Characters: The Legend Of Korra Enemies
This is a partial character sheet for The Legend of Korra. Visit here for the main character index. Subjective trope and audience reactions should go on the YMMV page.
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Amon / Noatak
"I am the solution."
The leader of the Equalists and the primary antagonist of the first book. A man shrouded in mystery, Amon seeks to rid the world of benders and usher in a new era of equality. He seeks to destroy Korra, whose presence in Republic City threatens his anti-bender agenda.
- The Ace: Let us count the ways...
- Amon is exceptionally intelligent, proving himself capable of extraordinary strategic organization, and his challenge to the Council in "And the Winner Is..." is a near-flawless Xanatos Gambit, creating a situation in which it is nearly impossible for him not to advance.
- He's a charismatic public speaker, winning over huge numbers of non-benders to his side and inciting their distrust, all while playing himself up as a tragic and noble figure.
- He's a master of a dangerous martial-arts style that allows non-benders to challenge benders.
- And to top it all off, he's a prodigy waterbender—one of the strongest non-Avatar benders in the entire franchise—who could bloodbend with his mind, outside of a full moon, at the tender young age of fourteen.
- Accidental Public Confession: Non-verbal one. After being blasted out of a window into the ocean, he reflexively waterbends himself back out to avert drowning, exposing himself as a waterbender and washing off the paint used to fake a firebending scar.
- Ambiguously Evil: While Amon is unquestionably a villain, to what degree is another matter. After the reveal, his exact motives for his revolution are not made clear, though according to Tarrlok, he believed bending was the root of all evil in the world.
- Wanting equality and to help lower class citizens isn't bad... but doing so by trying to eradicate bending is extreme. He only targets benders who use their abilities for evil, at least until he's built up enough support to get away with more ambiguous targets or full-on public servants. He has also told Korra to her face (while his men held her down) that the only reason she still has her bending is that he is saving her for later. For all purposes, he does appear to have a moral code. It's just that he is pragmatic enough to take more amoral or even outright immoral actions to see his plans come to fruition.
- It's revealed in the finale that he's actually Yakone's son and a bloodbender, and, according to Tarrlok, came to the conclusion that bending was the root of all evil due to his father's abusiveness. The fact that bloodbending is known to get people Drunk on the Dark Side probably didn't hurt. He ultimately seems to come in as an Anti-Villain if one believes that Tarrlok was wrong in his assessment of Amon's motivation.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: He prefers not to fight (see Pragmatic Villainy) but when he does....
- Badass: Amon is high in the running for the most dangerous character (apart from spirits or the Avatar) in the entire franchise.
- Bad Powers, Bad People: Zig zagged. A Well-Intentioned Extremist with the ability to take away people's bending. He's actually a bloodbender, but he's a villain of the Knight Templar flavor, so he's bad in a rather unorthodox way.
- Believing Their Own Lies: Tarrlok theorizes that while the Equalists philosophy was based on lies, Amon genuinely believes benders are the source of the world's woes.
- Beyond the Impossible: He is one of the greatest benders alive, capable of using bloodbending (which was always thought to only be possible on the night of a full moon, when a waterbender's power is at its peak) in the middle of the day. In fact, he's so good, he doesn't even need to move his hands; Tarrlok calls this "psychic bloodbending."
- Big Bad / Arc Villain: Of Book One.
- Big Brother Instinct: Tarrlok claims he always looked out for him when they were kids. In "Out of the Past" he does the grunt work of taking Tarrlok to the truck himself while the Lieutenant and some mooks try to nab Korra. At the finale, Amon tells him he's all he has left in the world.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Subverted. While he lets Korra go even though he has her completely at his mercy, he has a damn good reason to do so. Debending her would only make her a martyr and his plan was not yet ready.
- Boomerang Bigot: He's actually a waterbender, and a bloodbender.
- Breaking Speech: He delivers one so effective and intimidating that Korra suffers a complete breakdown afterwards.
- Cain and Abel: Zigzagged. He takes away his brother's bending, but his brother ultimately kills him. And, well, he still loves him regardless.
- The Chessmaster: Holy crap, yes. His actions in Episode 6 sealed his status as one and even more. See Xanatos Gambit below.
- Child Prodigy: Mastered bloodbending at 14. And his father's psychic bloodbending, at that: the kind that can be performed with a glare. Oh, and he doesn't need a full moon, either.
- Combat Pragmatist: Uses ambushes, greater numbers, weapons the opposition has no defense against, and psychological warfare to lead the Equalists to victory. He also subtly uses bloodbending to gain the edge in fights with other benders without exposing himself.
- Cool Mask: One based off varying levels of symbolism in various tradition Asian theatres, it has the spook factor of one.
- Crazy-Prepared: The Finale reveals that he wears fake scars on his face just by the off chance that someone might knock his mask off, or force him to reveal his face. Just not water proof fake scars
- Creepy Monotone
- Culture Police: Desires to end pro-bending as means to end "bending worship".
- Dangerously Genre Savvy:
- Dark and Troubled Past: According to Amon himself, he was a simple farm boy before his family was murdered and he was disfigured by a firebender. His true backstory is even darker.
- Dark Messiah: He's set himself up as a Messiah figure to the Equalist movement, and his ultimate goal is to replace the Avatar as the world's savior. Though the Equalists are not a religious movement, he does claim that his exceptional abilities were granted to him by the spirits that protect the world, and that it is his destiny to be the savior of non-benders by bringing them into balance with those who can (or could) bend.
- Death Glare: Gives quite a potent one to Korra as seen in episode 4 when he confronts her underneath Aang's statue. It's especially notable since he can give quite a Death Glare even behind that mask.
- De-power: He has the ability to strip people of their bending. He somehow uses bloodbending to do it, and in such a way that even Katara can't heal it. However, true energybending can counteract this.
- Dissonant Serenity: The cargo bay of his zeppelin being filled with flame by Korra doesn't even break his stride. He doesn't seem fazed by Tarrlok's bloodbending, and while he's affected he is able to push through and maintain his composure without faltering. The mask definitely helps with the effect.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: On multiple levels.
- His ideals parallel the development of Communism and Fascism, (particularly the former given the "equality" rhetoric) which rose to compete against the democracies of the early 20th century. His rhetoric also is reminiscent of the Taiping Rebellion, as he fashions himself as a messianic figure and tries to replace the Avatar. Besides, the way his followers cover their faces in And the Winner Is... and the way he argues for the complete reformation of the society kinda reminds one of Anarchist movements which were responsible for a lot of terrorist acts of middle XIX - early XX centuries in Europe, Russian Empire and other parts of the world.
- The way in which he blames "every war" on bending, after several episodes in which its spiritual side has been stressed by Tenzin, is uncannily similar to the misnomer that religion is the cause of over 90% of the world's wars.
- Ironically, he also has several aspects of fundamentalist evangelism to him: besides his supposed "mission from the spirits", he lays down his hand on his victims' foreheads in order to "cleanse" them. More darkly yet, most of said victims end up with severe depression and loss of identity. Add in the British meaning of the word bender, and there you go.
- The white version of his flag calls to mind Japan's history of ultra-nationalist, xenophobic anti-government terrorists, particularly just prior to the Meiji restoration and in the 1920's and 30's, the latter of which gave rise to the Imperial Japan of World War II infamy.
- The Reveal basically has him appear as a Boomerang Bigot and unintentionally echoing his father, Yakone, through his abuse of others. Aside from being an explicit case of him emulating his father, this is something often linked to children that are sexually abused.
- Don't Create a Martyr: It's the reason he doesn't take away Korra's bending when they meet for the first time. It would just make her a martyr for benders to rally behind.
- The Dreaded: He terrifies Korra to the point that she breaks down into tears after one confrontation with him, and his encounter with Bolin left the earthbender with nightmares for at least a week.
- Drunk on the Dark Side: Like Tarrlok, he was taught bloodbending by his father, which may have had something to do with his descent into villainy.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He does seem to still love Tarrlok, although he rejected him when they were children and took his bending away, though given Amon's hatred of bending (once again, according to Tarrlok), he might've seen that last part as a favor.
- Evil Counterpart:
- Established as one to the Avatar, a human given mysterious power by contact with the spirits, as opposed to the Avatar, who is the physical reincarnation of a Nature Spirit.
- While his statement about his powers was false, after The Reveal of not only his backstory, but that of Tonraq, Korra's father, he can be seen as the Evil Counterpart to Korra herself. Both Waterbenders of immense skill, both had fathers who were shamed, deprived of something, Yakone of his bending, Tonraq of his position as next chief and the honor and respect of his immediate family, both fathers moved from one location to another, Yakone to the Northern Water Tribe, and Tonraq to the Southern. While Avatar Korra took it as her responsibility to bring balance to the world while preserving bending, due to her status as the Avatar, Amon believed he could bring balance by removing bending itself.
- Eviler than Thou: Amon ends up pulling this on every villain not working for him. Even his brother can't compete.
- Evil Sounds Deep: What else would you expect from Steve Blum? Evil's as deep as the ocean.
- Expressive Mask: On occasion, there are subtle illustration changes to the mouth on his mask and his eyes and tone do the rest.
- Famous Last Words: "I had almost forgotten the sound of my own name."
- Fantastic Racism: Hates benders and seeks to get rid of bending altogether.
- The Faceless: Due to Facial Horror. He's lying, and his face is revealed, first as a young boy, then as an adult, in the penultimate and final episodes of the first book, respectively.
- Facial Horror: The reason for his mask. He got the scars from the same Firebender that killed his family. He's lying. Underneath the mask, and the makeup he's wearing under the mask, he's actually good looking.
- Fatal Flaw: Amon's eventual downfall comes from one simple fact: although he is a truly brilliant strategist whose schemes account for every eventuality he can think of, he has no ability to improvise and thus no fallbacks for eventualities he didn't think of, meaning Korra's airbending catches him completely off-guard at the worst possible moment and sinks his entire plan, mere moments from victory.
- Faux Affably Evil: He plays up the idea that he's actually a nice guy just doing a dirty job. He usually gives his victims the chance to fight for their bending, and he's quite polite when speaking, but he's still the leader of a terrorist organization seeking to create an upheaval against all benders and he's still totally crazy and wants to destroy all bending because his father was a douchenozzle.
- Fights Like a Normal: His ability to remove bending isn't really immediately useful in a fight; he has to subdue his opponent using normal methods first. Subverted when we find out that he's actually an unspeakably powerful waterbender, subtly using psychic bloodbending to give himself a edge in his fights.
- To Korra. His debending powers make him a sort of anti-Avatar. He's also styling himself in the same vein as an Avatar, claiming to be a savior sent by the spirits. He also is a very calm, controlled individual who claims to be sent by the spirits, while Korra is a Boisterous Bruiser who has major difficulty with the spiritual side of bending. It also turns out they're both native waterbenders and bending Child Prodigies. In a geographical sense, Korra was born and raised in the south pole while Amon originates in the north pole. Not to mention his young self looks strikingly like a male version of Korra.
- His back-story is very similar to Mako and Bolin's. They all had parents killed by a firebender. But while the brothers eventually learned to live with their loss, he took it in a completely different direction. Of course, this turns out to be a lie.
- On the other hand, he is truly a Foil to Mako on a much deeper level- Mako is fiercely protective of his younger brother and protected him throughout their bad childhood, whilst Amon abandoned Tarrlok and left him to deal with their abusive father alone. Both are also very talented Benders, and the more talented of their brothers, and Amon goes out of his way to compliment Mako on that front. Both are the The Stoic in their Sibling Yin-Yang relationship to their more emotionally sensitive younger kin too. The fact that Amon lied about their similar-sounding backstory only drives the point home further that Mako is the anti-Amon.
- In a meta sense, he's a foil to Ozai in the same sense that Korra is to Aang. Whereas Ozai was a power-hungry conqueror, Amon is a partisan revolutionary. Ozai was a clear monster, whereas Amon seems to be (and is if Tarrlok is to be believed) case of a Knight Templar Anti-Villain. Ozai was a firebender that had his bending removed with energybending and Amon is a water and blood bender who uses his powers to lobotomize other people's bending away. Ozai was a younger brother who wanted to be just like his father and Amon was an older brother who hated his father.
- In another sense, he could be seen as this to Aang of all people, they both are fighting against what they see as an oppressive government (though Aangs fight is rightfully more legitimate.) they also both ran away from the pressures put upon them by their elders while young, and they are great sources of hope and fear, it helps that the Young Amon sounded eerily similar to Aangs younger self, too.
- And to add another layer to this, He and Korra act as a foil to Ozai and Aang. The ast Airbender went out of their way to show just how opposite Aang and Ozai were. Ozai, who brutally maimed his own son, and had no compunction about using lethal force, to Aang who refused to kill even a genocidal leader of an aggressor nation. Even their elements opposed as Firebending had little in terms of defense, neatly conflicting with airbending which had little in terms of offense. The theme with Korra and Amon is that they aren't terribly dissimilar. Same elements, and a similar way of approaching things. Fear, intimidation...where Aang used his title of Avatar to bring an authority as an arbiter more often than not, Korra wielded it like a club...at least until she got a good look at what that path would take her. Further, they are both people who use relatively brutish methods to achieve, in their own eyes, the greater good.
- In a way, he could be seen as this to Tarrlok. Both men are highly charismatic people who've captured the hearts of their respective branches of public, they're both more than capable of holding their own in a fight, and they both have secret powers that come off as a major shock to anyone who's fighting them for the first time. And then it turns out Tarrlok is Amon's brother.
- Freudian Excuse: His family getting killed by firebenders. Which is a lie, of course. He does have a real one courtesy of his father Yakone, who forced him and his brother into bloodbending.
- From Nobody to Nightmare:
- He was once a simple Farm Boy... then, his family was murdered. Now he's a Dark Messiah revolutionary trying to bring down bending and replace the Avatar.
