balance. To do this, he must grow up and sacrifice a large part of his childhood, whether he wants to or not.

Originally posted by papazuko


Holding his staff, a relic of his lost heritage and people

His staff, which he uses akin to a safety blanket, is not only a representation of his lost culture, but helps to separate himself from the non-airbenders below when he feels misunderstood or alone. Truly flying (using airbending) is a place that he can only be followed by Appa and the memories of his Air Nation family.


…a lone cloud passes over, touching Aang first, then Katara, then Sokka: a single sweep of darkness among the brightness of the setting sun…

Aang isn’t the only one who must grow and learn on their journey to save the world. Through the progression of the series, we see both Katara and Sokka come into their own, overcoming personal struggles, displaying amazing acts of bravery, and becoming integral parts of a team. 


Then light shines through the breaks in the clouds above

Ultimately, Team Avatar comes out stronger, smarter, and wiser than their younger counterparts: Aang finds a family, self-acceptance, and control; Katara finds forgiveness, self-confidence, and release of her anger at her mother’s murder; Sokka finds purpose, empathy, and companionship. Even characters, major and minor, that appear later on in the series, achieve some level of personal growth.

Has anyone considered this?

Perhaps some of you know that Jennifer Hale, who voices female Commander Shepard also voices Avatar Kyoshi.

Do you still remember that episode where the Gaang went to that city where they all hated the Avatar? Kyoshi’s spirit than took over Aang’s body as a medium to tell them the story of how Qin The Conquerer died.

And then we see that flashback of her, how she goes into the avatar state and splitting the land mass itself up until to the magma core, in order to create Kyoshi Island.

After I knew that her voice actress is Jennifer Hale I’ve been wondering: Did Kyoshi just pull a huge renegade interrupt on Qin?

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avatar skye waterbending and airbending
in all seriousness, we should think about the two elements she was seen manipulating, here. water represents change, which is the primary theme in skye’s life right now. and air is freedom. when she fires off the air blast, she chooses gordon of SHIELD of any kind.  she has taken off her gauntlets, which while well-intended, served more as shackles. throughout her change, she’s tried to hide and control it. but now, she seems ready to set her powers free, and in turn, free herself.

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Azula breaking the mirror, which is a symbol of her broken mind.

But also, when she breaks it, only the segment where the likeness of Ursa appeared is broken, leaving us with only Azula, and her thoughts. This is emphasized when we see an aerial shot of the room, showing Azula as being very small, and alone in that large, empty room.