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Hmm, I ought to find me an Avatar icon. Anyway: about a week ago, our household finished off the series with a marathon viewing of all four Sozin's Comet episodes. Whew. Exhausting but very satisfying.

We discovered many a fine moment previous to that, of course. For example, I must make mention of "The Ember Island Players" episode. HAH!! It's like the condensed parody version of the whole series till now. Love. Fake-Zuko's rippling Revlon hair might've been my favorite, though Chinese-dragon Appa was cool. Also appreciated the remark, "Your Zuko costume's pretty good, but your scar's on the wrong side."

As for coolest moment, the episode with Zuko and Aang meeting the dragons was way up there. Gorgeous.

And most heart-wrenching, going back a bit, was Appa being lost for a while. It's gentle compared to the heart-wrenching moments of LOTR or Buffy, but still, so sad, as anyone who's ever had a pet can attest. However, everything turns out okay, and that's a major piece of what I love about this series. It doesn't put your emotions *too* deeply through any wringers, nor destroy any part of your soul.

Also, the kids loved it--it began affecting them at fundamental levels. The 7-year-old now happily has jasmine tea with me at breakfast. (He says, "Mmm, jasmine tea" in an Uncle Iroh voice.) And in the bath, of course, they waterbend at each other. "Look out, it's Prince Zuko!" *SPLASH*

By far the most compelling character arc is, of course, Zuko's. I have so many warm fuzzies for his relationship with Uncle Iroh alone, but his awkward bonding with the rest of the cast was a total delight too.
(Oh yeah, on the best-of list, possibly the funniest bit of dialogue all series:
Sokka: My first girlfriend turned into the moon.
Zuko: That's rough, buddy.)
...But anyway, Zuko's arc, like Spike's on Buffy & Angel, or even Snape's in Harry Potter (kind of), is interesting because it's the most dramatic change; the most redemptive. But none of those guys are the technical heroes of the stories. Aang, Buffy, and Harry Potter all start out as pretty good people, and despite some dark moments, they never go *too* dark, and therefore their arc is only from "younger and more innocent to older and braver," without the dramatic change that the aforementioned former enemies go through.

So this makes me wonder: can a hero ever be quite as interesting as those secondary characters who go from villain to ally over the course of the epic? Just throwing that out there as something to think about.

I've also caught up now to all available episodes of Downton Abbey and Sherlock, so we can talk spoilers for those if you want. Carson, more tea, please.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 11th, 2013 06:07 pm (UTC)
At MystiCon a couple weekends ago, my Twilight Sparkle ran into a costumer in an excellent Korra costume from the Avatar sequel series. Out of nowhere, we started "friendship-bending" at each other. Onlookers were in hysterics.

Mar. 11th, 2013 11:56 pm (UTC)
Ahaha! That is truly awesome. You're rocking that Twilight Sparkle costume! I do adore what people are willing to do in the name of fun fandom. :)

We haven't watched Korra yet--appears Netflix doesn't have it available to stream--but want to get there before long.

As for random bending: when walking through the Olympic rainforest the other weekend, our household was noting that clearly this was a nation of mossbenders.
Mar. 11th, 2013 08:22 pm (UTC)
And the other animals, you can't forget FooFooCuddlyPoops. I really want a turtle-duck, they looked adorable.

Zuko and Sokka are my fave characters. I loved that Sokka played such a big role even though he wasn't a bender. And Zuko... well, you hit that nail on the head.
Mar. 11th, 2013 11:57 pm (UTC)
The animals were fabulous all around--loved the imaginative blends. ("Big bad badger moles...")

Yeah, Sokka actually did a great job taking a fairly high command role despite his comic-relief status. He out-Xandered Xander!
Mar. 11th, 2013 11:51 pm (UTC)
Um, spoilers. :)
I agree that Zuko traveled the most ground over the course of the series, but I think they established early on Aang's wish not to be the avatar means that he had a long road as well, on that got (relatively) dark when he contemplates those that were hurt/died during the 100 years because he ran away from his destiny.

But you always rooted for him, he was always the good guy even when he was being spoiled. So maybe it doesn't hold next to Zuko's path.

Of course, you also always also cheered for Iroh even if he was a firebender and the ex-crown prince who laid siege to Ba Sing Se for 600 days. His story in Tales of Ba Sing Se brought me to tears. Not that I'd tell anyone, must appear manly.

Mar. 12th, 2013 12:00 am (UTC)
Re: Um, spoilers. :)
Yeah, I should've mentioned there are spoilers...oops. :)

I think there's something to be said for Aang being inherently more lovable and kind of a goofball, even in his dark/doubting times, than angsty/moody Zuko. ("I'm never happy." Hee.) I actually admired that they had a basically lighthearted hero, which was refreshing in the fantasy world. But, yes, bit less of an opportunity for a dramatic arc. Might not really matter; it's just something I was pondering.

Oh, Uncle Iroh is heartbreaking in Tales of Ba Sing Se! I always wanted to adopt him into my family, but especially then. I am so so so glad Zuko re-embraced him. (Tears in the eyes there too, not that I'd tell anyone.)

Also, I love that Iroh has Music Night on the Fire Nation ship. :D
Mar. 12th, 2013 01:16 am (UTC)
So this makes me wonder: can a hero ever be quite as interesting as those secondary characters who go from villain to ally over the course of the epic?
they can be, depending on their development arc. (if that's the right term) if they're a reluctant hero (and by that i mean; "i'm not the chosen one! but i'll help you look for her/him.") who eventually accepts their destiny. or even goes a little "dark side" for one reason or another for awhile before being brought back.
Mar. 12th, 2013 08:38 pm (UTC)
I was thinking it might even work to have a hero who starts out on the wrong side, and moves over to the right side eventually. That would take some careful writing in order to make us like her/him enough to keep reading, but I'm sure someone's pulled it off.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )