The Legend of Korra - Book Two: Spirits

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Agent Richard07, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    The first season gave me the impression that the Republic was a kind of UN that covered the entire world. It was ruled by a council comprised of representatives from all the nations. So it's actually just one little part of the world surrounded by sovereign nations?
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Well, the Fire Nation colonies were probably pretty extensive. Keep in mind that the Earth Kingdom is by far the hugest territory in the world, so even a hundred years of colonization by the much smaller Fire Nation didn't eat up that much of its territory.

    http://avatar.wikia.com/wiki/Map_of_the_World_of_Avatar

    And a nation doesn't have to be territorially expansive in order to be politically powerful. The Fire Nation seems to have had the least total area of any of the four nations prior to the war, assuming the map is to scale, but it conquered most of the world.
     
  3. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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    So if the Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom are still separate entities, why didn't anyone mention going to them for help when the Equalists took over the city? Particularly if Zuko is still alive and the Fire Lord. I can't help but wonder if this is something that was changed between S1 and S2 of Korra... like the new Presidential position...
     
  4. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Really enjoyed this episode. It was nice being back in Republic City. I liked meeting the President.
    I'm very curious to see what the Fire Nation is like in this time period, if we do actually go there.
    Did they skip over what happened after Bolin's "fiancee" was coming after them at the end of last weeks?
     
  5. Agent Richard07

    Agent Richard07 Admiral Admiral

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    So now Korra's been eaten by a spirit who would have none of her attempt to tame it. I guess this is it for her. I wonder what happens to element bending when the avatar dies in the avatar state.

    I look forward to seeing the Fire Nation too. It'll be nice to see how things have progressed since the days of Zuko. Apparently his daughter's the Fire Lord now. Hope to see her.

    Looks like they did.

    I kept this post in mind. It looks like the world we're seeing on the show is advanced enough to give us a lot of what you mentioned already, and we're getting a good taste of it. Still, a series that brings us into an even more modern or futuristic world is very much welcome.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Because they went to their own military for help. Republic City is the capital of the United Republic of Nations; it's not the entire country. If Washington, DC or New York City were taken over by dissidents from within its own population, its defenders would call in the US military first, don't you think? After all, it's an internal matter. (Cf. The Dark Knight Rises. It was the US Army that blockaded Gotham City after Bane's coup.)

    Indeed, that's exactly why President Raiko rejected Korra's request to send in troops: because even though the Northern and Southern Water Tribes are geographically (and to some extent culturally) distinct, they're nominally a single nation, so the conflict is an internal one.


    Zuko is alive, but he stepped down as Fire Lord three years prior to the series. His daughter (as yet unnamed) is the current Fire Lord.

    http://avatar.wikia.com/wiki/Zuko


    It was implicit. The last scene of the previous episode was Bolin asking Varrick if his boat could outrun a crazed waterbending ex-girlfriend, and Varrick replied, "Why do you think I built this boat?" So presumably he was right and the boat outran Eska, forcing her to retreat. After all, even with her waterbending ability, Eska was "on foot," so logically she could only chase a motorized yacht for so long before tiring.
     
  7. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Oh, I forgot about that line at the end.
     
  8. FPAlpha

    FPAlpha Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You know.. i'm starting to get really annoyed by the dumbness of several characters and the "lightness" of the stories and actions.

    Take the issue of military support.. the President decides that they can't be involved. Fair enough, it's a civil war and they have no authority over the tribes as far as i can understand.

    But now they come up with the "brilliant" idea of speaking to the military directly circumventing any legal process and asking the general to betray his oath under a very thin excuse. They are basically asking the general to get involved in a war that doesn't concern him at this point.. and he wanted to go for it! :rolleyes::rolleyes:

    Maybe im looking too closely but stuff like that really takes me out of the story instantly and it irritates me how they casually glance over such issues as if they weren't important. Maybe kids don't notice that but go a bit further it shows them that you can ignore rules if someone asks nicely and it's for a good cause after all (and you only have to obey the rules if you get caught).

    Sorry, doesn't sit well with me (and i'll not even start on the abysmal behaviour of Korra in this season. There's being hotheated and then there's being plain stupid).

