Kataang or Zutara?
This argument has come up a lot, what are your opinions about Kataang and Zutara? Which pairing is more likely? Do you think they're age differences really matter? Everyone's invited! Keep it respectful, though.
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Fantastic Nonsense

Okay.

So, everybody knows about the ongoing war between us, but I think we might be able to get along together.

I want you to state your ship and why you support what you do. Please construct a literate and thought out arguement: I really don't have time to listen to shallow remarks about how Zutara 'looks better together' or how Kataang 'was meant to be' simply because that's what happened.

Personally, I am a h*** Kataanger. I knew from the start (curtesy of my friends) that Katara and Aang were going to end up together, but when I started watching the show, I basically tried to block that from my mind and watch it as though I knew nothing about what was going to happen. And it worked.

And not only did I see the blatant Kataang all the way through the series (which I basically said 'Yep! They're going to end up together' in COTL and was absolutely floored in 'The Headband' over it) but the way it was handled was absolutely beautiful, and did remind me of my friend when she was crushing on a boy that liked her but neither of them knew it. It took some very hard pusing to get them together, which reminds me of this.

The story of Katara and Aang, though not the main point of the series (which was about Aang defeating the Firelord, if you remember) was certainly a main undertone. What started out as friendship (and ever in the very first episode, they seem to have become instant friends right away, slowly developing as something more) grew into a full-fledged romance that not even the Zutarians can deny, even if they don't like it.

The way that their relationship was handled through the first two and a half seasons was epically fantastic, because it reiterated over and over that they had a realationship based on the friendship they had first. Yes, Katara may act overly motherly to him, but come on: sometimes he needs it.

The following links are from a blog on LJ basically psyco-analyzing Katara and Aang's relationship from DOBS to the finale. Well written, well thought out, and it even includes pictures!

I'm not going to put my opinions on the last half of season 3 here, because this blog basically covers them all. I could spend hours and pages ranting about how epic Sozin's Comet was, but that would be wasting both your and my time.

Epic Love, Epic War: Confessions on the Cusp of Invasion (aka, the kis in 'Day of Black Sun')

Kataang 'Rejection' Scenes:

Kataang in the second half of Season 3:

1/13/2011 #1
Fullmetal Catalyst

I'm chuckling right now because I read that last link approximately two minutes ago. Incidentally, the "Rejection Scenes" link could star very prominently in the Guru topic on this forum...it provides a very interesting theory about (not to advertise my post or anything).

To be fair, if someone believes "Zutara looks better" or "Kataang is cuter", that's entirely their prerogative. If they start saying that's why it should be a canon ship, then they're fools. Are you asking for an argument for why a ship works for someone or for an argument for why a ship works from the canon? Because in the canon, I still haven't seen a single Zutaran moment - I didn't catch a whiff back when I was first watching the show (and I like to think I was decidedly neutral, being unaware of such things as "ship wars"), and in rewatching some of the more "Zutara-oriented" episodes I've tried (hard) but just don't see it. The closest I've seen (while trying) is Zuko's taking lightning to the chest, but as I wrote in another thread near the top here, I see that more as a powerful completion of his character arc than as a romantic moment, and I feel like I'm doing a disservice to Zuko if I call it "Zutara".

I've seen a number of people say this on different forums and blogs (and supporting different ships), but from straight canon, Kataang wasn't a question of "if/how/what" but of "when". This seems to have spread enough that a large number of non-Kataangers accept it, and those who don't have been pretty quiet in this forum. I don't think the war is ongoing anymore - although, I don't think there ever should have been a war, but that's with 20/20 hindsight. Kataang is canon, Zutara is not. Both produce wonderful fanart that drives the other ship up the wall, and both have excellent writers who produce good stories (even if one ship must by nature be AU) that also tend to drive the other ship up the wall. I don't want to call this opinion THE authority here...but as the last week or so has been analysis, theories, and differing opinions of roughly similar interpretations, I'd like to pull a Zuko and declare the war here over.

As for my answer to the topic? I'm not going to draw from canon events because I'd be here for the next week compiling everything I see or think I see. Instead I'll draw from the personalities as to why I have, since finishing the show, come to like Kataang. Wrote this piece a few days ago for kicks, dunno if I posted it before:

They complement each other. Aang needs Katara: she cares for him, understands him, more than anyone in this time period ever could. She can help him shoulder the burden of the world with a single embrace. She reminds him who he really is when he needs it most. Katara needs Aang: he cares for her in ways even he doesn't quite recognize. He can help her shoulder the weight of her responsibilities with a laugh, a smile. He reminds her, as no one else does, what it is like to be carefree.

She is the ocean, forever pushed and pulled by her compassion and concerns, sometimes calm, sometimes fierce. He is the wind, always free, always moving, ungrounded and unconnected. In her, he has a firm foundation to cling to when he is drifting. With him, she can let go and find freedom where no limits exist.

He loves her because of who she is and what she has done for him. She loves him because of who he is and what he has done for her. Their bond is not based on superficialities or trivialities. It is based on shared experience, on friendship, on love born from how they provide for each other's deepest desires and strongest needs.

Katara brought Aang back to the world - brought him to life, you might say. Aang took Katara into the world - brought her to life, you might say. La and Tui, each forever leading and following the other. Yin and Yang. Balance.

If you'd like, I can try and do a Zutara one tomorrow.

1/13/2011 . Edited 2/24/2011 #2
Fantastic Nonsense

The Guru topic...I'll have to figure out where that is.

Actually, I just wanted to see different peoples' points of view. I don't want arguements on why ships work or why they don't, just other's opinions on why they like the ships they like.

Trust me, I went back after watching the (amazingly epic) finale to the more 'Zutara-ish' episodes as well, and I couldn't see it either.

The war, while it has effectively simmered down, is probably still brewing. It's kind of like the crazy 'beat the heck out of them' ship war in the HP fandom between the 'Harry/Ginny' shippers and the 'Harry/Hermione' shippers is pretty much pointless to try and end. I've tried there, too. I personally don't get why we (people in fandoms like avatar and Harry Potter) can't get along more like people in some other fandoms (things like the TV Show 'Doctor Who' and the cartoon 'Teen Titans').

