|Reviews for Distorted Reality|
| Guest chapter 65 . 12/24/2022
The story of Gyatso is happier than what he got in canon, but still sad. So he spent the last fifty years not looking for other Air Nomad survivors or recording the bending knowledge or reproducing to save the Air Nomad heritage but just hid in a village? He never left? His sky bison must have died during the attack right? And he didn't even hear of Sangmu being kept in a museum as a genocide trophy? And he wasn't even part of the White Lotus? Kind of a letdown if it ends there for him
| CowTrain chapter 69 . 12/24/2022
This chapter has surprisingly become one of my favorites. Perhaps it's due to the simple beauty of the character's storytelling, conveying emotions, feelings, and a message that is easy to understand, or the prologue's relative freedom from being obligated to address main storyline points, somewhat like how the "Interlude: Sorrows of the Moonlit Mother" was also so well-crafted. Despite its simplicity and extraneity compared to the past chapter, this little epilogue was still profound enough to appreciate, enjoy and ponder. It acts as a great send-off for Distorted Reality, paying homage to new beginnings while signaling a beautiful end to this wonderful story!
Before I start the rest of this review, I would like to say that this review will act as a review to the epilogue as well as my comments on your Final Author's Notes. I plan on posting my Final Overall Review of Distorted Reality on the Final Author's Notes review page (If there's enough space for me to do so, fingers crossed).
The epilogue opening with another dream sequence of Aang in the ravaged world of the canon world initially was an unexpected start because after the previous chapter, I thought that it was time to look to the future of Aang's canon world. Recalling the hellish landscape of the burned and desolate land after Aang is separated from his friends, the injured Aang finds himself taken in by a group of refugees, of which a woman tends to his wounds, but Aang remains skeptical and fearful of revealing his identity. As Aang travels with the refugees, he learns of their joyful resilience in this time, of the group's diversity of backgrounds, their willingness to sing and dance around the fire, and of Aang's caretaker Song willing to care of Aang despite thinking of him as possibly being a bandit due to his tattoos. Most revelatory for Aang were his discovery that the toddler amongst the group was Hope, the daughter of the refugee family whom he helped cross the Serpent's Pass, as well as Song's showing him a small growth of moon flowers thriving in the partial shade of of forest area that was near the first area razed by Ozai's first landfall. In the end, this story is about both literally and figuratively finding hope, or as Ogro writes, finding "the courage to try again" and fight for a better future. His experience with the refugees inspires him to enter the Spirit World and begin the events of Distorted Reality's prologue.
Told in parallel to these flashbacks is Azula's finding her own new beginning in the rebuilding world of the post-War era. The story follows Azula's perspective in showing Sokka's speech declaring the end of the Water Empire and the Water Tribes reaching out to the world to help rebuild and establish a new era of peace (that, in recalling Gilak's comment on Sokka's similarity to Hakoda, also includes Sokka using a ship metaphor to represent the Water Tribes, very creative of Sokka), the blossoming relationships between Nagi and Yue as well as Ghashiun and Haru as each return to their duties, Ty Lee's telling the news that the Fire Nation had successfully fought off Northern Fleet and that she and her six sisters all plan to rule after the father steps down, Jet and Toph's competitive relationship in the former's re-establishment of the Freedom Fighters in the form of the two separate groups of Builders and Protectors and the latter's leading the former earthbenders of the Wolf Skulls to help re-establish Gaoling, the Distorted World's original Aang's needing protectors and mentors, and Katara and Hama's looking out for each other, the latter having had sent the Wolverine-Skunk clan to assist in the Battle of Aniak'to earlier.
However, we feel that Azula is not happy with her place in this new era. She avoids the new Aang's eye contact during the opening ceremony, instead focusing on locating threats in the crowd in a manner reminiscent of Fire Lord Azula's influence. She stays out of Yue and Nagi's conversation as well as the overall revelries in general, rejects Ty Lee's proposal for Azula to serve as one of her advisors in the Golden City, and, despite enjoying herself with the Freedom Fighters and Toph, finds herself somewhat out of place with them. Ty Lee had recognized Azula's discomfort, pinning it on Azula missing Aang. Sokka too recognizes her planning and in assuming that it's about Aang too, suggests telling the Distorted Reality Aang that he should not feel guilty for his existence. It is when Azula meets her father (who's awkward discomfort is so well expressed here) that she reveals her thoughts and plans: She wants to travel through the Spirit World to go to Aang's world, not due to her love for Aang, but rather because she believes she has a duty to fight for the people of his world and end the war. Knowing that it's a one-way trip, she had come to say her goodbyes to her father in which, after Ozai says he accepts her decision and tells her that her mother may be still alive in that world, the two embrace, marking a loving conclusion between this father and daughter's relationship.
Iroh, Zuko, and Mai had been eavesdropping outside. In addition to promising Iroh, who has both canon and Distorted Reality Iroh merged within him, to send his love to his canon world family, Azula expands on her future plans: Azula will travel the same way Xai Bai did of physically transporting his body through the Spirit World to the parallel universe instead of acting as a spirit in her counterpart's head. After entrusting Zuko to teach the Distorted Reality Aang firebending, the two say they will miss the other, marking a loving conclusion between this brother and sister. As she prepares to leave the Distorted Reality world to reach the canon world via the Great Banyan, she tells the Distorted Reality Aang, who is seeing her off, not to feel any guilt for his existence as Sokka suggested earlier, that Aang must protect the Distorted Reality World, and that she feels obligated to defeat Fire Lord Azula and restore peace to canon Aang's world. Meeting with the lion-turtle as the final line of the story, Azula's story is not only about Distorted Reality's conclusion, but also Azula realizing her purpose of fighting for those in need, which requires her own new start in canon Aang's world.
As an aside, while I know that Distorted Reality is for the most part completed according to Ogro with this epilogue being its final installment, I think it's a little fun to theorize what Azula plans to do in her journey to canon Aang's world. As I have commented on the Distorted Reality Discord, as opposed to traveling exactly perpendicular across timelines from the Distorted Reality world to the canon world, which would be immediately post-Sozin's Comet and three years before canon Aang travels to the Distorted Reality world, I argue that Azula is most likely traveling to the exact time when canon Aang wakes up from his Spirit Journey to the Distorted Reality world. That being said, I believe that whether Azula becomes confined to remaining in the canon world or becomes an agent of space-time similar to Xai Bau is largely left open-ended. For the former, Ogro makes it clear that Azula's trip is seen as a "one-way trip." For the latter, Ogro writes about Azula and Zuko's hope that they could connect again one day. Regardless, I think that in a post-Distorted Reality world, Azula arriving at canon Aang's world to wreck Fire Lord Azula, help canon Aang save his world, and reunite with canon Aang is all that feels certain to me.
Two parallel storylines, a time and world apart, yet both culminating into a new journey for both of them that seems to unite their two paths into one time and one world once again. With Aang finding hope to keep pushing on in a prelude dream sequence of Distorted Reality and Azula recognizing her motivation to continue fighting to protect people in need, these two stories exemplify how an ending can also be seen as a new beginning. Culminating in open-ended possibilities of what could happen in a post-Distorted Reality world, both within the story itself and with Ogro's writing as a whole, this epilogue has done an excellent job leaving us readers a beautiful sense of hope for the future and that a better future is worth fighting for.
What a journey it has been! Thank you from the deepest of my heart for this amazing work that is Distorted Reality! I remember first running into Distorted Reality through one of Rocket Axxonu's comics posted on Reddit three years ago. I followed the cited link to your story, where I immediately fell in love with your work. Looking back on my first comment I made on Distorted Reality in my favorite chapter "The Serpent's Pass," my thoughts were relatively young and basic. I praised your work's nuance and maturity in tackling the harshness of a dismal reality. I was enthralled with how you flipped and altered the roles of all the characters in such a sophisticated manner. Most of all, as an adamant Azula fan, I loved how you wrote Aang's comforting of Azula during one of her breakdowns fighting Fire Lord Azula, for you recognized that there and then, people like Azula are not inherently evil and should be condemned; they have the capability of becoming good and are deserving of empathy. Since then, I've watched how you've taken those ideas and initial premises and have since surpassed what I had initially thought was already amazing. Our friendship as well as my relatively professional and in-depth reviews did not come overnight; they all took time to develop. As such, in addition to writing this amazing work, I want to thank you for being such a strong and impactful part of my own personal and professional life as well!