    I'll watch on for the animation and the cool bending fights but character/storywise the show disappoints with very simplistic characterizations and actions.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't think it's showing that at all. The show is not endorsing this behavior. It's showing the characters acting recklessly and making mistakes, and future episodes will probably show them facing up to their mistakes and realizing that what they tried to do before was wrong. This is a very serialized show, with each season being approached as essentially a very long movie, and we're still just at the start of the second act. All we've seen up to now has just been setup, with the payoff still to come.
     
  10. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    Well, think about who is asking the military to break the rules. This isn't just some band of rag-tag kids. Korra is the Avatar, one of the single most important people in the entire world! Her words probably carry a great deal of weight, and General Iroh may have forgotten for a moment that he has other loyalties.
     
  11. Agent Richard07

    Agent Richard07 Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe she's about to have her "Luke Skywalker" moment where we see her getting some training to calm her impulsive thoughts. But who will be her master? Will it be Wan, the first avatar? "Beginnings, Parts 1 & 2" will air back to back on October 18th. The two-parter will introduce us to that character.
     
  12. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    If nothing else, you have to give the writers credit for treating Korra like the teenager that she is. She might be the Avatar, but she's still just a teenage girl. AND TEENAGERS SUCK.
     
  13. Agent Richard07

    Agent Richard07 Admiral Admiral

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    ^ And I think they'll keep her that way even if they do indeed go the spiritual training route. As a rationale, maybe she'll have to cut her training short the way Skywalker did because there are problems going on in the outside world that need her attention.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    They already did that with Aang in "The Guru." It was such an on-the-nose Empire Strikes Back homage that it pulled me right out of the story. So I'd rather they didn't imitate their own earlier imitation.
     
  15. LaxScrutiny

    LaxScrutiny Commodore Commodore

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    Ok, it really doesn't logically follow that Aang would try this, because we are dealing with people who make mistakes and often enough overlook the obvious...

    There are some things that DO follow logically, but it also depends on how logical the writers are.

    Bending is not necessarily genetic. If it were, you couldn't take it away without changing a person's DNA. Likewise, you wouldn't be able to give it to someone unless they had the right DNA in the first place. If it is genetic and you could give it back, then Ozai could could be healed or heal himself.

    What seems more likely is that bending is a function of the spirit or soul, and is not truly "inherited," but it is received through KARMA. I say more likely because Aang took bending away from Ozai with spiritual means, not physical. As such, a fire bender receives fire bending because their karma is to be born in the Fire Nation society, because their soul has the fire nature.

    To note, I would make a strict disinction between chi blocking and complete and permanent removal of bending. One is temporary, the other is permanent, and they would be two different processes.

    Soka didn't have water bending Katara did. We could see this as a factor of inherited DNA, but it doesn't have to be that way. It can be factor of karma.

    If it is karma, then it doesn't matter if you wipe out every water bender in the southern tribes, or wipe out every airbender. The benders would return if there were still a people who maintained the respective natures, so that the spirits who were born with require karma to be benders would find a home there.

    Now, all this may not end up being true according to the writer's intent, but right now it is logical. I say this because, if bendin were genetic, then it should be able to be learned and relearned according to genetics. This can't be true, because the Avatar is not presentd as having all four abilities due to genetics, but because of karma/reincarnation.

    I may be totally wrong here, but I don't think we have enough information to say it is one way or the other.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But Aang lived another 53 years beyond the end of A:TLA and had a whole world's worth of people advising him. I find it vanishingly unlikely that nobody in all that time ever so much as suggested the possibility to him. Logic involves assessing probabilities, and "nobody on the whole planet ever thought of this over the course of half a century even though they desperately needed a solution to the airbender shortage" is not a hypothesis that I would count as even remotely probable.


    That's not really the case. Genes define potential. But many epigenetic, developmental, and environmental factors can determine whether a genetic potential is activated or suppressed. People think of genes as the end-all and be-all of who we are, but they're really just the first stage in the process.

    There is abundant evidence that there is a hereditary component to bending. We see this particularly in the mixed marriages in TLoK. Mako, a firebender, and Bolin, an earthbender, are the children of an Earth Kingdom father and a Fire Nation mother. Aang, an airbender, and Katara, a waterbender, gave birth to a nonbender, a waterbender, and an airbender. But Tenzin, an airbender, and Pema, a nonbender, have given birth exclusively to airbenders.


