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Characters / The Legend of Korra - Enemies Seasons 3 and 4

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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.

Some spoilers will be unmarked. Read ahead at your own risk.


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Earth Kingdom


Queen Hou-Ting

Voiced by: Jayne Taini
"Before I even consider helping you, I'll need you to do something for me."

The daughter and successor of Kuei, Hou-Ting is the petty, dictatorial monarch of the Earth Kingdom. Feeling that Aang and Zuko took advantage of her father's "vulnerability" to steal her nation's lands for their own empire, she is an immensely bitter woman, who takes out her grievances on her own kingdom.

  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: After Zaheer announces that she is dead, her citizens start cheering. They then proceed to raid the palace and start riots everywhere.
  • All There in the Manual: Hou-Ting's name is never once actually spoken in the series, but appears in her credits and is mentioned in a variety of supplementary materials.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: In a sense. Her father was an ally of the Avatar; she antagonizes the new Avatar, and she thinks poorly of her father and his deal with Aang and Zuko which ceded Earth Kingdom territory to the United Republic of Nations. There are also rumors that she ate her father's pet bear, Bosco (and according to the DVD commentary for "The Coronation", they're true).
  • Asshole Victim: Zaheer drains the oxygen from her lungs and suffocates her. She completely had it coming. This is also a deconstruction in that while Hou-Ting was a very unpopular and terrible leader, she still maintained some form of order. Right after she's deposed, the Earth Kingdom descends into chaos, and this eventually leads to Kuvira taking over.
  • Bad Boss: She has the Dai Li drag off servants who fail to cater to her whims properly. She's also constantly rude and demeaning towards her Number Two, who later abandons her, not that he would have been able to do much anyway.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: With Zaheer. The two have opposing goals, but both antagonise Korra. Her plot involves Korra, being declared enemy of the state, having to hide from her and protect the airbenders from her. At the end of "Long Live the Queen", Zaheer kills her, leaving Zaheer and the Red Lotus as the sole Big Bad.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Hou-Ting is far too confident in her own abilities and resources, treating her position as a license to do whatever she wants. The reality is that Zaheer and his group are considerably more dangerous and her poor management is weakening her kingdom. When the two clash, she ends up dead.
  • Bright Is Not Good: Dresses similar to her father, who was The Good King. She, on the other hand, is the worst ruler this show has ever put forth, at least in terms of competence, though in terms of cruelty, she's right up there with Ozai and Unalaq.
  • Bullying a Dragon: When Korra comes to ask for her help to find Airbenders, she treats her like any random servant and asks her to do her bidding in exchange only to not give the promised reward with a flimsy excuse, apparently oblivious to the fact that double-crossing a teenage, hot-blooded Physical God was probably not a good idea. When Korra predictably turns against her and steals her Airbender recruits, she tries to have her arrested, failing to realize the other nations won't close their eyes on her doing such a thing to the Avatar.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Her slow asphyxiation at Zaheer's hands might very well be the most brutal death in the entire franchise.
  • Cruella to Animals: Though somewhat justifiable, since she has allergies to most animals. She and her court also dine on rare animals. There are rumors that she even ate her father's beloved pet bear, Bosco (and according to the DVD commentary for "The Coronation", they're true).
  • Defiant to the End: She would not bow before a bunch of super-powered commoners who already made it clear they wouldn't be ordered around. She died disgracefully indeed.
  • Didn't Think This Through: She tries to have the Avatar locked up for crimes against her kingdom. As Zaheer points out, the other nations wouldn't stand for this and she'd be forced to release Korra, lest they take more drastic measures. She agrees to give Korra up to Zaheer in exchange for the location of the airbenders, though she goes back on her word as soon as Zaheer slights her.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • While the overtaxation and poverty are rather general traits that could apply to any number of real-world parallels, the Secret Police and personality cult vibe make her rule suspiciously similar to that of North Korea.
    • Also seems to be a bit inspired by Empress Dowager Cixi of China, especially given the Earth Rulers' Qing inspirations. An iron-fisted ruler who wasted taxpayers' money on things like a boat made of marble, while also undermining any effort to reform or modernize the country, bringing China to near ruin as a result. She also shares Cixi's Femme Fatalons.
    • Thinking back to the previous series; Hou-Ting could be seen as a logical conclusion to Azula, had she continued to reign the way she would have under her paranoia; complete with an assassin doing away with her.
  • Despotism Justifies the Means: She makes life for commoners living hell, and undid all the progress achieved under her father. If anything, she hated this so-called progress that her father made.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: She tosses people in prison for such things as not trimming the hedges correctly or not showing her the proper respect, basically using any excuse to lord her position over those beneath her.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Like her father, she is never actually referred to by her given name, though it is mentioned as a dynasty name in Book 4.
  • Evil Overlord: Hou-Ting is nothing but an animal-hating tyrant who robbed her people of their freedom and happiness.
  • Exotic Entree: If the rumors are true, she ate her father's pet bear. It is a fact, however, that she enjoys dining on air bison veal, which would be bad enough even if they weren't endangered.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Zaheer kills her by bending the air out of her lungs and surrounding her head in a vacuum until she suffocates.
  • Famous Last Words: "You wouldn't dare attack a queen!"
  • Femme Fatalons: Has very long green nails with golden nail coverings on the pinky and ring fingers. Long fingernails were often a fashion of imperial Chinese aristocracy in real life.
  • Foil:
    • She is the exact opposite of her father: he was clueless and passive (in his early years), so she became a domineering control freak; he was used by the Dai Li, so she brought the Dai Li to heel and under her control; he "lost" Earth Kingdom territory, and it seems she wants to take it back, likely through force; she is hostile to the Avatar for Aang and Zuko's perceived exploitation of her father; and finally, she hates animals of all kinds, while her father loved them, but that's because she's allergic to them.
    • She’s also one to Izumi as a ruling monarch child of one of the original series’s characters in an increasingly democratic world. Though we don’t see much of Izumi, she’s a calm, collected leader who’s a great friend of the Avatar. Hou-Ting is a an evil, childish tyrant. When Korra gets in trouble in Book 2, Iroh suggests going to talk to his mother to help her. Hou-Ting is the opposite of a friend to the avatar. Izumi loves her dad and wants to build upon the progress he and Aang made and Hou-Ting hated her dad and wants to unravel the progress he made. Also Hou-Ting is a Maiden Aunt whereas Izumi has two kids and is presumably married. Izumi also comes from a line of great benders whereas her family are Muggles.
  • Freudian Excuse: Her allergy to most animals, which she uses to justify her cruelty to animals.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Especially notable since she is the one Queen seen in either seriesnote .
  • Gonk: Aside from her clothing, she wouldn't look particularly out of place in The Boondocks, which tends to use more caricatured faces and facial expressions.
  • Greed: She makes Varrick look charitable by comparison.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: It's not at all hard to make her neurotically angry.
  • Hate Sink: Zaheer and his allies fall squarely under Anti-Villain territory and come across as rather humane, but the Earth Queen more than picks up the slack. Problem is, Korra couldn't do anything against her because her death would bring ruin to the Kingdom, and as unpopular a decision it is, Korra did not want that to happen. Even when compared to Kuvira, who became an even worse tyrant, she still comes across less sympathetically, given Kuvira's noble intentions. Even Vaatu couldn't toe the line.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: It's not made clear why she was trying to build up an airbender army, though it's hinted she wanted to reclaim the United Republic, which was formerly Earth Kingdom territory. Any designs she had died when she did, although Kuvira later justifies her invasion of Republic City for these same reasons.
  • I Lied: When Korra approaches her asking for information on any airbenders in Ba Sing Se, Hou-Ting sends Korra off an errand to collect some taxes. Once Korra comes back, Hou-Ting continues to insist that there are no airbenders in Ba Sing Se. Later on, she does try to get Korra off her back by giving her another report of airbenders elsewhere, but Korra already knew she was hiding the truth.
  • It's All About Me: She over-taxes her subjects to fund her lavish lifestyle, imprisons the airbenders in her kingdom to force them to become her army, and people apparently have to keep pictures of her in their homes.
  • Jerkass: Really, this is the nicest thing you can call her.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: At one point Bumi points out that, yes, sovereign rulers do have the right to conscript their own citizens into the military.
  • Karmic Death: After attempting to force airbenders to fight in her army, it's only fitting that she is killed by Zaheer, who bends the air out of her lungs and thus asphyxiates her.
  • Kick the Dog: There are rumours that she ate her father's pet bear, Bosco (and according to the DVD commentary for "The Coronation", they're true). She also enjoys eating baby air bison steaks, which would be bad enough even if they weren't endangered.
  • Lack of Empathy: Of all the villains seen in LOK, she is worst offender of this trope.
  • Like Parent Unlike Child: The Earth King in the first series was a Nice Guy and Friend to All Living Things but was a Puppet King who was not even aware of the corruption going on in his own kingdom. His daughter on the other hand is a Jerkass dictator who is fully in control of the Secret Police that once controlled her father, and even she has contempt for him as well. Furthermore, she is allergic to animals but has no problem in eating Exotic Entree. Rumor has it that she even ate her father's own pet bear.
  • Mythology Gag: Remember when Azula mused in her Villainous Breakdown how it could take an assassin five minutes to waltz into her room, kill her, and be on his merry way?
  • Narcissist: The Queen cares for nobody but herself.
  • Never My Fault: She blames the various problems facing her kingdom alternatively on her father's weakness, the disloyalty and incompetence of her citizens, and bandits. Never on the fact that she's a tight-fisted tyrant who doesn't care about anyone but herself. The Queen learns the hard way whose fault it really is.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: She's responsible for swelling the Air Nomad ranks by not only gathering up airbenders, but also ingratiating them to Korra and Team Avatar when they jailbreak the captive airbenders. Prior to her involvement, they only had one recruit who had already abandoned them. Twice.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Doesn't seem to have any bending ability since she was unable to do anything when confronted by Zaheer.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Her forces manages to capture Korra and Asami as they made their escape from Ghazan and Ming-Hua, though Korra was unconscious at the time. Subverted in the following episode when Asami and Korra make their escape long before they reach Ba Sing Se.
  • Obviously Evil: You mean the mannish-jawed, long-nailed, perpetually angry queen that is allergic to animals is evil!? How shocking!
  • Oh, Crap!: Both times when her Dai Li agents get defeated and a final one when she realizes Zaheer is bending the air out of her body.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Zaheer talks her into turning over Korra to him in exchange for the location of her stolen airbenders, reasoning that the other nations would pressure her into releasing Korra once they found out that the Earth Queen had her. That fell through when Zaheer learned that Korra had escaped and confronted the Earth Queen about it; in keeping with her character, she is insulted by his brashness and tries to force the location of the airbenders from him. It didn't end well for her.
  • Psychopathic Womanchild: She's basically a brat in the body of a grown woman: a woman who has made the lives of her people worse with her self-centered greed.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Subverted. At first she appears to be agreeable as long as whatever deal she makes benefits her, but in the end, she never honors her end of the bargain.
  • Sketchy Successor: Under her reign, the Upper and Middle Rings of Ba Sing Se have grown even more decadent while the Lower Ring and outskirts have been driven down further into poverty.
  • Stupid Evil: She doesn't even try to meaningfully negotiate with forces that could prove... fatal to her in the long run if she messes up, and her ego simply worsens the matter. In the end, she dies a dog's death for it.
  • Smug Snake: Thinks her Dai Li could beat Korra and the Krew. She was wrong. She also repeats her mistake with the Red Lotus, and doesn't get to live to learn better.
  • The Sociopath: Reviewing her key personality traits is like reading through a sociopath diagnostic checklist: superficial charm, a grandiose sense of self, pathological lying, a penchant for manipulating others to achieve her own ends, an absolutely astonishing lack of empathy or remorse for any of her actions, and an insatiable lust for dominance and importance that drives her every move. She has no qualms whatsoever about sacrificing those closest to her if it suits her purposes.
  • Spanner in the Works: In "The Stakeout", her forces capture Korra, Asami and Naga before the Red Lotus gets the chance.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Having just witnessed the Red Lotus easily defeat her Dai Li, she tries to use her position as a shield against any further retaliation. Zaheer then suffocates her.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Since she isn't familiar with Zaheer and his crew, she assumes them to be mere bounty hunters she can push around like everyone else. This ends with the Dai Li getting curb-stomped and herself getting suffocated by airbending.
  • Unfortunate Names: "Hou-Ting" is a homophone for hòutíng (后庭; 後庭), "back yard", a euphemism for "anus". Doubles as a Meaningful Name given her personality.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In life and in death, she caused the eventual fall of the Earth Kingdom and its reformation into the Earth Empire by abusing its citizens so much that as soon as she died, the kingdom fell into anarchy. Her brutal reign and use of the Dai Li was also responsible for influencing Kuvira down her Start of Darkness, instilling the belief that royalty were unfit to rule and technology and innovation should triumph over tradition. Her death and the resulting anarchy also gave Kuvira the chance to step in and take over.
  • Villain Has a Point: She technically does have the ability to conscript Earth Kingdom citizens into the army, something that both she and Bumi mention, although the lengths she goes to are extreme and what she's doing is technically enslavement rather than conscription.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Not only not above conscripting kids in the first place, she's okay with the Dai Li killing them if they desert.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Attempts this in "Long Live the Queen" with the Red Lotus after her Dai Li are curbstomped and her assistant deserts her. Doesn't work.

    The Dai Li
"Welcome to her Majesty's army, first Airbending regiment."

The Earth Kingdom's Secret Police. They are largely unchanged from the previous series, down to the mannerisms and fighting styles, though unlike with Kuei's reign they are perfectly aligned with Hou-Ting's will.

  • Badass Crew: They're vile, but they're no less dangerous than in the previous series, able to hold their own against Korra and her friends. The Red Lotus are out of their league, however.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: They are finally hit with this when confronted by the Red Lotus, who easily defeat the tyrannical agents to the point where after the Earth Queen's death, they are apparently not able to mount any kind of effective resistance against the anarchy sweeping the kingdom.
  • Decapitated Army: After the Earth Queen's death, Ba Sing Se and the entire Earth Kingdom descend into total lawlessness within a matter of hours.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: The Dai Li are all Earthbenders.
  • The Dragon: The Drill Sergeant Nasty serves as this to the Queen.
  • The Dreaded: They're no ordinary soldiers—they're government agents trained to handle potential insurgents against the Earth Queen with extreme prejudice. They don't negotiate nor show mercy to anyone unlucky enough to end up on their (or the Queen's) bad side. When a stationmaster threatened to call the Dai Li on Mako and Bolin, their response to that was to bolt.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: While they've since abandoned the one under Lake Laogai, Ba Sing Se has no shortage of underground tunnels for them to use as hideouts. Their newest one is right under the Earth Queen's temple.
  • Elite Mooks: This is why the Earth Queen prefers to use them instead of her Royal Guards. They're tough enough to hold their own against Korra and her friends, though they ultimately failed to stop them from escaping with the airbenders. Then the Red Lotus overpowered eight of them in under a minute without a scratch.
  • Fascist, but Inefficient: Despite the power they hold over Ba Sing Sei, having been formed to prevent peasant uprising against the Earth Queen and the ruling class, that is as far as it goes. When training air benders they had kidnapped to build their army for a planned assault off Republic City, they actually discourage comradery and teamwork.
  • Gone Horribly Right:
    • They trained the airbenders to become elite warriors by chucking rocks at them. As soon as the opportunity presented itself, the airbenders turned their skills on the Dai Li and escaped.
    • The Dai Li themselves could be an example when compared to their counterparts in the first series. In that series, they were going behind the Earth King's back and following the corrupt Long Feng, and later Azula. Here they've apparently been reformed to be completely loyal to the monarch... who unfortunately happens to be an evil, oppressive tyrant. Oops.
  • Hazy Feel Turn: Again. First they served a corrupt official who reduced the Earth King to a puppet, then they switched loyalty to the ruthless Fire Nation. Seventy years later, they're back under the command of a tyrannical Earth Queen.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: It's obvious that without the Dai Li at her beck and call, the Earth Queen would be considerably less powerful.
  • Irony: The Dai Li were originally formed in response to peasant uprisings. When the Earth Queen is killed and the peasants start looting and rioting, there's no sign of the Dai Li anywhere.
  • Karma Houdini: In a manner of speaking after the war. It didn't seem like they were tried for crimes against the Earth Kingdom, nor were they disbanded for said crimes. Instead, they were just reformed to serve the monarch and no one else, which didn't take into account the fact that Kuei's daughter would be an evil tyrant.
  • The Men in Black: They are definitely this under the Earth Queen. They do dress in black, have a rather conspicuous looking demeanor, and are complicit in the Queen's dirty ops. Whenever they see an Airbender, they capture them and repudiate their existence within Ba Sing Se. Furthermore, it's even Lampshaded when Bolin's cousin says he's heard rumors of them doing experiments on Airbenders.
  • Nice Hat: Much like in the previous series. This generation's has a few similarities to a Kaiser pickelhaube, though. Whether or not that was intentional is up to interpretation.
  • Secret Police: Just like in the last series. Only now, instead of there being no war; "there are no airbenders in Ba Sing Se", and they appear to be completely loyal to the Earth Queen.
  • Smug Snake: The agent that acts as a Drill Sergeant Nasty to the kidnapped airbenders.
  • The Worf Effect: After holding their own against Korra and her friends, plus several amateur airbenders, Zaheer and the Red Lotus steamroll them. This shows the ability of the Red Lotus as superior to them just in time for the Red Lotus to take center stage.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Again. Even children are not exempt from the Training from Hell; and when Kai tries escaping with the others, they declare that it is punishable by death.



Voiced by: Travis Willingham
"The Earth Queen and her fancy friends pay big money for bison steaks and other weird meat. I even heard she ate her dad's pet bear!"

The leader of a band of air bison rustlers who make their living selling rare meats to the Earth Queen.

  • Dishing Out Dirt: He is an earthbender.
  • Evil Poacher: Technically not a poacher in the legal sense, since he seems to have permission to do what he does from the Earth Queen, but fits the stereotype perfectly in specifically targeting an endangered species and attacking people who try to get in his way.
  • Fur and Loathing: He wears the pelt of a baby bison as a cape.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: He surrenders and tries to plead for mercy after Tenzin, Kai and the adult air bison take down his truck. Kai will have none of it.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: His group provided an obstacle for the new airbenders to overcome as a group and help gain confidence in themselves.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Besides attempting to poach baby sky bison, he also imprisoned both Jinora and Kai.

Red Lotus

"The natural order, is disorder."

A secret society that broke off from the Order of the White Lotus, consisting of dangerous anarchists who seek to eliminate world leaders and the Avatar and bring about chaos to the world, believing it to be the one true way of life. The main four members are Zaheer, Ghazan, Ming Hua, and P'Li, all four with unique and powerful abilities. There are also Mooks and agents all over the world.

