Avatar Aang | Team Avatar | Mentors | Allies | Fire Nation | The Ember Island Players | Other | Comics
These characters are the mentors to Team Avatar.
The four Avatars that came before Aang, listed in descending order. Even after their deaths, they serve as Spirit Advisors for the current Avatar, and can lend Aang their power through the Avatar State. Since Roku is the one that came directly before Aang, he does most of the advising.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble:
- Roku is Phlegmatic; best shown by his dealings with Sozin, he was kind, forgiving, and placed great stock in peace and harmony. Blames himself for the Hundred Year War.
- Kyoshi was Choleric; very task-oriented and exhibited greater leadership in her role as Avatar, dictating terms to the Earth King and created the Dai Li to protect the Earth Kingdom's cultural heritage.
- Kuruk was Sanguine; he was extroverted and people-oriented, very friendly and a "go with the flow" kind of Avatar. Unfortunately, he was also impulsive and self-indulgent.
- Yangchen was Melancholic; she doesn't seem to have cultivated any close relationships, and like Kyoshi, she was very task-oriented and dedicated to keeping things hunky dory. By force if necessary. Of all the Avatars, she displays the most willingness to use violence if no other options present themselves.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Goes with the territory; an avatar's eyes glow when they enter the avatar state.
- Killed Off for Real: Well, they're all dead by the events of the series, but when Unalaq merges with Vaatu and destroys Raava, all the spirits of the past Avatar's were destroyed and did not return when she did. Meaning that Korra and no future Avatar may ever consult or see Aang or any of the previous Avatars ever again.
- Men Act, Women Are: Gender Inverted. It's the two female Avatars, Kyoshi and Yangchen, who unambiguously endorse the option of Aang killing Fire Lord Ozai, while the two male Avatars, Roku and Kuruk, only give him vague suggestions about "being decisive" and "shaping your own destiny," respectively. Likewise, Roku allowed Sozin to live, and openly regrets not killing him when he had the chance, and Kuruk admits he was a "go with the flow" Avatar, which worked against him. Kyoshi, on the other hand, openly defies Chin the Conqueror and lets him fall to his death (and bluntly admits to it), as well dictating terms to the Earth King himself; Yangchen, implied both through the show and the comics, was very pro-active and unrestrained in dealing with threats to the world's balance and peace.
- One-Man Army / Person of Mass Destruction: A fully realized avatar has god-like power. Aang, when he was a child and only mastered one of the four elements, wiped out fourteen ships without the avatar state. These guys have all four elements and a lot more practice.
- Reincarnation: All of them are Aang's past lives. Aang himself is Korra's past life.
- Spirit Advisor: Every past avatar becomes one of these to the current-living-avatar. Aang talks to Roku the most because he is Aang's immediate predecessor.
- Wizards Live Longer: Avatars normally enjoy an extended lifespan, such as Kyoshi (who lived to be the oldest Avatar, at 230). However, they are still vulnerable to violent deaths, such as Roku who died in a volcanic eruption at age 70. Aang is a more complicated case; chronologically he's 112 but biologically 12 and dies when he is biologically 66 because of the time he spent frozen in the iceberg, Averted with Kuruk, who only lived to be 33. It's unclear whether or not he died of natural causes.
- Women Are Wiser: Yangchen has the most successful tenure of the four and Kyoshi ended hers without regrets because the Da Li weren't corrupt under her watch. note On the other hand, Kuruk is still making up for his mistakes three generations later and Roku is riddled with guilt.
Voiced by: James Garrett (original), Sergio Schmied and Carlos Carvajal (Latin American Spanish)
Roku is a Fire Nation Avatar and the one directly preceding Aang. He blames himself for the war, and with good reason — he was close friends with Fire Lord Sozin and was unwilling to kill him in order to put a stop to Sozin's imperialism before it got out of hand.
- Appeal to Force: Scares Jeong-Jeong into training Aang, against the other man's better judgement.
- Badass Beard: Roku has one, fitting in with the "wise old mentor" visual.
- Berserk Button: It seems he hates being called "weak". When Jeong-Jeong says Aang isn't strong enough to learn firebending, he immediately appears, berates Jeong-Jeong, and tells him that he will teach Aang firebending.
- Cool Old Guy: Technically speaking, all of them qualify to one extent or another, but Roku fits the spirit of the trope the most. Aside from helping Aang out the most, he is the only one who chooses to appear as an older man (his appearance when he died) instead of his appearance when he was younger and in his prime.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Roku is the Avatar seen bending all 4 elements in the opening then vanishing.
- "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: According to Roku, he states that if he had killed his friend Sozin instead of letting him off rather easily, then the Hundred Year War would never have happened. You know, a trip around the Four Nations to show that they're doing pretty well in order to quell the justification for Sozin's ambitions in the first place would've also been a good move.
- Cryptically Unhelpful Answer:
- Roku's advice to Aang when he was consulting the preceding four Avatars for advice on how to deal with Ozai was only to "be decisive". Ironically, this answer could also sum up the fix to another Cryptically Unhelpful Answer which Aang had received earlier regarding controlling the Avatar State from Guru Pathik, though Roku did help correct the mistake in Aang's thinking on that subject simply by showing his marriage in his life's story.