- Zig Zagged in the finale; turns out his father was Yakone, who fled Republic City. He was still nobody when he left the Northern Water tribe, but his story wasn't the one he claimed it was.
- Full-Circle Revolution: When the Equalists took over Republic City, they're just as worse as every bad bender who oppressed them.
- Genius Bruiser: Really good public speaker, social leader, and master strategist; expert chi-blocker, prodigy waterbender and psychic bloodbender.
- Gold and White Are Divine: An unusual case in that said color pattern is confined to his mask.
- Good Colors, Evil Colors:
- His mask is white and gold, noble colors, which are his mask which he hides behind, his red circle on his head could be his "evil" ambitions poking through his veneer of righteousness, and the fact that this is surrounded by black seems to mean he is the one noble being surrounded by darkness "benders" his point of view.
- When viewed through the lens of Chinese opera, Amon's mask takes on considerable symbolism. Its white/silver and gold color scheme immediately places the character in the realm of the mystic, with the gold/yellow coloration also playing into the character traits of treachery and ferociousness. The red circle on his forehead evokes a hint of Buddhist symbolism, referencing his spiritual connection, and also carries some connotations with intelligence and cleverness.
- White is the color of death in Asian cultures, which fits well with the symbolism often attributed to the White Mask of Doom. Red and gold are generally considered positive colors in Chinese culture, making their use ironic in this case.
- The gold on his mask can also be seen as green. Another analysis through that lens holds that the white symbolizes cunning, treachery, and craftiness, the green is violence and lack of self-restraint, and the red dot is both spirituality and the mocking of it.
- Go Out with a Smile: After losing Republic City and the Equalists, Amon decides to reclaim his old identity as Noatak and turn over a new leaf with Tarrlok, his long-lost brother. As they leave on a getaway boat, Noatak happily contemplates the new life they would build with each other as brothers, while Tarrlok silently decides to kill both of themselves as recompense for their past crimes and to halt their father's villainous legacy once and for all. From the driver's seat Noatak smiles as he muses on how he'd almost forgotten the sound of his own name and begins crying, perhaps realizing and accepting what Tarrlok is about to do just before Tarrlok ignites the gas tank and detonates the boat.
- Hero Killer: More like Hero De-Bender. Anyone he can lay his hands on is effectively neutralized since they can no longer bend. His first confrontation with Korra also implies that he plans to kill her after taking away her bending, though that may have been poor use of the phrase "untimely demise" as a metaphor. He fully enters into this trope after de-bending Lin Beifong and KORRA
- He Who Fights Monsters: If you believe he really did see bending as the root of all evil, he became just as bad if not worse than the corrupt benders he was fighting against in the end.
- Hidden Agenda Villain: After The Reveal, his true motivations are never really addressed. His backstory implies he's either a Knight Templar seeking to rid the world of bending because he sees it as the root of all evil, or was seeking to follow in his father's footsteps and take over Republic City. Evidence is presented for both.
- Hypocrite: He wants to get rid of benders for making non-benders live in terror, while his own strategy consists of doing exactly that. Not to mention that he's not only a bender himself, but a bloodbender, aka the most dangerous type of bender in the world. While Tarrlok thinks Amon is none to proud of his powers, he still uses them subtly to fight, rather than fighting like a Badass Normal. In the end, the Lieutenant is not at all happy to realize this.
- I Am the Noun: "I am the solution". Also printed on some of his posters, though that's a Readers Of Chinese Bonus.
- Icy Blue Eyes: Once his mask comes off, Amon's eyes are revealed to be a light blue. Fitting, considering his cold, calculating personality and status as a waterbender.
- Implacable Man: No matter what you throw at him, he won't stop coming.
- The Juggernaut:
- When Tarrlok tries to use bloodbending on him, he just shrugs it off and keeps advancing. Turns out he was bloodbending himself.
- This appears to have happened some time in his backstory, between Noatak running away from home and taking up the identity of Amon.
- Just Toying with Them: Amon makes a show out of tying up bending members of a crime syndicate (and one of the heroes who got mixed up with them) and removing their powers in front of a huge crowd of Equalist sympathizers. This trope comes into play when, as part of his show, Amon lets the crime boss loose and offers him the chance to fight to protect himself. It's all the more impressive when Amon wins. Rather easily, in fact. It's later revealed he uses bloodbending to get them to move somewhat predictably without revealing his ability, making his defeat of them inevitable.
- Just You Me And My Guards: How Amon eventually responds to Korra's mano-a-mano challenge to him. Could be justified because Tarrlok was supposed to have soldiers watching the fight, and Amon is Genre Savvy enough to suspect something like that.
- Karmic Death: In the first season finale. Tragic, but nevertheless karmic.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Every early instance of on-screen de-bending we saw him carry out was upon someone who was used their bending to illegally gain a position of power while being protected from reprisals by corruption in the system (the Triple Threat Triad, an organized crime syndicate, as well as the Wolfbats who cheated their way into winning the tournament, and Tarrlok). This is a consistent part of his political strategy, and also why he refuses to fight Korra at first.
- Kick the Dog: After his plans have advanced far enough that he doesn't need the good press anymore, he has no problem attacking benders who haven't done anything to deserve it. The Metalbending police, the entire Republic City Council (save Tenzin), the last airbenders (who escaped), and Lin Beifong. Not to mention bombing the crap out of Republic City. In the finale, he has benders lined up execution-style, captures Tenzin and his family to eliminate airbending altogether (despite the Air Acolytes being altogether peaceful, and Tenzin supporting non-bender rights more than anyone else), and attacks and possibly kills the Lieutenant when he finds out Amon is a bloodbender and makes a Mook-Face Turn.
- Kneel Before Zod: Forces a pack of wolves to do this as a child with bloodbending.
- Knight of Cerebus: The first couple of episodes are relatively lighthearted and upbeat. Then Amon takes center-stage in the third episode and every episode proceeds to get darker and darker. In the end, Amon is the only major villain in the entire franchise who is not EVER used for laughs. Even Ozai, after he was defeated, was the butt of jokes from other characters. But even after his defeat, he still left enough of a mark on Korra that the season very nearly had a Downer Ending.
- Knight Templar: Amon definitely invokes this in his rhetoric, and follows up rather well, rapidly escalating the stakes from vigilantism to terrorism to an open revolt which temporarily succeeds in deposing the government of Republic City.
- Light Is Not Good: Though Amon invokes certain heavenly archetypes with his white and gold sun mask, Egyptian sun god name, and possible mystical connections, he's still the leader of a terrorist organization. He's a waterbender, and while a bloodbender, his method is essencially a reversal of waterbending healing, manipulating chi regardless. Thus, arguably White Magic.
- Lightning Bruiser: Extremely agile and nimble fighter with the strength to take down even the most skilled benders with no sweat.
- Made of Iron: He took a lightning bolt to the chest, several seconds long at that, and walked it off.
- Mage Killer: Not surprising, given that he's the leader of the Equalists.
- Malevolent Masked Men: Like the lower-level Equalists, although they're Gas Mask Mooks and his is more of a traditional mask.
- Mission from God: He claims that he was chosen by the spirits to bring down bending and replace the Avatar.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: "Amon" has plenty of possible meanings.
- Nightmare Fuel: Very much In-Universe for Korra and Tenzin.
- No Sell: When Tarrlok uses bloodbending to incapacitate his mooks, Amon shrugs it off. Even when Tarrlok redoubled his efforts, it just barely slowed Amon down. Since he can bloodbend with his mind, he was able to counteract Tarrlok's powers without moving.
- Odd Name Out: While Yakone and Tarrlok have Meaningful Names, Amon's real name is simply the name of a river.
- Obviously Evil: He looks pretty dang evil, but looking at him through the lens of Asian Culture (which Avatar takes heavy cues from), he looks a lot more evil. See Good Colors, Evil Colors.
- Power Nullifier: Has the ability to take away a bender's powers through bloodbending.
- Pragmatic Villainy:
- "The Voice in the Night" reveals just how pragmatic he is, to the point of Reason Before Honor.
- Get challenged to a one-on-one duel? No Mooks for either side? So you've made yourself defenseless. Perfect. Meet my platoon of chi-blockers.
- At last, I have my most dangerous opponent at my mercy. See ya round kid. The international public outcry wouldn't be worth it right now. But don't worry! I'm going to save you for last, letting you watch all you love and care for be destroyed before I take you out. Toodle-oo!
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: "It is time for you to be Equalized."
- Psychopathic Man Child: In his final scenes he displays naivety and untoward optimism, shucking off his persona of Amon as if it was a disguise. He's incredibly cheerful for a defeated man and is seemingly giddy from the prospect of being with his little brother again, as if he and Tarrlok are two little schoolboys running away from home. He seems to think everything will be just fine, ignoring the fact that every facet of their identities were shaped so that a normal life would be improbable or even impossible. That said, the sheer amount of explosives/electric weapons, as well as his tear before Tarrlok exploded the boat, might imply it was a ruse to lead his brother to kill them both, or that he wasn't just going to let his revolution die.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: He never does this personally, but quite a few of the Equalist powers depict him this way, probably for Rule of Drama.
- Rebel Leader: He is the leader of the anti-bending movement.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: Once the Equalists took over, it's totally subverted.
- The Runaway: In his real backstory.
- Self-Disposing Villain: A case where the hero isn't even aware of it. Korra never has the chance to take care of him, since he escapes. Tarrlok takes care of that.
- Shadow Archetype: To Korra, as essentially the anti-Avatar. He's also one to Bolin and Mako, as they've all lost their parents to Firebenders. However, Amon now wants to destroy all benders, while Bolin and Mako are making the best of their situation.
- Straw Hypocrite: Possibly. He leads a crusade against bending, when he is in fact a waterbender—in fact, his method for removing other people's bending involves bloodbending. But it's not known if he truly believes in the cause, even if he uses bending to achieve it, or whether he's just exploiting the cause for his own personal gain or a desire to upstage his father.
- The Stoic: Always calm and collected, even in the midst of battle.
- Not So Stoic: When he takes off his mask to "disprove" Korra's revelation of his backstory, Amon is suddenly much more enthusiastic and emotional in his speech. Considering that he was lying, it's most likely an act.
- Amon loses his composure after he inadvertently outs himself as a bender to his followers, and during his reunion with Tarrlok, is far more emotional than he had been up to that point, even shedding a tear just before dying.
- Stronger Sibling: He's Tarrlok's.
- Super Power Lottery: He's a master waterbender, and is capable of bloodbending so well he can remove bending from his victims.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: All of which come standard for members of the Water Tribes.
- Tell Me How You Fight: Tarrlok identifies Amon as his brother, despite Amon's appearance being totally concealed, by the distinctive feel of his bloodbending.
- This Cannot Be!: When he debends Korra only for her to use airbending against him.
- Tragic Bigot:
- Amon's parents were murdered and his face disfigured by a firebender when he was just a child.
- Turns out that backstory is a lie, but his real backstory is arguably just as sympathetic. His father, Yakone, was an extremely abusive parent, and forced him and his brother Tarrlok to learn bloodbending so he could use them to exact revenge on Republic City and the Avatar. Ultimately, this mistreatment put Amon on the path to darkness. Eventually, when his father made him and his brother use bloodbending on each other, he turned on his father, and ran away from home, and implied to be convinced that bending was evil.
- Tragic Villain:
- In the finale, it's revealed that Amon is actually Tarrlok's older brother, Noatak. He and Tarrlok were forced by their father Yakone to learn bloodbending, so that he could use them to exact vengeance on Republic City and the Avatar. After Yakone forced him and Tarrlok to use bloodbending on each other, Noatak turned on his father, incapacitated him with bloodbending, and ran away from home, taking up the identity of Amon years later. According to Tarrlok, he really and truly believed bending to be the root of all evil in the world, despite being a bender himself, though Tarrlok also implies Amon enjoyed the power bloodbending gave him.
- It's worse than that. He wanted Tarrlok to run away with him, but Tarrlok didn't want to leave their mother behind. At the finale he's looking forward to a peaceful life with his brother. Apparently that's all he really wanted.
- Tykebomb: His father Yakone tried to turn him and his brother, Tarrlok, into this in a plot for revenge on Republic City and the Avatar. While he did turn on his father, he ultimately ended up fulfilling what Yakone wanted him to do anyway, make Republic City suffer.
- Unflinching Walk:
- Pulls this off in the face of a fireball that blasts most of his Mooks away.
- Also, when up against Tarrlok, he pulls this off. Which is impressive, because he shouldn't have been able to stand, let alone walk. It turns out Amon himself is a bloodbender, hence why he wasn't affected.
- Unreliable Expositor: His given backstory is a lie in order to gain support and sympathy.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Until his father forced him and his brother to learn bloodbending.
- Villain Exit Stage Left: After being defeated and uncovered by Korra, Noatak asks Tarrlok to escape together and rebuild a life as brothers. Tarrlok agrees, but has ulterior motives for doing so.
- Villain Has a Point: His talk about benders oppressing non-benders gained a lot more credence once Tarrlok took over.
- Of course, that was a direct reaction to Amon's actions, so...
- Villain with Good Publicity: Invoked. His Evil Plan requires popular support, so he avoids actions that could negatively impact his reputation. While officially considered a terrorist, he has amassed a modest army, enough to threaten all of Republic City.
- Villainous Breakdown: After Korra manages to use airbending despite having been debended. He really gets this once he's not only unmasked, but his makeup to make him look scarred is washed off in the water, revealing him for what he really is.
- Villainous Rescue: Rescues Korra from Tarrlok, though he didn't plan on letting her go free after taking down Tarrlok.
- Visionary Villain: A world of equality.
- White Mask of Doom: The only known Equalist to have one.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: He makes it clear that he could have easily taken away Korra's bending when he ambushed her. He also makes it clear that doing so would have made her into a martyr, which is why Korra will be the last to lose her bending, and then she will die.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The abuse Noatak suffered at his father's hands led him to bitterly despise bending, and, as Amon, to lead a revolution intended to purge all bending from the world.
- World's Strongest Man: Described as one of the most powerful benders ever, and certainly the strongest waterbender shown so far. He's possibly the strongest non-Avatar bender to ever live. The only thing ever shown to be able to break his psychic bloodbending is the Avatar State.
- Would Hit a Girl: He knocks Korra unconscious when he ambushes her. And he plans to kill her.
- Would Hurt a Child: In the finale, he has captured Tenzin and his family and plans on debending them.
- Xanatos Gambit: Pulls one off in "And the Winner Is...". He makes a public demand over the radio that the city government shut down the Pro-Bending arena and cancel the championship match. If the pro-bending championships are not stopped, then he and the Equalists have an audience for the demonstration of their power and he gets to begin his war. If the tournament is canceled the government has given into Amon's demand and showed that it will not challenge him.
"You benders need to understand... there's no place in this world for you anymore."
Amon's second-in-command. Little is known about him, except that he believes quite strongly in the Equalist cause.
- Ambiguously Evil: While there's no doubt he's one of the bad guys, his reasons for doing the things he does remain unknown, as is whether he would qualify as a straight up villain or an Anti-Villain.
- Awesome Backpack: He carries a power generator on his back to supply power for his weapons.
- Broken Pedestal: Let's just say that he didn't take learning the truth about Amon well.
- The Determinator: Always back up and ready for another fight, no matter how much of a beating he takes.
- Diminishing Villain Threat: Appears very threatening early on, soundly defeating Bolin and Mako in "The Revelation," but every time he is encountered thereafter, he is usually either attacking a helpless or outmatched opponent or he loses.
- The Dragon: For Amon.
- Dual Wielding: Electricfied kali sticks in both hands.
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Everyone up to and including Amon, in fact.
- Bolin calls him Moustache Guy, though.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Being voiced by Lance Henriksen, this is a given. That man could inhale multiple canisters of helium and he would still sound like he had more than one puberty.
- Glass Cannon: Very agile and deadly in combat. He hits as fast as lightning, and he's very powerful. However, he goes down after one hit.
- Goggles Do Nothing
- Good Hair, Evil Hair: He has a Fu Manchu mustache.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Asami once beat him by electrocuting him with his own weapon. Perhaps not coincidentally, this is the point where he stopped being a serious threat.
- Impossibly Cool Weapon: He wields a pair of electrified kali sticks, because his opponents are metalbending cops, and electricity works pretty well on all benders. The fact that an industrialized city like Republic City has conductive metal everywhere doesn't hurt, either.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Starts to shade into this as the Diminishing Villain Threat kicks in. Poor guy can't do anything right.
- Iron Buttmonkey
- It's Personal: When Korra's trapped in a metal cage, he shows a certain satisfaction in getting to shock her unconscious as payback. Unfortunately for him, she was one step ahead.
- He also takes realizing that he'd been played by Amon pretty badly.
- Otherwise averted. It's suggested that he feels eradicating bending is a logical conclusion.
- Made of Iron: Has been sucker punched with a boulder, knocked off a building, blasted over a roof, and smashed into the ground from midair by a polar bear dog. And each time, he has dusted himself off and returned ready to fight again.
- Mook-Face Turn: Turns on Amon when he finds out about his bending, though as usual he didn't do that well in the ensuing "fight".
- Noble Top Enforcer: While the Lieutenant comes off as sadistic and cruel, he truly believes in the Equalists' agenda and dedicated his life to it.
- No Name Given
- No Peripheral Vision: Maybe it's the goggles, but the Lieutenant has had an unfortunate tendency to be taken out by surprise, typically by someone new showing up from behind or the side while he's fighting another opponent.
- Psycho Electro: While he is serious in wanting to end bending like all other Equalists, he seems to actually enjoy inflicting pain on benders with his electric arsenal a bit too much.
- Shock and Awe: Through his electrified kali sticks.
- Simple Staff: Of the two handheld rod variety.
- Spanner in the Works: His "battle" with Amon gave Mako the time to muster up the energy to fire off his lightning.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: He actually doesn't look that bad unmasked. Seen here◊.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He really did believe in Amon's message and felt that the world would be better off without bending. He was enraged when he saw that Amon was a liar and a fraud.
- Worf Effect: His role in a lot of episodes is essentially "Equalist more dangerous than a mook but less than Amon." Him being the only person in that niche means he shows up a lot to show things are serious, but the heroes can beat him without Amon suffering a loss.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Amon tries this after he walks in at a very inconvenient time. Word of God is that he survived, however.
The foot-soldiers of the Equalist cause, trained in chi-blocking to nullify the powers of benders.
- Airplane Arms: They use the further back, ninja-like variation.
- Badass Army: Badass Normal Gas Mask Mooks trained specifically in a Pressure Point-striking fighting method designed to temporarily disarm and disable the wielders of Elemental Powers. Later armed with electric weapons that achieve similar effects to chi blocking without needing special training, and eventually equipped with heavy firepower in the form of mecha tanks, airships and bomber airplanes.
- Badass Biker: The chi blockers are excellent motorcyclists.
- Badass Normal: They completely dominate Korra and Mako in their first fight, due to clever use of their gadgets and their martial arts.
- Combat Pragmatist: They take any advantage they can get. Aside from their grenades, they use bolas, tripwires, whips, and do not obey Mook Chivalry, for the most part.
- Elite Mooks: They're pretty much an entire army of them. Even just a few of them can put up a hell of a fight against very powerful benders.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: Their figures show that more than a few are women. The ladies fight alongside the men. Also we can't be sure with their masks, but they seem to be non-benders from any of the three nations.
- Gas Mask Mooks: Since they use gas grenades, this is a necessary aspect of their outfit. Also helps when being knocked down by fartbending.
- Kick the Dog: Electrocuting Shiro Shinobi, the announcer, who is a non-bender and wasn't fighting back.
- Using Bolos and attacking the non-bender communication-staff at the police station.
- Kung-Fu Proof Mook: The Equalists' Mini-Mecha are made from platinum, metal so pure metalbenders are incapable of manipulating it.
- Mage Killer: Their combat training specifically targets benders.
- Mini-Mecha: Their platinum mech-tanks.
- Mook Chivalry: Averted for most of the first book, but played straight in "Turning the Tides" when half a dozen stand still and let themselves be knocked over by a slow attack, and they back away when the Lieutenant fights Lin.
- The Paralyzer: Their blows cause temporary (and apparently painful) paralysis in addition to serving as a...
- Power Nullifier: Even after the paralysis wears off, a chi-blocker's strike will render their target temporarily unable to bend.
- Pressure Point: The centerpiece of their fighting style, featuring extremely rapid strikes.
- Samus Is a Girl: A minor variation; some of the chi-blockers are clearly women, but you have to be paying attention.
- Shock and Awe: A favored tactic of theirs, in various flavors:
- The less skilled among them use electricity-generating gloves. The ones in full attire never do.
- The Mini-Mecha have built in tasers and can fire bola disks which shock the recipient unconscious. This same weapon is used by hand occasionally.
- Smoke Out: They use grenades that release a greenish, slightly unpleasant gas to dissuade pursuers.
- The Voiceless: They apparently use this as a psychological tactic, as their near-absolute silence in battle, communicating and coordinating only through gestures and reading each other's body motions, accentuate the inhumanity their faceless masks lend them. It's almost jarring when we hear them speak in episode 9 during unguarded moments.
- The Worf Effect: In episode 10, several of them were quickly defeated by Jinora, Ikki, and Meelo.
- They also easily lost to Asami.
- Zerg Rush: They performed this quite often, though also mixed smart tactics and gadgets with it, making them very dangerous. Probably the best example would be when they ambushed Korra with about two dozen attacking her at once.
He's a protester who comes into the Republic City park to preach about Amon's ideals.
- Attention Whore: He promotes the Equalists for this reason, according to the official website. He attempts to get said attention by taking the unpopular position on any given issue (in this case, bending rights). His parents were evidently supportive of benders.
"So, I understand you're dirt poor!"
Voiced by Daniel Dae Kim
Descended from the first Fire Nation colonists, Hiroshi came from a poor background but rocketed himself to riches through investment in and development of the consumer automobile (or the "satomobile"). His wife was murdered by a Firebender when Asami was young. Her murder prompted him to join the Equalists, as he believed they could make a better world for non-benders like himself and his daughter. He is responsible for their technological advantages, supplying them with taser gloves, weaponry, platinum Mini-Mecha
tanks, and bipanes.
A member of the United Republic Council, representing the Northern Water Tribe. Ambitious and manipulative, he is Tenzin's primary political rival.
- Ambadassador: Gave Korra a decent fight until he ran out of water, and can bloodbend without a full moon.
- Anti-Villain: Initially, once he's revealed as a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, he appears to be a straight up villain. However, in the first half of the finale, when Korra and Mako find him locked up on Air Temple Island, he reveals his backstory, which is exceedingly tragic. It was established in episode 8 that he was Yakone's son, and, it turned out that Yakone was an absolutely terrible father. See Tragic Villain for more.
- Ass in Ambassador: He has his own agenda and will be a pain to everyone, use every fault or failure he can find to make them bend to his will. And if they do not bend, he will break them.
- The Atoner: He realises that what he was doing was wrong, and he became the very weapon against the Avatar his father wanted him to be. In repentance, he tells Korra the truth about Amon, and later kills both himself and his brother as his brother tries to escape the city with him.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: He is the Northern Water Tribe's council representative, and one of the most powerful waterbenders ever shown onscreen in either series. If Korra weren't the Avatar, he probably could have beaten her in a straight fight. Since Korra has multiple elements to bend, he's forced to fall back on his bloodbending once she deprives him of a water source.
- Badass Bureaucrat: His manners at the council suggest a Desk Jockey, but he quickly proves to be a competent martial organizer.
- Bad Powers, Bad People: He's a particularly evil bloodbender, just like his father. However, subverted in his backstory. He was a kind hearted kid who hated blood-bending, and tried everything to stop using it. However, his father's manipulations and his own desperation made him the very thing he hated.
- Berserk Button: Hearing he was just as bad as Amon did not go well with him. Becomes Harsher in Hindsight when they're revealed to be brothers, a fact even Tarrlok wasn't aware of at the time.
- Big Bad Wannabe: He tries to stand on equal grounds with Amon, but ultimately he cannot.
- Big Good: Subverted. He at first appears to be the leader of all the good guys in opposing Amon, but it's a stretch to call him a good person. It soon becomes clear that he has his own agenda.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: To the public, he's considered a fair-minded and likable guy. Behind closed doors, well...
- Braids, Beads and Buckskins: Heavily Downplayed; the most prominent signifier of his roots is his elaborately triple tailed, beaded hair.
- Break the Cutie: He used to be a sweet child, but was put through hell when Yakone made him learn bloodbending. He felt the pain of the animals he was forced into practicing on, saw his brother's Start of Darkness, and was basically a wreck by the time Yakone passed away.
- Cain and Abel: Zigzagged. His brother takes away his bending, but he ultimately ends up killing both himself and his brother.
- Character Development: It comes late, but it's potent. And really sad. After being forced to use bloodbending, having his bending taken by Amon, then learning that Amon is actually his brother, Tarrlok becomes a lot less self-serving. In his final moments, he seems to have gotten some perspective on his and Amon's actions. While Amon decides to run away with Tarrlok, believing they could turn over a new leaf and live as a family, Tarrlok is much more realistic and skeptical. Instead, he decides to repent for his and Amon's actions and prevent further damage. Tarrlok blows their boat up and ends both their lives and legacies, even as his brother smiles over thoughts of their new life.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Makes a brief appearance in a newspaper photo in episode 2.
- The Chessmaster: He frames the Equalists for kidnapping Korra, planting appropriate evidence and electrocuting himself to make it stick. He also sends Tenzin and Lin on a Snipe Hunt for Korra while he's at it.
- Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive: Steeples his fingers over his desk when Korra confronts him in his office.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience/Good Colors, Evil Colors: His clothes are the palest shade of blue among waterbenders seen in the Avatarverse, almost silver in tone, which fits well with his Bitch in Sheep's Clothing personality.
- Composite Character: Word of God is that Tarrlok was intended as a cross between Azula and Long Feng from the previous series.
- Control Freak: Especially evident in how frustrated he gets at Korra when she leaves his task force.
- Corrupt Politician: See Sleazy Politician below.
- The Dandy: He is mocked by Ikki for "smelling like a lady" when he joins Tenzin's family for dinner.
- Agent Peacock: He wears nice clothing and has such pretty hair. And he is one of the strongest waterbenders of the age.
- Death by Flashback: Before his Murder-Suicide, the audience gets to learn about his past.
- De-power: And richly deserved at the time.
- Devil in Plain Sight: As everyone panics over Amon, they ignore the ambitious, amoral politician who's been using that threat to further his own agenda.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- His actions of arresting non-benders under the pretense of them being Equalists, simply because they were protesting having their power cut off, are highly reminiscent of Joseph McCarthy and the Communist phobia (or Red Scare) that infected North America during the 1950's.
- His rise to power mirrors that of Mussolini and to a lesser extent Hitler, persuading the democratic and monarchic power structures to give him more and more power, supposedly in order to counter the threat of the Equalists/Communists.
- Driven to Murder-Suicide: He kills both himself and his brother by blowing up the boat they're in.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: He's genuinely fond of his mother. His concern for her is the reason he didn't run away with his brother.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He may be using the Equalist threat to advance his goals, but he's genuinely disgusted by Amon. He also considers Yakone's methods to be beneath him. Of course, he will cross these lines if his patience is tested.
