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The first few avatars created the 4 nations in a very ancient world
The avatar spirit perhaps appeared first when people moved on from Energybending to bending the 4 elements. It's likely that the 4 nations did not exist then and there was only one nation earlier. It's not too much of a stretch to assume that just as Aang and Zuko decided to create Republic City as a melting pot for all benders and non-benders to live in balance, the first few avatars split the world into 4 nations based on the 4 elements. It's likely that since the Avatar has been reincarnating for almost a thousand lifetimes (or more), human society is hundreds of thousands of years old - the old paradigm of separating different people of different elements and cultures makes real sense then.

That also means that in a way, the avatar is responsible for practically everything that shaped the world and all the consequences that came out of it. Hence the need to keep reincarnating.

  • The nations themselves predate the Avatar in the form of Lion-Turtle cities, but Avatar Wan was the first human to travel the world and reveal the existence of other nations to each other.

The Avatar's teachers are reincarnated with him/her
Something that always got to me was that Aang could only learn from certain people. He starts out learning from some old master (Pakku, Yu, Jeong Jeong) but most, if not all, of what he learns come from a kid closer to his age (Katara, Toph, Zuko) Why? The reason for everything in this show: Because Destiny Says So.

The old masters were great teachers, but not for the Avatar: Pakku treated Aang like any other student (which sounds fair until you realize that Aang does need special attention since he has to master the elements much faster than other students do), Yu didn't even know that Aang was the Avatar until Toph's parents sent him to track her down, and Jeong Jeong couldn't teach him because of the circumstances.

So just who Katara, Toph, and Zuko reincarnated from? My guess is that they follow the same Avatar cycle. In "The Guru" it is implied that Katara is the reincarnation an Air Nomad (whoever formally taught Roku). It also was pretty much stated that Toph was destined to be Aang's earthbending teacher so she would be the reincarnation of Roku's waterbending teacher and that leaves Zuko as the reincarnation of his earthbending teacher. Of course that means the Zuko must have died just before Tenzin was born, which is unlikely since it's been confirmed that he's not dead.

  • Jossed Katara's still alive by the time The Legend of Korra starts. But destiny probably does has something to do with who teaches the Avatar.
    • Remember, though, Gyatso is the one who taught Roku airbending, and in his old age he taught Aang airbending as well. Katara thus becomes a Gyatso analogue.
      • Gyatso didn't teach Roku air bending, they were both learning it at the same time.
      • This still works, as Katara and Aang started formal waterbending training at the same time. Katara just picked it up much faster.
  • Zuko's not dead either, he's off wandering the world, and appears in Book 3. Toph follows in Book 4. Only Aang and Sokka are confirmed dead.
  • Or maybe, they don't always follow the cycle. Also, it IS possible for Zuko to be Korra's first master, alongside Katara.

An Avatar usually falls in love with a person from the next nation of the cycle.
Refer to theory above.

Aang falls in love with Katara. Air > Water

Roku falls in love with Ta Min. Fire > Air

Kyoshi falls in love with Rangi, a firebender, in The Rise of Kyoshi. Earth > Fire


Kuruk fell in love with Ummi, who had brown eyes, so maybe mixed. Water > Earth.

Yangchen gave a long speech that excused the Avatar from the Air quest to let all love and connection go. One can infer that she learned this from personal experience. Like the nun of Canterbury Tales, she is wearing a figurative pendant engraved with "Amor Vincit Omnia (Love Conquers all)." She also implies that she had to kill someone.

  • Ta Min was from the Fire Nation.
  • :cough: Hence the initial note "Refer to theory above."
  • Jossed: The next avatar, Korra, falls in love with Mako, a firebender.
    • Not Jossed, the WMG says usually. So this WMG could still be true with Korra an exception.
    • The Legend of Korra isn't over yet. Mako and Korra break up in the Season 2 Finale, and the first boy to show interest in Korra in the show is Bolin, an Earth Bender. So not necessarily jossed.
    • Ta Min being Air Nomad adds another layer of tragedy to Sozin's massacre of the Air nation - if his best friend's wife was from the Air Nomads, it shows how far gone he really was to massacre them.
    • Jossed. Korra ends up with Asami, a nonbender who could be of Fire Nation heritage.