- He gives similar advice in The Promise, and basically tells Aang to steel himself to kill Zuko if he believes he threatens the balance of the world. When Zuko turns out to be doing the right thing, Aang forsakes Roku's advice for advising him to kill his friend instead of seeking a better solution.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Especially in The Promise, where he still recommends that Aang decolonize the Fire Nation colonies as part of pre-Hundred Year status quo, and remains steadfastly unable to conceive the notion of uniting the four cultures when Aang tries to explain it to him as another solution. He gets over it in The Rift.
- Dragon Rider: Roku's familiar was a dragon.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Roku is the shadowed Avatar in the beginning of the series bending all 4 elements.
- Et Tu, Brute?: Roku and Sozin had their friendship strained after Roku warned Sozin that he would kill him should he start the war. Though they were still friends with each other while they were helping to evacuate the villagers from the volcano eruption. That is, until Sozin realizes that Roku is vulnerable and leaves him to die on the island while he fulfills his ambitions of world conquest.
- It's All My Fault: Roku regrets not killing Sozin when they fought, as doing so would have prevented the war, to the point that he tries to prep Aang up to kill Zuko in the comics in order to avoid a repeat of this.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Roku is the maternal great-grandfather of Prince Zuko and Princess Azula. It's uncertain whether or not he knows this, but it's probable certainly, he freed the chained up Zuko as well as Sokka, Katara and Shaiyu while possessing Aang, when he demonstrated sufficient precision with his firebending to knock the Fire Sages over, and instantly melt the chains without harming those chained up in them, all in one go.
- As of The Promise, it's explicit that Roku was in fact aware of this.
- My Greatest Failure: Roku blames himself for not dealing with Sozin when he had the opportunity, believing that if he had acted more decisively instead of just assuming the matter was settled, then Ozai wouldn't be a problem.
- Nice Guy: Spared Sozin because they were friends and is consistently kind to Aang.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Aang's firebending accident with Katara came about as the result of Roku manifesting before Jeong Jeong and strong-arming him into training Aang, thanks to his desperation to get Aang ready to face Ozai. However, this may have been because Aang needed a blunt lesson in the dangers of uncontrolled firebending.
- Noble Bigot: Deconstructed Trope in The Promise; his insistence on removing Fire Nation colonies even if it meant separating mixed-race families came off as villainous even for a well-meaning attempt to bring peace while ignoring that they could become independent culture.
- Parental Substitute: To Aang, to an extent, weird as that may seem. He's kindly and patient with his successor when advising him, though also willing to be firm, and he and Aang seem to care for each other very much, something elaborated upon in the comics when Aang tearfully cuts himself off from Roku after strongly disagreeing with Roku's advised course of action, on the grounds that he thinks that Roku's views are stuck in the past and only holding him back, then the emotional reunion after he reconnects with him, something that has all the vibes of estranged family members reuniting. Going by the other past Avatars shown and Aang's relationship with his successor, Korra, they're unusually close, with the former being cryptic and unhelpful, and the latter being kind enough, but distant.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Like all former Avatars, he qualifies, but he deserves particular note - while Kyoshi moved an island, he blew one up while possessing Aang.
- Stealth Pun: Roku is the one who gives the 'Previously, on Avatar...' speech, because he IS the previous Avatar.
- Tragic Hero: Roku was betrayed by his best friend yet spared his life out of friendship. Then, he's betrayed a second time by the same friend in his moment of weakness and need.
Voiced by: Jennifer Hale (original), Maureen Herman (Latin American Spanish)
Kyoshi is from the Earth Kingdom and the founder/creator of Kyoshi Island. She is best known as the creator of the Dai Li and the inspiration for the Kyoshi Warriors. She is also on record for the most triumphant demonstration of the power of the Avatar State, as she used it to alter plate tectonics.
- Bi the Way: In The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part 1 it is revealed that Kyoshi "...by all accounts loved men and women."
- Brutal Honesty: Kyoshi, if the two instances in the series involving her are anything to come by. Such as blatantly admitting to the crime that could get Aang killed if he was declared guilty and flat-out mentioning her opinion about how to deal with Ozai by killing him right then and there.
- Contralto of Danger: Avatar Kyoshi has a deeper voice than some of the other female characters to portray her as powerful and dangerous.
- Dance Battler: Kyoshi and her fans. She founded the Kyoshi warriors.
- Girly Bruiser: A more serious variation. She wears makeup that highlights her beauty, fights in a dress, her weapon of choice is her fans, and incorporates dancing in combat. She also happens to be strong enough to earthbend islands. At the same time, she's also a very much no-nonsense stoic type of fighter in contrast to the usual kind of personality associated with the trope.
- Iron Lady: Kyoshi is a true earth avatar; strong, unmoving, formidable, unrelenting, etc.
- Lady of War: Kyoshi has a very regal and imposing presence due to her physical size, calm deep voice, dress and ability to earthbend an entire island. Her followers, the Kyoshi Warriors, are Non-Elementals but all look and act the part.
- Mixed Ancestry: Kyoshi reveals to Rangi in Rise of Kyoshi that her father was an Earthbender but her mother was an Air Nomad, making Kyoshi half Earthbender and Air Nomad.
- More Deadly Than the Male: Kyoshi is the only shown Avatar with a confirmed kill to her name (even if Aang would rather not see it that way.)
- My Greatest Failure: Downplayed compared to Roku, but according to The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part 1, the Earth Kingdom in her time was too stubborn and militaristic to be more open-minded to queer people despite years of effort, which considering her lifespan was a considerably long time.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Kyoshi created the Dai Li. We all know how that turned out. Then there was that time that she admitted guilt for the crime that almost gets Aang executed... though he was likely gonna be executed before she said so anyway, and her confession indirectly bought time before the upcoming attack.
- Parental Abandonment: Rise of Kyoshi reveals that her parents, a pair of daofei had abandoned her in town with no yet explained reason as to why. Kyoshi has not forgotten such an act and has despised her parents ever since.
- Pragmatic Hero: Kyoshi did not enjoy violence, but was willing and ready to ruthlessly use it the most when it was the necessary action.
- Really 700 Years Old: Kyoshi lived well into her third century, making her unusually long-lived even for an Avatar.
- Self-Disposing Villain: Discussed when Aang points out that Chin fell to his death due to refusing to surrender his ground, even as it crumbled beneath him, not a direct attack from Kyoshi herself. Subverted when Kyoshi bluntly states she sees no distinction between killing him either directly or indirectly and was willing to kill him without regret at that point.
- Shoot the Dog: Kyoshi was a proponent of Aang killing Ozai.
- Somebody Else's Problem: During Kyoshi's life, Chin the Conqueror took over nearly all of the Earth Kingdom. Kyoshi didn't bother doing anything about it until he came to her doorstep with an army. Her general reaction was to tell him to buzz off, then separate what would become Kyoshi Island from the mainland. Chin only dies by accident and his own stubbornness, not because of any direct action against him on Kyoshi's part (unless one includes using airbending to rip off his clothes).
- Start of Darkness: Kyoshi in her youth watched one of her best friends consumed by a spirit and her beloved mentor Kelsang murdered by Jianzhu. This led her to run with bandits and other daofei in order for her to accumulate enough strength to kill Jianzhu. Fortunately, once she learns of the first raid, she changes tracks immediately and averts this trope's dark conclusion.
- Your Soul Is Mine: How she defeats Xu Ping An in the tie in novel Rise of Kyoshi, she lifts him up and upon him trying to firebend, managed to take out his soul through firebending; a feat not seen of firebenders ever.
Voiced by: Jim Meskimen
Kuruk is a member of the Water Tribe, and being alive during a relatively peaceful era led to him not taking his job as Avatar too seriously. This came back to bite him when Koh took his wife from him to punish him for his irresponsibility. When not advising Aang, he spends his time searching for Koh for vengeance.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Kuruk was one to the point where Koh had to kidnap his fiancée to remind him of his duties as an Avatar.
- Ascended Extra: Kuruk first appeared in Escape from the Spirit World, a tie-in online game. He made his show debut during the finale.
- Badass Beard: He had one.
- Blood Knight: Was always challenging random benders to fights just to prove his strength.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Despite having the skill of powerful past Avatars like Yangchen, he was self-described as a "go with the flow" Avatar that generally let problems solve themselves and generally lazed around and flirted with women.
- The Casanova: Kuruk's tenure was a peaceful one so he was more interested in flirting than his duty.
- Ladykiller in Love: Kuruk was a flirt before he fell in love.
- Screw Destiny: In response to the claim that it was Aang's destiny to kill the Fire Lord, Kuruk advised him to "Actively shape your own destiny".
- We Hardly Knew Ye: In-Universe. He died at the age of 33, even younger than Aang, who lost a lot of time because of his time in the iceberg.
Voiced by: Tress MacNeille
Yangchen is an Air Nomad, and can give Aang insight the others can't due to their shared heritage. However, she believes that Aang's pacifism is detrimental to his job as Avatar. Case in point, her tenure as Avatar was so successful it allowed for multi-generational peace; the reason Kuruk had all that time to take it easy? HER.
- The Ace: Unlike the other incarnations, (Wan and Korra included) Yangchen was said to have been pretty much perfect, having left the world without regrets (like Kuruk and Roku) nor leaving behind anything that would later come back around to bite her in the next life (like Kyoshi and Aang). It could be argued she did her job too well. That being said, she admits to Aang that she too has made her fair share of mistakes as an Avatar during ''The Rift''. In fact, Yanchen made her debut telling Aang that no single Avatar has been flawless at her job.
- Ascended Extra: Like Kuruk, she debuted first in Escape from the Spirit World, a tie-in online game, and makes her show debut in the finale. She also gets a lot of backstory in the comics.
- Irony: She's an Air Nomad. You know? The most peaceful group of people in the Avatar universe. But shes also quite the Lady of War and uses violence quite freely to solve issues if other options don't present themselves, especially when compared to other Avatars.
- Lady of War: She's implied to be one from her demeanor.