Regarding what is next, I don't want you to feel any kind of pressure to write an expansion of Distorted Reality whatsoever. Anything you write should come from what you feel you want to write. Whatever you write in the future, I'll follow. As such, I'm fully supportive of your Final Author's Notes plans!
In addition, I would like to thank Rocket Axxonu for their passionate, super descriptive comments throughout Distorted Reality's review section. Sometimes, there's things I too want to express but I feel like I either don't have the place nor the way to express those feelings about the text. Rocket Axxonu does such a great job expressing how elements within Distorted Reality connect with one another in an emotional and aesthetic manner. If I want to know how I would express how I feel about a chapter, I would refer to Rocket Axxonu and her reviews. Thank you so much for your comments Rocket Axxonu!
My final review is going to take a while, perhaps a week, more likely a month or so. While I am primarily going to take a long time to write this review in order to get some of my own life in order, I hope this arrangement will also give me time to reflect, review, and ponder how much Distorted Reality has accomplished so I can write the best overall review I can. In the meantime, I agree with Roth Prime's overall review for the most part. While I think their praises and criticisms are overall pretty fair, I personally liked the philosophical discussions during the fights, for it kept them rather thoughtful. I also disagree with Roth Prime on continuing the story of Distorted Reality since I like keeping Distorted Reality as the single unit that Ogro has conceived of it so far. Nevertheless, I look forward to writing my fuller review in the future.
Thank you so much for this work once again Ogro! Hope you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and congratulations once again on writing such a magnificent magnum opus! I hope the best for you in the years to come!
| johnnylee619 chapter 70 . 12/23/2022
Whew, thank God I started reading this fanfic only two years ago, hahaha!
You have an amazing comeback, btw. I don’t think there’s any fanfic out there that ever pulled through what you did. It’s totally poetic too that your struggle parallels with the theme of this story, if you think about it.
| Rocket Axxonu chapter 70 . 12/23/2022
Ha, you know, when you’re working on a creative project of one kind or another sometimes it can be hard to articulate exactly just what can be so wonderful about doing it—or even if you think you know what you love most, sometimes it can still lead to experiences you never would have guessed. I’d always argue that writing and other acts of creativity are fulfilling in and of themselves for personal growth, life-enriching in the way they encourage you to stretch your mind and build new skills, yet experience has shown me that they are also potentially a powerful way to find or build a community. It’s amazing to think that through this story I’ve met people and made friends I would never have otherwise, and a story that has had that kind of impact is so profound in a way that’s hard to describe.
I still remember back after watching Avatar for the first time browsing through ffnet and coming across the summary for this story, and being strangely drawn in by these notions of an alternate imagining I never would have considered. And even a few chapters in being excited to find fanart from readers from years ago depicting the story (incidentally was totally spoiled on the Katara-blue spirit reveal because I was looking at fanart before I should lol), looking at links to translations and the movie trailer by Mramirez1991 and stories other people had written, and being so drawn into the story just loving that there was more additional content and wanting more. To my view then, the place seemed quiet and there was no one around, as might be expected with most old fanfictions you might mine from the ffnet archive, but I was still excited for the story, imagining all the possible content in various forms, even if I was the only one around who still wanted it. Back then unrealistic, overambitious imaginings of turning something I’d read into comic scenes weren’t new to me, and I assumed it would be a notion that would come and go like the others, but for some reason, after the idea had time to fester, I decided to take the plunge. I never could have guessed then where it would lead.
This story has been an amazing journey to get to follow. It’s served as impetus and inspiration for work of my own, in the process helping me prove to myself that I can do things creatively I’d always assumed would be too difficult or out of my depth, and unexpectedly allowed me to meet people and make friends and be a little bit a part of a community in a way I never imagined. It’s been wonderful getting to experience this story, first when it seemed abandoned, then again in a new way with all the new content, and along the way seeing other people inspired by it in all the different ways creative work has the power to inspire and bring people together. Thank you so much for this epic journey—the story may be over, but I’m as always looking forward to continuing to be inspired by it and what other content may still come along in future.
