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This is a partial character sheet for The Legend of Korra. Subjective trope and audience reactions should go on the YMMV page.

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Equalists

    General 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/equalists_icon.png
"For too long, the bending elite of this city have forced non-benders to live as lower class citizens!"

A faction created by Amon in reaction to Bender criminals (particularly the Triads) abusing their power to pick on the non-benders. They serve as the major antagonists in Book 1.


  • Anti-Magical Faction: Or more accurately, Anti-Bending Faction.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Their seal means 'flat' or 'tie' in Chinese.
  • Broken Pedestal: They do not take it well that their leader all along was a bender.
  • Cape Busters: This is their purpose, with supers in their case being benders, and also have the training and weapons that are designed to be used against benders.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The organization as a whole uses many terrorist tactics in their pursuit of Amon's goal, including hiding among civilian populations, bombings to tie up emergency services, and avert taking on enemies one at a time.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: According to the creators, the Equalists were written as a "Majority Rights" populist revolutionary movement, fighting the superhumanly powerful minority (the Benders) that dominates the Republic. While thus not a direct analogue to any real-life political ideology, aspects of their rhetoric and tactics are reminiscent of various groups, from authoritarian socialists to right-wing religious crusaders and even the Nazis. Their uniforms and Amon's charismatic leadership style also have a more overt touch of Putting on the Reich.
  • Fantastic Racism: Their movement claims that benders are oppressing the non-benders of the world, which is true, but a lot of their members extend this into a categorical hatred of all benders.
  • Hypocrite: While Amon and Hiroshi Sato qualify for their own reasons, the Equalists as a whole qualify for the fact that despite saying benders are oppressors who abuse their powers on non-benders, they use their technology and Amon's abilities to do the same to benders and any non-bender not associated with them.
  • The Magic Versus Technology War: They make heavy use of the technology provided by Sato to make up for their lack of Bending.
  • Muggle Power: The whole point of their existence.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: With heavy use of industrial grays and occasional stark whites making them clearly distinct from the Fire Nation that continues to use this color scheme.
  • The Remnant: They still exist after Amon's defeat to the extent Korra fought them again just after the Unalaq Crisis, but they've become too weakened and disorganized to be a serious threat anymore. Word of God even stated they would've shown what's left of them if they had time in Book 2.
  • Villain Has a Point: Though they discredit it by being too extreme about their proposed solutions, the Equalists' basic complaint—that the power structure in the Republic unduly favors the benders—is shown to be correct, with the benders monopolizing most government positions and people like Tarrlok abusing their powers in various ways. This is implicitly acknowledged in the later books, where the all-bender ruling council retire and are replaced by a popularly elected president.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Though they claimed to be the latter, they certainly had no problems kidnapping innocent children or blowing up a sports stadium full of people.

    Amon 

Amon

Voiced by: Jacob Bertrand (6, 8, and 10 years old), Alexander Martella (14 years old), Steve Blum

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Amon_5948.jpg
"I am the solution."
Click here to see Amon unmasked 

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: In many 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 gaining 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 can bloodbend with his mind, outside of a full moon. Even without his bloodbending he is arguably the best waterbender ever seen, bending simply by thought and not relying on his hands.
  • 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.
  • Aloof Big Brother: He was this to Tarrlok as children, though he was much more openly affectionate before his father's abuse.
  • Ambiguously Evil: While Amon is unquestionably a villain, to what degree is another matter. Even after the reveal of his actual back story, his exact motives for his revolution are not made clear, though Tarrlok thinks Amon truly believed his own rhetoric.
    • Word of God confirms that Tarrlok's assessment of Amon's motives is pretty close to the truth. He came to hate bending for what it did to his life and the lives of others, and wanted to eradicate it.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: He Bloodbended his father when Tarrlok was yelled at for not wanting to use his abilities.
  • Anti-Villain:
    • 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.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: He prefers not to fight (see Pragmatic Villainy) but when he does, he almost never loses.
  • Back from the Dead: In Varrick's latest Mover pitch, anyway. In the Mover, he reanimates as a zombie and joins a Legion of Doom led by Zaheer in order to take down Bolin. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Badass Baritone: He is voiced by Steve Blum.
  • Badass Boast:
    Tarrlok: What... what are you?
    Amon: I am the solution.
  • Badass in Charge: He's the leader of the Equalist Movement, and more than a match for the Avatar herself.
  • Badass Longcoat: A bit shorter than some other examples, but no less badass.
  • 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 Amon's identity and following were built on lies, Amon genuinely believes benders are the source of the world's woes. Word of God confirms that Amon indeed bought into his own anti-bending rhetoric.
  • Beyond the Impossible: He is one of the greatest waterbenders 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: He is the main villain of Book 1, the leader of the Equalists, seeking to eliminate all Benders in the world.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Tarrlok claims Amon 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. He even gives him a special cell to separated him from everyone else. In the finale, Amon tells him he's all he has left in the world.
    • During a flashback in the season finale, he was shown to be very doting to his brother. He did things like play with him, made sure that he never got hurt, and protected him from their father.
  • Blood Magic: Amon was a master of the rare and outlawed art of bloodbending. Under Yakone's tutelage, he mastered the technique to such an extent that he could perform it at anytime, without the aid of a full moon, by the age of fourteen. At the same time, he also learned his father's special skill of psychic bending, allowing him to perform his bending skills not only through physical movement, but also through sheer focus and strength of will. His bloodbending techniques consisted of body manipulation and torture with minimal effort, levitating targets, throwing them around, subduing them, and knocking them unconscious. With his skill in psychic bending, he could also bloodbend one or multiple targets into submission while able to freely move in for other measures to finish other opponents. Additionally, he exhibited the ability to resist bloodbending with little effort, even against his brother, Tarrlok, who had also mastered the skill to a similar level.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Even though he has Korra completely at his mercy at one point, he decides to let her go. Justified because taking her bending would only make her a martyr and damage his cause.
  • Boomerang Bigot: He's a bender himself, using bloodbending to nullify the powers of other benders.
  • Breaking Speech: He delivers one so effective and intimidating that Korra suffers a complete breakdown afterwards.
  • Broken Ace: Amon is an incredibly intelligent and charismatic bender who, through the majority of the season, managed to manipulate and control everyone around him to his whim and only loses at the last moment due to Korra gaining Airbending. However, all of his charm and intelligence hides the fact that he is a self-loathing individual whose skills were a direct result of his father's abusive treatment of him and his brother which caused him to hate all benders in the first place.
  • Cain and Abel: Zigzagged. Amon takes away his brother's bending, and his brother ultimately kills him. But Amon still loves him regardless.
  • The Cameo: During Korra's Mushroom Samba in the Book 3 finale, Korra watches Zaheer's face morph into Amon's mask.
    Amon: "I told you, Korra; the world doesn't need you anymore."
  • Char Clone: The Dark Messiah version. Interestingly enough, while it turned out that he was someone's older brother, it turned out to be of Tarrlok, one of the other antagonists of the series.
  • The Chessmaster: His actions in episode 6 sealed his status as one and even more. See Xanatos Gambit below.
  • 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.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: To Ozai from the previous series. While Ozai was the hereditary ruler of a nation, Amon is a populist revolutionary with no official power. Also, while Ozai was continuing an agenda begun by his father and grandfather, Amon actively rejects following in his father's footsteps. Additionally, Ozai was simply an Evil Overlord that just wanted to take over the world because he could and spent most of the time being Orcus on His Throne leaving the dirty work to his army and children while recognizing The Avatar as a threat to be eliminated regardless of age, Amon with or without his minions, isn't afraid to get his hands dirty and is a Well-Intentioned Extremist that even the heroes admit has a point to solving a social ill while seeing The Avatar as an outdated concept that's obsolete and needs to be replaced by him.
  • Cool Mask: It resembles a Chinese opera mask, and has the spook factor of one.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The finale reveals that he wears fake firebending scars just in case a situation might arise where he'd have to show them. Too bad he didn't think to make them waterproof.
  • Creepy Monotone: He maintains a level tone in all situations.
  • Culture Police: Desires to end pro-bending as means to end "bending worship".
  • 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, which he accomplishes through the use of bloodbending. It's not clear exactly how this works, but it can't be healed even by the most skilled healers. Korra's energybending, however, can reverse the effect.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Amon is really good at manipulating others and organising a military movement.
  • Dissonant Serenity: The cargo bay of his zeppelin being filled with flame by Korra doesn't even break his stride. He is also almost unfazed by Tarrlok's bloodbending. While he is 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 misapprehension 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.
  • 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. Additionally in Korra's case, she still fears him years later despite fighting everything from other terrorist groups to the God of Evil.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: While his brother tried his best to swear off bloodbending, Amon took to it at a young age and embraced it. Tarrlok even comments that Amon seemed to enjoy having the power.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: He's a Badass Normal who claims to have gotten his powers through contact with the spirits. In fact, he's actually just an extremely skilled bloodbender.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He does seem to still love his younger brother, even though he rejected him when they were children.
  • Evil Counterpart: He is 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. After the reveal of his true origins, he becomes one to Korra herself. Both are benders of immense skill, both had fathers who were shamed, both fathers moved elsewhere to start a new life, and said fathers eventually ended up siring successors who would change the world. While Avatar Korra took it as her responsibility to bring balance to the world through her 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 Tarrlok 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.
  • The Faceless: He wears a mask due to Facial Horror he received from a firebender. This turns out to be a lie.
  • Facial Horror: He cites this as the reason he wears his mask, and reveals a large scar once he removes it. That turns out to be a lie, however, and the scar is fake. Underneath, he's actually quite good looking.
  • 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.
  • 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 crazy and wants to destroy all bending because his father was extremely abusive.
  • Fights Like a Normal: His ability to remove bending isn't really immediately useful in a fight, so he has to subdue his opponent using normal methods first. Subverted when we find out that he's actually been using bloodbending to subtly influence the movements of his opponents, giving himself a edge in his fights.
  • Foil:
    • To Korra. His debending powers make him a sort of anti-Avatar. He styles himself in the same vein as an Avatar, claiming to be a savior sent by the spirits. He 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. Finally, it 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 from the north pole. Not to mention his young self looks strikingly like a male version of Korra.
    • His fabricated backstory is similar to Mako and Bolin. 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. In reality, 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, while Amon abandoned his and left him to deal with their abusive father alone. Both are also very talented benders, and the more talented of their brothers, which Amon goes out of his way to compliment Mako on. 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.
  • Freudian Excuse: His family getting killed by firebenders. Though that turns out to be a lie, he does have a real one courtesy of his father Yakone, who forced him and his brother into bloodbending.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: He claims to have been a simple Farm Boy until 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 with his real backstory. His father was Yakone, who fled Republic City after being depowered by Aang, who then raised Amon and Tarrlok as tools for revenge. No one knew about Amon's actual origins, but he nevertheless hails from more auspicious beginnings than he first claimed.
  • Full-Circle Revolution: When the Equalists took over Republic City, they proved themselves every bit as oppressive as the benders they rallied against.
  • Genius Bruiser: Really good public speaker, social leader, and master strategist; expert chi-blocker, prodigy waterbender and 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 and turn over a new leaf with his long-lost brother Tarrlok. As they leave on a getaway boat, Amon 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, though doing so to Korra ultimately backfired.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Amon had a severe abhorrence toward benders and was a staunch believer in what he viewed as equality. Amon sincerely believed in his rhetoric, having striven to be fair and treat everyone equally since he was a child. Ultimately, it was this misguided desire for justice as well as a latent lust for power that led him to start the Anti-bending Revolution.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: After The Reveal, his true motivations were cast into doubt. Word of God eventually stated that Amon was indeed being truthful about his motivations, and that he truly hated bending as a source of great evil.
  • 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 is a a bender himself, using bloodbending to fake spiritual powers. While Tarrlok thinks Amon is none too proud of his this, he still uses it 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 water tribe parents.
  • Idiot Ball: He can clearly see and presumably sense (see below) Mako aiming a lightning bolt at him despite being bloodbent yet still let himself get hit anyway and is just lucky he was durable enough to tank it.
  • Implacable Man: No matter what you throw at him, he won't stop coming.
    • When Tarrlok tries to use bloodbending on him, Amon just shrugs it off and keeps advancing. Turns out Amon was also bloodbending to counter Tarrlok's.
  • Inconsistent Coloring: In his youth, he had dark skin like most Water Tribe characters and like his brother. As an adult, his skin has lightened several shades.
  • In the Hood: Wears a hooded robe.
  • 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 had his soldiers watching Korra in case she lost, and Amon is smart enough to suspect something like that.
  • Karmic Death: In the first season finale, Tarrlok, one of the individuals he de-bended, blows up their boat with an electric glove (a signature weapon of the organization that he founded). Tragic, but nevertheless karmic.
  • 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).
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Invoked in his early targets for de-bending, since he wanted to portray himself as targeting benders using their power to oppress non-benders (the Triple Threat Triad, an organized crime syndicate, and the Wolfbats, who cheated their way into winning the pro-bending tournament). This is also why he refuses to de-bend Korra at first.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Forces a pack of wolves to do this as a child.
  • 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, Amon 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.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Any doubt he was over the line was removed once he treated to "rid the world of Airbending" despite the airbenders suffering worse than anyone at the hands of bending nor done the wrongs Amon accuses benders of. Guess what bending leads directly to his final defeated and ousting shortly thereafter.
  • 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 essentially 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: Mako shot him in the chest with a bolt of lightning, several seconds long at that, and Amon walked it off. Though Mako can fire non-lethal shots, there's no indication he intended this to be anything less than fatal.
  • Mage Killer: Not surprising, given that he's the leader of the Equalists.
  • Making a Splash: Drilled relentlessly by his father in waterbending, Amon displayed a natural talent for waterbending, quickly impressing Yakone and ultimately mastering the art under his father's tutelage. He was capable of launching himself out of a body of water on a gigantic waterspout and rapidly propelling himself over the surface.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Like the lower-level Equalists, although they're Gas Mask Mooks and his is more of a traditional mask.
  • Meaningful Name: "To cover", which is on the nose for a Malevolent Masked Man.
  • Mission from God: He claims that he was chosen by the spirits to bring down bending and replace the Avatar.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: The only way to explain how he could sense a silent, hidden Korra is that like a number of spiritual characters, he can sense people's energy and/or the water in their body.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: "Amon" has plenty of possible meanings.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Debending Korra ultimately only served to make her even stronger and upend his entire revolution.
  • 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 Amon can bloodbend with his mind, he was able to counteract Tarrlok's powers without moving.
  • Not Me This Time: He is framed for abducting Korra in "Out of the Past".
  • 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 reveals his backstory 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.
  • 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.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: When Korra challenges him to a duel, he has his mooks ambush her. Rather than remove her bending, however, he lets her go with a Breaking Speech, reasoning that removing her bending now wold only serve to martyr her.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: "It is time for you to be Equalized."
  • Psychopathic Man Child: In his final scenes he displays naivety and 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 they 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.
  • 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 subverted.
  • The Runaway: In his real backstory, he fled from his abusive father.
  • 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.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: With Tarrlok. Amon's more calm, collected and is on the side of non-benders. Tarrlok is more prone to anger and is firmly on the side of benders.
  • Single Tear: Sheds one right before his death.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Amon may have been the Big Bad of the first book, but compared to later foes like Vaatu or Zaheer, he ends up almost paling compared to them since his goals are simply for equality as opposed to anarchy or the extinction of humanity. The detached nature of Book One also means he leaves much less of an impact on the remainder of the series than his successorsnote . However, he's by no means forgotten (having the odd cameo here and there and still causing Korra trauma in the later books), and his first major appearance in "The Revelation" introduces one of the main themes of the series: is the Avatar obsolete in the rapidly changing world?
  • The Social Expert: Amon can expertly predict what people will do and how best to exploit them.
  • Stranger Behind the Mask: His identity turns out to be Noatak, a character who had never been mentioned before.
  • Straw Hypocrite: Was speculated to be such after the reveal, being a secret waterbender who leads a crusade against bending while using bloodbending himself to both fight and remove other people's bending, but Word of God eventually stated that his anti-bending beliefs are sincere.
  • The Stoic: Always calm and collected, even in the midst of battle.
  • Stronger Sibling: To Tarrlok.
  • Super Power Lottery: He's a master waterbender, can bloodbend without a full moon, and his control is such that he can remove bending from his victims.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: All of which come standard for members of the Water Tribes.
  • Teen Genius: By the age of 14, he was at least as good at bloodbending as his father, Yakone.
  • Tell Me How You Fight: Tarrlok identifies Amon as his brother, despite Amon's appearance being concealed, by the distinctive feel of his bloodbending.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Amon, whose creepy mask, unexplained Anti-Magic powers and mysterious backstory made for a truly terrifying villain. Under the mask and scar makeup, he looks like a completely normal Water Tribe man in his thirties.
  • This Cannot Be!: When he debends Korra only for her to use airbending against him.
  • Thought-Controlled Power: His psychic bloodbending technique lets him paralyze people at a glance or subtlety control their movements during combat.
  • Too Powerful to Live: You've got a bloodbender who can manipulate his enemies' blood simply with but a thought, No-Sell other people's bloodbending, and can remove the bending of others. Thus, it was necessary for him to be taken out from the story for good.
  • Tragic Bigot: He claims that his parents were murdered and his face disfigured by a firebender when he was just a child, but that all turns out to be a lie. His real backstory is even more sympathetic. His father was an extremely abusive parent, and forced him and his brother 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. When his father made him and his brother use bloodbending on each other, Amon turned on his father, ran away from home, and grew to despise bending as a source of evil and oppression.
  • Tragic Villain: 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 being forced 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 both Tarrlok and Word of God, Amon 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. As children, he wanted Tarrlok to run away with him, but Tarrlok didn't want to leave their mother behind. After he's exposed as a fraud, Amon still cared for his younger brother and wanted to escape Republic City together. Tarrlok joined his brother this time, though as they fled from the city on a speedboat to start a new life together, Tarrlok used an electrified glove to ignite the fuel tank on the boat, causing it to explode, killing them both.
  • Tyke-Bomb: 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.
  • The Unfettered: He will eradicate bending by any means necessary.
  • Unflinching Walk:
    • Pulls this off in the face of a fireball that blasts most of his Mooks away.
    • Also, when up against Tarrlok, he walks through Tarrlok's attempt to bloodbend with only minimal flinching.
  • Unreliable Expositor: His given backstory is a lie in order to gain support and sympathy.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Tarrlok stated that he used to be a sweet kid in their youth...Until his father forced him and his brother to learn bloodbending.
  • Vigilante Man: Early in the story, he appears as a vigilante standing up for the masses of non-benders against the superpowered crime gangs of Republic City. This part of his campaign culminates in his public depowering of the crime lord Zolt.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: After being defeated and uncovered by Korra, Amon asks his younger brother to escape together and rebuild their lives as brothers. He agrees, but has ulterior motives for doing so.
  • Villain Has a Point: He claims that benders dominate society through their powers and lord it over non-benders. He's right (to a point), especially once Tarrlok started implementing extreme measures, and is able to build a mass movement around himself until he's exposed. This was probably intentional on his part.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After Korra manages to use airbending despite having been debended. He really gets this once he's unmasked, and his "scar" is washed, revealing him for who he really is.
  • Villainous Rescue: Rescues Korra from Tarrlok, though he didn't plan on letting her go free after taking down Tarrlok.
  • 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.
  • Visionary Villain: Amon's goal truly was equality for all. He just got off message. Way way off message.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: He wants to make the world more equal for non-benders, but to that end he'll go to some pretty extreme lengths. Despite being a bender himself, Word of God says Amon was indeed sincere about his goals, which Tarrlok also points out.
  • 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 he didn't take Korra's bending.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The abuse Amon suffered at his father's hands led him to bitterly despise bending, eventually leading a revolution intended to purge all bending from the world.
  • World's Best Warrior / World's Strongest Man: Described as one of the most skilled and 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.
  • Worthy Opponent: As he prepared to take away Mako's bending, Mako was able to counter by electrocuting him having prepared to do so as he resisted Amon's bloodbending while Amon was distracted. Amon mused over the fact that no one else had been able to get the better of him, and that it was almost a shame to take bending away from one so talented.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He knocks Korra unconscious when he ambushes 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.
  • Youngest Child Wins: Inverted. He is far more superior in bloodbending talent than his younger brother.
  • You Will Be Spared: When he captures Lin, he makes the offer to let her keep her bending if she will tell him where the Avatar is hiding. However, she rejects him, and so he de-bends her anyway.