- Evil All Along: His goal was to use the Equalist threat to become a legitimate sole ruler over Republic City.
- Evil Overlord: By all accounts, Tarrlok's in charge of Republic City, with the police in his pocket and the rest of the Council (sans Tenzin) basically being his Yes Men and Woman, which was his goal all along. Then the Council learns he's a bloodbender. Then Amon debends him.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Much like Hiroshi, his meticulously coiffed hairdo is disheveled after his revelation as a bona fide villain and a tangle with Korra, which he won only because of bloodbending. He is far less unkempt when speaking to the police, even though he's pretending to have been attacked by the Equalists, only further emphasizing this trope.
- Fallen Hero: He could have been a good man. A great one even but his pride blinded him to the fact he had become just like his father and a scourge to Republic City.
- Famous Last Words: "It will be just like the good old days."
- Faux Affably Evil: Whenever he seems to act polite, it's usually accompanied with a smug voice tone, so take his "friendliness" with a grain of salt.
- Freudian Excuse: He was trained by Yakone to take over the Republic City.
- Friendly Enemy: While he and and Korra are nominally on the same side, he has an almost inhuman patience for her flouting the law and undermining his efforts. He also has an open offer of re-employment for Korra in his task force after the arena was closed. All this despite having pressured Korra into joining him for his own efforts near their first meeting. He's later shown to be more "enemy" and less "friendly" in episode 8.
- General Ripper: Evident when he shuts off the power in the Dragon Flats District, drawing many innocent non-benders out of their homes, only to brand them as an Equalist rally and arrest them all. The causes and reasons for his treacherous actions are magnified after we learn his past of subject to his own father's treachery. Tarrlok needed an excuse to exercise the might of Republic City, and made the Equalists his Enemy X.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Subverted, as he was always a villain, and his excessive actions are just him trying to exert more control over the city. He never had decent intentions and he uses the fight against the Equalists as an excuse for his own ends.
- Heel Realization: After losing his bending and learning that Amon is his brother, he realizes that he had become the very thing his father wanted, which he had been trying to avoid.
- Heroic Sacrifice: At the end of the first season finale.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: Who needs water when you've got blood?
- I Am Not My Father: While they were both bloodbenders, Yakone ruled the underbelly of the city as a crime lord, and Tarrlok believes that's why he failed. Tarrlok decided to take Republic City as a sleazy politician, instead.
- An Ice Person/Making a Splash: He's a waterbender.
- In the Blood: The only thing separating Tarrlok from his dad is he chose to be a politician, not a crime lord.
- Jerkass Has a Point: It's practically his hat.
- In episode 4, Tarrlok is using his task force to score political points, but the Equalists are a militant revolutionary group openly advocating the violent overthrow of their country's government and the extermination of bending. Some sort of official response is necessary to that existential threat and Tarrlok is the only council member offering a plan.
- In episode 7, Tarrlok's opening narration is politically self-serving yet accurate: the Equalists are warring on benders under the guise of fighting for equality, Chief Beifong did utterly fail to protect Republic City during the arena attack, and new leadership was needed for the police considering how ineffective Chief Beifong had proved against the Equalists. Lin herself even comes to agree with the latter two points.
- In episode 8, he brings up how Korra is only a "half-baked Avatar in training" because she has yet to master airbending. When Korra later barges into his place trying to intimidate him into releasing her friends, she accuses him of oppressing people exactly like Amon says benders do, and he points out that she's used force to oppress and intimidate people before, so in that respect they're Not So Different.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: At first, it seems that Tarrlok wants to close down the Pro-Bending arena to spare innocent lives. But when Lin Beifong enters the picture, he realizes someone else can take the responsibility (and the rap) of others, thus relinquishing him from any blame if anything happened. Then, when Korra approaches him about abusing his power to arrest innocent civilians, he kidnaps her using bloodbending.
- Subverted in the finale, where he is genuinely repentant for everything he's done, having had time to reflect, helps Korra unmask Amon and sacrifices himself to put an end to both Amon and Yakone's evil legacy.
- Kill 'em All: His main method of dealing with the Equalists—He created a task force to accomplish this.
- Knight Templar: While personal paranoia is a major factor, Tarrlok definitely invokes this with his rhetoric, claiming that his actions are a righteous crusade against Amon. Though it's later revealed to be a front.
- Lamarck Was Right: Inherited his father's extraordinary bloodbending talent.
- Laser-Guided Karma:
- He goes after everyone who wasn't a bender, using a "if-you're-not-one-of-us-you're-against-us" philosophy. And then he gets reduced to a non-bender, himself.
- Let's Get Dangerous: His demeanor makes him out to be just an Attention Whore, but his waterbending isn't half bad. Then there's his bloodbending...
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Whenever his hair is down.
- Manipulative Bastard: Very good at manipulating others into furthering his goals. Even knowing that he's up to something won't help you. Goes into the realm of physical manipulation, since he's a bloodbender.
- Meaningful Name: "Tarlock" is a name of Irish origin that means "instigator" or "abettor," which is certainly fitting for his status as a Manipulative Bastard.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Seems to have this feeling towards his crimes done after some time held by his brother. Leads to his Redemption Equals Death.
- He also visibly has this reaction after bloodbending an entire group of people in Episode 9. Two episodes later, we see exactly why.
- Not So Different:
- His approach to dealing with dangerous non-benders is, if anything, more indiscriminate than the Equalists' actions toward elitist benders. Korra calls him on this, likening him to Amon. It turns out they really aren't that different, being brothers and both blood-benders who use their powers to nefarious ends. (It should be mentioned Tarrlok had no idea Amon was his brother until well after Korra calls him out.)
- According to him in a Hannibal Lecture, he and Korra aren't all that different, because they both go to extremes in order to get what they want.
- Not So Stoic: "When Extremes Meet" shows that he has a pretty short fuse. Control Freak above explains more on that.
- Opening Narration: Replaces Shiro Shinobi in the Previously On recap for "The Aftermath", giving a speech about Lin's failure to stop the Equalists in the previous episode and calling for her to be replaced.
- Overlord Jr.: He's the son of Yakone, the master crimelord of Republic City during Aang's time as the Avatar.
- People Puppets/The Power of Blood: It is revealed during his fight with Korra in "When Extremes Meet" that he is a bloodbender, one good enough that he can do so on a whim, rather than only during a full moon. His father, Yakone, could do the same.
- Praetorian Guard: His task force
- Personality Powers: The power hungry politician can control people? What a shock!
- Psychopathic Man Child: Has shades of it in episode 8. He has a lot of power in the city but comes off as a spoiled brat who will do anything to get what he wants and won't listen when others try to reason with him.
- He ultimately grows up some in the finale, while his big brother Amon ironically takes on a few Psychopathic Man Child traits himself. Amon thinks that everything will be flowers and sunshine now that he's reunited with his baby brother (though he starts crying as he says this), while Tarrlok is more somber and, in repentance and to head off further harm, quietly kills them both.
- Redemption Equals Death: After realizing what he and his brother had become, he blows up the boat they're in, killing them both and ending Yakone's bloodline.
- Psychotic Smirk: In "The Voice in the Night".
- The Rival: To Tenzin, in the political arena, and to Korra in dealing with the Equalists.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: His brother is Amon, also known by his real name, Noatak.
- Sleazy Politician: Everything he does is for his own personal agenda.
- Smug Snake: His regular attitude gives off this vibe, though it's subverted by the end of the series.
- The Social Expert: Besides his fighting, this is his most dangerous skill. He can generally read a person and knows how to play them so they follow his way. His only misjudgement was thinking Korra would be his by showering her with gifts. Then he wises up and just attacks her pride by having reporters berate her.
- Taking You with Me: How he ends Yakone's bloodline by killing both himself and his brother.
- This Cannot Be!: When his bloodbending fails to stop Amon.
- Together in Death: With his brother.
- Tragic Villain: When it was discovered he was a waterbender, Tarrlok's father Yakone forced Tarrlok and his brother Noatak to learn his bloodbending techniques so that he could use them to exact revenge on Republic City, even going so far as to pit Tarrlok and Noatak against each other and demand they use their bloodbending on each other. Noatak bent Tarrlok, Tarrlok refused to bend Noatak back, and Yakone rounded furiously on Tarrlok. At this, Noatak turned on Yakone and ran away from home. Ultimately, this was the Start of Darkness for both of the brothers; Noatak went on to become Amon, and Tarrlok attempted to fulfill his father's dream of ruling Republic City through legal, but still underhanded means, becoming the Sleazy Politician we see in the present day.
- Tykebomb: His father tried to mold him and his brother into this to take his revenge on Republic City and the Avatar. Tarrlok becomes horrified when he realizes that he became what his father tried to make him.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: He implements a city-wide curfew to all non-benders and a law that makes it illegal to even be associated with Equalists (i.e. Hiroshi Sato, which is what Tarrlok uses to rationalize arresting his daughter). He shuts down the power to their homes, which forces them to break that curfew by going outside to protest, and arrests all those that don't follow his new law, claiming that they're Equalists for not doing so.
- The Unfavorite: Yakone favored Noatak more than him, although given how they were both treated that's not saying much.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Courtesy of his dad.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: He desires Republic City to be led by a powerful leader, so that threats such as the Equalists may be eradicated. Ego comes into it to a degree, of course.
- Villainous Breakdown: He starts freaking out as his plans unravel. He manages to regain his cool after his Heel-Face Turn.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Until he's exposed as the man who kidnapped Korra.
- We Have Become Complacent: He considers this for the Benders against the Equalists. He feels Benders need to take back the power and when they to, they end up becoming the very monsters the Equalist supporters are told Benders are.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Seems like it at first, with his heavy-handed but arguably reasonable responses to the Equalist threat. Except it's not so well-intentioned; that part's a front.
- What Have I Become?: Is genuinely horrified by the fact he became the soldier of vengeance his father wanted him to become.
- The Worf Effect: Tarrlok's bloodbending, which is demonstrably strong enough to incapacitate at least eight people simultaneously, has only a limited effect on Amon, and Tarrlok is taken out in seconds.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Does this Korra and the rest of Team Avatar when Korra no longer follows his orders. Does this to Saikhan later on.
The Dark Spirits
The Dark Spirits
The main antagonists of Book Two.
- Badass: The larger spirits are capable of matching Korra blow for blow. Even while she's in her Physical God Super Mode, the Avatar State.
- Blue and Orange Morality: With the exception of those who lead them (Vaatu and Unalaq), the Dark Spirits are not malicious or evil in their invasion and attacks on human beings, they just don't have any concept of morality beyond "everyone who defiles the spirits must be killed". Even if this is their nature, their allegiance is only to those who are allies of Vaatu.
- Combat Tentacles: Some of them fight using this style.
- The Corruption: "The Beginnings" reveals that dark spirits are in fact a product of Vaatu's influence. A failed battle with a larger spirit also leaves a bit of corruption in Korra, threatening to destroy her Avatar spirit if it isn't cleansed. Negative human emotions in the spirit world can also corrupt them, as demonstrated by both Korra and Unalaq. The latter can even control the corrupted spirits, even if they were once friendly to his enemies.
- Dark Is Evil/Dark Is Not Evil: A combination of both. Being dark spirits, they are inherently destructive. However, this is only because they're extremely angry, similar to Hei Bai's rampage in the previous series. Much like Hei Bai, they can be calmed down and convinced to leave peacefully.
- Eldritch Abomination: An army of them. However, they are nothing compared to Vaatu, their master.
- Elite Mooks: When working for Unalaq, they easily overpower the the Southern rebels and later Korra's group, whereas the Northern soldiers were defeated without much trouble.
- Fusion Dance: The smaller spirits are capable in a fight, but can be taken down by a skilled bender. However, they can combine into larger spirits to increase their strength and durability.
- Gaia's Vengeance: Focused on Tonraq, who desecrated one of their forests in the past. Later revelations about Unalaq's hand in things indicate that he likely made them attack humans as part of his plans.
- Griping About Gremlins: The imp-like spirit that sabotages Bolin's snowmobile in "The Southern Lights" seems to be invoking this trope.
- The Heartless: They're vicious, dangerous spirits who were apparently formed by the Southern Water Tribe being spiritually thrown out of whack for over the past century. The reality, however, is that Unalaq is behind the attacks.
- The Imp: The smaller spirits give of this vibe.
- Intangibility: In the same sense as a cloud of gas. They can still be barred by physical barriers, but can manage to slip through cracks.
- Invincible Minor Minion: Physical offense has zero effect on them. Even if they are blasted apart by a strong enough attack, they reform almost instantly. The bigger ones are basically unstoppable, while the little ones can at least be held at bay by bending attacks.
- Lightning Bruiser: Strong enough to toss humans around like ragdolls but fast enough that it's very hard to land a solid hit on them. Even then, bending is practically useless on the bigger ones.
- Made Of Air: Blasting them only forces them to spend a moment reforming, if it works at all.
- More Teeth than the Osmond Family: They have way too many teeth when they roar.
- Music Soothes the Savage Beast: Bumi manages to calm one down with some flute playing. It only worked on that one, though; the rest got mad and attacked him.
- No Sell: They can laugh off even Avatar State-boosted bending assaults without even trying.
- Talking the Monster to Death: The only thing that can deal with them so far is Unalaq's pacification water bending style.
- Unstoppable Rage: Unalaq explains that they aren't evil, just pissed off at the spiritual imbalance and desecration. At their core, they are chaos personified.
"I lived ten thousand lifetimes before the first of your kind crawled out of the mud."
Voiced by: Jonathan Adams
The spirit that embodies darkness and chaos, counterpart of Raava, the spirit of light and peace.
- Eye Beams: He can fire a massive purple beam from his diamond eye.
- Female Angel, Male Demon: He is male and the spirit of darkness and chaos. Made the more bizarre given how darkness is feminine in asian traditions.
- For the Evulz: Seems to be his primary motivation. He never gives any reason for wanting to bring about ten thousand years of darkness (whatever that even means) other than because it's just what he does.
- From a Single Cell: If defeated in the previous battle, he will regenerate from within Raava or any remaining over ten thousand years, as light and darkness cannot exist without each other. His consciousness exists in even the smallest cell of darkness.
- Fusion Dance: He plans to mimic Raava and fuse with a human to become the Dark Avatar. He does.
- Generic Doomsday Villain: He's the spirit of Chaos and Darkness and Evil and wants to Kill All Humans just because he can, or rather because it's in his nature.
- Green Thumb: Can make vines and other evil plants grow by shoving his tentacles into the earth.
- God of Evil: He's the embodiment of chaos and darkness and is evil.
- Godzilla Threshold: Once Vaatu enters the picture, all bets are off. Since the president was still not of any help, this situation was so dire for Team Avatar, that they had to seek Varrick's help.
- Healing Factor: At several points in the Book 2 finale, his injuries heal as soon as he gets them.
- Hero Killer: See The Dreaded. Also literally; he ripped Raava out of Korra and destroyed the her, leaving Korra unable to rely on her past lives again.
- Jerkass: There's no denying it. Even if it's in his nature as a God of Evil, Vaatu is a real dick.
- Kick the Dog: He attacks innocent villages for no good reason, then tops that by corrupting Wan's spirit friends, forcing them to fight Wan's human friends. When the humans are slaughtered, he then has the gall to gloat in Wan's face.
- Part of the reason he ripped Raava out of Korra was to stick it to Korra.
- Kill 'em All: According to Raava, this is the result if he comes to power. All life on Earth will perish.
- Knight of Cerebus: Much like previous Big Bad Amon, Vaatu has no comedic quirks and anything involving him is guaranteed to be played much more seriously. And when he's finally freed from his prison, it's a true cause for alarm. He also serves as one to the Avatar series in general, his presence bringing an air of menace previously unseen in either show, so much that it makes Ozai pale in comparison.
- Lightning Bruiser: His size definitely doesn't reflect his speed, just like other spirits.
- Made Of Air: Like the other spirits. Wan's attacks didn't really do any damage. Only by using his bending to restrain Vaatu did he finally win.
- Make My Monster Grow: Gets larger with every spirit he corrupts.
- The Man Behind the Man: Not to the Dark Spirits, which are just regular spirits corrupted by his influence, but to Unalaq.
- Manipulative Bastard: How he escapes from Raava when Wan first encounters them.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: By leaving Wan alive, he allowed him to become the first Avatar, leading to his defeat. The battle will inevitably come again, of course, but Vaatu would have had ten thousand years of freedom instead of being stuck in a tree. On the other hand, it didn't stop Vaatu from biding his time and working through his minions and Dragon.
- Obviously Evil: He is a gigantic, shadowy being with a deep booming voice, yet Wan helps him escape. Unalaq helps him escape again, depiste being clearly aware of who and what he is.
- Though in fairness, Vaatu did play victim, which was helped by Raava's somewhat dismissive and brusque attitude when Wan asked what was going on.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Plans on plunging the world into darkness for ten thousand years should he win his duel with Raava.
- Order Versus Chaos: He represents chaos, Raava represents order.
- Outside-Context Villain: Prior to his appearance in "The Beginnings", there was no hint of his existence or the eternal struggle between peace and chaos.
- Power Glows: His eye beams are preceded by the red lines on his body turning purple and glowing.
- Puny Earthlings: He doesn't seem to give two damns about humans or their existence, which backfired spectacularly when Wan sealed him up.
- Purple Is The New Black: His "essence" is mostly reflected by a purple glow, most notably when he fires his "laser" beams and when the Dark Avatar is assuming it's monstruous giant form.
- Red and Black and Evil All Over: His color scheme is black and reddish-orange in comparison to Raava's white and blue.
- Revive Kills Zombie: He is destroyed by Korra's spirit cleansing technique, used to pacify spirits. Being the very embodiment of chaos, it seems purification is toxic to him.
- Satanic Archetype: Not of Satan per se (aside from the basic stereotypical God of Evil shtick), but of Ahriman: like the Zoroastrian evil god, Vaatu is a primordial being of darkness, chaos and lies opposing a light of order (though not necessarily truth), reveling in wickedness for its own sake, and just as powerful as his competitor. He also corrupts spirits into shadows of their former selves, and seeks the utter annihilation of all life. As if that wasn't enough, he bears distinctively Vedic patterns on his body.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Wan sealed him in a tree in the Spirit World, then sealed the portals at the north and south poles so Vaatu could not escape. But despite Korra's best efforts, he manages to break out of the can during Harmonic Convergence.
- Smug Super: He's so arrogant that your blood is likely to boil, but being an immortal and powerful spirit gives him the strength to back up his boasts.
- Time Abyss: Says he lived ten thousand lifetimes before humans first "crawled out of the mud."
- Troll: After Wan fails to stop some people from his Lion Turtle city from fighting with a group of Dark Spirits, he goes and tells him that the humans were already killed after Wan regains consciousness.
- Underestimating Badassery: As an immortal and powerful spirit, he believes Wan, a mere human, is no threat to him. Which he wasn't until Wan bonded with Raava and became the Avatar.
- The Virus: Considering his powers, it wouldn't be a stretch to call him one. He can take the contained anger from within spirits, transforming them into the Dark Spirits, having a more monstrous appearance, and with loyalty only to Vaatu and his alies. When a mortal is infected, it will destroy them from the inside.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: This is how he convinces Wan to release him, by pretending that Raava's a bully who's been oppressing him for ten thousand years.
- You Have Failed Me: Subverted; when Unalaq himself admits to having failed, Vaatu calmly explains that he hasn't failed yet, and still has a chance to finish the job.
Unalaq and Crew
"I have spent my life studying spirits and learning their ways. All of this knowledge is lost in the South. But I could teach you everything I know."
Voiced by: Adrian LaTourelle
Korra's uncle and the chieftain of the Northern Water Tribe. He serves as her spiritual mentor early on in Book 2, before his less than noble intentions come into the light and drive a wedge between them.
- A God Am I: His ultimate goal is to fuse with Vaatu and become the Dark Avatar. He succeeds, too, even managing to eliminate Raava and temporarily become the dominant spirit. It didn't last, though.
- Abusive Parents: Mainly Parental Neglect; he cared more about his goals than the safety of his children, but he also called them useless when Korra was swallowed by a giant dark spirit, even though there was nothing they could have done to prevent it.
- Always Second Best: His brother was like this to him. He was oldest and next in line to become chief, so to subvert this Unalaq got him banished. But during his banishment, Tonraq sired Korra, the Avatar, double subverting it.
- The Antichrist: What he really is. He acts as Vaatu's herald and merges with him to create ten-thousand years of darkness. And he becomes the Dark Avatar, the equal and opposite to the Avatarverse's Messianic Archetype.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: In the finale of Book 2 he merges with Vaatu and turns into a giant black monster and proceeds to unleash his inner kaiju on Republic City.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: He's no slouch in combat, easily besting his brother one-on-one and later holding his own against Mako and Bolin.
- Ax-Crazy: Takes a savage joy in ripping Raava out of Korra and destroying the Avatar's past lives.
- Badass: He is utter crap as a human being, but it can't be denied that Unalaq is a badass.
- Balance Between Good and Evil: He's basically a deconstruction stating why this philosophy is not a good thing. He plans to release Vaatu in order to bring balance into the world in his own terms.
- Bait the Dog: He takes Korra's advice and agrees to let the rebels who just tried to kill him have a fair trial. In his very next scene, he arrests Korra's parents. And the trial turned out to be rigged anyway. Hell, this could basically be considered his whole character arc. See Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
- Big Bad / Arc Villain: Of Book Two, but...
- Big Little Brother: Looking at Tonraq and Unalaq, you wouldn't peg Tonraq as the older brother. The difference is made more apparent by flashbacks, where Tonraq looks almost identical to his present-day self, while Unalaq looks much more youthful.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: After the reveal of his true nature in "Civil Wars", Part 2." Though even then it isn't until The Guide and A New Spiritual Age that the full extent of his evil is revealed (before he just came across as a jerk. After A New Spiritual Age it's pretty clear the guys pure evil.)
- Broken Pedestal: Korra swears off any loyalty or admiration of him once it's revealed he not only fixed her father's trial to send Tonraq to prison, but also caused the events that got him banished so that he could become chief of the Northern water tribe.
- His children eventually drop their devotion and belief in him after he was perfectly fine with his son almost dying to further his cause and told his daughter to leave him be, as well as call them useless for being unable to capture the Avatar despite that there was nothing they could've done. In the end, they admit to Korra they hold no grudge on her for defeating him and that they won't miss him.
- Cain and Abel: The Cain to Tonraq's Abel.
- Chest Blaster: In his One-Winged Angel form, Vaatu's Eye Beams are fired from his chest.
- Classic Villain: Shows signs of Ambition, Pride, and Envy. Ultimately somewhat zig zagged, however, since he consistently remains a Knight Templar, though his projects of uniting with Vaatu do invoke classical villainous traits of Satanism. Also, he has the ambition and goal of being the first Dark Avatar.
- The Corrupter: Within the spirit world, his presence is enough to turn normal spirits dark.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Delivers one to Tonraq. Tonraq puts up a terrific fight but Unalaq defeats him with barely any effort.
- Dark Messiah: Even more so than Amon—his ambition is to become the new "Dark Avatar" and he is willing to sacrifice anybody, even his own children, to do this.
- Deader than Dead: Both he and Vaatu were purified by Korra and turn into nothingness. While there's a chance Vaatu will return given the universe require he and Raava both exist in some form or another, it's extremely unlikely that Unalaq will ever do the same.
- Death by Irony: Is defeated (along with Vaatu) when Korra uses his own spirt pacification technique against him, which he had previously taught her. His previous advice to Korra to "find the light in the dark" is also echoed when Korra meditates in the Tree of Time to connect to the cosmic energy of the universe.
- The Dragon: To Vaatu, if they do not count as a Big Bad Duumvirate.
- Dragon-in-Chief: Although Vaatu was more powerful than him, Vaatu couldn't do much while being trapped, so Unalaq served as this until Vaatu was freed. After Vaatu was released and they merged as one being, Unalaq commanded most of Vaatu's power even though their personalities coexisted at the same time.
- Driven by Envy: Korra speculates that the real reason why he arranged his brother's banishment is because he envied his brother's position. She also suggests that his desire to train her stems from further envy that Tonraq sired the Avatar.
- Drunk on the Dark Side: He enjoys his merger with Vaatu, since it gives him so much power.
- Evil Is Petty: While Unalaq has higher goals, he still manages to go out of his way to ruin his brother's life just out of envy and spite.
- The Evil Prince: Arranged his brother's banishment so he would be next in line as Chieftain. However, taking the throne was only phase one of his plan.
- Evil Uncle: Well, morally questionable uncle, anyway. He hedges even closer to the evil side in "Civil Wars, Part 2", which reveals that he set Tonraq up to be banished and has darker designs for the reunification of the two tribes. Although he didn't at first hold any malice against Korra, as he felt he knew what was best for the Avatar. His evil extends mostly to the problems towards his brother such that the way he is dealing with those problems tick Korra off. The fact that he's dealing with Vaatu, the direct opponent to order and thus the Avatar, would put him firmly on the evil side. In "A New Spiritual Age", as soon as Korra opens the second portal, Unalaq tries to erase her soul. And he plans on killing her when he becomes the Dark Avatar.
- Evil Counterpart: Intends to become one to the Avatar by merging with Vaatu and becoming the Dark Avatar. Though he succeeds, it doesn't last.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: With regards to releasing Vaatu; the heroes try to warn him about this, but Unalaq refuses to believe it. Oddly enough, he doesn't become victim to this trope. Considering he was the dominant personality of the fusion even in the Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever form, he was in complete control.
- He has many similarities with Fire Lord Sozin. Whereas Sozin tried to forcibly spread technology and industrial advances to the other nations of the world, Unalaq is trying to return to the old ways and spiritual roots to the Southern Water Tribe... by landing his army in his brother's city. A very quick comment indicates he isn't going to stop there, either. He is also similar to Sozin in trying to manipulate the Avatar to his own profit and/or their own nation above all others, or forcing to doing it.
- Eventually he becomes a straight expy of Fire Lord Ozai. He tries destroy the entire world in a misguided attempt to usher in a "new age," proclaims himself the Dark Avatar (like Ozai proclames himself the Phoenix King), becomes outright abusive to his children, and confronts the Avatar in a cosmic event.
- Flanderization: In universe. Varrick's moving pictures have him portrayed as a over-the-top villain with a waterbending doomsday machine. Strangely, the actor looks a lot like Actor!Ozai from The Ember Island Players.
- Fluffy Tamer: A rare villainous example, as he is able to corrupt and control Dark Spirits that either himself creates, or that Vaatu creates. He leads an army of his corrupted spirits against the Southern Water Tribe's La Résistance and curbstomps them.
- Foil: In many aspects to Zuko's Uncle Iroh from the first series. He is a tall and lean man contrasting Iroh's short and chubby aspect; Iroh was a rather kind, friendly and spiritual man; Unalaq is a spiritual man as well, but he is a more devious and ambitious man; Iroh was a Cool Uncle to his nephew Zuko; Unalaq is an Evil Uncle to his niece Korra. Iroh and him are a Parental Substitute to their nephew/niece, but Iroh was sincerely worried about his nephew, whereas Unalaq has more selfish reasons for working with Korra. This contrast becomes more evident in "A New Spiritual Age", when both appear and interact with Korra in the Spirit World.