  • 13 Is Unlucky: It took them thirteen years to make jailbreak.
  • Aborted Arc: It was established at the end of Book 3 that the remaining Red Lotus leaders and sentries had returned into hiding and still remain at large with no way of knowing how many are out there and they are still a threat to the world. Besides Zaheer's reappearance as prisoner, none of these are even mentioned in Book 4.
  • Apocalypse Cult: The Red Lotus acted as one for Vaatu, whom they planned to release to accomplish their ultimate goal, but Unalaq denied them their chance. Nonetheless, the result of Vaatu's fury was not what they desired.
  • Badass Crew: According to Zuko, all four of the main members are strong enough to take down any bender on their own, and the entire world together. Note that Zaheer wasn't a bender until recently, so that's high praise indeed. They're basically the villainous counterpart to Team Avatar. The other known members, Unalaq and Aiwei, are also incredibly skilled in their own right.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: All four of them have been locked in a Tailor-Made Prison for 13 years with barely any human contact, but aside from Ming-Hua looking slightly gaunt, they definitely don't look it. Zaheer is unkempt but not as much as he should be, and someone must have been providing Ghazan razors to keep that stache of his so neatly trimmed.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: Their goals put them at odds with the Earth Queen, who is no saint herself. She doesn't survive their encounter, making them the sole Big Bads.
  • Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: Minus the bombs, but the ideals are all there. Their ultimate goal is abolition from all rulers, no matter how good or evil they are, and they're quite willing to use violence to make that possible. Other proponents of order they seek to target include the White Lotus, prisons, and the Avatar. In Zaheer's words, "The natural order... is disorder." Killing the Avatar while in the Avatar State was going to be the final trigger to their plan.
  • Co-Dragons: In practice, the members of the Red Lotus are this in comparison to Zaheer. While the Red Lotus are suppose to be a band of brothers on equal ground with one another, Zaheer is clearly their leader and all of them show Undying Loyalty, in addition to deferring to his wisdom. Ghazan and P'li fit this role better than Ming-Hua does, however.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Every single one of them has no qualms about fighting dirty, doing whatever it takes to overwhelm their (usually far underpowered) adversaries. Best exemplified when they ganged up on Tenzin after he proved to be too strong for Zaheer to handle alone. When dealing with Korra, they never once try to fight her as an equal, instead trying to place her in situations that would render her vulnerable.
  • The Conspiracy: It turns out they also have mooks in addition to the active members. Who knows how many more of them are left.
  • Death by Irony: All of them are defeated by their own elements. P'Li blows herself up when Su cages her head in metal while she's attacking. Ming-Hua is killed when Mako electrocutes her through her water arms. Ghazan purposefully kills himself with his own lavabending (trying to take Mako and Bolin with him) rather than go back to prison. Finally, Zaheer is beaten when Jinora conjures a tornado to keep him from flying off with Korra, and Korra uses the metal chains she was bound with to slam him into the ground.
    • In addition they are also all defeated/killed in the exact reverse position they all escaped from jail (with P'Li the last to break out dying first, and Zaheer the first to be free being captured last).
  • Didn't Think This Through: In the end, the biggest fault with their plans was their lack of foresight.
    • Their plan to kill Korra in the Avatar State failed to take into account just how powerful she was at the time. Bound with chains of platinum, she just ripped her chains apart with brute force while easily defending herself from their attacks and sending them back. Once she freed herself Zaheer spent most of the fight avoiding her until the poison took its toll, until then he stood no chance against her.
    • Their intention of freeing Vaatu seemed to overlook that the Great Spirit of Darkness and Chaos is an Omnicidal Maniac.
    • Their assassination of the Earth Queen in order to bring freedom to the people only resulted in an even worse regime taking its place.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Besides obvious comparisons to real life communist and anarchist groups, the Red Lotus has a distinctive Arabic motif. Their Leitmotif, Zaheer's own name and the distinctive red turbans the sentries wear in the finale seem to suggest clearly a comparison to Muslim terrorists.
    • They draw heavily from the "White Lotus" sects, anti-government resistance movements come cults that mixed up Buddhism, Manicheanism, and vegetarianism with resistance to Imperial power. In their first incarnation as the "Red Turbans" they led a revolt that toppled the Mongol dynasty ruling China and ushered in the Ming, and later "White Lotus" became a catchall term for Buddhist/Manichean messianic rebels that dogged the Qing.
  • The Dreaded: Everyone who knows of them is terrified of what they can do, both individually and as a team. Zuko says that individually they're some of the most powerful benders in the world; together, they can topple nations. As the Earth Queen will attest, that isn't an exaggeration.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Each character gets one during their respective escapes.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Team Avatar; like them, they are a cabal of powerful benders. They are also one to the White Lotus; an entire organization of very powerful people that have more influence than is apparent at first.
  • Eviler Than Thou: In "Long Live The Queen", they kill Earth Queen Hou-Ting when it no longer serves their purposes to work with her.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: They originally wanted to achieve their goals by releasing Vaatu, but doing so would've backfired on them anyways because he is an Omnicidal Maniac who would wipe out all existence.
  • Evil vs. Evil: After the Earth Queen's forces manage to kidnap Korra, the Red Lotus sets off for Ba Sing Se to get her for themselves. They end up killing the Earth Queen once Korra escapes on her own, no longer having a need to barter with her.
  • Fallen Hero: Their founder, Xai Bau, is this. He and anyone who followed suit used to be members of the heroic White Lotus.
  • Four-Element Ensemble: Each member has one elemental power, though Zaheer was a non-bender prior to Harmonic Convergence.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: Another parallel to Team Avatar, but only among the core members.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Red Lotus society as a whole, independent of any leader, could be considered this for season three, in addition to Zaheer directly filling the role of Big Bad. We know that the group is not limited to the four "main" ones we meet on-screen, but the true scope of the organization goes unrevealed, nor is it entirely clear how highly Zaheer and his gang rank in their hierarchy. However, it's all but implied they were wiped out during the three-year gap.
    • They also serve as this for the entire series up to Book Three. It was their attempt to kidnap Korra as a child that resulted in her being cooped up for the majority of her life, and they were who Tenzin and Tonraq were truly frightened of regarding Korra leaving the White Lotus compound. Unalaq's involvement also ties them into the plot of Book Two, when Unalaq is able to manipulate Korra into opening the spirit portals thanks to her frustration with her confinement that he helped engineer.
    • Their actions in Book 3 indirectly make them this for Book 4, as their assassination of the Earth Queen lead to the Earth Kingdom's anarchy, which in turn lead to Kuvira's rise to power. They also poisoned Korra, which resulted in her PTSD and reluctance in maintaining her duty as Avatar.
  • Hero Killer: They're exceptionally powerful benders, to the point that Zuko believes they are a threat to the entire world if allowed to roam free. They live up to this in "Long Live The Queen" by killing the Earth Queen and sending Ba Sing Se into chaos. Then they make their way to the Northern Air Temple and quickly overwhelm its defenders as a hostage gambit to get Korra. Then they very nearly kill Korra by poisoning her.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: In-universe, no one knows what they truly want, as none of the group would give up any information. Zaheer explains most of his plan to Korra when asked. The Red Lotus seeks the abolition of all governments and nations in order to free the people, despite the chaos this would cause. When Korra asks what they want of her specifically, however, Zaheer doesn't give an answer. It's ultimately revealed that they want to kill her while she's in the Avatar State, ending the Avatar cycle and basically resetting the field. As for where Guru Laghima came in, Zaheer coveted the secret to weightlessness.
  • Informed Ability: Zuko stated they were powerful enough that any one of them could take down any individual bender in the world. However, when Zaheer goes one on one with Tenzin in a fight, he promptly gets his clock cleaned. Even with Ghazan and Ming-Hua by his side, Tenzin is still seemingly able to hold them off. It's not until P'Li joins the fight that all four members are finally able to take down Tenzin for good.
  • Inverse Law of Utility and Lethality: Since Ghazan and P'Li possess abilities that would be deadly were they to connect, they rarely land hits with those abilities. This is mitigated somewhat by the fact that Ghazan can fall back on normal earthbending if the plot requires that he hit someone, and P'Li's blasts don't need to make direct contact to cause damage.
  • I Want Them Alive: Whatever their plans with Korra, simply killing her isn't an option. If she's killed immediately, she'll just be reborn, so that would only serve to render the Avatar a non-issue for a couple of decades at best. Mako even questions them on this; Ghazan only vaguely replies that the world will change for the better. It turns out their plan is to induce the Avatar State in her and then kill her, ending the Avatar Cycle. With no world leaders and no Avatar to guide the people, they believe chaos will finally reign.
  • Karma Houdini: Not Zaheer and his gang, but the organization as a whole. Zuko at the end of Book 3 clearly maintains that the remaining Red Lotus leaders and sentries had returned into hiding and still remain at large with no way of knowing how many are out there and they are still a threat to the world.
  • Knight of Cerebus: In a recurring theme for the series, episodes involving them are inevitably more serious than normal. They're not entirely devoid of humor, in contrast to Amon and Vaatu, but they're more serious nevertheless. They're also the first villains in either show to explicitly kill someone on screen—other villains have killed people, but never in full view of the audience. It's a clear sign that they don't play games and the gloves are off.
  • Leitmotif: The music from the Changes trailer serves as their main theme.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: They don't pick fights unnecessarily and don't overplay their hand. Zaheer leaves Air Temple Island as soon as he has what he came for, only fighting long enough to facilitate his escape. When they try to kidnap Korra from Zaofu, they try to sneak out quietly and then play defense until Zaheer can provide cover. When Korra was rescued, they abandoned that attempt.
  • Mook Chivalry: Averted in "The Ultimatum". When it appears Tenzin is about to defeat Zaheer in a one-on-one fight, all four members of the Red Lotus simply gang up and easily defeat him.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: Ming-Hua and P'Li are far more ruthless and vicious in battle than Zaheer and Ghazan.
  • Nebulous Evil Organization: A global one that has existed since the end of the Hundred Year War, and have been enemies of the White Lotus since they splintered from them. They engage in acts ranging from criminal activity, to acts of terrorism, to assassination of world leaders, all for one goal: the elimination of law and order and the dominance of anarchy in the world.
  • Never Going Back to Prison: All four of the main Red Lotus characters who escaped prison hated being imprisoned and are dead set against going back or being recaptured. Special mention goes to Ghazan, who eventually kills himself rather than be taken prisoner again.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: All of them collectively give one to Tenzin after he refuses to admit defeat, despite his injuries.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: Much like Amon and the Equalists, the Red Lotus are dangerously competent villains. As shown in their kidnapping attempt on Korra, they infiltrate Zaofu with no one noticing, incapacitate Korra without raising any alarms, any only fail to get back out because Pabu happened to catch them and alert Bolin. After losing Korra in the subsequent fight, they cut their losses and retreat.
  • One Degree of Separation: Unalaq was a former member of the Red Lotus.
  • One-Man Army: The four main members are all said to be capable of bringing down any other bender, and that together, they alone throw the entire world into chaos.
  • Order Versus Chaos: They believe Wan interfering in the battle between Raava and Vaatu by sealing the spirit portals has disrupted the natural chaos of the world. Furthermore, they see governments as an extension of this disruption, and seek to eliminate them, as well. They shared Unalaq's goal of releasing Vaatu, but Unalaq had greater ambitions and used them as pawns, abandoning them when they failed.
  • Power of Friendship: A villainous example. The Red Lotus' greatest strength compared to every other villain in The Legend of Korra is that they truly care and support each other compared to every other villain group that were formed through manipulation and lies.
  • Pyrrhic Villainy: Overall, they accomplished basically nothing in their quest for freedom. Killing the Earth Queen only left the door open for an even more despotic military dictatorship, and poisoning Korra left the one person with the power to fix things out of commission. Zaheer ultimately had to help Korra recover to undo the damage his actions caused.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: Zaheer and particularly his three comrades fill out this role within the society.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Not the core members (aside from P'Li, who's a firebender), but the sentries. These come in at least two versions: an externally black cloak with red inside (worn by the guy who poisoned Korra), and a black tunic with a red turban.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction: The Red Lotus is an offshoot of the White Lotus, founded after the Hundred Year War by one of their membership who disagreed with the White Lotus coming out of hiding to serve the Avatar.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: All of them are quite friendly and approachable with the rest of the group; with their enemies they are ruthless opponents.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: All four of them were held in prisons built specifically for them.
    • Zaheer, a former nonbender, was held in a metallic prison on a nigh-unclimbable mountaintop that could only be opened by a metalbender. He also seems to be the persuasive one, so putting him in a prison without frequent interaction with guards makes sense. It didn't work later on, because these safeguards failed to take into account him gaining airbending. When he's caught at the end of Book 3, they lock him in a mountain chained to a giant metal plate.
    • Ghazan, the earthbender, was held in a floating wooden island prison.
    • Ming-Hua, the waterbender, was held in a cage over a volcano. Additionally, the cage is suspended such that it prevents any guards from coming close, eliminating the chance of Ming-Hua using bloodbending.
    • P'Li, the firebender, was held in a cell deep inside a glacier at the north pole, with restraints to block her combustion bending.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: P'Li and Ming-Hua both have obvious Red Right Hands (eye tattoo in the middle of the forehead and missing arms), but Ghazan and Zaheer just look like two guys with no real distinctive features besides being slightly taller or shorter than average respectively.
  • Villainous Friendship: The whole group seems to genuinely like each other, and is full of teamwork and light-hearted teasing. During "The Terror Within", when they fail to capture Korra, they keep their composure and retreat. This doesn't extend to the membership at large, however, as Zaheer had no problem dooming Aiwei to eternal torment in the Fog of Lost Souls for his failure, and Unalaq betrayed the four of them for his own ambitions. This is another parallel to Team Avatar. When Zaheer tells Ghazan and Ming-Hua about P'Li's death, they are both visibly saddened.
  • We Will Meet Again: Zaheer invokes this on behalf of the whole of the Red Lotus, telling Korra that her conflict with the Red Lotus is far from over, and there are more of them out there. Zuko and the others even acknowledge the possibility of them striking again.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • The Red Lotus considered killing Korra a necessity for creating a better world. Their first attempt was when she was a child.
    • In "The Ultimatum", they force Korra to surrender, they threaten to wipe out the new Air Nation. Out of the two-dozen or so members, at least half are teenagers, several more are even younger, and Tenzin's wife and year-old son are among them. He may have been bluffing, but then again, maybe not. Technically, Zaheer didn't harm them when they were kept imprisoned while Korra turned herself in, but it didn't mean he had to care for them.
  • Wrong Context Magic: All four possess bending that should, by most normal rules of bending, be impossible. In rough order from least to most uncanny:
    • Zaheer's airbending is technically the closest to normal, with only his aggressive fighting style betraying anything odd. However, he gained the ability through Harmonic Convergence, when bending is usually present from birth. Not to mention how, before Harmonic Convergence, airbending was supposed to be restricted to the members of a single isolated family living on an island. That being said, though, many people gained airbending powers in the wake of the Convergence, including Bumi and many Earth Kingdom citizens, so his gaining of Airbending is hardly more unusual than anyone else gaining it. He's also the only airbender seen using the art to its full lethal potential, as well as being the only airbender in thousands of years to fly (without some obvious means of doing so; Aang and his descendants used air scooters, gliders, tornadoes, and Sky Bison, but none utilized Zaheer's method).
    • Ming-Hua lacks arms, but can use her waterbending to create substitute limbs, and seems to use them in place of her normal arms for bending. Most benders have less control when they can't use their limbs to direct their element, but this seems to have resulted in an unusually fine control over her water arms.
    • P'Li can create explosions like Combustion Man in addition to normal firebending. Unlike him, she can send the blasts around corners.
    • Ghazan can liquefy earth into magma when, previously, only Avatars have shown the ability to do so. Prior to his appearance, it was assumed to require a combination of earth and firebending.
    • The two known non-core members continued this trend. Unalaq was able to control spirits (though partially because of his allegiance to Vaatu), while Aiwei could detect lies in addition to metalbending. The finale introduces a few mook-level Red Lotus members, who seem to be average.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: It didn't really matter if Korra was going to join their cause or not. Killing Korra in the Avatar State was the trigger to their final plan of ensuring eternal chaos. After all, their goal was to rid the world of all its leaders AND the Avatar.



Voiced by: Henry Rollins
"When you base your expectations only on what you see, you blind yourself to the possibilities of a new reality."
Click here to see Zaheer with unkempt hair 

A formerly non-bender criminal and member of a society known as the Red Lotus who was arrested with his three cohorts for attempting to kidnap the Avatar. Having now gained airbending through Harmonic Convergence, he breaks his cabal out of their prisons and intends to finish what they started.