    Hiroshi Sato 

Hiroshi Sato

Voiced by: Daniel Dae Kim

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/13841d7c1d08084970c304180084048b.png
"They took away your mother, the love of my life. They've ruined the world. But with Amon, we can fix it and build a perfect world, together. We can help people like us, everywhere!"
Click here to see Hiroshi after imprisonment 

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.


  • Ace Pilot: He can pilot anything he makes, extremely well at that.
  • Apologetic Attacker: He asks his daughter's forgiveness several times, to all seeming in earnest. Even after Asami has betrayed and stun-shocked him and helped Korra escape, thereby showing that she sides with the benders, he is reluctant to fight her, apologizing for having her incarcerated (so that she will not be able to sabotage his work) and expressing hope that she will change her mind when she sees the new future the Equalists are building.
    Asami, I know I have hurt you ... and I am sorry. But I believe that one day, you will come to your senses, and we can be a family again.
  • Archnemesis Dad: To Asami.
  • The Atoner: It's revealed in Book 4 when Asami comes to visit him in prison that he's deeply ashamed of his past crimes and how he tore their family apart, and now he truly wants to make amends. Though at first Asami is determined to never see him again, she reconsiders and does visit him again in prison, admitting that, while she's not sure if she can forgive him, she'd like to try.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Not so much in straight out hand-to-hand combat, but whenever he brings out a new weapon for the Equalists after being outed as their supporter, he's on the frontline, demonstrating their power personally.
  • Ax-Crazy: The death of his wife at the hands of a firebender drove Hiroshi so insane with hate that he would not only ordered the mass genocide and oppression of benders, but also tried to kill his own daughter for calling him out.
  • Back for the Dead: After two books of only mentions, Hiroshi gets a redemption arc in Book 4, admitting the shame and guilt that had tarnished his daughter's and company's name. And then, in the finale, he dies. However, because of the circumstances, he chose to die.
  • Beard of Sorrow: He's grown one in Book 4 when Asami comes to visit him in prison, suggesting that he's deeply ashamed of his past crimes.
  • Berserk Button: Do not say his actions would be condemned by his late wife. He will go off on you for that, even if you're his daughter.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: His true thoughts about Mako and Asami's relationship are downright hateful.
  • Boomerang Bigot: He is disgusted that Asami is dating a "firebending street rat" (Mako), despite himself having been as dirt poor at the same age, if not more so—though it would seem it's mostly the "firebending" part that he dislikes. It can also make sense from another point of view: While Sato was poor, he was by all accounts an honest citizen who supported himself through thrift and hard work, and proud of that. Whereas Mako and his brother, though never quite felons, drifted around in shady and half-criminal circles and had connections in the Triads.
  • Broken Ace: Hiroshi managed to become a self-made millionare due to his ingenuity, but his wife's death drove him insane.
  • Broken Pedestal: Asami's idealized image of her father is shattered once she learns he's with the Equalists.
  • Brutal Honesty: His second line in the series says it all, after asking Mako's opinion on the factory.
    Hiroshi: (To Mako) So, I understand you're dirt poor.
  • The Bus Came Back: Hiroshi returns in Book 4, when Asami visits him in prison. The years have not been kind.
  • Co-Dragons: With the Lieutenant, both are Amon's right hand men.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: In Book 4, his graying hair causes him to strongly resemble Hayao Miyazaki.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: He believes an international conspiracy of benders rule the world, have "ruined" it through their misrule, and use their bending to oppress the ordinary people without powers. In reality, while all powerful states in the setting are ruled by benders, needless to say the rulers of the nations are not at all in agreement with each other most of the time, as the devastating world war still in living memory ought to prove.
  • Cool Old Guy: As a front. By Book 4, years of regret have turned him into one for real.
  • Cool Plane: He designed one.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: He supplies the Equalists with weapons on the side, then framed Cabbage Corp for manufacturing them after the Equalists first revealed their electrical weapons.
  • Cycle of Revenge: His thirst for revenge at the death of his wife utterly consumed him to the point he finally tries to kill his own daughter and can't see the monster he's become.
  • The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: While his intentions are arguably pure to begin with, his bitterness over his wife's death and his long-term association with the Equalists have left him incapable of seeing that his wife would never approve of what he's done in her name. In the depths of his hatred, he attempts to kill his own daughter (who has a Strong Family Resemblance to his wife) because she disapproves of his association with the Equalists and chose to act against him. Though granted, only after she attacked him first.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In response to the death of his wife in a home invasion by the Agni Kai Triad gone wrong, he intends to eradicate the world of all bending.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: His main concern while following Amon was to avenge the death of his wife, more than anything.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: He stays behind on the Colossus to finish cutting open a breach in its armor. Kuvira kills him for his efforts, but Hiroshi's sacrifice is what allows the heroes to take the tyrant down for good.
  • Enemy Mine: Lin Beifong temporarily released him so that he can help his former enemies against Kuvira. Unfortunately, he doesn't last.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: For all his faults, his love for Asami is genuine. At least until he gives up on her in the Season 1 finale. In season 4 it's revealed he still loves her dearly and is completely ashamed of what he's done to her. After long consideration, Asami decides to try to give him a chance.
  • Evil All Along: He sponsored the Fire Ferrets specifically with the intention of diverting suspicion away from him.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: A reason he was obsessed with eradicating benders as well as wanting to kill his own daughter was because he cannot comprehend the idea of someone not wanting revenge after what firebenders did to his wife, whom he insisted he still loved.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Asami. Both are talented gadgeteer geniuses muggless who lost the same loved one to a firebender. While Asami managed to overcome her grief to not hate every bender, Hiroshi couldn't and became just as bad as the people who killed his wife.
  • Evil Genius: He is responsible for the Equalists's technological advantage.
  • Evil Gloating: Does this to General Iroh when he imprisons him.
  • Evil Old Folks: His choice in life led him here.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: Downplayed. He wanted to keep Asami out of his Equalist activities for as long as possible, so she could have the best childhood and youth he could give her without the weight of this burden, but still expects her to join him once the Equalists come into power.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change:
    • He keeps up his appearance in public. After he's revealed as an Equalist supporter, he gets knocked around inside one of his Mini-Mecha, messing up his hair and knocking off his glasses. The result is far more fitting for his new demeanor.
    • By the time he returns in season 4 his hair has gone completely gray, as fitting his thoroughly broken demeanor.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: He's crushed to death by Kuvira just as he finishes cutting a hole in the Colossus's armor.
  • Famous Last Words: "Goodbye, Asami. I love you."
  • Fantastic Racism: He hates benders. A firebender took his wife, and the loved ones of other characters. Too bad it never occurred to him that firebenders took the family of one of his enemies as well. In the fourth book, however, he is nothing but civil to the benders of the main cast when he's called in to help fight Kuvira, though it's unclear if he's completely lost this trope.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He is a kind, loving father with high standards for work but an empathy for the lower class. It is these characteristics which first hide his true side and then make him an excellent spokesman for the Equalists.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Wears glasses and is revealed to be a bigoted, Evil Genius.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: He used to be a dirt poor shoe shiner before someone gave him the funds necessary to build the first Satomobiles and found an immense industrial empire. Due to his wife's death, he went on to use his vast mechanical intelligence and newly acquired resources to build death machines for Amon and the Equalists, which probably killed dozens if not hundreds of innocent people as a result.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Hiroshi is a brilliant man who was able to figure out how to mass produce automobiles to the point his name was in the idiom. He later designed the Equalist technology, from the small shock-gloves, to mecha-tanks made of a rare metal, and finally biplanes.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Despite being willing to kill his only daughter, and unrepentant for his crimes, he later repents, and reconciles with Asami, then makes a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Heel Realization: It seems being in prison for years has given Hiroshi time to reflect on his actions. When Asami visits him in prison in Book 4, he tells her that he deeply regrets his actions and understands that he will never be forgiven for them.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Upon realizing his and Asami's Hummingbird can only finish cutting open the breach into the Colossus if it stays in place long enough to be destroyed, he ejects Asami from it and stays himself.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: He cannot see he has become just as evil and dangerous as the firebending gang which took his wife. He is so far gone, he nearly kills Asami in his rage. His time in prison manages to give him some perspective on that.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Was finally defeated and captured by his daughter using the anti-bending technology he designed and used to help the Equalists take over Republic City.
    • When he originally had the main characters pinned, and offered his daughter to join him, she shocked him with the gauntlet he gave her.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: Built his company up from a small loan. Then it's revealed he's actually working for the Equalists.
  • Hypocrite: His hatred of benders stemmed from a firebender killing his wife, yet he tries to kill his own daughter for siding with benders against him and calling him out on dishonoring his wife.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Sure, he realized that he hurt his daughter, but he ignored the bigger picture behind it—he refused to see that his actions against benders were wrong, and doesn't even show any regret for losing what he cared the most due to his actions: his own family. However, while in jail he has time to reconsider his actions and is able to at least get Asami to speak with him.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Especially when he reveals his true colors, and later when he wants to kill his own daughter, it is NOT played for laughs. When Asami thinks of him, she's more than ready to put him down once and for all.
  • Knight Templar: This is how he sees himself as he helps Amon bring in a new world order. The struggle for greater equality of opportunity in the Republic and against the oppressive bender crime gangs is something even the main characters generally agree is a good thing, but like the other organized Equalists, he goes much too far with his revolutionary methods.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Both his role as an Equalist supporter and weapons manufacturer and his incarceration are off-handedly mentioned several times in the following season.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Everything he did was for his daughter Asami and in the name of his wife, or rather, it started that way...
  • Mad Scientist: When he wasn't an Honest Corporate Executive.
  • Man Behind the Man: Not in the sense that he's the true mastermind behind the Equalists, but Hiroshi's financial and scientific support was key in turning the Equalists from a political movement with a charismatic leader into a regional military power capable of seizing Republic City and defeating the United Forces navy. Without him, the Equalists would be far less of a threat.
  • Mid-Season Twist: When his Equalist associations come out into the open.
  • Mini-Mecha: He designed them, and pilots one.
  • Muggle: He is a non-bender but still politically and financially influential in Republic City, before he was outed as an Equalist.
  • Never My Fault: Averted in Book 4 as he says it's his fault for ruining his family and their business
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: He is a fantasy equivalent to Henry Ford, with some parallels to Japanese shipping magnate Iwasaki Yataro, who would later found Mitsubishi. Further parallels come up in his association with the Equalists. e, of course, pioneered automobilism in a similar way, and was also a promoter of anti-Semitism. Iwasaki, for his part, was known as a lower-ranking samurai who eventually rose through the ranks of Japanese business and societynote . Decades later, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries was one of the largest suppliers of military vehicles to Imperial Japan in World War II.
    • His Book 4 appearance on the other hand makes him look more like Hayao Miyazaki.
  • Not So Different: His background is very similar to Mako's, both being impoverished lower-class Republic citizens of Fire Nation origins who had loved ones murdered by firebender criminals. He invokes this himself when he sponsors the Fire Ferrets, comparing this to the modest loan that once got his own business started many years ago. The similarities go further, from their shared concern for justice and the good of the nation (though they interpret these causes quite differently) to (more sadly) hurting Asami despite caring greatly about her.
  • Not So Similar:
    • It turns out that he is also this to Mako, due to how they handle their personal tragedies. Both rebuild their lives, achieving success in their respective fields and devoting themselves to their surviving kin; but whereas Mako manages to rise above his resentments, Sato allows his bitterness to warp his aims and pull him into violent revolutionary politics.
    • In another way, to Amon. They share the same background as nonbenders from simple origins whose loved ones were murdered by firebenders, who now fight for social justice (and/or mere revenge, depending on who tells the story)—except Amon's backstory turned out to be thoroughly fraudulent.
  • Number Two: In contrast to the Lieutenant, who is more of a mere enforcer, Sato is a more obvious leader figure among the Equalists who shares Amon's place as the public face of the revolution once he reveals his true colors, even holding a major New Era Speech to the masses.
  • Offing the Offspring: Was quite willing to go through with this in the depths of his hateful mania. Thankfully, a volley of boulders thwarted him.
  • Open-Minded Parent: Zig-zagged. He is clearly tolerant of Asami's unusual, "masculine" interests like auto racing, and also doesn't seem to mind her seeing a poor and uneducated young man. However, he later makes clear that he really doesn't approve of her dating a bender like Mako. Then, in his final appearances (some years of in-story time later), he appears to have forgiven her, and does not offer any further comments on her relationships.
  • Parental Betrayal: Asami finds out Hiroshi has been supplying the Equalists with weapons and technology. Her response? Willingly accepts the electrical glove that Hiroshi offers... and then promptly shocks him.
  • Parenthetical Swearing: The way he stresses benders in his Motive Rant makes it sound like almost a slur, though the word as such is not usually pejorative in the setting.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: His bigotry against the benders serves to make him this in-universe, and by way of analogy to the audience. It comes across most clearly when he is disgusted with Asami seeing a firebender.
  • Rags to Riches: His back-story.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Double Subverted. He wears black and red colors on his suit and comes off as an affable guy. Then, it's revealed he's an anti-bender and is all for Amon's plans.
  • Redemption Equals Death: He forces Asami to eject from their hummingbird mecha so he can finish piercing a hole in the Colossus, despite being crushed in the process.
  • Revenge: His main reason for joining the Equalists.
  • Revenge Before Reason: He hates benders enough to actually try to kill his own daughter for siding with them.
  • Rousing Speech: His public address on the eve of General Iroh's invasion, as the First Division is sent in to suppress the Equalist revolution in Republic City.
    Hiroshi Sato: One day soon, bending will no longer exist, and we will live in a world where everyone is finally equal. The United Forces are on their way right now to try and stop that dream. But we will prevail!
  • Self-Made Man: Born to a poor family from the city's Dragon Flats district, he worked hard to make ends meet. His company, Future Industries, started out selling Satomobiles, the first cars marketed to the common man. By twenty-five, he'd made his first million yuans.
  • Shock and Awe: Designed and uses the Equalist chi-blocking lightning gloves.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Hiroshi wears glasses and is a Gadgeteer Genius.
  • Start of Darkness: His wife's murder.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Between Sato and his daughter Asami, when they choose different sides in the Equalist revolution. Subverted, in that they do reconcile eventually, but it takes years of in-universe time, and in the heat of the moment they very much appear to mean the words as they speak them.
    • At first, Sato is reconciliatory, hoping that she will return to him when she sees the new, more just world the Equalists are building. However, Asami rejects him completely for siding with someone like Amon and trying to destroy her friends' bending.
      How can we be a family after everything you've done? Mom would hate you for what you've become!
    • Later, when Asami is destroying their airplanes while the Equalists are fighting for their lives against the United Forces, he, too, finally accepts that she isn't coming back.
      I now see there is no chance to save you!
  • Tragic Bigot: An Agni Kai Gang firebender killed his wife 12 years ago, and this more than anything seems to have propelled him into the Equalist movement.
  • Troubled Sympathetic Bigot: Apart from his extremistic Equalist ideology, Hiroshi Sato is by all accounts a sympathetic, hard-working, caring, generous, brave and even unselfish man, as shown not least by his Heroic Sacrifice to save the Republic, benders included, from the tyranny of Kuvira in Book 4. Also, he claims to be fighting strictly for the betterment of the common man and against an oppressive elite, and seems to believe this himself—though Asami ridicules his beliefs; in her view, he is simply being blindly hateful.
  • Uncle Pennybags: Agrees to sponsor the Fire Ferrets on the spot when told that they need the financial aid, the only condition being that they wear his logo. While it is arguably good press, especially if they win, he does it because he got his big start in the same way. It later turns out that he did so merely to deflect suspicion of any Equalist ties.
  • Universal Driver's License: Justified since he designed and likely field tested the Equalist vehicles.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Like Amon, he believes that bending is the root of most of the social evils in the Republic, and that removing the benders' supernatural abilities will bring about a better world. As he tells Asami, his great ambition is to help the common people everywhere, and he is prepared to sanction Amon's methods if that is what it takes to bring down the bender oligarchy.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Defied by Asami. When all his plans have failed, and he's been beaten in a Mecha-Tank battle, he fires off his last grappling hook to distract her, and then he physically runs away. Asami hits him with a bolo.
  • Villain Has a Point: When Korra calls him a coward for not fighting her face to face without weapons, he calmly points out that since she has superpowers and he doesn't, it will in fact be more of a fair fight if he does use his mecha to even the odds. Korra does not dispute this.
  • Villainous Breakdown: He completely loses it when Asami tells him his wife would have hated him for what he has become.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: At first, though he's since been exposed.
  • Visionary Villain: Like Amon, he honestly believes in the Equalist dream (his word) of the advancement of the common man through technology and a better, bending-free tomorrow without tyranny, wars and oppression. As he sees it, the benders may have ruined the world, but ordinary men working together can mend it and create a more just social order.
  • Walking Spoiler: Initially, due to how big of a twist his villain status was when Book 1 was still fresh.
  • We Can Rule Together: To Asami, when he finally reveals his Equalism to her. It goes badly for him.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Perhaps moreso than Amon, he believes that the world would be a better place without benders. However, he has been slipping into selfishness as time went on.
  • With Us or Against Us: When the revolution is underway and it really is a fight to the death between the Equalist militia and the Republic's armed forces in the last episodes. As Asami sides with the latter, he is shattered that she would join with "the very people who took [her] mother away" against him and the downtrodden masses of ordinary men he claims to champion—forgetting that it was criminals who did this, not the United Republic government that he is trying to bring down, even if both were benders.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Well, considering the loss of his beloved wife was the main reason why he's a hate-filled wreck right now, he applies. However, given his attitude and downright spiteful actions towards people who did nothing to him, this can fall flat.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: He tries pulling this in the Season 1 finale, on Asami.
  • You Killed My Father: A Triple Threat Triad firebender murdered his wife. This was his original motive for joining the Equalists and overthrowing the government before his hatred for benders consumed him.

    The Lieutenant 

The Lieutenant

Voiced by: Lance Henriksen

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/2d9ca66d72bdd5a9246eac459095a186.png
"You benders need to understand... there's no place in this world for you anymore."
Click here to see the lieutenant unmasked 

Amon's second-in-command. Little is known about him, except that he believes quite strongly in the Equalist cause.


  • Alas, Poor Villain: The way he was quite literally thrown aside by Amon generated a lot of fan sympathy for him. Coupled with the fact that he was actually crying.
  • 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.
  • Ammunition Backpack: Since it's a generator and he wields electrified weapons.
  • Awesome Backpack: He carries a power generator on his back to supply power for his weapons.
  • Badass Baritone: Owing to his voice actor, he has a very cool, deep voice.
  • Badass Moustache: It adds to his badass appearance, since he's a badass and has a moustache.
  • Badass Normal: No bending abilities but has the martial arts abilities and modernized weapons to fight and defeat professional benders like Mako and Bolin in battle. And he remains, to date, the only non-bender who's actually taken down a Beifong (Lin) in battle.
  • Broken Pedestal: Let's just say that he didn't take learning the truth about Amon well.
  • Co-Dragons: With Hiroshi Sato, both are Amon's right hand men.
  • The Determinator: Always back up and ready for another fight, no matter how much of a beating he takes.
  • Diminishing Villain Threat: He 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: Amon's primary right hand man, almost always at Amon's side, ready to dispatch or fight any benders that come their way.
  • Dual Wielding: Electricfied kali sticks in both hands.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": He is just called the Lieutenant, by everyone up to and including Amon. Bolin, however, nicknames him Mustache Guy.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: His voice actor, Lance Henriksen, has a very deep voice.
  • 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: They don't seem to do very much.
  • 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 Butt-Monkey: No beating really seems to stop him.
  • 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: He 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: He's just "the Lieutenant".
  • 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.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Amon. That is, until he discovers that Amon was a bender too, and was only using the Equalists for his own goals. The Lieutenant was noticeably heartbroken about this revelation.
  • 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.
  • The 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.
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    The Chi-blockers 

Chi-blockers

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Chi_blockers_6466.jpg
"Officers down, electrocuted! Chi-blockers and Equalist convicts are still at large, armed and dangerous!"

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.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: They've been trained to fight against fire, water and earthbenders in a city with a healthy amount of them, but are unprepared for battles against airbenders, of which there are precisely four, not including the Avatar. Tenzin's children easily overpower them in their first encounter. Additionally, they're so used to fighting benders that they're just as unprepared against a fellow non-bender and close-range fighter in Asami, who has a perfect record in combat against them that none of her allies could boast.
  • Elective Mute: They apparently use verbal silence 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.
  • Elite Mooks: They're an army of them. Even just a few of them can put up a hell of a fight against very powerful benders.
  • Enemy Mine: In the game, they fight alongside the Triple Triads under Hundun, partly because they were hired as mercenaries and partly because they were swayed by promises of equality.
  • 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 airbending.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Electrocuting Shiro Shinobi, the announcer, who is a non-bender and wasn't fighting back.
    • Using bolas 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.
  • Ninja: They seem to take loose inspiration, focusing on pragmatic fighting and using chi-blocking.
  • 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 Worf Effect: Though initially appearing very formidable, they become less so as the series progresses. In episode 10, several of them were quickly defeated by Jinora, Ikki, and Meelo. (Granted, most of them had probably never fought an airbender before.)
  • 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.

    The Protester 

The Protester

Voiced by: Carlos Alazraqui

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Screen_Shot_2012-04-29_at_11_27_37_AM_9261.png
"Are you tired of living under the tyranny of benders? Then join the Equalists!"

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.
  • Back for the Finale: He appears in the first episode or two, then disappears. He comes back in a brief scene later.
  • Big "WHAT?!": He lets one out in the finale when Amon outs himself as being a waterbender.
  • Brains Evil, Brawn Good: The protester is just a little old man that Korra could probably beat up easily without bending, but he is also wily, and manages to win their little debate rather solidly, turning the crowd against her.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Invoked. He deliberately insults any benders that come by, because goading them into attacking him would prove his point.
  • Hot Blooded Sideburns: Which also point to Fire Nation parentage.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While his sentiments may be offensive to her, Korra's first instinct (to shut him up by physically kicking him off his soapbox) isn't really the right way to deal with him. Nor is threatening him, as she actually proceeds to do after fighting down that urge. As a free citizen, he is entitled to air his views, however bigoted, in public, as long as he does not advocate violence, and her trying to bully him into silence is a sort of oppression.
  • No Name Given: He's just "the protester".
  • Playing the Victim Card: Enjoys goading benders, and when they are about to beat him up always shouts about how the benders are oppressing him and other non-benders. He does this at least once when Korra was about to beat him up so he'd tell her and Mako where Bolin might be after he was kidnapped by Chi-Blockers; but he's probably done it more than once.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Played with. He is a political activist and rabble-rouser who demands equality and justice for the non-powered ordinary citizens in the setting, and can come across as annoying in this way (which is certainly how Korra perceives him). However, the Equalist movement he supports also has more than a touch of Putting on the Reich, subverting the stereotype.

Politicians

    Tarrlok 

Tarrlok

Voiced by: Dee Bradley Baker

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Screen_Shot_2012-04-28_at_3_33_24_PM_2946.png
"Avatar Korra has bravely answered the call to action. With the two of us leading the charge, Republic City has nothing to fear from Amon and the Equalists."

The representative of the Northern Water Tribe on the United Republic Council, and chairman of that same body. Ambitious and manipulative, Tarrlok seeks to exploit the crisis Amon is fomenting for his own ends. He is Tenzin's primary political rival.


  • Agent Peacock: He wears fancy clothing, has long, elaborately beaded hair, and is stated by Ikki as "smelling like a lady". He's also a ruthless and manipulative Sleazy Politician as well as a master waterbender who can bloodbend without a full moon.
  • Ambadassador: For the Northern Water Tribe, and can fight Korra on equal terms.
  • 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 his best not to use it. However, his father's manipulations and his own desperation made him the very thing he hated.
  • 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 a wreck by the time Yakone passed away.
  • Bullying a Dragon: He increasingly antagonizes Korra from mockery to manipulation until she finally presses his Berserk Button, gets into a physical fight with her and almost dies because of it.
  • Cain and Abel: Zig-zagged. 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: 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: He browbeats the Council into going along with his plans, all of which only serve to make him more powerful.
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower: His bloodbending is what leads Korra to discover he's secretly the son of one of the worst crime lords the city has ever known.
  • The Dandy: He is mocked by Ikki for "smelling like a lady" when he joins Tenzin's family for dinner.
  • 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.
  • Dramatic Irony: He's all too aware that he and his brother's striving to not follow in their father's footsteps with Tarrlok in particular choosing to rule Republic City "from the top-down instead of from its rotten underbelly" yet both brothers ended up on the exact same path anyway right down to fighting The Avatar.
  • Driven to 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) 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. However, 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 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 being subjected to his own father's treachery. Tarrlok needed an excuse to exercise the might of Republic City, and made the Equalists his Enemy X.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Humiliation Conga: Everything goes to shit for him from "When Extremes Meet" onwards. First, Korra's team shows him up by capturing Equalists before the police can then Korra beats him so badly he has to use bloodbending to save his life then despite a well-crafted cover-up, his page outs him and he has to bloodbend everyone to escape meaning his political career's over then his plan to go on the lam with Korra is interrupted by the very enemy he framed who No-Sells said Dangerous Forbidden Technique and ends up getting De-Powered and then remains a prisoner like the very people he used to harass with his political power while reflecting on both his failures and the fact that Amon's the very long-lost brother he grew up with. In just becomes truly sad after that.
  • 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, and helps Korra unmask Amon then sacrifices himself to put an end to both Amon and Yakone's evil legacy.
  • Kick the Dog: After already imposing a curfew on non-benders in Republic City as a response to anti-bending revolutionaries, he also shuts off the electricity to a whole district just to goad them outside, where he can accuse them of breaking curfew and have them rounded up.
  • 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 isn'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...
  • Let No Crisis Go to Waste: His entire crusade against the Equalists isn't really to protect the benders of Republic City; he's only taking advantage of the crisis to consolidate his own power.
  • 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.
  • Murder-Suicide: With his brother by blowing up the boat they're in.
  • 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. It also happens to a lesser extent after bloodbending a 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, though Tarrlok had no idea who Amon really was 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: 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.
  • Personality Powers: The power hungry politician can control people? What a shock!
  • Power Nullifier: His bloodbending shut down Korra's fire blasts before she could roast him in "When Extremes Meet".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Tarrlok looks similar to his father, which might clue viewers in to their relation before the reveal.
  • 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: Tarrlok's father Yakone forced him 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 force Tarrlok and Noatak to bloodbend each other during practise. Yakone became furious when Tarrlok refused to do so, and 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, while Tarrlok decided to become a politician. He originally wanted to do good for the people of Republic City, and prove to himself that he was better than his father. But he wound up becoming the Sleazy Politician we see in the present day, inadvertently fulfilling his father's dream of ruling Republic City through underhanded, but still legal means. Later as the reunited brothers flee from Republic City, Tarrlok sits at the back of the boat navigated by Amon and notices that it was filled with Equalist electrified gloves. Realizing the madness would never end, he states that everything would be "just like the good old days", reiterating a statement made earlier by his brother. Amon sheds a single tear before Tarrlok ignites the fuel tank behind him, killing them both in the resulting explosion.
  • Tyke-Bomb: 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: Flashbacks into his childhood revealed he was genuinely sweet kid. Then, the combination of his abusive father's bloodbending training and only brother's disappearance, made him into the smug jerk he is in the present.
  • 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. Semi-subverted when it's revealed Amon is his brother, the more powerful Water/Bloodbender of the two, which allowed him to No-Sell Tarrlok's bloodbending much like Katara did with Hama's.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Somberly realizes this as despite their best efforts, both he and Noatak became the very things their father wanted them to be and sees only one way out.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Tries this on Korra and the rest of Team Avatar when Korra no longer follows his orders. Then to Saikhan later on.

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Triads

    General 

The gangs that run the Republic City streets. Most of them are benders, which set up much of the bender/non-bender conflict that the Equalists capitalized on.


  • Butt-Monkey: The Triple Threat Triad gets this treatment, and nothing usually goes right for them. Korra easily handles them in the pilot, and Amon's Equalists kidnap their leader and several others to have their bending removed. This is averted when Varrick hires them as part of a trap set for Mako, which succeeds in being a distraction even though he figured it out.
  • 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. In "The Sting", they manage to put up a decent fight against Mako and Asami. The laughable tone that encompassed their villainy from the first Book vanishes in this episode.
    • Turf Wars brings them back into prominence as Kuvira's attack made everything chaotic enough for them to exploit from the collateral damage to the stretched-thin police force and not to mention the confiscated Earth Empire weaponry the Triple Threats stole.
  • 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, and are a laughable threat to the heroes. When they're working for Varrick, however, they actually manage to get the job done. By Turf Wars, they've finally risen above this status, and they along with their rival gangs are treated as serious threats.
  • Psychos For Hire: On a regular basis, they extort people for their money. Of course, they can take tasks for hire as well.
  • Status Quo Is God: No matter how many times they are imprisoned, they'll end up being out of prison the next time they are seen or heard.
  • The Triads and the Tongs: A combination of this and the stereotypical 1920s American gangster.

    Lightning Bolt Zolt 

Lightning Bolt Zolt

Voiced by: Kevin Michael Richardson

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lightning_bolt_zolt_126.png
"You're gonna regret doing that, pal..."

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.
  • Asshole Victim: He is a major power in organized crime, who has used his bending powers for a career oppressing and extorting helpless citizens. Amon exploits this: by making the first person he officially takes away bending from a hated and previously "untouchable" crime lord, he cements his following among the non-bending masses.
  • De-Power: Stripped of his bending by Amon, the first example of his power.
  • The Don: Formerly.
  • Evil Mentor: According to supplementary materials, he taught Mako how to bend and redirect lightning.
  • Evil Old Folks: Zolt is the oldest-appearing of the various villains in Korra, being an old don with gray hair (growing white at the temples). Though he is still a powerful firebender, as his lightning-bending demonstrates.
  • 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. He also never gets his bending restored after Amon's defeat.
  • Kill It with Fire: He's a skilled firebender.
  • Noble Demon: In the Republic City Hustle shorts, he is shown as a somewhat honourable figure, protecting the brothers from Shady Shin's wrath, being pissed off at Tousa specifically for not fulfilling his part of the deal after "what they've done for him", and respecting Mako's wishes.
  • Offstage Villainy: His own crime activities are not shown (though his subordinates in the Triad are prominently featured during a shakedown, which Korra interrupts). However, they are related by Amon, and neither he nor anyone else protests Amon's description.
  • 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.
  • Shock and Awe: He's a skilled lightningbender, hence the nickname.
  • Supervillain: A somewhat downplayed example. In most settings, a crime boss with his name and powers would be playing the trope entirely straight, but in this series, firebending is so common that he does not stand out quite as much as he would in other places. However, to the ordinary, non-powered people he certainly comes across as one.
  • 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".

    Viper 

Viper

Voiced by: Michael Yurchak

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/viper_6733.png

A Water-bending member of the Triple Threat Triad


  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Not apparent in his first appearance, since he was up against Korra and only had a single water pouch to work with. When he comes up against Mako in Book Two while in open water at nighttime (a situation that both empowers him and weakens Mako), 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.
  • An Ice Person/Making a Splash: Like all water-benders.
  • Irony: The guy he vouched for to join the Triple Threats is also the guy who literally beat him for the position and killed him, making it a take on "The Farmer and the Viper".
  • 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.

    Shady Shin 

Shady Shin

Voiced by: Fisher Stevens

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/shin_acting_cool_380.png

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.
  • De-Power: 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.
  • Evil Mentor: To Bolin, sort of. He taught him a "fast-paced, street version" of Pai Sho.
  • 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.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: He's not a threat again after being De-Powered until Part Two of Turf Wars where he gets a hold of a mecha suit, the same in fact that Kuvira used to invade Republic City. He's absolutely ecstatic over this.
  • 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 

Two Toed Ping

Voiced by: Richard Epcar

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/two_toed_ping_6351.png

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.
  • Bullying a Dragon: By the time Ping decided to pick a fight with Korra, it was abundantly clear that he was dealing with the Avatar. He tries anyway and gets thrown into a building window for his efforts.
  • 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.
  • Friendly Enemy: In Turf Wars, a newly deputized Bolin just personally arrested him yet he's talking as casually as reuniting with old relatives. It's not even a trick this time, he's just that happy to see Mako and Bolin.
  • 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.
  • Nice Guy: For a gangster anyway.
  • 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.
  • So Proud of You: Yes, really. In Turf Wars, Bolin personally arrested him yet is talking up Mako and Bolin to Mushi like his own children that made it big.
  • You All Look Familiar: He's the basis for the every firebending member of the Triple Threat Triads in the game.

Spirits

    The Dark Spirits 

Dark Spirits

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dark_spirit_3953.png

The main antagonists of Book Two.


  • 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: A combination of this and Dark Is Not Evil. Being dark spirits, they are inherently destructive, primal beings. 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. If the former is the case, it usually means Vaatu is controlling them.
  • Eldritch Abomination: An army of them. However, they are nothing compared to Vaatu, their master.
  • Elite Mooks: When working for Unalaq (who serves their master, Vaatu), 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. These fused spirits can also reform into their original smaller forms if the big form is blasted apart.
  • 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 or bending offense has almost zero effect on them. They can be blasted apart by a strong enough bending attack but may reform if the dark spirit was made up of smaller ones fused together. The bigger ones can be almost unstoppable, at least for any bender not experienced at fighting spirits.
  • 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: They are difficult to harm via conventional means, though strong bending attacks are seen to blast apart weaker ones with little trouble.
  • 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 (sometimes) laugh off even Avatar State-boosted bending assaults without even trying.
  • 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.
  • Villain Decay: A somewhat different from normal example, as the weaker dark spirits are different from the ones that appear early on, and even then they are still dangerous. However, the fact remains that the first two dark spirits to appear (the giant squid and the one at the festival) appear almost invulnerable, while at the end we see whole groups of dark spirits being blasted apart with normal bending and no sign of them regenerating.

    Vaatu 

Vaatu

Voiced by: Jonathan Adams

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tvtropes_img_vaatu_6662.jpg
"I lived ten thousand lifetimes before the first of your kind crawled out of the mud."

The spirit that embodies darkness and chaos, counterpart of Raava, the spirit of light and peace.


  • Ancient Evil: Vaatu is a being who represents all evil and has been around since the beginning of time.
  • Animalistic Abomination: Like his counterpart, he resembles a giant flatworm.
  • The Anti-God: Instead of deriving from Satan like most gods of evil, he's closer to Angra Mainyu: 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. Just like Angra Mainyu, he will always lose to his good counterpart in the end.
  • Apocalypse How: If Vaatu wins the conflict between himself and Raava, he would probably cause a Species Extinction event. When working with Unalaq, it might not have been that bad, though certainly a Societal Collapse at the very least, but the result is cataclysmic nonetheless.
  • Arch-Enemy: To Raava, being her polar opposite and the one she must duel every ten thousand years to determine the fate of the world. After Raava's merger with Wan, he's practically this to the Avatar, and won't stop until he gets a shot at him/her.
  • As Long as There is Evil: Light and Darkness cannot exist without each other, so they exist in all living beings. Vaatu can thus never truly die. If destroyed, he'll slowly be reborn over the next 10,000 years and emerge once more to continue the cycle.
  • Badass Baritone: Courtesy of Jonathan Adams.
  • Badass Boast: Delivers a pretty great one to Wan.
    Vaatu: I lived ten thousand lifetimes before the first of your kind crawled out of the mud! It was I who broke through the divide that separated the plane of spirits from the material world! To hate me is to give me breath. To fight me is to give me strength. Now prepare to face oblivion!
  • Balance Between Good and Evil: Battles his counterpart once every ten thousand years, unless he is contained. Light and darkness cannot exist without each other. Even if one of them wins the victor can't destroy the other, as their counterpart will emerge from within their self again after ten thousand years. Though if Vaatu wins, humans aren't going to be there by the time the next battle rolls around.
  • Big Bad: He's the Big Bad of "The Beginnings" two-parter. "The Guide" reveals that Unalaq has been working for him in the present, setting Vaatu up as the true Big Bad of Book 2, which deals with his Evil Plan to bring eternal darkness and lay waste to the mortal world. Even after his defeat, remnants of his damage have taken a life of their own.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: With Unalaq. Despite Unalaq being a mere mortal and technically being subordinate to him, they are rough equals as far as importance goes.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Averted, unlike the Dark Spirits. He noticeably takes considerable thrill in taunting humanity and trying to wipe them out. Though he does honour his deal with Unalaq.
  • The Cameo: During Korra's Mushroom Samba in the Book 3 finale, Ming Hua's body contorts and stretches out into Vaatu's - he proceeds to taunt her:
    Vaatu: "You are too weak to resist, and I am stronger than ever! There's no use fighting. Let go."
  • Card-Carrying Villain: It's quite understandable, as he is evil and destruction itself.
  • Chaos Is Evil: Is the chaos spirit and revels in death and destruction.
  • Combat Tentacles: Has these which he employs in his fights against Raava and Wan.
  • Complete Immortality: As Raava explains to Wan in "Beginnings", neither she or Vaatu can ever truly be destroyed. One defeating other results in the defeated party regrowing in the victor over the next ten thousand years. And they are both immune to most damage like ordinary spirits are. Even though Korra used her uncle's spirit pacification technique on him, he will still return if there is still darkness remaining.
  • The Corrupter: Can turn normal spirits dark by preying on their negative emotions and throwing them out of balance.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: As an addition to the Avatar universe Raava and Vaatu really lend themselves more to stereotypically western ideas of good and evil (hiding behind a thin veneer of Order Versus Chaos) than the duality aspect that was played up in other major spirits like the Moon and Ocean.
  • Dark Is Evil: He's a gigantic shadowy being and he wishes to plunge the world into darkness. Really, Wan should have known he was trouble just by looking at him.
  • Death by Irony: He looks upon humans as meaningless, refusing to even recognize the Avatar as anything more than Raava. It should go without saying that the Avatar ends up being his undoing. Twice.
  • Devour the Dragon: Averted. Both he and Unalaq mutually agreed to fuse together with the purpose of making each other more powerful. When this happens, both their personalities co-exist as opposed to Vaatu consuming Unalaq entirely.
  • The Dreaded: Vaatu isn't just some villain, he is the evil of all evils. If you hear anybody not working for this guy talk about him, then they're terrified of him. Even Korra doesn't deny that she's afraid of him.
  • Drone of Dread: Heard when he fires his Eye Beams like a Reaper.
  • Dystopia Justifies the Means: His goal is to bring a rule of darkness and chaos to both worlds.
  • Eldritch Abomination: His minions are practically insects in comparison.
  • End of the World as We Know It: The result of him winning during a Harmonic Convergence.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Played with. On one hand, he has no qualms using both spirit and human servants. However, he has nothing but disdain for humans barring Unalaq and doesn't really care for spirits, as they are only beings he can control as dark spirits.
  • Evil Counterpart: Serves as this to Raava, the spirit of light, peace and balance.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Averted. Despite being the personification of chaos and having a great hatred for humans, his arrangement with Unalaq is entirely on the level. He could've betrayed Unalaq during the fusion and still achieve the result he wanted, but presumably, their mutually beneficial goals kept them on the same page.
  • Evil Laugh: A particularly awkward one after he is released.
  • Evil Only Has to Win Once: While the ten thousand year cycle between him and Raava is endless (unless, of course, he remains imprisoned in the Tree of Time while the portals are closed), no matter who wins, humans certainly would not survive ten thousand years under his rule, and the world will be damaged beyond repair.
  • Evil Overlord: He definitely proves himself to be one. He has great power enough to destroy civilizations either through his own or through his enormously large Dark Spirit army.
  • Evil Plan: To bring eternal darkness to the whole world, remaking it in his image.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: As expected from Jonathan Adams.
  • Evil Twin: Is exactly similar to Raava in appearance, but with a red and black color scheme.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Vaatu is unquestionably the biggest fish in the pond of villainy, and even Varrick acknowledges that.
  • Eye Beams: He can fire a massive purple beam from his diamond-shaped "eye".
  • False Innocence Trick: He begged Wan to free him from 10,000 years of torment at the hands of Raava. Being a kindly soul that didn't like tyrants, Wan separated them.
  • Fatal Flaw: Fittingly for an anti-God, Pride. Believing that Raava was too weak, and that no mere human could hope to defeat him, he was taken by surprise when Wan became Raava's Avatar and sealed him away. Ten thousand years later, he and Unalaq paid Korra no heed after destroying Raava, evidently believing that they had nothing to fear with Raava's power out of the equation. Vaatu paid for that oversight with his utter destruction.
  • Female Angel, Male Demon: He is male and the spirit of darkness and chaos, in spite of Asian symbolism assigning darkness to femininity.
  • 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, but it's really abysmal) other than because it's just what he does.
    • Interestingly, ten thousand years of imprisonment and his dealings with Unalaq seemed to have softened his views to some extent, as he's willing to join with Unalaq and become the Dark Avatar to create a new world order (albeit a dark and chaotic one) for humans and spirits rather than just kill humans off. Of course, this may have simply been a pragmatic compromise, given how Raava doing the same put him in that tree.
  • From a Single Cell: If defeated in the previous battle, he will regenerate from within Raava over ten thousand years, as light and darkness cannot exist without each other. His consciousness exists in even the smallest fragment of darkness - Word of God is that he is now in Raava (and therefore within Korra) and too weak to do anything, but will be giving whoever's Avatar in the next ten thousand years trouble.
  • Fusion Dance: As he was defeated through a fusion of a human and Raava, he decided to mimic the arrangement with Unalaq, becoming the Dark Avatar.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: He's the spirit of Chaos and Darkness. It's in his nature, but by Korra's time though, Unalaq convinces him that humans can be a part of the chaotic world he wants rather than a worthless race to be killed off, provided they serve him of course.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: As the embodiment of chaos, he serves as a Greater-Scope Villain for the Avatar franchise as a whole. He's certainly more powerful than any other villain could be and all the turmoil done by other villains, as well as the Avatar Cycle can be traced back to his influence. Also in regards to the trope, he only steps down to become a direct threat in Book 2 of Legend of Korra.
  • Green Thumb: Can make vines and other evil plants grow by shoving his tentacles into the earth.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: He is black and red, to contrast Raava.
  • God of Chaos: Again, god of chaos.
  • 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: Like any spirit, it doesn't matter what happens to his physical form. It'll regenerate almost instantly.
  • Hero Killer: He ripped Raava out of Korra and destroyed 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 (well, chaos and darkness), Vaatu is a huge jerk.
  • 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 about their deaths.
  • 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. 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. Whenever he shows up, bad, bad things are in store.
  • Legion of Doom: In Varrick's latest Mover pitch, he teams up with Amon and Zaheer in order to take down Bolin, though he's still stuck in the Tree of Time until Harmonic Convergence when he's accidentally merged with the Evil Unalaq, much to everyone's displeasure.
  • Lightning Bruiser: His size definitely doesn't reflect his speed, just like other spirits.
  • Made of Air: Like the other spirits, attacking him does nothing. Only by using bending to restrain him can humans hope to fight him.
  • Made of Evil: As the spirit of Chaos and Darkness itself, this is a given.
  • 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: He tricks Wan into freeing him from Raava by playing on Wan's desire to help.
  • Multiversal Conqueror: He was the one who broke through the barrier between spirit and physical worlds, and he plans to conquer both.
  • 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, plus the Avatar still exists in the present day to stop him again...but also to free him too.
  • Obviously Evil: He is a gigantic, shadowy being with a deep booming voice. Despite this, Wan takes his word over Raava's, since Vaatu was more convincing than her.
  • 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 Problem: Prior to his appearance in "The Beginnings", there was no hint of his existence or the eternal struggle between peace and chaos. Heck, until after Book 2, only a few people knew of his existence.
  • Power Glows: His eye beams are preceded by the red lines on his body turning purple and glowing.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Never betrays Unalaq — not because Vaatu cares for him, but because Vaatu needs a Fusion Dance host.
  • 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 its monstrous 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: Unlike normal Dark Spirits, who are simply rendered docile by Unalaq's spirit pacification technique, Vaatu is destroyed by it. Being the embodiment of chaos, it would seem there's nothing left after the technique is finished purifying him.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can:
    • The only way to defeat him and not have him cause trouble is to trap him somewhere. 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, even during Harmonic Convergence. Then Unalaq arranges for his escape in the present day.
    • By the end of Season 2, he is again... within Korra, and all of her successors for ten thousand years. Neither Raava nor Vaatu can exist without the other.
  • Smug Super: He's very arrogant, but his boasts are not unfounded: he is an immortal and powerful spirit.
  • The Sociopath: Vaatu doesn't express any real empathy towards others, and isn't big on friendship; anyone who serves him, especially Unalaq are nothing more than necessary allies, even if Unalaq was spared during the ordeal. Vaatu has destroyed countless villages and countless lives without a care. Though of course, Vaatu is a demonic spirit who is evil incarnate itself, so human morality wouldn't even apply to him in the first place.
  • Time Abyss: Says he lived ten thousand lifetimes before humans first "crawled out of the mud."
  • Token Non-Human: Vaatu is the only Big Bad in the series not to be human.
  • Underestimating Badassery: As an immortal and powerful spirit, he believes Wan, a mere human, is no threat to him. Then Wan fused with Raava and sealed him in a tree for 10,000 years. After all that time passes, he wouldn't underestimate the Avatar a second time, because he has new allies.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: He convinces Wan to release him by pretending that Raava's a bully who's been oppressing him for ten thousand years. He's not wrong about her standing against him for that long, but he also neglects to mention why she's so dead-set on keeping him contained for good reason.
  • You Have Failed Me: Subverted; when Unalaq believes Korra has been killed and they no longer have the means to free Vaatu, Vaatu calmly explains that he can sense Raava's essence and thus Unalaq hasn't failed.

