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Headscratchers / Avatar: The Last Airbender - Posthumous Characters

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  • Why did Fire Lord Sozin attack the Air Nomads immediately after Roku's death? At this point the next Avatar would have already been born into the Air Nomads, meaning the fire nation could kill him and send him straight into the Water Tribe. By attacking the Water Tribe right away he would have ensured that the Avatar couldn't master all four element due to lack of a waterbending teacher, and by the time the Avatar died there would be no Water Tribe to be born into.
    • He didn't attack right away. (Note that Aang was 12 years old when the attack came.) He needed the comet's power to land a decisive blow. Aang's teacher must have killed dozens of comet-enhanced benders before they took him down. In a fair fight, it's doubtful they ever would have won. Also, the comet only lasts a day. He couldn't wage a war on both poles at once. The waterbenders would also have a decent chance of weathering the assault, probably more so than the airbenders at any rate given the comparatively smaller army the Fire Nation must have had and the easily defensible areas they lived in, not to mention their power being better for attack. The Air Nomads were probably clustered mainly at the Southern Temple, which made the attack much easier, since the remainder could be wiped out with ease. It would also be far more difficult to beat their firebending.
      • Roku said Sozin chose his first target to be the Air Nomads and did so because that was where the Avatar would be born next. As to why not the Water Tribe, it's possible there was also a full moon during Sozin's Comet. But mainly I think an Avatar which knows just 3 elements is still a threat and it's better to delay a new one for a few more years. Chances are the plan was to take all Air Nomad children captive and kill them if they were deemed to not be the Avatar (they probably had methods of finding out) and then imprison the real one if found.
      • Something that might clear this up better is that according to The Other Wiki, Sozin didn't know right away where the air nomad temples were. He had to talk another air nomad into betraying them and telling him the location of the temples. It took him 12 years because he needed to find a Benedict Arnold. Here's the link.
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    • The trading card game is not canon.
    • It should also be noted that there's only so much Fire Nation army to go around. Attacking 4 air temples in 4 disparate locations simultaneously is hard enough. Adding the whole of the Southern and Northern Water Tribes to that is even worse. And let's not forget that attacking an organized Water Tribe like that in the north is pretty much suicide. They're standing on top of their element, which is very flexible and is the antithesis of yours. Every night, they get stronger while you get weaker. And once a month, they all become ultra-badass. Also, you'd damn well better kill every one of them in an engagement, because they have plenty of healers who can bring people back from the brink of death in a couple of days. Destroying the moon (or Sozin's comet) really was the only way to break them.
      • It's possible that Sozin was aware that killing the Avatar while in the Avatar State would break the line (the Fire Sages probably knew it, and they were under the Fire Lord's thumb by then), and was hoping that attacking the Air Nomads would trigger the State in Aang, who would still be no match for an army of comet-enhanced Firebenders. It's worth noting that Sozin was absolutely sure that he missed the Avatar, meaning he probably expected some distinguishing factor.
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    • This bugged me too and the only explanation I can think of is that he was planning on attacking the waterbenders after his armies had time to recuperate. They did start picking off the Southern Tribe's waterbenders eventually, although this apparently took them a few decades to do (note that you can see Kanna in Hama's flashbacks, so it had to be at least 40ish years after the Air Nomad massacre). There's also the possibility that because nobody could find Aang for 100 years, and there was no new avatar born yet, that they thought the Avatar has skipped the Water Tribes for some reason, although that would be a horribly flimsy Hand Wave.
  • When Roku died, Sozin realised his plans of global war were possible. About a month after Roku died, Aang was born. Twelve years later, the monks told Aang he was the Avatar because they knew Sozin was gearing for war. So, what was Sozin waiting for for twelve years? Was it the comet?
    • Well, you partly answered your own questioned (he needed the comet to execute his genocide on the Air Nomads, and if he'd started fighting before that they might have beefed up their defenses even more), but more than that, he'd need those years to actually get his nation ready for waging war. It's not something that's easy to hide, and Roku would have stopped him had he still been alive.
