Airspeed’s Editorials – My Top 20 Avatar/Korra moments!
First of all I would like to apologise for the site being down for about 2 days, I did my best to keep everyone updated with what was going on, but naturally many people got a bit concerned seeing the site down with a message saying suspended. I think it was just an error with the site host and not problem of ours, but anyway this post is my way of apologising to you all, a new editorial and I think a fun one.
What better way to celebrate my 10th editorial than with a top ten list. I thought a lot about what topic to do this top 10 list on, top 10 episodes, top 10 characters and top 10 fights were ideas that came to mind, but I decided against them as I really wanted to be able to do something less specific
So without going on too long with this intro here is the topic I chose.
My Top 20 Avatar/Korra Moments!
These moments will be a mix of types of scenes, great action, emotional, dramatic, shocking and many more.
Secondly I should say that this list is not in order, these are just my top 20 moments not in order.
1/ Raava and Wan discuss the state of the world
Probably not a moment you expected to see on this list, but this conversation midway through Beginnings Part 1 did give me chills. At first I was not entirely sure why as it was not a super emotional moment with the characters going through something massive nor was it a dramatic action scene. I came to the conclusion that it was how deep and meaningful the whole back and forth was. First let me show you the dialogue.
Wan – Why is there so much conflict between humans and spirits in the first place?
Raava – This physical world is where humans come from. Spirits come from another realm. At the north and south poles, the two realms intersect. Over time, more and more spirits have drifted into this world. Humans have been forced apart, settling on the lion turtles who protect them and losing touch with each other.
Wan – Most people think they live in the only human city in the world.
Raava – Most humans think only of themselves, no matter how many others are around.
It is the sheer scope of what they are discussing, how the world came to be the way it is at that moment, the reason humanity lives in fear and why their relationship with spirits is so poor. The sadness of Wan saying that most humans have no idea there are actually other human settlements is very deep. Then finally how cutting it is to hear Raava say that humans are selfish, and how she has yet to really understand humans and the situation they have been put in.
2/ The Death of Jet!
Quite simply Jet’s death is unbelievably tragic. Not just because he is the first good guy to fall in battle, but ¬†because of the situations surrounding it and especially how misguided Jet had been all his life.
Let’s not forget that Jet’s quest for vengeance against the Fire Nation began after The Rough Rhinos burned his village down which resulted in the death of his family. Over time be became misguided and took his hatred out on the whole fire nation not just the people who hurt him. He turned himself around after meeting Team Avatar, only to lose himself a bit over his suspicions of Zuko and Iroh, then get brainwashed by the Dai Li before finally attempting to redeem himself by helping Team Avatar take down Long Feng only to be killed in battle.
He died without getting his chance to confront Mongke and the Rough Rhinos the people who started him down this crazy path. This realisation hit me hard. A character you hated at times and were cheering for at other times to die before resolving his character defining moment is hugely emotional.
3/ Korra’s Bending cannot be restored + aftermath
The end of Book 1 Air of Korra may be disappointing for some because of how quickly many things were resolved, but for me it does not take away from the fact that it is a huge moment in Korra and very emotional for her and us as fans watching on.
It cannot be stated enough how big of a loss to Korra the loss of her bending is. Book 2 has further shown how contained her upbringing was, she had no friends her age and was not allowed to travel the world like Avatars before her, the one thing she had was that she loved bending and put so much effort into learning her elements, so to lose one of the things she is most proud of and that has defined her so much is huge. She is rightfully very upset, to her, even though she has beaten Amon she has failed as the Avatar because her bending is gone. She has yet to realise that the Avatar is so much more than bending, so when an Airbender appears behind her we expect it to be her mentor Tenzin, but then he speaks and the FANDOM EXPLODES as it is revealed to be Aang, Korra has finally connected to her spiritual self. He gives her some awesome advice and restores her bending as she enters the Avatar State for the first time. She has taken a huge step in her journey to becoming a fully realised Avatar.
Some would argue that Aang giving her her bending back was weak, but with Book 2 in mind it is actually really well done. In Book 2 Spirits Korra learns to accept how powerful she is on her own without the Avatar Spirit, Raava, but here in Book 1 she realises that she is never alone as the Avatar she has the knowledge of the past Avatar’s to help her. She had never realised that her past lives could help her. It makes the loss of the past Avatars in Book 2 all the more important, she now has to go on without their advice and forge her own path.