- The Fundamentalist: He does not compromise with his view of Water Tribe spirituality and practices. Because of this he comes off as a jerk. It's later revealed that he actually is a jerk, as he manipulates Korra to get her on his side when he takes control of the South, and uses his position to settle a personal grudge against his brother on the side. More to the point, he's also working on freeing the evil Vaatu for the Harmonic Convergence.
- Genre Blind: He seems to believe he can change the world by working for Vaatu. There is no way whatsoever this can end well. Tonraq knows this is crazy and calls his brother out on it.
- Good Shepherd: He's the verse's equivalent of a priest and he's big on fasting, meditation, and other self-discipline practices and he can calm angry spirits and send them back to the Spirit World.
- Dark Shepherd: He'll bring unity whether his flocks want it or not. To this end, he set Tonraq up to destroy the spirit forest in the North so he would be banished and Unalaq would be first in line, and is working to free Vaatu, the universe's equivalent of Satan, and become the equivalent of the Anti Christ.
- The Heavy: While the Dark Spirits are the overriding Big Bads of the season, Unalaq is the more direct threat.
- This has more significance after "The Guide", where it is revealed he is actually The Dragon for Vaatu, working to free Vaatu from his prison, and is the one corrupting the spirits. This is strategically justified; Until he is freed, Vaatu couldn't really do much while imprisoned.
- The High King: Unalaq is technically Chief of both tribes, but the South sees him as a mere figurehead to their council of Chieftains. This creates quite a bit of friction when Unalaq decides to assert his authority by force.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: He's ultimately defeated by his own spirit-bending technique.
- Holier Than Thou: Gives off vibes of this when he is ranting about the Southern Tribe lacking in spirituality. Then he calls in the troops to take over the Southern Tribe in order help them spiritually. Actually, he has this view towards the whole world and the Avatar in general, believing that the Avatar created a divide between mankind and spirits and believes that the world would be better if spirits and humans can coexist without a bridge between their worlds.
- Hostage for MacGuffin: Forced Korra to open the portal by threatening to destroy Jinora's soul.
- Humanoid Abomination: He becomes the Dark Avatar after fusing with Vaatu, even more so after Raava is destroyed and they go One-Winged Angel.
- Hypocrite: Talks on about spiritual balance, yet he caused a spiritual imbalance in the North in order to get Tonraq banished so that he could be chief of the North, and plans on releasing and merging with Vaatu. However, his view of balance meant uniting all nations and uniting spirits and mankind to the point where they can coexist...under his tyrannical rule.
- He had also treated his children coldly, yet he had the nerve to call Tenzin a bad father for letting Jinora be Korra's guide into the spirit world. Jinora calls him out on this.
- He accuses Korra of causing chaos, when he's trying to release the spirit of chaos and is deliberately corrupting spirits to further his plans.
- Irony: He sought to fuse with Vaatu and break down the barrier between the spirit world and material world so humans and spirits could coexist. After Korra beat him, she decided he had a point and left the portals open, allowing the two worlds to connect once more.
- I Want Them Alive: When he sends Desna and Eska to capture Korra he explicitly reminds Eska that he needs Korra alive. Given Eska's current Yandere state this is a very smart move. He was none too pleased when he found that the Avatar was presumed dead.
- Jerkass: When you take the opportunity at a Southern Water Tribe festival being held in your honor to complain about their lack of spirituality, you qualify for this.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Subverted. All his supposed compassion and care by his brother Tonraq in his trial is all an act to gain Korra's regard and keep her under his control.
- Karmic Death: After countless atrocities, Unalaq is finally done in by the own spirit banishment technique he taught Korra.
- Knight of Cerebus: A case where a villain gets darker as the season progresses. He started off as The Comically Serious at the outset of the season, but as his true colors are revealed, the season begins to take a darker turn. And when he fuses with Vaatu, things really get dire.
- Knight Templar: Initially, he was showed as a fundamentalist antagonist who wanted to unite the water tribes and bring balance... at any cost. Indeed, the last part of his goal is actually accurate. He plans to use Vaatu's dark spirit to become a new Avatar, destroy the barriers between the worlds and force spirits and humans to live together in harmony. He sincerily believes in his rhetoric after all, even if to a truly horrifying extreme.
- Lean and Mean: To contrast his brother's Heroic Build.
- Leave Him to Me: When Desna and Eska move to engage Tonraq, he tells them to back off, wishing to fight his brother himself.
- Light Is Not Good: Is a self-righteous preacher that can infuse water with bright golden light and appease spirits... who launches a mass scale invasion to force his ideals on his Southern brethren, and who set his brother up to be banished, and framed him as having taken part in an assassination attempt on Unalaq, using a judge who was working for him to ensure Tonraq got a conviction. His powers most certainly don't reflect his personality, aside from his spirituality.
- Dark Is Evil: He later shows off a dark variation that can corrupt or destroy whoever he uses it on.
- Lightning Bruiser: Unalaq moves surprisingly fast and hits hard.
- Making a Splash: He is a master waterbender.
- Manipulative Bastard: When Korra tries to explain that his heavy-handed method of helping the Southern Tribe may lead to civil war, he plays on her duty and pride as the Avatar to put the responsibility of stopping it entirely on her. When he tries this line again after the reveal, Korra calls him on this.
- He also agrees with Korra to give the men who attacked him a trial; they were caught in the act and this way makes him seem reasonable. He then rigs the trial so his brother and the others are found guilty and sentenced to death, which he then "convinces" the judge to bump down to life imprisonment. He did this, along with having Senna found innocent, to appear merciful to Korra.
- The Mentor: To Korra in Book Two...at least for the first few episodes.
- Moment Killer: He has a bad habit of cutting into otherwise heartwarming moments. It's even become a minor meme.
- Mook Maker: He can corrupt spirits, which will then do his bidding.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: If he hadn't taught Korra how to calm Dark Spirits she wouldn't be in a position to stop his plan to free Vaatu, or ultimately defeat his fusion with Vaatu. He might have even been able to keep Korra on his side for a bit longer if he hadn't taken the time to screw over Tonraq for no reason.
- Not Even Human: After his monstrous transformation after fusing with Vaatu.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: The outset of the season portrays him as a fundamentalist Jerkass with a Holier Than Thou attitude towards things, but not outwardly malicious. The rest of the season, however, sees him jump off the tracks and head into basically Omnicidal Maniac territory real fast.
- Not Worth Killing: It would be trivially easy for the North's forces to wipe out the Southern resistance, but Unalaq is content to leave them bottled up in one area while he dedicates the majority of his resources to securing the spirit portal. He doesn't kill Tonraq after beating him down since he's not worth killing and he wants to gloat.
- Obviously Evil: He has a Lean and Mean Villainous Cheekbones appearance and shares a lot of traits with Tarrlok and Fire Lords Sozin and Ozai. This made The Reveal as an enemy a lot less surprising as a result.
- In "The Guide", Tenzin explains that he always knew Unalaq was power-hungry, but never expected he would go so far. After all, getting his brother banished and framing him was bad enough, but they are almost nothing compared to serving as Vaatu's herald, which is unquestionably a much higher evil than Unalaq had initially shown.
- Oh Crap: Has this expression when Tonraq is only inches away from punching him in the face. Sadly he proved a better waterbender and hurled Tonraq away from him before it happend.
- One-Winged Angel: When Raava is destroyed, he and Vaatu turn into a giant, humanoid version of Vaatu.
- One World Order: He plans to fuse with Vaatu and create a world where there are no nations, just humans and spirits united under his "new world order".
- Parental Neglect: He isn't openly or outright abusive, but his children seem afraid of him and he cares very little for them beyond their usefulness to him. When trying to breach the Northern portal with their help, he shows no concern when Desna is injured by the backlash from a failed attempt. When Tonraq tries to appeal to Unalaq's Papa Wolf mentality, Unalaq brushes it off. He cares nothing for his children.
- Pragmatic Villainy: See Evil Uncle.
- Reasonable Authority Figure:
- Years ago, when the Irregular Benders were causing trouble, he helped Zuko by creating the secret prison to hold P'Li. He even kept it a secret from everyone, including his own children.
- Subverted. He tries to invoke this to stay on Korra's good side - which works for all of three-and-a-half episodes. See Manipulative Bastard and Broken Pedestal above.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Decides to chew out the Southern Tribe for its spiritual decay and decadence in the middle of a banquet in his honor, saying it is their fault the spirits are attacking. It's clear now that this is a lie, as he's the one who caused the spirits to go out of control. He's also working to free Vaatu, who creates dark spirits.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: As the Dark Avatar, his eyes glow in a fiery red light.
- The Resenter: His brother was next in line to become Chief, so he set him up to be banished in order to take the position for himself.
- Revive Kills Zombie: See Vaatu above.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Unlike his older brother, Unalaq is ambitious, focused on spiritual concerns, and feels driven to lead his people.
- Slasher Smile: Shows a nasty one often after freeing Vaatu, and displays it again when beating Raava brutally to death, or as close to it as you can get with an immortal spirit.
- Even before when he threatened Jinora he's smirking like a madman.
- The Sociopath: Another trait that he shares with Fire Lord Ozai: Unalaq displays a distinct lack of empathy towards anyone, including his own brother and children, callously manipulates anyone he needs to, is completely self-centred and arrogant, and has virtually no regard for the lives of anyone (or everyone) in the world.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: He orders his children to stop attacking Tonraq so he could beat him himself.
- Villain Has a Point: Korra agrees with him that the Avatar wasn't meant to be a bridge between the Spirit and Human Worlds and that Wan may have made a mistake when he sealed off the Spirit Portals, so she leaves them open after he and Vaatu are defeated and resolves to find a way for Humans and Spirits to live together in harmony.
- Villainous Cheekbones: Has very pronounced cheekbones, and he's not the nicest guy.
- Villainous Breakdown: Has one when Korra reawakens Raava and extracts her.
- Visionary Villain: He intends to change the world. He plans to do this by releasing Vaatu and fusing with him to become a Dark Avatar, in order to create a world where there is no barrier between the spirit world and the material world.
- White Magic: Engages in a holy form of waterbending that allows him to pacify spirits by turning negative energy into positive energy. The water also glows with golden light. Becomes a case of Good Powers, Bad People after The Reveal.
- Black Magic: He has a dark variation on this ability which infuses dark energy instead of light, which can kill human souls if used on them.
- Would Hurt a Child: Threatens to wipe out Jinora's soul in the Spirit World to force Korra to open the portal, and would have done the same to Korra if not for a timely rescue.
- Yin-Yang Bomb: Can infuse water with light or dark energy to fit his needs.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Tells Korra this when she thinks he needs her to open the northern spirit portal because she was needed to open the southern one. He doesn't, because due to the Northern Water Tribe's closer connection with the spirits, it can be opened outside of the solstices, and by someone who is not the Avatar. Subverted, however, because he only said that in an effort to control her, and it backfired. In hindsight, it's a good thing Korra believed this lie, because Korra now knows she must not open it and close the other portal to prevent Vaatu's return.
- Played straight in "A New Spiritual Age": as soon as Korra opens the second portal, Unalaq tries to erase her soul.
- Youngest Child Wins: Was second in line for the North's chieftainship, but became first in line for the throne after Tonraq's banishment. Turns out that this case of the trope involved cheating on the part of the youngest child, however.
- Your Soul Is Mine: Apparently has the power to destroy people's souls in the spirit world as he threatens to do this to Jinora and attempts to do this to Korra.
Desna and Eska
Desna and Eska
Eska is on the left and Desna on the right.
Korra's twin cousins and Unalaq's children. Desna is the boy and Eska is the girl.
Tropes that apply to both twins
- A Lighter Shade of Black: In comparison to Vaatu.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: When they are pressed into trying to open the spirit portal and Desna is injured, Eska shows she cares more for him than she does for aiding her father's ambitions.
- Not quite love but definitely a better relationship then before: in the finale Eska uses Bolin's name ("NOT MY BOLIN!") and when they part she calls him "my turtle-duck" instead of "my feeble turtle-duck".
- Big Damn Heroes: When Bolin was getting swarmed by dark spirits, he gets a timely rescue from the twins.
- Break the Haughty: Eska gives this impression at the end of "Civil Wars Part 2" when we see her chasing the boat Bolin is on looking like she is about to kill him.
- Cannot Tell a Joke: Eska appears to think an insincere statement followed by an explanation of how it is insincere is side-splitting sarcasm. Desna apparently agrees with her.
- Character Development: Eska maturely decides that she and Bolin were not meant to be together at the end of Book 2.
- It takes a while, but Desna finally manages to realize what type of person his father is, and lets go of his blind loyalty to him just in time to help protect Korra in the finale.
- Character Focus: Out of the two of them, Eska has gotten the lion's share of character development, while Desna was mostly there for Creepy Twins jokes and to act as extra muscle for the bad guys.
- Co-Dragons: They become this to their father in "Peacekeepers". "Harmonic Convergence" reveals that he also leaves the minutiae of organizing his army to them when he knows that a battle is coming.
- The Comically Serious: Both of them are hilariously deadpan to just about everything.
- Creepy Monotone: How they both talk. As a result, it's even hard to tell if they are sarcastic or serious. It's even present when they laugh.
- Creepy Twins: They're described as "androgynous creepy twins" by the writers. Korra echoes this sentiment.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Desna and Eska look like they stand around and do nothing but be creepy, but in "Peacekeepers" they're able to fight Korra as a team and hold their own (before a Dark Spirit interrupted).
- Dance Battlers: their fighting style includes a lot of acrobatics.
- Emotionless Girl: They don't seem to be given to emotion. Even when jealous of Bolin hugging Korra, Eska doesn't break from her usual monotone (though she does raise her voice ever-so-slightly).
- Easily Forgiven: Especially from their cousin.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
- When Desna gets injured during Unalaq's attempt to open the Spirit Portal without the Avatar, Eska defies her father's order so she can take him back to the real world and have him healed.