  • Affably Evil: Ultimately zigzagged between this and Faux Affably Evil. He's always civil and polite, even to his jailers. He also acts very nicely around Tenzin's children during his infiltration of Air Temple Island. He even honestly tells Korra a large amount of what his plan is, when she tries to interrogate him. Though this is partially to buy his associates time to kidnap her. However, as the season progressed and he started becoming desperate, his polite nature began to crack and it disappeared completely upon his final defeat where he devolves into a full blown rant. However, three years in jail seem to have mellowed him out and he's back to being Affably Evil. He even expresses genuine remorse when Korra reveals how badly he screwed things up and immediately agrees to help Korra set it right.
  • All for Nothing: During his time in the spirit world, he learns that decapitating the Earth Kingdom's leadership created a power vacuum filled by a dictator even worse than Hou-Ting, precisely the opposite of what he was trying to do. This realization causes him to help Korra fix his mess.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Much like Amon, it's clear Zaheer is a villain. His level of villainy, however, is another matter entirely. Though he explains most of his plan to Korra, the full extent of it remains a mystery. It turns out, he wants to kill her while she's in the Avatar State, ending the Avatar cycle, because he feels the world needs to return to how it was before Wan became the Avatar in order to achieve true balance.
  • Anarchy Is Chaos: It is taken for granted by our heroes that Zaheer is after global chaos. He does make some references to "chaos" in his philosophy, but he's really after the end of the nations.
  • Anti-Villain: Genuinely cares about his friends and girlfriend, is good with kids, acts almost infallibly polite, and has a sincere interest in the Air Nomad culture and philosophy. His goal is to eliminate the leaders of the five nations and throw the world into chaos so that a new world can begin, but he comes across as one of the most human of the franchise's antagonists. He even helps Korra in "Beyond the Wilds" to overcome her fear of him.
  • Arc Villain: The main antagonist of Book 3.
  • Ascended Fanboy: A longtime student of airbending culture who gained the ability.
  • Astral Projection: He can project his spirit into the Spirit World, which he uses to communicate with his operatives. It is likely he tracked Korra down through this method. In Book 4, he coaches Korra in getting over her spiritual block by making her face the moment he almost killed her.
  • Badass Normal: Zaheer was a non-bender until Harmonic Convergence, but he was a master martial artist on par with the other three, so the Order of the White Lotus imprisoned him with as much caution as the benders he worked with.
  • Bald of Evil: Though he starts out unkempt, he shaves his head and beard later on, taking on a more airbender-like appearance. Three years later, after being locked away following his attempted poisoning of Korra, his hair has grown out to be unkempt again.
  • Batman Gambit: Attempted by Zaheer when he talks to Korra in the Spirit World while Ming-Hua and Ghazan capture her defenseless body. The Earth Queen's forces derail the plan by kidnapping Korra themselves when Asami tries to take her to safety.
  • Benevolent Boss: To the rest of his crew, whom he deeply respects and cares for. He goes out of his way to rescue each and every one of them. To any subordinate who proves to be a liability, not so much.
  • Beware the Honest Ones: He's a polite, civil, philosophical, and one may even say kind man at first glance. But he is also a Bomb Throwing Anarchist who seeks to create social disorder and despite his code of honor, isn't above cold-blooded murder to get there. Both Aiwei and the Earth Queen learned this the hard way.
  • Big Bad: He is the main villain of Book 3, as the leader of his gang, part of the Red Lotus, aiming to plunge the world into chaos.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The name 'Zaheer' is one of the Names of Allah, and means 'that which is apparent/manifest/visible' (Az-Zahir). Likely meant to indicate his adherance to Guru Laghima's philosophy of seeing beyond what is immediately apparent.
  • Blow You Away: He gained airbending through Harmonic Convergence.
  • Break the Haughty: The realization that his assassination of Hou-Ting was all for nothing because of the ascension of Kuvira has pounded some additional humility into him.
  • Bullying a Dragon: His plan was to poison Korra, forcing her into the Avatar State to counteract it, and kill her to end the Avatar cycle permanently. Korra ends up breaking free of her chains (not even by bending, but just sheer strength alone) and nearly hands Zaheer his ass in her enraged Avatar state. He only survives due to Korra nearly dying from the poison. When his final attempt to kill her fails due to the airbenders' interference, Korra manages to grab hold of his leg and defeat him.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Played with. Zaheer is a seeker of chaos but believes it is the true path to humanity's freedom and salvation. However, he took considerable pleasure tormenting Korra just as she was about to die at his and his brethren's hands.
  • Chaos Is Evil: Defied; he believes that chaos is neither good nor evil, but rather is the natural state of things, and that by creating chaos through the destruction of governments, a better world will rise from the ashes.
  • Color Motif: He has a very noticeable preference for gray clothes, different from the brightly colored Air Nomad outfits but nonetheless consistent with how air is color coded.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: To Unalaq. Both are spiritual in their own ways, but while Unalaq was prideful and wanted personal power, Zaheer is humble and has no interest in any authority beyond being the leader of his friends. Unalaq wanted to be a kind of dark mirror and replacement to the Avatar, but Zaheer wants to turn the clock back to an era when there was no Avatar.
  • Cultured Badass: Is an avid student of airbending culture, quite knowledgeable about history, is well-spoken in general and infallibly polite to almost everyone he comes across, even enemies.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: He hands these out with alarming regularity. He almost effortlessly dispatches the Order of the White Lotus guards at his, Ghazan's, and Ming-Hua's prisons and does similarly well against the Dai Li. He ends up on the receiving end of one when he fights Tenzin in "The Ultimatum", where the vast disparity in their respective airbending experience becomes clear; Tenzin takes everything thrown at him without flinching and runs him down over the course of about half a minute. And he ends up on the receiving end of another one from Korra when she's in the Avatar State, showing why Bullying a Dragon is never a good idea.
  • Defeat by Irony: Zaheer is a staunch anarchist, and believes in all sorts of freedom (freedom from kingdoms, freedom from the Avatar, etc). He also practices learning a technique to free him from the constraints of gravity. Ultimately, he is defeated when Korra pulls him down with her chain, and he is pinned by earthbending. This also only occurs after he is attacked by a tornado created by the entire newly formed Air Nation working together.
  • Die or Fly: Quite literally in "Enter the Void". After P'Li is killed by Suyin and it looks like Zaheer's plans have completely fallen apart and he's about to be recaptured by Lin and Suyin, Zaheer quite calmly begins reciting the teachings of Guru Laghima and then falls backwards off the cliff... because P'Li's death has cut his last tie to the earth and he has achieved the ability of flight.
  • The Dreaded: Zaheer is considered so dangerous, even while bound and chained, that he had to be kept in complete isolation—no one to bribe, bully, manipulate or blackmail. For this reason visiting him requires the approval of a head of state. Korra moreso is terrified of him since the events of season three, and Zaheer mockingly revels in his newfound status when Korra tries to face him. After she throws his failures in his face, however, he helps Korra get over her fear so she can fix the mess he helped cause.
  • Ear Ache: Has cauliflower ear from a life of fighting.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: He manifests the ability to fly at the end of the penultimate episode of Book Three.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Zaheer was a master martial artist and professional fighter before being imprisoned, and then he got airbending.
  • Enemy Mine: While he and Korra were enemies before, their interests align when Korra visits him in prison. He helps her get over the fight she had with him, helping her get better so she could stop Kuvira, who Zaheer also sees as a threat to the world.
  • Enlightened Antagonist: Highly spiritual, gained airbending and virtually mastered it in two weeks. He's also a terrorist.
  • Enlightenment Superpowers: He achieves Guru Laghima's power of flight through intense meditation and severing his earthly bonds.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He genuinely cares for his friends and his lover P'Li, personally leading the attempt to break them out of their jails. Her death strikes him with grief, though it also allows him to let go of all earthly attachments to achieve flight.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • He despises tyrants such as the Earth Queen and Fire Lord Ozai. Befitting his hatred of tyrannical dictators, he has no fondness for Kuvira, is not happy to learn that his actions played a part in bringing Kuvira to power, and actually helps Korra regain her power in order to give her a better shot at stopping her.
    • Believes that Unalaq's attempt to become a Dark Avatar was selfish.
    • After he kills the Earth Queen and is trying to announce the deed to the people, Ming-Hua threatens the operator when he's a bit hesitant. Zaheer immediately calls her out on this, telling her it goes against what they stand for.
  • The Evil Genius: He's the group's strategist and coordinates all of their plans.
  • Evil Laugh: For a blatant Anti-Villain, he gives a surprisingly good one (the wiki actually calls it a "cackle") when it seems Korra will soon die from the poison in her system.
  • Evil Virtues: Polite, thoughtful, honest, brave, philosophical, honorable, determined, apparently good with kids, loyal to his friends, loves his girlfriend. If it wasn't for the fact that he seeks to create social disorder, let alone the increasingly ruthless methods he employs in the completion of said goal, it would be near impossible to look at him and think "villain".
  • Evil Mentor: He shows some shades of this when he teaches Korra how to enter the spirit world again. Zaheer does it because he wants Kuvira in the ground as much as Korra does.
  • The Fettered: Despite being The Unfettered during Book 3, in Book 4, when Korra reveals that him killing the Earth Queen only gave rise to an even worse tyrant in Kuvira, he expresses genuine remorse for his actions; and helps Korra to break through her trauma and enter the Spirit World, reuniting Korra with Raava and granting her access to the full power of her Avatar State.
  • Flight: When P'Li dies, he loses his last attachment to the Earth, allowing him to achieve enlightenment and master the power of flight. This also allows him to command the winds he leaves in his wake, battering Korra even in the Avatar State.
  • Foil:
    • For Tenzin. Whereas Aang's son is the oldest living airbender master, Zaheer is one of the newest airbenders. Both studied the Air Nomads but for different reasons. Tenzin studied them out of a sense of duty since for the brief time after the death of his father and the birth of his children, he was the last airbender. Zaheer chose to study them for their belief in freedom. Both studied so that they could mentor the next Avatar. Even the way they fight is different; Tenzin is graceful, relies on extensive and often elaborate attacks, while Zaheer uses a brute force version of airbending which he seems to mix with martial arts. Both even have a significant other, who they are attached to in different ways.
    • For Jinora. While he is a middle-age man who gained his airbending powers thanks to Harmonic Convergence, pre-teen Jinora was a born airbender. Because of that, Jinora's style of airbending is more close to traditional airbending, but Zaheer has a more aggressive style. There's also this post describing their spiritual nature.
    • For Aang. Besides the obvious comparisons with their skills and philosophies on peace and violence, one of Aang's most important choices was refusing power to retain his love for Katara. Zaheer lost his love and last earthly connection, and gained a power that no airbender (including Aang) in 4000 years had ever achieved.
    • For Amon. Amon claimed to be a non-bender who, by chance, gained mystical powers that let him depower benders, up to and including the Avatar, for the benefit of non-benders, but in reality, was an exceptional waterbender seeking power for himself, and his "spiritual powers" turned out to be particularly nasty application of bloodbending. Zaheer, meanwhile, is actually a former non-bender, who actually got airbending powers (including one that hasn't been seen in 4000 years) by chance, and he actually believes in freeing the common people (bender and non-bender alike) from the Avatar, whom he sees as the ultimate authority figure. Nevertheless, both are equally ruthless and dangerous villains, and both manage to put Korra through a world of hurt in different ways.
  • Foreign Culture Fetish: His fascination with Air Nomad culture can be seen as this as he didn't become an airbender until the events of Book 3.
  • Friendly Enemy: He tries to pull this with Korra, but only to buy time to capture her. He's more genuine during their meeting in Book 4 (even if he started out with Brutal Honesty), helping her recover from injuries he gave her, and encourages her to grow stronger.
  • Full-Contact Magic: Though technically true of all bending, Zaheer's airbending deserves special mention because of how different it is from traditional airbending. Unlike the graceful, sometimes dance-like motions favored by other airbenders, Zaheer commands the air with punches, kicks, air grapples, and a whole assortment of other martial arts moves that have more in common with hyper-offensive firebending moves. It's justified as Zaheer is self-taught and therefore is not using "proper" airbending, and is implied to have been a Badass Normal before getting airbending. Ultimately, his self-taught airbending is no match for Tenzin, who has the benefit of an airbending style that has had ages of refinement and optimization.
  • Genius Bruiser: Zaheer is a powerful and seasoned fighter who looks the part, but also a poetic and spiritually knowledgable man who knows a good deal about the avatar and the world.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Zaheer considers Korra visiting him in prison this by stating that she must be truly desperate and out of options to seek his counsel.
  • Good Powers, Bad People: Airbending is without a doubt the least offense-based bending, but Zaheer is anything but defensive in his use of it. It's taken a step further in "Long Live The Queen", where he uses airbending to bend the air out of the Earth Queen's lungs to suffocate her; a feat never seen before in either series and a stark contrast to the pacifist philosophy of Air Nomads. He also has a twisted interpretation of airbending philosophy.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: He has an 'x'-shaped scar on the back-left side of his head. He also has a small one on his left eyebrow.
  • Hannibal Lecture:
    • Gives a rather chilling one to the White Lotus guard bringing him his rice, before locking him in the cell he used to inhabit.
    • When he is again locked up and chained in book 4, and Korra comes to see him, he does a more nuanced version of this. It has all the usual insightful comments and the sense that the captive has more power in the situation than the interrogator, but the end result is not to break her spirit. Instead, he seeks to heal her spirit so she can return to full power and take down a mutual enemy.
  • Humble Hero: Inverted. Zaheer is the Big Bad of Book 3, but has humility. When he made his speech to the people of Ba Sing Se about how he had liberated them from their tyrant queen and was returning the city to them, he refused to identify himself, nor take over Ba Sing Se and change it himself. "My identity is not important". Also, he certainly believes himself to be a hero even though he is not.
  • Hypocrite: He calls Ming-Hua out for threatening a radio operator by saying that they do not harm the innocent, but previously had no objection to her doing the same to an innocent truck driver in "Old Wounds". To be fair, the latter was done out of necessity since there was a city-wide manhunt for them, and the driver was allowed to run once it was clear they would be exposed.
    • He also goes on and on about how people should attain their own freedom and be unbound by cultural norms or the whims of others, but he's equally willing to restrain and imprison others against their will for as long he deems them a threat to his plans.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Once he shaves, he looks quite a bit like the real Henry Rollins.
  • Instant Expert: He's been an airbender for all of two weeks, yet bends like a master. He was also able to fly around with ease the moment he achieved enlightenment. It's implied he's a dedicated student of Air Nomad culture, so he likely memorized much of the lore and just started applying it, once he gained the power. Also, he spent over a decade in a cell so he had little else to do. Despite his natural talent, however, his fight with Tenzin proves that intuition is no substitute for experience, and his fight with Kya shows how dependent he is on the obscurity of his abilities.
  • Ironic Hell: This is how sums up his book 4 imprisonment. Having now realized Zaheer can fly, the White Lotus have now hidden him deep in a mountain and fettered him in chains. In Zaheer's own words, he's finally obtained the power of flight, but now is forever bound to the ground. However, this is nothing compared to everything else he has lost. He also realizes the irony in killing the Earth Queen, only to create a more insane tyrant in Kuvira.
  • Just Between You and Me: He engages in this with Korra in "The Stakeout", believing she at least deserves to know why they're after her. It also serves to keep her in the spirit world while his friends capture her. When it comes to why they specifically need her to enact their plan, however, he refuses to answer that.
  • Kick the Dog: In "Venom of the Red Lotus", he gloats about Korra's imminent death in front of her father and friends.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Two instances of this occur, but they come off as double-edged swords. On one hand, the victims' deaths can be cheered upon, but on the other hand, they showcase Zaheer's ruthlessness and brutality along with demonstrating that the Red Lotus is done playing games at that point in the story.
    • While the "son of a bitch" in this case isn't the most vile of examples, Aiwei was a traitor and so hardly the most sympathetic of individuals.
    • Inflicted this on the Earth Queen, which was met with rejoicing in-universe. Korra on the other hand is only angry at the fact that Zaheer went too far as opposed to the Queen's death.
  • Kill the God: His ultimate plan for Korra, since the Avatar is the world's most important protector and an agent of Order. His plan fails.
  • Knight Templar: He believes that the key to global freedom and peace is to destroy the world's governments and the boundaries between nations, throwing the world to "natural disorder". He is, of course, ruthless in his methods, having no qualms with cold-blooded murder, kidnapping a little girl (later he claims that he didn't plan to harm her, but his ultimate plan does involve her death), throwing one of his associates into what amounts to Hell, and asphyxiating a defenseless woman. It's best demonstrated in "The Ultimatum", where he is willing to commit genocide on the new Air Nation, something that is made clear that he isn't happy about, but will do regardless. His plan with Korra is to kill Korra during the Avatar State, ending the Avatar Cycle, to rid the world of kings and queens, and even the Avatar stands in his way.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Inverted. Zaheer has a jaw that any superhero would be proud of, but he's very much a villain in spite of his best intentions.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Gets hit with this hard.
    • After he attempted to kill Korra's father and break his deal of sparing the airbenders, his girlfriend P'li is killed during the ensuing battle.
    • His other two friends, Ghazan and Ming-Hua die after they forced Korra into the Avatar state by poisoning her, and they were defeated by Mako and Bolin.
    • The same chains that he used to imprison Korra are later used by Korra to grab his leg and defeat him which lead to his capture.
    • Between killing the Earth Queen and his poison incapacitating Korra for three years, he finds out that his actions have caused the rise of a worse dictatorship in the Earth Kingdom rather than spreading freedom.
    • He gained the ability of flight, but he is bond in chains and incapable of being any higher than a few feet.
    • Even though he attempted to kill Korra, he helps her overcome her fear and accept what happened to her, so she can defeat Kuvira, the dictator who came into power as a result of his own actions. This allows Korra to finally finish her recovery, and Korra admits that finally being able to move on will make her stronger than ever which was the opposite of what Zaheer originally wanted.
  • The Leader: To his small gang. He makes the effort to break them out once he escapes, and they follow his lead.
  • Lethal Harmless Powers: Zaheer shows that airbending's lethal potential is dependent on the person's willingness to kill, as demonstrated when he suffocated the Earth Queen.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black:
    • He's this to the Earth Queen, or so he claims. Granted, his goals to eliminate every government in the world have grave consequences, but he's far more sympathetic than the animal-hating, child-abusing, despotic Earth Queen. His hatred of tyrants like her is quite legitimate, because she robbed people of their freedom, detains them without trial, and cares for no one but herself. Zaheer, on the other hand wants to give people freedom and has people he cares about, especially the love of his life, whom he saved from cruel subjugation. Zaheer is aware of the consequences of his actions, yet deems them necessary for a good cause. By contrast, the Earth Queen was always without conscience and unrepentant to the end.
    • He is also this to Kuvira in Book 4, whom both he and Korra consider worse than the Earth Queen ever was, thus creating an Enemy Mine situation.
  • Mighty Glacier: In comparison to the other airbenders Zaheer is most definitely the slow -and-mighty type and this is made most obvious during his battle with Tenzin who outclasses him in every way. Zaheer focuses on crushing, aggressive blows with his airbending while Tenzin is able to gracefully dodge everything thrown at him. Not only that but their maneuverability without gliders is completely different, Zaheer uses his airbending to increase the distance for his jump which, while effective against other benders, puts him at a disadvantage to Tenzin who is able to bend the air around him into a lift allowing him to quickly counter attack. This extra manoeuvrability gives Tenzin the edge in battle and allows him to mop the floor with Zaheer (until the other Red Lotus members gang up on him). However, once Zaheer unlocks the ability of Flight he upgrades into a Lightning Bruiser.
  • The Mole: He passes himself off as a new airbender wishing to join the Air Nomads, but is foiled when Kya notices that his skill and knowledge are too extensive for someone who recently discovered it. He may not have gotten Korra's location as planned, but he got away with Guru Laghima's locket.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When Korra reveals how his assassination of the Earth Queen allowed despotic dictator Kuvira to rise to power, he is subtly but still visibly disturbed.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: Played with. Zaheer will avoid hurting innocents if possible, and specifically calls Ming-Hua on doing it without just cause, but he isn't above doing so if it's necessary to accomplish his goals. He also acknowledges the chaos his own actions will cause, but believes this to be necessary to create a better world.
  • Not So Different:
    • Claims to be this to Korra by citing that, like her, he wants to restore peace and balance to the world. He also agrees with her decision to keep the spirit portals open. While Korra concedes on a personal level that he has a point, she finds his methods to be too extreme.
    • Like Sozin, he is entirely willing to eliminate the Air Nomads for his goals.
  • Order Versus Chaos: On the side of chaos, seeing it as the natural state of existence for the world and the only way to provide the world with freedom. He also believes that the ones who impose order, the leaders of the world, are usually the ones who end up doing the most harm.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: He kills the Earth Queen while lecturing her on her treatment of her citizens.
  • Pet the Dog: Several.
    • He compliments Meelo on being a good airbending teacher.
    • While he and the Red Lotus threaten a truck driver, they allow him to run when the police insist on searching the truck.
    • Stops Ming-Hua from harming a radio worker, saying that their goal is to help the oppressed, not hurt them.
    • In Book 4, he helps Korra get over her spiritual block after being told how much he screwed things up.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner:
    Zaheer: When you base your expectations only on what you see, you blind yourselves to the possibilities of a new reality.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Delivers a fantastic one to Hou Ting before suffocating her.
    Zaheer: Maybe I forgot to mention something to you. I don't believe in queens.
    • He delivers another one to display his distaste for authority figures when he tries to kill Tonraq, chieftain of the Southern Water Tribe, by flinging him off a cliff.
    Zaheer: Say hello to the Earth Queen for me!
  • Pure Is Not Good: He "lets go his Earthly tether" and achieves the lost Airbending ability of weightlessness through enlightenment, but he's still focused on his goals of anarchy and destroying the Avatar.
  • Pyrrhic Villainy: He kills the Earth Queen, instigates a revolution in Ba Sing Se that spreads throughout the Earth Kingdom, and cripples Korra by poisoning her. However, Zaheer is now once again imprisoned, his friends and lover are dead, the Red Lotus are no longer a secret, and Korra is still alive, but put out of commission for a long recovery. Three years later, his revolution has been crushed by a military dictatorship in every way worse than the cruel queen he killed, and with Korra still recovering, Team Avatar disbanded, and the Airbenders proving ineffective, there's no one to fix things. Korra throws this in his face when she confronts him in "Beyond the Wilds".
  • Real After All: Guru Laghima's true flight was never achieved by any airbender for the 4,000 years after his death, and most regarded it as a myth, even among the Air Nomads themselves. Zaheer proves that it is indeed possible.
  • Right Makes Might: He believes he was given airbending after Harmonic Convergence as a sign that his cause if a righteous one.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Zaheer is able to track Korra through meditation, though later revelations suggest he was actually communicating with Aiwei at the time.
  • The Shrink: In Season 4 when Korra comes to him to try and overcome her PTSD, he reaches out to her and genuinely helps her recover fully so she can battle Kuvira.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: After his plans completely fall apart at the end, Zaheer rants that the Red Lotus's goals cannot be stopped until Bolin quite literally stuffs a sock down his throat.
  • Simple Staff: He steals a glider staff from Air Temple Island. It quickly becomes his Weapon of Choice.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Though sadist would be a bit of a stretch, the way he kills the Earth Queen while giving her a "The Reason You Suck" Speech best exemplifies this.
  • Sole Survivor: He's the only member of the core Red Lotus to survive Book 3. He also has the distinction of being the first main villain not to die at the end of the season.
  • Stealth Pun: After spending most of the season obsessing over weightlessness and flying, part of his defeat involves being quite literally dragged down to earth. He later lampshades that he can fly, but he's bound to earth.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Averted; he uses this to his advantage by telling Korra the Red Lotus's plans, while his allies go to capture Team Avatar.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Zaheer seems to be of average height; nonetheless, he's noticeably shorter than his lover, P'Li, who is stated to be 6'8.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Zaheer unlocks an advanced airbending technique when P'Li is killed, which severs his last earthly tether, enabling flight.
  • Underestimating Badassery: He thought the Red Lotus could kill the Avatar by forcing her into the Avatar State via poison and a lava pit. Korra responds by resisting the poison for much longer than Zaheer expected and when the Avatar State is finally triggered, she goes full-on angry-god-beast against the Red Lotus. He only survives because of the poison hindering her. When he returns in "Beyond the Wilds", he admits that Korra has far more power than even she realizes if she could survive the poison.
  • The Unfettered: He never once shows any remorse for his actions, and goes to increasingly ruthless extents to achieve them. In a more literal sense, he strives to achieve Guru Laghima's greatest skill — the power of flight — which requires forsaking all earthly attachments. When he finally succeeds after P'Li is killed, this also sends him to his most ruthless point.
  • Unholy Matrimony: He and P'Li are involved, even sharing a kiss after the latter is broken out of prison.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Zig-Zagged; it'd be more accurate to say he's Unskilled, But Aggressive. As mentioned in Full-Contact Magic, Zaheer doesn't have the finesse that other airbenders do, thanks to only recently gaining the ability. To make up for it, he's a lot more vicious and direct in his attacks than the typical airbender, and he's very aware that airbending, unlike the other disciplines, is relatively rare and thus few know how to defend themselves against it, something that came back to bite him when he fought Kya, who does know how to counter Airbending. His lack of genuine technique is painfully obvious when he fights Tenzin in "The Ultimatum"; not only is Tenzin an airbender himself, negating Zaheer's normal advantage, he has decades of experience on Zaheer, absolutely mopping the floor with him until the rest of the Red Lotus joins the fight.
  • Villain Has a Point:
    • While coming across as somewhat pretentious, his speech to his guards about Guru Laghima's teachings are a very valid message; that you are only truly restricted by our own perceptions and instincts. The fact that no one expected him to gain airbending only added to the sheer irony.
    • He even has a point about how the leaders of the world are often unfit to rule, such as the war-mongering Fire Lords - one of whom ordered the genocide of the original Air Nomads - the incompetent Raiko, and the tyrannical Earth Queen. Given all that has happened as a result, he was ultimately wrong about one thing—in the end, people did need someone to protect them and look after them for safety.
    • By Book 4, he tells Korra that constantly blaming him won't make her problems go away, and it especially won't help her move past her spiritual block.
  • Villainous Breakdown: He starts losing it once Korra is safe and the poison is removed from her body. He goes on about how the revolution has already begun and that chaos is the natural order. Bolin stuffs a sock in his mouth to get him to shut up. Come Book 4, however, he's accepted his failure and learned to live with it, even helping Korra get over her own issues.
  • Villainous Cheekbones: They're quite pronounced.
  • Villainous Legacy: His actions during book 3 set the stage for book 4. He is disheartened to learn that his legacy is a more oppressive dictatorship than the one he cut down. His actions have haunted Korra for 3 years, rendering her unable to use the Avatar state, and the murder of the Earth Queen allowed Kuvira to step in and become an even worse tyrant. As for the Red Lotus, they still live on—they may not have returned during those three years, but the world leaders know they will return.
  • Villainous Valor:
    • Prior to gaining airbending, Zaheer was just a normal person who managed to gain the trust of three powerful benders (as well as win the heart of one) and lead them on a mission to kidnap the Avatar. Even after gaining airbending, Zaheer is on the front lines with his cabal, personally breaking each of them out of prison and leading them on their renewed mission. Simply put, Zaheer is a villain, but he's not a coward.
    • When confronted by Korra, he admits that he is indirectly responsible for Kuvira's rise to power, and helps Korra to get past her trauma and reach her full spiritual potential.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: He achieves this after he murders the Earth Queen. The people of the Earth Kingdom cheer him on for toppling their tyrant. In a bit of a twist, Zaheer specifically avoids giving his name, instead emphasizing that their freedom is more important. To the President and the United Republic, as well as everyone else, he and the Red Lotus are terrorists.
  • Vocal Dissonance: His voice sounds far younger than his appearance would suggest. Though similar to the Reality Is Unrealistic case of Dante Basco and Iroh II, Henry Rollins is well over 50 years old and sounds exactly the same in real life. It certainly fits a lot better once he's shaved his beard and head.
  • Visionary Villain: He forsees a world made truly free and purified of all corruption. He just has to crash every government on the planet to do so.
  • Warrior Poet: His first scene shows him reciting airbender philosophy, he regularly meditates along its lines and he's also described as such in supplementary materials.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Zaheer takes his gift of airbending as a sign that the group's cause, overthrowing the world's governments, assassinating world leaders, and bringing in a new, individualist society, is righteous. When Ming-Hua gets rough with a radio operator, he scolds her and says that their purpose is to help civilians like him.
  • Wicked Cultured: He's well-versed in Air Nomad poetry, history and lore.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: A rare villainous example - he seems to assume that humans will automatically form a utopian society as soon as those pesky rulers are out the way, and as such, his plans are missing a crucial step between "destabilize the world's political system" and "utopia arises from the ashes". This ultimately bites him in the ass in a major fashion in Book 4, as the power vacuum following the Earth Queen's assassination is ultimately filled by Kuvira, who is an even worse tyrant than the Queen - the exact opposite of what he wanted - and Korra, the only person who could stop Kuvira, is too busy struggling with PTSD to oppose her...again, because of Zaheer. Oops.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Deftly maneuvers around obstacles to his capturing Korra, formulating plans which incorporate the unexpected.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Says this to Korra in Book 4. Rather than agree with Korra's sentiment that Zaheer himself is holding her back from healing herself, he believes her power is far greater than she realizes and her only barrier is herself.
  • You Have Failed Me: He throws Aiwei's spirit into the Fog of Lost Souls for failing to help his team secure Korra and for being a potential liability. The latter turned out to be true when Korra tracked him down.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: To Aiwei. It turns out he also planned to do this to Korra if the Red Lotus had managed to capture her the first time.



Voiced by: Peter Giles
"I'm never going back to prison. If I'm going down today, you're coming with me!"

An earthbender who can create magma.

  • Affably Evil: While he's ruthless in a fight, outside of battle he's a very friendly guy. He's great friends with his group, and when Bolin is his captive, they strike up friendly conversation, delivered without a hint of sarcasm.
  • Anti-Villain: Quite an affable and genuinely friendly person when not following orders, and like Zaheer he seems to consider their mission to be for the betterment of all.
  • Badass Driver: He can drive on snow and ice while under attack, and get away cleanly.
  • Badass Mustache: Haru would be proud. Bolin at one point theorizes that he started to grow it from the age of ten.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Or sent back to prison in his case.
  • Character Tics: He tends to cross his arms a lot.
  • Co-Dragons: With P'Li. He usually handles the leg work while P'li is Zaheer's attack dog.
  • Convection Schmonvection: No one is ever burned by the heat of his lava, even in situations where it logically should.
  • Deadpan Snarker: During their getaway in episode 4, P'Li and Zaheer start kissing. He simply says "Really? Right now?"
  • Dishing Out Dirt: He's an earthbender.
  • Driven to Suicide: He lets himself be buried in a cave-in rather than go back to prison.
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors: Ghazan's ability to convert earth to lava made him nigh invulnerable to other Earthbenders. When Bolin manages to learn to do the same, the two actually cancel each other out, making Ghazan easy to defeat when Bolin and Mako double team him.
  • Evil Mentor: To Bolin in a way, as it's thanks to him Bolin is able to Lavabend and after finding out Bolin is also a Lavabender in their last fight he is curious as to what Bolin is capable of. Later in the season four finale Bolin uses Ghazan's signature move, the Lava Shuriken.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Commits suicide by bringing a cave down on top of him, with most of the descending rock being bended into lava as well.
  • Friendly Enemy: To Bolin.
    Mako: Bolin, stop making friends with the bad guy!
  • Genius Bruiser: Implied to be this when he was dealing with the Inner Wall's destruction, where he focused on heating up the lower part to weaken the foundation so he can demolish a large chunk in one fell swoop on the second strike. Further implied when, after merely setting certain sections alight with lava and fleeing, it spreads and consumes everything nearby and below it - the end result brings down the entire Northern Air Temple.
  • I Die Free: When he realises he can't beat Mako and Bolin, he decides he'd rather die than go back to prison, and makes the cave he's in collapse and melt instead.
  • Magma Man: He's the only known non-Avatar bender that can create and control lava by liquefying rock. Until Bolin also picks up it as well.
  • Meaningful Name: The name Ghazan is an Arabic for "Holy Warrior", and he certainly believes he's fighting for a worthy spiritual cause. In addition, Ghazan was also the name taken by was also the name of the first Muslim Khan of the Ilkhanate, who converted to Islam from Christianity. Ghazan certainly fits the pop-cultural depictions of Mongol warriors - long mustache, Wild Hair, etc.
    • Consider, also, the phonetic similarity to the Japanese word for "volcano" (kazan).
  • Minion Shipping: Hinted at. Bolin speculates that he 'grew his moustache at age ten', that he was 'raised by an older sister', and that he and Ming-Hua share an 'unspoken attraction'. Ghazan shares a quick glance with his Red Lotus teammate, and then says (in a surprised but not displeased tone) that he's got two out of three right.
  • Moment Killer: When P'Li and Zaheer are reunited and start kissing, he breaks in and says, "Now? Really?".
  • Never Going Back to Prison: The reason he collapses the cave he's in.
  • No-Sell: Every time Bolin tries attacking him, he converts the rocks into lava and sends them right back. When the Dai Li try their rock gloves, he punches each one right back with ease.
  • Only Sane Man: Not stated, but he is apparently the most down to earth of the four; given how P'Li and Ming-Hua are temperamental and Ax-Crazy, respectively, while Zaheer has shown himself to possess a nasty ruthless streak. Meanwhile, Ghazan hasn't shown any real quirks of his own.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: The Red Lotus's main team are among the most powerful benders in the world, but most of them (even the walking artillery platform P'li) are more in 'precise, controlled One-Man Army' territory than this. Ghazan, on the other hand, has an offensive output roughly on par with a firebending master empowered by Sozin's Comet - or, to put it another way, he can literally melt mountains.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: By the standards of the Red Lotus, he's quite nice. Very friendly with the heroes when not in combat, and he hesitates significantly when the situation requires lethal force. He needed encouragement from Ming-Hua to attack and seemed content to let her kill Korra, not making a move until she began to break her chains. He also doesn't show signs of sadism or psychopathic behavior like the others.
  • Prisons Are Gymnasiums: Not much else to do when stuck in a giant cage other than pull-ups.
  • She-Fu: Like Bolin, a rare male example who's light on his feet and full of flips.
  • Superpower Lottery: His lavabending makes it difficult to fight him, particularly for other earthbenders, who pretty much just give him more ammo.
  • Taking You with Me: Cornered by Mako and Bolin, he finally loses his cool at the thought of going back to prison, and attempts to bring the whole cave down with all of them in it. They escape, he does not.
  • Tattooed Crook: His Shirtless Scene introduction shows his chest, back and arms have multiple tattoos.
  • Villainous Breakdown: It's brief, but he freaks out at the idea of going back to prison and proceeds with the above Taking You with Me.
  • Wild Hair: It's pretty long... which gives Bumi plenty to grab ahold of.
  • Worthy Opponent: Feels this way about Bolin, after Bolin learns how to lavabend.



Voiced by: Grey DeLisle
"I would've killed for some rain."

A waterbender born without arms who uses water to form substitute limbs.

  • Achilles' Heel: Connecting the water directly to herself makes for some incredibly versatile and dangerous limbs. But if say, an electrical current ran through the water, she's a sitting turtleduck.
  • Affably Evil: Not to the extent of Zaheer or Ghazan given her Ax-Crazy tendencies, but she openly chats with Bolin.
  • Artificial Limbs: Uses waterbending to create some.
  • Ax-Crazy: Clearly the more unstable and psychotic member of the gang. She does enjoy her jailbreak a lot more than the men who were already rescued. In "Old Wounds", in order to leave Republic City after Zaheer was discovered infiltrating Air Temple Island, Ming-Hua threatens to hurt a delivery man with an icicle if he refuses to cooperate and suggests kidnapping and torturing a police officer to learn Korra's whereabouts. Later, she threatens a radio operator when he's somewhat reluctant to just hand over the controls, which Zaheer actually calls her out on. In "The Ultimatum", shortly after the group's arrival to the Northern Air Temple, Ming-Hua ambushed and held Opal hostage in order to ensure the cooperation of Kya, Bumi, and the other members of the Air Nation.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: While at least one close-up reveals her eyes to actually be a very dark blue-gray, the effect is the same.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: She likes freezing the tips of her water-tentacle 'arms' into vicious-looking and very sharp blades of ice.
  • Blood Knight: She clearly enjoys fighting, giving her opponents a big Slasher Smile.
  • Building Swing: Her combat strategy often employs swinging from any available structures to increase her mobility.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: In the Season 3 finale, she attempts to lure Mako into water to give herself an environmental advantage. This just makes it easier for him to electrocute her.
  • Close-Range Combatant: She generally prefers to use water for her prehensile arms rather than attack at a distance, a good example being her fight against the twins. Most of the time this isn't an issue, since she still has quite long reach, but it's seen once in a while.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: She spent her time in prison thinking of possible backstories for the White Lotus guards who held her captive; ranging from them having issues with their girlfriends, to secretly wishing to be a pastry chef.
  • Combat Tentacles: She uses her water arms in this fashion, and she can shape them into whatever form she needs, including hardening them into ice tools. And if enough water is available, she can then make far more than just her usual two.
  • Creepy Shadowed Undereyes: Her eyes look visibly sunken, which can be explained off as a symptom of dehydration but also serves to make her look eerie.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: She had no trouble kicking Mako's ass all over the place in "The Stakeout". Not much of a surprise given it was a firebender versus a master waterbender at nighttime. Her fight against Kya went a little bit better for the latter, though Kya was still on the defensive for most of the fight and ultimately lost.
  • Dark Action Girl: And a Handicapped Badass to boot. To top it off, she is the first to give Desna and Eska a run for their money.
  • The Dark Chick: Seems to be this for the group. Out of the four, she really enjoys fighting the most, always grinning a Slasher Smile for her opponents, threatening to hurt innocent people like the truck driver in Republic City and the radio man in Ba Sing Se. We don't even know if she also truly believes in their cause like the other three or if she's just in it For the Evulz, but she definitely seems to be having the most fun with it.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Her nonchalant response to the group being caught kidnapping Korra:
    "So much for the element of surprise."
  • Didn't See That Coming: How she meets her demise against Mako. Every prior bout to their last one was against him just fire bending. It never once occurred to her that he was able to lightningbend, something she didn't take into account when she led him to an underground lake.
  • Evil Cripple: No arms, and a deranged maniac aligned with Bomb-Throwing Anarchists.
  • Goth Girls Know Magic: Her appearance and personality are quite gothy, and she's easily one of the most powerful waterbenders in the series, not even needing arms to bend as many water whips and ice blades as she wants.
  • Handicapped Badass: She has no arms, but she can bend just fine and use water to create limbs even more versatile. Her lack of arms has been confirmed as congenital diamelia, meaning that, like Toph, she's had her whole life to perfect the technique.
  • High-Voltage Death: She leads Mako into an underground lake where she thinks she'll have the advantage, but he immediately jumps to high ground and fires lightning at the water, which conducts through her water arms and fries her. Whether it killed her or not is left ambiguous, though even if it didn't, mere minutes later Ghazan makes the entire cave melt and collapse with Ming-Hua still on the lower level.
  • An Ice Person: Not necessarily a nice person, indeed. Comes with being a waterbender.
  • Lean and Mean: She has a noticeably emaciated face and figure. Given the need to ration her water carefully and the extreme heat of her prison, this is to be expected. Her lack of arms also makes her seem thinner then the average person.
  • Logical Weakness: Since she has no arms if she has no water, Ming-Hua is even more vulnerable than other waterbenders if she has a limited water supply. Mako actually bests her temporarily in "Venom of the Red Lotus" because his fire attacks evaporate her water arms with each strike. As expected of someone who is constantly connected to water, lightning is also a serious problem.
  • Making a Splash: She's a waterbender. She can also make ice.
  • Minion Shipping: Bolin speculates that she has an "unspoken attraction" with Ghazan. See above entry.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: If she needs the extra power, she can create multiple water limbs.
  • Mundane Utility: At one point, she uses her water arms to drive a car.
  • Neck Lift: She bends an ice brace around Opal's at the Northern Air Temple to force compliance from the group of airbenders she was pursuing. She also uses a water tentacle as secondary support, which doubles as a way to keep Opal from bending.
  • Nothing Up My Sleeve: During their trip to Ba Sing Se, she wears oversized sleeves that hide her water arms, making for an effective surprise attack.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: She's the shortest of the group but every bit as dangerous as the rest of them are.
  • Psychotic Smirk: This and disdain about sum up her facial expressions.
  • Shapeshifter Weapon: Even by normal waterbending standards, Ming-Hua's bending is ridiculously versatile. She has used it to perform building swings, act as pseudo-prosthetics, carve open a window stealthily, and much more.
  • Sinister Scythe: The most common thing she makes with her icebending extensions is scythes/blades.
  • Slasher Smile: Gives one when fighting Mako and Bolin, and an even bigger one to Kya when the waterbender proves skilled enough for her to use her strongest moves yet seen on.
  • Spectacular Spinning: In addition to building swings, this is her other preferred fighting method.
  • Spider Limbs: She can create around eight water arms to move around like a liquid powered Doctor Octopus.
  • Swiss-Army Superpower: She's used her waterbending to create water arms and ice scythes and blades.
  • Thought-Controlled Power: Like Combustion Man and P'li's Combustionbending and Noatak and Yakone's bloodbending, she doesn't need to move her body parts at all to manipulate her water arms.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Virtually none of the Krew, or anyone else for that matter, comments on her missing arms. Mako refers to her as "That Water-Arm Lady" once, but that's it.
  • Wall Crawl: Climbs up the glacier wall after breaking P'Li out of her cell, using her water arms as ice picks. P'Li notes they could have just taken the elevator.
    P'Li: Show-off.
  • Weak, but Skilled: As befitting her Dark Chick nature she is this when compared to the other members of the Red Lotus. Unlike the other members of her group she isn't a Person of Mass Destruction (like Ghazan) or in possession of the Super Power Lottery (like Zaheer and P'Li). Instead her strengths come from her ability to create incredibly versatile variations of water tentacles to overwhelm her opponents by using her lack of arms as an advantage to create her own unique bending style.



Voiced by: Kristy Wu
"I've waited thirteen years to feel this warm."

A firebender who, like Combustion Man, is able to generate explosions.

  • Achilles' Heel: Her Third Eye tattoo generates her combustion attacks, but can be disrupted by a simple strike to the head.
  • Affably Evil: Inverted, and notable for its absence. Unlike the other members of her group, P'Li is all business and very cold, for the most part. She only really shows emotions whenever she's with Zaheer.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Her death by Suyin was quite cruel and sad. Just hearing her backstory of how she ended up in the Red Lotus just makes it sadder.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Just like Combustion Man before her, attacks to the Third Eye can disrupt her combustion bending.
  • Ax-Crazy: Gives off an air of this during her rambling when Zuko and Tonraq visit to make sure she's still in her prison, and again when surrounded by flames. She's a little unbalanced, to say the least, though far less so than Ming-Hua.
  • Braids of Action: She wears a short braid on the top of her head with the sides and back shaven.
  • The Brute: While they're all dangerous, P'Li is definitely the powerhouse of the group, since her combustion bending has the most direct offensive potential, though Ghazan later one-ups her by melting the mountain the Northern Air Temple was on. She's also the tallest.
  • Child Soldier: She was supposed to be one to some unnamed warlord, raised as a killing machine due to her destructive power. That is, until Zaheer saved her.
  • Cold Sniper: Combustion bending makes any firebender who has mastered it into essentially one of the most feared and devastating snipers ever to grace the world of Avatar, and P'Li is no exception. Not only can she curve her shots to blast enemies behind cover, but, as evidenced in "The Ultimatum", her visual acuity and hand-eye-chakra-tattoo-thingie coordination is insane, allowing her to track moving targets from a distance and pick them off at her leisure. Not only that, she is capable of using her sharp vision and explosive sniping ability in a tactical manner by taking her environment into consideration, such as aiming for structural weak points or scattering a herd of air bison to prevent the airbenders at the temple from escaping. This in mind, it makes sense from a strategic standpoint for Zaheer to have her circling the temple from their airship, because that's where she could do the most damage and work in the group's favor to control the fight by providing cover fire and keeping the airbenders busy. In addition, P'Li is not immune to her own combustion, so having her fight from a distance is simply a matter of practicality. Suyin takes advantage of this by metalbending a barrier right in front of P'Li, which kills her.
  • Contralto of Danger: A throaty growl, although her voice rises in pitch when she's getting cozy with Zaheer.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: P'Li's over-reliance on her combustion bending over regular firebending makes her the worst close-range combatant of the four, and the one with the most obvious weakness in that her combustion must be fired from a distance. Bolin exploits this with a precision shot and puts her out of commission for a battle in Zaofu. Su later exploits this on Laghima's Peak, resulting in P'Li blowing herself to pieces.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: P'Li is about to kill Lin with a close-range combustion attack. While Lin distracts her, Su encases her head with her breastplate as P'li is about to let off of a blast. The last thing we see is light poking through the holes in the armor before we're treated to a Gory Discretion Shot. At least it was quick.
  • Dark Action Girl: One of the most dangerous ladies in the series.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: She was raised as a living weapon, only to be rescued by Zaheer.
  • Death Glare: Gives a rather scary one right at the start of "In Harm's Way". Any use of her combustion bending is preceded by a serious glare at her intended target.
  • A Death in the Limelight: Word of God admitted that they gave P'Li her last scene with Zaheer to give her some characterization before her death not long afterwards.
  • Distaff Counterpart: To Combustion Man, as noted by Zuko.
  • The Dragon: Zaheer's right hand woman, always at his side, whether it's watching over him as he's in the Spirit World, or being with him while they plan to capture Korra.
  • The Dreaded: Even more so than the rest of the Red Lotus. On both of the occasions an opponent has had time to articulate a strategy against them, it has included specifically neutralizing or avoiding her.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: She's Zaheer's girlfriend, and even stays behind to protect his defenseless body while he's in the Spirit World as Ghazan and Ming-Hua head after Korra. The minute she dies, Zaheer loses all that remains of his earthly attachments, but it makes him even more vengeful.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: For what is ostensibly a kids' show, it's hard to get worse than having a self-inflicted case of Your Head Asplode. The rather extreme Gory Discretion Shot (not so much as a "boom") leaves most of it in the imagination of the viewer.
  • Femme Fatalons: Downplayed example. Her nails, while not particularly long, are painted red-black.
  • Freudian Excuse: She was captured by a warlord when she was a young girl and raised to be a weapon. This is part of the reason why she joined the Red Lotus.
  • Glass Cannon: Her combustion bending gives her tremendous offensive power at a second's notice, but conversely it's extremely sensitive and easily knocked out if her opponents can hit the tattoo. However, she can use her normal firebending to supplement her defense if need be.
  • Having a Blast: She's able to fire beams from her Third Eye that explode on contact, just like Combustion Man. Unlike him, she can also curve her shots, so hiding behind cover isn't nearly as effective.
  • Hoist by Her Own Petard: P'Li is not immune to the effects of her own combustion, so she must fight at a distance. In addition, her detonations require an unobstructed path to follow, as blockades in the way will detonate them early. Suyin takes advantage of both of these faults by metalbending her breastplate onto P'Li's head just as she is about to fire upon Lin. The detonation blows P'Li to pieces.
  • Mauve Shirt: Doesn't have nearly as much screen time or characterization as the rest of the Red Lotus before having one tender scene with Zaheer shortly before her gruesome death.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Her name sounds exactly the same as Pele the Hawaiian goddess of the Volcano. There is no way that is just a coincidence.
    • It's also pretty close to a Mandarin phrase meaning "thunderbolt." Click, click, boom.
    • And it is exactly identical to the oldtimey Russian "пли", the shouted command for riflemen and cannon crews to "open fire".
  • Morality Chain: P'Li is implied to be one to Zaheer, notable in the marked change in his demeanor after her death. Prior to that, he was an honorable person despite his ruthlessness who avoided hurting innocents if possible. But after she dies and he severs his earthly tether, Zaheer becomes much more cold and vengeful. And he also becomes slightly unhinged, laughing and gloating about Korra's imminent death and then going into a full blown rant after Suyin metalbends the poison out of her.
  • One Head Taller: An unusual version in that it's P'Li who's a head taller than Zaheer.
  • Playing with Fire: Unlike Combustion Man, she can use traditional firebending in addition to her explosion talent, hence the need to keep her somewhere very cold. She shows off her skills when she uses firebending to block a fire attack from Zuko's dragon. However, she still usually relies on her combustion.
  • The Quiet One: She speaks the least out of the Red Lotus members we meet.
  • Rage Against the Legal System: P'Li wants to avenge her imprisonment because they kept her away from Zaheer for so long. Zaheer even promises her once they're rid of the Avatar, the Red Lotus will eliminate prisons altogether.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Her outfit is mostly shades of bright and dark red, her nail polish is black with a hint of red, and the dominant color of her Third Eye tattoo is red. Even her eyes are an unusually russet shade of brown. (Then again, of course, she is a firebender.)
  • Rescue Romance: A rather twisted, evil version of this. Zaheer saved her from a life as some warlord's living weapon, to which she is eternally grateful. He saves her again by breaking her out of prison.
  • Reunion Kiss: With Zaheer, after the group breaks her out of prison.
    Ghazan: Really? Right now?
  • Satellite Character: To Zaheer, even more than Ghazan and Ming-Hua. Most of what characterization P'Li has revolves around her love and loyalty to him.
  • Statuesque Stunner: She's the tallest of the group at 6'8" and cleans up rather nicely after escaping prison.
  • The Stoic: She is always calm and composed; rarely losing her temper, unless Zaheer is in danger.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality:
    • While all of them have this to a degree, she is the stand-out example. Unless you are Zaheer, don't expect any warm feelings from her.
    • However, her snarking at Ming-Hua when she freed her and Ghazan telling she and Zaheer to Get a Room! imply she's at very least Vitriolic Best Buds with the rest of the team. This is also supported by the fact that Ming Hua and Ghazan look visibly saddened when Zaheer tells them she died.
  • Superpower Lottery: P'li has more refined control of her combustion blasts than Combustion Man, being able to direct them around corners.
  • Third Eye: The red tattoo on her forehead.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: P'Li is the tallest of her companions and towers over her lover, Zaheer.
  • Tragic Villain: Used as a weapon by a warlord when she was a girl, then rescued by Zaheer who, while genuinely loving her, ultimately led her back into the same fate he rescued her from, just in a different context. Then she dies in defense of him.
  • Unholy Matrimony: With Zaheer.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend:
    • She nearly blew up Tonraq when Zaheer was having trouble with him.
    • She later blasts Tenzin off a ledge when he subdued Zaheer and is about to deliver a finishing blow.
  • Would Hurt a Child: While she shows no pleasure in it, she also shows no hesitation firing directly on Kai when he tries to distract her from stopping the other airbenders from escaping, and would have likely killed him had he not airbended a shield to take the brunt of the blast (and what got through was still enough to knock him unconscious). She appears to treat opposition as simply opposition, regardless of who it comes from, and deals with it in the same way (blasting it until it either stops moving or retreats).
  • Your Head A-Splode: Implicitly via Gory Discretion Shot, when Su bends her armour over P'Li's head as she is about to combust.



Voiced by: Maurice LaMarche
"You have no idea what's coming for you, Avatar."

A truth-seer and one of the highest-ranking officials in the city of Zaofu. Turns out to be an undercover agent for the Red Lotus.

  • Affably Evil: Nothing but polite to people, even those who have correctly accused him of treason. He even serves them tea.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Has some vaguely camp mannerisms and nose-piercings. Reportedly was revealed alongside Kya to be LGBT, although further specifics are not elaborated upon.
  • Bald of Evil: He's got no hair on top of his head. Also, he's evil.
  • Beard of Evil: He wears a beard. Also, he's evil.
  • Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive: Adopts this pose when pretending to discover a guard's involvement in the Red Lotus' attack.
  • Crazy-Prepared: His escape from Zaofu. He created a tunnel outside the city hidden behind a bookcase and parked a Jeep at its exit. When he is discovered, he bends a metal wall in front of his pursuers (only one of whom is a metalbending novice), escapes through this tunnel, and rigs an IED to destroy the tunnel, any evidence he may have left behind, and possibly his pursuers if they can get past the wall.
  • Disney Villain Death: Thrown into the Fog Of Lost Souls by Zaheer.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Like a more traditional earthbender, he goes barefoot to better detect lies.
  • Extra-ore-dinary: Though more focus is given to his truth-seeing abilities, he metalbends a large wall to block Team Avatar during his escape from Zaofu.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Having his spirit thrown into the Fog of Lost Souls...while technically still alive. Fridge Horror when you remember what Katara said in Book 2 Jinora's strong spirit kept her body alive even after the long trip from the Air temple to the healing hut where Kya's kept her stable for another week. Aiwei's spiritual, but not as much and likely to be found dead sooner or later in that hotel.
  • Living Lie Detector: Is a truth-seer, and therefore able to sense whenever a person is lying. This ensures that only he can keep a secret in Zaofu.
  • The Load: Zaheer accuses him of being a "loose end" before consigning his soul to the Fog, blaming him for the failure of the attack at Zaofu. Somewhat justified as he had proven to be a hindrance twice.
    • First setting the bomb when Korra went after him. Had the bomb killed her, it would've hugely delayed the Red Lotus' plans of forcing into the Avatar State and killing her.
    • Second, he insists he wasn't followed even though he was.
  • The Mole: Turns out to have been working for the Red Lotus the entire time.
  • Mundane Utility: Once uses his ability to find out how good the drinks are at a bar.
  • Non-Action Guy: He is highly intelligent and spiritual, but most certainly not a fighter.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Zaheer throws him into the Fog of Lost Souls.
  • Pet the Dog: He shows a surprising amount of compassion when not doing work for the Red Lotus. Notably, he's concerned enough about Lin's well-being when he notices how stressed out she is, that he points her to an acupuncturist immediately. Well, it was his job.
  • Properly Paranoid: When waiting for sunset at the Misty Palms Inn, he apparently spends the entire time peeking through the curtains of his hotel room at regular intervals to make sure he's not being watched. Ironically, he was being staked out by Team Avatar the entire time - from the hotel room directly opposite his - and didn't even notice!
  • Savage Piercings: Inverted. He wears earrings and his trademark nose-to-ear piercing, but these serve to highlight the Crystal Spires and Togas nature of Zaofu and his high rank in the utopian city, and make him look more distinguished.
  • Spotting the Thread: He was able to deduce that Team Avatar was onto him when he found the passage to his secret tunnel was ajar and, more impressively, noticing the vase on the bookshelf to be just slightly out of place.
  • Wicked Cultured: A deeply spiritual man and prolific metalbender with a love of books, and a member of the Red Lotus.

Earth Empire

"Anyone who crosses our borders, or stands in our way, will be crushed."
Following the Earth Queen's death, the Earth Kingdom collapsed into anarchy, divided and full of bandits harassing the population. Zaofu being the last state untouched, the world leaders approached Suyin and asked her to take over, reunite the kingdom and bring back order in preparation for Prince Wu's ascension to the throne. When she refused, her captain of the guards, Kuvira, volunteered to do it instead. Despite her rather drastic methods, she proved effective at the task, gaining popularity as "the Great Uniter". When the time came for Prince Wu's coronation, however, she refused to hand over power and proclaimed herself the new official leader, renaming the nation Earth Empire.
  • Badass Army: They do have nice uniforms and awesome looking weapons. The pilots in the mini mecha are also savvy enough in their second fight with Bolin and would've won if Varrick didn't use the EMP in time.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Kuvira has made prison camps, which she uses to hold people who disagree with her, or anybody who isn't from the Earth Kingdom/Empire. Sound familiar?
  • Elite Mooks: The Earth Empire's metalbending soldiers are tough. One-on-one, they can even give Lin a hard time of it, and as for the two-vs.-two against Mako and Bolin, Team Avatar is on the back foot for most of the fight.
  • The Empire: To contrast with the United Republic of Nations. Bolin even points out he feels uncomfortable about how aggressive "Empire" sounds.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • To the Metal Clan; both Kuvira and Baatar Jr. come from Zaofu, their initial forces are a Metal Clan Renegade Splinter Faction, and Kuvira based her ideology on what she learned from Suyin.
    • To an extent, they can also be seen as one to the New Air Nation; both are recently born factions who track part of their origins from the Earth Kingdom (most of the New Air Nation's recruits were Earth Kingdom citizens before they gained Airbending) and try to help the helpless in the Earth Kingdom. The difference being the New Air Nation genuinely helps people with no condition, while Kuvira strong-arms the various states into submitting to her in exchange for her help. The parallel is even more visible in the first episode, where the two are actually seen helping the same state, such showing the contrast between their methods.
  • Fantastic Racism: Hits this point in "The Reunion". All citizens (or at least benders) not of ethnic Earth Kingdom origin are rounded up and sent to re-education camps.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Kuvira's generic soldiers have this look. It's similar to the design of Varrick's magnet armor from "Old Wounds".
  • Hegemonic Empire: At first. Unlike the Fire Nation, Kuvira wanted the Earth Empire with this in mind. They can't take away people's freedoms, or they will oppose them; but with the Earth Kingdom ravaged by three years of war and instability, states willingly join the Earth Empire because they need someone to protect them. However, ultimately averted when the Empire begins to use force to incorporate those regions that won't submit willingly—and then launches an all-out attack on the Republic.
  • Irony: Back in The Last Airbender, the Earth Kingdom was at worst neutral, and the series finale ended with Firelord Ozai almost burning them to the ground. Comes Book 4 of Legend of Korra, Kuvira has essentially made the Earth Empire this show's version of the Fire Nation, while the actual Fire Nation has become pacific to the point of refusing to take part in a pre-emptive intervention against them. The only difference from the Fire Nation is that the Earth Empire is only focused on taking the entire continent and envision making themselves a dominant superpower, not to take over the world but rather carrying the big stick over them.
  • Magitek: Varrick and Baatar Jr. designed technology using spirit vines. The end result is a Wave Motion Gun powered by spirit energy and a Humongous Mecha also powered by spirit energy to mount it on.
  • Military Coup: After she's reunified the Earth Kingdom, Kuvira refuses to turn over leadership to Prince Wu, instead rechristening it the Earth Empire and putting herself in charge.
  • Mini-Mecha: Kuvira has new, smaller mini mecha in her army, much closer to Powered Armor than the originals. Designed by Varrick, they are equipped with grappling cables, flamethrowers, lightning launchers and are fast and maneuverable enough to be considered Lightning Bruisers.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The few regular soldiers that received focus are this, The two soldiers Ikki meets start feeling sorry for her and even help her out a bit. When Baatar Jr. went missing before the surrender negotiations, his soldiers became so lost and confused that Raiko had to step in.
  • Putting on the Reich:
    • Kuvira's metalbending troops wear dark metal helmets reminiscent of the Japanese Kabuto or Darth Vader helmet, complete with mask). Non-bender privates, on the other hand, wear simpler helmets that are almost identical to a WWII-era Stahlhelm. The colour of their uniforms is reminiscent of the Wehrmacht's distinctive Feldgrau hue, but is closer to that of the paramilitary Ordnungspolizei.
    • The symbol of Kuvira's army and the Metal Clan, an Earth Kingdom disc on a broad-armed cross within an octagon, bears some resemblance to the Balkenkreuz, the emblem of the German armed forces.
    • And to even further drive the comparison home, it's later revealed that they're imprisoning anyone with non-Earth Nation ancestry, like firebenders and waterbenders.
    • In Episode 10, it's revealed that their spirit vine-powered superweapon takes the form of a giant cannon mounted on a platform moving on railway tracks, based on the Schewerer Gustav and other railway guns employed by Nazi Germany in World War II.
  • Recruited from the Gutter: A good number of soldiers in the Earth Empire are citizens who have turned to a life of crime when there was no one to keep them safe. Joining the Empire was their only alternative to that kind of life.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction: Kuvira's initial army was formed from soldiers of Zaofu who chose to join her in her effort to unite the Earth Kingdom. By the time the show starts, however, it has become much more.
  • Repressive, but Efficient: Compared to the original monarchy and the Earth Queen, the Earth Empire is considered to be a sizable upgrade (for better or for worse). It runs on good publicity from the general Earth Kingdom public, having the fractured kingdom join under her authority after riding it of its rampant crime and reestablishing trade between them, all run by a matriarch who (unlike the Earth Queen) rose to power through merit, competence and hard work instead of lineage. It is not until it is (nearly) too late do things take a dark turn and the kind of threat they pose is made clear.
  • Sigil Spam: The Empire's signature metallic disc-and-octagon appears on banners, supply crates and Kuvira's Cool Train, among others. Interestingly, it's Zaofu's symbol.
  • Undying Loyalty: They are extremely loyal to Kuvira and follow her every command without question. This is most notable during her first fight with Korra, where they actually cheer her on. And in the series finale when Kuvira finally surrenders and orders her troops to stand down, they do the same without a fight.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After Kuvira's surrender what happened to her army, Baatar Jr., or she herself is Left Hanging. At most it can be assumed that Kuvira went to jail but other than that there is no information. Chances are, Kuvira's followers been arrested and will stand trial.



Voiced by: Zelda Williams
"I was cast aside by my own parents like I meant nothing to them. How could I just stand by and watch the same thing happen to my nation when it needed someone to guide it?"

The founder of the Earth Empire, and the main antagonist of Book 4. Raised in Zaofu by Suyin herself, Kuvira was a captain in her metalbending corps, as well as one of the members of her dance troupe. After the fall of the Red Lotus and the Earth Kingdom's descent into anarchy, however, her loyalty toward Suyin was shaken when the leader of Zaofu refused to take control of the Earth Kingdom, feeling that this would be akin to conquering it. After failing to convince her otherwise, Kuvira interpreted Suyin's refusal as cowardice and left Zaofu with Baatar Jr. and part of the city's forces to do the job herself; she was eventually recognized by the United Republic as the temporary leader of the Earth Kingdom, in preparation for the coronation of Prince Wu, heir to the throne. Believing him unfit, she instead unites the region and reforms it as the new Earth Empire, with herself in charge.