This is always the question when something comes to an end—some famous authors continue to write on and on and never seem to want to stop, others only write one or two books/series and are then satisfied to have their magnum opus done, and move on to other non-writing pursuits. Still others write a complete series and feel completely satisfied with it, only for years or decades later to come back and realize they’re once again excited to add something more after all.
Whatever ends up being your path, I hope you end up finding more of what you enjoy. This is such a tremendous accomplishment that many more people will find and enjoy in years to come, and hope you also find more to inspire you, whatever form that inspiration may take, too.
Thank you again!
| Couchpotato88 chapter 2 . 12/23/2022
Question: why can’t Aang bend the other elements in this universe?
| Couchpotato88 chapter 1 . 12/23/2022
I’m a little confused but nevertheless intrigued. I’m guessing Aang lost the war here and is being given a do over
| ak rokka chapter 70 . 12/23/2022
good ending I just hope azula and aang find each other and become happy
| Roth Prime chapter 69 . 12/22/2022
I'm not going to go on to say that I've been following this fanfiction for a while now. I've known a while longer, but I really got into it around September and since then I've been reading this story religiously. Even so, it feels like years, and I guess I should consider myself lucky for getting into the story so late so that I wouldn't have to wait for years until finally seeing the ending.
I love this story, in general, love it. I love the characters, the twists, how certain characters are different from one another. The cosmology that you set up for the Avatar universe, it see it as being all great. One of my favorite characters is without a doubt Azula. When I first read the story (originally through Axxonu's comic), it was so strange to see Azula acting so rational, caring, and kind. For me, it was like seeing a calm Kratos when I first played the 2018 GoW game. It's just so odd. It strengthens her character even more when she is constantly struggling against her darker counterpart. Showing how different she is from the canon Azula. I also love her relationship with Zuko, actually loving him, despite acting all cool about it. Her strained yet strong relationship with her mother. Her blossoming friendship with Ty Lee and Mai. Her frienemy/rivalry relationship with Katara. Her relationship with Toph, which I really enjoy. Her relationship with her mother. And her relationship with Aang.
What caught me off guard even more was the romance between Aang and Azula. At first, I just shook my head and thought the idea of these two getting together was just crazy. But, after seeing how they interacted, how they genuinely cared for each other, and their straight up chemistry, I fell in love with the ship. As much as I hate to admit it, I cried when I read the last two chapters of the story. Firstly because of being pulled away from the world Aang has come to love as much as his old world, and secondly the tragic romance of Aang and Azula. Azula's decision in the Epilogue just shows how fiercely loyal she is in the end, it's both beautiful and tragic.
The fight scenes are also great, it feel like it's hard to write interesting and engaging fight scenes in written stories, but you do a good job of that. Every single character also stays in character, even Distorted Azula who is technically not Azula, still has many of Azula's personality traits and mannerisms. Also, I usually don't like OC characters in stories, but the few in this story were pretty fun. My favorite is Sangmu.
If I had to talk about what I didn't like about the story, it's a few things. Such as the portals in and out of the spirit world and how the spirits work. I understand that is staying faithful to the current lore of the Avatar universe, the Korra lore. But I just wasn't a big fan of it. Mainly because of LoK which I personally don't like because of how they kind of rewrote how the rules of the universe work. I'm also not the biggest fan of how you gave Zuko firebending, I feel like you could've made him the badass normal like Sokka. To show that Distorted Zuko didn't need firebending like Aang and Azula, and how he could be just as capable without it. But, there are some pretty cool scenes that come from it.
But personally, one of my biggest criticisms about the story is the ending. I feel like you injected way too much in the ending. With so many different characters to follow in different spots, fighting different opponents, Siryu's Moon and Sozin's comet being in the sky at the same time, and many other aspects. I feel like many of them could've been cut out or at least shortened. I understand how tempting it is to inject so much stuff at the ending of a story to make it seem as epic as possible, and show that the two worlds are still colliding. But I feel like there could've been a better way to do it.
I also feel like there is a little two much arguing about philosophy. Or 'Talk No Jutsu' in the story, like between Aang and Wan Shi Tang, or between Aang and Hakoda. Sometimes conversations like this can be good, but I also feel like they can drag on a little too long and become distracting and even boring. But still, not a major flaw.
