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An analysis of the number of lines the characters of The Legend of Korra got throughout the seasons, particularly Korra.
So inspired by this post i decided to do a count of how many lines the various characters in lok have throughout the show. I used avatar wiki’s episode transcripts to do this so any possible discrepancies arise from that.
Obviously this isn’t equivalent to how much screentime the characters got, for example korra has 8% of the lines in Darkness Falls, but approx. 25% of the screentime. The correlation between how many lines the characters get and how much screentime they get varies wildly based on how action-oriented the episode is. Adding to this is the fact that sometimes one line is just one word, while other times it’s a minute-long speech.
I personally find the whole chart really interesting but it needs to be put into context, so here I go:
- Korra - 451 lines
- Mako - 262 lines
- Tenzin - 199 lines
- Bolin - 161 lines
- Asami - 101 lines
- Tarrlok - 101 lines
- Lin - 93 lines
After this is Ikki in 8th place with 39 lines, Amon is in 9th place with 36 lines, followed in order by Meelo, Hiroshi, Pema, Iroh II, Jinora, Lieutenant, Tahno, Katara, Aang, Toph, Senna, Tonraq, Bumi, and Sokka.
Korra has 28% of all the lines in the season.
You might notice that in Out of the Past she only has 7% of the lines. This is mostly because “her” screentime is devoted to flashbacks, but she’s still the most important part of the episode and everything revolves around her in the other plotlines.
The only episode that isn’t really Korra-centric is Turning the Tides, in which Korra has 12% of the lines. This episode is mostly driven by Tenzin and the air family, and Lin.
All-in-all Book 1 was pretty sharply focused on Korra right from the beginning to the end. It had a lot of dialogue-heavy episodes which really boosted the number of lines she got.
- Korra - 367 lines
- Mako - 203 lines
- Tenzin - 203 lines
- Bolin - 181 lines
- Unalaq - 117 lines
- Wan - 107 lines
- Varrick - 89 lines
- Bumi - 85 lines
- Asami - 82 lines
- Tonraq - 82 lines
Followed by Kya with 61 lines, Jinora with 59, Eska with 49, Raava with 40, Meelo, Lin, Vaatu, Raiko, Ikki, Desna, Pema, Senna, Iroh II, Zhu Li, Katara, and Aang.
Korra has 19% of all the lines in the season, compared to 28% in Book 1. This drop is for various reasons.
Korra only has 2% of the lines in The Sting, because she was only in the very end. She’s mentioned a few times by Mako and Asami and generally this episode was supposed to heighten the tension of finding out what happened to Korra, but overall she’s pretty much a non-factor in most of the events of the episode itself unfortunately.
Korra has 10% of the lines in Beginnings Part 1 and 4% in Part 2. Obviously these episodes were pretty much all flashbacks and important setup for the rest of the season.
Korra has 16% of the lines in The Guide. This episode was very dialogue heavy and Korra actually has a lot of lines in the episode, it’s just that other characters do too, namely Tenzin.
Korra has only 10% of the lines in Night of a Thousand Stars. The first ~2/3 of the episode was dedicated to Bolin and Korra doesn’t have a lot of lines, but she does do the most important stuff in the episode when she finally gets there.
In Darkness Falls, Korra only has 8% of the lines, but like I explained before, this is an action-heavy episode and she actually has a lot more screentime. Most of the lines go to Tenzin and his siblings who have a dialogue-heavy subplot, while Korra, again, does the most important stuff in the episode, just with less talking.
Other than that Book 2 is obviously still strongly focused on Korra, especially like.. all of the first half and most of the second half. It’s like, she’s not less important than she was in Book 1, they just added a lot of characters, and spend a few chunks of time focusing on other people since they got a couple extra episodes for Book 2. It all comes back to Korra being the driving force though.
- Korra - 339 lines
- Bolin - 204 lines
- Mako - 177 lines
- Tenzin - 158 lines
- Lin - 135 lines
- Suyin - 115 lines
- Zaheer - 111 lines
- Asami - 89 ines
- Kai - 72 lines
- Jinora - 60 lines
- Bumi - 60 lines
Followed by Tonraq, Opal, the Earth Queen, Meelo, Ming Hua, Ghazan, Kya, Ikki, P’li, Zuko, Varrick, Pema, Kuvira, Raiko, Vaatu, Desna, Eska, Amon, and Unalaq.
Korra has 19% of the lines this season.
Sometimes I say that this is where she starts getting sidelined, but it’s not that drastic yet considering she has the same percentage of lines as Book 2.
Based on just the numbers, Book 3 is actually pretty Korra-centric. She’s really only sidelined in Old Wounds with 10% of the lines, and Original Airbenders with 4%, for obvious reasons in both episodes. Personally I thought both of those episodes were pointless and they could have just moved forward with Book 3, but whatever.
Korra is pretty important for most of Book 3 actually! The events going on aren’t as important as Book 2 but as long as Korra is the focus I’m happy. I guess my issue is that the show isn’t driven by her anymore - it’s mostly her reacting to various happenings rather than initiating them herself.
Tbh though I do really like the Airbenders/Ba Sing Se arc (301-304), Korra is actually the driving force here. I also like the second half but it feels like there aren’t a lot of defining Korra moments until the finale.