The Avatar is A Time Lord
The reincarnation cycle is a crude form regeneration. And Katara is Aang's companion, just like Ta Min was Roku's.
  • Agreed. Waterbending and airbending together do not eternal youth in suspended animation make. He must have been messing with the wibbly wobbly timey wimey substance itself!
  • My personal version of this? Iroh's journey after Lu Ten's death involved a certain blue box and time-lord. If the Spirit World is just another dimension, it certainly explains a lot.
    • ... excuse me, I have a fanfiction to write.

Avatar Roku is the true mastermind behind everything.
Roku was in mortal danger when he faced the volcano, but he did not enter Avatar State. Why? For the same reason that, when his best friend proposed ideas he thought to be wrong, he immediately shouted them down with almost no explanation and stormed away: he was trying to start a war. This is also why his first action upon discovering the fire nation colony was to attack his old friend and threaten his life, despite the fact that an Avatar of all people should know that fire is a temperamental element prone to reactionary force (just look at any firebender). Roku knew about Sozin's comet (hence his conveniently timed death), and wanted to set things up so that the Fire Nation would take over the world, then the Avatar (still him, if he could 'awaken" his successor such that his portion of the soul was dominant - note how good his dragon is at putting ideas into Aang's head) could replace or simply ally with the Firelord, and bring the proper balance to the world and the elements using whatever methods he felt necessary.
  • If you put it this way, you could say that Roku's plan was a full success.
  • Ummmm why would he cause the death of so many just to go back to square 1/

Aang is the last Avatar
The reason he can't enter the Avatar State isn't because one of his Chakras was messed up, it's because Azula killed him under Ba Sing Se; fortunately, Katara had that vial of spirit water. As Roku explained, if he dies in the Avatar State, the cycle of reincarnation is broken, and the avatar is no more. Sure, Aang's still alive, but since he died, the whole avatar thing is now kaput. All the talk about restoring balance actually refers to showing Benders of all types that they can Bend any element they like; notice the foreshadowing of this idea when Iroh explains about the four nations to Zuko and how waterbending principles can be applied to firebending.
  • Rebuttal: While unconscious from Azula's lightning bolt, Aang undertook a journey to the spirit world to ensure the safety of both his soul and his previous incarnations, as was shown in the companion online game (script located here: scroll down to specials, and look for the labels "Avatar Escape online comic.) Secondly, Aang did unlock the Avatar state; thank goodness for Deus ex Machina! As to Aang being the ''last' Avatar...
  • Jossed by the new Avatar series coming out, The Legend of Korra, about the next avatar after Aang.

The Avatars knew that Energybending was possible, but didn't tell Aang about it because of the potential danger.
We know from 'The Library' that at least one Avatar has encountered a Lion Turtle before. We also know that in order to steal one's bending, one has to engage in a mental battle with the victim and win. If Ozai had succeeded, he could have taken one or more of Aang's bending abilities. Heck, he might have been able to take the Avatar Spirit! The result is an Omnicidal Maniac capable of bending all four elements, hyped up by Sozin's Comet and able to go into the Avatar State about to launch a campaign of genocide against the Earth Kingdom. With the obvious risks involved, the Avatars decided it would be best to tell Aang to kill Ozai, putting the stability of the world over Aang's morals in more ways then one.
  • Word of God is that there have been other Avatars who have mastered Energybending.
  • Only the last Air Nomad Avatar explicitly said that Aang should kill Ozai, the rest told him to mete out justice, be decisive, and pay attention (or something like that). Removing his bending ablities so he's pretty much harmless seems to fit. Though not mentioning spiritbending is a prudent move if they're afraid Ozai could destroy Aang's spirit, and making a second megalomaniac with all the Avatar's powers.
    • Possibly they were leaving it up to Aang to make a decision with his own moral compass, rather than making him consider something that goes against what he believes. (rather important for an Avatar) Whether it be killing him, depowering him, imprisoning him, etc.
  • In the The Legend of Korra we find out that the first Avatar definitely knew about energybending, since that's how he gained bending in the first place.

Non-avatars can bend more than one element.
Everyone always takes it as fact that only the Avatar can bend more than one, but all that I recall being confirmed is that only the Avatar can bend all four. My guess is that it just takes a very long time for non-Avatars to learn, and they can't learn their opposite element (ie only an Avatar could bend both Air and Earth).
  • It could be possible for a person to learn to bend all four elements- it would just take a long time, and require an intense amount of training and concentration to do it.
  • If the experience of the Avatars is anything to go by, the complimentary element to the birth element is fairly easy to pick up, so a talented bender might be able to learn the element complementary to their first element relatively easily, but mastering both within a single human lifetime without drawing on the accumulated wisdom of multiple past lives would be challenging. The opposite element is very hard to learn, so perhaps an extremely talented non-avatar bender might then be able to master two elements and pick up the rudiments of the third, but mastering three would be nigh impossible. The fourth element is actually contradictory and deceptively difficult or downright dangerous, and even trying to learn it is probably a bad idea. Any Airbenders bold/crazy enough to try to learn Firebending, for example, probably got themselves (and any bystanders within range) killed early on.
  • Iroh sort of touched on this. He encouraged Zuko to learn water-bending( in a sense) to master lightning bending. I believe if Iroh was really committed and stuck to it, he would have been able to learn waterbending. Also it is possible that if they practice a certain element( although they wouldn't necessarily be able to use it) they could unlock another ability of their own element. Iroh practiced the fluid movements of waterbending and eventually translated into lightning. Toph did something similar. Earthbending is very fast paced and hard-hitting, not much tactical fighting in earthbending. Although she never really practiced it, Toph was forced her whole life to think like an airbender. Because of her blindness she had to focus more, become more tactical, and actually dodge attacks(while other earthbenders would mostly just shield themselves. Because of her "airbender" mind, she was able to think strategically on how she could escape the metal box she was in. And with her sharp, analytical "airbender" mind, she realized that their are tiny earth particles in metal that can be manipulated. It may not be the same, but Hama that could bloodbend learned it from viewing the corruption and manipulation of firebenders. She drew from this and eventually unlocked her "blood manipulating" potential..........................................One more thing. What would be a secondary power for air? I hope they come up with something for that. I was thinking maybe steam or smoke, but that's not as interesting, and hasn't that been done already? It's not really a secondary power anyway. Hmmmmm
  • I'd put this as Jossed, the story of the first Avatar showed that Wan could only carry one element at a time, and Raava had to carry the others, until they fused and he truly became the Avatar, meaning that without a spirit merged with them a person can only get one type of bending.

Avatars rotate genders, and flip between Fire and Air.
Ok, I'm guessing the universe doesn't want to seem sexist, so it rotates the gender of the Avatars between male and female (Hence, prior to Aang the previous four Avatars were female-male-female-male). However, if they just kept flipping then each element would only get Avatars of one gender. This is why Aang, following Roku, was male. Last time Air and Earth each got a female Avatar, and Water and Fire got a male, this time it will be reversed (altneratively, Aang's a woman). This actually leads to an interesting implication: Since the Airbender is the start of the cycle, we can logically conclude that the first Avatar was an Airbender.
  • Unfortunately this is impossible. As we see in the first episode of series 2 the Fire Nation Avatar before Roku was also male.
    • I think that was just A previous Fire Nation Avatar, not necessarily the one immediately proceeding Ruko.
      • This could work, only it flips at every 5 incarnations of the Avatar to allow for the 'two male Fire Avatars in a row' problem. Aang is a flip point, said male Fire Avatar was a flip point, and 5 incarnations after Aang, the next Water bender Avatar after Korra will be male. This is why no-one in-universe has picked up on the flip- they expect it to happen at a set point, i.e. air, in the cycle and also, no-one has lived for more than 2 Avatars due to dying of old age.
  • According to the Avatar wiki, the Avatars are randomly gendered (in theory). More details here.
  • Also, as it turns out the first Avatar was a Firebender

The Avatar cycle now has five steps.
Energybending actually being forced into Aang instead of being there as a passive thing mixed it up a little. Now instead of three nations and a group of nomads who vary between nomadding and templing, it will be three nations, a group of nomads, and a temple-dwelling race. The Nomads may be Aang's new people, mostly non-bending water travellers, and the temple-dwelling race may be students of Zuko the Balanced Lightningbender.

It's only the Avatar who can master all four elements.
Anyone with the right spiritual balance can learn all four elements, but it takes lifetimes of previous opposing-element Avatars within you to actually master your opposing element. Otherwise, a student of all four elements will only be able to master somewhere between zero and three and can only be passable or barely novice-level at the last one.
  • Or a bender might master one element and at best be better-than-average (but not a true master) with the other three.

There's already a Water Nation avatar as of Season 3.
Katara's water brought him back to life, and Aang bringing the Avatar spirits and his own into a safe place in the spirit world did nothing to stop the Avatar line from continuing. The new Avatar won't be able to access the past Avatar spirits until Aang dies, but will be able to learn all four elements if anyone bothers to teach him or her how, or if the new Avatar just happens to start earthbending.
  • This troper is officially subscribed to this theory!
  • Aang died and so did the avatar spirit, if he died so the avatar would never happen ever again.
  • Jossed. The next Avatar isn't born until after Aang's death before The Legend Of Korra.

An Avatar could potentially read or manipulate minds.
Using a different form of Seismic Sense, only with firebending rather than earthbending, one could potentially sense the electrical signals of neurons. If one could figure out how these signals correlate, they could read someone’s mind. Waterbending could be used to sense hormones, and waterbending or lightning bender could be used to actually brainwash someone.

The Avatar cycle goes Male Female
But not through each incarnation, through each element. So Aang male Air, last Air Avatar female Yangchen. Korra female, last Water Avatar male Kuruk.
  • both Roku and the previous Fire avatar were male.
  • The known order is Earth Male, Fire Male, Air Female (Yangchen), Water Male (Kuruk), Earth Female (Kyoshi), Fire Male (Roku), Air Male (Aang), Water Female (Korra). M->M->F->M->F (->M->M->F). The next set of Avatars may be an Earth Male, a Fire Female, an Air Male, a Water Male, an Earth Female, a Fire Male, an Air Female, a Water Male, an Earth Male, a Fire Female, an Air Male, a Water Female, an Earth Male, a Fire Male, an Air Female...

The Avatar Cylce might work in sets of eight.
Fire, Air, Water, Earth, Fire, Air, Water, Earth. Each element getting one male and one female Avatar in each set, the sequence of the genders in each set of eight Avatars being sorted at random. As of Legend of Korra the current sequence is 3/4ths done.
  • Roku was the Fire male. The Fire female has not been born yet.
  • Yangchen was the Air Female. Aang was the Air Male.
  • Kuruk was the Water Male. Korra, the incumbent, is the Water Female.
  • Kyoshi was the Earth Female. The Earth male has not been born yet.

The First Avatar had to be of Virgin Birth
Think about it for a second. You have four elements entirely out of balance, primitive tribes using them to forge empires and massacre each other. Then a single woman bears forth a savior-a person who can use all four Elements and master them, and then starts bringing balance. The Sun Warriors, Ancient Air Nomads, Whatever Earth and Water Nations of the Ancient Paths are forged then. Yet no one can tell who the first Avatar's father is. It's a miracle that he appeared. Its because the Spirits chose this woman to bear the first in the Avatar Cycle. It wouldn't surprise me if the Avatar Mythology has their own version of the Virgin Mary.
  • Jossed as of LoK season 2, which reveals that the first Avatar was created, not born.

The first Avatar was an airbender.
This was said in a previous guess that since the first element in the cycle is air, the very first Avatar is an Airbender. I'd also like to say that since Airbenders are the most spiritual of all the nations, it is possible that one of the Airbenders wanting to keep the world in balance, went to the Lion Turtle and the both of them found out a way to create a person from each nation to not only keep the balance and wisdom from the previous avatars, but bending the other elements as well.
  • But the first element in the cycle isn't air. Don't the elements correspond to seasons? Earth-Spring, Fire-Summer, Air-Fall and Water-Winter (At least, that's what I always thought). By that logic, the first Avatar would be an Earth Avatar.
    • If you go by the beginning of the Roman Calender, It would be a water one, as winter starts and ends the year. Same thing on the Chinese calender.
      • Actually, the first month in the Roman Calender is March. It wasn't until Christianity overturned the Roman Empire that the months were renumbered so that January was the first month instead of the eleventh, placing the Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord as New Year's Day.
    • Wait, what do our calenders have to do with anything? The Avatar world follows an Alternative Calendar; it's possible that for them, the year starts in autumn.
  • Jossed as of LoK season 2. Wan started with fire, and air was his second element.