- Pragmatic Hero: Yangchen stands out due to the advice that she gives Aang: That while the monks' teachings were wise and sacred, it was pushing him into Honor Before Reason and that as the Avatar, such restraint would hurt the world he is bound to protect. Considering her tenure as the Avatar was the most successful, it was implied that she sacrificed the monks pacifist teachings herself and did whatever it took to protect the world.
- Warrior Monk: While it's not stated if Yangchen was a nun at the Air Temples, she definitely qualifies. Even though she was an Air Nomad like Aang, she still advised him that killing Ozai was the only other option.
- Shoot the Dog: Yangchen was especially supportive of Aang killing Ozai much to Aang's distress.
- You Can't Fight Fate: Unlike Kuruk, she believed Aang would inevitably have to sacrifice his pacifist beliefs like she once did to protect the world and didn't advise Aang to try to find a compromise.
Voiced by: Sab Shimono (original), Alexis Quiroz (Latin American Spanish)
Aang's guardian at the Southern Air temple. He frequently tried to keep Aang from working towards his Avatar duties, preferring what was best for Aang over "what was best for the world"; while he was trying to look out for Aang's well-being, this might have made Aang more reluctant to face his destiny.
- Badass Pacifist: Subverted. He was almost certainly this way before the Fire Nation attacked, but when the chips were down, he killed hundreds of them before he went down himself.
- Cool Old Guy: In the first flashback he appears in, he uses airbending to pie some stern-looking monks. Also doubles as his Establishing Character Moment, as he uses the opportunity to have the Avatar practice his airbending skills.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Implied. See Last Stand below.
- Eccentric Mentor: He was really laid back and often pulled pranks on the other monks. This is probably where Aang got his cheerfulness.
- Give Him a Normal Life: Towards Aang. The other elder air nomads wanted to jumpstart his avatar training but Gyatso wanted him to have a normal air nomad life until the traditional age of 16. He wants this because he knows that's what Aang wants and thinks that would be better for him.
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Aang. Doubly so because he was also Childhood Friends with Roku, Aang's previous incarnation.
- Last Stand: The skeleton of a pacifist monk, lying on top of a PILE of fire soldier skeletons. Note that when said pile of skeletons were living and breathing, they were powered up a hundredfold by Sozin's Comet. Airbending is also never shown to have any inherently lethal abilities other than Razor Wind over the course of the series at least not until The Legend of Korra, where it was used to suffocate by pulling the air from people's lungs, so this is impressive indeed. When he went down, he went down hard.
- Given the unburnt appearance of his body, it's safe to say he didn't burn to death, meaning he most likely suffocated them and himself.
- Meaningful Name: Gyatso was also the name of the Dalai Lama at time. Make of that what you will.
- Membership Token: In flashback, he is shown playing a White Lotus tile, implying that he was a member of the Order of the White Lotus.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: It wasn't old age that killed him.
- One-Man Army: As the Avatar's direct mentor, he was probably one of the strongest airbenders of his time.
- Parental Substitute: Implied to be the closest thing Aang ever had to a parent, let alone a father.
- Posthumous Character: In the main narrative, he is long since dead. We learn of him through Aang's flashbacks.
Voiced by: Andre Sogliuzzo (original), Javier Ridríguez and Daniel Seisdedos (Latin American Spanish)
Calling himself a mad genius, Bumi was a childhood friend of Aang. After Aang got frozen in the iceberg, Bumi grew into an old man and became King of the Earth Kingdom city of Omashu. With Aang now free and accepting his quest, Bumi uses his unorthodox teaching methods to train his old friend for the trials ahead. Also a member of the White Lotus.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: He's the king of Omashu and one of the most powerful Earthbenders in the world. The only person who comes in spitting distance of him is Toph, and the jury's out on which is stronger.
- Badass Boast:
- This one's from just before he fights Aang. It's unlikely he's lying:"You thought I was a frail old man. But I'm the most powerful Earthbender you'll ever see."
- His reply when asked about his "escape from" (read as "reclamation of") Omashu:"Escape? I didn't escape, everybody else escaped."
- This one's from just before he fights Aang. It's unlikely he's lying:
- Beware the Silly Ones: Don't be fooled by his goofy demeanor. He's quite powerful for an old king.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Hell, his "crown" literally looks like bunny-ears. And it's still completely obvious he's the right man to lead his city against the Fire Nation.
- Childhood Friend: One of Aang's. One of Aang's flashbacks is them playing around in Omashu.
- Clark Kent Outfit: His cloak and hunched posture makes him look like a feeble old man. When he takes off the robe, it's revealed that he's anything but.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: His actions and words sound crazy and weird but, if you think about it, they actually make sense.
- Cool Old Guy: When he drops the act that he's a feeble old man, he sheds his robe and reveals he's a Top-Heavy Guy despite being over a hundred years old, still sporting a six-pack and towering over Aang. And if not for his Friendly Rivalry with Toph, his above Badass Boast would've been stating a fact.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Invoked as part of his lessons. "You thought I was a frail old man but I'm actually the most powerful earth bender you'll ever meet."
- Dishing Out Dirt: Self-proclaimed most powerful earthbender in the world.