4/ Wan’s death
I have talked about this moment a lot in the past so to be brief, this is one of the most emotional moments of Avatar/Korra for me. I just could not believe that the first Avatar died unable to bring the world to peace, he died with humanity at war. It is dark, Wan has lost all hope he thinks he has failed, and that humanity is surrounded forever in darkness.
Then in a lovely moment and a great moment of character growth, it is Raava who gives Wan hope, saying that,
Don’t worry. We will be together for all of your lifetimes. And we will never give up.
She starts the Avatar Cycle as she shows us how much Wan has thought her. A scene that goes from really sad and dark, to hopeful and powerful.
5/ Yue sacrifices her humanity to become the moon spirit
While Jet died in battle, killed by Long Feng. Yue sacrificed herself to save the Moon Spirit, becoming the spirit herself. This is a powerful and emotional scene because of the backstory. Yue is only alive because of the help the Moon Spirit gave her at birth, she has a piece of the life force of the moon spirit within her and realises that with the moon spirit dead, she can return what she was given. Her destiny revealed.
Add to that the blossoming romance between her and Sokka and you have a heart shattering moment. Sokka was given the task of protecting Yue and he has to let Yue fulfil her destiny by letting go of the girl he likes and the job he was given. It affects Sokka for nearly a whole season until Suki returns in 212.
While Yue does not go away for good, she is the new Moon Spirit and we do see her again in 301. A scene filled with emotion.
6/ Katara and Aang in The Desert
I think I have said this before, but this is the most emotional moment of ATLA for me. First of all Aang finds out that Appa has been sold and in his sadness and anger enters the Avatar State but has no control over it, he is in danger of hurting everyone around him including his friends. Everyone runs for cover, everyone except Katara.
She simply stands still looking Aang directing in the eyes with an amazing look filled with so many emotions. She understands why Aang is so upset and feels so sorry for him, but she is sad and disappointed that Aang has let his emotions get so out of control, but most of all it hurts her to see him in pain, she really cares about him and does not want to see him do something he would regret.
She simply walks right up to a dangerous and floating Aang and grabs his arm, staring him right in his glowing eyes and pulls him down into an embrace, he quickly exits the Avatar State and lets his strongest emotion out, he starts to cry over the loss of Appa. It is a great scene to show Aang’s big flaw, his issue with attachment and also Katara’s strength, how much she cares about others.
7/ Korra connects with her cosmic self to beat Unavaatu
I have already talked about Korra’s big Book 1 Air end moment, but she has her biggest moment yet at the end of Book 2 Spirits. Raava has been destroyed and Korra has no connection to her past lives or Avatar Spirit any more. She again feels like she has failed, she learned in Book 1 the importance of her past lives and no does not know what to do without them, she feels helpless.
Helpless until Tenzin gives her the advice his father gave him, you are defined by who you are not what you are. Korra is strong on her own, her strength does not come from Raava alone, she has her own spirit which is powerful. She meditates in the Tree Of Time and connects with the cosmic energy of the universe. Then a cosmic representation of herself appears. It is so fitting that it is simply a giant version of herself and that her fighting style is so physical, that is Korra’s strength, she is strong and powerful and that is shown in her cosmic form.
She goes MMA all over Unavaatu and with an assist from Jinora she manages to defeat Unavaatu, fittingly with Unalaq’s own lightbending technique. As bad as Unalaq was, he did help Korra to become spiritual.
8/ Azula vs Zuko
This is a fight that we had been waiting for ever since Azula was introduced. The battle of the Fire Nation Royal Siblings, 2 siblings that have never had a good relationship, and that is the underlying sadness of the fight. They have not got on in a long time for the most part because of Ozai, and their issues have developed to the point where we have this fight to the death for the throne.
Moments like Zuko realising that he can take Azula on his own as he can see that she is off are big because Zuko has been behind Azula for so long. Then Azula realising that Zuko has overtaken her and can beat her, so she targets Katara and shoots lightning at her. Zuko shows how much he has grown and that he considers Team Avatar friends when he dives in-front of Katara to save her, but takes much of the hit himself.
Really powerful fight.