  • The Ace: Suyin took Kuvira in as her protege when the latter was eight, taking an interest in her talent and leadership skills. From there, she became part of her dance troupe and captain of her guard. Suyin even noted how Kuvira was like a daughter to her.
  • Affably Evil: A mix of this and Faux Affably Evil. Despite her normally cold and aloof demeanor, Kuvira is quite polite to everyone around her and even makes a point to use diplomacy over military force, if only to maintain her good publicity. However, the second something goes wrong or someone slights her by challenging her authority, she drops the niceties and starts dealing out threats. And as the season progresses, she begins to forgo all pretense of benevolence. At the series finale, however, she reverts back to Affably Evil and surrenders without a fight.
  • The Alcatraz: Her factory and re-education facility turn out to be this. It was used to imprison dissidents including the Beifong family when they question her authority.
  • All for Nothing: While this could apply to all the Big Bads of the series, special notice goes to the fourth season's Kuvira, whose intentions were to bring order to the fractured Earth Kingdom and not leave it in the hands of an immature fop like Prince Wu. Not only does she end up defeated by the very person she claimed was obsolete, but she lost her fiancé and adoptive family while the very prince she usurped decided to abdicate anyway and democratize the kingdom into a series of states, meaning all the strong-arming and scheming ended up being just an exercise in cruelty from a woman with abandonment issues.
  • Always Save the Girl: Inverted in that it's Kuvira who had to save Bataar Jr. Averted in that while she genuinely loves him, she decides to sacrifice him without a second thought when he is taken hostage by Korra.
  • Ambiguously Evil: When she was first introduced there was some debate over whether she was capital-E Evil or just a Well-Intentioned Extremist. She later moved pretty quickly into the former category which is cemented in "Kuvira's Gambit" where she opens fire on the factory where Korra and the gang are, knowing full well that Baatar Jr. was in there as well. Then it's ultimately Zigzagged again in the series finale where it's revealed that despite her increasingly extreme methods, she genuinely wanted to help the Earth Kingdom and truly believed she was doing the right thing. Suyin even sums it all up by saying that Kuvira is a complicated person.
  • Antagonist Title: "Kuvira's Gambit".
  • Anti-Hero Substitute: Pre Face–Heel Turn. She's been set up as one to Korra, while Korra is still handicapped by the trauma following her encounter with Zaheer and the remnants of poison in her system. Korra specifically expresses her frustration that Kuvira is doing the job Korra should be doing, and Bolin notes the similarity between the two.
  • Anti-Villain: Like Zaheer the previous season, she will work tirelessly and earnestly for what she thinks thinks is right, while still clearly being wrong. Also like Zaheer, she has friends and a lover. Her actions become progressively more extreme, but in the end she was firmly not only a Well-Intentioned Extremist, but ultimately surrenders after realizing how far she's fallen. Human indeed.
  • Arch-Enemy: Seems to have become one to Suyin.
  • Ascended Extra: She only has a couple of lines in Book 3 but has a more significant role in Book 4, leading an entire army and uniting the Earth Kingdom under her rule.
  • Assassin Outclassin': Was highly anticipating that Suyin would attempt to assassinate her and had devised a Batman Gambit to capture her, making it look like she was the aggressors while maintaining her good publicity.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The leader of the Earth Empire, and one of its most powerful benders.
  • Bad Boss: She's benevolent as long as people do what she wants, but she's quick to use threats and force when people question her. In the end, her teammates are nothing more than tools, and when a tool is no longer useful to her, she gets rid of it.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Downplayed. A recurring theme in the series, Kuvira lost the battle for supremacy, but her influence indeed changed the status quo in a manner that she hoped for. In this case, the Earth Kingdom's monarchy has been officially disbanded (by the Prince, no-less) and replaced with a constitutional republic, each state democratically electing a representative to run the nation as a whole.
  • The Baroness: She is a Rosa Klebb type, despite looking young and attractive. She is so devoted to her goals that she's perfectly willing to sacrifice her lover to get what she desires.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • In "Battle of Zaofu". Kuvira knew Suyin would act first and try to stop her, this was the reason she recommended a temporary truce to Korra. By doing this, she maintains her Villain with Good Publicity status, making it appear that Suyin and Zaofu were the aggressors against her army during peaceful negotiations. Pointed out by Korra after she found out that Suyin and the twins were captured after their failed attempt by pointing out to Opal that people could see it as Kuvira defending herself.
    • In the aptly titled "Kuvira's Gambit", Kuvira knows that Republic City has been warned of her coming attack, so she moves up the schedule to one week instead of two. In addition, they believe that she is transporting the cannon by rail, so they attempt to disable rail transport; anticipating this, she deploys the cannon on a Colossus instead. Finally, she knows that the UR is evacuating, so her attempt to capture the city will only involve military, with little civilian casualties.
  • Beauty Is Bad: She's beautiful, regal, ruthless and vicious.
  • Beauty Spot: The first thing to distinguish her from any ordinary guard is the presence of one just below her right eye.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: Kuvira started out as the idealistic revolutionary who was noble, saved those who were helpless, and virtually eliminated chaos and bandit activity. However, she ended up going beyond her original purpose, and became obsessed with making her Earth Empire into a dominant superpower.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Throughout her fight with Korra, Kuvira constantly goads her to go into the Avatar State and give her a real challenge... Korra eventually does just that and had it not been for a vision of Dark Korra, Kuvira would have been a stain on the ground.
  • Benevolent Boss: Kuvira does not emote, but she is civil and polite of her subordinates. She openly praises Bolin and Baatar in front of others, never taking credit for them or diminishing their accomplishments. She even was merciful to Zhu Li after she begged to be spared. She even expresses that she would not subject her soldiers to anything she wouldn't put herself through, when she squares off against Avatar Korra herself. Just don't question her in any way and you'll be fine...
  • Berserk Button:
    • Question her authority at your own peril. Bolin and Varrick learn this the hard way.
    • Actually standing up to her seems to make her even more pissed. When Zhu Li actually stands in defiance to her wrath, she tries to have her executed as target practice for her superweapon rather than just send her to a reeducation camp like she did with Bolin.
  • Big Bad: She is the main villain of Book 4, forger of the Earth Empire, created from the disarray of the Earth Kingdom following the Earth Queen's demise.
  • Big Bad Slippage: Starts out as a background character before being put in charge of the Earth Empire and in turn being put at odds with the protagonists.
  • Big Damn Heroes: She saves Tonraq after Zaheer blows him off a cliff.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: A rare female example. And they are majestic.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She's always very soft-spoken and cordial while speaking with people, even coming off as reasonable in some of her arguments for the necessity of her actions. However, the moment someone's loyalty to her comes into question, or if someone denies her what she wants, she's quick to break out death threats or trips to her re-education camps. Bolin and Varrick find that out the hard way. The former is sent to the camps for trying to help Varrick escape, while the latter is forced to continue the spirit vine battery project under close and armed guard.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: She metalbends one of her bicep coverings onto her wrist and into a blade during her fight with Suyin.
  • Blood Knight: Of the subdued, Spirited Competitor variety. In line with her being similar to Korra, she does enjoy a good brawl as evident by her fight with Korra. Though she ends up taking it to Idiot Ball levels when she gets so cocky during the fight that she actually dares Korra to use the Avatar State, a mistake that nearly cost her the fight... and her life.
    Kuvira: Come on, Avatar! Get up! Show me what you've got!
  • Braids of Action: As a Zaofu guard, she has a long braid under her helmet.
  • Break the Haughty: Gets hit with this in the series finale, where after Korra saves her life after Kuvira's failed attempt to kill her with the Spirit Cannon, Kuvira breaks down crying and admits that she had Parental Abandonment issues that contributed to her wanting to help the Earth Kingdom. After listening to Korra's lecture, she surrenders without a fight.
  • Broken Ace: Outwardly, Kuvira is calm, charismatic, determined, a natural leader, and a master strategist. However, she also is a domineering Control Freak with a short fuse who reacts badly to criticism of any kind. Eventually, the series finale reveals that underneath it all, she suffers from unresolved Parental Abandonment issues with her birth parents that she projected on to the Earth Kingdom, resulting in her zealous desire to see it restored.
  • Broken Pedestal: A mutual one with Suyin; She comes to view Suyin as this after the latter refuses to stabilize the Earth Kingdom. In turn, Kuvira is no longer the daughter Suyin raised, going against everything Suyin stood for. She becomes this herself to Bolin when he discovers that she sends people in conquered territories to labor camps, and dissenters to re-education camps and eventually one to Baatar Jr. when she fires on his location in an attempt to kill Korra.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Presumably because of her arrogance, Kuvira acts quite cocky and tends to be overconfident in her ability to remove obstacles by force, even against enemies who are technically much more powerful than her. In "Battle of Zaofu", she not only agrees to fight Korra in a woman-to-woman fight, but spends the entire duel taunting her and goads her into using the Avatar State. When Korra finally does, she almost ends up crushed under a boulder, and only wins because of a Dark Korra vision.
  • Can't Take Criticism: Anytime some questions Kuvira actions or give criticism she reacts by she's quick to lose her temper, give cruel threats, and act on them. As a result, it only makes her actions less justifiable.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Why she doesn't send Varrick to a re-education camp after he, Zhu-Li, and Bolin attempt to defect from her army as she still needs him to develop the spirit vine technology.
  • The Captain: Captain of Zaofu's guard in Book 3. She's leader of her team in Book 4.
  • Chained to a Railway: What she does to the bandits who sabotaged her maglev. Far from being cartoonishly villainous, Kuvira takes this trope and reminds us why the trope exists — because being hit by a train is terrifying.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: She appears several times in the background before she is formally introduced in the Book 3 finale. Her first appearance is as one of the two metalbending dancers in "The Metal Clan".
  • The Chessmaster: Pretty much rivals Amon and Zaheer in terms of cunning. Kuvira has been a couple steps ahead of anyone who challenged or got in her way thus far in Season 4.
  • Classic Villain: Ambition, Pride, and occasional Wrath. Ultimately zigzagged. Despite growing Drunk with Power as the season progressed, she was firmly a Well-Intentioned Extremist and genuinely believed she was doing the right thing, even if it was to a horrifying degree.
  • Clothing Combat: Not only is her armor fashionable, the back and armbands are made of multi-layered metal sheets which she can use to restrain opponents in combat. She can also sharpen them into blades for lethal attacks.
  • Combat Medic: She's at least trained in basic battlefield care.
  • Combat Pragmatist: She uses metal binders to blind and restrain her opponents. The metal parts of her army's uniforms can be used to similar affect to deal with dissenters.
  • The Conqueror: Though she's called the "Great Uniter", that's more or less a euphemism for an impressive series of conquests solidified by Leonine Contracts, or, if they actively resist against her, she'll simply conquer by military force. Those that decline her protection will get no support from her at all until circumstances force them to change their minds. She was tasked with uniting to deal with bandits, but after she finishes that, she decides to conquer independent regions like Zaofu and eventually the United Republic, which were not under siege by bandits or in the latter's case, part of the Earth Kingdom anymore.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: To Zaheer. While he was an anarchist who wanted to eliminate all forms of law and order, she's an authoritarian who wants to bring about a new order.
  • Consummate Liar: Kuvira is a master of manipulating facts and circumstances to benefit her final goals.
  • Consummate Professional: With Bolin, Varrick and her fiancé's general friendly demeanor around her, her strict no-nonsense demeanor and lack of voice inflection stand out.
  • Contralto of Danger: Fitting for the Big Bad she has a rather low voice.
  • Control Freak: A core element of her character is that it's either her way or the highway, and God help you if you pick the highway. When something goes wrong, she is polite, but angry. Taken to extremes in "Enemy at the Gates" where even the slightest challenge of her authority is grounds for immediate internment at a re-education camp. This is pointed out by Opal in "Battle of Zaofu." Korra reasons that this trait stemmed from her Parental Abandonment issues.
    Opal: You don't care about equality! This is about control!
  • Cool Train: Travels around the Earth Kingdom on a maglev.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Need to move your invasion plans up a week early, but your giant rail-mounted spirit energy cannon just can't get there fast enough? Good thing you already have a 25 story tall giant robot compatible with aforementioned giant spirit energy cannon all fully functional and ready to move on command! Not to mention that it's made of platinum so metalbenders can't touch it.
  • Dance Battler: She was formerly part of Suyin's dance troupe, and it obviously plays a part in her fighting style, which is far more acrobatic and graceful than your typical earthbender or metalbender, involving a lot of twirling and spinning.
  • Dark Action Girl: Put simply, anyone who can take on a fully realized Avatar and walk away alive has all but earned this title (provided you are female, of course). Though admittedly, Korra wasn't at 100% during the fight.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Implied. Whenever her birth parents, it's mentioned they abandoned their daughter at some point.
  • The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: She left Zaofu with the legitimate intent to save the collapsing Earth Kingdom and restore order. Three years later, and she's attacking stable, peaceful areas just for the sake of dominance. She finally remembers the original reason by the finale.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Will occasionally dip into this at times, such as when threatening to throw Varrick off the train. Though unlike most examples, it only serves to make her more intimidating.
    Kuvira: Well I'm the other voice in your head and I'm telling you you will continue this project.
    Kuvira: (While metalbending Varrick's collar) And now there's a voice in my head telling me to drop you on the tracks. Should I listen?
  • Defeat Means Respect: After being defeated and having her life saved by Korra from her own weapon, Korra was eventually able to convince Kuvira to surrender. Kuvira tells her men to stand down and admits Korra capable of more power than she could ever hope to achieve.
  • Defiant to the End: Initially. After being beaten in her fight with Korra and having the Colossus destroyed, Kuvira retreats into the Spirit Wilds where she finds the Spirit Cannon. She then uses it in a final effort to kill Korra, but it overloads and starts a chain reaction that nearly destroys the city. Thankfully, Korra manages to bend the spirit energy and use it to create another portal. One conversation with Korra later, Kuvira finally surrenders.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Basically, seeing Suyin refuse to bring order to the Earth Kingdom. In her mind, it brought back the feeling of being abandoned and vulnerable by her parents.
  • Determinator: Kuvira's resolve is as strong as Korra's. She never gives up, works hard, strives to do her very best at everything, even things others deem impossible, and never allows herself the luxury of true failure. This is neatly encapsulated by this exchange between her and Korra during the series finale.
    Korra: Kuvira! Give up!
    Kuvira: (quietly) Never.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Her strategies escalate through one of these after another during Book 4.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Kuvira tries to use the spirit vines in the Wilds to power the spirit cannon, but is unable to control the reaction once she starts it, nearly destroying Republic City. Luckily, Korra is able to use the energy to create a new spirit portal. Korra uses this as more evidence that the two are more similar than they realize.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: She's a powerful earthbender, able to manipulate large amounts of rock and overpower Korra in controlling a boulder.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: This is her usual and immediate reaction to any dissenters.
    • In "Enemy at the Gates", she threatens to throw Varrick off the train when he refuses to continue work on the spirit vine technology and later threatens to send Bolin to one of her "re-education" camps because he starts to question whether some of her actions are necessary. By the end of the episode, she makes good on the latter threat.
    • In "Day of the Colossus" when Meelo trollfaces her while she pilots the Colossus, her response is to first swat him away, then fire the cannon directly at him.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Of four characters:
    • Early on, she was one to Chin the Conqueror, both being Earth Kingdom natives who attempted to conquer the Earth Kingdom and who were opposed by the Avatar.
    • After "Enemy at the Gates", she became one to Fire Lord Sozin. Both characters wanted to spread their technological advances to other places, but their ambitions eventually got the better of them and they became dictators, before they both have a Heel Realization.
    • Overall she's one to Amon. Both are extremely cunning, strategic, and charismatic figures who managed to gather a large powerbase of followers and managed to outmaneuver the heroes for most of the season. And much like Amon, despite going to increasingly ruthless and extreme methods, she truly wanted to help restore the Earth Kingdom. The two are also revealed to have deep, unresolved issues with their parents that contributed to the extreme methods they took in achieving their goals.
    • By all appearances she becomes one to Zuko in Ruins of the Empire, specifically Zuko right after his Heel–Face Turn. Both of them are former villains who seemingly want to do good, but are justifiably distrusted by the heroes, particularly the Avatar's love interest.
  • The Dreaded: Became this during the interval between Books 3 and 4. When the bandits attacking her train realize exactly whose train they attempted to rob, they are practically wetting themselves and begging for mercy.
  • Drunk with Power: As Kuvira's powerbase builds up, she shows signs of megalomania and a power trip. After her Break the Haughty moment in the finale, she eventually comes to realize how far she's fallen and surrenders without a fight.
  • The Emperor: After Wu's coronation she abruptly declares herself the new ruler of the reunified Earth Kingdom, renaming it the Earth Empire. One of the banners associated with her forces has characters that translate to "May Kuvira live ten thousand years", a phrase frequently applied to the Emperor of ancient China.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Gets a few throughout Book 3 before her proper introduction in "Enter The Void."
  • Easily Forgiven: Sort of. While not explicitly forgiving her, Korra is able to sympathize with her and appears to bear her no ill will, saying that she sees a lot of herself in her. Averted right after when Kuvira surrenders and apologizes to Suyin, who just coldly states Kuvira will have to answer for all she's done, not that Kuvira protests this.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: A mutual one with Suyin. Kuvira feels Suyin has betrayed her by refusing to unite the Earth Kingdom, which Kuvira takes as similar to her own abandonment. Suyin feels Kuvira has betrayed her by going against Suyin's principles and becoming another tyrant.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Kuvira does legitimately love Baatar Jr., her fiancé. Unfortunately for him, she loves the Empire more.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Well, more "Well-Intentioned Extremist" than evil:
    • She makes the same mistake as Princess Azula, never so much as questioning Zhu Li's loyalty to her or considering that any motive could override fear of her. She badly miscalculated The Power of Love and courage.
    • This is defied during her campaign. She's aware good people will do everything in their power to rebel if she conquers them. Kuvira uses this to her advantage and also understands that good people will make sacrifices for their own safety.
    • She treats Suyin's decision to not take control of the Earth Kingdom as an act of cowardice and selfishness, rather than Suyin simply not wanting to have that kind of power, or force her way of thinking upon others.
    • During the finale, she can't understand why Korra would save her life after everything that's happened between them, and is incredulous at the idea that the heroic Korra would see a lot of herself in Kuvira.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Her Zaofu armor made her look like a Knight in Shining Armor, but after becoming the Big Bad she's Putting on the Reich.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Korra — Kuvira was designed to be similar to Korra in height, build, and personality to make it seem like Korra is attempting to "overcome a past version of herself".
  • Evil Is Petty: Like Unalaq before her, Kuvira has higher goals and ambitions, but she also has a habit of doing petty and unnecessary things to people that she has gotten an advantage over, often just to prove she can or to rub her triumph in their faces. Though unlike Unalaq, she's crafty enough to only do so when she knows she can get away with it. Examples include:
    • In "After All These Years", she forces the Governor of Yai to pledge his loyalty to her if he wants to keep his job, after she has already gotten him to sign her unfair contract rendering him a mere figurehead.
    • In "The Coronation", she uses her authority to get herself moved into Prince Wu's presidential suite while having him moved to a smaller junior suite then rubs it in by smugly telling him she always gets what she wants.
    • In "The Battle of Zaofu", Kuvira tells Opal that Bolin fully supports her, even though the exact opposite is true, then implies she's acting childish while Bolin has grown up.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Her voice is as deep, if not deeper, than some of the male characters.
  • Evil Virtues: Polite, brave, hardworking, honorable, respectful, determined. If it weren't for the increasingly extreme methods she employs in the completion of her goals and her good publicity, it would be difficult to call her a villain at first glance.
  • The Evils of Free Will: Downplayed. Kuvira attributes the problems of the Earth Kingdom to this, as the anarchy that ensued for three years was proof to her that the people of the Earth Kingdom couldn't be trusted with their own freedoms, and thus she turned the nation into a repressive state. That said, she's disgusted by the idea of brainwashing, something that could arguably eliminate one's free will altogether.
  • Exact Words:
    • She assured Bolin that she wanted a peaceful resolution to uniting the Earth Kingdom, but that doesn't mean she isn't prepared to use force if (or when) that option fails, as seen when she turned up on Zaofu's front lawn with her entire army in tow. Just because she wants a peaceful resolution doesn't mean she expects it.
    • In "Kuvira's Gambit", Baatar Jr. tells her he loves her, and Kuvira simply responds that she never could have done this without his help. It is not incorrect, as his technological genius proved useful to her and the Empire and helped get them to where they are now. The lack of reciprocation on her part leads to her willing to kill him off for the sake of conquest later in the episode.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Introduced in Book 3 first as a dancer with Suyin and loyal guard Captain, she wears loose bangs and a long braid. Come Book 4, she's a ruthless conquerer who keeps her hair in a low, tight bun.
  • Extra-ore-dinary: She's a master metalbender, and it shows in her style of combat.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: She is quite beautiful for the cunning chessmaster.
  • Face–Heel Turn: She started as a good person, was an ally to Team Avatar during the fight against the Red Lotus, then trying to unite and restore shattered Earth Kingdom. Key word: started. She eventually realizes how far she had fallen and ultimately surrenders.
  • Fallen Hero: Eventually becomes this, but clearly evident in "Enemy at the Gates".
  • Fantastic Racism: "Reunion" reveals that she rounds up anyone in the Earth Kingdom who does not originate there, and sends them to re-education camps.
  • Fatal Flaw: While Kuvira is a cunning strategist, her pride has a tendency of making her underestimate her opponents. Also, her short temper often gives her tunnel vision and causes her to do things without thinking.
  • Flechette Storm: Her primary offense in battle is to shoot thin strips of metal at her opponent. The back of her armor consists of what are apparently numerous small metal plates folded together, to fascilitate continuous attacks.
  • Foil:
    • To Zaheer, in terms of ideals — While Zaheer was a wanted criminal trying to bring chaos to the world, Kuvira was a captain of a guard who is now looking to restore order, although like Zaheer, she's pretty ruthless and direct in her approach, strong-arming a few people into helping her. While Zaheer wanted to unify the world by tearing down national boundaries and governments, Kuvira practices ethnic cleansing by removing people not of Earth Kingdom origin from the country's population. Also, while Zaheer cares deeply for his friends and lover and would go to great lengths to protect them, Kuvira will not hesitate to sacrifice others to achieve her goals.
    • To Prince Wu — He is incompetent, foppish, and inherited the Earth Kingdom, she is efficient, austere, and worked hard to reach where she was. It's not purely positive, however. Wu acknowledges his own shortcomings, accepts criticism from someone and is respectful (in his own, foppish way) towards foreigners, while Kuvira is known to put dissidents and non-Earth Kingdom natives into re-education camps and can be condescending and smug towards others at times. Also, while Kuvira wanted to reunite the Earth Kingdom into one large Empire, Wu eventually dissolves the monarchy and allows each state to govern itself, realizing everyone needs to have a choice in the matter.
    • To Korra — Korra at the start of Book 4 denies her name and status as the Avatar, and her self-esteem is at an all-time low. Kuvira has made a name for herself and is brimming with quiet confidence. Korra is a scrappy, dynamic, hands-on fighter. Kuvira never gets her hands dirty by fighting directly, but stays far from her opponents and barely moves her legs while using bending. Korra's shoulders are typically bare, while Kuvira wears large pauldrons. She was even designed to be physically similar to Korra. In "The Coronation", Bolin describes them as being a lot alike.
  • Fragile Speedster: Kuvira is exceptionally fast and agile, able to dodge most attacks and strike back before her opponent can go on the defensive. However, she lacks Korra's stamina and fights between the two tend to even out rather quickly whenever Korra lands a solid blow. She's also notably vulnerable against air attacks, which are harder for her to anticipate or sidestep.
  • Freudian Excuse: Her abandonment by her parents, and seeing Su and Korra seemingly do the same by ignoring and abandoning the Earth Kingdom to its deterioration, contributed to her zealous desire to make sure the Earth Kingdom's citizens would never feel vulnerable again.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: From captain of the Zaofu guard in Book 3 to the leader of an entire army in Book 4.
  • The Generalissimo: Kuvira is a rare female example, who, however, acts in a very masculine manner and otherwise fits most or all of the stereotypes (except smoking, which apparently doesn't exist in the Avatar universe).
  • Genius Bruiser: Manipulative, charismatic, incredibly intelligent, and has all the skills to back it up.
  • Graceful Loser: At the end of her confrontation with Korra in the spirit world, she realizes what she's become and surrenders to the heroes.
  • Green and Mean: As the proud Earth Emperor determined to return the Earth Empire to the Earth Kingdom's former glory, she wears a green uniform (the traditional Earth Kingdom color).
  • Gunboat Diplomacy: Since she knew Suyin would never agree to surrender Zaofu under normal conditions, she brought along her entire army in an attempt to intimidate her. She quickly defaults to Aggressive Negotiations, though.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Kuvira acts like the Great Uniter as long as the person does what she says and doesn't question her. Question her and she's quick to lose her temper, give cruel threats, and act on them. This somewhat backfires on her in "Enemy at the Gates". When Varrick tries to shut down the spirit vine project, she gets mad and threatens to throw him off the train. Upon learning the truth about the labor and re-education camps, Bolin confronts her about it and questions her actions, at which she snaps and threatens to send him to a re-education camp. This leads both of them to lose faith in her and attempt to defect from her army, only to be captured by Baatar.
  • Heel Realization: After being defeated by Korra, the two have a talk in the spirit world where she realizes that she and Korra are Not So Different and that she has caused more suffering than she has fixed. She then surrenders.
  • Hoist by Her Own Petard: Ironically, her firing on the warehouse where Bataar Jr. and Team Avatar were was ultimately the catalyst for her inevitable defeat as he turns on Kuvira to help them take her down.
