younger toph

9

Team Avatar as  House Stark (or is it House Stark as Team Avatar?)

Eddard Stark and Hakoda: The father
Catelyn Tully and Kya: The mother
Robb Stark and Sokka: The Young Wolf
Theon Greyjoy and Zuko: The exiled prince 
Sansa Stark and Katara: The elder badass daughter
Arya Stark and Toph: The younger badass daughter
Bran Stark and Aang: A boy with wings
Rickon Stark and Suki: The one fandom forgot 
Jon Snow and Zuko: The outcast/dragon prince

Decided to count Zuko twice because reasons.

yuknoomyichakkahk  asked:

P1: Aang had many teachers or guides. The contact of Aang with his adult teachers (Pathik, Jeong Jeong, etc.) tended to last less than two episodes, in contrast with the case of his younger teachers (Toph, Katara, Zuko), who travelled with him on Appa's back. A discrete flux of learning and knowledge from his Adult Teachers (mostly male), while having a constant interaction with his Young Teachers (mostly female).

P2: If I am correct, do you think this ‘diversity of teachers’ was designed in order to make a contrast with the pair Iroh-Zuko (one teacher-one disciple)? Was this diversity of teachers good for Aang?

P3: Having read “Would you use energybending?” and your proposal for character development, do you think it would’ve been better to have a more lasting influence from one adult guide over Aang (e.g. Aang interacting more with Guru Pathik in the Second Season) or more frequent dialogues with the previous Avatars?, in addition to an earlier encounter with the Lion Turtle.

I don’t necessarily think that Aang should have had a more constant mentor, but rather that his loss of the mentor who died should have been more pronounced in the show. He certainly would have benefited from a constant mentor, and the fact that he doesn’t (and to some extent, can’t) is OK, if it is framed in such a way in the narrative.

Mentor characters are difficult to weave into the fabric of a story without feeling like a deus ex machina or cardboard cutout. Roku didn’t need that much character development, being dead, but even he got a backstory with Firelord Sozin to flesh him out a little. They held him back for when Aang most needed him, which I think is the correct approach, because Roku popping up in every episode would seem a bit contrived. It also makes sense that Aang would not be able to stick with one mentor for the duration of the series, because it would feel less necessary to visit the homelands of each type of bending with an adult right there to explain everything about a particular culture.

There’s something else to consider: having an adult in the group would radically change the gAang dynamics. It wouldn’t make sense for the kids take part in the action when the adult would be trying to protect them and keep them out of danger. It was different with Iroh and Zuko because Zuko was an older teen and actually outranked his uncle. But a middle-aged mentor saying, “Yes, let’s go into deadly danger together!” to a 12-year-old is not going to come off well. (*cough* Batman and Robin *cough*) It would also prevent the GAang from being an equal team of kids. Scenes like this:

Would be soooo awkward with an adult in them!

Rather than introduce a long-term teacher and interfere with the GAang, it might be better to have had more flashbacks or allusions to Monk Gyatso. There would be times when Aang would ask Gyatso for advice, forgetting he wasn’t there, and maybe he could stumble across Air Nomad traditions or practices that he didn’t know about. (He’s 12; he couldn’t be expected to be an expert on every facet of Air Nomad society). This would add weight to Aang’s loss of the Air Nomads and serve as a reminder of an entire culture being extinguished at the hands of imperialism.

As a final note, yes, I would definitely be on board with more female old masters! Why the White Lotus didn’t have any women is beyond me.  But I do think the diversity of teachers we get helps Aang greatly in mastering the elements, because he can combine different techniques with different teaching styles to possess not only a bigger arsenal, but a deeper understanding of the world around him. Making connections with all the Four Nations is paramount in being an Avatar, and coming to that knowledge from a place of humility (i.e. as a student) is one of the best ways to do it.