Since you just quoted Iroh's song, do you think the "four loves" part has a special meaning? Sorry for this random question ^^'
No need to apologize. It’s a very good question. I’m inclined to believe that there is a special meaning. I think some of the other songs have a special meaning, too. I should do a meta on them. But for now, I will focus on the song, “Four Seasons”
“Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, Four seasons, Four loves. Four seasons, For love.”
Immediately prior to the scene where Iroh sings this song, a crescent moon is shown above. In astrology, the phases of the Moon have a symbolic meaning associated with certain emotional states. The lunar cycle is said to affect the planet’s energy, as well as people’s subconscious thoughts. I think the lyrics of the song were meant to foreshadow the four future romances of the series. During the course of Avatar’s story, there is one relationship with Moon symbolism that occurs during each Book, each of which takes place during one season.
Winter (Book One: Water)
The first romance is Sokka and Princess Yue. They share their kiss under a WaningCrescent Moon. This phase is said to symbolize the end of an old cycle, and the beginning of a new one. It is a time for the release of negative energy and renewal. It is the ideal time to focus on new hopes and wishes that you desire, such as a relationship. Symbolically, this moon phase suggests that the inner world is more important than the outer world.
Their final kiss takes place after Zhao destroys the moon, completely erasing it from the sky. Yue becomes the Moon Spirit and her sacrifice returns the Full Moon to the sky. The Full Moon appears when the Sun and the Moon are on opposite sides of the Earth (like Zuko and Katara clashing as enemies). Emotions tend to be high during a Full Moon, as energies are at their peak. The Full Moon also represents a time when hidden emotions are put out in the open.
Spring (Book Two: Earth)
Sokka and Suki nearly kiss under a Last Quarter Moon. This phase symbolizes spiritual healing, and the time to let go of past hurts and feelings regarding people and things. Although Sokka is unable to at first, he reciprocates her feelings the next day, finally having moved on from his past pain with Yue.
Summer (Book Three: Fire)
The New Moon has no illumination. It appears dark and not visible (except during a solar eclipse). As it is dark, it denotes beginnings. Energy from the New Moon up to the Full Moon gradually builds in strength and intensity, so the New Moon is the ideal time to set clear intentions and goals, start new projects and give rise to new ideas and ventures.
When there is a Full Moon, the planet’s energetic frequencies are much more active, and so there is heightened activity and intensity. Intense thoughts, feelings and behavioral patterns emerge. Its profound connection to water represents our emotions and the innate depths of our subconscious mind. Emotions tend to peak one way or the other. The downside of full moon energy includes tension, polarity and intense thoughts and emotional behavior.
Fall (Book Four: Air)
Each Book so far has had one major moon-related relationship as the focus. Winter had Sokka’s ill-fated relationship with Yue. Spring had the blossoming of Sokka and Suki’s love. Summer was originally going to be the period for Aang to let go of his attachment to Katara, unlocking his final chakra. So if I had to guess, much like the first episode where they spend time together under less romantic circumstances…
…Zuko and Katara were probably going to have a special romantic scene, perhaps a first kiss, underneath the moonlight during the Fall in Book 4: Air. Damn, that’s actually kind of sad…
“This isn’t something we should make a habit of doing.”
“I am a 400 foot tall purple platypus-bear with pink horns and silver wings.”
“Really? You’re going to take me out? You’re not even wearing pants!”
“Since you’re a full blown traitor and you want me gone, why wait? I’m powerless. You’ve got your swords. Why don’t you just do it now?”
“Hello, *insert name here* here. But I guess you probably already know me, sort of.”
“You mean I’m not good enough for you? You’re hurting my feelings.”
“For so long, all I wanted was you to love me, to accept me. I thought it was my honor that I wanted, but really, I was just trying to please you.”
“Forget about controlling my anger! LET’S RIOT!”
“I guess you just don’t know people as well as you think you do. You miscalculated. I love *insert name here* more than I fear you.”
“You can’t quit because you’re afraid you might fail.”
“Hey, what did you do that for? That hurt my feelings.”
“No! My royal parts are showing!”
“Get over here! I want you to dance with me!”
“You had to pick up the glowing egg, didn’t you?”
“You have to look within yourself to save yourself from your other self. Only then will your true self reveal itself.”
“Sometimes, clouds have two sides- a dark and light, and a silver lining in between. It’s like a silver sandwich! So, when life seems hard… Take a bite out of the silver sandwich.”
“You don’t look so good, are you sure that you can’t lie down and take a little nap?”
“Boy, you are really starting to lose it, kid.”
“Pants are an illusion… And so is death.”
“I think the past is trying to kill me!”
“The Moon Spirit is a gentle, loving lady! She rules the sky with compassion and… Lunar goodness!”
“Sneak attacks don’t work if you yell it out loud.”
“You, my friend, are just a few plums short of a fruit pie.”