     Hundun 

Hundun

Voiced by: Steve Blum

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hundun_3063.png
"I am known by many names ... but you may call me Hundun, Master of the Chaotic Attack. In my time, I was a king."
Click here to see under his cloak 

An ancient enemy of the Avatar, who was defeated by an incarnation that preceded Aang, and has lived in the Spirit World ever since. Now with the Spirit Portals open, he seeks to bring chaos to the world and destroy the Avatar.


  • Ambiguously Human: He's been living in the Spirit World for a thousand years, and his appearance as an old man has a few inhuman traits.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: He claims to have been a king during his life in the physical world. The treasures that he still had in the physical world allowed him to hire both the chi-blockers and the Triads as his personal army.
  • Badass Boast:
    Hundun: Now you will truly face the Chaotic Attack!
  • Bald of Evil: Not Hundun himself, but his brother.
  • Barrier Change Boss: He'll occasionally throw up elemental barriers to protect himself. They can be broken by using the corresponding element, stunning him momentarily.
  • Barrier Warrior: He has placed barriers to guard his treasure all over the world. The barriers can only be destroyed by using the corresponding element.
  • Battle Aura: A red one when he goes One-Winged Angel.
  • Beam Spam: One of his ranged attacks has him firing several serpentine Dark Spirits at Korra like a machine gun.
  • Beard of Evil: Has a long, white beard and is the Big Bad of the game.
  • The Beastmaster: Is able to control Dark Spirits.
  • Big Bad: He is the main villain of the video game, uniting several old enemy factions in order to destroy Korra. He plans to steal her chi for himself so that he can become whole.
  • Body Horror: The sight of his malformed, scarred Siamese twin is not a pretty one.
  • Casting a Shadow: Like Vaatu, he wields dark powers.
  • Chaos Is Evil: He's a force of chaos out to give the world a good serving of it and is the self-proclaimed "Master of the Chaotic Attack".
  • Composite Character: Of Vaatu (a being of chaos with a low opinion of humans and a personal grudge against the Avatar), and King Bumi (an elderly king and powerful earthbender whose hunched-back appearance belies his true power and massive physique).
  • Confusion Fu: Hundun's fighting style is varied and unpredictable and mainly consists of fighting in tandem with his brother and mixing up his movements to throw opponents off. Sometimes he might charge at Korra only to leap into the air to either punch the ground or deliver a diving kick. Other times he might move from side to side while charging to make it hard to predict where he'll attack. He may leap into the air to perform a diving kick only to suddenly stop and punch the ground while in midair. His ability to create clones of himself that attack independently only add to the confusion. All in all, Hundun's fighting style is a constant guessing game guaranteed to keep you on your toes. His Red Baron of the 'Master of the Chaotic Attack' isn't just for show.
  • Conjoined Twins: He's a conjoined twin whose brother is hidden behind his cloak.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Though he was defeated by a previous Avatar and forced to escape into the Spirit World, Hundun had vast treasure hidden in the physical world and protected by spirit barriers in case he would need it later.
  • Dark Is Evil: Wields dark powers and is out to plunge the world into chaos.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: During the final boss fight, one of his ranged attacks is to levitate a massive boulder and pitch it at Korra. Korra can deflect it back at him to momentarily stun him.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: During the final battle with him.
  • Doppleganger Spin: He can create copies of himself during the second phase of the battle.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Part of his grudge with the Avatar stems from his brother being grievously injured during a fight with a previous Avatar and part of his plan is to use Korra's chi to heal him and become whole.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Iroh. Iroh decided to move into the spirit world after he felt he could do no more in the land of the living. Hundun entered the spirit world to escape death and plans to regain his physical form by draining Korra's chi.
  • Evil Is Bigger: Once he sheds his cloak, he grows to several times Korra's size. At his new height, Korra is the same size as his knee.
  • Evil Laugh: Gives these out frequently.
  • Evil Old Folks: His appearance is that of a hunchbacked, wrinkly old man.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Possibly the closest thing the Avatar world has to one.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He seems cordial and somewhat whimsical, but he's a deranged monster out to kill Korra.
  • Final Boss: Of the video game.
  • Flunky Boss: The first round of his battle has him summon Dark Spirits to attack you before entering the fray himself, and he does it a second time after you've done some damage.
  • Foregone Conclusion: He will be defeated by the end of the game, considering he's nowhere to be seen two weeks later at the start of Book Three.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: Similarly to Vaatu, Hundun has little characterization beyond being a being of chaos with a grudge against the Avatar and a desire to plunge the world into chaos.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: His brother has a scar on his eye similar to Zuko's thanks to the Avatar.
  • Guttural Growler: Par the course when voiced by Steve Blum.
  • Kung-Fu Wizard: Possibly the most straight up example in the Avatar world.
  • Last Villain Stand: With his army of Equalists, Triads, and Dark Spirits defeated, Hundun decides to fight Korra one on one.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Despite his age and massive build, Hundun moves around the arena with surprising speed. He also possesses immense strength and is capable of swatting Korra across the arena like a ragdoll and deal out heavy damage. If you're ill prepared, Hundun can and will wipe the floor with you.
  • Master of Illusion: A little mix of this and Reality Warper. Hundun can cast powerful illusions and in the penultimate chapter, he drags Korra through several illusions and forces her to fight various enemies. One notable illusion has her in a pro-bending match against three dragonfly bunny spirits with bending and another has her fighting Mecha Tanks and Equalists while in her giant spirit form.
  • Meaningful Name: "Hundun" is the Chinese word for "chaos".
  • Nice Hat: He has a rather tall hat with the symbol of the Red Lotus on it.
  • Obviously Evil: He was designed to look as creepy and evil as possible.
  • One-Winged Angel: Of the "behold my true form" variety. For the final battle with Korra, he reveals his conjoined twin under his cloak.
  • Power Echoes: When he goes One-Winged Angel.
  • Puny Earthlings: His opinions on humans are rather low to say the least. During the Heart of Chaos chapter, he gives two Reason You Suck Speeches about how easy it was to manipulate the Equalists and the Triads with promises of equality and wealth, respectively. And he's not entirely incorrect.
    Hundun: These Equalists are so simple. Sprinkle in a few words about the equality they crave, and they dance in the palm of your hand. Pathetic humans.
    Hundun: These fools. They hear the jingle of coins and forget their own mothers. They have no idea what they are doing, or they do not care.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Wears Fire Nation style clothing. Though he is actually an earthbender.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: He gains glowing, red eyes when he goes One-Winged Angel. His brother's one eye glows blue instead.
  • Revenge: Against the Avatar for injuring his brother.
  • Rubber Man: He and his brother can stretch his limbs Dhalsim-style.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: He meditated into the Spirit World to escape death, but was trapped there since the portals were closed. Thanks to Korra opening the portals, he's able to influence the land of the living again.
  • Sibling Team: He fights in conjunction with his conjoined twin.
  • Shock and Awe: One of his attacks is to rain down purple lightning bolts.
  • Surprise Creepy: Hundun being an old man with supernatural powers is creepy enough. But him being a conjoined twin who's scarred brother is horribly emaciated is all different shades of unsettling.
  • This Cannot Be!: His reaction to Korra unlocking her Avatar State and tearing apart his army.
  • Villain Team-Up: He's employed some Equalists who are still around after Amon's defeat, the Triads, and the Dark Spirits.
  • Villain Teleportation: Does this liberally, especially during the final battle.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: During the final battle.
  • Wham Line: A minor one, but still counts.
    Hundun: But Korra, you haven't had a chance to meet my brother yet. The one you wounded all those years ago!
  • White Hair, Black Heart: His hair is white from age and he's the main villain of the game.

Northern Water Tribe

    Unalaq 

Unalaq

Voiced by: Adrian LaTourelle

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/unalaq_9534.png
"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."

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.


