This is one of the bonus 30-Day-Challenges that I made specifically for me. This bonus 30 day challenge is a bonus because it’s not a general 30 day challenge that everyone else can write about. This day is specifically about the film makers. Under the cut, you will read about the plot, the directing, the writing, the changes, the plot holes, etc.
Note: Everything I write below will be a detailed, opinionated essay that has no source (unless given). I wrote this without listening to anyone else’s opinions on the topic, and without additional research.
Most people see Katara, or Zuko, or Toph, or Aang bending elements and we all go “Ohhh that’s so cool!” If you ask anyone who has watched Avatar what element they’d like to bend, or if they’d like to be a non-bender, only a small percentage would say the latter.I think, since we live in a world where bending doesn’t exist, of course we would like to imagine ourselves as someone we’re not. Why would we want to dream about being boring ol’ us? To be honest, now that I think about it, I’m surprised non-benders even exist at all. If you think about it, why didn’t Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino (creators of Avatar) just make everyone a bender? Why create bending as a trait, something that may or may not be inherited to your children, instead of making it into a social norm?
Well after watching Sozin’s Comet, I have changed my mind about thinking benders as being more powerful than non-benders. No one could have pulled off what Sokka, Suki and Toph did with those airships. True, Toph did all the hard work of pulling metal, but bender or non-bender, Sokka really proved that intelligence is just as powerful as talent and skill. And who said a non-bender can’t be talented? Ty Lee has probably changed the world for non-benders with her Chi blocking skills.
The Kyoshi Warriors, the Southern Water Tribe armies led by Katara and Sokka’s father, those kids from the Earth Kingdom… what they lacked in bending, they made up for a strength in sword fighting, or tinkering with gears and metals. The show began with the exciting idea of being able to control elements at will, and in the beginning, we were entranced by the flames and the waves and the wind that Sokka was probably ignored most of the time.
They really made up for it though. The Kyoshi Warriors showed what they can do, Ty Lee and Mai showed up with badass unexpected skills, the Southern Water Tribe troops showed us what they were made of and in the end? In the end, each and every one of them showed us that non-benders are not ‘weak’, they are not below benders.
And the thing is? The discrimination between benders and non-benders was not even apparent in their fictional universe. Maybe it’s the war, but I don’t think anyone from the four nations think this way. So maybe this discrimination is coming from us. That speaks volumes.
From an amateur waterbender training to catch a fish in the first episode, Katara closes her story by being a master who can freeze herself and her opponent in block of ice and swim inside it while keeping her opponent frozen. While her bending has improved tremendously throughout the series, her aura as the ‘mother’ of the group never changed. That’s what I love the most about Katara’s character. Things can go to hell, can twist her around and break her heart and her trust but she will never, ever change who she is deep inside.She proved that you don’t have to harden your heart to be strong, but she’s not a martyr ‘Mary Sue’ either. Zuko broke her trust, and he had to fight alongside her for her to trust him again, and I think that’s what most female characters lack these days. More people have to start looking up to her.
- AangSince Aang has been in almost every episode, he has been the one who has changed the most. Although he was still the playful, cheeky kid he was when Katara and Sokka first met him, there is now a certain ambience about him, a special kind of tranquility that I think only the Air Nomads carry around themselves. His peaceful, satisfied nature in Sozin’s Comet: Avatar Aang is so unlike him – we were used to the kid who still played around when he was supposed to practice waterbending – that it really striked me that “Wow. This boy’s all grown up.” He was wearing different clothes. Somehow, it felt like he was… older.
Instead of laughing along with his friends about Sokka’s drawing, he instead went out. I felt that it was so unlike him to do such a thing that I kind of missed the ‘old’ Aang.
- ZukoIn the first book, the writers established what kind of person Zuko was. In the second, he began to struggle between right and wrong. Perhaps the reason why Zuko is favored by most is that he’s faced most of what we are facing. We are constantly trying to make our own parents proud of us, to do anything and everything they ask so that our dream of being welcomed back with open arms will be realized, and come true. But that wasn’t his destiny.
