the winter solstice part 1 the spirit

When discussing Zuko’s character  development, it’s of crucial importance to understand his mindset. Up to his defection in Book 3, this mindset usually took the form of “I will do anything and everything to regain my father’s love,” which manifested itself as Zuko trying to capture the Avatar to regain his honor. 

Of course, there are a few moments where Zuko foregoes his quest, instead choosing to either listen to his uncle’s advice, or to help him. Examples of this include: “Winter Solstice: Part 1″; when Zuko sees Appa flying overhead, but chooses to too find iroh instead; “The Storm,” when Zuko lets Aang escape because of the storm; “Siege of the North,” when Zuko is too exhausted to actually go look for Aang; “The Chase,” when Zuko is too overwhelmed by iroh getting hurt by Azula”; and finally “Lake Laogai,” after iroh confronts him about his obsession with hunting Aang and wanting to regain his honor. 

These examples, in addition to molding Zuko into a multi-faceted character with many thoughts, and ideas up in that brain of his, seems to point to the conclusion that, when it comes to his uncle, Zuko will choose him over most things if he thinks his life is in danger. 

In fact, in the “Lost Scrolls” comic “Going Home Again,” Azula uses this knowledge to convince Zuko to come home with her: 

Azula: Poor, poor Uncle…I wonder if he’ll survive the trip home. Well, we must be going. I suggest you bid farewell to your girlfriend, little brother. 
Zuko: No. I…I’m coming with you. I’m going back to the Fire Nation.

However, Zuko will also choose his honor quest and his father’s love over all else if he thinks he’s either in danger of losing it forever, or if he feels like he’s really close to getting it and achieving his goals. Examples of this include “Winter Solstice Part 2,” when Zuko defies his father’s orders and risks capture by heading into Fire Nation waters to capture Aang; “The Blue Spirit,” when Zuko infiltrates a Fire nation fortress to capture Aang; “Siege of the North: Parts 1 & 2,” when Zuko kidnaps Aang and tries to wait through a blizzard; “Lake Laogai,” when Zuko decides to infiltrate Dai Li headquarters to find Appa so he can get to Aang; and finally “The crossroads of Destiny,” when Zuko chooses restoring his honor/father’s love over Iroh. 

There is however, another way of looking at Zuko’s actions, and that’s through the lens of long term, and short term effects, and what effect this will have on Zuko’s perception of how much happiness he’ll gain through his actions (or whether or not he’ll gain his father’s love). 

Thus, while he will put his quest aside to help his uncle, or to actually take his advice, he will quickly choose an alternate option if he thinks doing so will get him immediate happiness, or an automatic escape from whatever situation he’s in. Thus, we get examples like Zuko putting on the guise of the Blue Spirit again in “Avatar Day” to steal food; Zuko stealing food with Jet in “The Serpent’s Pass”; Zuko trying to find Appa in “Lake Laogai”; and Zuko choosing to side with Azula in “The Crossroads of Destiny.” 

So, while Zuko is persistent in his goals, and while he will go after his goals for long periods of times, his focus is always on clear cut, short term goals. This is is why Zuko does not “think things through.” He is focused on getting from A point A to B without considering all the stumbling blocks that may crop up between those two steps. And, while he will occasionally forego his long term goals, he will automatically pick up where he left off if rewards and happiness appear to be imminent.

“Brothers oh brothers, my days here are done, the Dornishman’s taken my life. 

But what does it matter, for all men must die, and I’ve tasted the Dornishman’s wife!

Yes I’ve tasted the Dornishman’s wife!”

101 Things I Love About ATLA

Goal: Write 1 thought every day re: why I love ATLA

#72: Uncle Iroh’s capture by earthbenders in “The Spirit World (Winter Solstice Part 1).”

The entire B-plot of this episode, which deals with Uncle Iroh’s capture by earthbenders (and Zuko’s rescue of Iroh) is well worth watching. 