- They also apparently really care about their mother, seeing as the only thing bugging them about their father's death is they have to tell her.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- Despite being eager to kill her first cousin, Eska does seem to care a lot about her brother. She thought he was much more important than trying to help her father.
- Averted with Desna; when he does find out about his father's plan about releasing Vaatu, the good guys assumed he is not bad enough to countenance the planned apocalypse, and tried to appeal to his conscience. However, he was only willing to allow it out of belief that his father is the wisest he's ever known. Later on, he and Eska decide that there was nothing to gain from serving Vaatu.
- Evil Duo: After Eska goes crazy, she and her brother become this trope, with Eska as the Id and Desna as the Superego.
- Expy: They resemble Mai from the original show by personality and expression. You could include status, but Mai was the daughter of a Fire Nation governor while these two are a prince and princess. Eska is also reminiscent of Azula in ways, acting essentially as an examination of what would have happened if she had found a date in "The Beach", complete with horrifying laugh and devolution into a complete lack of composure at a companion's betrayal.
- Foil: Desna and Eska seem deliberately as opposed to Princess Yue (the last Northern Water Tribe heir we witnessed) as possible, being tactless, ruthless, and relishing their status to Yue's compassion and Spoiled Sweet nature. Eska's relationship with Bolin especially contrasts with Yue's relationship with Sokka: Sokka worried he wasn't worthy because of his lower status and Yue wanted to be with him, but was bound by her engagement to Hahn; Eska exploits Bolin's lower status to domestically abuse him into slavery and puts her desire to be with him before his own emotions or input.
- Half-Identical Twins: One is a boy and the other a girl, but they still look very similar. Bolin even thinks they're both girls at first.
- Heel-Face Turn: The two show slight hesitation and reluctance to some of their father's orders, but still believe he was doing what is best for all. That is, until after Bolin's Anguished Declaration of Love, at which point they let Mako and Bolin escape. They swear Unalaq off for good when they witness his transformation into the monstrous Unavaatu, and don't even care when he dies. They're still in the Evil Is Petty range.
- Hime Cut: Both have this, befitting their status as the children of the chieftain of the Northern Water Tribe.
- Identical Twin ID Tag: A few.
- Desna's coat has a straight hem. Eska's has a V shape.
- Desna has wide leggings, while Eska has narrow ones.
- Eska has blue hair ties and eye makeup, neither of which Desna wears.
- Jerkass: They come across as condescending; but Eska especially rubs people the wrong way, due to her insistence in bossing Bolin around.
- Lightning Bruiser: They hit hard, they hit fast, and when on large stretches of water like the ocean or the snow-covered South Pole, they can use a waterbending technique that makes them go faster than a speed-boat or a plane.
- Making a Splash: They're both Waterbenders.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Especially Eska. She was first shown as merely a creepy Jerkass princess with comedic flaws. After Bolin ditched her, she later works up to becoming one of the most dangerous villains, as Korra finds out in "Peacekeepers". In the final act of the season, they tend to be key to Unalaq's plans by removing threats that neither him nor his army could take out.
- Royal Brats: Both of them look down on Korra's Southern Water Tribe heritage, thinking she is a "rube", despite being the Avatar (and their cousin). After the Harmonic Convergence, they're square now.
- Run or Die: As they lack their father's training in the spiritual arts, when they see a dark spirit coming after Korra over open water, they keep away from the fight until it is over.
- Single-Minded Twins: Both have the same emotionless and snarky personality.
- Spock Speak: They frequently engage in this. In fact most of their lines are delivered in a eerie monotone.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: They're good enough to pull this on Bolin and Mako at the end of Book 2.
- Theme Twin Naming: They are named after rivers. Desna is a river in Russia and Ukraine that flows into the Dnieper. Eska is a river in southern Alaska.
- Twin Telepathy: The two of them are able to communicate from just glances without speaking.
- Victory Is Boring: Now that they both rule the Northern Water Tribe, neither of them enjoys their new positions and would rather do fighting. When Zaheer and his cohorts were on the loose, they're more than willing to drop everything and coordinate their efforts with Zuko and their uncle.
Tropes that apply to Desna
- Agent Peacock: Desna, given his noted feminine appearance and waterbending skills.
- Blind Obedience: Desna claims that whatever Unalaq's plan is it can't possibly be for anything other than the greater good on the grounds that Unalaq is the wisest man Desna knows. He gets over it by the next episode.
- Deadpan Snarker: Desna shows some skill at this in "Civil Wars, Part 2."
- Disproportionate Retribution: Played for Laughs. When they find out about the super secret ice prison, Desna comments that he wants to throw his tailor in there, because he keeps getting the sleeves on Desna's coat wrong.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: Desna and Eska have nearly identical clothing and hairstyles, so naturally Desna comes off as this. Bolin even mistakes him for a girl in "Rebel Spirit".
- Meaningful Name: Desna means "right hand" in an old Slavic language. He's one of his father's right-hand men alongside Eska and he's very often placed on the right of his father whereas Eska tends to be on the left.
- Only Sane Man: One can't help but get the vibe that Desna is this, given his father's obsession with the spirits and Eska's downright psychotic obsession with Bolin.
- Satellite Character: Desna has virtually no characterization outside of a couple snarky one-liners, basically being there to be the creepy twin that makes them Creepy Twins.
- Tempting Fate: Desna dryly exclaims there's no way anyone could break out of his father's secret ice prison. Zuko cautiously warns him not to underestimate Zaheer and his cabal, reminding them of their breakouts.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Implied with Desna. He thinks his father is the wisest man he's ever known and uses this as his reason for helping Unalaq fuse with Vaatu. He gets over it in the end.
Tropes that apply to Eska
- All Take and No Give: Eska takes advantage of Bolin's attraction to her and basically turns him into a servant for herself and her brother. Deconstructed, as he quickly wants out of the relationship. Eventually, Eska stuck out for him in the end.
- Amicable Exes: Eska and Bolin decide to be this at the end.
- And Now You Must Marry Me: Eska tries to force Bolin to marry her when even she recognizes that he wants out of the relationship.
- Arch-Enemy: Eska has become this to Bolin. Until his Anguished Declaration of Love in the Book 2 finale, anyway.
- Ax-Crazy: Eska's insanity rivals Azula's after being rejected. Though she seems to have calmed down by the episode The Sting. However, she still maintained a grudge towards Bolin.
- The Chief's Daughter: Eska is the daughter of the chieftain of the Northern Water Tribe and thus essentially a princess like Yue.
- Classic Villain: Eska has come to represent Envy, Wrath, and Lust after Bolin "rejected" her.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Eska. Her reaction to Bolin hugging Korra was to restrain him in ice and drag him back to her. She later remarks that Korra "stole" Bolin from her, blaming her cousin for the entire thing.
Eska: Why did you initiate physical contact with another woman?
- Dark Action Girl: Eska, being one of the Co-Dragons to the Big Bad and a very lethal waterbender in her own right.
- Declaration of Protection: Eska tells Bolin she will protect him after he becomes afraid of dark spirits... in her own way.
Eska: I will protect you, my feeble turtle duck.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Eska, pun intended; it happens when Bolin apologizes for ditching her during her wedding. Bolin's Anguished Declaration of Love caused Eska to defrost—both literally and figuratively.
- Domestic Abuser: She treats Bolin like a servant.
- The Dreaded: To Bolin, who is terrified of her.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Very, VERY subverted. Things go south after Bolin jilted Eska.
- Fourth Date Marriage: Eska forcibly makes Bolin her fiancé and declares they will be married at sunset. Bolin runs. Very fast.
- Hair Decorations: Eska wears beads in her hair.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Eska is the masculine to Bolin's feminine.
- Mathematician's Answer: When Eska said she would make Bolin hers, he asked if as a boyfriend or slave. She just said yes. Turns out there's little distinction between the two in her eyes.
- More Deadly Than The Male: Eska is the one we've seen speak more frequently and the one more likely to make demands. She's also the one more prone to hunting down men who break up with her. It is, however, possible that Eska only seems more verbose than her brother because she's given more attention, being the one dating Bolin. They seem to be equal on terms of fighting.
- Nightmare Face: Eska gets a rather terrifying one after Bolin tries to ditch her. Even Unalaq's commander was freaked out.
- Nightmare Fetishist: she claims to enjoy the sweet scent of desperation.
- Not So Stoic: Eska takes Bolin breaking up with her... poorly. In a more down-to-earth example, when Desna is injured while they're trying to open the Northern spirit portal, she shows immediate concern, even ignoring Unalaq's orders so she can get Desna to a healer.
- Opposites Attract: Bolin attempts to start a relationship with Eska, Despite the fact that Bolin himself is Big Fun (in every sense of the trope) and that Eska has all the warmth and charm of a glacier. Though the "attract" part disappears rather quickly. At least, from Bolin's side.
- Reconstructed in the Book 2 finale, where he admitted he always loved Eska, but just felt too overwhelmed by the thought of marriage.
- Pitbull Dates Puppy: Eska quickly shows herself to be domineering, possessive and insensitive to Bolin's feelings. Bolin, for his part, is too intimidated by her to ever stand up for himself or breakup with her. This hits its peak when Eska tries to bully Bolin into marrying her with Bolin only responding by sobbing at the prospect then fleeing as soon as the opportunity presented itself.
- Power Born of Madness: After becoming an Axe Crazy Yandere Eska comes off as far more vicious and dangerous than her brother.
- Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Eska already showed Yandere tendencies before Bolin broke up with her and left her at the altar, but after the break up she completely drops her emotionless personality and becomes a full-blown Ax-Crazy Woman Scorned out for her cousin for "stealing her husband".
- Psychopathic Womanchild: Eska's behavior after Bolin's leaving her (and her behavior before when you realize she seems to have actual feelings for him) has revealed that underneath her icy exterior she does have something in common with him—she is a rather sheltered individual with a fairly childish view of the world. Unfortunately, where Bolin's childishness is sweet and innocent, hers is domineering and insane...
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Eska has shifted into being the Red Oni after being rejected by Bolin, leaving Desna as Blue Oni and Only Sane Man.
- Took a Level in Kindness:
- After Bolin apologizes to Eska for ditching her, Eska and Bolin were able to reaffirm their feelings for each other, they join the heroes later on (albeit late to the party), and commend their cousin for defeating their father.
- And after they both reach the conclusion that the whole thing was just something caused by the heat of the moment; Eska breaks up with Bolin on very good terms, saying he's still special to her.
- Uptown Girl: Bolin starts pursuing a romance with Eska, who, as the daughter of the chieftain of the Northern Water Tribe, is essentially a princess.
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: Eska when she protects Bolin from dark spirits.
- Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Eska sees Bolin as an uncultured man and by the way she treats him, he wonders whether she sees him as a boyfriend or slave. Eventually deconstructed, as the relationship is unhealthy, Eska treats Bolin like an object (and plans to take him home to the Northern Water Tribe without asking), and Bolin wants out desperately.
- Woman Scorned: Bolin skipped town on his wedding to Eska and she is pissed. Granted he didn't want to get married in the first place but he still ran away without confronting her, so you can kinda see how that might upset someone.
- Yandere: Eska is one woman you don't want to see scorned. She informs Bolin that should he try to break-up with her, she will freeze him in a block of ice and feed him to dolphin-piranhas. And when he does break up with her... she looks ready to commit murder.◊ Later, when their father tells the twins he wants Korra found alive, Eska showed visible disappointment. But by the episode Harmonic Convergence, she seems to have gotten over it.
- Your Makeup Is Running: Eska while pursuing Bolin after he breaks off their engagement and it stays that way until the episode The Sting.
Triads In general
- Butt Monkey: The Triple Threat Triad gets this treatment, and nothing usually goes right for them. Korra handles them so easily, that it is almost ridiculous. Then, Amon's Equalists get it handed to them really bad, that he took away the bending of several of their victims. This is averted when Varrick hired them as part of a trap for Mako, and they almost succeed.
- Mob War: They are constantly in this, as Skoochy pointed out.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: In Book 1, they were more of a laughable joke, often getting served. Of course, by The Sting, they do become such a serious threat that Mako and Asami had to retreat from them. The laughable tone that encompassed their villainy from the First Book vanishes by this episode.
- Goldfish Poop Gang: The Triple Threat Triad is this, mostly serving as recurring side villains. They usually pale in comparison to the Big Bad(s) of the season, that they are a laughable threat to the heroes. It was only when Varrick is involved that they become a real threat.
- Psychos For Hire: On a regular basis, they extort people for their money. Of course, they can take tasks for hire as well.
Lightning Bolt Zolt
The firebending leader of the Triple Threat Triad at the start of the series. He is deposed after losing his bending to Amon, the first person to suffer that fate.
- Anti-Villain: If the Republic City Hustle shorts are anything to go by, he's seemingly a Noble Demon. Of course, he's still a murderous crime lord.
- The Don: Formerly.
- Evil Mentor: According to supplementary materials, he taught Mako how to bend and redirect lightning.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: He is the first person to lose his bending to Amon and apparently loses his position as the Triad's boss soon after.
- Kill It with Fire / Shock and Awe: He's a skilled firebender and lightningbender before his encounter with Amon, hence the nickname.
- Noble Demon: In the Republic City Hustle shorts, he is shown as a somewhat honourable figure, protecting the brothers from Slady Shin's wrath, being pissed off at Tousa specifically for not fullfilling his part of the deal after "what they've done for him", and respecting Mako's wishes.
- Put on a Bus: In Book 2, he's apparently stepped down, been imprisoned or overthrown after losing his bending, with Viper having replaced him as the Triad's leader.
- Wouldn't Hurt a Child: In the Republic City Hustle short he tells Shin not to fight Mako and Bolin, stating that fighting children is "undignified".