For such big fandoms, both of those have amazingly few people who actively 'hate post' people who support pairings they don't like. For Doctor Who, this is an absoutely amazing thing, seeing how large the fandom is and how many pairings there can potentially be. As for Teen Titans, the Robin/Starfire shippers go one way, and the Robin/Raven shippers go the other, and they're all pretty happy. I don't see why something like this can't happen in Harry Potter and here as well.

I really like your opinion on that; I was thinking the same thing, actually, but when I wrote the first part I forgot to mention it, for some reason.

As for the Zutara...if you want, sure.

1/13/2011 . Edited 1/13/2011 #3
Mrs Pettyfer

Hi there..well I ship Zutara first of all. Cadmos I'd love to see your post for Zutara by the way. :P

Anyway, rather than going into huge detail about why I ship them I want to first start with how I came to ship them in the first place. Because like what you all posted, there isn't anything that Katara and Zuko do that can be waved off as romantic. So why on earth would I even consider that ship? Well first of all, to me there's two major types of ships in books, movies, shows, etc. There's the really obvious ships..like Kataang for example. There wasn't a doubt in my mind the series would in end Kataang after the first episode. Then there's the lurking ships..the ones that catch you by surprise and make you think 'Wait a second..' That was Zutara for me. And here's what I mean.

It wasn't really things Katara and Zuko did but rather things the show did that made me consider Zutara. Stupid little things really. Like Aunt Wu's prediction of Katara marrying a powerful bender. My mind went straight to Zuko for some odd reason (before I even shipped them) and I literally laughed at myself for thinking it. Then there's Zuko holding Katara's necklace...and I had another crazy thought. Was this foreshadowing? Surely not..they hate eachother! So I waved it off. Then you've got Jun always teasing and calling them bf and gf...and of course the finale of season 2 when they shared that moment. Things like that. Again this isn't evidance at all...it's just things that made me personally think of Katara and Zuko getting together. Then after I considered it, I began really looking at their personalities and what not and found that I actually enjoyed the idea of them together.

To sum it all up quickly, I prefer this type of shipping in stories. The 'bickering, I hate you at first' pairings. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy for example. I find the fact that Zuko and Katara started off as enemies yet manage to respect, trust, and care for one another by the end more intriguing. I like the fights, the taunting.."Aren't you a big girl now?" the angst..the fact that it's not easy. Their relationship wasn't immediate..they had to earn it. And that type of thing just appeals to me more. I prefer the fights and bickering over the comforting hugs and blushes when I'm reading a story or watching a movie. Not everyone does of course and I'm not bashing anyone who disagrees with me. I'm just saying Zutara really is a personal interest. And Katara sort of annoyed me when she was around Aang. I guess that's the Toph in me...I'm the type of person who when my brother falls down I say 'rub some dirt on it' rather than rushing to his side and giving him a hug, lol. (Don't feel bad for him he's a little brat anyway.) :P

I don't have time to list all the reasons I ship them..maybe some time, lol. But personal appeal is a pretty basic reason. =)

1/14/2011 #4
Fullmetal Catalyst

Was this foreshadowing? Surely not..they hate eachother! So I waved it off. Then you've got Jun always teasing and calling them bf and gf...and of course the finale of season 2 when they shared that moment. Things like that. Again this isn't evidance at all...it's just things that made me personally think of Katara and Zuko getting together. Then after I considered it, I began really looking at their personalities and what not and found that I actually enjoyed the idea of them together.

This was enlightening. Thank you. I'm going to go out on a limb on why the war got so ugly. Zutarans like you saw things that made you like Zutara, and y'all got along fine with everyone except the rabid anti-Zutarans. You guys were chill with the Kataangers, and most of them were chill with you. But then there were a number of Zutarans who were terribly insecure in their opinion (and, now that I've read some of the threads in this forum, a large number of posts from both sides but a majority from Zutarans BLEED insecurity) and as a result sought to "justify" it using canon. I'm sure there are other categories I'm missing, but these two seem pretty common to me. Some Kataangers in response then combine why they don't see the ship working canonically with why they don't like the ship. Ready, aim, flame war.

And the whole misconception? That canon somehow makes a ship "better". Hence why so much of the argument (and the ad hominem bashing that follows) revolved around canon. Is it truer to the in-universe characters? Of course. For some people (like me, I guess), that's enough. That's the nature of canon. But "better" is such a subjective word that once the difference is established, you can't really convince anyone that one ship is "better", because it ain't. The fact that Zutara is AU and Kataang is not should have no bearing on whether one is better objectively.

What if Aang and Mai died in a rebellion? Zuko and Katara might be the only ones who could fully understand each other's losses. It's harder for me to mess with mid-series canon, but I have no doubt it's possible to do beautifully. There's so much IC potential for Zutara in an AU context that it's hard to say that the characters couldn't get together at all. Even I, a pure "Canonist" (and thus Kataanger) through and through, have a post-finale story idea kicking around that at first glance could look pretty Zutaran.

1/14/2011 #5
Fullmetal Catalyst

Cadmos I'd love to see your post for Zutara by the way. :P

I'll try.

There's an understanding between them. Two souls with so much in common. A mother lost to flame; a father who seems to care for nothing but the war. Confined by expectation, limited by tradition, frustrated further by the restrictions they impose upon themselves. The temperament of the raging storm and of the raging inferno are not so different. Is not lightning, pure energy, the merging of fire and water?

And yet the contrasts are striking. Katara, stuck in her home; Zuko, trapped beyond his. Katara, shown love and friendship, soaring through the skies with her family, protecting her last hope; Zuko, alone and unloved, tracking his last hope (and the world's, though for another reason). Water and Fire, polar opposites, the friction nearly unmanageable. And then the convergence: the wildfire tamed by selflessness and honor, the maelstrom controlled by compassion and faith.

He likes her because she looks at him and sees not a scarred exile but a wounded soul (with a ruthless streak that he must release), as perhaps not even his uncle can see him. She likes him because he sees her dark side and knows it, understands it, accepts it as perhaps not even Aang can. Their friendship is an intimacy of few words, for little need be said between one side of a coin and the other. Give them a goal, and they will never fail. Strike at one, and you draw the wrath of both.

Katara reminded him of honor's rewards, of the satisfaction and peace it brings. Zuko reminded her that sometimes it's okay to let go, to give in, as long as a friend is there to pull you back. There is never balance with them - they are always shifting, always evolving, trying to stay a step ahead of the darkness within that could consume them both. And on the edge of destruction is where the greatest energy lies.

1/14/2011 . Edited 2/24/2011 #6
Mrs Pettyfer

Zutarans like you saw things that made you like Zutara, and y'all got along fine with everyone except the rabid anti-Zutarans.

See this is the funny part. I started watching Avatar around the beginning of 2010 on TV and bought all the books so I could see them all. I had no idea these 'wars' and forums even existed or fanfiction for the matter till about a year ago, lol. I had no idea what Zutara and Kataang even meant. So I really started liking 'Zutara' on my own without any other influences. Then I came across HPFF, then here..and decided to read some Avatar fanfics for kicks. Then I found Deviantart...and blah blah found the world of fanon. I do agree some people saw things through Zutara eyes but I honestly wasn't like that because well, I didn't even know what Zutara meant at the time! lol I just thought maybe Zuko and Katara were going to be that back burner ship that sneaks up on you before you know it. Because sometimes shows do that..and I'm a suspicious viewer anyway. I always try to find clues or subtle messages.

I guess the Zutara/Kataang war was ugly then? Glad I missed it, haha.

The fact that Zutara is AU and Kataang is not should have no bearing on whether one is better objectively.

Completely agree. A ship can't be better when it's a matter of opinion. It can be canon or not..which is based on fact.

Even I, a pure "Canonist" (and thus Kataanger) through and through, have a post-finale story idea kicking around that at first glance could look pretty Zutaran.

Do it! I'd love to read it. =)

EDIT: Just read your post on Zutara. It was beautiful and now you HAVE to write a fic, mwahaha. This particularly, She loves him because he sees her dark side and knows it, understands it, accepts it as perhaps not even Aang can I love and hadn't really considered it before. Thank you for that. Zutara reminds me in a way of a cyclone. The two have the mental and physical abilities to destroy those in their path if they choose to...they are both fierce, powerful, and at times a bit irrational. But when they reach the eye of the cyclone, all is calm and like you said Cadmos, there's an understanding with little or no words. Just like in the cave in the CoD. Always reminded me of the eye of cyclone.

1/14/2011 . Edited 1/14/2011 #7
Fullmetal Catalyst

Hell, I started watching Avatar around the beginning of 2011 and I still had no idea about the wars or anything. I'm unhappy I missed it (sometimes I'm a bit like Toph - there's nothing like a good fight), but yeah, I've heard it was vicious at times. Just check out some of the old threads here if you don't mind losing some brain cells. It gets to the point where only specific people, not one side as a whole, come off as decent/better than decent.

It was beautiful and now you HAVE to write a fic, mwahaha. This particularly, She loves him because he sees her dark side and knows it, understands it, accepts it as perhaps not even Aang can I love and hadn't really considered it before. Thank you for that. Zutara reminds me in a way of a cyclone.

You're welcome! You put it very nicely as a cyclone. The eye of the storm...a tenuous column of light in a whirlwind of potential devastation. But the column is always there nonetheless. Aang is understanding, forgiving, empathetic, but he doesn't have this same darkness (well, he does, but it's out of his control). There's a difference between understanding, as Aang does, and recognizing a kindred soul, as Zuko does. Aang answers her darkness by bringing her to the light; Zuko answers her darkness by sharing it, relieving its pressure.

As for the fic...I want to, badly, but my life isn't free enough for me to write at all for another couple weeks, and I have a number of large projects that are ahead in line, so it wouldn't be for a while :(

Also, it will only look like it (probably because it wouldn't use Katara's or Aang's or Zuko's perspectives). It would mostly be from Toph's perspective, if I can figure out how to write her PoV. Maybe with an Appa chapter or two if it ever makes sense to do so (he's the real mover and shaker, after all). I'll stop back in here if/when I get around to starting it.

1/14/2011 #8
TigerShadow

The thing about those big fandoms is that there are not only a lot of the mature, rational shippers, but there are the trolls and obnoxious, insane shippers who don't give a rip about whether or not the fandom's going to get broken--they just want to get something started.

As far as Harry/Ginny and Harry/Hermione go, the reason people duel over them is because Harmonians--interchangeable and synonymous with "nutcases"--constantly get stupid things started because they have absolutely no idea what they're talking about. This is not me being a j***, this is me having seen and heard what Harmonians can do and have done. Harry/Hermione shippers are not like this, because they're actually articulate and don't consistently insult Rowling and the canon. Seriously, half the people who hate the epilogue hate it because for whatever reason their ship got sunk (or, in the Harry/Hermione case, completely torpedoed and capsized). Similarly, of course, half of those who decry the finale do so because whatever their ship was, it got sunk.

With Avatar, it's the same principle. Insane Zutarians often start these things because they're Harmonians-in-training (incidentally, any vocal group of insane shippers is referred to now as the Harmonians of the fandom, and I believe Zutarians were the first to recieve such a label) and just can't stand peaceful discussions. There's a difference between debating and trolling, and many shippers unfortunately have the tendency to lean toward the latter.

It gets to the point where only specific people, not one side as a whole, come off as decent/better than decent.

Most of them are the ones that just keep themselves neutral.

1/15/2011 . Edited 1/16/2011 #9
Caveat Lector 52

I consider myself something of a neutral when it comes to the whole Aang/Katara or Zuko/Katara debate, but I do tend to lean tours the former.

Aang/Katara has a lot of things I love in a couple: it's sweet and romantic. They're not afraid to hug, hold hands, or, later on, kiss. It even gets kicked off with love at first sight, even if it was a bit one-sided. (Wow. . I'm such a sap). This would totally be my Avatar OTP if not for a few little problems. It's pretty obvious that those two were going to end up together from the word go, I I like a little more. . .ambiguity. I love the tension that comes from "will they or wont they" and kataang just didn't have that for me.

2/7/2011 #10
OnyxZephyr

I agree with the above.

I find it hard to pick. I think they both offer different dynamics that I find likable.

Zutara has that angsty tension and the "opposites attract" going for them. I like the idea of someone so broken and lost as Zuko with someone with strength and assuredness of Katara. It would have been interesting to see how that would've panned out if the creators had gone with the original plan (I believe I read somewhere Zutara was their original canon couple.) I also dislike Mai and them as a pairing. They don't mesh as well as Katara and Aang did, at least imo.

But with Kataang it's just so sweet and sincere. They care so openly about each other it makes ya feel warm and fuzzy. And almost silly at how we as adults tend to be in relationships, what with being jaded and bitter all the time (haha).. My biggest beef is not the age difference but just the age: I find it hard to imagine a 12-year-old being so crazy in love. Aang is so goofy and playful it just feels kinda awkward. His crush on her was really cute but then it started to get really intense. I feel like if he was 14 and she was 16 I would have found it easier to swallow.

But it would seem in their world people tend to marry young anyway so.

I enjoy both pairings a lot. I could comfortably read fiction / fanart of either and enjoy it.

Ship wars are silly to me.

2/17/2011 #11
Caveat Lector 52

I also dislike Mai and them as a pairing. They don't mesh as well as Katara and Aang did, at least imo.

I didn't like Mai, nor did I dislike her. She was just sort of. . .there, you know? I found none of the secondary pairings(Zuko/Mai, Sokka/Suki)to have been as well done as the main one(Aang/Katara). I would've been nicer if Mai had gotten more back round/character development, but there wasn't time. Still, they weren't bad couples; or at least they could've been worst.

My biggest beef is not the age difference but just the age: I find it hard to imagine a 12-year-old being so crazy in love. Aang is so goofy and playful it just feels kinda awkward. His crush on her was really cute but then it started to get really intense. I feel like if he was 14 and she was 16 I would have found it easier to swallow.

Yeah, this always kinda bothered me too. I think Aang and Katara might've been too young to pass off what they had as "true love." Sure, they're both pretty mature for their ages, but they're still only kids.

2/17/2011 #12
Fullmetal Catalyst

It would have been interesting to see how that would've panned out if the creators had gone with the original plan (I believe I read somewhere Zutara was their original canon couple.)

It was never a plan, per se (I've heard that Nick was deliberately teasing the fandom with those extras). If they ever considered Zuko/Katara as a romantic pairing, it was in terms of very early storyboarding and looking at different character relationships. Nevertheless, it would have been interesting to see how it panned out, as long as they started from the early episodes :)

I also dislike Mai and them as a pairing. They don't mesh as well as Katara and Aang did, at least imo.

IMO, I don't think any duo in the show really meshes as well as Katara and Aang do. They have a whole show to mesh. As for "opposites attract", two weeks ago I would've disagreed, but a couple looks at "The Southern Raiders" convinced me that Zuko and Katara are really not similar enough to counter it.

I find it hard to imagine a 12-year-old being so crazy in love. Aang is so goofy and playful it just feels kinda awkward.

Fair enough. Personally, I love Zuko, but I find him even harder to imagine when it comes to this idea o.O (at least until the finale)

Ship wars are silly to me.

Ship wars are generally silly, period, but they provide excellent battlegrounds to sharpen one's debating skills and a good justification (read: excuse) for rewatching episodes with a critical eye.

I think Aang and Katara might've been too young to pass off what they had as "true love." Sure, they're both pretty mature for their ages, but they're still only kids.

Yes. Although, how do you define "true"? Their love has plenty of room to grow (it's definitely young, perhaps not fully formed, etc.), but it's light years ahead of Katara's deal with Jet. I don't think it needs to be fully mature/complete to be "true", necessarily, though I sense that that view doesn't jive with the accepted definition...

2/17/2011 #13
Caveat Lector 52

Yes. Although, how do you define "true"? Their love has plenty of room to grow (it's definitely young, perhaps not fully formed, etc.)

That's sort of what I was getting at. Their love does have a lot of room to grow, so I don't define what they had in the end as "true love"(which, by the way, I was just using as a generic phrase to mean really in love with each other). After some more time passes, and they get the chance to be together without the stress of war looming over their heads, than of course they'll total be a great couple. I just feel like they need more time, that's all.

Plus, this might just be me, but I felt as though the jump from "cute, innocent crush" to "you're my soul mate" was kinda awkward; I can't exactly say why either.

As for "opposites attract", two weeks ago I would've disagreed, but a couple looks at "The Southern Raiders" convinced me that Zuko and Katara are really not similar enough to counter it.

I think Zuko and Katara as similar when it comes to background(both lost their mothers at a young age due to the fire nation, had their families torn apart by the war), but not when it comes to personalities. If Zuko had join Team Avatar sooner than he did, it would've been interesting to see what direction their relationship could've gone. I don't think they would've ended up as love interests, but the tension would've been there.

2/18/2011 #14
Mrs Pettyfer

Plus, this might just be me, but I felt as though the jump from "cute, innocent crush" to "you're my soul mate" was kinda awkward.

I felt the same way so it isn't just you! lol I didn't mind Kataang that much when it was mostly Aang's innocent crush because that's appropriate and understandable when you're 12 but then it got so heavy and the whole earthly attachment thing and messing up the avatar state...blah. It just annoying to be honest. That was really the biggest issue I had with the ship was how it was written and perceived. I can see the potential between the two most definitely and like TheNightShadow4 said..with more time as they got older. But for me, I would have prefered Aang to not have any love interest being the age he is and the duty he serves to the world and the overall kung-fu vibe of the show. He didn't need a love interest even if he is the main character. At least not for me.

If Zuko had join Team Avatar sooner than he did, it would've been interesting to see what direction their relationship could've gone.

I agree. If Zutara did happen in the show, the only sliver of opportunity I think is if Zuko would have chosen their side in the season 2 finale. It probably would have brought Katara and Zuko close because she'd probably have some elated feeling that she was part of his 'change.' You know how she gets with feeling like she makes a difference, lol. Also considering a lot of Katara/Aang development is in season 3 but if Zuko was there, who knows how it would have turned out. Makes me want to write a fic now with that plot, haha.

2/18/2011 #15
Fullmetal Catalyst

But for me, I would have prefered Aang to not have any love interest being the age he is and the duty he serves to the world and the overall kung-fu vibe of the show.

Hell, as long as they didn't tease me with pseudo-romances, I wouldn't have minded if there'd been no romance at all (though now that it is there, I'd grimace watching the show without it). The show would still have been the show (if a little less rich), and every side would have avoided ungodly degrees of unfathomable stupidity.

If Zutara did happen in the show, the only sliver of opportunity I think is if Zuko would have chosen their side in the season 2 finale

I actually think the sliver(s) would have been earlier than the finale. I can't think of the episodes right now, but there are moments earlier on where I think that, if Zuko ran into the Gaang, he might've had a chance to join them. There's even that one scene in season 1 when Iroh is wounded. As for the relationship that develops, it certainly would have been more than just two characters who fight extremely well together. Whether it would have developed into Katara being what Azula should have been to Zuko (which I guess she does in the canon show anyway, sort of), or a romantic relationship, or a love/hate, or two people indifferent to each other, I don't know. With tweaking, there's probably room for any of the above. But in the season 2 finale, Zuko was pretty much fated to choose as he did. I never thought he had a chance of choosing Aang over Azula - or if I ever did, I don't now. If he had chosen, yes there would've been opportunity...but I don't think it was ever really a choice.

I like your thought that Katara would be elated at having helped Zuko to the light. It goes in the same vein of what she does with Aang every time he enters berserk Avatar State, except it would be a more permanent (?) healing of a character, one whom she used to think evil, which would impact her greatly. Should you ever choose to write that fic, there's also the possibility that they meet earlier in the season (maybe in Ba Sing Se before Azula starts causing trouble) and have a similar encounter that instead leads to Zuko's "healing". I personally prefer Zuko healing himself, but he's confused enough that he can still do plenty of that :)

2/18/2011 #16
OnyxZephyr

Tons of great points everybody made.

On the deal with Aang's age.. I agree that it would have been a little more realistic if they had waited for it to get to the "omg soulmates I can't let her go" level. Aang is mature when he has to be but if it were up to him he'd be a goofball kid all the time. Then Katara is very mature for her age because she had to be the mom in the family. So aside from the 2 year difference at a delicate age-bracket there was also the behavioral differences between the two that was kind of jarring (for me).

I guess it's just cause I remember when I was 14, 12 year olds were really just in a completely different world to me. That gap becomes insignificant once you hit the 15, 16 mark but the difference between a 7th grader and a 9th grader is vast. I would feel the same even if the genders were switched.

I still like the idea of them ending up together. I just don't think it had to be that intense right off the bat. It could have been implied at the end of the series, being as they were already a year older maybe... *ponders*.

As far as Zutara goes. I like the idea that Katara could become the sister Zuko never had, the same way Iroh was the father he never had. I'm sure that in retrospect that's what ends up happening but in the time of the show there just seemed to be those little moments that really pushed the boundaries of platonic.

I agree that if he had joined earlier it would have felt natural for them to eventually grow attracted to one another but timing is everything, haha. :D

Great discussions.

2/20/2011 #17
Mrs Pettyfer

There's even that one scene in season 1 when Iroh is wounded.

I forgot!! You're totally right..that could have transitioned into Zuko and Iroh joining their side. You know there probably are more slivers...I love that word by the way, lol...but the finale of 2 is the one that jumped at me. Perhaps I'll be different and have Zuko join sides after Iroh is hurt. But then I'd have to write book 2..and 3. *grumbles*

I personally prefer Zuko healing himself, but he's confused enough that he can still do plenty of that :)

Oh me too, for sure. I think Katara does get sort of elated with boys when she feels like she's making a difference. Like Aang, as you mention. Also with Haru and his earthbending..as well as even Jet. I can't describe what I mean but it's like Katara wants to be part of a difference in them? Is that even the right word? I don't know. But with Zuko I think he's different than the other boys in a way. He doesn't need that...hope or whatever she gives, lol...like the others. Zuko is more...independent? Maybe that's not the right word. He relies on himself over others is what I mean. So I don't think he'd allow Katara to do any 'healing' for him the way Aang does..he strikes me as the type who wants to heal on his own.

I can't imagine Zuko allowing Katara to coddle him, haha. But Katara never really treated Zuko the way she did the others either..even after he joined. And as a fan who got sick of her motherly ways, it was nice to see, haha. I'll take the fighting over the hugs and fussing. :P

On another note..you know when Katara sees Zuko in the tea shop? That would be a good place to add an encounter. If Katara didn't realize it was him until she sat down and he took her order. Could be interesting...

I like the idea that Katara could become the sister Zuko never had.

I always pictured Toph in that role for some reason, haha.

On the deal with Aang's age.. I agree that it would have been a little more realistic if they had waited for it to get to the "omg soulmates I can't let her go" level. Aang is mature when he has to be but if it were up to him he'd be a goofball kid all the time. Then Katara is very mature for her age because she had to be the mom in the family. So aside from the 2 year difference at a delicate age-bracket there was also the behavioral differences between the two that was kind of jarring (for me).

I agree. The intensity made me a little sick and screamed Stage 5 Clinger from Wedding Crashers in my head, haha. I personally think the term maturity goes deeper than what the characters are given credit for. I think maturity comes in different waves, in different circumstances, and in many forms. One can be mature enough to accept their duty as to what they are...Aang being the Avatar..Azula being the fire nation princess..Zuko becomming Fire Lord...but that doesn't give a green light for love and romance.

I just can't for the life of me support a kid who has only lived for 12 years settling into 'your my soul mate forever girl' type of romance. It doesn't sit well with me, haha. So yeah, I agree with you fully that it was the intensity the creators made it out to be that turned me off...well, even more off. It's what bothered me most I should say.

2/20/2011 . Edited 2/20/2011 #18
OnyxZephyr

Hmm. Now that you mention it, you made a really good point.

I think a lot of what I like about the Zutara dynamic is that he brings out her edgier side. She is at her most badass / ferocious generally when she's dealing with him, save a few occasions. I didn't mind Katara's mothering as much, but it's also nice to see that part of her. Katara seems to have a neediness that she counters by fulfiling other's needs...

So I think the word / concept you may be looking for is "boundaries". Everybody lets Katara cross them, but Zuko doesn't. He has a very defined bubble of personal space that nobody's really allowed in. Which is why it made those rare moments when they were close pretty exciting to see.

I also think with Zuko there's more of a "respect as equals" thing. It feels like with everybody Katara is filling some sort of missing role and seems to be dominate in most of her relationships. Haru's missing father / confidence, Sokka's missing mother, Toph's missing parents, Aang's missing everything. With Zuko there was none of that (although one could argue her offer to heal his scar comes close). They had to earn each other's respect and trust over time instead of just dishing it out to one another.

I think ultimately, Zutara is more dynamic / intense and fans tend to enjoy the conflicted relationships more for entertainment. Kataang is very honest and sincere, which may not be as exciting but generally in real-life these are the relationships that last the longest.

Which is why it's so hard to pick between the two, lol.

2/22/2011 #19
Nefertari Queen

I share some opinions from you, but I differ from others.

Zutara is more dynamic, of course, I think because it attracts a wider audience, and sometimes can be too perfect Kataang, which in some fics Kataang hatred that can not interpret their relationship. Both Aang and Katara have their character and may have heavy discussions if they really bother, as well as about Zutara, Zuko only with those discussions may be more common, as is quite temperamental Zuko and Aang more patient.

Katara makes all roles, but I think also end up making a Zuko, Zuko is explosive and needs someone to turn it off, but the character of Katara does not lend itself well to turn off explosions. Maternal Katara is precisely because she lacks a mother, feeling abandoned by Hakoda and needs to feel useful, loved, and to maternal love that she did not receive.

It is a deep trauma in the future I hope to yield. And somehow, Zuko also feels abandoned by his father and mother does not trust the first and the second vanished. In this they can come to understand and lend some help, but do not think they can love. Let's be frank, is not the type Zuko and Katara romantic urges you feel love, she needs to feel loved and Zuko does not lend itself to demonstrations of affection, from there the couple can fall apart.

Instead, Aang has no qualms when expressing his feelings for Katara. She needs somebody to look at the same time, the care and love. Aang completely fill both requirements and could be a great partner.

At first I liked Mai also, I thought it was whimsical, but actually showed love Zuko Azula when she faced him. On reflection, both can complement; Zuko Mai would make life more dynamic and stabilize it once and for all the dynamite inside the boy.

That's my opinion.

2/22/2011 #20
Fullmetal Catalyst

I always pictured Toph in that role for some reason, haha.

Oh my. Toph and Zuko in any context make even Katara and Zuko look like baby kittens. Can you imagine the fights those two would start? That's almost fic-worthy by itself...if one were writing a battle fic...

I think a lot of what I like about the Zutara dynamic is that he brings out her edgier side. She is at her most badass / ferocious generally when she's dealing with him, save a few occasions. I didn't mind Katara's mothering as much, but it's also nice to see that part of her. Katara seems to have a neediness that she counters by fulfiling other's needs...

I would argue that Katara is in general a fairly BA/ferocious person. One example being the Tidal Wave of Doom (hell, that whole scene, particularly when she tries to slice Azula in half) in the season 2 finale :D

It's worth noting one of the reasons she's so ferocious around Zuko...she does hate him for a long time (and him, specifically, not him as a random Firebender). Death threat, betrayal, Aang-hunting, all that. Though perhaps they have an arguably more intense relationship than anyone else in the show, their history should be taken into account. I would say that her most BA/ferocious moments come out when she or her loved ones are threatened (or when she perceives them as such). Such as Katara vs. Azula after Zuko takes the bolt. Katara vs. the world immediately after Aang's death. Katara vs. Hakoda/Aang/Sokka when she's in emotional pain.

However, I also very much like the energy they generate. Much like lightning (Firebending + Waterbending, no?). It can easily be a very dangerous energy, and I wouldn't dare leave them alone together if either one was in a hard place, but it's a dynamic that can allow them to accomplish a lot. It gives an excellent foundation for any number of fics.

So I think the word / concept you may be looking for is "boundaries". Everybody lets Katara cross them, but Zuko doesn't. He has a very defined bubble of personal space that nobody's really allowed in. Which is why it made those rare moments when they were close pretty exciting to see.

I love this idea. He eventually lowers his walls (lowers, not loses), but he still has that defined bubble. To be allowed within that circle is truly something special.

I also think with Zuko there's more of a "respect as equals" thing. It feels like with everybody Katara is filling some sort of missing role and seems to be dominate in most of her relationships. Haru's missing father / confidence, Sokka's missing mother, Toph's missing parents, Aang's missing everything. With Zuko there was none of that (although one could argue her offer to heal his scar comes close). They had to earn each other's respect and trust over time instead of just dishing it out to one another.

I 100% agree with the "respect as equals" thing. Season 3 Zuko is all about that - with Katara, with Aang, with Sokka.

However, I don't feel it's fair to say Katara fills no role for Zuko. Zuko, after all, is missing quite a bit - mother, father, sister. He's still searching for his mother, so Katara can't fill that. Iroh more or less takes the paternal role. If we're talking familial relationships, Katara would fill the sisterly role for Zuko - the sister Azula should have been, just as Iroh is the father Ozai should have been. Where Katara offers to heal Zuko of his scar (as you said) and tries to show him a future, Azula preys upon his indecision and drags him back into the past. Where Azula challenges him to mortal combat and shoots him full of lightning, Katara protects him and heals his deadly injury.

I don't really want to discuss domination in relationship because it's definable in any number of ways. I will say, though, that Katara doesn't dominate Zuko any less than she does the rest of the Gaang. In TSR, she owns him - she just doesn't really care enough about that fact to exercise it.

As for earning respect, well...they did start out as enemies. Katara's defense and care of Aang directly counters Zuko's desire to get home; Zuko's hunting and attacking Aang directly counters all the reasons Katara wants Aang safe. There's a need to earn trust in addition to that respect - a trust that people like Sokka always had. Aang also had it right from the get-go because of the circumstances of their meeting. He was an endearing boy with a big smile, a carefree demeanor, an enigmatic background, unique talents, and as much of a preoccupation with Katara as she had with him.

Had Zuko and Katara started as friends (as with Aang) or even neutrally (perhaps in a Toph sense? I don't know), it would be interesting to see the differences there. Imagine if Katara and Sokka had found Zuko unconscious in the ice (the season 1 finale without all the bad blood between them) and Zuko had been less "Fiery" in every sense of the word.

Which is why it's so hard to pick between the two, lol.

Heh, why pick? As long as the arguments for them make sense and remain restricted to fanon, there need not be much difference in viability between the two ships :)

2/22/2011 #21
Fullmetal Catalyst

Zuko is explosive and needs someone to turn it off, but the character of Katara does not lend itself well to turn off explosions.

She tends to respond in kind. She's pretty righteous (self-righteous?) at times, which when coupled with her stubbornness and passion could lead to some sparks. Zuko has, however, tuned down the explosiveness since "The Firebending Masters" - okay, not really, but he usually has some justification for his shouting after that point.

Maternal Katara is precisely because she lacks a mother, feeling abandoned by Hakoda and needs to feel useful, loved, and to maternal love that she did not receive.

