Hello there. I'm Kittenn1011, nice to meet you. Just thought I'd introduce myself when beginning to post in a different fandom. I've been working on perfecting this for a few days, and I think I'm finally happy with the result, so I thought I'd share this little analytical piece. Hope you enjoy it.
I had a hard time pinning down an exact moment Korra unblocked the Fire and Water and Light Chakras, but the moments I ended up using felt about right to me.
The Avatar needed freedom to grow— Korra knew this, somewhere deep inside her, but somewhere along the lines, the White Lotus had forgotten. A study of Korra's spiritual growth through Book One and the opening of the seven chakras.
Back when the Order of the White Lotus had cooped up in the compound in the South Pole, Korra wanted nothing more to be free. She hated to admit it, even to herself, but it had killed her a little bit inside, every time she had to tell the guards, "I'm just going for a walk. I'm not going far," but the only thing that she enjoyed more than bending was her runs with Naga.
That was, until she experienced the freedom of running away. Suddenly, the world was open to her. She could go to Republic City and experience life. No longer would she be stuck hiding in the compound, experiencing nothing. As the Avatar, something had been missing from her spirit— and she felt her spirit open up, ready to experience the world and develop properly…
She would learn to airbend, and she would prove to those guards that she could manage to get the spirit-connection thing down if it was the last thing she did.
The Earth chakra is located at the base of the spine. It deals with survival and is blocked by fear.
Korra had never really had a reason to fear anything before in her life.
He could take her bending. The thought had echoed through her head every time she reported to Tarrlok, every time she faced an equalist, and every time someone accused her of being scared of Amon. She wasn't scared— she couldn't be scared. She was the Avatar. Aang had dealt with much worse— Amon couldn't be any worse than Ozai had been. And yet, she had never seen anything more frightening than watching Amon remove the bending of a screaming crime lord.
She wasn't scared, though! She challenged Amon. The Avatar wasn't scared of anything!
When the sudden sound of the clock below her managed to make her jump, she only barely managed to convince herself that it wasn't true.
"Guess you're a no-show, Amon," she said to herself. "Who's scared now?"
Still you, her subconscious replied.
Shaking off the thought, she finally allowed herself to get comfortable. So what? Amon was just as scared of her as she was of him, at least.
When she hit the ground and was dragged into the darkness, the last semblances of bravery slipped away from her. The only thing she could do was throw fire around— bright and warm, flames usually made her feel safe, but seeing the menacing masks of her attackers in brief moments of light only scared her more. Their fingers pressed into pressure points and she slipped out of consciousness.
She awoke being held to face Amon. She couldn't hide the fear from herself, and she knew Amon could see it in her eyes. His voice was steady; he did not fear her back. She winced away as he held his hand towards her face— a hand that could remove her bending from her.
When she wrapped her arms around Tenzin and sobbed into his chest, she finally admitted, "I was so terrified! I felt so helpless."
"It's all right," Tenzin replied. "The nightmare is over."
"You were right. I've been scared this whole time. I've never felt like this before and I don't know what to do."
"Admitted your fears is the first, and most difficult, step in overcoming them."
The water chakra deals with pleasure and is blocked by guilt.
The White Lotus guards and Katara had always been good at making her feel bad for not trying her hardest or escaping the compound when they wouldn't let her leave, though not many knew her well enough to do so. Only one of the masters who had taught her could manage as well as they could— if she didn't put her all into the rare opportunities she had to train with Zuko when he would come to visit Katara, he knew how to scold her properly. When she left the compound, Tenzin quickly took to the art himself quite by accident, favouring short disappointed looks to get his point across.
None of it compared to the moment she realized she had betrayed Bolin.
And as he ran off crying, she dealt with it in the way her emotionally stunted childhood taught her to deal with everything.
Denial. Mako yelled at her, and she yelled right back. But she couldn't deny that creeping remorse as he hurried after his brother.
After a complete mess of a match, she watched the two brothers at peace with one another again and realized what she had to do. Denial wouldn't get her anywhere.