And about your idea for a sequel you have. Or at least HAD. I feel like a story involving more Multiverse shenanigan's and even time travel, along with the Korra gang coming along would be WAY TOO confusing and complex. If you ever did make a sequel, I would like to see Azula being transported to Aang's world as she fought along side him and the rest of the Gaang against Firelord Azula and Phoenix King Ozai. But that's just my thoughts.
With the kind of impact this story has, I don't feel like this is the end. With Axxonu continuing with their DR comic series and other fans telling their own spin off stories, I feel like this story will keep on chugging.
This story is spectacular. And I believe deciding to come back to continue to write it is a great decision. This has been a wonderful experience, thanks for the story, and I'll be excited to see what you come up with next.
| Lady Delamort chapter 3 . 12/21/2022
Me parece curioso como se logra enlazar el aprender los elementos con el estado emocional de Aang. En el programa el agua es el elemento más fácil para él debido a su personalidad y como fluía libre pese a la carga de sus hombros. Pero aquí ya ha perdido demasiado que se ha endurecido, necesita poder, el fuego es poder. Es curiosamente el más accesible para él en este momento. Y me duele como dice que no volvió a viajar por diversiónEstá muy dolido :c
| Lady Delamort chapter 2 . 12/21/2022
Siento bien fuerte que Aang haya tenido una vida horrible de muertes, despedidas, tristeza y frustración y que las únicas personas que estuvieran con él desde el principio, ahora sean sus más peores enemigosSiento que se le romperá el corazón cuando vea a Katara. Y todavía con Azula le costará mucho, incluso si se siente mal, fue un rostro que vio hasta en sus peores pesadillas y ni hablar de cuando vea a Ozai. Esta bien que sea un poco semejante al principio del programa, así se siente más el sentimiento y el contraste. Ánimos!
| Lady Delamort chapter 1 . 12/20/2022
¡No sabía que esto era fanfic! Solamente había visto el cómic y vaya que me estaba perdiendo de una joya! Omg, me encanta desde donde comienza y como usas la visión de los avatares para empezar! Y vaya! Incluso salió el primer avatar, estoy feliz de captar esa referencia. ¡Esto es genial!
| xavierscott chapter 70 . 12/20/2022
I started this story during the pandemic. A little before your return. Seeing this story evolve as you’ve continued it and rewrote has been an amazing journey. Seeing these characters grow as they stumbled and crawled was fascinating. You did a great job with this story from start to finish. If you ever decide to make a sequel or create another story I’ll definitely be reading.
| Guest chapter 66 . 12/20/2022
So the invasion is cool and all, but what's the point of evacuating their forces? Everyone should be dead. Not only did Hakoda make the second moon appear ahead of schedule, he also released chi inhibiting gases that make enemy weak and disoriented. I can see the allies surviving one of those trumpcards, but both should get them slaughtered before they can reorganize. Is it because Hakoda left too few warriors behind?
| CowTrain chapter 68 . 12/19/2022
The storm has cleared, revealing that we have reached the plateau at this mountain top. Distorted Reality's long journey has come to an end. Tying up the smaller story lines while facing the work's overall conclusion with strength and conviction, the story has reached the conclusion in a way that I believe is probably the best ending that this story could have ever achieved.
"Howl of the Wolf Princess" begins by tying up the smaller storylines of the finale. Setting the scene with Sedna and Seiryu's distant spiritual battle affecting all around them in both the mortal and Spirit realms, Toph and the Freedom Fighters defeat the Combustion Man. Piandao and the White Lotus fend off the Water Nation Fleet attacking Agna Qel'a while Sangmu cleanses the Spirit Oasis through the power of friendship and music. Haru and Lu Ten with the help of the Wolverine-Skunk clan keep on fighting on the frontlines of Aniak'to. Suki and Mai defeat Seyuk and Inuna, and Shimo yields to Yue. For the most part, the small battles throughout the land are ending in victory for the Gaang.
However, it is the main conflict between Aang, Hakoda, Sokka, Katara, and Azula that takes the center stage. Aang's actions towards Hakoda begins much like ATLA's finale: instead of letting Hakoda die, Aang chooses to spare him. When Hakoda continues to resist despite his defeat, Aang enters into the Avatar State, though instead of activating it in rage, he activates it out of necessity to spare Hakoda by taking away his bending. It seems that this main structure of ATLA's finale was so good that Ogro decided to keep it, and that is not meant to be a criticism. Since Aang had the power to spare and neutralize the power of Hakoda, someone who symbolized the greatest concentration of harm and evil in this world but still wanted to make the world a better place, and give him a chance to make amends for their damage, isn't it right for a person with value like Aang to take such merciful action?