  • Humiliation Conga: Starts to suffer this near the end of the "Day of the Colossus" and continues in "The Last Stand". The Colossus is infiltrated despite her best efforts, Lin and Suyin disable the spirit cannon, removing a large part of what made her super-weapon so threatening, and cause so much internal damage that she has to tear off its cannon arm to stop them, Korra thoroughly beats her up, the Colossus blows up, her last ditch effort to kill Korra backfires spectacularly, she realizes that she can never hope to match Korra's power, and finally she's arrested for her crimes (granted she turned herself in for the last one).
  • Hypocrite:
    • Despite having openly renounced the traditional Earth Kingdom rule, Kuvira still defines the parameters of her Empire in accordance with the old Earth Kingdom borders, and uses this as her justification for why Zaofu, which was not thrown into chaos by the Earth Queen's assassination, must be treated the same way as any other region and assimilated, designating it "internal Earth Empire business".
    • In addition, Kuvira makes several arguably valid criticisms of Suyin and Zaofu for hoarding their own riches and technical innovations, and not extending their hand to aid the rest of the Earth Kingdom. Kuvira herself, however, has very pointedly refused to help anyone who doesn't comply with her specific terms.
    • Kuvira gets very angry when Jinora and Opal stop her from killing Korra and remarks that they had a deal for a one-on-one duel. However, Kuvira frequently lies and refuses to honor deals she makes when it suits her.
    • She admonishes the governor of a territory for letting his pride get in the way of making a smart decision, but Kuvira herself is incredibly smug, arrogant, and overall full of herself and loves to show off her power.
    • She claims to be a progressive ruler, yet she is running on a hardline nationalist platform, sending people of foreign descent into concentration camps and wanting to reclaim everything within Earth Kingdom parameters.
  • Ice Queen: Her default expression is one of contemptuous boredom. She took down 20 bandits in 30 seconds without so much as a change in heart rate, according to Bryan.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Her rationalization for the extreme measures she gradually implements. Korra eventually convinces her she didn't have to resort to them, prompting Kuvira's surrender.
  • Improbable Age: The character sheets for Books 3 and 4 show that Kuvira in Book 3 is Korra's height, and in the next book, when Korra has grown a few inches, they still match. Some speculate she was 18 in 3 and 21 in 4, the same as Korra, but either way, Kuvira is young enough to have grown taller in three years, and is at most, slightly older than Korra. This is a little less extraordinary considering how much a bunch of teenagers changed the world in the last series.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Beauty mark aside, looks a lot like her voice actress, Zelda Williams.
  • Insistent Terminology: She used the term "Generous Offer" when talking to the Governor about her Leonine Contract more than once.
  • I Owe You My Life: The partial reason for her surrendering is out of gratitude for Korra saving her life twice.
  • Iron Lady: In charge of a large army and is a no-nonsense kind of lady.
  • Irony:
    • Her voice actress was supposedly named after a title character of a series that's similarly named to this show. For added irony, said character is the Big Good Princess. Virtually the exact opposite of Kuvira.
    • Her main reason for usurping the throne from Prince Wu was that she felt that a monarchy was an archaic system. Surprisingly, Wu echoes this sentiment and dissolves the monarchy, allowing the various states to choose their own leaders.
    • In Book 3, she saves Tonraq, Korra's father, from Zaheer. Korra eventually returns the favor in the series finale, twice.
    • Her name means "courageous woman", and throught most of the season she indeed lives up to that name. But her final confrontations with Korra are marked by running away; though the first was a strategic retreat, when she wakes up in the Spirit World she is clearly spooked and franticaly shoves Korra away, before expressing fear that they're dead.
  • It's All About Me: Kuvira asks that people pledge their loyalty to her. Whenever someone displeases her, she always talks about them not serving her as well. She almost never mentions service to the Earth Empire. Her confrontation with Zhu Li over the letter's betrayal in "Operation Beifong" displays this perfectly.
    Kuvira: You pledged your loyalty to me and I gave you a chance at greatness. This is how you repay me?!
  • Jerkass: Especially when things start going her way. When not trying to maintain her public image, Kuvira is smug, condescending, haughty, self-righteous, controlling, and manipulative. And as the season progresses and her plans come to fruition, she doesn't even bother trying to hide it.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: There's been a lot of moments, without a doubt, but when Kuvira decides to kill Baatar Jr. because she thinks Korra will also die in the attack, she knows she's jumped off.
  • Just Think of the Potential: How she feels about weaponizing the spirit vines.
  • Just Toying with Them: Pretty much sums up her "fight" with Korra. She clearly sees Korra as no threat to her and throughout the battle, she constantly taunts and mocks Korra with an arrogant smile on her face, goading her into using into the Avatar State. It nearly bites her in the ass when Korra actually does. She only won due to Korra seeing a vision of Dark Korra.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Has a habit of making people do this, just to rub her triumph in their faces. She forced the Governor of Yai to pledge his loyalty to her after making him sign an unfair contract that rendered him a mere figurehead. And she later makes the whole of Zaofu bow to her. Par for the course for East Asian cultures when in the presence of an Emperor.
  • Knight of Cerebus: A notable aversion of the concept, given the previous antagonists had this status. She's just as much a threat as previous villains, but Book 4 on its own is rather serious, so unlike them she's actually pretty consistent with the tone, only making things somewhat darker than they are normally with her onscreen appearances.
  • Knight Templar: Seeks to enforce order in the Earth Kingdom for the sake of the people. She achieves this by bullying the state leaders into pledging loyalty to her and locking dissenters in prison camps.
  • Lady of War: An extremely composed fighter with a very refined bending style, using graceful and agile motions to shoot metal strips from her armor with great precision to blind opponents or bind their limbs to toss them around. During her fight with Korra she dodges all her attacks until she goes into the Avatar State while maintaining an air of dignity.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: During Book Four, Kuvira originally called Korra obsolete, and she attempts to murder Korra after knocking her unconscious during their first fight. During their second fight, after Korra has fully recovered, Korra proves to be more than a match for Kuvira even without using the Avatar State. After being saved by Korra, she wakes up in Korra's arms knowing that Korra could have easily killed her. Eventually Korra gets Kuvira to surrender, and Kuvira admits that Korra is much stronger than her.
  • Leitmotif: Usually accompanied by a militaristic drum beat, fitting her conqueror motif.
  • Leonine Contract: She gives "generous offers" of military protection to territories in exchange for control over their resources. The large amount of bandits running around and the lack of any cohesive force other than her own to stop them ensures that this lopsided deal is the only offer available.
  • Like a Daughter to Me: Suyin expresses this sentiment between herself and Kuvira.
  • Long-Range Fighter: Serving as a foil to Korra, who gets up close and personal with her opponents, Kuvira prefers to keep her distance and use the metal strips of her uniform and her earthbending to trip opponents up. She can still handle herself up close, though, dodging attacks then using her metal strips to throw opponents back.
  • Manipulative Bitch: To Bolin. Everyone clearly sees that she is an ambitious, power-hungry conqueror, but Bolin believes her to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist and Kuvira is taking full advantage of his idealism to keep him on her side. This is most prominently shown near the end of "The Coronation" where she tells Bolin that she wishes to avoid conflict, then cryptically reveals to Suyin that she's going after Zaofu afterwards. Eventually, Bolin sees through the ruse and attempts to defect, but fails.
  • Mauve Shirt: She gets a few short speaking roles in the Zaofu section of Book 3, then a few more lines in the finale, and ends up being the Big Bad of Book 4.
  • Meaningful Name: Kuvira means "courageous woman." While her agenda may be up for debate; she certainly doesn't shy away from danger, so it fits to a T.
  • Might Makes Right: Kuvira believes that only those with power and the will to wield it are fit to lead, and she truly feels she has both of those. At various points, she feels Korra and Suyin lack the conviction to do what is necessary, as in without regard to what is morally correct.
  • Moment Killer: In "After All These Years", Varrick, Bolin, Bataar, and Zhu Li are ready to celebrate the fact that the Earth Kingdom is almost reunited. When offered tea, Kuvira turns it down, saying she won't celebrate until the Earth Kingdom is completely united... at which point everyone puts down their cups of tea.
  • A Mother to Her Men: She does care about her soldiers, stating that she wouldn't put them through things she wouldn't go through herself. Which is why she makes it a point to fight Korra one-on-one. Whether it's genuine or just playing to the crowd is up for interpretation. In return it seems her soldiers love her and aren't coerced to serve like Suyin claims. Two Mooks Ikki meets complain they'll miss the big party that they expect when Zaofu is annexed, and some less comical soldiers try to threaten the Avatar to see Kuvira safe.
  • Mugging the Monster: A group of bandits attacked her train in the first episode. Kuvira quickly teaches them why that was a big mistake.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In "The Last Stand", after being saved by Korra, witnessing her power and listening to her lecture, she realizes the error of her ways and surrenders herself to the Beifongs' custody.
  • Nerves of Steel: Pun aside, but nothing seems to scare or even faze Kuvira and any situation she finds herself in is handled calmly and efficiently. When confronted by a group of 20 bandits, she curb stomps them all. When Korra refused to let her take Zaofu, she challenged her to a one-on-one duel. Even being confronted by Toph Beifong, the greatest Earthbender in the world doesn't even so much as make her bat an eyelash.
  • Never My Fault: Subverted. She initially blames Korra's refusal to surrender for the damages she caused in Republic City but after listening to Korra's Not So Different speech and coming to terms of her own issues, Kuvira surrenders herself to the Beifongs and says she would accept any punishment deemed necessary by the world, even apologizing to Suyin for what she has done.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Kuvira's life rather closely resembles that of Napoléon Bonaparte, in that she is a brilliant military leader who rises to power during a chaotic revolutionary movement for the ostensible reason of restoring order. Like Napoleon, she then seizes absolute power and crowns herself Emperor of a newly militaristic and expansionist empire that answers to her alone. Finally, again like her historical counterpart, Kuvira's megalomania gradually grows to dangerous proportions.
    • An autocratic general in Fantasy Counterpart Culture early 20th century China with a nationalist/irredentist program, a flair for Putting Onthe Reich, from humble beginnings but plans on marrying into money, mentored by/related by (intended) marriage to a peaceful democrat but herself turns into a militaristic authoritarian, unites the country by conquering or manipulating (other) warlords...Very easy to see her as Chiang Kai-shek.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: Appears to have adopted this mindset after her fight with Korra. In "Kuvira's Gambit", upon seeing Team Avatar while piloting the Colossus, she immediately fires on them with the cannon. And during their second fight, she doesn't taunt Korra at any point and focuses solely on the fight.
  • Not So Different:
    • Bolin believes that, like Korra, Kuvira comes across as harsh and aggressive but is ultimately a decent person who's doing good in the world. Kuvira herself even tells Korra that they are similar in how they are often forced into making hard decisions that are often criticized by others. As with Zaheer, Korra concedes that she has a point, but feels she's going too far. Eventually, in the end, both Kuvira and Korra acknowledge that excluding Parental Abandonment, they are more similar than they realize.
    • Ironically, reveals herself as this to the Earth Queen. While Kuvira is a Villain with Good Publicity to the Earth Queen's 0% Approval Rating, Kuvira, too, conscripts citizens into her army, is very aggressive and hostile to enemies that challenge her, sends disidents to internment camps, and is plannined to invade the United Republic and take its lands back for the Earth Kingdom/Empire. This ends up being a plot point when Korra talks to Zaheer about Kuvira: overthrowing the Earth Queen just allowed someone even worse to take her place.
  • Not So Stoic:
    • Has several instances of this in "Kuvira's Gambit". She has a rare moment of affection with Baatar Jr. early in the episode. Later on, she tells Baatar Jr. she loves him and can't bear to look when she decides to open fire on Asami's warehouse, knowing it may very well do in her future husband. More generally, she's abandoned any pretense of being benevolent now that she has her superweapon.
    • And it continues into the series finale. Kuvira gradually loses her cool as Team Avatar and friends unravel her plans and is terrified with she loses control of the spirit gun in a final attempt to kill Korra. Later she breaks down crying when she starts mentioning how she had been rejected by even her parents as an orphan and didn't want to see her country receive the same treatment.
  • Number Two: Seems to take this role after Aiwei's betrayal. She left this role between Books 3 and 4 to restore/take over the Earth Kingdom.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: She doesn't force anyone into joining her, but she can't be blamed if they're in a hopeless situation and hardly have a better option...
  • One-Woman Army: Utterly curb-stomps an entire gang of earthbender bandits on her own without breaking a sweat.
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: Used to be one of Suyin's finest apprentices, for whom she had high hopes. When she left, many left with her.
  • Parental Abandonment: Her parents abandoned her at a young age, leaving her to be raised in Zaofu.
  • The Perfectionist: Going hand-in-hand with her Control Freak nature, Kuvira strives to do her best at everything and constantly attempts to ensure that nothing can go wrong. When something goes wrong or she is confronted the prospect of failure, Kuvira starts to lose it.
  • Perpetual Frowner: When not doing a Psychotic Smirk, her expression is usually one of contempt.
  • Pet the Dog: Subverted in the worst way possible; she goes state after state, town after town, and gives inhabitants everything they need—food, supplies and protection—in exchange for resources to support her army. As long as they stick to the deal, they're generally shown to be happy with it, as the Airbabies visiting a town talk to people going about their normal lives with banners praising her stuck up on the walls. However, towns which don't perform to her expectations end up in "re-education camps". Even those who accepted her protection eventually end up in slave labor to maintain her armies, but it comes to show people will pay any price in exchange for their safety, even their own freedom.
  • Post-Final Boss: Despite being the Big Bad and the true final villain of the series, the official final physical threats the heroes have to dispose of are the Colossus and the Spirit Vine Cannon. After these two threats are destroyed the final 'fight' between Kuvira and Korra is Korra calmly convincing her to stand down and surrender herself for punishment by emphasizing how similar the two of them are to each other.
  • Power Hair: For a soldier, keeping her hair out of her face is just practical. Notably, though the same length, it was a bit less neat in Book 3, before her Face–Heel Turn.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: As a Villain with Good Publicity, Kuvira is driven solely by what benefits her alone and always takes the path that lets her achieve her goals without losing that status, which is why she makes a point to use diplomacy over military force to maintain her public image. Though she will default to force if all other options are exhausted, she makes sure she has a plausible excuse on hand to save face. Also, while she does engage in petty acts of cruelty from time to time, she has the foresight to make sure that they don't interfere with her long term goals and that she can get away with it with no repercussions. However, now that her superweapon is complete, she forgoes all pretense of benevolence.
  • Prim and Proper Bun: She wears her hair like this as the leader of the Earth Empire, befitting her regal and no-nonsense personality.
  • Psychic Strangle: A variant. She lifts Varrick up by metalbending his shoulderpads against his neck and threatens to drop him on the train tracks. Also, part of her fighting style is to fire off a metal strip from her uniform to restrain opponents and then use her metalbending to toss them around like a rag doll.
  • Psychopathic Womanchild: A more tragic example. The season finale eventually reveals that she struggles with deep Parental Abandonment issues and projected said issues onto the Earth Kingdom, thus resulting in her zealous desire to see it restored.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Tends to wear these when something goes her way and gives a subtle, yet particularly creepy one to Prince Wu in "The Coronation".
    Kuvira: There is something you should know about me. I always get what I want.
  • A Pupil of Mine, Until He Turned to Evil: Formerly an apprentice of Suyin that she saw as a daughter of hers, the two disagreed when it came to re-establishing order to the Earth Kingdom after the events of Book 3, culminating in Kuvira taking her son, Varrick, Zaofu's security force as well as it's wealthiest citizens with her, severing their bond.
  • Red Baron: The Great Uniter.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Delivers one to Suyin after her failed attempt to assassinate her:
    Kuvira: I knew you would try a sneak attack. You were afraid to step up and lead the Earth Kingdom when you had the chance; you were afraid to join me when I became leader; and now, you are afraid of a fair fight. You have always been a coward.
  • Sadistic Choice:
    • Her method of "rehabilitating" the bandits who attacked her train. Either they join her army and receive a second chance, or she leaves them tied to the railway for the next train to run over them.
      Kuvira: Hopefully, someone saves you before the next train speeds through, but I wouldn't count on it.
    • She finds herself on the receiving end of one in "Kuvira's Gambit". Korra and the gang kidnap Baatar and present an ultimatum to her: leave Republic City in peace or she would never see Baatar Jr. again. Kuvira decides to Take a Third Option and open fire on the factory with Baatar Jr. in it.
  • Save the Villain: Twice. Korra drags Kuvira from the wreckage of the Colossus, which is rewarded with a rock to the face, and later saves her from the out-of-control spirit vine cannon. Kuvira surrenders after that one.
  • Shadow Archetype: Kuvira was designed to be Korra's Shadow Archetype. The two are very similar in physical build, are both phenomenal benders, have both been tasked with restoring order/balance to the world, and are unafraid to get their hands dirty to accomplish that. It's even lampshaded a few times in-universe that they're Not So Different. Kuvira represents what Korra (pre-Character Development) could've become had she not learn that there are different ways to handle situations besides violence and control.
  • Shapeshifter Weapon: She can metalbend her armbands into whatever weapon she desires, such as a sword, makeshift knives, or a whip.
  • She Is the King: Mako calls her "Emperor" rather than "Empress" after she seizes power.
  • Shipper on Deck: Refers to Bolin and Opal as her "favorite couple". However, when Bolin begins questioning her willingness to wage war on Zaofu, Kuvira intimidates him by asking him whether or not he's more loyal to Opal than her.
  • Shoot the Dog: How she views all the "tough decisions" she's had to make during the formation and expansion of the Empire. Deconstructed, as they get her corrupted.
  • Shoot the Hostage: When Baatar Jr. is captured by Korra and her friends, she fires on his position to take Korra out, though not without a great deal of regret.
  • Shoulders of Doom: Wears large metal pauldrons on her uniform.
  • Slipknot Ponytail: Whenever things start to go south for her, or she's in a fight, her naturally long hair will start to shake loose.
  • Smug Smiler: When not being The Stoic, she is this instead. Whenever something goes her way, expect to see a cocky smile on her face.
  • The Smurfette Principle: She's the first female in the Avatar-verse to become a main antagonist.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: The series finale eventually reveals that underneath the mask of the domineering, tyrannical, Control Freak is a girl with some serious Parental Abandonment issues who just didn't want her nation to suffer the same abandonment she did.
  • Start of Darkness: As seen in "Enemy at the Gates".
  • Stealth Pun: She's an Iron Lady in the most literal way possible.
  • The Stoic: In Book 3, Kuvira was warm and friendly. In Book 4, she's changed. Her voice is more level, she's terse, and barely smiles, even when telling Opal that she is engaged.
  • Take a Third Option: In "Kuvira's Gambit", when Korra forces her into a Sadistic Choice by kidnapping Baatar Jr. and threatening to never let him see her again, her response is to Shoot the Hostage.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: After the two end up in the Spirit World, Korra ends up convincing Kuvira to stand down.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Kuvira goes from the kindly Zaofu guard in Book 3 to the tyrannical, controlling Big Bad of Book 4.
  • Totalitarian Utilitarian: Kuvira strongly believes that the rule of Earth Kings and Queens has failed the Earth Kingdom, and feels that progress and strong law and order are needed to keep people safe. Kuvira uses the example of how the Earth Monarchs have neglected the people, and says that they need a leader who will stand by them. As a result, she feels the means to their prosperity is security, discipline, and iron-fisted leadership.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: The Earth Queen's demise gave Kuvira the opportunity to restore the Earth Kingdom to normal. However, three years of Jumping Off the Slippery Slope have turned her into a worse tyrant than the Earth Queen ever was.
  • Undying Loyalty: She expects and inspires this in her soldiers. Best shown during her fight with Korra, where they actually cheer her on. Horrifyingly averted for herself, as Baatar Jr. learns the hard way.
  • The Unfettered: Much like the previous villains, Kuvira never shows any hesitation or regret in her actions, goes to increasingly ruthless methods to achieve her goals, and will sacrifice anyone she needs to in order to see her goals achieved. And as Baatar Jr. learns the hard way, he's no exception to this rule.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: When Korra pulls her from the wreckage of the Colossus, Kuvira's response is to throw a rock at her face and tries to kill her. The second time Korra saves her, she's considerably more grateful, though rather bewildered. Suyin also feels Kuvira has been ungrateful towards her by repaying her with betrayal after all Suyin had done to give her a chance at life.
  • Unholy Matrimony: She is engaged to Baatar Jr. Although she prioritizes conquest over his own life, and was willing to shoot him down once he asks her to leave Republic City.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Kuvira's rampant harvesting of the spirit vines of Foggy Swamp causes the spirit vines in Republic City to go berserk and trap people in the Spirit World. Later, her last-ditch attempt to kill Korra with the cannon accidentally taps into the energy of the Spirit Wilds, which would have destroyed the city had Korra not used the energy to open another spirit portal.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: An older example; In Book 3, she was a kind, heroic person who even rescued Tonraq from Zaheer and left Zaofu with the legitimate intent of restoring the Earth Kingdom. Three years later, come Book 4, she's a ruthless, power-hungry dictator attempting to conquer the Earth Kingdom for herself.
  • The Usurper: Deems Prince Wu unfit to lead the Earth Kingdom and thus takes power from him, renaming it the Earth Empire.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Wants to unite the former Earth Kingdom into one Earth Empire in order to prevent pointless conflict, war and instability, so that anyone in the Empire will no longer feel vulnerable.
  • Villain Ball: Though Kuvira is a master strategist, she has the unfortunate tendency to grab the Villain Ball at the most inopportune times.
    • In "Enemy At The Gates", when Bolin questions the use of military to take the city of Zaofu, instead of coming up with a logical reason for such measures, she loses her temper and devolves into her Control Freak persona, threatening to send him to a re-education camp for questioning her authority. Naturally, this causes Bolin to lose faith in her and defect from her army.
    • Her fight with Korra in "The Battle of Zaofu" has a few examples. For one thing, challenging Korra to a one-on-one fight served no purpose save for theatrics in front of her army, as she already has her pretext for war. Fortunately for her, Korra had been out of practice and Dark Korra had affected her severely. Were either of these things not the case, Kuvira would probably have very publicly lost and given up all claim to Zaofu. Also, toying with Korra and goading her into the Avatar State was very close to her undoing. Kuvira has seen how devastating the Avatar State is but didn't try to stop it.
    • In Kuvira's Gambit, Kuvira manages to triangulate Bataar Jr's. position when he's captured by Team Avatar. But instead of discreetly ordering her troops to storm the warehouse and rescue him, she opens fire on the warehouse with the Colossus's cannon. Predictably, this backfires spectacularly as not only does Team Avatar survive the attack, but Bataar Jr ultimately turns on Kuvira and helps Team Avatar take her down.
  • Villain Has a Point:
    • She rightly points out how unfit Prince Wu is to be king and thus usurps power from him, while also noting that any foreign-installed leader would be a mere puppet beholden to their interests. Even more befitting is that Wu himself admits that he's going to leave the running of the Earth Kingdom to the advisers sent by the other nations while he enjoys the high life. Ironically, Wu eventually decides to dissolve the monarchy and let the various Earth Kingdom states govern themselves. Plus, the fact that Wu has been put a lot of effort into this defied a lot of Kuvira's expectations.
    • As she quite often points out, Suyin refused to do anything to aid the Earth Kingdom during its descent into chaos, despite having wealth and a powerful fighting force at her command. Of course, Suyin asserts the complexity of the situation: there's a fine line between forcing change on others and protecting people. That is to say, Suyin ignored even more obvious issues in the matter, such as giving people supplies, which reinforces Kuvira's point.
  • Villainous Breakdown: In the series finale, as the Colossus is infiltrated, Kuvira slowly loses her cool and becomes increasingly frantic in her attempts to kill Korra. She's noticeably less composed than usual during their fight in the control room, which goes poorly for her as a result. It comes to a head when she tries to use the detached spirit vine cannon against Korra, nearly destroying the entire city in the process. Unlike a previous female villain in the franchise, the final stage of her breakdown is much more sanity-preserving and graceful.
  • Villainous Valor: If you're willing to take on a fully-realized Avatar by yourself, you have to have this.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Despite being treated like a conqueror in the lands she's attempting to annex, she enjoys some popular support for her actions and has gathered quite the range of allies. She gained everyone's respect after doing work in Ba Sing Se, but apart from Suyin, Mako never trusted her from the start. In doing so, she displaces other heroes like the Avatar or the Air Nation, believing they are too weak to protect the people of the Earth Kingdom. People in Republic City hero-worship her and stand in line so she'll sign autographs. She got a standing ovation when she declared herself the new ruler of the Earth Empire at Wu's coronation, when Wu barely elicited a half-hearted cheer from one person. She ended up losing this status later on, but it didn't matter to her, because she was still one step ahead of everyone.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: While her methods are domineering, she really seems to believe that her cause will truly unite the shattered Earth Kingdom.
  • Whip It Good: Though her preferred metalbending tactic is a Flechette Storm, she materializes whips during her battles with Su and a fully recovered Korra.
  • With Us or Against Us: There are two choices with her: Submit to her rule and pledge your absolute obedience to her or be sent to a re-education camp.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The series finale reveals her to be this. She truly wanted to help restore the shattered Earth Kingdom, but three years of Jumping Off the Slippery Slope made her into an even worse tyrant than the Earth Queen. Once Korra utterly trounces her, saves her from her own awry super-weapon, and then simultaneously dresses her down and empathizes with her, she surrenders.
  • Would Hurt a Child: During the fight against the Colossus she swats at Meelo when he's on the windshield, and aims for both him and Jinora with her cannon as they're flying around it. This is coming from one who was abandoned and left vulnerable as a child by her own parents.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Is threatened with this by Suyin when she leaves Zaofu to reunite the Earth Kingdom. Kuvira replies that she will return on her own terms, which she eventually does.
  • You Killed My Father: Ultimately responsible for the death of Hiroshi Sato, Asami's father. While Asami was devastated by her father's death, it's subverted in that she doesn't confront Kuvira over it.
  • You Monster!: Called this by Zhu Li.
    Zhu Li: You're a monster! I regret nothing!