The Avatar gets stronger with each generation.
Consider: Aang was an Airbending master at 12, and within a year he at least became proficient in the three other elements. Yet previous Avatars, no matter their prowess, were not informed until they were 16, and would take years to master the other elements. I don't think it was explictly stated but it at least appeared to me that Roku was younger when he mastered earth than Kuruk when he mastered air, and the shaved forehead probably confuses things but he looked younger still than Yang-Chen. If nothing else, each Avatar gains the strength and knowledge of all past Avatars when they enter the Avatar state, which would imply that each successive Avatar's power upon entering the state is greater than the last.
  • Wan, the first Avatar, would therefore have been the weakest.
    • Which means that Korra being permanently cut off from previous Avatars after losing the connection to Raava permanently damaged the Avatar Cycle, Korra is as weak as Wan had been post-Book-2, and subsequent Avatars will be substantially weaker than Aang, Roku, Kyoshi, Kuruk, or Yangchen.

The avatar is a ghost
He exist as a form that will always be around, and he can communicate with the spirit world, and at times enter it. He know all ways of bending because he has literaly lived each and every style atleast 100 times. He forgets because his old memories merges with that of the host bdy he is possesing. When the host dies he exits and finds a new one on the next Elemental cycle, for ceremonial reasons. His original form was friends with that Guru in the episode where he learned to control his Avatar state.
  • Confirmed in a way. The actual Avatar spirit was revealed to be the light spirit Raava, but this doesn't come up until halfway through The Legend of Korra's second Book.

Katara was supposed to be the next avatar after Aang.
This of course is after he died (if he had not frozen himself in the iceberg). Think about it why else would she be really good at waterbending if she wasn't supposed to become the next in line after him.
  • Maybe because she's just talented? Because I don't really see why being a skilled bender of the right element means you must have been destined to be the Avatar. At any rate, it'd also be strange that the powers-that-be were all-powerful and all-knowing enough to decide who's "destined" to become an Avatar before they even exist yet, yet when Aang freezes himself for 100 years they're just like "whoops, didn't see that coming. Sorry Katara."
  • Further supported because Katara is a powerful and prodigious water bender despite none of her immediate family being to bend at all.
  • If Aang didn't run away and/or froze himself, he most likely would have been killed in the air nomad genocide, 86 years before Katara was born.
    • or escaped and lived past 112 the normal way.
      • If the elders, including Gyatso, didn't survive I doubt Aang would. (Also he would have had to have died at 98 for Katara to be born the next Avatar, she's 14 remember.)
      • Aang was an airbending master and the Avatar he had the best chance at getting away of anyone there (and the monks would have been willing to die in order to guarantee his escape). and if it happened it would have been likely for him to have still been alive during the present time of the series (Avatars tend to live a long time and if he could escape when they know were he is he could definitely avoid them when they don't), meaning Katara couldn't have been the Avatar even if Aang escaped (which was why i mentioned that Aang probably would have made it to 112 the normal way if he escaped)
Being the Avatar is a Curse.
Like in many Eastern religious traditions, there is an afterlife beyond reincarnation. This Nirvana can be achieved by dying in a state of true enlightenment, and is a state of perpetual peace. All souls in the Avatar universe can reach this state after enough lifetimes, but the Avatar is cursed to remain, duty-bound to protect the nations until the end of time.
  • Guru Pathik tries to teach Aang to reach this enlightened state by unlocking all of his chakras. He says that once Aang does this, he will be able to control the Avatar state and enter into it at will. Had Aang truly mastered the final chakra, detaching himself from the world, he would have remained permanently in the Avatar state, eventually dying in a state of enlightenment. As Avatar Roku said, if Aang were to die in such a state, it would end the Avatar cycle — the Avatar would reach Nirvana.
  • Unfortunately, the Avatar never seems able or willing to fully unlock that last chakra. In almost every instance in which Aang enters the Avatar state, he is brought back by Katara — his last attachment to the mortal world. And the same sort of thing is implied to have happened to Avatar Kuruk — after a life of seeking detachment from the world's suffering, he is re-attached to the world when Koh steals the face of the woman he loves.
  • It seems likely that every Avatar, reflecting on the generations of suffering s/he has lived through, has had at least one moment of doubt wherein they contemplated remaining in the Avatar state. But each time, their attachment to the world has held them back, forced to stand on the precipice of paradise, but not entering until every other soul has been safely shepherded through. No wonder Aang didn't want to be the Avatar.
  • Buddhism knows a condition known as Bodhisattva, which means an enlightened person who consciously refuses to enter Nirvana in order to help others to achieve it. This, I feel, is pretty close to the condition of the Avatar in the series.

