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The Legend of Korra: As the Air Bends


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#61

mr.simpatico

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Posted Apr 15, 2012 @ 6:44 PM

I think the creators seem to be very aware that the viewers may be missing the old gang. They have killed off everybody, but each one has a spiritual successor of some kind: You see Aang in Meelo, Toph in Lin, Zuko in Mako, and so on.


I wonder what the life expectancy rate is like in Avatar world - we've seen people like Iroh, Katara's grandmother and Buumi live to 60-100+ and yet some 50 years after the original series with a cast that were all children/teenagers the ONLY ONE who has survived to be around 70 is Katara. I'm not sure I buy it. Aang didn't even live long enough to see any of his air-bending grandchildren by Tenzin (Korra is older than all 3), which is rather sad when you think about it.

Edited by mr.simpatico, Apr 15, 2012 @ 6:45 PM.

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#62

WileyCoyote

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Posted Apr 15, 2012 @ 7:53 PM

Wired Magazine had a pretty good article on Korra: http://www.wired.com...egend-of-korra/

I wonder what the life expectancy rate is like in Avatar world - we've seen people like Iroh, Katara's grandmother and Buumi live to 60-100+ and yet some 50 years after the original series with a cast that were all children/teenagers the ONLY ONE who has survived to be around 70 is Katara. I'm not sure I buy it.

Its consistent with actual pre-industrial life expectancies, isn't it?

Besides, you have one key detail wrong. its not 50 years later. Its 70. Making Katara in her late 80s (she wouldn't have been 70 in your original figuring anyway, since she was certainly no older than 17 at the end of the last series).
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#63

Shippaisha

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Posted Apr 15, 2012 @ 8:11 PM

IIRC Katara was 14 during A:TLA, so she's around 84 here.

As for most of the rest of the Gaang having departed relatively early, it may not have been through natural causes. Disease, for example. And as warriors I could easily believe that Sokka and Suki met their ends quelling violence somewhere. There's also always the possibility that Aang died stopping a natural disaster like Roku.
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#64

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Posted Apr 15, 2012 @ 8:15 PM

Shippaisha
IIRC Katara was 14 during A:TLA

Thirteen when the series started, but fourteen when it ended.
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#65

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Posted Apr 15, 2012 @ 9:48 PM

Katarawas 14 at the start of A:TLA, 15-16 during the course of The Promise comics (which begin at the moment the first series ends, so she turned 15 during the course of the series), and 85 years old by the first episode of The Legend of Korra.

Aang was 66 (actually, 166) when he died, and the creators have said that his life was shortened due to the 100 years he spent in the iceberg.

I was thinking about how Aang never got to meet his airbending grandchildren and it makes me quite sad; we see a lot of his personality in Ikki and Meelo. Maybe Kya and Bumi had kids before he died? I wonder if Bumi or one of his descendants could potentially have airbending kids? *shrugs* The "genetics" of bending was never made clear in the series precisely because it's not supposed to be entirely genetic. There's a scene in A:TLA in which Aang asks for earthbending volunteers and these identical twins chime in: Brother A: "I'm a bender!" Brother B: "I'm not!"

This was supposed to show that bending has a mystical, spiritual component that can't be explained entirely by science, which is probably why Sokka insisted on calling it "magic" for much of season 1.
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#66

smrtguy85

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 12:57 PM

Man, as much as I love the whole thing, there was one little aspect that proved how much I love these writers.

When Korra and the Ferrets win the match, Tenzin flips out and starts cheering and whooping in celebration. Despite how serious he is, despite how straight laced and proper he is, Tenzin is still Aang's son, so he does has a funny side, he just buries it.
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#67

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 1:30 PM

Call me a sap, but the sweeping tapestry of the Gaang after the elemental role-call, along with Katara's speech when Korra is leaving makes me cry. It's just knowing that they're all gone and we'll only see them as statues or hear about them in past tense that just kills me. I knew that would be the case and obviously to get Korra we'd have to lose Aang, but they were real kids in an awful war and they kicked that war's ass. These characters are more real to me than most live-action characters and that is such a credit to DiMartino and Konietzko's writing. They get EVERYONE; boys, girls, men, women, heroes, villains, the grey moral areas of doing what's noble versus doing what's right, what is honor and how might the quest to regain what's lost might effect the quest-runner positively or negatively. I already love Korra and that's not because she's superficial but because she's alive. She's fun and powerful and loves everything about being the Avatar but she's going to have to regain the attention of a world that might not need her anymore and how will that change her? Plus she has a dog, so even more points in her favor.