Voiced by: Michael Yurchak
A Water-bending member of the Triple Threat Triad
- An Ice Person/Making a Splash: Like all water-benders.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Not apparent in his first appearance, since he was up against Korra and only had limited water to work with. When he comes up against Mako in Book Two while in open water at nighttime (giving him more power), he manages to overpower Mako briefly.
- Badass Longcoat: A grey one.
- Beard of Evil: Has a small beard.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Was one of the gangsters Korra beat up in her first episode.
- Dragon Ascendant: Since Zolt lost his bending; Viper has either taken over, or leads a section of the Triple-Threats.
- Faux Affably Evil: All of his dialogue is polite, and delivered in a sleezy mocking tone.
- Jerkass: Slimy and smug through and through.
- Nice Hat: Grey like his coat.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Subtle, but the fact he still has his bending meant he likely avoided Amon's mass debendings during the time he controlled Republic City. Whether or not this was luck or being good at avoiding the Equalists has still yet to be explained.
- Shame If Something Happened: His debut had him threaten a business.
- Smug Snake: He's smug and contemptuous, it's what makes him over-confident.
- Underestimating Badassery: Justified. He didn't know Korra was the Avatar at the time before getting his ass handed to him.
Voiced by: Fisher Stevens
A Waterbending member of the Triple Threat Triad
- Beard of Evil: He has a small brown beard, and he considers shaving it for a date he has.
- Brought Down to Normal: After Amon debends him, as a bribe, Mako lies and offers to have Korra give it back.
- The Dragon: He may have been it to Zolt, and he seems to be it for Viper.
- Graceful Loser: Despite the brothers costing the Triple Threats a lot of money by getting Toza to not throw a fight, after Zolt calms him down, Shin leaves amicably even wistfully saying maybe they can fix a fight together someday. He's even willing to hire the brothers out for a job, like when Bolin was trying to find cash.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Amon depowered him and Zolt to prove his abilities. He made it seem like Pay Evil unto Evil but he did it because they were benders not because they were bad people, though he used that fact to gain more followers.
- Making a Splash/An Ice Person: Formerly.
- Meaningful Name: He's a shady figure who's offer of "legitimate" work should be taken with a grain of salt
- Not-So-Badass Longcoat: He wears a blue coat, not as long as Viper's, but he was depowered before we saw him demonstrate any combat feats.
- Would Hurt a Child: In Republic City Hustle, he and two other gangsters go after Bolin and Mako after they cost the group a lot of money, saying they're going to have a "talk" when they all get home. Zolt tells him to stand down because fighting kids is undignified.
Two Toed Ping
Voiced by: Richard Epcar
A fire-bending member of the Triple Threat Triad.
- Affably Evil: Very polite and happily strikes up a conversation with the heroes even when pulling the wool over Mako and Asami's eyes.
- Agony of the Feet: Implied. Mako pulls a flame dagger and threatens to turn him into "No-Toed Ping" if he doesn't say who hired the Triple Threats. Ping's information, while not useful, is genuine because he'd never lie with his lucky toes on the line.
- Butt Monkey: Is often beaten in hilarious ways.
- Chekhov's Gunman: He was one of the three gangsters who Korra first encountered in Republic city.
- Four-Fingered Hands: Inverted toe variant, he has 12 toes.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has a scar over his left eye.
- Meaningful Name: He has two extra toes. He would have gone with "Twelve-toed" but another gangster claimed that nickname.
- Motor Mouth: From Toes, to dating, to strong-arming, Ping likes to talk. And an advantage is he rarely talks about anything useful. He can go on for hours about the said categories just to waste time.
- One Steve Limit: He wanted to be called "Twelve-Toed Ping", but some other guy already had the nickname.
- Playing with Fire: Like all firebenders.
- Scarf of Asskicking: A small red one.
- Shame If Something Happened: His debut has him firebend a phonograph to show what they could do to a business.
- Too Dumb to Live: Unlike Viper and his unnamed Earthbender ally, Ping should have been well aware that Korra was the Avatar after witnessing her bend water and earth. He tries to attack her and gets throw into a building window for his efforts.
Earth Queen Hou-Ting
Earth Queen Hou-Ting
Short may she reign.
Voiced by: Jayne Taini
The daughter and successor of Kuei, Hou-Ting is the petty, dictatorial monarch of the Earth Kingdom. Feeling that Aang and Zuko took advantage of her father's "vulnerability" to steal her nation's lands for their own empire, she is an immensely bitter woman, who takes out her grievances on her own kingdom.
- Bad Boss: Fail to fulfill her demands one too many times, she will order the Dai Li to send you to prison.
- Cruella to Animals: Though somewhat justifiable, since she has allergies to most animals.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- While the overtaxation and poverty are rather general traits that could apply to any number of real-world parallels, the Secret Police and personality cult vibe make her rule suspiciously similar to that of North Korea.
- Also seems to be a bit inspired by Empress Dowager Cixi of China. An iron-fisted ruler who wasted taxpayers' money on things like a boat made of marble, while also undermining any effort to reform or modernize the country; thus bringing China to near ruin as a result.
- Her opinion that the Republic consists of what she considers territory stolen from her kingdom, and the hints of a militarization programme with the captured airbenders, brings to mind Nazi Germany's evocation of similar sentiments over lost territory after the First World War.
- Dystopia Justifies the Means: She makes life for commoners living hell, and pretty much undid all the progress under her father.
- Femme Fatalons: Has very long green nails with golden nail coverings, and happens to be an antagonist. Long fingernails were often a fashion of imperial chinese aristocracy in real life.
- Foil: She is the exact opposite of her father: he was clueless and passive, so she became a domineering control freak; he was used by the Dai Li, so she brought the Dai Li to heel and under her control; he lost Earth Kingdom territory, and it seems she wants to take it back; she is hostile to the Avatar for Aang and Zuko's perceived exploitation of her father; and finally, she hates animals of all kinds, while her father loved them.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: Especially notable since she is the one Queen seen in either seriesnote .
- Gonk: Aside from her clothing, she wouldn't look particularly out of place in The Boondocks, which tends to use more caricatured faces and facial expressions.
- Greed: She makes Varrick look charitable by comparison.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: It's not at all hard to make her neurotically angry.
- It's All About Me: She over-taxes her subjects to fund her lavish lifestyle, imprisons the airbenders in her kingdom to force them to become her army, and people apparently have to keep pictures of her in their homes.
- Never My Fault: She blames the various problems facing her kingdom alternatively on her father's weakness, the disloyalty and incompetence of her citizens, and bandits. Never on the fact that she's a tight-fisted tyrant who doesn't care about anyone but herself.
- Obviously Evil: You mean the mannish-jawed, long-nailed, allergic to animals perpetually angry Queen is evil!? How shocking!
- Sketchy Successor/Fisher King: In a sense. Under her reign, the Upper and Middle Rings of Ba Sing Se have grown even more decadent, while the Lower Ring and outskirts have been driven down further into poverty.
- Villain Has a Point: She technically does have the ability to conscript Earth Kingdom citizens into the army, something that both she and Bumi mention.
The Dai Li
The Earth Kingdom's Secret Police
. They are largely unchanged from the previous series, down to the mannerisms and fighting styles, though unlike with Kuei's reign they are perfectly aligned with Hou-Ting's will.
- Dishing Out Dirt: The Dai Li are all Earthbenders.
- Hazy Feel Turn: Again. First they served a corrupt official who reduced the Earth King to a puppet, then they switched loyalty to the ruthless Fire Nation. Seventy years later, they're back under the command of a tyrannical Earth Queen.
- Secret Police: Just like in the last series. Only now instead of being no war, "there are no airbenders in Ba Sing Se", and they appear to be completely loyal to the Earth Queen.
- Badass Crew: According to Zuko, all four of them are strong enough to take down any bender on their own, and the entire world together. Note that Zaheer wasn't a bender until recently, so that's high praise indeed.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: All four of them have been locked in a Tailor-Made Prison for 13 years with barely any human contact, but aside from Ming-Hua looking slightly gaunt, they definitely don't look it. Only Zaheer has even a hint of unchecked hair growth, but certainly not a decade's worth.
- Establishing Character Moment: Each character gets one during their respective escape.
- The Dreaded: Everyone who knows off them is terrified of what they can do, both individually and as a team.
- Evil Counterpart: To Team Avatar, and like them, they are a cabal of powerful benders.
- Gender-Equal Ensemble: Another parallel to Team Avatar.
- Hidden Agenda Villain: Zaheer has only vaguely hinted at wanting to get rid of the Avatar, but there's definitely more to it. Guru Laghima seems to be another piece of the puzzle, as Zaheer mentions his legend while escaping and later sneaks onto Air Temple Island to steal a locket which belonged to Laghima.
- Tailor-Made Prison: All four of them were held in prisons built specifically for them.
- Zaheer was held in a metallic mountain prison that could only be opened by a metalbender (and he wasn't even a bender at the time).
- Ghazan the earthbender was held in a floating wooden island prison.
- Ming-Hua the waterbender was held in a cage over a volcano.
- P'Li the firebender was held in a cell deep inside a glacier at the north pole with restraints to block her explosion-bending.
- Villainous Friendship: The whole group seems to genuinely like each other.
- Wrong Context Magic: All four possess bending that should, by most normal rules of bending, be impossible. Zaheer is an airbender who gained the ability through Harmonic Convergence, Ghazan can liquefy Earth into magma when only Avatars have shown the ability to do so, Ming-Hua can apparently bend through either thought or facial movements (which isn't unheard of), and P'Li can create explosions like Combustion Man.
When you base your expectations only on what you see, you blind yourself to the possibilities of a new reality.
A formerly non-bender criminal, arrested for unspecified crimes against the Avatar.
- Badass Normal: Only mentioned in passing. Zaheer was a non-bender until Harmoic Convergence, yet he was apparently so dangerous the Order of the White Lotus saw fit to imprison him with as much caution as the benders he worked with.
- Bald of Evil: Though starts out unkempt, he shaves his head and beard later on, taking on a more Airbender-like appearance.
- Big Bad: He seeks to put an end to the Avatar.
- Blow You Away: He gained airbending through Harmonic Convergence.
- Good Powers, Bad People: Airbending is without a doubt the least offense-based bending, but Zaheer is anything but defensive in his use of it. He even has a twisted interpretation of airbending philosophy.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: He has an 'x'-shaped scar on the back-left side of his head.
- Empowered Badass Normal: Once he gets airbending.
- Hannibal Lecture: Gives a rather chilling one to the White Lotus guard bringing him his rice.
- Instant Expert: He's been an airbender for all of two weeks, yet bends like a master. It's implied he's a dedicated student of Air Nomad culture, so he likely memorized much of the lore and just started applying it once he gained the power. This actually works against him in "The Metal Clan". His skill, combined with him sneaking around, is enough for Kya to be suspicious of him and figure out his identity.
- The Leader: To his small gang. He makes the effort to break them out once he escapes, and they follow his lead.
- The Mole: He passes himself off as a new Acolyte, but is foiled when Kya notices that he's too knowledgeable for a new air bender.
- Simple Staff: He steals a glider staff from Air Temple Island.
- Unholy Matrimony: P'Li is described as his "girlfriend" by Ming-Hua.
- Villain Has a Point: While coming across as somewhat pretentious, his speech to his guards about Guru Lahima's teachings are a very valid message, that you are only truly restricted by our own perceptions and instincts.
- Vocal Dissonance: His voice sounds far younger than his appearance would suggest. Though similar to the Reality Is Unrealistic case of Dante Basco and Iroh II, his voice actor Henry Rollins, who is well over 50 years old, also sounds exactly the same in real life. It certainly fits a lot better once he's shaved his beard and head.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Zaheer takes his gift of airbending as a sign that the group's cause, whatever it may be, is righteous.
- Wicked Cultured: He's well-versed in Air Nomad poetry, history and lore.
The Magma Shuriken Man.
Voiced by: Peter Giles
An earthbender who can create magma.
I have no arms and I must bend.
A waterbender who has both arms amputated, but is still able to control water, which she uses as substitute limbs.
- Ax-Crazy: Clearly the more vicious and psychotic member of the gang.
- Combat Tentacles: She uses her water arms in this fashion, and she can shape them into whatever form she needs, including hardening them into ice tools.
- Handicapped Badass: She has no arms, but she can bend just fine and use water to create limbs even more versatile.
- Lean and Mean: She has a noticeably emaciated face and figure. Given the need to ration her water carefully and the extreme heat of her prison, this is to be expected. Her lack of arms also makes her seem thinner then the average person.
- Making a Splash: She's a waterbender.
- Wall Crawl: Climbs up the glacier wall after breaking P'Li out of her cell, using her water arms as ice picks. P'Li notes they could have just taken the elevator.
Voiced by: Kristy Wu
There is something familiar about her.
A firebender like Combustion Man, able to generate explosions.
- Ax-Crazy: Gives off an air of this during her rambling when Zuko and Tonraq visit to make sure she's still in her prison. She's obviously not all..."there."
- Badass: She shot down a dragon.
- Braids of Action: Puts up the hair on the top of her head like this, along with shaving the sides and back.
- Distaff Counterpart: To Combustion Man, as noted by Zuko.
- Having a Blast: She's able to fire beams from her Third Eye that explode on contact, just like Combustion Man.
- Playing with Fire: Unlike Combustion Man, she can use traditional firebending in addition to her explosion talent, hence the need to keep her somewhere very cold. She shows off her skills when she uses firebending to block a fire attack from Zuko's dragon.
- Statuesque Stunner: She's the tallest of the group and, despite the winter clothing, has the looks to match.
- Third Eye: The tattoo on her forehead.
- Unholy Matrimony: With Zaheer.
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: Nearly blew up Tonraq when Zaheer was having trouble with him.