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Recap / Avatar: The Last Airbender "The Boy in the Iceberg"

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Katara breaks Aang out of the iceberg.

"Some people believe that the Avatar was never reincarnated into the Air Nomads, and that the cycle is broken. But I still haven't lost hope."

'The Boy in the Iceberg' is the very first episode of Nickelodeon's animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. It introduces the viewers to the world of Avatar, the concept of bending, and the main characters of the first season.

While fishing, Sokka and Katara discover Aang and his ten-ton, six-legged sky bison Appa icebound floating on the sea. After freeing them, they discover that Aang is an Airbender from the Air Nomads, a race of people assumed to have died out a hundred years before. When he goes with them to the water tribe he doesn't reveal that he is the Avatar, that has the ability to bend the four elements. The Avatar is reincarnated generation after generation and would be the only one who could prevent the Fire Nation from conquering all the nations, which is why the Fire Nation exterminated the Air Nomads, Aang's tribe. Meanwhile, Zuko, the banished Prince of the Fire Nation, is patrolling the seas in search of the Avatar. While exploring an abandoned Fire Nation ship, Katara tells Aang about the war that had been going on for the past hundred years. They accidentally set off a light beam in the ship, which alerts Zuko to the village.



  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: A variant of this is used, with Sokka referring to Katara as his "flying sister" after Aang introduces Appa to them. Katara wasn't amused.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Zuko happens to be looking for the Avatar at the South Pole the same day he wakes up from a century long sleep.
  • Covered in Gunge: Butt-Monkey Sokka gets covered in Appa snot.
  • Description Cut:
    Sokka: In the Water Tribe, we fight to the last man standing! For without courage, how can we call ourselves men?
    (The camera shifts positions to reveal that Sokka was talking to six uninterested boys.)
    Village boy: (waving his hand) I gotta pee!
  • Durable Deathtrap: The booby traps on the old Fire Nation ship are still in pristine condition when Aang and Katara trigger the mechanism.
  • Flash Back: The dream sequence; the pictures we see in Katara's narration may also count.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Zuko's seems to quite clearly be an evil one.
  • Honour Before Reason: Zuko is chasing around the South Pole, looking for someone who hasn't been seen for over a century, just over his honour.
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  • Human Popsicle: How Aang manages to stay unaged and trapped for a century.
  • Insistent Terminology
    Katara: It's not magic, it's Waterbending!
  • I Resemble That Remark!:
    Zuko: I don't need any calming tea!
  • Last of His Kind: Aang, but also Appa (the last sky-bison) and Katara, the last water-bender left in her tribe.
  • Late to the Tragedy: Aang slept a hundred years, missing the beginning of the war.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: The penguins, which have whiskers and four flippers.
  • Mood Whiplash: Aang's proclamation after being found in the ice. Followed seconds later by Sokka jabbing him in the head with a stick.
  • Older Than He Looks: As Aang says, "Do I look like a one-hundred-and-twelve year old man to you?"
  • Pillar of Light: Zuko's keen enough to know it's worth a look.
  • Potty Emergency: A Running Gag with the little ones.
  • Rage Breaking Point: One comment from Sokka causes Katara to flip at him.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Aang, the Avatar, The Master of All Four Elements, the only one who can restore balance to the world; sealed inside an iceberg at the South Pole for a century.
  • Super Speed: Aang can use the wind to speed himself up when he wants to. Like, for example, when he sees a penguin.
  • Tempting Fate: Aang insisting on checking out the Fire Nation ship. The first of MANY for the Gaang.
  • Title Drop:
    Zuko: The sages tell us that the Avatar is the last Airbender.
  • Toilet Humor: After Aang walks out of the igloo bathroom.
    "Wow! Everything freezes in there!"
  • Tongue on the Flagpole: Done with Aang's glider staff.
  • Troll: When Zuko pressures him into teaching firebending, Iroh reluctantly agrees... right after he finishes the roast duck he just happened to have at hand.
  • Your Other Left: Predictably, Sokka doesn't heed his sister's warnings and goes right...
    Katara: (to Sokka) Watch out! Go left! Go left! (their canoe crashes) You call that left?


Video Example(s):


Firebending Demonstration and Duel

General Iroh demonstrates firebending form for Fire Prince Zuko / a duel between Zuko and Admiral Zhao

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / PlayingWithFire

Media sources:

Main / PlayingWithFire