- Fighting Clown: His fighting style is best described as Refuge in Audacity given form, looking less like he's fighting and more like he's prancing like a lunatic for some of his bending motions, seemingly going out of his way to have as much fun with it as possible. He can still crush entire Fire Nation battalions like flies.
- Fluffy Tamer: His pet, Flopsy, is a giant gorilla-goat thing.
- Friendly Rivalry: With Toph in the comics. They get into a disagreement over who is the most powerful Earthbender ever/of all time, which escalates into a duel that devastates the White Lotus' camp. It comes down to a draw thanks to Zuko putting his foot down, but they both agree to a rematch with great gusto.
- The Gadfly: Spends an entire episode dicking around with Aang before revealing himself as a Trickster Mentor. Sure it was to teach him a lesson, but Bumi still enjoyed every second of it.
- The Good King: He is wise, benevolent and considers the life of every one of his citizens. So when faced with a choice of either defending his city from an impressive force from the Fire Nation, where his people would certainly die, and surrendering where all would live, he picks the latter and waits until an opportune moment to take back his city.
- It Amused Me: The reason he put together a series of dangerous tests for Aang instead of telling him who he was outright."It's pretty fun messing with people!"
- Kansas City Shuffle: His final test has Aang choosing an opponent for a duel, rolling out two dangerous-looking gladiators, and telling him to "point to his chosen opponent." Aang thinks he's being clever by pointing to the elderly king, only to learn that choosing one of the strongest Earthbenders in the world was exactly the wrong choice to make.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: The second the Fire Nation attacked Omashu, he surrendered and let them encase his body (minus his face) in a steel box. Not only was it to save his people and resources from a long, drawn-out siege, but it was to teach Aang a lesson about various Jings — positive (advancing), negative (retreating), and neutral (doing nothing); the latter of which Bumi said was crucial to earthbending, and that he'd have to find a teacher who taught like that.
- Mad Eye: His right eye is always wide open compared to his more natural left eye. Aang's flashback shows that he had this when he was younger as well. He also has a few screws loose, though in a constructive way.
- Meaningful Name:
- In a number of South — and Southeast-Asian languages (for example, Hindi and Indonesian) Bumi — sometimes, Bhumi, is the word for Earth ...rather appropriate no? Apparently, Sokka was onto something with his "He's an Earthbender, his name must be Rocky!" thing.
- Bhumi is also the name for the Hindu earth god. Very appropriate considering his nigh-godlike earthbending.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: He initially appears to be a half-senile stooped old man, but quickly reveals himself to be the strongest Earthbender in the world.
- Oh, Crap!: Aang quite rightly has this reaction when he picks Bumi as his opponent, only to realize what a big mistake this is when Bumi reveals that he's a dangerously powerful earthbender instead of a frail old man.
- Old Master: Over a hundred years old, and still able to back up his boast that he's the greatest Earthbender that Aang will ever see. Most Earthbenders (like most benders in general) need to use complex arm and/or leg movements to bend. Bumi? He can bend with his face.
- One-Man Army: During the eclipse (which only lasted a mere eight minutes), he took back Omashu and chucked out the Fire Nation (for good) by himself. Even Toph was astounded.
- Phrase Catcher: Well, only with one person, granted, but when Aang realizes who Bumi is, he says the same thing as in a previous flashback: "Bumi, you're a mad genius."
- Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: When Aang chooses to fight Bumi instead of his other warriors, the king only gives a wicked smile.King: Wrong. Choice.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Action variety and a good law maker.
- Sweet Tooth: He loves that rock candy.
- Took a Level in Badass: The first scene of Bumi was back when Aang hadn't vanished from the world. He was a scraggly kid with a weird face and a love of pranks. A century later and he is the strongest Earthbender in the series able to do several amazing feats of bending with his head exposed. He later freed his city in the span of 8 minutes when all the Firebenders were powerless.
- Trickster Mentor: His favored method of teaching.
- The Wonka: He appears to be a crazy old king and Katara mentions that "His crown is a little crooked" but his brand of logic makes sense if you think about it. "You gotta keep your mind open to the possibilities."
Voiced by: Victor Brandt (original), Marco Antonio Espina (Latin American Spanish)
One of the greatest Waterbenders in the world, and well aware of it, Pakku is a Waterbending teacher from the Northern Water Tribe. In his youth, he was engaged to a woman named Kanna. Though he loved Kanna, she was put off by his arrogance and fled to the South Pole. Since then, Pakku has been bitter towards women in general, believing that female Waterbenders should stick with healing. Naturally, he came into conflict with Katara. While Pakku was ten times the bender Katara was at the time, Katara "won" by unknowingly revealing that Kanna was her grandmother. Confronted with what could have been if he had not been so arrogant in his youth, Pakku changed his mind enough to give some Waterbending lessons to Katara and Aang. Also a member of the White Lotus.
- Arranged Marriage: With Kanna in the past. While he did love her, she didn't (or rather, she valued her desire to make her own decisions more than her affection for him) and ran away. Still came to be later on.
- Badass Beard: Well, "badass goatee", anyway. One of the least visually impressive in the series, but being pure white it makes him look older, which only serves to make his actual badassery seem all the more impressive.
- Character Development: He goes from being a Straw Misogynist to Katara's instructor within two episodes. He even states that Katara has become one of his best students in years.
- Chekhov's Gunman: He's one of the benders in the opening sequence for the show and he's also the first of them. This makes him the first character ever seen on the show, despite not actually being a part of the show until near the end of the first season.
- Deadpan Snarker:Katara: I didn't travel across the entire world so you could tell me "no"!
- DecemberDecember Romance: With Kanna. While they were engaged when they were young they didn't marry until they were old.
- Foil: To Iroh. Both elderly master of their respective art, both have a strong (but ultimately not absolute) commitment to tradition, however, while Iroh forgives Zuko's every misstep, Pakku forces Katara to earn his respect. Iroh's Nice Guy contrasts Pakku's Jerk with a Heart of Gold almost as neatly as fire contrasts water.
- An Ice Person: As a waterbender, he can turn water into ice and vice versa.
- In the Back: Katara attacks him from behind when he refuses to duel her and tries to leave.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's a jerkass, but is not unwilling to admit he is wrong and change his mind accordingly.
- Making a Splash: Waterbending master.
- Noble Bigot: Courtesy of Deliberate Values Dissonance, as much of Northern Water Tribe culture follows the same paths. He refuses to teach waterbending to females, as in the Northern Water Tribe, female water benders are healers only. That said, despite said bigotry, he was willing to admit Katara had some seriously mad skills.
- Old Master: One of, if not THE, strongest Waterbenders alive and not afraid to show it off.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: Pakku held sexist values for most of his life. When he was a teenager, his bigotry caused his fiancée, Kanna, Sokka and Katara's future grandmother, to leave him. After realizing this as an old man, he realizing that his ideas were wrong and starts to see women as equals. He trains Katara in combat waterbending, even though traditionally, female waterbenders are only allowed to use their powers for healing. He even meets up with Kanna again, and after she realizes that he's changed, Kanna marries him, making him the step-grandfather of Sokka and Katara.
- Straw Misogynist: He refuses to train Katara in combative waterbending due to her being a girl in the name of it being tradition. However, by the end of his introductory episode, he's shown to realize the folly of his ways and how it has personally hurt him. He was supposed to marry Kanna, Katara and Sokka's future grandmother, and genuinely loved her, but she chafed under the Stay in the Kitchen roles that the Northern Water Tribe enforced and left without a word, which soured his opinions toward women greatly until he met Katara and realized their connection, as well as how things could have been different if he hadn't acted as he had in his youth.
Voiced by: Keone Young (original), Sandro Larenas (Latin American Spanish)
Once a legendary admiral (according to his wanted poster) of the Fire Nation and one-time teacher of Zhao, Jeong Jeong eventually realized the horror the Fire Nation had let loose on the world and deserted, becoming the first person in history to do so and survive. Now a hermit living in the woods, Jeong Jeong believes that Firebending is a curse due to its destructive nature. On orders from Avatar Roku, Jeong Jeong gave Aang some rudimentary lessons on Firebending. Also a member of the White Lotus.
- The Atoner: Once a top-ranking officer of the Fire Nation military, now he seeks seclusion and aids Aang in his training.
- Badass Beard: Doubles as a Beard of Sorrow. He clearly hasn't had a shave since he deserted, even if he does keep it well groomed.
- Cursed with Awesome: He's an amazing Firebender, but he constantly mourns having control over the most destructive element.
- Defector from Decadence: Deserted because he was horrified by what the Fire Nation had become.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: In an interesting parallel (foreshadowing?) to Zuko, a wanted poster for Jeong Jeong has his picture, presumably of his appearance before deserting, with his scar already present.
- Homage: To Apocalypse Now. Jeong Jeong's situation mirrors Colonel Kurtz, and there's even slow boat rides down the river.
- Internalized Categorism: He loathes his own mastery of firebending, thinking his nation's elemental trait a solely destructive and evil ability. When he meets Katara, he tells her how he wishes he were blessed with waterbending like her, rather than the "burning curse" that is his own heritage.
- Playing with Fire: Despite considering it Cursed with Awesome, he will use his Firebending when he has to.
- Retired Badass: The first guy to abandon the Fire Nation military and live (at least, officially). During the finale, while under the influence of Sozin's comet, he was able to Firebend with enough power to fly. The only one shown to have been able to do that was Ozai, who's at worst the third most powerful bender in the world. Even Azula can't truly fly, being just good enough for limited directional control. And while Ozai was limited to his lightning while flying, Jeong Jeong could still create his walls of fire while in the air.
- Technical Pacifist: He doesn't like killing anymore because of his Atoner status.
Voiced by: Robert Patrick (original), Ricardo Soto (Latin American Spanish)
A legendary swordsman/smithy of the Fire Nation, Piandao grew tired of the Fire Nation's ways and went into retirement. He regards swordsmanship as an art, and often paints as a way of honing it. Although he had been approached by many other students and dismissed them, he made an exception for Sokka due to his modesty and honesty. Supportive of his student even after learning of Sokka's Water Tribe status, he taught Sokka the way of the sword. Also a member of the White Lotus.