9/ Katara confronts Yon Rha
Hard to believe it but the details of how Katara’s mother, Kya was killed was not fully revealed until just 5 episodes from the end, but what an episode it was. Katara ends up confronting the man who killed her mother, and the whole episode had set up the question of “Will she take revenge and kill him or not?”. We all know that Katara is an emotional person, but we have never seen her this angry and vengeful, 316 is an incredibly emotional episode all culminating with the big confrontation.
What really makes the scene is that Yon Rha thought that killing Kya was the end of Waterbenders in the south, when in fact Kya lied saying she was the bender to save Katara, so when Katara reveals herself as the final southern waterbender it is a powerful moment, she knows how brave her mother was and that she owes her life to her sacrifice and now has a chance to take all her anger out on Yon Rha. She comes so close to killing him, only stopping because she realises how pathetic he is, she will never be able to forgive him, but she takes Aang’s advice from earlier in the episode and does not take his life.
10/ Wan and Raava join at Harmonic Convergence
The 3rd Beginnings scene on my list and it is a big and important one. The moment where Wan and Raava join at Harmonic Convergence, in short the Avatar as we know it comes into being.
It happens in the middle of one of the most dramatic and intense fight scenes in the show. We are rooting so hard for Wan and Raava, but Vaatu is just too powerful, then in a moment of desperation combined with Raava, Wan uses the power of Harmonic Convergence to join himself with Raava forever. Then in the original Avatar moment, Wan now the Avatar proceeds to own Vaatu with all 4 elements before trapping him in the tree of time. Light has prevailed at this harmonic convergence.
11/ Zuko and Iroh reunion
One of the most anticipated things fans were waiting for towards the end of ATLA was the moment when Zuko and Iroh would fully reunite. They had had moments together when Zuko visited him in prison and even a moment where Iroh tells Zuko more about his destiny, but Zuko had yet to truly show Iroh that he has grown and was sorry for the betrayal in Crossroads of Destiny.
The way the reunion is executed is perfect. Zuko is directed to Iroh’s tent and when he enters he finds Iroh asleep, but rather than wake him up, he waits, he wants to say so much to his uncle, but he still feels so guilty about everything he has put his uncle through. Iroh soon wakes up and immediately Zuko is trying to apologise for EVERYTHING, but he is cut off by Iroh simply hugging his nephew. Zuko can’t believe his uncle is not furious at him, but Iroh says he was never angry, just sad that Zuko had lost his way. Perfect reunion.
12/ Noatak and Tarrlok Backstory
What a sad story this is. In around 7 minutes your thoughts on Amon and Tarrlok changes completely, suddenly two of the most villainous characters in the show are more than just villains, they are people who had things happen to them to make them the way they are. Especially with how the story of these two brothers comes to an end, this backstory is all the more saddening.
Effectively it is revealed that Amon is actually Tarrlok’s older brother, Noatak and the two are the children of Yakone. They were actually a happy family when they were young, but everything changed when Yakone found out the two boys were waterbenders. The happiness disappeared and his sons turned into tools of revenge for Yakone. He trained the boys hard, especially Noatak as he was a waterbending prodigy. He took the brunt of Yakone’s focus and his built-in desire for equality soon changed him into more or less the character we know as Amon. While Tarrlok was seen as weak for not being as good as Noatak. The two boys vowed never to do what their father bred them to do, but ended up doing exactly that. A family fell apart because of Yakone’s desire for revenge.
13/ Aang enters the Avatar State against Ozai and how the battle ends
Any Avatar entering the Avatar State in the middle of a fight is a big deal, but what if the Avatar goes into the fight without the aid of the Avatar State. That was Aang as he started his fight with Ozai, the big fight of the series and Aang is without his most powerful ability.
Part of what makes this fight so great is that Aang has a chance to end the fight pretty early on when he redirects Ozai’s lightning, but chooses not to kill his opponent. This leads to Ozai taking the advantage up until in a moment of great continuity, Aang’s back hits a rock and all of his twisted up energy is allowed to go where it was going before it became twisted up and Aang enters the Avatar State and proceeds to send Ozai running.
The energybending should probably be a moment of its own, but it is how this fight ends. Aang finishes it out of the Avatar State and proceeds to take Ozai’s bending away. Great visuals to show ¬†the battle of Aang’s energy against Ozai’s.
14/ Aang and Katara kiss at the end
What can I say, it is the culmination of 61 episodes of build up. Aang and Katara finally get together with their big kiss. So fitting that this was the moment where the series ended, kiss and end. No words were needed, it just happened.
