“Well yes, I guess you’re right. I don’t have sob stories like all of you. I could sit here and complain how mom liked Zuko more than me, but I don’t really care. My own mother thought I was a monster… She was right, of course, but it still hurt.”
1. Overall, Zura’s relationship with the Gaang isn’t a whole lot different from canon. She still spends Book One chasing them and feuding with Zhao, she still battles Aang and Azulon in “The Chase” and joins with them briefly to fight Azulon, and she still sides with Azulon at Ba Sing Se. Most of the differences in the Gaang’s relationship to her are on their end, based in how they react differntly to her as a girl. For example, Katara views the Crossroads of Destiny conversation as a real girl to girl bonding moment… right before Zura goes and sides with her brother.
2. Poor Katara is affected in another way by the gender swap. The Fire Nation has been ruled by a string of terrifying, ruthless, and genocidal women for more than a hundred years, and this has changed how people in other cultures view gender. In the Northern Water Tribe, the idea isn’t that women can’t fight, it’s that they absolutely should not fight or hold political power, or really have a say in anything, because when they do, well look at the Fire Nation! This makes it a lot harder to get Master Pakku to train her, and once she does, the rest of the Tribe doesn’t approve at all. This does mean that her presence at the Avatar’s side, as both a warrior and advocate for justice and peace, make her if anything, more revolutionary to the girls in the North. This by the way sits in her head and eats at her during her fight with Hama and during “The Southern Raiders.” It also means that her relationship with Zura, after forgiving her, her friendship with a Fire Nation warrior princess and future Firelord who goes on to break the chain, is healing for her in other ways, showing her that women, even Fire Nation women can hold power and use that power for good. On the other side, there’s Azulon, and how much like his mother, grandmother and great-grandmother he is, and this is also strangely reassuring.
3. There’s a bit of Sokka that wanted to think after Azulon showed up that he was better than Zura because he’s a boy. Mai, Ty Lee, Toph, Katara, Suki, and later Zura all thrash that idea right out of his head. Sokka in spite of this, Sokka is the first member of the Gaang that Zura comes out to, on the balloon ride to the Boiling Rock. As for the Boiling Rock proper, when Sokka and Zura cover by Sokka pretending to beat Zura up, the other guard makes assumptions about what’s going on that horrify Sokka. And then the guard tells him that he can’t do that with Zura, because she’s still a princess of the blood, and what Sokka hears is that he would be allowed to to do that to a different prisoner, and Zura is ready to set somebody on fire.
4. After Zura joins, and then even more after Suki joins, the girls outnumber the boys, and Katara may be ready to put an icicle through Zura’s brain, but hah! Take that, boys! Toph meanwhile has difficulty coming to grips with the fact that Zura wants to mother her too. She gets enough of that from Katara, thank you very much, no, no, no.
5. Aang’s relationship with Zura is unchanged by her gender. It is however changed a little by the fact that she’s somewhat shorter than her canon counterpart, and the fact that in the “Blue Spirit”, he accidentally touched her breast bindings, and was incredibly embarrassed as only a twelve year old can be.
okay so i really should be doing my homework, it’s 1 am, but like i just can’t help but think about prince zuko and this one line from supernatural
like okay, first get your groans out now. yeah, it’s supernatural. that supernatural. okay? okay. now back to the point. basically, there’s this one scene in supernatural where bobby is going through his own mind and he’s forced to confront his abusive father (or rather, the physical manifestation of the memory of him). bobby and him get into a fight, understandably, and his dad more or less yells at him that he was ungrateful and that he hated him for that.
bobby then just stares at him for a moment and then screams something along the lines of “kids aren’t supposed to be grateful! kids are supposed to eat your food and break your heart, and you’re still supposed to love them anyways!” (which was a very “FUCK YEAH” and powerful moment in the show, imo)
so anyways, if you’ve been following my blog for the past few days you might know that my brother and i have been re-watching avatar: the last airbender. i really missed this show and i seriously forgot how good it was. prince zuko was always my favorite character but now i watch him when i’m the same age as him, i realize just what a jerk he was to uncle iroh.
zuko yells at his uncle. he insults him often. he dismisses his feelings about certain situations and his fatherly-feelings towards him. he even just up and leaves him at several points. zuko is really a meanie to iroh. but iroh never stops loving him.
and that’s the thing, i realized, that reminds me of the supernatural quote. all his life, zuko’s father was nothing but abusive to him. he literally burnt half his half and literally scarred him for life when he was fourteen all for a dumb mistake. iroh on the other has every reason to resent zuko, to not act as kind to him as he does. but he loves zuko unconditionally, like any good parent would.
so, yeah. to me, uncle iroh embodies that quote of “kids are supposed to break your heart, but you’re still supposed to love them”. he recognizes zuko is kid, he recognizes that not everything he does is because he “hates” him, he recognizes a lot of his actions are coming from a deep underlying feeling of perpetual hurt, he sees zuko for who he really is and not just the angry mask he puts up, but most of all he loves zuko for who he is regardless of anything. and i think that’s how all parents should be.
We all know that when Zuko tried to join the gaang Katara didn’t trust him. She points out it’s because of Ba Sing Se in the book two finale, even after Toph says he isn’t lying, Katara refuses to trust him. She doesn’t forgive him until the Southern Raiders, but Aang did. He was fine with trusting Zuko. Even before Toph pointed anything out, Aang was ready to forgive him. This wasn’t just a peaceful air boy thing. I’m convinced it had something to do with their secret from book one.
let’s talk about how amazing Avatar: The Last Airbender is for a second
Fantasy world not based on typical medieval Europe
Was a children’s show that openly discussed war, death and genocide
Had several handicapped characters, one of whom was the show’s most powerful person
Every single character was a person of color, drawn to represent Asian and Inuit peoples
Had a character story arc centered around both emotional and physical parental abuse, whose arc was about learning that they didn’t need the parent who abused them
Absolutely BEAUTIFUL ART STYLE AND DIRECTION
Three dimensional writing that rivals even most adult dramas
Characters dealt with sexism in society
Showed citizens on both sides of the war, including showing how the people in the enemy nation were merely influenced by propaganda and an oppressive regime
Had romances that developed overtime and actually talked about the issues of forming a relationship instead of just “and now they’re in love.”
Characters died. On a children’s show. Characters who you fucking knew! Who had story arcs and were their friends and were kids like them!
When those characters died, they left an impact. It wasn’t ignored after a few episodes, the feelings they had for these characters stayed through the entire show
Had environmental messages that weren’t cheesy, and they made you take the destruction of the environment seriously
SUPERB world building, fleshing out many cultures and histories that always felt real
Had a magic system that never felt like magic. It always felt natural and like a solid part of this world with rules that couldn’t be broken
The cute animal sidekicks weren’t just there to sell toys. They were characters who had so much emotion to them and were vital parts of the show’s dynamic. Also, the animals never talked yet somehow still portrayed an insane emotional level that some Disney films only dream of
Spawned a sequel series that dealt not only with sexism, but with sexuality, religion, and the benefits and dangers from the rapid progression of technology
The point is, Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of the greatest shows of all time and the proof is right there