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    • Also, wars don't just happen. Countries need years of production and recruitment until they're able to effectively deploy. The only reason modern day countries are capable of warfare at a moments notice, is because we have the time and resources to be on full-scale war production even during a conflict, so we can be ready for the next war when it comes. Add to that the fact, that in-universe the only transportation they had at the time were fire nation ships, and you can see why it might take some time.
    • I mentioned this above but I'll do it here as well. According to The Other Wiki, Sozin didn't originally know where the Air Temples were. That information didn't become common knowledge until after the Air nomad genocide. Sozin took 12 years to wipe out the nomads because he needed the comet AND a Benedict Arnold to tell him where to strike. Check it out
      • And like the other person who replied to your above post, I'm going to point out that that bit of info is not canon. Not knowing where the Air Temples are would be like not knowing where New York City or Tokyo are in the Avatar universe - everyone at least has a rough idea, and a head of state has the resources to figure it out exactly. In addition, why would the Temples be hidden? The Air Nomads might have focused on detachment, but trade is still necessary for any civilization, and the locations would be known to any nomadic Airbenders and their companions. They also believed that all life is connected, and that everyone is deserving of help. Would those people discourage guests and wisdom-seekers from other Nations?
    • And why, if he knew enough about the Avatar cycle to know the next Avatar would be from the Air Nomads, wouldn't he at least make an effort to subjugate the Water Tribes before he went after the Air Temples? Suppose Sozin's troops had managed to find and kill Aang that day... the result would have been the birth of a Water Tribe Avatar, and if they couldn't have taken out the Air Nomads without the comet, would the Fire Nation have done any better against the Water Tribes?
      • At that moment both of the water tribes were pretty impressive defensive forts. Besides, the war officially began the moment Sozin invaded the Air Temples, if he had attacked the water tribes before the Air Temples, the nomads would have at least had an idea of an impending invasion and made plans instead of being unprepared.
      • Also, they did start attacking the water tribes... eventually. They did manage to take out all the southern water benders (minus Katara, of course), and they did attack the northern tribe. Picking off the southern water benders apparently took them quite a while and they were pretty unsuccessful against the northern tribe though, so I guess the answer is they wanted to take out the Air Nomads first as they had the current Avatar and were the more immediate threat (a water tribe Avatar would take at least 12-16 years to be revealed and then another few years to learn all the elements, after all).
    • He needed to strike first with the comet. Given how the other nations praise stability, the attacking nation has immediately the three other united against it. So, don't attack unless you can perform a genocide on one of the nations at first strike.
      • Well, considering the fact that the other nations never managed to unite against the Fire Nation (or even unite themselves against it) that seems unlikely.

  • Why did Roku fight the volcano? Getting the other residents of the island out and away safely I can understand, but once they were off the island, why did he bother trying to stop the volcano? It's a natural process, something you'd think the Avatar would accept. It's not like other islands were in danger, so why did he bother to keep fighting it instead of writing off the island?
    • He was probably trying to make sure any other residents on the island got to safety. He's not omniscient, and likely doesn't know if everyone got to safety, so he tries to essentially Hold the Line against the volcano for as long as possible to ensure everyone got to safety. Note that once Sozin arrives and the volcano becomes too difficult for both of them to contain, they withdraw; they've held it back and given any other residents on the island as much time to flee as they can manage.
    • I thought it was to guarantee safe passage for boats. Even if they were on the water vulcano eruption still can threaten them.
    • The magma from the volcano was not the problem. Roku was worried about all that ash. When a large enough volcano blows it can send a ton of ash into the air, enough to blot out the sun for miles. Imagine how badly the Fire Nation would have been hit if it was months before there was enough sun to support their crops. To say nothing of all the toxic materials that would have been thrown into the air.
      • And on another level, would that level of ash in the sky, blotting out the sun, also dampen their fire-bending? Not "Day of Black Sun" level anti-magic, but probably weakened it significantly.
  • It's my opinion that Roku was just plain incompetent.
    • Aang fought a volcano much more effectively despite Roku having the advantages of having mastered all four elements, the avatar state, back up from the Fire Lord, and not being 12.