15/ Lin sacrifices herself to save the Airbenders and loses her bending
¬†One of the strongest and most emotional moments of Book 1 Air, Lin, Tenzin and his family are being chased by Equalist airships. Lin then makes her big decision and jumps onto an Airship to try and take them out and allow the air nomads to escape. She takes out one and damages the other enough to allow them to escape, but is taken captive in the process.
In the following scene she is brought before Amon and is given the chance to keep her bending if she tells him what he wants, she stays strong and refuses to tell him anything, sacrificing her bending which is so important to her. Especially the way this scene was shot, it had the emotion of a death scene, but it was just the loss of her bending, huge credit to the drama and music of the scene.
16/ Aang joins with La to win the battle at the North Pole
An epic way to bring Book 1 to an end, with the loss of Tui at the hands of Zhao Aang enters the Avatar State and joins with the Ocean Spirit, La, forming Koizilla. The powerful combo proceeds to destroy the fire nation fleet sending them running from the north and winning the battle for the good guys.
The music completely makes this scene, the powerful “Ocean Spirit” piece is so spiritual and epic that it really makes it clear to you how big of a moment it is.
17/ The loss of the past Avatars as Raava is destroyed
We see Korra feel the physical pain as each Avatar is lost to the attacks of Unalaq and Vaatu on Raava, and I am sure that every Avatar fan felt the emotional pain as we lost known characters (Aang, Wan, Kuruk, Kyoshi, YangChen, Roku etc) and Avatars we have yet to meet, but most of all the Avatar as we know it was changed forever.
Raava was regenerated, but the loss of the past Avatars remains. This was a big moment and a gutsy move by Mike and Bryan to change things so much going into Book 3. We will be wondering for the next 2 books if anything will be done to get the past lives back.
18/ Aang is killed by Azula in Ba Sing Se, revived by Katara
Many fans may not realise it, but Aang was actually killed in 220, Crossroads of Destiny. 301 reveals to us that Aang was in fact killed and that Katara actually brought him back to life with the spirit water. It was such a shock because we thought Aang was about to finally master the Avatar state and then ZAP he is dead. Even though his revival happens minutes later it does not take away from how huge the loss at Ba Sing Se is, Team Avatar’s biggest defeat.
19/ Zuko confronts Ozai and redirects lightning at him
I mentioned an anticipated Zuko reunion above, but another thing we waited a long time for was Zuko to finally confront his father, Ozai and give him a piece of his mind for everything he put him through.
During the eclipse this moment finally happens. Zuko confidently confronts his father and at last tells his father everything that has been on his mind for many years. How the world really sees the fire nation and most importantly how he thinks the fire nation should be run, the influence of Iroh on him is clear to see as Ozai notes. He also makes his big decision he is going to join Aang and help him defeat Ozai.
Add to this that Ozai keeps Zuko from leaving straight away by giving him a hint as to what happened to his mother, perfect manipulation from out main villain, but the big moment here happens when the eclipse ends and immediately Ozai attempts to kill his son by shooting lightning at him, but Zuko instinctively catches it and uses lightning redirection for the first time. He now has victory over his father. Great moment.
20/ Amon appears out of nowhere and takes Tarrlok’s bending away
One of the most out of nowhere moments in all of Avatar. Tarrlok has decided to leave Korra in her cage and proceed with his plan and walks upstairs only to be confronted by Amon and his equalists, who have appeared out of nowhere. Add to this shock the unbelievable visual of Amon walking through Tarrlok’s bloodbending and then taking Tarrlok’s bending away, incredible. In one scene one villain completely takes out the other to go to the next level of threat. Really got him over as someone who would be near impossible to defeat.
So there you have it, my top 20 Avatar/Korra moments in no particular order. Even if you don’t agree with some I included or are shocked with some I left out, it is clear to see the amazing quality Avatar and Korra has. The fact that it can have over 20 scenes this good is unbelievable.
One last thing I would like to mention, I was shocked to see that my list was nearly even between ATLA and Korra. 9 Korra and 11 ATLA. Given how few episodes of Korra there are it is amazing how many strong moments there are. I can’t wait to see what my list looks like by the end of Korra.
Let me know in the comments what your own favourite moments are!
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