book two earth

8

avatar the last airbender book two: earth 

You think you’re any different from me, or your friends, or this tree? If you listen hard enough, you can hear every living thing breathing together. You can feel everything growing. We’re all living together, even if most folks don’t act like it. We all have the same roots, and we are all branches of the same tree.

anonymous asked:

do u like potato or is she too starchy?

She?

Originally posted by lord-of-the-tumbler

Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em… well, you know the rest.

Mmm, starchy tubers…

Or did you mean THE VEGETABLE-THAT-NO-ONE-DARES-NAME

(Design on my favorite T-shirt courtesy of @crownflame, sorry for the terrible picture.)

Either way:

Originally posted by vhspositive

Avatar The Last Airbender Book Two “Earth” Sentence Starters

“We don’t need a map. …We just need love.”

“I can’t watch you do this to yourself.”

“I can see your whole history in your eyes. You were born with nothing, so you’ve had to struggle, and connive, and claw your way to power. But true power, the divine right to rule, is something you’re born with.”

“Now comes the part where I double cross you.”

“I said arrest her! What is wrong with you?”

“You! Hand over your money!”

“Drink cactus juice, it’ll quench ya. Nothing’s quenchier. It’s the quenchiest!”

“Hey! Did you throw that egg?”

“Sick of tea? That’s like being sick of breathing!”

“You been hitting the cactus juice again?”

“Blech! This tea is nothing more than hot leaf juice!”

“There is no war in *insert name here*. Here, we are safe. Here, we are free.”

“I know you’re not supposed to cry over spilled tea, but…. It’s just so sad!”

“MY CABBAGES!”

“It’s a giant mushroom…MAYBE IT’S FRIENDLY!”

“You’ve been hallucinating on cactus juice all day, and then you just lick something you find stuck to the wall of a cave?!”

“Is this real or a legend?”

“FRIENDLY MUSHROOM!!! Mushy giant friend!”

“Hmm, they’re not wads, they’re more like, bundles. Or bunches? It’s got an ‘uh’ sound.”

“I am your humble servant, here to serve you and our nation. Use me.”

“Girls are crazy!”

“You know, now I’m really glad I bought this bag. It matches the belt perfectly!”

“Please tell me you’re here to kill me.” 

“Gee, I’d love to help, but I’m supposed to be boiled in oil.”

“I said I would face justice, so I will.”

“This is, by far, the worst town we have ever been to.”

“WHY DO THINGS KEEP ATTACHING TO ME?!”

“There really is no fathoming the depths of my hatred for this place.”

“SECRET TUNNEL! SECRET TUNNEL! Through the mountain! SECRET, SECRET, SECRET, SECRET TUNNEL!”

“I’m saying I’d rather kiss you than die! That’s a compliment!”

“Who knew floating on a piece of driftwood for three weeks with no food or water and sea vultures waiting to pluck out your liver could make one so tense!”

Because some days, nothing else is going to help.

when things start getting confusing in comics
  • DC: that's fine we can just make another universe how's 2 universes or INFINITE universes hm no, too many, how about 48? 52? No?? Idk let's reboot EVERYTHING again
  • Marvel: no its okay... it's all good it's all canon... guys... dont worry.. we can retcon this...

I rewatched episode seven of Book Two, “Zuko Alone,” to analyze Azula’s character a bit better. When I was younger, I thought the disturbing way she talked was to characterize her as a little bit evil from the start, but now that I’m older, I see it a bit differently.

Azula is pretty young here, and while young children can certainly say creepy and disturbing things on their own accord, I think it’s more than that. Every time she taunts Zuko, she appears to be parroting something she has heard, probably from her father. Azula sees how much power her father holds, and he’s never been shown being incredibly kind to his children, even though he’s clearly favored Azula from the start. Azula most likely believes that by mimicking and taking on her father’s opinions, she can stay in his good graces.

Azula knows she’s gifted and she also knows her father has high standards. She can see how Zuko, who doesn’t meet those standards, is treated. It’s no secret Azula is a perfectionist, and this shows even at such an early age. 

The moment when Azulon asks her and Zuko a history question and she is able to recite exactly what Azulon wants to hear shows both how she’s a perfectionist and how she’s learned to parrot people. Like I said before, she’s most likely doing this to survive, to stay in her father’s good graces. 

This isn’t to say that Azula isn’t brilliant. She’s my favorite female character of the show for a reason–– she’s incredibly talented, smart, and cunning. She achieves things nobody––no man–– in her family was able to achieve. But it’s important to understood what brought her to that point. Sure, she grew up in a palace with every luxury imaginable, but her father was abusive and controlling. She knew the mold she had to fit, so she fit it, even, arguably, surpassing her father once she grew older. Everyone seems to recognize that Zuko has a tragic backstory, but I would argue that Azula does, too. They both grew up under Ozai, they simply handled his abuses in vastly different ways. 

From the South Pole Iceberg to the Republic City Portal: Part Thirty Three

ATLA Book Two: Earth

Chapter Fifteen: Tales of Ba Sing Se

In which Iroh’s tale makes everyone cry. A lot.