Interestingly, the ending shifts to a balanced focus between Azula, Sokka, and Katara's fates in this world. Azula is the first to realize the futility of fighting and becomes a metaphorical phoenix of peace and harmony. When she faces Katara in a fair no-gimmick battle, Azula also faces her inner Fire Lord side as well. Azula's deadly blue fire fighting against the pressure of Katara's sphere of water and Fire Lord Azula's pessimism gradually gives way to her protective fire of white, signifying her breaking out of the her physical and mental barriers. She realizes that in the end, she must face and stand up to herself:sShe leaves her fight with Katara, flies to the battle between the Water and Earth navies, and puts herself in the middle of the fight, blasting the Water Tribe with white fire, putting up a barrier of white between the two fleets. At the same time, she ends her struggle with her Fire Lord Azula side by rejecting Fire Lord Azula's presence. Azula becomes the light as opposed to Fire Lord Azula's darkness; she finds her own inner strength; she finds herself.
Sokka's fate is more selfless compared to Azula's more personal battle. In replacing Azula as Katara's opponent, amongst the collapsing merging spirit and mortal worlds, Sokka seeked to keep her at bay so that Aang could arrive with Hakoda. Pushing against Sedna's recalcitrant desire for blood revenge and Hakoda and Katara's desire for the preservation of the empire, in light of coming to understand the outer world's fear of the Water Empire as well as his desire to make the world a better place for all people, Sokka choses to promise the end of the Water Empire and return the Water Tribes back into a confederation. With Sedna satisfied with Sokka's promise as well as his protection of Sangmu, Sedna accepts Sokka's terms, ending with Sokka leaving with Aang and Hakoda to Spirit World.
If Azula and Sokka had reached the end of their respective journeys, the former a personal journey of self-definition and the latter a journey of understanding, Katara's journey can be seen as starting a new beginning. She had been chasing her dream of ruling the world as the Empress of the Water Empire, hoping to kill Hakoda and all the others in the process. However, like Fire Lord Azula, such a dream of power and malevolence wasn't truly hers throughout. Starting from some of the highest seats of power in a society that pressured her to do so to pursue more power to finding herself free from such manipulative power, she's left with only her own choices to make in the middle of the iceberg. While it may seem wrong for Aang and Sokka to leave her in the snow, as Aang says, he cannot force Katara to make her choices; she is given a chance to make her own choices and create a new path for herself.
With the defeat of the Water Tribe forces for the most part and both Seiryu's Moon and Suza's Comet departing, the ending comes to focus on Aang's final fate in this distorted reality. As the Aang stands on rocky precipice repairing the physical and spiritual damage throughout Aniak'to, we know his choice has been made: In a difficult moment yet mature manner, saying his loving goodbyes to Azula and to everyone else, he chose to return back to his original world. Even though it is arguably the only best solution, it is still painful to feel Aang's separation from a world and people that we as the audience have grown to see Aang become accustomed to after all these years.
It is fitting that Distorted Reality ends on the astral path, the site of many beginnings and many ends, with the beginning Avatar of it all accompanying him. Distorted Reality had started with the Avatars sending Aang to help him see the world from another perspective with a more focused perspective that anyone is capable of good and evil. Distorted Reality focuses on the choice aspect of determining one's being, arguing through Wan and through many of the characters' transformations that despite the circumstances, people are defined by the choices they make, not necessarily the situations they are born into. As Aang reflects, perhaps this is part of the reason why Distorted Reality, and by extension, ATLA, has been great: the story is about coming to understanding others in order to find a peaceful solution of balance in the world. However, it is the last and main reason why the Avatars sent Aang to the other world that resonates deeply throughout this work: self-forgiveness. Aang had begun the journey with a heart full of hatred and sorrow for all who had been lost, all who had caused harm, but most of all, all of his personal failures and mistakes. In the end, Aang had learned to accept his mistakes and keep moving forward. This does not mean that he loses his ability to love due to the pain of loss. As Wan says, "Grief has a way of staying with us. But when it builds up in you and feels like it's about to burst, let it burst. Let it burst, and fill up again with your love for them." To round off this message that that one must be able to forgive oneself, Aang and Wan surmise that perhaps merging the Avatars of light and dark may have perhaps led to continuous internal conflict within the Avatar or just the Avatar's merging into the tapestry of the universe as a whole, that there is nothing wrong with a little bit of light and darkness in a single human soul since balance means nobody is perfect, and that in the end, nobody is alone in the path of life.