I love that Tenzin inherited Katara's face-twisting temper tantrums and he even strokes his beard in a manner similar to that of the incomparable Wang Fire, the epitome of bearded manliness.

And yes, Mako/Korra is totally a response to the Zutara fans.
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#68

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 2:07 PM

About firebending being Korra's "default" style: I think it would have ended up being her default technique anyway, since the show is set in an urban setting. Earthbending would probably cause too much property damage, and there may not be large enough quantities of water around.

the elemental role-call,

Hee! But I had a question about that; it's Kyoshi, Roku, Korra, then... adult Aang? Tenzin? I'm not sure who the airbender is (if it's someone specific).
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#69

rasafrag

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 2:14 PM

Trinigirl I believe that's Aang (with a beard!). I wish I could remember where I read it, I think tvtropes but I don't remember.
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#70

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 2:25 PM

Hee! But I had a question about that; it's Kyoshi, Roku, Korra, then... adult Aang? Tenzin? I'm not sure who the airbender is (if it's someone specific).


Yup, it's Aang, since it's the Avatar cycle.
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#71

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Posted Apr 16, 2012 @ 11:07 PM

It's Kyoshi, Roku, adult Aang, and Korra in the opening. But I don't think adult Aang has facial hair; that's how I figured out it was Aang and not Tenzin.
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#72

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Posted Apr 17, 2012 @ 1:25 AM

Call me a sap, but the sweeping tapestry of the Gaang after the elemental role-call, along with Katara's speech when Korra is leaving makes me cry.

I didn't tear up, but I totally understand what you mean. And I thought it was a little sad that Katara lives all the way down in the South Pole, fairly far away from her children, from what we can tell. Just reinforced that the sun has set on the time of the Gaang, and most of them have passed away and Katara's time will eventually come too. I feel I need a bit more of a mourning period before diving into a whole new series...

I was also a leetle sad that we didn't get to see Katara waterbend. I've missed that.

But otherwise, it was a great beginning to a show. I'm psyched! Tenzin's double finger-point whoop also cracked me up. Glad there's a bit of Aang in him somewhere...
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#73

magicdog

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Posted Apr 17, 2012 @ 3:48 AM

Maybe Kya and Bumi had kids before [Aang] died?


I hope so. Although considering Katara is in her 80s, her children must be in their late 40s - late 50s/early 60s. Kya or Bumi could have grandchildren of their own by now.

was also a leetle sad that we didn't get to see Katara waterbend. I've missed that.


Agreed. It might have been nice to see her and Korra do some bending together to compare styles.



Tenzin is still Aang's son, so he does has a funny side, he just buries it.


I wonder why. Air is the element of freedom and you'd think he'd be more open. I have a hunch Bumi might be more the family jokester though.
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#74

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Posted Apr 17, 2012 @ 4:10 AM

Tenzin is still Aang's son, so he does has a funny side, he just buries it.

I wonder why. Air is the element of freedom and you'd think he'd be more open.

But as the next "Last Airbender", that fact was likely stressed to him. So he probably took airbending very seriously, and as such, developed a serious personality. But thankfully there is that fun-loving side, buried not too deep. Perhaps once Korra achieves spiritual awakening and can contact Aang, Tenzin will be able to loosen up even more when he can talk with his dad.

Bending genetics does seem a bit odd, but there is one part we can be reasonably certain of. Air-bending is a dominant trait over non-bending, as evidenced by Tenzin and Pema's 3 air-bending children (and likely the 4th too). So I would expect their grandchildren to also be airbenders, but I wouldn't be surprised if one were a waterbender instead (or even earth of fire, depending on the heritage of the other parent in the equation.)

Edited by SVNBob, Apr 17, 2012 @ 4:12 AM.

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#75

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Posted Apr 17, 2012 @ 8:27 AM

BTW, I'm calling it right now. Sometime in the show, in an extreme act of rebellion and defience of the benders, the Equalists will destroy Aang's statue. It's just too big of a symbolic target to show the benders that their time is over. It will be extremely sad to see it happen, but it seems like such an obvious target for someone like Amon.

What do you guy's think? Does this seem likely? And if it does, how hard would you cry when you see it happen?
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#76

theatremouse

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Posted Apr 17, 2012 @ 9:09 AM

Perhaps once Korra achieves spiritual awakening and can contact Aang, Tenzin will be able to loosen up even more when he can talk with his dad.

I'm not sure it works that way. Have we ever seen evidence that people with the avatar when talking to a previous one in the spirit world can also interact with said previous avatar? Or did you mean Korra doing the "when Kyoshi showed up and spoke through Aang's body" thing?