Once again, Book Two: Earth brings us a high point of the show in the form of “The Tales of Ba Sing Se”. It is, of course, most notable for its unique structure, being presented as a series of vignettes that do little to advance the main plot of the series, instead showing a series of uneventful days the main cast spend in Ba Sing Se. The uneventful nature of the story is important because it helps build a sense of the time the cast spend in Ba Sing Se, for the first time in the series being properly rooted in one location instead of traversing the Avatar world. Moreover, the rooted nature of the story gets at the heart of what makes the Avatar franchise: the way it is willing to spend quiet moments with its characters, making each of them distinct and unique. As a result, it seems best to break down my analysis of this episode into each individual tale, exploring what each one tells us about its titular character(s).

The Tale of Katara and Toph

The series’ focus on female friendship has become increasingly prominent throughout this season, with the relationship of these two characters being the main example of this, and so this tale makes perfect sense, considering where the characters are at this point in the series. The vignette works as an exploration of their friendship, highlighting how they get along in spite of their incredibly obvious differences.

These differences are on display from the beginning, with the early juxtaposition of Toph and Katara’s morning routines highlighting Toph’s “tomboy” characterisation and Katara’s  more feminine nature. In spite of these differences, Katara persuades Toph to go on a girl’s day out at a spa: she is determined to be friends with Toph in spite of their superficial differences.

The things the girls share in common become more apparent when Toph starts to enjoy the day. This enjoyment comes first on Toph’s terms, as she freaks out the staff by making the “alien” face with her mudbending, which Katara laughs along with: the two girls share a sense of fun and humour. Then she begins to enjoy the day on Katara’s terms, enjoying relaxing in the sauna, and actually liking how she feels after having some make up put on: while Toph is most comfortable not conforming to gender roles, she is happy exploring her more feminine side, especially in the company of a girl like Katara.

This bonding pays off in the tale’s final scene, where Katara and Toph send a group of mean spirited girls down the river after they insult Toph: in spite of their differences, Katara and Toph’s friendship is strog because they have each other’s back, and wouldn’t let anyone hurt the other. They also offer one another mutual support, with Katara’s comforting of Toph being noticeably maternal. She doesn’t question Toph’s not entirely true claim that she doesn’t care what other people think, instead expressing admiration for Toph’s attitude and quietly giving her the boost in confidence she needs anyway. In showing this maternal edge to their relationship the show acknowledges that Katara is older and in some ways more self-assured than Toph, who in some ways is incredibly confident in her abilities, but also frequently masks her insecurities (in this case around her appearance) with false displays of bravado. While they are different people, Toph and Katara balance one another out and support each other in a relationship that improves the show vastly.

The Tale of Iroh

This is the tale that everyone talks about, and as a result it can be somewhat surprising that it is placed right at the start of the episode, a structural point that speaks to the true nature of this vignette. It is not placed as the big emotional gut punch at the end of the episode, but is instead framed as just another story, highlighting the way Lu Ten’s death affects Iroh. Iroh’s grief for his son is a constant part of his character that informs everything he has become, but it is not something big and flashy that is drawn out in high-stakes parts of the story for angsty and overdramatic moments. Instead, it is a quiet grief, constantly in the background if the story.

So, why is this tale such a famous part of the show? Largely because it’s so impeccably written ad structured. Iroh helping the group of young boys run from the man whose window they break provides the emotional set up: we see how he would have been with young Lu Ten, laying the groundwork for the emotional reveal. Similarly, his helping the mugger who’s down on his luck shows how Iroh’s loss has turned him into the kind of man who wants to help people to atone for his failure to help his son. Meanwhile, his shopping in the market place lays out the plot elements necessary to peel away the layers to reveal he is celebrating his son’s birthday. The first time we hear him sing “brave soldier boy”, meanwhile, serves as emotional and plot set up, as it is used to show him comforting a crying boy, once again highlighting his paternal nature, while also setting the key element of the final gut punch in the tale, namely, the song’s reprise.

Ultimately, what this tale really gets at is the nature of Iroh as a character, highlighting the way his development works. From the moment we met him, Iroh was a character who has mostly changed his ways and been through most of his redemption story before the series begins, so he doesn’t change that much. What makes him a dynamic character is the way the audience’s understanding of him changes: we are first introduced to him as a comic relief character who balances out Zuko’s angst, but by this point in the series, we know enough about him to see the depth, shades of grey, and tragedy that informs his story.

The Tale of Aang

As with Iroh, the help Aang provides here reflects the grief that is currently driving him at this point in the series, namely his grief for Appa. He begins the tale looking through the Zoo, sad at the confinement of the animals, quite possibly having come to the zoo because he was looking for, or thinking of, Appa. It is particularly notable that before “Appa’s Lost Days”, the two characters most connected to Appa (Momo and Aang) have taes that heavily evoke his absence. As a result, helping the animals can be read as Aang trying to make up for the fact that, at the moment, there is nothing he can do to help his bison.