  • 0% Approval Rating: The North may obey him out of duty to the crown, but nobody misses him after he's gone. Korra may briefly express regret that it came to that, but otherwise has more hallucinations of him as evil and not even his own kids shed a tear over his loss and instead are more awkwardly concerned about explaining it to their mother.
  • Abusive Parents: He's not physically abusive, but he's definitely neglectful and emotionally abusive. When Desna was injured during their joint attempt to open the northern spirit portal, Unalaq ignored his plight and pressed on.
  • Always Second Best: He was like this to his brother. Tonraq 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.
  • Ambition Is Evil: It's made clear that Unalaq cares for power beyond all else except his goal of bringing back the spirits and desires to gain more for himself no matter the cost. He also can't stand the idea of someone having power that he doesn't which is the main reason he hates his brother, who was to become chief of the North Pole and later fathered the Avatar, and is implied to be one reason why he merged with Vaatu.
  • The Anti-Christ: He acts as Vaatu's herald and merges with him to become the new Dark Avatar, the equal and opposite to the Avatarverse's Messianic Archetype.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: After fusing with Vaatu and destroying Raava, the two transform into a massive humanoid version of Vaatu's spirit form.
  • 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: He takes a savage joy in destroying Raava.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Because Korra renounced the role of the Avatar to act as a bridge between humans and spirits by choosing to leave the spirit portals open, he technically accomplished his goal of intermingling humans and spirits.
  • Badass Preacher: He's the Avatar-verse equivalent of a high priest and a very skilled waterbender.
  • Balance Between Good and Evil: He's a deconstruction stating why this philosophy is not a good thing. He plans to release Vaatu and bring human-spirit balance to the world on his terms. Secondly, he becomes a Dark Avatar in contrast to the previous Light Avatar who has existed without an evil opposite for thousands of years. Thirdly, Vaatu's Evil Plan will create a balance of nothing by destroying everything.
  • 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 be considered his whole character arc.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: Subverted. Unalaq is strongly religious, even The Fundamentalist, and comes across as an otherworldly formalist at first, but he is also a canny manipulator and politician. Played true in another way, however, since his religion is the reason he serves the evil spirit Vaatu, and eventually suffers the consequences of this.
  • Big Bad: At first he appeared to be the main villain of Book 2, seeking to conquer both of the Water Tribes and open the Spirit Portals.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Unalaq wanted to do more than just that and he was not the only one; he is technically in service to Vaatu, and is behind the Dark Spirit attacks. Furthermore, the Water Tribe Civil War was but a distraction. All of this was leading up to becoming the new Dark Avatar through a fusion with Vaatu.
  • 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", and Varrick was the only one who caught on. 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.)
  • Blue and Orange Morality: In his last appearances, his own goals are completely subsumed in Vaatu's, so that his motivations are no longer remotely human.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Korra realizes he's just power-hungry and spiteful once she learns that he deliberately rigged her father's trial and orchestrated his banishment from the Northern Water Tribe.
    • His children eventually let go of their devotion to him when it becomes clear that he doesn't care for them at all. In the end, they admit to Korra they hold no grudge for her defeating him and that they won't miss him.
  • Cain and Abel: The Cain to Tonraq's Abel, as he intentionally discredits and screws over his brother at every turn.
  • The Cameo: During Korra's Mushroom Samba in the Book 3 finale, she witnesses Ghazan's head twist around 360 degrees and turn into Unalaq's. He mocks her plight:
    Unalaq: "The time of the Avatar is over. Give up."
  • Chest Blaster: In his One-Winged Angel form, Vaatu's Eye Beams are fired from his chest.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: His only loyalty is ultimately to himself, or rather to Vaatu whom he doesn't betray. He secretly betrayed Tonraq in order to become chief, hid his involvement with the Red Lotus after they failed to kidnap four-year-old Korra and even worked with his enemies, the White Lotus to imprison P'Li, and in addition to screwing over his brother a second time, abused Korra's trust while using her to further his own ends.
  • 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.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Whereas Amon of Book 1 was a populist revolutionary Muggle Power leader of humble origins, Unalaq is an Evil Reactionary nobleman with a religiously motivated agenda. Also, while Amon struck fear in others and tried to terrorize and break Korra, Unalaq is (at first) a Light Is Not Good Villain with Good Publicity who wants to win her cooperation and trust. Additionally, Amon was a protective, loving older brother to the extent of defying their father and was ultimately happy to be with him again while Unalaq was a power-hungry elephant-rat-bastard who framed his brother to take the throne then kept antagonizing him one way or another to his dying day.
  • The Corrupter: Within the spirit world, his presence is enough to turn normal spirits dark.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: He delivers one to Tonraq. Tonraq puts up a terrific fight but Unalaq defeats him with barely any effort.
  • Dark Is Evil: A variant of his healing technique, characterized by purple instead of yellow/gold, allows him to corrupt (in the case of spirits) or destroy whoever mortal he uses it on, as he attempted to do on Jinora and Korra.
  • 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.
  • 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 worked to free Vaatu, the universe's equivalent of Satan, so they could fuse and become the equivalent of the Anti Christ.
  • Deader Than Dead: Both he and Vaatu were purified by Korra and turned into nothingness. While Vaatu will be reborn, it seems unlikely Unalaq will be joining him.
  • Death by Irony: He's beaten (along with Vaatu) when Korra uses his own spirt pacification technique against him. 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 prior to their merging, if they do not count as a Big Bad Duumvirate. The reveal that he was serving a bigger evil did not make him any less dangerous.
  • 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 Counterpart: By fusing with Vaatu, he becomes the Dark Avatar.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Strayed from the Red Lotus' ideals and betrayed their mission. The Red Lotus just wanted spirits and humans to exist without laws and boundaries, but Unalaq wanted to take it a step further and enslave humanity.
  • Evil Former Friend: Amusingly enough, it's hinted that he's considered this by Zaheer, who was his comrade in the Red Lotus when they were both teenagers. In season three, he considers Unalaq a traitor who perverted their cause for his own selfish goals.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Invoked by Tonraq, but averted; despite many warnings that Vaatu is too powerful to be trusted, their arrangement ultimately goes exactly as planned.
  • 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. He framed him despite knowing full well that Varrick was the one who masterminded the assassination/kidnapping attempt.
  • Evil Mentor: To Korra, briefly, before she realized he was evil and called him on it.
  • The Evil Prince: Arranged his brother's banishment so he would be next in line as Chieftain. And that's just step one.
  • Evil Uncle: He set his brother up to be banished so he could become chief, uses Korra's trust in him to manipulate her into furthering his goals, and ultimately plans to fuse with Vaatu and become the Dark Avatar.
  • Exact Words: Unalaq tells Korra that it was her father's and Tenzin's decision to keep her secluded in the White Lotus Compound. Korra even chewed them out, especially her father on it. It turns out Unalaq wasn't lying, but that was only half the truth; they did so in reaction to the Red Lotus trying to kidnap her when she was four. Unalaq was the one that suggested the idea.
  • Faux Affably Evil: To the world, he presents himself as a strict but sincere religious believer, as well as a fair-minded political reformer seeking unity for his people and balance for the world. And to Korra, as a warm and understanding mentor figure who believes in her. Privately, however, he is cold and calculating to the point of Lack of Empathy.
  • 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". Funny thing is, the propaganda films weren't that far off, apart from hamminess of the actor of course.
  • Fluffy Tamer: A rare villainous example, as he is able to corrupt and control Dark Spirits that he either creates himself, or that Vaatu corrupts. He leads an army of his corrupted spirits against the Southern Water Tribe's La Résistance and curbstomps them.
  • Foil:
    • To Varrick — Both are callous, untrustworthy villains who are out for themselves alone and deceive the heroes for their own ends, only to betray them later on. However, Unalaq keeps his treachery almost well-hidden, whereas Varrick is pretty open about his selfishness, yet it goes far beyond anyone's notice. Additionally, while Unalaq's perceived help only seeks to benefit himself at the expense of others, Varrick's actions have a touch of sincerity that he's willing to go out of his way to help the heroes get what they want in spite of ulterior motives.
    • To Jinora — Unalaq is an adult man with years of training himself in spiritual matters, while Jinora is a preteen girl whose natural affinity with spirits makes up for her lack in experience. Jinora befriends spirits; Unalaq only pretends to be a friend of spirits and will use force to control them to reach his own goals. And while Unalaq practically, but smoothly forced his way into becoming Korra's spiritual mentor, Jinora didn't and only became her Guide when things got serious. There's also the kind of the relationship they have with Korra: Unalaq is her distant uncle who only wants to use her, but Korra and Jinora have close sibling relationship (along with Ikki and Meelo).
  • 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. It comes off as a subversion, he's working on freeing the evil Vaatu for the Harmonic Convergence, and plans on destroying the Water Tribes and every nation afterwards so that there is only one world where spirits and humans are under one banner.
  • Genre Blind: Subverted. Despite being called on how unwise it is to work with Vaatu, everything went according to plan and Vaatu never betrayed him.
  • God-Emperor: His ultimate goal is to fuse with Vaatu and become the Dark Avatar, ushering in ten-thousand years of darkness with himself as the ruler of humanity.
  • Good Powers, Bad People: Not as pronounced as Zaheer, but still, he is a Waterbending master with an affinity for the spiritual, who specializes in appeasing and purging Dark Spirits. Doesn't prevent him from working with this universe's God of Evil and trying to become The Antichrist.
  • 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. However, all thus turned out to be an excuse for executing his final plan.
  • The Heavy: While the Dark Spirits and Vaatu are the overriding Big Bads of the season, Unalaq is the more direct threat. Since Vaatu can't do anything until he's free, the leg-work is left to Unalaq.
  • The High King: Unalaq is technically Chief of both tribes, but the South sees him as a mere figurehead to their council of elders. 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. More subtly, it is also Unalaq's own previous advise to Korra to "find the light in the dark" that makes her realise she can extract Raava from within Vaatu.
  • 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, though his subsequent actions end up belying that claim. This extends to the entire world in general, as he believes that the Avatar has failed in maintaining balance by keeping spirits out and intends to personally rectify that problem.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: Forced Korra to open the portal by threatening to destroy Jinora's soul.
  • Humanoid Abomination: After becoming the Dark Avatar by fusing with Vaatu, then destroying Raava, they go One-Winged Angel and become a giant, humanoid Vaatu.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Talks about spiritual balance, yet he caused a spiritual imbalance in the North in order to get Tonraq banished so that he could be chief. He also plans on releasing and merging with Vaatu to become the new Avatar, but in this case he still believes he can bring balance, just 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. To be fair to him, his children are adults when he sends them on risky assignments, whereas Jinora is just a little girl (though leaving his son to die made things less fair).
    • 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.
    • Book 4 reveals that the spirits were forced to serve him thanks to Vaatu, showing that despite his supposed respect for spirits, he has no problems enslaving them for his goals.
  • Informed Attribute: He's treated as having been genuinely well-intentioned before his flaws and Vaatu's influence twisted him into the Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist he was. Given the earliest we see of Unalaq was him betraying his bother by baiting him into destroying a spirt forest, despite Unalaq's reverse for spirits, using the disaster to usurp the throne, we don't have much to support that.
  • 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.
  • It's All About Me: Unalaq doesn't just want to see his ideals realized, he wants to be the one to realize them. While the Red Lotus shared his goals, fusing with Vaatu was not part of the plan. Ultimately, they were just one more step to achieving what he believes is his destiny.
  • 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, and ultimately lying about it, you qualify for this. That and also betraying comrades to your mortal enemies.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: All his supposed compassion and care is an act put on to keep Korra from turning on him.
  • Karmic Death: After countless atrocities, Unalaq is finally done in by the own spirit pacification technique.
  • Knight of Cerebus: A case where a villain gets darker as the season progresses. He started off as a Jerkass Holier Than Thou 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 true. He plans to fuse with Vaatu to become the Dark Avatar, then use that power to rejoin the human and spirit worlds, restoring balance to both. He sincerely believes in his rhetoric, 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.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Unalaq moves surprisingly fast and hits hard.
  • Making a Splash: He is a master waterbender.
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • He plays on Korra's uncertainty in her role as the Avatar, using a mixture of flattery and guilt to convince her into going along with his plans, even when she doesn't agree with them. After an attempt to kidnap him is traced back to Korra's parents, the de facto leaders of the loyal opposition, he rigs their trial so that her father is (incorrectly) found guilty and sentenced to death. He then "convinces" the judge to reduce the sentence to life imprisonment, thus appearing reasonable and merciful.
    • He also did this to the Red Lotus, giving them the idea to kidnap Korra and train her themselves. Though they shared the same idea of balance, Unalaq had greater plans and was simply using the Red Lotus to realize them.
  • 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!: Korra learns to copy his spirit pacification technique after watching him perform it a few times, which proves to be his undoing when she uses it to defeat him and Vaatu in their One-Winged Angel form. In addition, his needless attempt to screw over Tonraq only served to alienate Korra before she had opened both spirit portals, causing him a whole lot more grief than he needed to deal with.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Subverted. As part of his new world order, Unalaq covered Republic City in spirit vines. Though he's stopped, these vines continue to be a problem in Book 3, since not even Korra can figure out how to get rid of them and their presence is seriously affecting city infrastructure. It's not until years after he's gone that they've been incorporated into the architecture by Future Industries.
  • Not Even Human: After his monstrous transformation after fusing with Vaatu. This is probably why the show got away with killing him.
  • Not So Different: Invoked. Tonraq tries to argue against Unalaq's willing surrender to Vaatu by appealing to his love for his children: He is Desna and Eska's father, so how can he let them down this way by throwing away his humanity and becoming a monster? Unalaq replies that he will be no less human than Tonraq's own daughter Korra, who already has the spirit of Raava inside her, and yet is not generally considered a monster.
  • 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 Omnicidal Maniac territory real fast.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: The only Big Bad of The Legend Of Korra who qualifies (not including Vaatu, who is evil incarnate itself). He wants to unleash the spirits and is willing to cause a civil war and destroy any relations with his family to do it. Korra rightfully calls out that he doesn't truly care about uniting the material and spirit worlds. It seems any point or good intention he ever had became a sham when his desire for more power got the better of him. Even his point is more incidental to his thirst for power compared to the other villains who still genuinely believed in their cause no matter how Drunk on the Dark Side they got.
  • 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. With few exceptions, he doesn't resort to killing his enemies because he'd rather keep them around suffer by watching him bask in victory.
  • 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. Even in-universe, Tenzin was wary of him, but didn't think he would go so far.
  • Oh, Crap!: Has this expression when Tonraq is only inches away from punching him in the face. He manages to waterbend Tonraq away before the hit lands, though.
  • 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".
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: He orders his children to stop attacking Tonraq so he could beat him himself.
  • Open-Minded Parent: Unalaq might be a jerk in any number of ways, but he is at least unexpectedly tolerant of his children's eccentricities for such a generally conservative guy. He obviously allowed Eska to study combat waterbending (which is not the norm for girls in their society), and never mocks or otherwise troubles Desna for his unconventional style.
  • 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, though to be fair, part of it was due to Unalaq knowing Vaatu might kill him for failing to produce results. Tonraq's attempt to appeal to Unalaq's Papa Wolf mentality likewise falls on deaf ears.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Though his decisions fell more into Pragmatic Villainy. Years ago, when the Red Lotus 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. Then it turns out he was just using them for his own ends, and it was in his best interests to keep them locked up. In the present, he tries to invoke this to stay on Korra's good side, but it falls apart quickly.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: He chews 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. Ultimately, his words were nothing but excuses for his real cause. In fact, He was actually behind the attacks. He's not trying to stop them, but rather, the opposite.
  • Rebellious Rebel: In a sense. The Red Lotus was itself a Renegade Splinter Faction of individuals who rebelled against the Order of the White Lotus and whose purpose was in direct opposition to them, but Unalaq had greater goals which the Red Lotus wouldn't have approved of, and he used them as so to achieve this. When they failed, he then left them to rot.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: As the Dark Avatar, his eyes glow in a fiery red light when he uses his version of the Avatar State.
  • 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: On account of being fused with Vaatu, when he fell prey to it.
  • 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 to death. Even before that, he's smirking like a madman when he threatens Jinora.
  • The Sociopath: Another trait 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 beyond their usefulness to him.
  • Stupid Evil: Unalaq might have succeeded were it not for his petty desire to screw over Tonraq. Doing that turned Korra against him before he could complete his plan. His heavy-handed invasion of the south didn't do him any favors, either. If the intent was to make sure no one entered the portal and found Vaatu, he could have easily sent his men to guard just the portal, or summon dark spirits from the portal, as opposed to a full-blown occupation.
  • Super Mode: As the Dark Avatar, he has his own Avatar State which has glowing red eyes.
  • This Is Your Brain on Evil: This appears to be the explanation for why his villainy increased so dramatically over the course of the story. Initially, he was at least a sort of well-intentioned Knight Templar, whereas the end showed him a rampaging Omnicidal Maniac, as his association with Vaatu gradually drove him insane.
  • The Unfettered: He will bring about unity between spirits and humans by any means necessary, no matter who or what he has to sacrifice to do so.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Desna and Eska (in "Peacekeepers") draw such a reaction from him at a meeting. Desna betrays nothing out of the ordinary, but Eska appears in a disheveled bridal gown and with her usual makeup badly smeared. You'd think her father would at least ask her what happened.
  • 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.
  • Villainous Legacy: He was a member of the Red Lotus and proposed the plot to kidnap Korra when she was a child. However, he was never caught and covered up his involvement.
  • 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. He has a Black Magic 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.
    • As part of the Red Lotus, he was the one to suggest the plan to kidnap Korra as a child. While they (seemingly) were genuine in their desire to train her under their ideals, his plans for her would have brought harm to her eventually.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: He 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's actually lying, but he thinks it will help him control her, which backfires. Later played straight in "A New Spiritual Age": as soon as Korra opens the second portal, Unalaq tries to erase her soul. He also did this to the Red Lotus, leaving them to rot in jail after they failed to kidnap Korra.
  • 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.

