Follow TV Tropes

Following

Sandbox / Characters Avatar The Last Airbender Red Lotus

Go To

    open/close all folders 

    In General 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/the_red_lotus_8300.jpg
"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.


  • 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 supposed 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. Even poisoned and berserk, she was still too much for them to handle, and Ming-Hua and Ghazan ended up dead in the struggle. They came very close to killing her, but couldn't finish the job.
    • Their intention of freeing Vaatu falls into this as well. They don't understand that the Great Spirit of Darkness and Chaos is an Omnicidal Maniac.
    • Ultimately, as Zaheer found out whilst in prison, their assassination of the Earth Queen in order to bring true freedom 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.
  • 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.
  • Knights 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.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: It took them thirteen years to make jailbreak.
  • 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.
    • Played straight in "The Ultimatum". In order to 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. 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.
    • 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.

    Zaheer 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/zaheer_6125.png
"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 

Voiced by: Henry Rollins

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-Teng, 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 more garish Air Nomad outfits but nonetheless consistent with how air is color coded.
  • 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. 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.
  • 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.
    • Befitting his hatred of tyrannical dictators, he has no fondness for Kuvira, and actually helps Korra regain her power in order to give her a better shot at stopping her.
  • 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.
  • Foil:
    • For Tenzin, where as 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.
    • Most terrifying of all, Zaheer is a foil to 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • Reality Ensues: Korra confronts Zaheer in "Beyond the Wilds" and forces him to face the reality that his ideals on freedom are merely that - ideals. His misguided attempt to bring freedom to the Earth Kingdom through anarchy only succeeded for a short while, and paved the way for an even worse tyrant to arise. Zaheer is visibly hurt by this. He failed to account for the fact that there will always be another human being who will seek power when the dust settles.
  • 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.
Advertisement:

    Ghazan 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/c1bef43751a51907861e0c48d42c5b18.png
"I'm never going back to prison. If I'm going down today, you're coming with me!"

Voiced by: Peter Giles

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."
  • 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.

    Ming-Hua 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ming_hua_8025.png
"I would've killed for some rain."

Voiced by: Grey DeLisle

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."
  • Everything Is Better With Spinning: In addition to building swings, this is her other preferred fighting method.
  • Goth: Dark clothing? Check. Scrawny, sallow, stringy-haired, and otherwise bearing a marked resemblance to an onryo? Check. Snarky? Check. Glowers a lot? Check. (The Lone Psycho Goth Variant, as if there were any question.)
  • 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.
  • 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.

    P'Li 
Voiced by: Kristy Wu
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/li_5264.png
"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 coverfire 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. 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.
  • 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 into 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.

    Aiwei 
Voiced by: Maurice LaMarche
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/aiwei_4127.png
"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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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 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.
  • Wicked Cultured: A deeply spiritual man and prolific metalbender with a love of books, and a member of the Red Lotus.
Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report