"I know things are confusing right now, but I hope we can still be friends," to Mako.
To Bolin, "I'm sorry I hurt your feelings. I didn't mean to let things get so out of hand."
Everything was all right between the Fire Ferrets, and Korra finally forgave herself.
The fire chakra deals with willpower and is blocked shame. It is located in the stomach.
Korra felt ashamed over a lot of things, first and foremost, her inability to airbend— but she was learning. The shame melted away slowly as she managed to get the hang of moving like an airbender, despite the fact that she couldn't actual bend any air. She could learn it— she would one day be a good Avatar, despite it all.
Accepting that had been the first step towards gaining proper willpower. When she found herself ashamed of her accusations against Hiroshi Sato when they were proved wrong, she continued to tether around her old friend, denial— she denied she was wrong, but only because she knew she was right!
And when her friends looked at her with such disappointed faces, she didn't feel ashamed anymore. She didn't need to deny anything— she didn't need to be ashamed for doing what she had to do. It didn't matter if she was wrong, or if she was wrong next time, or the time after that, it was her duty to continue— her duty was to the world— and being ashamed of it was just fooling herself.
The air chakra is located at the heart. It deals with love and is blocked by grief.
She was a failure as the Avatar. She couldn't airbend and she couldn't meditate and she had never entered the Avatar State and she couldn't do anything against Amon. And she wasn't ashamed of it, nor scared for her life, or guilty for not being able to save others because of it: she just felt a deep pain in her chest that she couldn't quite put words to describe. She had never lost anyone before, but she felt as if she was losing herself— her entire identity was the Avatar and she couldn't even be that properly.
Staring intently at the giant statue of Aang across the bay, she couldn't help but cry. Everything had been so much simpler when she only had to worry about mastering water, earth, and fire. She had not realized how much more she needed to be. She didn't have to be miserable about failing.
She hated that feeling— Korra couldn't cry. Korra was stronger than that! Crying was for the weak—
A call in the distance cut off her instant denial, "Korra? You out here? Korra!"
Pabu climbed up her body. She didn't flinch when he began to lick away her tears, nor when the bushes rustled and Bolin came out, "There you are," followed by Mako and Asami.
"Are you okay?" asked Bolin.
"I'm fine," said Korra, but she didn't even convince the others that time, let alone herself.
"C'mon," said Mako. "What's wrong? You can tell us."
She sighed. "How am I supposed to save the city when I can't even learn airbending. I'm the worst Avatar ever. I just feel," she paused, searching for a word, "alone."
"That's nonsense," said Asami. "You're amazing."
"Yeah," agreed Mako, "and remember, Aang hadn't mastered all the elements when he was battling the Fire Nation. He was just a little kid."
"And he wasn't alone. He had his friends to help him." Bolin held his finger up. "Look, the arena may be shut down, but we're still a team. The new Team Avatar!"
"We got your back, Korra," said Mako. The three moved in and held their hands together. "And we can save the city. Together."
She smiled. They were right. She wasn't amazing— but they were. She was the Avatar and she wasn't alone. She had the three greatest friends she could ever imagine by her side.
"Yeah," she said, placing her hand on top of their hands, "let's do it."
And she felt her pain flow away.
The sound chakra is located at the throat. It deals with truth and is blocked by lies.
Tarrlok was Yakone's son. He was a bloodbender.
So was Amon— or, as she should call him, Noatak.
He was using the idea of equality for a rebellion for nobody's sake but his own. The rebellion was built on a lie.
"This whole time, Amon has been one step ahead of us, but finally, we have the advantage. We know the truth about him. If we expose him as a bender in front of all his supporters…"
"At the rally…"
"We could take away his true power…"
"And undermine the whole revolution!"
She didn't need to pretend she knew what she was doing anymore because she knew exactly what she had to do, and she didn't have to deny that Amon was human just like her.
The light chakra is located in the forehead. It deals with insight and is blocked by illusion.
"I told you I would destroy you."
