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Analysis / Embers

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Criticism of the Fic

;;sigh;; Moon Howler, if Kalaong actually bothered to post something up in the Analysis section, it would end up being dissected and probably even picked apart faster than vultures can feed on a dead lion's carcass. The other tropers here are just too good at that sort of thing.

Book one: Water

Book two: Earth

Book Three: Fire

All my criticisms were deleted, but pretty much everything I said is stated there by Clockworkchaos. Take your best shot.
More succinct analyses are here, here and here.

The Heel–Face Turn Arc of Canon vs Embers: Zuko's journey and the treatment of character


Another is here;

lurker: That's the main problem: that it contradicts the first season, but I don't think it's the only one. I have no problem with grayer, or different worlds. Heck, my first fanfic was me writing the air nomads as the villains. I've wrote homicidal version of both Katara and Aang. Part of it is that she claims it's more realistic than canon (bullshit, almost every fix she applies makes less sense or further divorces it from the real world), and while she acknowledges it's AU, she still seems to be under the impression she accurately depicting the personalities of the characters. Most of my problems would be solvable, but even then, I still don't think it would be good.
The big thing, the big thing for me is the contrast to how Ember and the original series handle the person in the wrong. Avatar had one of the greatest redemption arcs on TV, and it didn't occur to me until, oddly, I was looking at a Mary Sue test. One of the questions was "does the villain become friends with your character, and redeem themselves because of it?" That question made me think about how a lot of shows, (I'm especially thinking anime) tend to have the villains be redeemed by the heroes. Sailor Moon had some, Naruto had Garaa, and magical girl lyrical nanoha "befriending". But in all these stories, the villains redemption is really part of the hero's arc. It's about how the hero saves the villain, and grows as a result. Not that the villain doesn't have a back-story and personality and goals, but they are ultimately secondary characters, with the hero motivating their change. There's nothing wrong with this; every show needs secondary characters, Avatar included, but still, it's what they are.
Zuko, however was different. Not only did he spurn Aang's offers, but it wasn't Aang who changed him. There was no epic fight where Aang overpowered him and showed him the power of friendship. Rather, Zuko's redemption arc was Zuko's arc. It wasn't the gaang who changed him. In fact, some of the people who had the biggest effect, Lee, Jin, and Song, were never meant by the Gaang. While others, such as Mai and Iroh, were really only connected via Zuko introducing them. The only two who significantly played in both stories were Azula and Ozai as villains. In terms of the overall story, Aang was the main character, but in terms of Zuko's redemption, that was Zuko's no one else's. And that made avatar unique.
But both these stand in contrast to embers. Which not only treats Aang as foolish, but is condescending. Avatar, and even shows with secondary redemption arcs, show the villain is wrong, but still love the character. By contrast, embers hates Aang, and perhaps most unforgivably in may eyesm, condescends, slowly and in detail explaining to the reader why Aang and Katara are wrong, and having Zuko and every right thinking person frustrated at his obvious ignorance and foolishness. The only time Avatar even came close to this was Iroh's speech in "Lake Laogai" and that was the culmination of the arc, with it being less condescension and more a desperate plea. Avatar sought to show why Zuko was wrong, and then bring him up. Embers seeks to tear Katara and Aang down in every way. And what I find so pathetic about it is that it's Avatar's respect for the Anti-Villain that likely made Vathara like Zuko in the first place, and she herself is incapable of duplicating it.

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