Edited by theatremouse, Apr 17, 2012 @ 9:10 AM.

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#77

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Posted Apr 17, 2012 @ 5:04 PM

I really enjoyed the first two eps--they made me very nostalgic for A:TLA, particularly for Sokka and Toph's humor. Also, I'm glad the next ep brings Amon to the forefront, because can't wait for more Steve Blum!

About firebending being Korra's "default" style: I think it would have ended up being her default technique anyway, since the show is set in an urban setting. Earthbending would probably cause too much property damage, and there may not be large enough quantities of water around.


I figured it was a visual representation of Korra's frustration, rather than being a default style. Firebending was also her most recent training (and test) focus, so that skillset might be easiest for her to draw on at this time. I see your point though that Korra doesn't yet know how best to bend for the urban setting.
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#78

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Posted Apr 18, 2012 @ 1:17 AM

Ooh, a juicy new video clip!

"Korra and Mako ride Naga through the city, looking for Bolin before he winds up in serious trouble"

This clip had me on the edge of my seat, and it's only one minute, twenty seconds long! Plus, it has Pabu! :)
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#79

SVNBob

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Posted Apr 18, 2012 @ 3:09 AM

Or did you mean Korra doing the "when Kyoshi showed up and spoke through Aang's body" thing?

More along this line. Just purposefully initiated by Korra.

Sometime in the show, in an extreme act of rebellion and defience of the benders, the Equalists will destroy Aang's statue. It's just too big of a symbolic target to show the benders that their time is over. It will be extremely sad to see it happen, but it seems like such an obvious target for someone like Amon.

What do you guy's think? Does this seem likely?

Now that you bring it up, it makes a lot of sense, and is incredibly likely. Probably as a season finale event.

Depending on the material it's made of, it may not be hard to rebuild if that happened. Stone (i.e. earth), no problem. Metal? More difficult. Metalbending is possible, but all the known metalbenders are police. And I don't think Chief Bei Fong would assign any of her officers to "statue re-building duty."
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#80

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Posted Apr 18, 2012 @ 7:01 AM

Sometime in the show, in an extreme act of rebellion and defience of the benders, the Equalists will destroy Aang's statue. It's just too big of a symbolic target to show the benders that their time is over. It will be extremely sad to see it happen, but it seems like such an obvious target for someone like Amon.

What do you guy's think? Does this seem likely?

It wouldn't surprise me, especially considering how much disaster movies love to destroy the Statue of Liberty for that exact same reason.

And whether or not it's the statue that gets hit, I suspect that we might start to see bombings at some point. Not only are explosives the ultimate expression of how science can rival or exceed the destructive power of bending, but it's also just such an easy and effective way for an outnumbered group like this to spread random suffering that will destabilize society and create an opportunity to seize power for themselves. Somehow I suspect Amon won't be too ethical to use such a tactic.

I figured it was a visual representation of Korra's frustration, rather than being a default style. Firebending was also her most recent training (and test) focus, so that skillset might be easiest for her to draw on at this time. I see your point though that Korra doesn't yet know how best to bend for the urban setting.

I think it might be a bit of all three. It's the one she learned most recently, so it's freshest in her mind. It's also the only one that gets to cheat and produce its element instead of finding it nearby, so it's quickest on the trigger: no having to decide what to use, just punch and go. (Although, in a densely-packed urban environment built with 1920s lack-of-safety-standards, starting a fire could get really bad, really fast.) And on a personal level, I could see it suiting her because Korra has an aggressive personality and firebending is the style of all-out aggressive attack. (Firebenders even defend by attacking, blasting the other person's attack with flames and trying to destroy it before it reaches them.)


Yeah, Aang had trouble with earthbending, but Katara's theory that it was because Earth was the opposite element to his native Air was just that: a theory. Aang also had serious difficulties learning firebending. One might even say worse difficulties, since he overcomes his inability to earthbend in the course of that single episode but it takes nearly two seasons for him to overcome his fear of firebending. (In fact, Water's the only element other than Air that came easily to him.)

While by the rules of classical Western elementalism, Water would oppose Fire and Air would oppose Earth (I seem to recall that Eastern elementalism has more of a rock-paper-scissors thing: earth beats water, fire beats earth, etc.), I sort of feel like in terms of the fighting style and personality types most closely associated with each element, it's actually Earth (rigid) opposing Water (fluid) and Fire (aggressive) opposing Air (defensive). (Not that one couldn't also make a good case for Earth's "stand your ground" style being the opposite of Air's "evade and flee" philosophy. Honestly, the relationships between the elements are probably too complicated to organize simply.)