- Badass Normal: The other mentors on this list are all benders (except Guru Pathik). He's not.
- Battle Butler: He has a butler named Fat, whom he trained. While Piandao doesn't need a bodyguard, Fat helps him by sparring with new recruits and forging swords.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Master Piandao has these in Warrior Poet form, in that he can fight on par with incredibly powerful benders with just a sword and defeat ludicrous numbers of foes and so on, and Training Montages some of 'em into Sokka.
- Combat Pragmatist: Is one himself, and heavily encourages Sokka to be the same.
- Cultured Badass: Is a master with the sword and calligraphy, as both arts share similar philosophies. He also incorporates the philosophies of other styles of bending to his art, and is open to sharing his knowledge to those who are humble enough to learn. It is this combination of talent and wisdom that allow him to be par with the likes of Iroh, Pakku, and Bumi.
- Expy: He is based on two real-life people who were key to building the world of Avatar: His badassery, skills and looks are based off the show's martial arts consultant, Sifu Kisu, while his calligraphy skills and artistic philosophies are based off Dr. Siu-Leung Lee (no, not Lei Siu Leung), the show's consultant on writing, translation, and culture.
- Hyper-Awareness: In his words, you start to pick things up quickly when you get to his age. He knew from the very beginning that Sokka was Water-Tribe and that Aang was the Avatar.
- Master Swordsman: His skill with the sword, along with his cleverness, rank him up there with the other mentors.
- Meaningful Name: Piandao is a type of Chinese sword.
- Membership Token: He presents a White Lotus tile to Sokka as a parting gift.
- Muggle Born of Mages: According to the official website, his parents were both talented Firebenders.
- One-Man Army: Word of God says that when he retired from the army, the Fire Nation sent a force of a hundred soldiers to reclaim him. He sent them all back.
- Parental Abandonment: According to the official website, his parents were both talented Firebenders who left him on the step of an orphanage when he turned out to be a nonbender.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Piandao shows a great deal of patience with Sokka's antics during his training.
- Refuge in Audacity: He's a wanted army deserter who lives in a castle in the middle of the Fire Nation. Because nobody can make him leave.
- Renowned Selective Mentor: Skilled swordman, former Fire Nation Elite Soldier (but not a Firebender), High Master of the White Lotus Order and famous for defeating 100 soldiers alone after he deserted the army; many people wanted to be trained by him, but he rejected most of them. The few pupils he accepted to train were Prince Zuko, and Sokka (who gained him a level in Badassery after his training).
- Retired Badass: Used to be active in the Fire Nation military but now he's content to practice calligraphy at his estate.
- Secret Keeper: He's one of the few people in the Fire Nation entrusted with the true identities of Team Avatar, as well as the fact that the Avatar is still alive.
- Stealth Mentor: Never actually shows Sokka any swordfighting techniques, instead teaches philosophies that allow Sokka to incorporate his intelligence into his fighting style. Then there's this little incident as Sokka is sparring with Fat:Piandao: Sokka.(Sokka looks up and is immediately whacked by Fat)Piandao: Concentrate on what you're doing.
- Warrior Poet: His lessons train the mind as much as they develop the body. For instance, one of his lessons was drawing a landscape.
Voiced by: Tress MacNeille (original)
A Waterbender from the Southern Water Tribe, Hama was one of many benders who defended her home from the Fire Nation. Eventually imprisoned and kept from all liquids, Hama was left to rot. She eventually realized that water is part of all life, and used this to create a deadly subset of Waterbending: Bloodbending, a dark art of manipulating the bodies of others. After using this to escape, Hama kept to herself in the Fire Nation countryside, and used her powers once a month to torment Fire Nation civilians. But she's not getting younger, so she intends to pass the art of Bloodbending onto the next generation. And no, she doesn't care what Katara has to say about that. Is not a member of the White Lotus.
- The Bad Guy Wins: She succeeds in forcing Katara to use Bloodbending at the end of "The Puppetmaster". She was arrested immediately after, but she had accomplished what she wanted so she didn't care.
- Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Years restrained in a POW camp made her into a bitter and hateful person.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She acts like a Mentor Archetype for Katara but is far more sinister.
- Blinding Bangs: In a flashback during her time in prison.
- Broken Bird: See Being Tortured Makes You Evil. She believes she's acting out of self-defense.
- Cordon Bleugh Chef: To Aang and Toph, anyway. When Hama makes a Water Tribe dinner for the Gaang, Katara and Sokka don't say anything bad about the food, but Aang and Toph, who are not from the Water Tribe, find it disgusting.
- Evil Counterpart: To Katara and Pakku. For the former: the episode The Southern Raiders had Katara acting a lot like Hama - hateful, driven, and focused on revenge - while she was looking for the man who killed her mother. She even used bloodbending on the man she thought was him. Hama represents what Katara could've ended up like if she had let her anger and hatred control her.
- Evil Mentor: Forces Katara to learn Bloodbending.
- Evil Old Folks: She looks like an evil witch and has the personality to match.
- Fallen Heroine: She used to be a Nice Girl defending her home. Then she was captured...
