Not too long ago, Avatar The Last Airbender was released in Blu-ray Disc format for the very first time. Although I have watched the series multiple times over the years, I thought the show being in HD was reason enough to come back. While Avatar is one of my favorite shows of all time, I thought it’d be great to reflect on the real tender moments of the show. Avatar: The Last Airbender has it all, but these were the moments I’m not ashamed to say made me ugly cry.
- Avatar Roku’s Death
In his youth, Avatar Roku had a strong friendship with Fire Lord Sozin, that is until the latter wanted to extend both the borders of the Fire Nation and his rule over the other nations of the world. When Roku learned that Sozin began setting up colonies across the nations, Roku destroyed the Fire Lord’s palace, warning Sozin that continued defiance would result in the Fire Lord’s permanent end. The two former friends would not see nor speak to each other for 25 years.
One night, Roku’s home island was assaulted by a once dormant volcano, so great that the eruption could be seen from the Fire Lord’s palace. While the island’s inhabitants rushed to safety, Roku used his mastery of the elements to keep the eruption contained. Surprisingly, Fire Lord Sozin came to Roku and the island’s aid. When a second eruption began, the chances of saving the island were lost when a poisonous gas began to fill the air. Roku used airbending to protect Sozin from the gas, but was exposed to a gas geyser himself. As his vision began to blur, Roku asked his one-time friend for help. Sozin saw this as an opportunity to finally expand the Fire Nation unopposed, and left Roku to his death, thus ushering in the beginning of the Hundred Years War. Before Roku met his demise, his dragon Fang curled around him and the two died together.
- Toph Getting Teased
I don’t see this one on many lists, but it still gets to me. Toph Beifong is the most steadfast and stubborn earthbender around, at least from what can be seen on the surface. In the Book Two episode called “The Tales of Ba Sing Se”, Toph and Katara have a sort of girl’s day out. They go to a spa and walk out all dolled up. Toph admits that while she doesn’t often do fancy things, she’s not entirely opposed to doing it. When Katara and Toph cross a bridge, a group of obnoxious girls tease Toph over her makeup. Toph takes it rather personally, but then perks up and earthbends the ground away beneath their feet, causing the girls to fall into the water below. Katara adds insult to injury and waterbends the stream, sending them flowing away.
What I enjoy most about the Tales of Ba Sing Se is that we get to see sides to some of the characters we haven’t seen. Toph, being blind, tells Katara that she doesn’t have to worry so much about personal appearance, but can’t help being hurt by what the girls said. Toph starts to cry and I do too when she momentarily drops that tough exterior. But Katara consoles her by saying that although she’ll never know what she really looks like, Toph is indeed “very pretty.” Awwww….
- Princess Yue Turns Into the Moon
Book One draws to a close when Team Avatar finally manages to make it to the Northern Water Tribe. There, Sokka comes to meet Princess Yue and the two manage to hit it off in a short timespan. Yue’s family, however, were far from approving of Sokka, but that didn’t stop the two from enjoying their time together. However, when Admiral Zhao destroys the Moon Spirit’s mortal form, Yue, who was saved by the Moon Spirit from a fatal sickness when she was born, offered her life force and became the new Moon Spirit. She begins to disappear, but not before telling Sokka that she will always be with him. With Aang clearly interested in Katara, Sokka didn’t have anything serious at this point. Poor guy. I think it worked out for the best though. Suki is a much better love interest for Sokka anyway. Still, your girlfriend turning into the moon? “That’s rough, buddy.”
- Ursa’s Fate
When Avatar Aang finally defeats Fire Lord Ozai, he takes the tyrant’s ability to firebend so that he can never hurt or threaten anyone again. However, just because Ozai can’t bend anymore doesn’t mean that the vile man can’t get into your head. Soon after his defeat, Zuko is crowned the new Fire Lord. After Zuko’s coronation, we find him heading to the prison to see his defeated father. For as much as the powerless Ozai lost, he still wants to at least keep Zuko on strings. Zuko demands to know what really happened to his mother, much to the reluctance of Ozai. Ugh, it hurts my heart. Fortunately, fans were able to get their questions answered in one of the best stories that happened after Avatar left the airwaves. Check out Avatar: The Promise so you can see exactly how that plot hole came to be mended.
- Katara’s Vengeance
Throughout the series, Katara has been one to take the moral high ground when it comes to hairy situations. She’s also expressed her grief over the death of her mother at the hands of the Fire Nation. When the day comes that her mother’s killer is close at hand, Katara begins a secret, anger driven campaign with Zuko to track the killer down. She employs the forbidden art of bloodbending to ascertain the killer’s whereabouts. The fact she resorted to using bloodbending, an art she found disgraceful, speaks volumes of her need for revenge. When she tracks down the killer she implores him to remember her and what she did to her family before bending water into sharp icicles. She can’t bring herself to kill him, however. To the audience’s surprise, you’d think Katara would snap out of her rage and come back to her old self and forgive the guy, but she admits that she could possibly never forgive him. She leaves her mother’s killer alive to reflect on the atrocities he has committed on behalf of the Fire Nation.