It takes an avatar an average of twelve years to master the elements.
  • In the Avatar and the Firelord, Sozin said that Roku was gone for 12 years. Considering how Roku said it took him awhile to learn waterbending because it was challenging to him, I thought that maybe it'd take about 5 years to learn one's opposing element. 3 years is how long it would take to learn the next element in the cycle. (Look how fast Aang was able to master waterbending!) And then the last element would take 4 years, because its the easiest to pick up but the hardest to master.
Sozin said that Roku was gone 12 years. I was thinking that it'd take 3 years for them to learn the next element in the cycle because it comes easy to them (Just see how fast Aang learned waterbending!), then 5 years learning their opposite element, then 4 learning the last element. The last taking 4 years because it seems to be the easiest to gain but the hardest to master.

Power taken by Avatars through energybending goes straight into the Gate of Truth.
If this seems like the "deception of the devil" idea long above linking energybending to the release of Homunculus Father from Fullmetal Alchemist, that's because this is a revisited version. After thinking about it for a long time, the "devil inside the gate has been working from outside this whole" idea doesn't make too much sense. However, the "energy bent by Avatars went into the gate" part, does. That energy still had to go somewhere, after all. So let's say it did lead to the release of Father from the Gate anyway, but not because a devil had any control over it. Rather, it was because, as the Avatar is essentially the spirit of the Earth in human form, the energy that was bent into the Gate is what allowed it to enable the harnessing of the energy of the Earth in a way smiliar to but separate from bending. In other words, not only was Aang the first ninja in thousands of years, his actions paved the way for the very birth of alchemy itself. This also meant, though, that bending dies off in the next 1500 years.
It could be contended that The Legend of Korra josses this theory because Republic City is easily more technologically advanced than, say, Xerxes. But what if that level of sophisticated tech didn't reach much farther than the Republic (and Fire Nation) and then something else happened that eventually drove it all back? Flight vehicles, which there were plenty of in ATLA, don't seem to exist in FMA either, so even the earlier version of this theory was working on similar logic from the getgo.

Lion Turtles created the first Avatar.
They used Energybending to turn an Airbender into the first Avatar and jump-start the reincarnation cycle. They did this because they were sick of being in charge all the time or something. And when the world really doesn't need an Avatar anymore, the Lion Turtles will take the other three elements away from the last Avatar and thereby break the cycle.
  • Alternatively, the Avatar Spirit was a Lion Turtle, or a conglomeration of Lion Turtle spirits.
  • Alternatively again, the Lion Turtles used Energybending to fuse 4 benders, one from each element, into the Avatar Spirit. That way, the first Avatar, and all others thereafter, could bend all four elements.
  • Semi-confirmed as of LoK season 2. The Lion Turtles gave people the power of the elements (including Wan), but it was his partnership with Raava, the primordial spirit of light, that initially enabled him to handle more than one element at a time.

Killing the Avatar in the Avatar state would destroy the world
It is said that if the Avatar dies in the Avatar state, the Avatar Cycle would be broken. This could kill the Avatar Spirit itself and the Avatar Spirit is the Spirit of the Planet. From what we know of what happened to the moon when the Moon Spirit died, the world would fade away if a replacement for the Avatar Spirit is not found quickly enough. Azula, you crazy bitch, you almost killed the whole world.
  • Which also means Katara saved all of existence as we know it for the Avatar world by not helping Zuko. I believe this now.
  • Where is it stated that the Avatar Spirit is the spirit of the planet? Also, if killing the Avatar in the Avatar State would destroy the planet, why didn't Roku mention anything about that to Aang when he told him what would happen if the Avatar dies in the AS?
  • Semi-confirmed. The Avatar Spirit, as of LoK season 2, is revealed to be Raava, the primordial spirit of light. Eliminating her would possibly free her dark counterpart Vaatu, who would utterly destroy the world.

The first Avatar was 1/4 of each Nation.
His/Her mother was half Water Tribe/half Fire Nation, the father half Earth Kingdom/half Air Nomad.
  • Jossed as of LoK season 2. Wan's ancestors aren't discussed, but before he started Walking the Earth, humans were separated from one another and couldn't travel from city to city. So all of his ancestors would have been from the same city he came from.