- Freudian Excuse: Being captured and deported far from her home, then spending years being mistreated in a prisoner of war camp twisted her into a hateful bitter person.
- Gray Eyes: In addition to being a rare color amongst Waterbenders, her gray eyes also reflect her cold and dangerous personality.
- Hypocrite: She claims that since Katara is also from the Southern Water Tribe, it's her duty to help win the war against the Fire Nation. This is despite her (Hama) doing absolutely nothing in that regard, as far as we can see.
- I Was Quite a Looker: The flashbacks show she was very, very attractive in her youth.
- The Jailer: In vengeance on the Fire Nation for what they did to her, she uses Bloodbending to capture Fire Nation civilians and lock them away.
- Kubrick Stare: Pulls off a terrifying one after her true nature is revealed.
- Making a Splash: She teaches Katara to use these powers far from traditional water sources.
- Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Subverted; At first it seems like she's an old woman, living alone and isolated in an otherwise friendly Fire Nation town. She's got a few odd hobbies, but a clear fondness for the Gaang, especially Katara when she tells her story that she's a noble hero of the war and the Water Tribe. Eventually, one realizes she's alone because she hates every last soul in the Fire Nation.
- Never Mess with Granny: She invented Bloodbending and can make you kill your best friends.
- People Puppets: Bloodbending; by bending the blood in living things she can control their bodies.
- Revenge Before Reason: She's so consumed by hatred that she imprisons every single Fire Nation citizen she can; even ones that have nothing to do with the war.
- Shadow Archetype: Hama is Katara if Katara succumbs to her inner rage. Katara nearly became Hama in the episode "The Southern Raiders"; but fortunately chose to end her rage against her mother's killer than to start taking revenge.
- She Who Fights Monsters: Because she was kidnapped and imprisoned, she kidnaps and imprisons others.
- Sole Survivor: She was the last South Waterbender to be captured and the only one that escaped.
- Tareme Eyes: She had slightly droopy eyes as a teenager.
- Touch of Death: Her style of Waterbending involves pulling water out of plants and other living things; effectively killing them. However, as she points out, populated areas outside of the poles where the Water Tribes are don't always have large regular bodies of water, so it's mostly a case of adapting to her surroundings, though it's still pretty dark.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Before being kidnapped and imprisoned, she seems to have been a normal and sweet Girl Next Door who just happened to be a Waterbender.
- Wicked Witch: Her powers aren't unusual in the Avatar universe; it's how she uses them...
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Kidnapped and imprisoned by the Fire Nation army as a teenager, prevented from bending her native element (water), it's no wonder she took her only chance of escape by turning the guards into People Puppets by bending their body fluids. Then she snuck into the Fire Nation and started kidnapping innocent civilians with the same technique she used on the prison guards...
Voiced by: Brian George (original), Iván Romo and Mario Santander (Latin American Spanish)
One of the oldest people in the Avatar world (even older than Bumi), Pathik has been alive long enough to have known the Air Nomads. Seeking out the Eastern Air Temple after a vision, he patiently waited for the Avatar there. He encountered Appa while the sky bison had been separated from Aang, and used a special technique to locate the Avatar. He also attached a note to Appa's horn, promising that he could teach Aang to master the Avatar State. When Aang came looking to take him up on his offer, he instructed the young Avatar on how to unlock his chakras, pools of energy in the body that must be opened for the Avatar State to function properly. Aang was able to open all but the last one, because the process involved letting go of Katara. The last we see of Pathik is him warning Aang that if he leaves now, he won't be able to enter the Avatar state at all.
- Cool Old Guy: Like Gyasto, his good friend, he is an affable and wise old man.
- Expy: Being an impossibly-old, extremely wise, tiny man who trains the protagonist in the second act of the story and tells him to give up his attachments in the interests of saving the day that the hero leaves before completing his training with makes him a pretty clear one for Yoda.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Quite blatantly Indian.
- Friend to All Living Things: Guru Pathik's enlightenment lets him get along greatly with animals, even allowing him to help heal Appa's rage and fear in "Appa's Lost Days".
- Hermit Guru: Naturally. He lives in seclusion with his cosmic chi and stuff.
- Inexplicably Awesome: Much like Yoda, his origins are extremely mysterious.
- Lotus Position: His lessons are conducted from this position and the chakras are released from here too.
- Poor Communication Kills: His counsel to Aang to clear himself of his earthly attachments in order to achieve the Avatar almost fell on deaf ears because Aang couldn't bring himself to sacrifice/abandon his love for Katara, and then led to a barely-averted disaster when he reluctantly tried to do so. If only Aang had known beforehand that abandonment or sacrifice wasn't necessary to achieve what Pathik was talking about thankfully he had Roku to patch that up later on.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Onion and banana juice, which seems to be the only food he eats or gives Aang during his training.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Last seen telling Aang that he needed to open his final chakra as Aang flew off to save Katara from danger. His only appearance after that was in a sleep-deprived hallucination with six arms singing "Chakras, chakras, everyone loves chakras." Also, we never find out where he came from, since he appears to be of different ethnicity than anyone else in the Avatar world.