    Desna and Eska 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/desna_and_eska_56.png
"We will never turn on our father."
Eska is on the left (note hair decs) 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

  • Ambiguous Disorder: Both almost emotionless and speak in a creepy monotone. Eska has occasional emotional outbursts, and an abusive treatment of Bolin and violent reaction to him running out on the wedding. She isn't exactly rational, either, as she blames Korra for the ruined wedding, even though it's rather clear in the show that she and Bolin are Just Friends and Korra is way more interested in Bolin's brother Mako. Like Azula, the twins didn't have the best upbringing; their daddy is the season's Big Bad. Unlike Azula, they were not shown to have been just the same when little, so maybe when you've lived their lives the world really is just that dull.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: As a team, they are able to beat Tonraq, and later Mako and Bolin. Ming-Hua easily defeated them, however, helping to establish her skill.
  • 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.
  • Big Good: After their father's death, they become the chiefs - and this trope - of the Northern Water Tribe.
  • 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. The sarcasm itself arguably works; it's her delivery that fails.
  • 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 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).
  • Cultural Rebel: Given that the Water Tribe has otherwise been shown to have the strictest sex roles and division of labor of all the major nations, their androgyny qualifies for this. Made explicit with Eska and her courtship of Bolin, with Korra commenting that in their culture, it's usually the boy who is supposed to do the proposing.
  • Dance Battler: 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: Despite being accomplices to their father's plans and even attempting to murder their cousin, both of them are forgiven by Korra and the others fairly easily. On the other hand, they also forgive Korra for actually killing their father, so at least it's mutual.
  • 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 how they'll break the news to 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 to release Vaatu, he believed his father even when Eska seemed to be having doubts. 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.
  • Flechette Storm: They use a version of this with ice needles in their battle against Ming-Hua.
  • 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 compassionate 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. Bolin's Anguished Declaration of Love turns Eska around, 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. In Book 3, they aid Tonraq and Zuko in trying to prevent P'Li's escape. They're beaten, but at least they tried.
  • 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.
    • Eska's jaw line is an angular V-shape, whereas Desna's is a flatter U-shape.
    • Eska's hair is just slightly longer than Desna's, and she wears beads on each side of it.
  • Incest Subtext: In Republic City, a hotel staff member apologizes to them, believing that there has been a mistake: they've been booked for a single room with only one bed. Eska tells him that no mistake has been made. (Granted, she immediately follows it up by saying that Desna sleeps in the tub.)
  • Informed Attribute: According to the promotional material, Desna and Eska look down on Korra for her unspiritual Southern Water Tribe culture. This is never even hinted at in the show, where they always treat her courteously.note 
  • Jerkass: They come across as condescending, but Eska especially rubs people the wrong way, due to her insistence in bossing Bolin around.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Both do have a human side, which they show only to each other. Plus, before they make an official Heel–Face Turn, the twins did have misgivings about their father's demands.
  • Karma Houdini: Well, they joined the good guys for the fight against the dark spirits, but from what we see in later episodes, they never really dropped their Lack of Empathy and assorted villainous characteristics, nor did they appear sorry about any of it. Still, they became the rulers of the Water Tribe, and remained in that position when last seen. They do at least suffer a humiliating defeat against Ming-Hua, who curb-stomped them despite being outnumbered.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: In comparison to Vaatu.
  • 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.
  • Morality Pet: Eska and Desna are this to each other. They listen, respect, and genuinely love each other, while acting like jerks to others.
  • No Social Skills: It's implied very heavily that they don't know how to interact with other people other than family members. Eska actually hissed at Bolin when he first talked to her.
  • 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 (besides Vaatu's Dark Spirits) tend to be key to Unalaq's plans by removing threats that neither him nor his army could take out.
  • Royal Brat: 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 Harmonic Convergence, they're square.
  • 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.
  • Slouch of Villainy: When they are reintroduced as co-rulers of the Water Tribes on their thrones in Book 3. Played with, in that they are more anti-heroic than strictly villainous by then.
  • 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.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Since it takes very serious business to disturb their perpetual deadpan, they sometimes have to spell out their emotions to make themselves understood.
  • 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.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Among the world's leaders, after becoming the new chiefs of the Northern Water Tribe. Their reaction upon learning they have a secret ice prison is to be chagrined they didn't know about it sooner so they could be throwing people into it.
  • Twin Telepathy: The two of them are able to communicate from just glances without speaking.
  • Undying Loyalty: To their father, whom they followed loyally (albeit with increasing doubts) even after his villainy became overt, to the point of defending him before Korra. It took him being literally possessed by a demon to cut their bonds of loyalty.
  • Victory Is Boring: Now that they both rule the Northern Water Tribe, neither of them enjoys their new positions and would rather be fighting. They're more than willing to drop everything when they learn Zaheer is on the way to break P'Li out.
  • The Worf Effect: In Book 2, Tonraq loses to them, and they manage to beat Mako and Bolin. In Book 3, they're just not as deadly as they used to be Ming-Hua beats both of them with practically no effort.

Eska

Voiced by: Aubrey Plaza

  • All Take and No Give: Eska takes advantage of Bolin's attraction to her and 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. By The Coronation, Eska apparently does not mind Bolin finding another girlfriend (actually that was his boss, but it's the same for her).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Battle Couple: Downplayed with Bolin. They fought together after briefly rekindling their relationship, but both decide to amicable break-up.
  • 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 are you initiating physical contact with another woman?
  • Dark Action Girl: 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 (she had trapped him in ice) 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.
  • Laugh with Me!: Eska's idiosyncratic humor will be understood without prompting by Desna, but few others. Once, she has to instruct Bolin to laugh along.
    Bolin! Laugh at my humorous quip.
  • Leitmotif: Not so much of Eska's alone, but her and Bolin's. A Scare Chord is heard whenever Bolin's scared of her. Which is to say, often.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Eska is the Masculine Girl (a domineering, fearless, take-charge girl) to Bolin's Feminine Boy (emotional, sensitive, kind of wimpy boy).
  • 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. Both seem to be equally competent fighters.
  • 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. Then 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 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: 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.

Desna

Voiced by: Aaron Himelstein

  • Agent Peacock: He is almost as pretty as his sister, Eska, to the point that Bolin develops a brief crush on both of the "lovely ladies" before Korra clarifies that one of them is, in fact, a young gentleman. He is also interested in fashion and fastidious about his clothes, which tend to be robe-like, and wears his hair in a sort of Hime Cut. Despite this, he is one of his father's most fearsome lieutenants once the gloves come off.
  • Blind Obedience: Desna is confident that, no matter how bad his father's plan sounds, 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 for messing up the sleeves on his coat.
  • 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".
  • Hidden Depths: According to supplemental material, Desna is a skilled tailor.
  • 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.
  • An Odd Place to Sleep: In "The Coronation" we are told he sleeps in the bathtub. We aren't told if it's normal for him, or if it's just Eska claiming the only bed in the room for herself. In either case, it seems to suit his character.
  • 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.
  • Pretty Boy: Desna is a definite pretty boy, so much that he's mistaken for a "lovely lady" by Bolin in "Rebel Spirits".
  • Real Men Wear Pink: It turns out that Desna happens to be good a tailoring.
  • Satellite Character: Desna has virtually no characterization outside of a couple snarky one-liners, 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. Desna learns this the hard way in the next episode.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Implied. 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.
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