Her bending was gone. She could not feel the water in the air around her, not the song of the Earth below her, nor the life in the fire that Mako was bending on the other side of the room. And the pain of it consumed her. Bending was her entire identity as the Avatar.
He scooped up her body and began to run.
Well, her subconscious insisted, she hadn't lost everything yet.
"Mako," she choked out, "my bending."
"Everything will be alright," he said. "We just need to get out of here."
She hit the ground again. Amon had Mako.
She meant to produce fire— it was gone, but it was instinctive to her. Yet, instead of a blast of fire, Amon and Mako were thrown down the hallway by a blast of air.
"I… I can airbend?" She clenched her fist. "I can airbend!"
She started throwing punches, her shaky forms more a mix of the other elements' than airbending's. Differently— training airbending forms had given her muscle memory another, more suitable, set of moves to control the air, but so similar that she couldn't help but be surprised.
For a few moments she had been a non-bender, and she was still alive no different, and she could airbend no differently than she had bended water and earth and fire. The four elements were one whole.
Benders and non-benders were the same. Division was meaningless.
And Amon was no more.
The last chakra is the thought chakra, located at the crown of the head. It deals with pure cosmic energy and is blocked by earthly attachments.
The world needed a proper Avatar.
"It's going to be all right, Korra."
The world needed the Avatar to bend all four elements and bring balance to it.
"No, it's not."
She grabbed her parka and walked out the door.
The world didn't need Korra.
Mako had followed her. "Korra, wait."
"Go away," she told him, her voice cold.
"I will," said Mako, "but I just want you to know, I'm here for you."
"No," said Korra. "I mean go away, back to Republic City. Get on with your life."
"What are you talking about?"
"I'm not the Avatar anymore. You don't need to do me any favours." She turned away from him and began to walk off. She couldn't bear to look at Mako's face any longer.
He grabbed her shoulder. "I don't care if you're the Avatar or not."
She knew that. That was the problem.
"Listen, when Tarrlok took you, I was losing my mind at the thought of never seeing you again. I realized," he paused, "I love you, Korra." He pressed his hand against her cheek.
She wanted nothing more than to lean into him and kiss him, hug him and sob, let him wipe away her tears and stay with him forever. She grabbed onto his hand, warm against her, and pulled it away. "I… I can't." She needed to get away from him before he convinced her to change her mind.
She did not respond, simply mounted Naga and raced out of the old compound, where everything had begun, forcing herself not to look back. She only looked ahead— ahead to the snowy plains, to the glacial cliffs, and then to the expanse of ocean. She couldn't help it— finally alone, she let the tears run down her cheeks down into the abyss.
She loved living, Avatar or not. She loved her friends and she wanted nothing more than to stay with them. She needed them and she knew they needed her.
But the world needed a proper Avatar, and she couldn't be reincarnated until she was gone. Her knees nearly gave out beneath her and she let herself drop to the ground and curl up. She didn't matter— Avatar Korra was no more and she needed to make way for the next one. The world couldn't take a lifetime without an Avatar just because she was too attached to the world.
"Not now, Tenzin. I just want to be left alone."
"But you called me here," said a voice.
She turned, a smile spreading across her face. "Aang."
"You have finally connected with your spiritual self," he said.
She furrowed her eyebrows. "How?"
"When we hit our lowest point, we are open to the greatest change," replied Aang.
She saw all the Avatars before her— Aang, Roku, Kiyoshi, and so on. Cycles of her existence, all looking onto her, almost proudly. Aang pressed his fingers against her light and sound chakras, and she knew he had restored what she had lost.
She felt the ice below her again, the ground beneath that, and the heat of the sun consumed her very soul as the wind whistled in her ears, and she could feel all her previous lives come together inside of her, all their knowledge and power at one with her own.
Despite her failure at spirituality, the White Lotus had explained to her how she would one day go about mastering the Avatar State. Somewhere along the lines— and she still wasn't quite sure how— she had opened the seven chakras and mastered the Avatar State.
She turned to see Mako staring at her, a soft smile spreading across his face. She ran to him and threw her arms around him. "I love you, too," she said before leaning in for a kiss.