    Baatar Jr. 

Baatar Jr.

Voiced by: Todd Haberkorn
"Zaofu stopped being my home long ago. I'm ready to take it by force."

Suyin's eldest son and Kuvira's fiancé.

  • Antagonistic Offspring: He becomes this to his parents in "Enemy at the Gates". Fully veers into this territory in "Battle of Zaofu" when he has his father and Huan arrested for refusing to bow down to Kuvira.
  • Anti-Villain: Like his lover, he works for what he believes is right, while still clearly being wrong. There is also his Friendly Enemy- type relationship with Opal. However, after Kuvira nearly kills him while trying to blow up the Avatar he redeems himself, providing vital information to the Krew on how to disable the Colossus.
  • Ascended Extra: In Book 3, he only had one cameo. Come Book 4, Baatar Jr. has more lines and screen time.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: He's Kuvira's second in-command. After discovering that Varrick, Zhu Li, and Bolin deserted the troop, he goes after them with mini mechas and utilizes them with great ability, even taking out Bolin first thing.
  • Badass Normal: Doesn't appear to be a bender, but can pilot a mecha tank fairly well.
  • Beard of Evil: A tiny little one, but he's all evil.
  • Berserk Button: When Baatar Jr. furiously orders his father to submit to Kuvira, his father's calm response of "I am so disappointed in you" clearly rubbed some salt in some old wounds.
  • The Berserker: A mild case — he's not flying off the handle in his fight with Bolin, Varrick, and Zhu Li, but he's evidently pissed as he rushes them down.
  • Big "NO!": Let's one out in "Kuvira's Gambit", when he realizes Kuvira is perfectly willing to sacrifice him for the sake of conquest.
  • Black Sheep: Is seen as this by his family for joining up with Kuvira's army.
  • Broken Pedestal: His family sees him as this and he sees Kuvira as one after picking the empire over him, and firing the spirit weapon at his location didn't help as well.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: He actually appears in "The Metal Clan" with the rest of the family, but has no lines, gets no special introduction like Huan with his art or the twins playing their sport as his father gets more focus instead to the extent that not even his name is said to instead be referred to as "my oldest, who engineers his father's designs" by Su then in almost a meta case of From Nobody to Nightmare, the fourth season properly introduces him as Kuvira's right-hand with a Freudian chip on his shoulder to be his own man instead of an extension of/in the shadow of his identical father.
  • Co-Dragons: He and Varrick were Kuvira's top Inner Circle members upon their formation. However, they hardly got along.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: A mother variant. He's engaged to Kuvira, whom Suyin doesn't like. However, Su and Kuvira were previously on very good terms—before she became the "Great Uniter", Su probably would have been very pleased with her son's choice.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Of Generation Xerox. He debuted in "The Metal Clan" just like the rest of his immediate family (and fiancé,) but whereas his siblings have Meaningful Names and Character Establishing Moments not only is he introduced simply as a Satellite Character to his father, only referred to as "my oldest" by Su-Yin, but he doesn't even talk as he's AWOL to the fight between Lin and Su in "Old Wounds" despite everyone else in the family being there and generally seems the absolute least like Toph overall. Turns out, he's had a chip on his shoulder all along exactly because he's seen as a mere clone of his father and being with Kuvira lets him be his own man. He's practically a background extra raging against the author for being so unremarkable.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": A milder case; after joining Kuvira, he asks his mother to call him just Baatar rather than Baatar Jr.
  • The Dragon: Kuvira's Number Two and most loyal enforcer.
  • Easily Forgiven: By Suyin in the finale, though not by the rest of his family. Suyin says the others will likely come to forgive him in time, but it's clear he has a long road ahead in earning it.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: He does not handle Kuvira attempting to blow up a building with him in it just so she can kill Korra very well.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Though he has no problem locking up his family, he reacts with clear horror when he spots Opal on the test range for the spirit vine cannon. He got lucky thanks to the rest of the family knocking the weapon off target at the last second, and at least it gave Kuvira satisfying results.
    • He's also in a relationship with Kuvira, who he loves to the point that Korra's threat to take him with her everywhere she flees from Kuvira to in order to deprive him of their union is what breaks him. Too bad it doesn't break her.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: As mentioned above, while he's not above humiliating and imprisoning his family, he draws the line at killing them, given his reaction to Opal being in the way of the test firing of the spirit cannon.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Asami. Both are Badass Normal Gadgeteer Geniuses from families rich/influential enough to have surnames, seek to not simply be the "Jr." of their famous parents, are/have been in a relationship with someone their parents dislike, are of Earth Kingdom descent that are identical to a parent of the same gender while strongly rebel against the other parent despite pleas to join them to instead loyally support a powerful female bender that said parent falsely believes brainwashed them and both reconcile with the parent at the end. This dynamic is further evident that Bataar Jr. and Kuvira began the fourth season engaged, which surprised those who heard it and is definitely over by the same season's end while Korra and Asami's relationship officially starts at the end of the season with those who hear it in the comics also being surprised.
  • The Evil Genius: While Kuvira handles the military aspects of reuniting the Earth Kingdom, Baatar's ideas are the basis for what the Earth Kingdom will become afterwards. Shared the role with Varrick, then took over as the chief scientist after Varrick's betrayal.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Is seen to have embraced Kuvira's methods to the point that he is the one that suggests taking Zaofu by force as a first response, and Kuvira has to talk him down.
  • Freudian Excuse: His resentment towards his parents comes from what he perceives as being forced into obscurity and being denied his own identity. Considering how his father got more focus, personally and literally in terms of camera-work, in "The Metal Clan", this is practically Leaning on the Fourth Wall.
  • Friendly Enemy: To Opal. While they are on opposing sides on what to do with the conflict in the Earth Kingdom, he is nothing but friendly to her, and bears her no ill will at all. He's disappointed in his mother, but doesn't hate her either, though he does take some smug pleasure in rubbing her nose in his support of Kuvira. The friendly facade, however, crumbles when they come to take Zaofu. Even so, he is horrified to see Opal in the range of the spirit cannon and immediately tries to shut it down.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Wears a pair of glasses, and is extremely ruthless. He even replaces his rounded glasses in season 3 for a more angular pair.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: He builds the things his father designs, so he's implicitly this.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Non-lethal variant. Following Kuvira's betrayal, Bataar Jr fully expects this treatment from everyone in his family. However, his mother, Su, assures him they will eventually forgive him.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After Kuvira nearly kills him trying to blow up the Avatar he defects, providing vital information to the Krew on how to disable the Colossus.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Kuvira blows up the building he's being held captive in with the spirit cannon he built for her.
  • I Have No Son!: Inverted to I Have No Family, since he considers Kuvira as family now. Until Kuvira fired the spirit cannon at his direction.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Despite his attitude towards Varrick and clearly malicious intents with the spirit vine technology, he is right about the fact that once a scientific discovery is made people will try to find as many uses for it as they can.
  • Karma Houdini: Despite being entirely complicit in all of Kuvira's crimes from the very beginning, he is basically immediately forgiven once Kuvira tries to blow up the building he was in in an attempt to kill Korra, and it's not suggested that he will have to answer for any of it. If anything, the worst punishment he ever gets is being captured by Team Avatar and facing everyone he's ever harmed.
  • Lame Comeback:
    Varrick: You wouldn't know if a wolf-bat made a nest in your butt.
    Baatar: You're a fool. Wolfbats don't build nests.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: He genuinely loves Kuvira and joined her cause because she truly believed she was doing the right thing, completely unaware that Kuvira prioritizes conquest above all else. He learns this lesson the hard way in "Kuvira's Gambit".
  • Love Makes You Evil: Falling for Kuvira had him become more antagonistic towards his family and more of a jerk.
  • Mad Scientist: All but admits to be this when talking to Varrick, saying that it's their "duty" as scientists to explore their discoveries to their maximum. Keep in mind, he was taking about a weapon of mass destruction.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: His near death at the hands of Kuvira finally makes him realize the consequences of his actions.
  • No Name Given: He appears in "The Metal Clan" just like the rest of the family yet is only referred to by Su as "my oldest," so it's not until the next season that his actual name is stated.
  • Not Brainwashed: His family believes Kuvira brainwashed him, though Kuvira asserts that she merely helped him move out from under their shadow.
  • Not So Stoic: He's cold, ruthless, and generally keeps his composure in front of others, but it also hides a frustrated and angry individual who wants his own identity, and isn't afraid to lash out when things go bad. For a more comedic case, he expresses legitimate shock and surprise, complete with bug eyes, when he sees that Varrick really did intend to blow himself and Bolin up with the spirit vine weapon. Takes a much darker and tragic turn in "Kuvira's Gambit" when he lets out a Big "NO!" at the realization that Kuvira is perfectly willing to sacrifice him to achieve her goal of conquering Republic City.
  • Number Two: Has a special rank patch designating him Kuvira's second in command.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Apparently this is the cause of his resentment towards his parents — he feels living in Zaofu amounted to being forced to live in his parents' shadows.
  • Redemption Rejection: Suyin makes one last attempt to reason with Baatar Jr. by apologizing to him and letting him know how much he tore their family apart. Baatar Jr. doesn't buy it:
    Suyin: I don't know what I did to hurt you, but whatever it was, I'm sorry. When you left Zaofu, it broke my heart — and our family has never been the same since. Please, Baatar — stop all this and come home. We want you back with us.
    Baatar Jr.: Kuvira is my family now! (Suyin is driven to tears)
    • Sure enough, he finally accepts it by the next episode.
  • The Rival: In the intellectual arena, Varrick has plenty of contempt for him and cannot accept the idea of Bataar being better than him.
  • Sanity Slippage: He starts the season as fairly stoic and composed, but starting with "Enemy at the Gates", his actions and his attitude get gradually more reckless, irrational and angrier. In particular, he seems to really lose his cool when his father and brother refuse to kneel before Kuvira, with his father calmly telling him how disappointed he is.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Baatar Jr. wears square shaped glasses and is a brilliant Gadgeteer Genius like his father.
  • Smug Snake: Smug self-confidence is his default mode. While he's not stupid, he doesn't do as much to earn this attitude as his fiancée, getting rather thoroughly outsmarted by Varrick and completely losing his cool when faced with opposition. To his credit, however, he did manage to build a 25-story tall Humongous Mecha, which even Varrick (reluctantly) admits is pretty impressive.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: He's a younger mirror of his father, right down to the glasses.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: At the outset of the season, he was a Friendly Enemy to Suyin and Opal though he did take smug pleasure in rubbing Kuvira's accomplishments in their faces. By "Enemy at the Gates", his friendly demeanor has completely disappeared and he's much more bitter and resentful. He also shows no qualms with using violence and was ready to take Zaofu by force before Kuvira talked him down. He also showed no hesitation in threatening to crush Varrick's skull if Bolin and Zhu Li didn't surrender.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Kuvira. It's rather noticeable that he's the only member of the inner circle that doesn't jump ship. ...Until he finds himself in the Spirit Cannon's crosshairs when his capture and proximity to Our Heroes makes him expendable in Kuvira's eyes.
  • Unfortunate Name: Like his father, his name sounds like the French for "bastard". Though it turns out to be a lot more appropriate in this case, to the point that the actual meaning (Mongolian for "hero") is an Ironic Name.
  • Unholy Matrimony: He is engaged to Kuvira. Unfortunately for him, Kuvira decided to place a higher priority on the Empire's ambitions rather than keeping their relationship going.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: He is completely absent from the final episode. That he is not with his family at Varrick and Zhu Li's wedding indicates that he possibly was arrested for his part in helping Kuvira, but we never get to actually see this happen.
  • You Have Out Lived Your Usefulness: Is a victim of one by Kuvira.

    The Colossus 

The Colossus

The final result of the research and development of the spirit vine weapon technology and Kuvira's ultimate weapon, the Colossus is a 25 story tall mecha suit with a spirit vine cannon attached to its right arm, with Kuvira herself as the pilot. The machine makes its first appearance in "Kuvira's Gambit", where it is used to bring Republic City under siege.

  • An Arm and a Leg: In a testament to Kuvira's ruthlessness, she doesn't hesitate to rip off the Colossus's cannon arm once the gun becomes inoperable. Partly because it's useless now, and partly because it's a quick and easy way to get rid of the saboteurs, who are still at work inside the arm.
  • Arm Cannon: The spirit cannon is mounted on the arm of the Colossus, with artillery shells housing the spirit vines stored in the chest compartment.
  • Audible Gleam: In the moment before discharging, one can be seen/heard in the spirit ray cannon's muzzle.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Colossus is unstoppable against fortified opponents like bunkers, buildings, ships, and other very slow and/or large targets. But it's only glorified artillery, as when Team Avatar, the Air Nation, Lin, Suyin, Wei, and Wing gang up and attack it from multiple sources, it can only strike glancing blows until Hiroshi's Hummingbird mecha lands to dig in, and becomes stationary.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The Colossus is 25 stories tall, and towers over everything and everyone.
  • Cold Sniper: Kuvira uses the Colossus like this, taking out outposts and warships from great distances.
  • Cranial Processing Unit: It is piloted from the head.
  • Crazy-Prepared: It's prepared for almost any eventuality. There are water jets set up all around the cockpit glass to clear blinding obstructions like paint, it has a platinum shell to stop metalbenders, the cockpit is on a gyro so tipping it doesn't upset the pilots, it uses spirit vines as a power source so it's immune to EMP, and it can reach any point on its body with its hands to swat off attackers and the like.
  • Dark Is Evil: It shoots purple energy beams identical to those of Vaatu, the spirit of darkness. Though, given how bright these can getnote , it also invokes the opposite tropes.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: There's little foreshadowing of its actual existence, and it makes the entire final battle against Kuvira immensely more difficult for the heroes. It was also finished in record time; the cannon was still being tested only a week before the Colossus was deployed.
  • Fantastic Nuke: The destructive potential of weaponized spirit vine energy is displayed in all its terrifying might with the Colossus, both as a irresistible Wave Motion Gun and as a city-leveling explosive.
  • Final Boss: It is the final threat of the series, being the base of operations and primary force of Kuvira's attack on Republic City. Perhaps to emphasize its status as such, the climax of the series only officially ends with the epic destruction of the overloading spirit vine cannon.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Its ultimate fate: blown in half after the overload Mako started in its spirit vine reactor powerplant eventually cooks off.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The Colossus is so massive that its thunderous footsteps precede it long before entering battle, but special consideration has to be given to the Wave Motion Gun mounted on its forearm - the Spirit Cannon's laser emits a LOUD dissonant hum when fired (a Call-Back to its spiritual version used by Vaatu).
  • Humongous Mecha: It is goddamn enormous (around 250 ft according to Korra), matching mountains and potentially even Unavaatu in sheer size. Its size is justified, since it needs to be that big to carry the cannon.
  • The Juggernaut: This thing is unstoppable. It's platinum shell resists nearly all forms of attack, even Bolin's lavabending, having a skyscraper dropped on it only momentarily stuns it. It's saying something that it takes Mako overloading its Spirit Vine core with his lightning and nearly getting his arm burned to finally bring it down.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook: It has a platinum shell to stop metalbenders. Its delicate inner mechanisms, on the other hand...
  • Made of Iron: Mostly platinum, actually. Still, its armor shrugs off basically everything Team Avatar and their allies can throw at it — even dropping a skyscraper on it just knocks it down for a while.
  • Magitek: It is powered by a massive bundle of spirit vines.
    • Additionally, Kuvira interacts with the control system through metalbending, meaning it's a mech powered by and operated through supernatural means.
  • Motion Capture Mecha: Played with. Kuvira can use the Unusual User Interface to make it roughly copy her movements, though it's not done perfectly.
  • Purple Is Powerful: The spirit ray and energized spirit vine core glow an unnatural pinkish-purple hue.
  • Outside-Context Problem: No one in-universe had expected Kuvira to have this, and out of universe, there was only some slight and subtle Foreshadowing as noted above.
  • Sigil Spam: The Earth Empire symbol is on its face, doubling as a crosshair for the cannon.
  • Sword of Damocles: The Colossus practically packs enough power to blow a large hole in a mountain, such that the threat of having an entire army wiped out by such a weapon is enough to get enemies to surrender and cooperate.
  • Unusual User Interface: Though the Colossus can be piloted by conventional controls, Kuvira can also control it more precisely through a series of trackballs mounted in the cockpit. By metalbending the balls, the mecha roughly follows Kuvira's movements.
  • Wave Motion Gun: A spirit vine cannon is mounted on its arm, and is its primary form of attack.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: This thing is arguably comparable to the Avatar in terms of raw destructive potential, which makes sense as it's meant to be the Avatar universe equivalent to the atomic bomb. It breaks something just about any time it's shown on screen, and a quick obliteration of the United Forces navy is enough to convince Raiko to surrender. With this weapon, Kuvira can very much carry the big stick over other nations without having to conquer them.
    Korra: The world isn't safe as long as she has that weapon!


    Dark Avatar Korra 

Dark Avatar Korra

A manifestation of Korra in the Avatar State from her fight with Zaheer, which appears to Korra and tries to attack her.

  • Ambiguously Evil: It's not clear exactly why Korra is being harassed by her other self, who does nothing but stalk and/or attack her. There's certainly more to her than mere trauma, though.
  • Chained by Fashion: On account of being a reflection of Korra during her fight with Zaheer. She has manacles on all four limbs with a chain attached to the one on the right arm.
  • Chain Pain: She uses a chain to fight, just as Korra did against Zaheer.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Her sudden apparition while Korra was beating Kuvira reverses the situation.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Since Korra was barefoot during her fight with Zaheer, this Korra is barefoot as well.
  • Enemy Without: If she really is more than a hallucination. It still isn't clear whether she is or not.
  • Flash Step: When the apparition has at Korra, she dodges her attacks with this often.
  • Implacable Man: Being at best ambiguously real, Dark Avatar Korra can't be stopped by normal means. Korra can't ever land a hit, and Dark Avatar Korra follows her relentlessly. Makes sense, it's not a real being, but a reflection of Korra's self doubt following her encounter with the Red Lotus.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Since she's constantly in the Avatar State, her eyes have this effect.
  • I'm Not Afraid of You: Subverted. When Korra confronts her, Dark Avatar Korra only gets more aggressive for it. When Korra tries to declare her other self as not real, this causes Dark Avatar Korra to attack more ferociously than she ever has before. Presumably despite the words, Korra doesn't believe it herself and not truthfully confronting the doubt within her. By refusing to acknowledge this, the Dark Avatar responds in kind by lashing out at her.
  • Left Hanging: By the time the finale ends, there's no explanation for what she was or why she appeared to torment Korra, though it's assumed she was just a manifestation of Korra's lack of self confidence that she needed to overcome. When Kuvira puts her end game into play, Korra removes all doubt in her mind and keeps her focus. After Kuvira is defeated, Korra sees a brief overlay of the Dark Avatar over Kuvira in the spirit world. Implying and possibly symbolizing that 1) Korra's finally gotten over her self doubt and 2) Kuvira, in a way, was the "Dark Avatar" she needed to fight and that the two were Not So Different.
  • Light Is Not Good: Unlike the Dark Spirits (including the Dark Avatar himself), her eyes glow with the same white light as the normal Avatar State and Raava.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Korra's spirit friend is seemingly able to see her, and she leads Korra to an earthbending fight club Korra couldn't have known about. Korra also reacts when attacked by the hallucination in one scene, even being sent flying by some of its attacks. However, this scene takes place in the hallucination-inducing Swamp and includes some things that are clearly not meant to be actually happening (such as Korra being dragged by her doppelganger into a large pool of mercury which appears out of nowhere), which calls into question how much, if any, of it was real.
  • Primal Stance: Combined with flash-stepping, this clearly cements Dark Avatar Korra as unnerving.
  • Silent Antagonist: While stalking Korra throughout the entire season, she never says a single word.
  • Spanner in the Works: Even after Korra recovers from her poisoning, the Dark Avatar still shows up to stop her from defeating Kuvira with the Avatar State. Turns out it's not the manifestation of the poison but Korra's lack of self confidence. The Dark Avatar showing up during the fight shows she had yet to overcome this.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Most benders use acrobatic dodges and graceful attacks. Dark Avatar Korra lashes out wildly with the elements and her chain, and does not merely dodge but Flash Steps away from anything thrown at her.
  • Wild Hair: Since Korra's hair was down when she fought Zaheer for the last time, the Dark Avatar's is too, which emphasizes her brutal image.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Legend Of Korra Enemies Seasons 34


Airbending Demonstration and Duel

Tenzin and his kids demonstrate airbending for Avatar Korra / A duel between Tenzin and Zaheer

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / BlowYouAway

Media sources:

Main / BlowYouAway