Aang's trouble with Earth, I think, came down to both the instincts he has from his training in the airbender's fighting style and to his own personality: both are geared towards avoiding and escaping danger and difficulty, while Toph's earthbending test required him to stay put and face what's coming head on. It was something of a running theme in the series that Aang tended to run from his problems, whether physical threats or emotional difficulties. He ran away from home a hundred years ago to escape his destiny and a life without his surrogate father rather than face it or try to fight to keep him. He ran from the fisherman's accusations in "The Storm" and (under the guise of playing) he ran from the consequences of the failed invasion in "The Western Air Temple". He spent the first part of Book 1 trying to escape (somewhat less literally) his responsiblities and the truth of the loss of his people whenever he could. Tactically speaking, when Aang would fight the various bad guys that caught up to the Gaang, he almost always just fought to try to get away, not to win anything more than a brief respite. (And I'm not knocking the accomplishment of getting away. Retreating is one of the most dangerous combat maneuvers of all, and doing without losing anyone is always impressive. But it meant that he'd just be facing them again a few weeks later.) It's the airbender way to escape the fight rather than participate in the violence, and that's fine if you're an Air Nomad who only has to defend themselves by getting away. But earthbenders need to protect their homes and their land, so they have to be able to hold their ground. They can't get out of the way of the oncoming danger, because then there will be nothing between it and what they're defending. They have to make their stand here.

Similarly, Fire gave Aang trouble (besides the issues he had with having burned Katara and with it being the element of the enemy) because its aggression was so antithetical to both Aang's personal nature and to Air Nomad philosophy. From what we can determine, Air Nomads didn't really believe in attacking, and barely even bothered to counterattack. But firebending is all about the attack. And Aang was a very peaceable person, lacking aggression. He didn't like confrontation. He was a light touch. But Fire was, as Iroh put it, "the element of power" and "the will to do anything." Fire was not the element of the light touch. Fire was the element of punching through, straight up the middle. If Air is the element of the fighting retreat and Earth is the element of holding the line, then Fire is the element of the advance to take new ground. And Air Nomads don't go on the offensive.

I mentioned this once before in the old thread, but a war was the perfect choice of challenge for Aang: it played to his greatest weaknesses, forcing him to grow and learn to deal with it. Aang was too peaceful for war, so he had to learn to fight... really fight, not just get away. He always tried to make peace with words, but he had to learn the importance of projecting force to make war too costly to pursue. He'd live his live largely shielded from serious hardships and consequences and responsibilities, and the horrors and high stakes of war forced him to grow up and face them. It forced him to grow into someone who could balance his native idealism with pragmatism, and in turn balance the nations.

Now Korra is the Avatar, and she actually enjoys a good scrap. She's aggressive and blunt and straightforward and brave. A war would have played to her strengths. So instead, she faces an insurgency, which is a problem that can't be solved with brute force. It's as much about good P.R. as it is about fighting, and hitting back too hard could alienate the apathetic majority. It needs a light touch. Precision. And what's the last element that she has left to learn, the one she has the most trouble with? Air. The element of peace and gentle handling. To face this, Korra will have to grow into a role she's unaccustomed to, transcend her limitations.

And that's what will make it a great story.

Edited by TheNarrator, Apr 18, 2012 @ 7:03 AM.

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#81

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Posted Apr 19, 2012 @ 11:09 AM

Has it ever been mentioned why firebending has the cheat in the series? All the other elements, though rarely taken to such extreames are available in some way. Water could be pulled from the air or your own body, although those are shown as extreamely advanced uses. Earth is usally there is some form, although maybe too far away to reach. Air is also pretty much just there. Fire though requires some sort of catylist. Why can firebenders spntaniously producer fire but the other benders require an outside source?
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#82

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Posted Apr 19, 2012 @ 11:57 AM

Fire is a combination of oxygen, fuel, and heat, so I like to think they use their chi to push the latter two into the air.
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#83

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Posted Apr 19, 2012 @ 12:58 PM

IIRC Firebenders use their own chi and body heat to ignite oxygen and create fire. Maybe it is physically more exhausting to Firebend than for the other benders to use their elements?
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#84

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Posted Apr 19, 2012 @ 6:59 PM

Iroh actually gave an explanation like that in ep1 of A:TLA during a Zuko training scene though i believe he just said energy instead of chi. Actually I'll just google it.. and hey presto here is the direct quote!

"Power from Fire Bending comes from the breath, not the muscles. The breath becomes energy within the body. The energy then extends past your limbs and becomes fire."

