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Avatar Book 2, Disc 1 – spoiler-friendly reaction post - A Sorta Fairytale
October 2013
 
 
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hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Fri, Nov. 28th, 2008 11:57 am
Avatar Book 2, Disc 1 – spoiler-friendly reaction post

This post is for commentary with SPOILERS for episodes beyond Book 2, Disc 1.


Chapter 2: The Cave of Two Lovers

This is the episode that made me think it was most likely going to be Kataang in the end. I just couldn’t see them putting in the kissing-in-the-dark scene if those two weren't going to end up together, especially considering Katara's the one who initiates it. And it was sort of cute, although…I'm still a bit squicked by how young Aang is. I had some doubts again later, as there were a few things that still made me think Aang might have to go without love, but I don't think I ever gave any serious thought to shipping Katara with either Zuko or anyone else after this. (Zuko/Song may have helped push me that way, too.)

I'd like to think that someday Zuko will go back and apologize for stealing Song's ostrich-horse. I also would like to think he contacts Jin (from "Tales of Ba Sing Se") and Lee and his family (from "Zuko Alone") post-series.


Chapter 3: Return to Omashu

I will save my thoughts on Mai's behavior in the hostage negotiation, which seems to have generated a lot of, um, negative feelings toward her character, for a later post. (I have a couple of posts in mind for after I'm done with the re-watch posts to discuss certain themes in a more holistic way.)

"He's cute now, but when he's older, he'll join the Fire Nation army. You won't think he's cute then. He'll be a killer." This reminds me of the scene in the first part of "Sozin's Comet", when they find the baby picture of Ozai.

And we have Mai's little smile at the thought of seeing Zuko. After several false positives on my radar, Zuko's true love interest was finally revealed! And yet…I was "meh" at first. I had an inkling that Azula's circle of friends might provide Zuko with a girlfriend, but I thought Ty Lee the better match in terms of personality, and Mei's gothesque demeanor was against all my expectations. I've been too accustomed to enjoying emo boy/perky girl pairings (e.g. Lupin/Tonks). Anyway, Mai did win me over, for reasons I'll get to when I get to them. ;)

Joie

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peachespig
peachespig
peachespig
Fri, Nov. 28th, 2008 08:44 pm (UTC)

This is the episode that made me think it was most likely going to be Kataang in the end.

Yeah, it certainly did elaborate on the Fortuneteller and make it clear Aang's feelings for Katara constituted a major plot point. I tried to be very even-handed about the shipping for as long as I could in this series... mainly because I felt like the show was deliberately teasing us with Zutara hints, and I was pretty sure Zuko was going to do a heel face turn before the end. But yeah, this ep. The second episodes of each season always seemed pretty Kataangy.

I'm still a bit squicked by how young Aang is.

Yeah. I've probably said it before, but I think most of the fandom reaction that Zutara was a real possibility comes from thinking Katara-centric thoughts. Here's this 14-year-old girl who's probably a little mature for her age; if I were her, who would I rather go for, the childlike 12-year-old or the brooding, angsty 16-year-old? I think we know who most 14-year-olds would choose, and most women (and men for that matter) looking at Katara's point of view did likewise on her behalf.

But I think the creators were always thinking from Aang's point of view. He is the hero, he gets his dreamgirl in the end, period. I will say that they made Aang mature enough over the course of the show that I was totally on board with it by the end. But I completely understand the feeling, especially in the earlier seasons, that Aang is still just a kid.

there were a few things that still made me think Aang might have to go without love

Yeah, I always thought Kataang was the most likely outcome, but the way I could see Zutara was with Aang going loveless as you say, maybe giving up Katara in order to achieve the Avatar State in the end (something which was built up to, and then kind of just dropped as a plot point). I certainly could never see Taang in any way, which always seemed to me, with apologies to those shippers, to be a dump-Aang ship for Zutarans.

I'd like to think that someday Zuko will go back and apologize for stealing Song's ostrich-horse. I also would like to think he contacts Jin (from "Tales of Ba Sing Se") and Lee and his family (from "Zuko Alone") post-series.

Yeah, I think that he will. Someone must have written that fic (I never read fanfic, so I don't actually know). I like to think Lee became proud of him.

I will save my thoughts on Mai's behavior in the hostage negotiation, which seems to have generated a lot of, um, negative feelings toward her character, for a later post.

Yeah, I've seen some Zutarans saying she's an awful horrible evil person for endangering her brother at Azula's command. And rather than talking about what it means about her personality, I have to say to me it just sounds like a case of a brand-new minor character not having her opinions and decisions be the focus of an action scene. I guess that's a TV answer instead of a character answer, but it's how I feel about it. Mai wasn't really fleshed out into a character with depth until season 3, and there was always a weird tension about both her and Ty Lee being, on the one hand, somewhat sympathetic and funny young girls, and on the other hand serving the forces of evil. The TV show gets away with it by not asking too many questions, I think.


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demonalchemist9
demonalchemist9
demonalchemist9
Fri, Nov. 28th, 2008 10:14 pm (UTC)

I'd like to think that someday Zuko will go back and apologize for stealing Song's ostrich-horse. I also would like to think he contacts Jin (from "Tales of Ba Sing Se") and Lee and his family (from "Zuko Alone") post-series.
Well, at the end I think Zuko was also planning on looking for his mother so that would be the perfect time for him to contact Jin and apologize to Song. I think it'd be especially funny if they found out he's now the Fire Lord!


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hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Fri, Nov. 28th, 2008 11:16 pm (UTC)

Yeah, I'm sure he wouldn't hide his identity from them. Although, Lee and his family already found out who he was at the end of "Zuko Alone." I think they'd view him more kindly after he puts a stop to the war, though.


ReplyThread Parent
demonalchemist9
demonalchemist9
demonalchemist9
Fri, Nov. 28th, 2008 11:45 pm (UTC)

True, but think of him riding in all duded up and not as the emo boy he was before...


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hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Sat, Nov. 29th, 2008 02:10 am (UTC)

:D Yeah, that would be cool.


ReplyThread Parent
hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Sat, Nov. 29th, 2008 02:03 am (UTC)

I certainly could never see Taang in any way, which always seemed to me, with apologies to those shippers, to be a dump-Aang ship for Zutarans.

I think it had some credibility when she first appeared, (her first cameo in "The Swamp", when her mystical appearance to Aang is parallel to Sokka's vision of Yue, could've been suggestive of romance), but by the time of "Bitter Work", I think it was pretty clear they would not be a good match.

And rather than talking about what it means about her personality, I have to say to me it just sounds like a case of a brand-new minor character not having her opinions and decisions be the focus of an action scene.

Yeah, I lean toward that explanation. I followed every comment of a recent post on the subject in avatar_fans, and I couldn't help but feel that people on both sides were reading way too much into it, especially after going back and watching the episode again for myself.

Mai wasn't really fleshed out into a character with depth until season 3, and there was always a weird tension about both her and Ty Lee being, on the one hand, somewhat sympathetic and funny young girls, and on the other hand serving the forces of evil. The TV show gets away with it by not asking too many questions, I think.

Hmmm...yes and no. I sorta think the audience is being led to believe that they're not (in contrast to Azula) all that bad; it's just that they've never thought things through. They've had no opportunity to do so. "The Headband" makes it clear that Fire Nation youth are basically brainwashed into serving their country, no questions asked. Not everyone can have such a detailed and nuanced journey to redemption as Zuko--the show simply doesn't have time for it--but I think it was important to the themes of the show that Zuko was not the only one who would change his mind about which side was the right one to be on. Having Mai and Ty Lee switch sides at the end suggests that there is hope for the entire nation. That they break free from the brainwashing and fear of Azula to follow Zuko's lead gives the sense that the youth of the Fire Nation (and maybe some of the older people, too) will come around to the right way of thinking on their own, and not because their new Fire Lord forces them to. But anyway, more on that later, in my post re-watch post.


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