First, we get introduced to Uncle Iroh’s infamous foul-smelling sandal … 

… which, incredibly, reappears as a plot point in Sozin’s Comet Part 2: The Old Masters. It’s how the GAang (including Zuko) locate Iroh and the White Lotus by way of shirshu (which means Zuko hung onto it the WHOLE TIME):

Second, we are treated to the scene below, in which Zuko spots Appa and starts to turn his war rhino to follow. But then Zuko changes his mind and turns back to follow the tracks to rescue his Uncle. It shows the importance of Zuko and Uncle’s relationship – the show had already established Zuko’s obsession with the Avatar, so the fact that he chose Uncle instead of chasing the Avatar is significant. The framing of the two scenes again highlights Zuko’s duality.  In the first scene, the audience sees Zuko’s scar as he yearns toward the Avatar.  In the second scene, we see Zuko’s “good side” as he looks back at the path toward Uncle.

So well done.

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Opening Sequence


Avatar Pilot

Escape From The Spirit World

Book 1:

  1. The Boy in the Iceberg
  2. The Avatar Returns
  3. The Southern Air Temple
  4. The Warriors of Kyoshi
  5. The King of Omashu
  6. Imprisoned
  7. The Spirit World (Winter Solstice, Part 1
  8. Avatar Roku (Winter Solstice, Part 2)
  9. The Waterbending Scroll
  10. Jet
  11. The Great Divide
  12. The Storm
  13. The Blue Spirit
  14. The Fortuneteller
  15. Bato of the Water Tribe
  16. The Deserter
  17. The Northern Air Temple
  18. The Waterbending Master
  19. The Siege of the North, Part 1
  20. The Siege of the North, Part 2

Book 2:

  1. The Avatar State
  2. The Cave of Two Lovers
  3. Return to Omashu
  4. The Swamp
  5. Avatar Day
  6. The Blind Bandit
  7. Zuko Alone
  8. The Chase
  9. Bitter Work
  10. The Library
  11. The Desert
  12. The Serpent’s Pass
  13. The Drill
  14. City of Walls and Secrets
  15. The Tales of Ba Sing Se
  16. Appa’s Lost Days
  17. Lake Laogai
  18. The Earth King
  19. The Guru
  20. The Crossroads of Destiny

Book 3:

  1. The Awakening
  2. The Headband
  3. The Painted Lady
  4. Sokka’s Master
  5. The Beach
  6. The Avatar and the Firelord
  7. The Runaway
  8. The Puppetmaster
  9. Nightmares and Daydreams
  10. The Day of Black Sun, Part 1: The Invasion
  11. The Day of Black Sun, Part 2: The Eclipse
  12. The Western Air Temple
  13. The Firebending Masters
  14. The Boiling Rock, Part 1
  15. The Boiling Rock, Part 2
  16. The Southern Raiders
  17. The Ember Island Players
  18. Sozin’s Comet, Part 1: The Phoenix King
  19. Sozin’s Comet, Part 2: The Old Masters
  20. Sozin’s Comet, Part 3: Into the Inferno
  21. Sozin’s Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang


Book 1:

  1. Welcome to Republic City
  2. A Leaf in the Wind
  3. The Revelation
  4. The Voice in the Night
  5. The Spirit of Competition
  6. And the Winner Is…
  7. The Aftermath
  8. When Extremes Meet
  9. Out of the Past
  10. Turning the Tides
  11. Skeletons in the Closet
  12. Endgame

Book 2:

  1. Rebel Spirit
  2. The Southern Lights
  3. Civil Wars, Part 1
  4. Civil Wars, Part 2
  5. Peacekeepers
  6. The Sting
  7. Beginnings, Part 1
  8. Beginnings, Part 2
  9. The Guide
  10. A New Spiritual Age
  11. Night of a Thousand Stars
  12. Harmonic Convergence
  13. Darkness Falls
  14. Light in the Dark

Book 3:

  1. A Breath of Fresh Air
  2. Rebirth
  3. The Earth Queen
  4. In Harm’s Way
  5. The Metal Clan
  6. Old Wounds
  7. Original Airbenders
  8. The Terror Within
  9. The Stakeout
  10. Long Live the Queen
  11. The Ultimatum
  12. Enter the Void
  13. Venom of the Red Lotus

Book 4:

  1. After All These Years
  2. Korra Alone
  3. The Coronation
  4. The Calling
  5. Enemy at the Gates
  6. The Battle of Zaofu
  7. Reunion
  8. Remembrances
  9. Beyond the Wilds
  10. Operation Beifong
  11. Kuvira’s Gambit
  12. Day of the Colossus
  13. The Last Stand

Hi everyone! I decided to start doing a daily column dedicated to Plants and Magical uses. Everyday I’ll upload a post with a different plant!

NOTE: You can find every post under the hashtag #wwplants :) 


1# SPRUCE PINE - Abies Pectinata

Family: Conifers.

Characteristics: There are various Spruces families, all of them are evergreen. They can reach the height of 50-60 meters. Their bark tends to grey and it’s usually cracked.

Habitat: Mountains, or above 800 meters.

Most used parts: Leaves, small branches, buds.

Curiosity: The Spruce tree is the characteristic Christmas tree. Before Christianity the Spruce tree was the symbol used for the God that holds up the Earth, so it was assimilated with the Sun. On Christmas day, for the winter solstice, the tree was adorned with sweets, fruits, gifts as symbols for prosperity and abundance, and with candles that reminds sunbeams. It is also believed that Gods had had compassion for mortal humans and donated them the Spruce tree to fight illnesses and sadness. It has also been used as the Maypole, to represent the God’s phallus, and it was adorned with a garland made of its branches and flowers, to represent the Goddess.

Magical Uses - Potions:

- Non-stress potion: Use some good shnapps combined with 2 handful of fresh Spruce sprouts. This potion is usually (in fact) made during Spring. Make the sprouts macerate for about 2 moths, than filter the liquor and sweeten it with 2 tablespoons on sugar. ALWAYS ON A FULL STOMACH, drink a shot glass before events that can cause you stress.

Magical Uses - Baths:

- Purifying bath: Pick up 100 grams of fresh pine-needles and boil them in 2 liters of water for 1 hour. Filter the decoction and add it to the bath water with 3 handful of cooking salt.

- Bath for increase personal energy: Pick up 5 grams of Spruce buds and boil them for 2 hours in 200 grams of water. Filter the decoction and add it to the bath water.

- Relaxing bath before doing a ritual: For a very realxing bath you need 50 grams of fresh pine-needles and 50 grams of rosemary needles. Boil them in 2 liters of water for 1 hour. Filter the mixture and add it to the bath water.

Magical uses - Talismans:

- Fertility talisman: Fabric it using little Spruce branches that you have picked up during Yule day, bounded toghether with wire. Than sprinke it with some tuberose essence.

- To protect the house from negativity: Pick up 3 Spruce branches, bound them with a little bit of wire and braid on 2 ribbons, one red and one black. Stick on this talisman some coral or turquoise and hang it behind the door.

- To protect people from negativities: You need 1 handful of pine-needles and some gold glitters or powder, 1 cardoon flower and 1 handful of fennel seeds. Put all the ingredients in a jute sack (or something similar) and hang it on a bay tree branch.

Magical Uses - Incenses:

- Yule incense: mash with the mortar 4 parts of spruce wood (possibly bark that has a bit of resin on), add some pine-needles, 2 pinches of ivy leaves ( dried out and grinded), 1 pinch of rosemary leaves. Knead everything with 10 drops of clove essential oil.

- Ritual incense for family protection: 1 part of sage, 1 part of heather, 1 part of fern, 1 part of pine needles, 1 part of rose petals.