The juxtaposition of the animals in the zoo at the start of the tale compared to the enclosure at the end also draws out a key theme of the season, as we once again explore the mistreatment of animals by humanity: they are deeply unhappy in their cramped conditions at the start of the tale, and are clearly much more comfortable in the enclosure at the end. Once again, the series takes the time to emphasize the needs of animals and the need for humanity to respect for nature, setting up the themes of the next episode.

The Tale of Sokka

As with Iroh, Sokka gets a tale that really breaks down how he works as a character. In this case, the tale does this breakdown through the perspective of the comic relief aspect of his character.

The first thing worth noting is that Sokka is prompted into action after being called an “oaf”, providing a hint of the insecurity that will drive his actions in “Sokka’s Master”. The woman leading the Haiku class only sees him as a blundering comic relief character, so Sokka responds by seeking to prove he is worth more, only doing so because he fears that he is just comic relief, and isn’t worth anything else.

This insecurity is a part of Sokka even though he demonstrably is much more than a comic relief character. He’s the inventive, intelligent member of the Gaang who organises and plans for the group and improvises ideas to help fight back where his status as a non-bender limits his combat abilities. And his ability to improvise is in evidence here as he adapts to the haikiu-battle, creating poems on the spot. In this instance, his ingenuity combines with the comic relief aspect of his character, allow him to be a funny in a showboating way that is very different to main source of humour for his character, namely his everyman frustration at the fantastical elements of the Avatar world. As a result, the tale shows how the comic side of his character extends from the serious parts of his characterisation.

However, his showboating comedy is punctured with the “That’s one syllable too many” joke, returning him to the “everyman frustration” humour that drives his character. This is a fitting reflection of the fact that Sokka is still driven by his insecurities at this point in the show: Book Three will finally see him making peace with the person he is, but that’s a little way off for now.

The Tale of Zuko

Let’s look behind the scenes of the show for the first time. This tale is Katie Mattila’s first writing credit, and while she’s only a minor creative figure for the show, her contribution to the series is interesting. She is the only writer from this episode to write more scripts for the franchise, and is also the only person who wasn’t a staff writer to write more than one script for ATLA. She’s also the only non staff writer from ATLA to go on to write for LOK, where she was, for what it’s worth, the only female writer to contribute a full script, with writing credits for three episodes from Books three and four of the sequel series.

Mattila contributes a sweet and thoughtful vignette that explores Zuko as a romantic figure for the first real time in the series, as we see him go on a date with an Earth Kingdom girl. And it’s a date that successfully expands the things the show can do with his character, breaking down the angsty, brooding side of his character to get at the dorkier, funnier side of him. This dorkier side, which we have seen before comes out in full by setting his overdramatic angst against the mundane, and from his extreme discomfort with the ordinary. In a way, this humour is a reversal of the “ordinary man’s frustration with the fantastical” humour provided by Sokka, making this the perfect vignette to follow on from and contrast to Sokka’s tale.

The ending of the tale, where leaves the date because, in his words “it’s complicated”, shows that Zuko’s backstory means he is still closed off from being someone who can fit into an ordinary life. But notably, this is a moment of progress for Zuko, being the first time he appreciates an aspect of this life, ending the tale by admitting to Iroh that he had a nice time.

The Tale of Momo

It may seem strange that this is the tale that concludes the episode, focussing as it does on Momo, the least fleshed out character in the ensemble of “The Last Airbender”. However, this positioning within the episode makes sense when we consider what is to come. “The Tale of Momo” is placed at the end of the episode to lead into “Appa’s Lost Days”, with Momo searching for Appa before finding the footprint that will be a key plot point in the next episode.  As a result, this tale is the natural conclusion to the episode, leading into the next story.

Thematically, it is also the perfect lead in to the next episode. We explore animal agency in the most direct way the series has managed so far, as Momo is the subject of his own story, rather than an object in the Gaang’s narrative. We get to see Momo’s perspective on the loss of Appa: he is sad to have lost his friend, searching for him every time he sees a sign of Appa. We understand how he sees predatory animals, first running from the cats that try to eat him, before helping rescue them from the humans who want to capture and cook them: this tale becomes a story about animals banding together and saving one another from the threat humanity poses.

Animal Agency, environmentalism, and interconnectedness are themes that run through the season, and are all woven together in this tale. This provides the ideal set up for the equally experimental “Appa’s lost days”, which will take these themes and explore them at even greater length. Book Two: Earth is rapidly moving towards its endgame.

End of Part Thirty Three.

Leaves from the vine

Leaves from the vine
Falling so slow
Like fragile tiny shells
Drifting in the foam
Little soldier boy
Come marching home
Brave soldier boy
Comes marching home
Those leaves did grow
From branches overgrown
Drifting slowly down
Resting on the loam
Little soldier boy
Taken from home
Forced to fight a war
That’s not his own
Leaves from the vine
Falling so slow
Like fragile tiny shells
Drifting in the foam
Little soldier boy says “Carry me home”
Sleeping soldier boy
Is carried home

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Book Two - Earth

Chapter Fifteen: The Tales of Ba Sing Se - Tale of Iroh