In my preliminary analysis based on my reading of the chapters alone for the most part, I believe that Ogro did not consciously develop this final theme of self-forgiveness in the beginning of the writing process, but rather unconsciously developed this theme over the course of writing the Distorted Reality pre-hiatus section marked by the last chapter written before Ogro's ten-year hiatus of Book Two: Earth, Chapter Eleven: The Serpent's Pass. Throughout the majority of Book One: Fire and Book Two: Earth, Chapters One through Eight, Aang struggles to grasp his new reality he finds himself in. With those who were friends now enemies and vice versa in a mirror world of his own and coming from a world where he faced defeat, Aang constantly lies, cheats, and steals, mistrusting those all around him while constantly feeling the guilt of his failures of his old world. Starting at "Bitter Truth," however, Aang starts to open up to his companions, beginning the lifting of many of Aang's burdens through the therapeutic nature of speaking about one's problems. Perhaps trying to understand what to do with Aang's difficulty with coming to peace with his inner guilts and feelings may have contributed to Ogro's difficulty writing in this final part of the pre-hiatus period. Although Ogro wrote what I still believe is one of the best moments in all of Distorted Reality in "The Serpent's Pass" when Aang express his desire to understand and save Azula from her issues, a moment that demonstrates Aang's coming to terms his own fears and mistakes towards his views of Fire Lord Azula in own world, Ogro began their ten-year hiatus.
I believe that Ogro's ten-year hiatus was for the best for everyone and everything involved with Distorted Reality. It was not only a period where Ogro took time to live their own life, nor was it only a perfect time for ATLA fans to rediscover the fanfiction like myself, especially during the ATLA Golden Age Revival of Summer 2020, it was also a time for Ogro to start to move Distorted Reality in a more directed direction. While the theme of self-forgiveness was always a part of Distorted Reality, I believe that in the post-hiatus period of Book Two: Chapter Twelve: City of Strife, Ogro started to at least consciously keep this theme of self-forgiveness in mind. In addition to the more complex planning needed for Distorted Reality that Ogro had developed upon approaching the towering walls of Ba Sing Se, Ogro begins to focus more on the future, namely, besides the fact that the Aang will have to face Hakoda and the Water Empire, what is he to do about existing in this distorted world and his home world? While I oversimplify the following thirty-five chapters, Aang gradually becomes more at peace with his place in the distorted world, growing to accept that he must do all that he can to restore balance and peace in this world, returning to his own world being one of those conditions. Nightmares and thoughts of Aang's old world still persist, but instead of focusing on Aang's mistakes, they start to transform into moments that illustrate the difference between what had happened in his own world as opposed to the more fortunate occurrences of the distorted world. In that sense, Ogro, in writing Aang's second chance in this distorted world, had actively begun to shift Aang's perspective from one of regret and despair to one of forgiveness of himself and others as well as hope for a peaceful future.
With that, Distorted Reality has reached its finale. There are still a few small loose threads running, but that is what the epilogue is for. In tying the main knot of the story by returning to what this story was all about and a little more, Distorted Reality has come to a wonderful close. Like Aang standing at the mountain top at the start of every episode of ATLA, we have witnessed a somber, thoughtful, yet beautiful end to a great work. Every ending is also a new beginning: Aang still has much to do in his original world, and the distorted world also has a new Aang to raise in addition to needing to clean up the chaos of the many years of war. Regardless and most importantly, however, is the message that achieving goodness, balance, and peace is possible through mutual understanding, support, and forgiveness. Despite our flaws, everybody has the potential to make the world a better place.
| MistypoolWatershadow chapter 57 . 12/19/2022