      • However, we must note that 1) Aang's volcano was smaller and 2)he knew it was going to erupt. Roku only got knowledge of his eruption when an earthquake woke him up in the dead of night. Oh, and that eruption? Large enough that it was felt by Sozin, who was A HUNDRED MILES AWAY. Furthermore, Roku was doing very well against his volcano, its just that his old age was taking a toll on him. And don't start that "Avatars don't grow old" stuff; for all we know, Kyoshi spent the last 50 years of her 300 year life as a senile old cat lady. Roku also fought two volcanoes, not one, and only lost because a random puff of poison got him in the face and the man who was his best friend since birth was too much of a dick to help him out.
      • He's a master airbender. It should've been a simple task to make a shaft of clean air to his face.
      • He'd clearly tired himself out by that point, and was trying to handle the heat and the lava at the same time. Something that 'simple' might not have been under the circumstances. Just a single accident which Sozin took advantage of. Unfortunate but not entirely unlikely even for an Avatar.
    • "I should have seen this war coming and prevented it."
      • "I should have given a flying fuck about the state of the world" (Kuruk)
      • Actually the world was fine while Kuruk was avatar. The only problem was his girlfriend got her face stolen. She didn't even die.
      • His girlfriend got her face stolen because he didn't give a flying fuck about the state of the world.
      • "I shouldn't have formed that secret police syndicate" (Kyoshi)
      • "I shouldn't have run away from my duty just because I couldn't handle being separated from my father figure." (Aang)
      • Not sure what point that was intended to make, but it comes across as pointing out that the Avatar is human and is going to make mistakes of all kinds. Hindsight is a great thing, and they've had centuries to reflect on what the Avatar spirit being human did for them and the world. Though I rather think Aang has an excuse on account of him being twelve and under a lot of pressure.
      • I think this is their point.
      • Actually, Roku himself acknowledges that Aang will be the one who will fix his mistakes.
  • people should note that Aang wasn't fighting the volcano but the LAVA that was gonna destroy the village, which is totally different from trying to hold back two ACTIVE volcanoes, with an explosive magnitude that rival Mount Vesuvius .
  • On that note, what about Roku's dragon? It's entirely capable of flight and is still flying, so Roku tells it to go and save itself. It's a touching scene but I'm left wondering why the dragon didn't just grab Roku and fly him to safety instead.
    • The time it took to curl itself around him would be about the same time to snatch him up, wouldn't it? And then they were covered in within 2 seconds. I really don't think they could have escaped. Though, admittedly, Fang could have tried.
    • Roku had also taken multiple lungfuls of toxic gases. He's an old man who's exhausted and has been breathing those gases for a while even before Sozin abandoned him. He probably wouldn't have been able to survive for much longer anyway even before the ash covered him. Fang may have realized this and chosen to die with Roku then and there rather than watch him die in a few minutes.
      • Doesn't that make Sozin's betrayal kind of limp, though? Beyond the principles of it, I mean.
  • If the airbenders are all pacifists (Aang is unwilling to kill even when his life is in danger during the final fight with Ozai), why was Gyatso's body surrounded by Fire Nation soldier skeletons?
    • They're against killing, but that doesn't mean they're just going to sit there and let the Fire Nation commit genocide without putting up a fight. They're pacifists, but even they would realize that sometimes you gotta kill folks.
    • Individual Airbenders might be practicing pacifists, but that doesn't mean all of them are. Just because they teach that killing is wrong does not mean that killing is unavoidable. Hell, modern human society believes that killing is wrong, but we maintain military forces and believe in justified self-defense.
      • Right. Recall in the finale when Aang is talking with the previous Airbending Avatar. Even she told him that he needed to kill Ozai. Aang was particularly against killing, and to be fair, he was still just a kid who had recently discovered that his entire people had been murdered in a horrifying genocide. You can't blame him for feeling uncomfortable about killing. But in any case, it seems that while the airbenders were generally pacifists, they had no qualms about killing in self-defense.
      • Even the most determined pacifists are likely to put up a serious fight if their children are being massacred.