Zuko taught me that family isn’t always right. We create our own paths, and sometimes that means getting someone we loved – someone who is on the wrong – hurt. That’s a sacrifice that some of us have to make for there to be peace, and balance.
Zuko has had the roughest ride compared to the rest of the characters. And he’s managed to turn out to be the greatest out of them all. He emerged from the ashes of his own mistakes, and rose up higher than anyone expected him to. The show ended with him finally regaining his own honor… with his own doing.
- AzulaMarve’s Journey Into Mystery can be described as “a comedy in 21 stories, or a tragedy in 22” and I think the same can be said about Azula in Sozin’s Comet. Azula made a complete roundabout in a matter of just 4 episodes – the last ones, no doubt. And what really piqued me is… What happened? What made her snap like that?
Throughout my whole 17 years of existence, I have noticed that so much of a child depends on the guardians who take care of him. Children always crave attention, love, acceptance and forgiveness. Our deepest regrets, or joyous childhood moments, our greatest fears… If you ask someone about any of these sensitive topics, their truthful answer would be something related to their parents.
And Azula had become more than obsessed with getting her mother to love her. It was just one scene – the mirror scene – and it was painful to watch. Who knew a mother’s absence can take such a toll on a daughter?
Or perhaps, and this is interesting to ponder on, it is because of Ozai’s decision to destroy the world without her. If you look back, Azula has always been by her father’s side throughout every decision he made. His decision to leave Azula was so… off, somehow. I think that’s why Azula was pushed off the edge.
The Old Masters
Sozin’s Comet, like every finale in every other TV Show, included every minor character we saw in the previous episodes. Each and every one of them gathered around and although not all of them were given a scene like The Day of The Black Sun, the Old Masters, characters we haven’t seen for such a long time, came back to surprise us, and I think that’s brilliant.
In The Day of the Black Sun, most who came back were kids – subplots that Team Avatar met along their journey. In the finale, we see Katara, Sokka and Aang’s teachers. We were introduced to the Order of the White Lotus, and little puzzle pieces scattered all over the show finally made sense.
And just when we thought the whole show was ending, the secret society of old people proved to us that it was just beginning.
Zuko and Azula’s Agni Kai
And there it was – the Agni Kai that everyone (in and out of the fictional universe) has been waiting for, the Agni Kai that was always meant to be.
In this final episode, we see how much both siblings have changed over the years. And finally, we get to see Zuko redeem himself – not just by defeating evil, but also by protecting the innocent.
Character development aside, we can see just how much the staff worked hard on this scene. When they said ultimate firebending power during Sozin’s Comet, they really meant ultimate firebending power. Flames were licking the sky. Azula and Zuko’s every movement were stronger and fiercer. They created techniques of their own as they fought, proving that firebending was like second nature to them.
What really takes the cake, though, was Aang’s final Avatar State. The animators really outdid themselves, and it’s frustrating to know how underappreciated they are. This show deserves the highest film award, and I’m not just saying that because I’m biased. No other show has been able to create such a masterpiece.
What I’ve noticed is that while they were fighting was the music. There was a certain sad tune playing underneath all the action-y music.
Plot Twist: Energybending
I like how they’ve been planting the idea of killing the fire lord into each of the audience’s minds before the epic finale. Personally, it never crossed my mind that you can take someone’s bending away. I’ve always thought that it was… part of the person’s DNA, you know.
And what intrigues me about this plot twist is…. has this always been in their mind ever since the beginning? Did someone just have this idea during the middle of those 6 long years? Or did they come up with the solution of defeating the enemy without actually killing him just when the deadline was clouding over them?
Because it was such a brilliant idea. Everybody wins. Aang defeated the fire lord, like everyone wanted. He didn’t have to kill him, like what he wanted. The staff still kept it to a rating of PG, like what Nickelodeon wanted. They were still able to shock their audience, adults and child alike, like what they wanted. And the audience got the ending they’ve always wanted.
I wish I knew the exact person who thought of this idea. I wish I know how they got to thinking about it. I want to know more and more and more about the development of the show. Each and every detail.
Avatar is a wonderful story, and I’m glad these two men had the courage and will to tell it.