The Avatar is descended from... the Avatar
Specifically each Avatar is descended from the previous Avatar born to that element. So Aang is descended from Yangchen and Korra is descended from Kuruk (there has been canonical emigration between the North and South Water Tribes). Nobody realises this because Avatar Kyoshi was around for so long that any records that might prove it are so old and obscure that no ones ever looked them up. Wan Shi Tong might know but he's not telling.
  • Made even better when you realize that all future air benders-including the next Air Nomad Avatar-is bound to be a descendant of Aang.
    • In season 2 of The Legend of Korra, we find out Korra's dad was originally from the Northern Tribe, so he could certainly be related to Kuruk. On the other hand, as of season 3, there are numerous airbenders not related to Aang, so the next airbending Avatar doesn't have to be his descendant.
  • Avatar Wan lived 10,000 years ago. Considering that Ghenghis Khan's descendants make up 1% of Earth's population and Ghenghis Khan lived 800 years ago, almost everyone being descended from Wan is a possibility.
  • If this theory is correct, then the next Fire Nation Avatar could be the Fire Lord, since all Fire Lords as of Zuko are descended from Roku.

There were Avatars who had severe physical faults or died prematurely
It isn't guaranteed that every Avatar succeeded, both in revolutionary change and keeping peace. Given there were a thousand or so Avatars, it is possible there were a few that failed in a way that they died before mastering all four elements or suffered a crippling illness that rendered them unable to fully do their tasks.

Descendents of past avatars are destined to teach current ones
Zuko taught Aang, and Tenzin taught Korra. But what if it goes further? What if all teachers of the avatar are themselves related to a past Avatar.
  • Toph and Kyoshi are related, it makes so much sense.
  • Gyotsu is Yang Chen's Grandson
    • Not likely, Yang Chen was the Avatar before Kuruk and Kyoshi. Kyoshi lived to be at least 200 years old. Unless...

Kyoshi really didn't live that long
She may have reached 100 or so in "real life", she was likely just a very influential Avatar that stemmed a myth stating that she lived for a long time.
  • Bumi lived at least 112 years and Pathik for at least 150. Benders having very long lives wouldn't be out of the question.

Kyoshi had a grudge against Koh
Koh had 'killed' Kuruk's Fiance. As Kuruk's immediate successor, Kyoshi might have had lingering grudges against Koh for wronging the previous Avatar.

The avatar has Morality Chain reincarnated alongside him
To make sure the avatar state doesn't go rampage, there is a person in the world with the power to stop it. Depending of the reincarnation, it can be a lover, a master, or even a close friend.

The Avatar’s Animal companion is re-incarnated along with the avatar
As the people of this world do not understand the language of the animals, they have not found out that every avatar has technically had the same companion, albeit in a different form. This spirit was born after one avatar kept a loyal pet who after this avatar died, stayed by his master’s grave and would not abandon him. The spirits were so moved by this creature’s loyalty that when the animal died, they reincarnated him as the animal companion of the next avatar. As the Avatar’s only true eternal companion, whatever creature the spirit was reincarnated as will do it’s best to be with their master when they die, so they may someday be reunited. As animals don’t usually live as long as humans, there is sometimes a gap where the animal spirit returns to the spirit realm and wait for his next form.
  • So Fang is Appa is Naga? I like it!
  • This theory doesn't really jibe with The Winter Solstice Part 1. In that episode we see that Fang's spirit is now living in the spirit world. The spirit even flies past Appa while Appa is fully awake and conscious, which wouldn't work if Fang's spirit was the same as Appa's spirit.
    • But the whole Winter Solstice Arc is about the fact that the spirits of the other Avatars live on within the Avatar, and in season 1 finale of LOK Aang was able to interact with Korra to restore her bending without Korra being unconscious, so it's possible that Appa and Fang are the same situation.

The Avatar has a bank account that all Avatars have access to
When banking was invented, the then-incumbent Avatar would have gotten a bank account with monthly compound interest to fund his or her travels, so as to better do their duties (travel in pre-Industrial times was highly expensive, so only the wealthy made any travels). Each subsequent Avatar would have made deposits when practical and withdrawals when necessary.
  • If the Avatar's bank account hadn't been looted by the Fire Nation (or was paid back in full by Fire Lord Zuko), Aang would be sitting on an enormous mountain of cash at the end of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Korra would have had enough money for a buyout of Future Industries in The Legend of Korra.