    • If we trace certain real life parallelism, with the exception of Jains in India, most pacifist cultures do acknowledge that killing in self-defense or defense of others (like children) is acceptable, like the Buddhists for example, many martial arts are Buddhist in origin. Now, there is a moral difference between killing in self-defense in a battle situation and going murdering an individual person (for example, many Buddhists and other pacifist communities consider moral to be a soldier but oppose the death penalty), so Aang’s moral objections to kill Ozai, especially in a pre-facto situation, does make sense in context. In a similar parallelism most Buddhists or Wiccans won’t see a moral problem in fighting the Nazis in World War II but probably would thing that executing Hitler in 1933 would be at least questionable.
    • Because Gyatso had nowhere left to run at that point.
  • Why did Roku free Zuko when he was destroying the temple? To him, Zuko would have just been an enemy.
    • I'm guessing you haven't seen the whole series. The question gets answered indirectly in Season 3.
      • I have. I'm just not sure if the 'reason' justifies it at the time. But I'm probably just nit-picking.
    • I always thought it wasn't so much the whole ancestry thing as it was that he could tell there was good in Zuko...or, along the same lines but more likely, that Zuko would have a major part to play in Aang's destiny. Spirits tend to know that stuff.
    • He didn't free Zuko directly. Roku's huge heat wave weakened the chains that were trapping him, so he was able to escape. That heat wave was an attack on Zhao's soliders, and also freed Katara, Sokka and the Fire Sage that helped them.
  • If Roku and Sozin were born on the same day and Roku died at 70 and 12 years later was the attack on the nomads and Azulon was born that year,how young was Sozin's wife? Or did the Fire Lady really have Sozin's kid at 82?
    • The timeline is actually pretty wanky concerning this. But I wouldn't be surprised. Old people in this universe are clearly stronger than in ours (see: Bumi, Pakku, Gyatso, Iroh, etc.)
    • It's entirely possible that he had a young wife, or even a mistress or concubine or something. Men are still fertile into very old age, since they're always producing new sperm. Also, "begat" means "give birth to," so minor correction there.
      • Actually, "beget" (past tense "begat" or "begot") means "to sire" or "to father". Occasionally, it can mean "to procreate" from the mother's point of view, but I've never actually seen it used that way, and it's definitely not the first meaning.
    • Azulon's mother would have had to be under 50 or so, unless aging and menopause work differently in the avatar world.
    • In Legend of Korra, Tenzin's wife is shown to be a decent amount younger than he is, so it's not the Avatar-verse is against having age gaps between spouses. So personally I'm guessing that it's a combination of Azulon's wife being much younger than him, older people just being more badass in this series, and aging/menopause working slightly differently.
    • This issue is more egregious on Roku's side. If you do the math, his daughter Rina would have had to be at least 76 when she had Ursa. Now, of course, it's possible some sort of Spirit-y stuff was at work here, but... that's still pretty old to have a kid.
    • Was it confirmed that Roku and Sozin were the same age? Roku says they shared a birthday, but not necessarily a birth year.
  • How come we didn't get a reason for the extermination of the dragons. Yes i know about the whole "prove your firebending superiority" cause, but why did Sozin feel the need to start that tradition, or others to the need to follow it. Come on, Sozin had a dragon mount, and I'm guessing that dragons got a few firebenders to the Air Temples during the comet, as well as throw some attacks around on top. Why kill off all of those magnificent beasts of carnage. Controlled hunts on fully wild dragons every few years would be understandable, but full extermination? Ever heard of conservation of game? Leave some for the next generation's fiercest masters of firebending.
    • I don't think anyone realized just how many dragons were being killed. I imagine it was a similar situation to the hunting of buffalo during the 1800s: There were so many of them that they thought that they would never run out. Sozin wanting to start a dragon hunting tradition even though he owns a dragon himself does seem a bit weird though, but hey, some people are just hypocrites. He may have wanted the Fire Nation to dominate nature as well as people. (It is the most technologically advanced nation, after all.)
      • The buffalo are a bad example - they were deliberately exterminated with a specific goal in mind; namely that once they were gone the Plains Indians would be forced to give up their way of life and become farmers. That particular near-extinction was no accident. As for the dragons, perhaps Sozin started seeing them as competition of sorts.
      • Considering that the dragons are portrayed as spiritual creatures akin to skybison or badger-moles, I had a theory that Sozin's dragon turned on him after the destruction of the Air Temples and Sozin was forced to kill him/her. He then instituted the hunting as a combination of vengeance and need to prove the Fire Nation's superiority as the true masters of fire.
      • He was willing to let his best friend since birth die a horrible, choking, burning death so he try to conquer the world, and then he was willing to commit complete genocide on a race of peaceful monks just so said friend couldn't reincarnate and be a threat. I'm guessing that if he felt dragon-hunting would be good practice for his generals, he wouldn't give a flying crap what his mount thought.
      • There's some evidence that Sozin was also applying a hefty amount of social engineering to the FN to get them to back his crazy world domination scheme. He started pushing the Fire-bending philosophy based on anger and aggression, banned dancing, and instituting all manner of fascist ideologies and propaganda. Maybe he also wanted the dragons out of the way so they couldn't teach and/or be icons of an opposing school of thought that would naturally be against his imperialist politics.
    • Well, according to King Bumi The Liar, the Dragons were never gone; just invisible and very, very, quiet.
  • So wait. If Roku is Ursa's grandfather, and Ursa had an arranged marriage with're telling me that Roku's family would marry off Ursa to the grandson of the man that left Roku to die and went against his wishes?
    • Do you really think that's the version of the story Sozin told when he got back?
      • Even so, he still started the war that went against everything the Avatar stood for. Apparently Roku's legacy wasn't very kind to him.
      • More likely is that Ursa's parents were against the marriage, but were afraid to refuse the Firelord's "request".
      • Roku's family was still nobility, and nobility tends to marry into nobility, and nobility tends to stay nobility unless something major happens. Presuming Sozin came back with a story along the lines of, "Roku died trying to save this island, and I couldn't help him try as I might," there wouldn't be much reason to take any more action against his family, so Roku's family remains in the nobility. Whatever their grandfathers might have been up to, Ursa and Ozai probably went to the same places and same schools a lot of the time growing up.
      • Also Sozin might have wanted to try take care of his former friend's family out of guilt afterwards.
    • The Search provides more insight on this arranged marriage. It was implied that if Ursa did not cooperate with the marriage, her family might not live to see another day.
  • Why didn't Katara use her spirit water to save Jet? She knew he was mortally wounded and that the water could save him. And she didn't know there would be something more important she would need the water for.
    • Rule of Drama? Or maybe she just hoped that Smellerbee and Longshot would get him out of there and that he wasn't just lying when he said he'd be fine.
    • Or she forgot? They were in a rush and she wasn't thinking clearly. In the cave with Zuko, she had the advantage of having no time pressure.
    • Supposedly, the creators of the show forgot Katara had the spirit water during that scene, which is why it wasn't brought up. In-universe, I would guess that Katara didn't think Jet was important enough to warrant using the water...I know that sounds harsh, but bringing someone back from death is a pretty important choice and should be made wisely and carefully. (And yeah, she offered to heal Zuko's scar with it later, but Zuko would be a useful ally if she could get him onto their side - they could work together to stop Azula from conquering Ba Sing Se, and they would've had one of the greatest firebenders in the world for Aang to learn from and a good source of intel on the Fire Nation. Using the spirit water in exchange for all those benefits wouldn't really have been a waste.)
  • How did Professor Zei die after he was trapped inside Wan Shi Tong's library? I really don't want to believe that Wan Shi Tong killed him, since he was clearly an innocent seeker of knowledge who chose to stay of his own free will. Also, didn't it seem like the Gaang just left him a little too easily? I know an angry spirit was right on their tail and the library was sinking below the sand, but...they basically left the guy there to die, and never seemed to think twice about it.
    • Starvation/dehydration maybe? We see his skeletal corpse in LoK, so it had to have happened quite a long time prior.

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