This is an interesting perspective. I may be wrong, but I think Sokka said something along these general lines when trying to reconcile Toph with Katara. Katara just likes caring for people. She takes pleasure in other people's joy. Sometimes it comes off as motherly. Sometimes it actually is motherly. That's just who she is.

At first I liked Mai also, I thought it was whimsical, but actually showed love Zuko Azula when she faced him. On reflection, both can complement; Zuko Mai would make life more dynamic and stabilize it once and for all the dynamite inside the boy.

Precisely. The Azula facedown showed us nicely that Mai's emotions are just very deep down. The characteristic ends up being a good foil to Zuko's "I wear my emotions on my sleeve" attitude. Their relationship won't be frictionless, but it works quite well.

2/22/2011 #22
Oni Rinku

For all of the pairings in the world for both Harry Potter and Avatar, I'm a bit weird. I'm an avid Harry/Hermione shipper that doesn't mind other pairings (although, I don't like Harry/Ginny that much. Too many H/Hr moments in the early books of HP.) Yet with Avatar I love the Aang/Ty Lee pairing over any other. But I will say that I prefer Kataang over Zutara by a wide margin. Just giving my two cents.

2/22/2011 #23
Caveat Lector 52

However, I don't feel it's fair to say Katara fills no role for Zuko. Zuko, after all, is missing quite a bit - mother, father, sister. He's still searching for his mother, so Katara can't fill that. Iroh more or less takes the paternal role. If we're talking familial relationships, Katara would fill the sisterly role for Zuko - the sister Azula should have been, just as Iroh is the father Ozai should have been. Where Katara offers to heal Zuko of his scar (as you said) and tries to show him a future, Azula preys upon his indecision and drags him back into the past. Where Azula challenges him to mortal combat and shoots him full of lightning, Katara protects him and heals his deadly injury.

If I was going to seriously put Zuko and Katara in a relationship, it would probably be more brother/sister than anything else. I think it's what the creators were going for by the end.

At first I liked Mai also, I thought it was whimsical, but actually showed love Zuko Azula when she faced him. On reflection, both can complement; Zuko Mai would make life more dynamic and stabilize it once and for all the dynamite inside the boy.

Precisely. The Azula facedown showed us nicely that Mai's emotions are just very deep down. The characteristic ends up being a good foil to Zuko's "I wear my emotions on my sleeve" attitude. Their relationship won't be frictionless, but it works quite well.

Mai might not be my favorite character, but I agree her relationship with Zuko was sweet in its own, awkward way. Also, I love her line in TBR: "I love Zuko more than I fear you!" Considering she was talking to Azula of all people, that must be a whole lot of love!

Yet with Avatar I love the Aang/Ty Lee pairing over any other.

Now that's an interesting pairing! Hmmmm, I kinda wanna see what I find out it.

2/23/2011 #24
Fullmetal Catalyst

Mai might not be my favorite character, but I agree her relationship with Zuko was sweet in its own, awkward way. Also, I love her line in TBR: "I love Zuko more than I fear you!" Considering she was talking to Azula of all people, that must be a whole lot of love!

The fact that Mai almost single-handedly initiates Azula's slide into madness is frightening. She disarms Azula as effectively as Ty Lee does.

Now that's an interesting pairing! Hmmmm, I kinda wanna see what I find out it.

Is it the bubbliness + the goofiness? There's a lot of free-spirit in that pairing, methinks.

2/23/2011 #25
hhhmmm

Zutara defineately

I know Kataang was set from the start but look how far Zuko an Katara have come. He freakin risked his life for her even when she hated him. He cared so much about her opinion that he set out to find her mothers killer and he calls on her to fight Azula with him in a possible death match. Thats saying in case I die I want you to be the last person I'm with. And he risked his life AGAIN! when Azula shot that lightning bolt at her and he dove right in front of it not even a moments hesitation.Aang would have just aribender her out of the way. Aang is so needy and desperate. Why the hell would you want to hook up with Katara in the middle of war. She said no and still keep pressuring her. And he's like her lil bro. Mai is just a drk storm cloud over Zuko's head. The last thing he needs is more dullness in his life.

That's it, rant done. All the Zutara ppls check these out

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5prIWAa21ck

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DQjWzJ5_w0&feature=related

2/24/2011 #26
hhhmmm

Zutara defineately

I know Kataang was set from the start but look how far Zuko an Katara have come. He freakin risked his life for her even when she hated him. He cared so much about her opinion that he set out to find her mothers killer and he calls on her to fight Azula with him in a possible death match. Thats saying in case I die I want you to be the last person I'm with. And he risked his life AGAIN! when Azula shot that lightning bolt at her and he dove right in front of it not even a moments hesitation.Aang would have just aribender her out of the way. Aang is so needy and desperate. Why the hell would you want to hook up with Katara in the middle of war. She said no and still keep pressuring her. And he's like her lil bro. Mai is just a drk storm cloud over Zuko's head. The last thing he needs is more dullness in his life.

That's it, rant done. All the Zutara ppls check these out

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5prIWAa21ck

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DQjWzJ5_w0&feature=related

2/24/2011 #27
Amira Elizabeth
Actually probably the real reason he brought her along is that she is a healer and he knows she has healed after lightning strikes and burn injuries. Not too much of a stretch to see why choosing a healer would be a good idea. And him saving her is something he would have done for any of them. He is after all the one who goaded Azula into using her lightning, who forgot that Azula is nothing if not tricky and devious, even if she is off her game. He is the one who thought he could take her and he made that error in judgement in underestimating her. Aang would have saved her too. He would have done the same for her. To say he is needy and desperate considering you have Zuko who spent most of the series being needy and desperate is ridiculous. Aang saved her world, Aang believed in her, Aang gave her a chance to grow beyond being a simple peasant. Was their relationship perfect. No. Was he like her brother? No. If anything Katara was more of a sister to Zuko than Azula was. Their growth was great, but it doesn't trump the other characters or relationships, nor does it mean that they should or would have a romance.
2/24/2011 . Edited 2/24/2011 #28
Fullmetal Catalyst

He freakin risked his life for her even when she hated him.

Do you mean the collapsing ceiling in TSR? I personally saw this as a beautiful moment for Zuko as an individual and not really related to any specific relationship, but it certainly showed that he cares about Katara's well-being.

He cared so much about her opinion that he set out to find her mothers killer

Zuko set Katara on the path to find her mother's killer. He himself did very little other than enable her journey. That portion of TSR was part-Zutara and part-Kataang.

and he calls on her to fight Azula with him in a possible death match. Thats saying in case I die I want you to be the last person I'm with.

It's definitely saying that he trusts her enough to bring her to the most important battle of his life. The fact that she goes with him definitely shows that she trusts him enough to follow him into the lion's den to face the lioness who has played him like a harp for nearly two seasons. Amira's explanation (below) is the other half of why he called on her.

Actually probably the real reason he brought her along is that she is a healer and he knows she has healed after lightning strikes and burn injuries. Not too much of a stretch to see why choosing a healer would be a good idea.

Indeed, Zuko is well aware that Aang "survived" Azula's lightning strike because of Katara. Given that he will be facing the exact same opponent, it is a wise move to ask Katara (who has a score to settle with the person who killed Aang) to join him.

And he risked his life AGAIN! when Azula shot that lightning bolt at her and he dove right in front of it not even a moments hesitation.

I also saw this one as a fulfillment of Zuko's arc. An act of true honor and sacrifice from someone who was once willing to do. However, in this case I personally feel that it takes away from Zuko's character to say that he did it for Katara. I maintain that had it been Toph, he would have done the exact same thing. I didn't think he did for love, but rather because that is who he has become.

Aang would have just aribender her out of the way.

This is no worse or less loving than jumping in front of the bolt - it's just getting the same job done in a different manner.

Aang is just as adept at redirecting lightning as Zuko is (if not more, considering that it is a Water-style move), and his enhanced speed would likely allow him to set himself rather than attempt a heroic leap.

I'm not saying Zuko's attempt was any less than it was (saving Katara's life) - but Aang was quite capable of doing the same, had he been present in that scenario. Besides, he already took a bolt for Katara in the season 2 finale.

He is after all the one who goaded Azula into using her lightning, who forgot that Azula is nothing if not tricky and devious, even if she is off her game. He is the one who thought he could take her and he made that error in judgement in underestimating her.

To be fair, I don't think he expected Katara to run over behind him. He did underestimate Azula because he had the advantage, but he was capable of defeating her. Zuko being who he is, I don't think he knew how to end the threat without killing Azula...but he didn't want to deal the death blow (or wasn't sure he had that much of an advantage). Add his confidence in his power (another great change from the beginning), and we get the goading. Katara's method of capture, after all, was fairly unique to Waterbending.

Aang is so needy and desperate.

Needy? Certainly to some degree. So is Katara. So is Zuko. So is Toph. So is Azula. I don't think they're quite old, mature, and experienced enough to be self-sufficient on an emotional level...and even if they were, they'd still need each other. Desperate? May I ask as to which episode you're referring? Aang has desperate moments, but often for different reasons and mostly quite justified. Most of the characters do.

To say he is needy and desperate considering you have Zuko who spent most of the series being needy and desperate is ridiculous.

Aang does have both needy and desperate moments, but you are right that both characters should be judged the same when such judgment is called for.

Why the hell would you want to hook up with Katara in the middle of war.

If you're referring to the kiss of Black Sun, then it was likely because Aang wasn't sure if he'd live to see the sunset and he wanted Katara to know how he felt. In that instance, Katara seemed extremely pleased that he was kissing her. If you're referring to the Ember Island Players, then we're treading into a hotly-debated episode. I would argue that Aang felt the same need - the same fear that his death was looming - but that this time Katara was more concerned (perhaps rightly so) with protecting her heart than with giving it to Aang just to have it shatter should he perish.

Mai is just a drk storm cloud over Zuko's head. The last thing he needs is more dullness in his life.

In the first two seasons, that's exactly what Zuko needs. He's too excited and frustrated all the time, haha. This likely changes in the third season, but despite her extremely reserved nature, Mai has plenty of interesting qualities. Even if you believe she will never grow out of her long-practiced emotional repression, I wouldn't agree that life with any woman who can throw knives like that would be "dull".

2/24/2011 . Edited 2/24/2011 #29
redpinkandwhite

First off, before I begin, I would just like to say how thankful I am that I found this thread. I don't think I've ever found anyone else who seems so level-headed about Kataang/Zutara. Unfortunately, some of the only people I have found that enjoy A:TLA are die-hards for their ships, and take no mercy on torturing others on their ships. I am so glad you guys see the same way I do.

Now, for the real point.

I'm sure all of you know that the easiest and less-complicated path to any goal doesn't make a good story. Barriers, hurdles, and 'shortcuts' are needed to create an interesting and creative story. This whole aspect of it creates one of the greatest reasons that Zutara seems so appealing. Both Zuko and Katara have to jump over massive hurdles to try and have a relationship together. They have to overcome the outside hurdles keeping them apart, namely the war, other's opinions of their marriage, Zuko and Katara's duties to their countries; as well as the more emotional side of it. The fledgling trust they build between one another, the betrayal at Ba Sing Se, building up that trust again when they are in the Southern Air Temple, and all of the stereotypes they have to push through to find out who these two teens really are. These hurdles that mark their path and try and stop them from moving forward in any kind of trust/bond, even friendship, create a force to want to push them on. When faced with adversities in the way, it seems more logical to want to push them to go their fastest, push the hardest, and move through as effectively as possible. Rather than having a pathway completely free of hurdles save a few barriers that may be hard to jump, but will be able to battle over short time. It's great to have a thrill of knowing you have completed this hurdle and passed by the skin of your teeth, but still made it over.

The other, slightly smaller side of Zutara that is so appealing is that of the forbidden aspect. With respect to canon, Zuko has Mai, and Katara has Aang. Zuko is the new Fire Lord, and Katara is a member of the Water Tribe. And even before the finale of the show, Zuko is a member of the Fire Nation, stereotyped to be a harsh, ruthless man, and Katara is from the Water Tribe, supposed to be full of weak and defenseless peoples. A union as such seems like such an impossible thing. Fire and Water mixing? Two opposite people from two opposite lands could love one another? So, the thought of the two having some kind of attraction between one another when such a thing would be regarded as insane or ludicrous is as appealing as going against your parent's rules just to spite them. It's the thought of having something simply impossible become possible; to make society's judgements of what's right and what's wrong break completely and totally in front of them. The forbidden 'relationship' between the two suddenly becomes possible and shows that maybe life isn't all of the black-and-white that we thought it would be when we were young.

7/23/2011 #30
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