“Well you’ve seen me… You know when I was attacking you? Uh yeah, I guess I should apologize for that, but anyway I’m good now. I mean, I thought I was good before but now I realize I was bad, but anyway…”
Avatar: The Last Airbender Storyboards from the premiere episode of Book Three: FIRE, “The Awakening” (aired Sep. 21, 2007) by Giancarlo Volpe ! The MAIKO kiss ! Oh, remember the blushings from “Zuko Alone”, in the childhood flashback. The crush that became love and Fire Nation’s Royal Family. :’)
“Just for the heck of it, I’ll show you the scene that ruined all Zutarians across the world.” “They’re just hanging out on the ship right? No harm done. I bet Zuko is daydreaming about Katara while he stares at the night sky…” Χαχαχα
How different do you think Zuko's character development would have been if Aaron Ehasz had more creative control over the story? From some of what I read of the things he's said, he disagreed with Bryke a lot as to the direction of the character. I loved Zuko in Books 1 and 2, then in Book 3 it felt like he was an entirely different character for the most part. I still think him betraying his uncle and going all "dark and bad" made no sense at all and felt like a cheap attempt at a plot twist.
I’m answering this ask, and this one together:
So I’ve been trying to watch season three of atla after 8 years and I feel like I’m almost experiencing whiplash from how clumsy some of the episodes are. Like you could reshuffle a bunch of episodes in the first half and no one would tell the difference. I was wondering what your take was in the tonal and quality shift in season 3????
A:TLA’s Tumultuous Third Season
As my readers know, there have been rumors circulating since time immemorial of the fabled fourth season of A:TLA. We don’t have hard confirmation from any of the executive producers, but if there’s one thing that could convince me it existed, it’s the structure of the third season.
Season 3 of A:TLA is really two seasons in one. The back half of Season 3 feels totally different in tone as the characters wrap up their journeys and the final relationships of the characters stabilize. The front half is almost a throwback to Season 1, which was more episodic than the acclaimed Season 2. But the real difference lies in the treatment of Aang and Zuko.
Early Season 3 Aang begins by running off alone, and ends determinedly standing with his friends and allies, trying to win the Fire Nation invasion even after all hope has been lost. I was really proud of him during the Day of Black Sun, and I felt like his character reached its peak of development:
Aang: The eclipse is over, but I can face the Fire Lord anyway.
That took a lot more courage, in my opinion, than energybending, because it required Aang to go against the grain of his normal character in order to make a stand for the world.
Fast forward one episode.
Katara: Aang, can we talk about you learning firebending now? Aang: What? The wind is too loud in my ears. Check out this loop. Sokka: I think we should be making some plans about our future. Aang: Ok, we can do that while I show you the giant Pai Sho table. Oh, you’re gonna love the all-day echo chamber.
This is not Season 3 Aang. This is Season 1 Aang. And for the remainder of the season, it is very difficult for Aang to see any point of view except the one he wants to see. From the Firelord, to Katara, to Yon Rha, he continues to get angry when challenged on his worldview, instead of trying to understand and value other people’s opinions.
As for early Season 3 Zuko, he starts taking on some Season 1 characteristics again in the front half. He becomes shut down, takes his uncle for granted, is more temperamental, and even tries to kill Aang! But fast forward to the Day of Black Sun, and Zuko throws off the shroud of his old life, starting a new one and developing as much character in the back half of Season 3 as he did in the entire second season. It makes him the most compelling character on the show. But since his development is happening while Aang seeks to uphold the Air Nomad beliefs as he remembers them (and therefore cannot develop new worldviews), this makes Aang take a back seat at a time when he is supposed to be the ramping it up as the hero.
Always remember: the human literary eye is attracted to movement in characters the same way a real eye is attracted to physical movement. Whichever character is moving the most on his journey is the one we’ll be watching.
I actually think this is OK as far as the show as a whole goes, since Zuko has more than enough material elsewhere in A:TLA to make him the deuteragonist; the first half of Season Three is Aang’s, and the second half of Season 3 is Zuko’s.
As for the other characters–Sokka and Katara do get consistent development, but Toph unfortunately got the shaft in Season 3, and the first half simply doesn’t have a straightforward trajectory the way the other seasons did. As is mentioned, a bunch of the episodes in the first half of the season don’t build from one to another very well, although they do serve the greater whole. But while I agree that this is a legitimate criticism, let’s not forget the early episodes of Season 1 and 2 of A:TLA. King Bumi is an awesome character, but his early Season 1 episode was … rather unimpressive. Then there was The Great Divide, which … the less said about it, the better. As for Season 2, “The Cave of Two Lovers” and “Avatar Day” were pretty much the clunkers of the season, and though the events Kyoshi describes in the latter ended up playing a part in the finale, the episode itself didn’t do a whole lot to move the season forward.
Considering that Season 3 has to do the work of two seasons in one, I think that it made out pretty well. And about Zuko’s regression–it’s one of the reasons, for me, he stands out as an exemplary character. Plot development can (and usually should) follow a linear progression, but real people just don’t develop that way. They stumble and fail and make mistakes, bad actions sometimes following good, and it usually takes a while (and a lot of work) to learn. If Zuko seems like a different person in early Season 3, it’s because he was trying to be: Zuko was trying to be Ozai. And his not only failing at that, but losing the desire to try at all in the attempt, was the impetus he needed become more himself than he’d probably been since his father ascended the throne.
I think if Ehasz had more control over Zuko’s development, Zuko probably would not have ended up with Mai, and I would hope Iroh would return to Zuko’s side as firelord at some point. But Zuko’s character arc as a whole was left in his hands, and I don’t think Bryke was able to damage it the way they did other characters’ (especially in LOK). But I do think A:TLA would have benefited from Season 3 being split in two, and more time given to each half. Four, elements, four seasons–it definitely could have worked.