It was very good of them to tackle that issue so early in the show its subtle so people miss it but the info is there for people on rewatch to be surprised by.

And the best answer is "have you seen the crappy movie? That's why!"
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#85

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Posted Apr 20, 2012 @ 1:56 AM

To face this, Korra will have to grow into a role she's unaccustomed to, transcend her limitations.

This is so deep! And so true, especially regarding how Aang and Korra's respective elemental affinities and their journeys to master the elements reflect their circumstances and the different struggles they'll have to face. It will definitely make this series fascinating to watch.
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#86

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Posted Apr 20, 2012 @ 11:51 AM

Why can firebenders spntaniously producer fire but the other benders require an outside source?

While there's no way for us to know for sure why the showrunners decided to do it that way, I can think of a few reasons they might have.

First, there's the storytelling reasons, which Sonicsean34 above summed up very nicely with this quote:

"have you seen the crappy movie? That's why!"

...as the film pretty much demonstrated why firebenders needing a flame handy to firebend is a bad idea: it makes anyone who fights a firebender look like an idiot for not extinguishing that flame first thing. (During the film's version of the battle for the north pole they even say they'll put the fires out, but then... "Lit Torches Count: 9, 28, 40, 104, Oh Fuck It.") Especially since three of the most common ways to extinguish a fire are to douse it with water, bury it in dirt or take away its air; you'd need one hell of a blaze for a bender to not be able to put it out.

The advantage that fire gains over earth and water in being able to create its element is probably balanced by its lack of versatility: you can't really make structures out of fire and then stand on them. (Air has the same advantage as fire, really. If an airbender ever manages to wind up somewhere where there's no air, then they have bigger problems than not being able to bend.) But if firebenders needed an existing source of flame, then they would be at a severe disadvantage relative to the others: there's usually going to be a lot more air, earth and water around than fire, what with the surface of the earth being covered by the first three and nature producing very little of the fourth. From a storytelling perspective, you generally don't want to weaken the threat of your villains by giving them a crippling disadvantage like that.



Then there are the philosophical/worldbuilding reasons. There's a fundamental difference between fire and the other three elements. Eegah pointed out that...

Fire is a combination of oxygen, fuel, and heat

...or more to the point, fire is a chemical reaction that produces excess heat. It's not an actual substance, like the other three. Not matter, but an action producing energy. And fire is a very temporary thing. It's the only one of the elements that comes into existence and ceases to exist. While there are chemical processes that turn the molecules of air, water or earth into something else, most of the time they're being moved around rather than being created or destroyed. They exist perpetually. Water might evaporate, and a rock might get smashed into pebbles, but the same amount of water or rock still exists. But a fire has to be started, and can end. (And will exhaust its fuel if kept in existence for too long, whereas a waterbender can carry water around in a pouch forever.) As the only element that actually is created (under normal conditions), why not let the benders of that element create it? Someone has to start the process, whether it's with supernatural chi powers or a zippo lighter.



Whichever reason it was that made the showrunners decide to let firebenders create fire, I'm glad they did. The alternative would have seriously hampered the show.
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#87

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Posted Apr 20, 2012 @ 1:21 PM

...or more to the point, fire is a chemical reaction that produces excess heat. It's not an actual substance, like the other three

Bingo.

Water is a physical substance.
Earth is a physical substance.
Air, although generally less identifiable as such, is a physical substance.

Fire is something entirely different. You can define it from the standpoint of a chemical reaction, OR perhaps once its ignited, think of it as a form of energy manipulation.

In fact, one place I'd like to see the show go, as part of the "modernizing" aspect, is to show a subset of Firebending as Electricity manipulation. It would echo the Earthbending/Metalbending relationship.
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#88

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Posted Apr 20, 2012 @ 3:03 PM

Well, I've managed to get my mother to start watching the show. She proudly says that she usually can't care at all about animation over live action (though she does love Pixar's movies) and going through the first Avatar was a bit of a slog at times, due to the sometimes forced kiddie humor they kept throwing in. Korra has much less of that, thankfully.
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#89

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Posted Apr 20, 2012 @ 5:45 PM

Have any of you tried the interactive Welcome to Republic Citygame on Nick.com?

It gives you a "tour" of the city, and allows you to unlock details about the show. Today, they added 3 places you can go, including Central City Station, which has a statue of Zuko in it! When you get "more info" about Zuko, it tells you a bit about Zuko's recent history...
Spoiler

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#90

Kalina Ann

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Posted Apr 20, 2012 @ 9:46 PM

Spoiler



Ohh! The
Spoiler
in me would love that! Maybe they could spend their last days together.
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