I like that Korra is happy and having fun adventures with her friends, while retaining her confidence and hotheadedness. Obviously she’s not going through hard times like Book 2 and so she’s not pushed to make those difficult decisions, but she still has the fire that makes her who she is. I cannot fathom what the fuck was going through the writers’ minds when they decided this needed to change.
- Korra - 330 lines
- Mako - 176 lines
- Bolin - 176 lines
- Kuvira - 141 lines
- Varrick - 129 lines
- Prince Wu - 117 lines
- Toph - 86 lines
- Baatar Jr - 82 lines
- Asami - 76 lines
Followed by Opal, Meelo, Lin, Tenzin, Suyin, Ikki, Zhu Li, Jinora, Raiko, Kai, Hiroshi, Zaheer, Katara, Pema, Tonraq, Senna, Bumi, Eska, Raava, and Iroh II.
Korra has 18% of the lines in this season.
Ohhhh boy. Alright so she only had 1% less than Book 2 and 3 and yet this is the season I call horrible and say she gets completely sidelined.
Ok well let’s see, she has 3% of the lines in After All These Years, 13% in The Coronation, 13% in the Calling, 10% in Enemy at the Gates, 9% in The Battle of Zaofu, 5% in Operation Beifong, and 10% in Day of the Colossus…
Ok wait did Excel lie to me lol how is that possible. Idk the math checks out but it seems to me that there are a lot of episodes that she’s barely in. But ok like I said before sometimes number of lines ≠ amount of screentime or whatever, so let’s see…
In After All These Years she just doesn’t show up until the end.
In The Coronation she’s… barely present. And Toph has more lines than her in the scenes she is in. And Prince Wu has the most lines of all……
In The Calling she’s……….. barely present. And Toph has more lines than her again.. this time Varrick and the air kids get the most screentime and lines……….
In Enemy at the Gates she’s BARELY FUCKING PRESENT. Are you starting to see a pattern? Once again Varrick gets a lot of lines, as well as Kuvira, Suyin, Bolin, Baatar Jr and APPARENTLY EVERYONE IMAGINABLE BUT KORRA.
In The Battle of Zaofu Korra is……. ok she does have the big fight scene which amounts to substantial screentime, but like… Kuvira has more lines in the same fight.. Baatar Jr has more than both of them who the fuck is he? And again Varrick and Bolin essentially get the main plot of the episode.
Operation Beifong is just a disaster I wish the Beifongs didn’t exist how do you justify having an episode where your “main character” does literally nothing 3 episodes from the series finale.. Let’s compare this to Night of a Thousand stars which was also the fourth-last episode of its season and Korra also didn’t have a lot of lines. In that episode, like I explained in the Book 2 section, Korra showing up was the most important part of the episode for the characters and the plot. Meanwhile in Operation Beifong they literally have no idea what they’re doing, no direction to the show, especially Korra’s character, and like.. she just doesn’t participate in the episode lol. Nice..
Day of the Colossus I would excuse since she’s mostly in action scenes, but considering the disgustingly lengthy amount of screentime the Prince Wu nonsense got, which could have been dedicated to Korra or literally anything else, yeah.. I’m gonna have to condemn this episode too.
Honestly though pretty much for all of Book 4, even the few episodes where Korra got a lot of lines, they gave her as little purpose, importance, and direction as in Operation Beifong.
Now I hope you can see where the sidelined thing comes from. But the main problem with Book 4 is still that they completely changed who Korra was to be weaker and meeker, and then instead of regaining her old fire they said she needed to lose it. This is just accentuated by the substantial drop in importance, number of lines, and screentime.
IN TOTAL & OTHER CHARACTERS
- Korra - 1487 lines
- Mako - 818 lines
- Bolin - 722 lines
- Tenzin - 617 lines
- Asami - 348 lines
- Lin - 312 lines
- Varrick - 232 lines
- Jinora - 176 lines
- Suyin - 163 lines
Followed by Bumi, Kuvira, Meelo, Zaheer, Ikki, Unalaq, Prince Wu, Wan, Opal, Tonraq, Tarrlok, Toph, Kai, Baatar Jr, Kya, Raiko, Pema, Eska, Zhu Li, Hiroshi, Raava, Amon, the Earth Queen, Katara, Vaatu, Iroh II, Desna, Ming Hua, Senna, Ghazan, P’li, Zuko, Lieutenant, Tahno, Aang, and Sokka.
Well I’ve talked about Korra, what about everyone else?
Overall, Korra, Mako, Bolin, and Tenzin have a lot more lines than anyone else in the show.
Mako has the second-most lines in Books 1, 2, and 4, and the third-most in Book 4. He’s easily and obviously the second-main character in the show.
Bolin started at fourth place and moved up to second through the seasons.
Tenzin was really important in Books 1, 2, and 3, but actually dropped out of the top 10 in Book 4? That’s kind of sad and random…
Oh Asami. They never knew what to do with you. Asami actually had her most lines in Book 1, and least in Book 4. This pretty much matches up with how important she was.
Why they chose to give so much screentime in Book 4 to Varrick, Kuvira, Baatar Jr, Prince Wu, and fucking Toph over Korra (and Asami if she was gonna be in the final scene… which as it is she does not merit…..) will forever be a mystery to me.
Anyway I hope this sheds some light on why I love Book 1 (♥♥♥♥) and 2 / hate Book 4 so much.