Every Avatar is born weak in one element, which rotates counter to the cycle of the seasons/elements.
Aang had much more difficulty learning firebending than any of the other elements (even earth, which was the opposite of his own native air). Korra couldn't bend air at all until she was really desperate. In the Avatar cycle, air(autumn) comes before water(winter), fire(summer) before air. In flashbacks to previous Avatars Kyoshi was never seen waterbending, which would have been her weak element and Roku's one big failure was stopping a volcano, which would have been handled through earthbending, which would have been his. Maybe it's the cosmos' way of stopping individual Avatars from becoming too powerful without accessing the Avatar state, which relinquishes that individuals control and leaves judgement in the hands of the spirits.
  • Interesting theory, but for both Aang and Korra, there were personal reasons for not mastering one element. When Jeong Jeong was teaching Aang, he was actually pretty quick to learn firebending, much quicker than he was with earthbending. It was only the trauma of hurting Katara which stopped him from learning more, not any inherent weakness. As for Korra, it seems the reasons why it took her longer to learn airbending than the other elements were her non-spiritual, down-to-earth personality, and the fact that there was only one person alive who could teach her to airbend. Roku explicitly said that waterbending, not earthbending, was the most difficult for him to learn. And just because Kyoshi is never seen waterbending isn't enough to suggest it was her weak element; there is only scene in the whole series where we see her bending, so there simply isn't enough evidence to judge her waterbending skills.

There are certain bending techniques that can only be done by the Avatar
  • A fully realized one that is. Notice how all of the extremely powerful techniques are done by Avatars?
    • Aang raised the entire sea level to put out the fires after his battle with Ozai.
    • Volcanic eruption and lava bending have only been done by Avatars. This one is retroactively Jossed in LoK's Book 3, where one of the villains, Ghazan, is a lavabender. Team Korra member Bolin also becomes a lavabender by the end of the Book, and is the sole practitioner in Book 4.
    • Large mass moving: Kyoshi literally bent a large area of land miles away from the mainland to create Kyoshi's Island. I doubt any regular bender could even attempt that!
    • Create storms: okay this one I mostly made up, but in book 2 episode 1 Yangchen was shown creating powerful winds that roughly blew a large field.
    • All of these are a matter of power and not technique. Moving landmasses and creating storms is basically the same as moving a boulder or creating a gust, it just takes a lot more power. As for the special techniques, such as lightningbending, lavabending, bloodbending or metalbending, Avatars don't seem any better at it than some normal benders (Aang didn't learn any of those, for example, and Korra only learned metalbending). Which is understandable, because Avatar is basically Jack-of-All-Trades on massive amount of dope compensating for being Master of None (or just their native element).

The genders of adjacent Avatars of the same nations are always different
As in, the Avatar four incarnations later. We currently know of six adjacent avatars, and we get the pairings of Kuruk (male) and Korra (female), as well as Yangchen (female) and Aang (male), which fits. This also means that Korra's sucessor will be male, to pair with Kyoshi being female.

The gender of Raava changes based on the gender of the Avatar.
Firstly, the only real change Raava and Vaatu would have from changing gender is their voice, they are otherwise genderless beings. But there is actually a line of logic here. In the season 1 finale, when Aang enters the Avatar State, just before he merges with the ocean spirit he speaks in a deep voice, a voice that doesn't align to any of the past Avatars we hear speak in the series. Now it could be argued that it was the Ocean spirit, but that doesn't make sense as they hadn't merged yet, therefore the most logical option is that it is Raava's voice.

Now why then, in the flashbacks, was Raava female to the male Wan? well I have 2 theories there.

1 - Raava only began changing genders when Wan died and was reincarnated, Raava was already female when they merged with Wan, so they remained female until they reincarnated, at which point they were effected by the gendered nature of humanity.

2 - Raava may have become male when they merged with Wan, or even been male when they met, but we witnessed his story through Korra, and she heard Raava and Vaatu as they are now, for her, instead of as they truly were for Wan.

Obviously if the theory is true to keep their mirror opposites deal, Vaatu would, presumably, change genders when Raava does.