    Korra did heal Lin and the others who had their bending taken away by Amon. Amon used bloodbending rather than energybending, but Katara confirmed that his technique did sever the benders' spiritual link to their elements. Presumably Aang could have restored Ozai's firebending or Yakone's water/bloodbending if he'd wanted to -- but he was the only person in the world who could energybend, and now Korra is. They certainly couldn't have restored their own lost bending, because only the Avatar has that skill.


    Sounds to me like you mean dharma, which is a person's predestined or rightful path in life, rather than karma, which refers to one's actions. In Hindu belief, the key to a righteous life is to have one's karma, one's deeds, in accord with one's dharma, the rightful path of one's caste or varna. For instance, it would be unrighteous for a Brahmin to be a killer, because a Brahmin's path is to study and govern, but it would be righteous for a Kshatriya to kill in war, because it is the dharma of the Kshatriya to be the warriors and defenders in society. (See the Bhagavad Gita.)

    Westerners tend to interpret karma to mean destiny or fate, but that's confusing it with the Arabic kismet. Karma is actually the exact opposite of fate. Fate means that your future is fixed regardless of your actions and choices. Karma means that your future (specifically, your next life in the reincarnation cycle) is directly shaped by your actions and choices, specifically by how well they accord with your dharma.

    It's true, the Four Nations have a resemblance to varnas in Hinduism, so one could say they each have their dharma in accord with their national elements. I don't dispute that there is a spiritual component here. But the evidence is that it coexists with a hereditary component. As I've pointed out before, it's only we Westerners who see the physical and the spiritual as opposing principles, thanks to Cartesian dualism. In Eastern philosophy, they are facets of a single whole. So it's not about whether it's one or the other. It's about the balance between them both.
     
  17. LaxScrutiny

    LaxScrutiny Commodore Commodore

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    No. Dharma is your duty, what you should do, according to the position you have been born in.

    Karma is where you are, according to the path you have been following. We are born into a role according to karma, and are expected to perform according to dharma.

    In a greater scheme, we all have the same dharma. Our role is to evolve, no matter where we are on the path. We could never have the same karma. None of us are in exactly the same place.

    The conversation is interesting, but moot. For Korra, it depends on the author's intent and understanding, not ours.

    In any case, my intent is that bending is a function of the soul, not the body. Certainly I could be wrong, but I don't see a definitive explanation in the story yet.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    And as I've said, it's mistaken to apply that kind of Western "It's either one thing or its opposite" mentality to this show's universe -- or, indeed, to the real universe. The producers have made it clear that what guides them in this franchise is the idea of balance that's fundamental to Eastern thought, where the goal is to achieve a balance between opposing forces rather than treating them as mutually exclusive or antagonistic choices. It's not Manichaean or Cartesian dualism, but yin and yang. Everything contains a mix of the opposing forces and optimally is balanced between them.

    In other words, yes, bending is a function of the soul -- but that does not preclude it from also being a function of the body. In Eastern philosophy, martial arts, and medicine, those are inseparably intertwined concepts. Everything that's a function of the soul is also a function of the body, and vice-versa. We've clearly and repeatedly seen that that's the case in the Avatar world. Aang and Zuko both lost their physical ability to bend when their spirits were troubled or blocked. Conversely, Amon was able to use the physical process of bloodbending to sever benders' spiritual link to their elements. Both Aang and Combustion Man had their bending disrupted by physical damage to their chakras. Bending in general is a magical or psionic ability, but it requires physical motions to wield -- as does Unalaq's spirit-calming technique (whose movements resemble tai chi to me). Everything in this show that's spiritual is also physical.
     
  19. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    I could see Aang simply refusing to do it. He took Ozai's firebending away because it was literally the only option he could find that didn't result in taking his life. In this world, bending is a part of a person's nature, be it genetic or spiritual, and I don't even think the Avatar (at least, not Aang's Avatar) has the authority to go around making new benders just because he can.
     
  20. Agent Richard07

    Agent Richard07 Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Unless people volunteer.