Follow TV Tropes


Sandbox / Characters Avatar The Last Airbender The Earth Empire

Go To

    open/close all folders 

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

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

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

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

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

Suyin's eldest son and Kuvira's fiancé.

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

    The Colossus 

The Colossus

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

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

Former Members



     Zhu Li 

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: