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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Marius Prime

I agree, Amira. The comment I had about confirmation bias is about exactly this. Aang is being held to an impossibly high standard, when the point of the story is that he is human, with human failings, despite his power, while Zuko's misconduct is completely excused because he couldn't possibly be expected to behave any better under the circumstances. It's ridiculous.

Maybe the issue is that Zuko, with his issues with his parents and his crazy sister and his rough, underloved upbringing resonates with people, while Aang's monastic background does not. Or something. It just seems really bizarre how many Zuko fans completely lack any tolerance for Aang's humanity.

12/19/2011 #331
Amira Elizabeth

I guess I've always viewed Aang as being a human boy with an important duty, rather than a super-being on high. That is part of why he IS my favorite character. He could have been this annoying brat super-being with no flaws and no imperfections. Instead we got this kid who is trying to struggle with being the Avatar, with war, and with trying to be a human being (and all that entails - feeling left out, girls, puberty, etc.)

12/19/2011 #332
Marius Prime

I think Aang's maturity is working against him, in a way, with his image among the fans. He's basically a younger Iroh, but behavior that Iroh would be loved for gets Aang viewed as childish, and when Aang's actual youthful inexperience shows through, the contrast is a lot sharper, and he gets judged more harshly for it. Zuko, on the other hand, eventually learns that he wishes he could be as cool as Iroh.

12/19/2011 #333
Odekake

I'm glad that Aang isn't this all-powerful perfect being, to tell you the truth. I find characters who have no flaws to be harder to relate to, simply because they have no human qualities.

But I still don't think it makes sense. You hold Aang to a higher standard because he's the hero all throughout the series, but we don't hold Zuko to the same standard because he was the bad guy. And yet, you still want the FORMER BAD GUY to get together with the girl that the hero is clearly in love with. And the former bad guy's actions are excused simply because he's not held to as high of a standard and his actions are forgiven because he was such "a traumatic past"? I really don't get it. If real life people during a war performed the same actions as Aang, Zuko, and Katara, would we really be rooting for Zuko and Katara to get together? Yes, they're cartoon characters. But their actions have very real consequences for the people of THAT WORLD. And really, forgiving Zuko and criticizing Aang has "unfortunate implications" in the real world.

12/19/2011 #334
TigerShadow

I think the reason why so many Zuko fangirls don't let Aang off the hook is that they're making excuses for the fact that they think Zuko's hotter than Aang is--or at least, among the teenage fangirl part (which makes up a large part of the vocal fandom, so yeah...)

12/19/2011 #335
Odekake

Well, that is also true. And I suspect that perhaps the "hotness" factor is a big reason why they let Zuko off the hook so much more often. But donna is actually able to argue her posts far better than a lot of Zutarians I've seen on these boards, and she's able to back them up well ... even if I don't agree with the reasoning and I think she's being too tough on Aang. I guess some people REALLY can convince themselves that Aang is inferior to Zuko whereas always letting Zuko off the hook with some excuse on how he has "family issues"?

12/19/2011 #336
Narwhalphonse

Like I said before, any of the instances in which Aang runs away from his problems is entirely understandable in and of themselves. Being the Avatar is by no means an easy task, and in the end, overall he does a stellar job doing it. But with all of these cases combined, I have a hard time seeing how Aang learns from that mistake. And that mistake itself isn't really acknowledged in the show.

By the way, "zuko is bettr cuz hes hottr" is the single stupidest argument for this (or any other) ship I've ever heard. I'm ashamed of people who argue that. And, seriously, he's a cartoon... finding him attractive is unhealthy and gross, honestly.

12/19/2011 #337
Narwhalphonse

"or at least, among the teenage fangirl part (which makes up a large part of the vocal fandom, so yeah...)"

...I'm a teenage girl... we're not all like that... :/

12/19/2011 #338
Odekake

Katara's mistakes are even less acknowledged in the show as well, though. They're sometimes even seen as right. About an hour ago, I saw "The Waterbending Master" and I just remembered how much Katara annoyed me in that episode. Yes, the northern water tribe's customs of pretty much incapacitating half of their waterbenders by limiting them to being healers is a dumb idea. But who's going to like being told that their customs are stupid? Who's going to like being insulted to their face by someone young enough to be their granddaughter? Katara has other times when she's a complete brat, but of all the main characters she is called out even less on this. Even Aang is called out in-universe more than she is. And yet, some people still try to pass Katara off as a "bastion of maturity".

Also, thinking that Zuko (or any fictional character) is good-looking isn't a problem in itself. It's when you try to come up with all sorts of excuses to justify his behavior, when you fail to realize that he has mistakes, when you put him on a pedestal and tear everyone else down to bring him up is there a problem. Because of that whole "beauty equals goodness" stereotype. So finding him attractive isn't wrong. Excusing his behavior because you find him attractive is wrong.

Not all teenage girls are hormonal, that is true. But a majority of them are. No offense meant, donna.

12/19/2011 #339
Amira Elizabeth

They all have things they don't get called on. Toph's sarcasm and rudeness is rarely called out, her scamming the money was viewed as a bad thing for a while, but even that was glossed over. Zuko repeatedly mocked, yelled, and verbally tore-down anything he didn't like or understood (episodes: The Avatar State, the Desert, Bitter Work, The Headband, etc.) He never lost that trait, which is why him mocking Aang in TSR is not out of character, but it is wholly unattractive (and honestly, made the later forgiveness scenes a bit hollow). And he rarely, if ever, gets called on it.

And I will answer more later. Bit of a time crunch at work right now.

12/19/2011 . Edited 12/19/2011 #340
TigerShadow

...I'm a teenage girl... we're not all like that... :/

Teenage fangirl. There's a difference. Fangirls know no logic and have frequent spaz attacks; as of late in this discussion, no one, you included, has acted that way.

12/19/2011 #341
Fullmetal Catalyst

Aang lied to them. They don't know if they can trust him anymore. Would you want to travel with someone you can't trust? If he was willing to decieve them about something that meant so much to them, what else could he have lied about, or would he have lied about in the future?

Katara initially hides the Waterbending scroll theft, which gets them attacked by pirates. In both her situation and Aang's, their insecurities lead them to bad mistakes. Both very quickly learn from their mistakes (within five minutes episode-time) and set about trying to rectify them.

Amira comments very well on this, and there's very little I can add to hers. They know quite well they can trust him. They're angry, but they forgive him extremely quickly. Would I want to travel with someone I couldn't trust? Probably not. Would I want to leave someone who made a mistake based on an insecurity that I was responsible for feeding? At first, probably. I'd be angry too, even though Sokka and Katara already stated they're sticking with Aang even after the messenger comes (wait, what?). But Sokka and Katara return to Aang (well, try to return) because they understand that they CAN trust him, that he's family, and that without his wolf pack (them) he feels the same pain that they feel constantly but amplified a hundredfold.

Not to mention that leaving the world's last hope unattended while he's being tailed by the most tenacious hunter in the world doesn't quite seem right no matter which way I look at it.

But no one so much as points out to him that he can't hide from it forever. He will have to learn it eventually, one way or another.

Others don't point it out to him? Perhaps there's a reason for that and perhaps there isn't, but in either case this is not under his control. He associates Firebending only with evil (and can we blame him, given what he's seen of it?) and the first time he thinks he can control it, he hurts and horribly frightens his closest friend. He needs to learn it, but just as with Earthbending, he needs to understand it and how it relates to his soul before he has any hope of doing more than light a candle. This is similar to the "We need a Firebending teacher" problem in WAT. Until a certain event has happened, Aang is not capable of approaching these problems and succeeding in it. This isn't running away from his problem. This is refusing to face a problem that he is not yet capable of facing.

You have a fair point about Bloodbending, though. It's not like Metalbending, which has very obvious uses and obvious aftereffects. Bloodbending is much more opaque in that respect.

Without throwing the near-mauling into the mix, Aang is going to have to talk to Toph eventually. His reason for not doing it is pretty selfish. And we don't know when Toph started "watching" what was going on. She may have already guessed that it's going to take strong need to motivate him enough to Earthbend. She knows Aang shouldn't get Sokka out of the hole - that's why she does it herself. So, yeah, there's plenty of reason to believe she would have helped. As much as Aang needs to figure out his mental block with Earthbending, she's not willing to risk Sokka getting injured to get him there.

I'm not sure I can argue this one further right now without seeing the episode. For the time being, I concede the point.

More Waterbending training would be a little pointless considering he has so much left to learn of Firebending and Earthbending before he'll feel ready to fight Ozai. And there's certain fighting strategies entailed in each type of bending. Dodging and using one's weight against him in Airbending, head-on approach in Earthbending, etc. Sokka could definitely enlighten him further, but he still has to get the basics of fighting.

This makes sense.

The war may have already been lost to them, but there are still numerous (I don't know if it's thousands or hundreds of thousands or what - Bryke didn't give us a population count so far as I know) lives at stake if Ozai uses the comet. Even if they don't know Ozai's exact plan, all they have to do is look at how it was used last time - Aang's entire race was exterminated. I'm a little surprised Aang isn't chomping at the bit to prevent the comet's power from being harnessed again, because like Roku said - it will be used again.

What Roku said was, "Fire Lord Ozai will use its power to finish the war once and for all. If he succeeds, even the Avatar won't be able to restore balance to the world. Aang, you must defeat the Fire Lord *before* the comet arrives." If Roku said Ozai would use its power to "destroy the Earth Kingdom", Aang's urgency would not abate with the loss of the war. But Roku is connecting the Comet and the war. Katara herself states, in Sozin's Comet Part 1, that there's no point in forcing the timetable because the war's already lost. When Roku said it would be used again, the status quo was very different. This is what Aang (and Katara, Sokka, Toph, and Suki) focus on.

They have no idea the Comet will be harnessed again, because why would Ozai harness it? It's irrational in the extreme because there's no logical end goal, and they know that he's too dangerous with the Comet for Aang to take down, so they plan to wait.

See, this is why I asked if there's anything I overlooked in Katara. Of all the characters on the show, I identify with Katara the most (something about that maternal instinct), so my view of her is a bit skewed in her favor. Also, Katara doesn't seem to realize that two wrongs don't make a right - the stealing, in your opinion the map incident, the scamming.

That said, I don't really see Katara as being at fault with the map incident. She made a mistake that contradicts what she said she'd do beforehand, but I don't know if she thought it was the wrong thing to do. I'm speaking from my PoV that abandoning Aang was wrong, even if Sokka and Katara do come to agree with that view.

If anything, I think if it was a matter of her getting her way, it would show that she's willing to put aside her desire to fight Azula in order to let it be between brother and sister - "the fight that was always meant to be."

And that's a major reason why I'm not quite willing to bring it up as a real argument. Just an idea to throw out there. I always ask, "Um, Katara, what are you doing in the frame?", but I tend to forgive it because I think the Last Agni Kai is one of the greatest scenes in cartoon history.

12/19/2011 #342
Amira Elizabeth

Without throwing the near-mauling into the mix, Aang is going to have to talk to Toph eventually. His reason for not doing it is pretty selfish. And we don't know when Toph started "watching" what was going on. She may have already guessed that it's going to take strong need to motivate him enough to Earthbend. She knows Aang shouldn't get Sokka out of the hole - that's why she does it herself. So, yeah, there's plenty of reason to believe she would have helped. As much as Aang needs to figure out his mental block with Earthbending, she's not willing to risk Sokka getting injured to get him there.

I can understand why Aang didn't go get Toph right away. She had spent most of the episode treating him like dirt and verbally abusing him. His confidence was at an all-time low. And Sokka, while uncomfortable, was not in any immediate danger when Aang first found him. Why not call Toph's actions into question? Why didn't she immediately jump in and help Aang with the moose-lion? Why didn't she immediately get Sokka out of the hole in the ground rather than confronting Aang on his earth bending. Her priority wasn't Sokka either.

And since we are so big on holding people accountable - why does no one hold Zuko accountable for keeping a vital piece of information to himself. He should have told them about what his father planned to do with the comet and not just assumed anything.

This holding Aang to this ridiculously high-standard while letting others slide honestly just doesn't sit well.

12/19/2011 . Edited 12/19/2011 #343
Odekake

You know, I didn't notice that until you pointed it out, Amira. I mean, I've noticed that people are harsher on Aang for his faults than Zuko's, but you're right when you say that Toph could've got Sokka out of the hole sooner and jumped in with the moose lion. Zuko could've told them about his father's plans for the comet as well. I mean, how could the others have known than Ozai was going to raze the Earth Kingdom? And you're right. It's not entirely Aang's fault. Everyone had a choice, and the right or the most reasonable choices were often not made. But criticizing only Aang for the consequences of those choices (or not taking them) but not holding other people who were just as responsible for those choices accountable is unfair.

12/19/2011 #344
Amira Elizabeth

Again - Aang was never supposed to be this "god on high" type of being. He is not perfect. The reason he works as a character and is so endearing is that he is very much a human boy.

And I will go more in-depth on this later - About the marriage issue:

If this was something that just came up out of the blue with Aang, then I would say you have a point Donna. But it is pretty clear from early on in the series that Aang does want marriage and a family. The character himself is very family-oriented and seems to almost function better in a family unit. But also, as early as the Fortune Teller Aang was concerned about marriage and girls and falling in love. So this isn't like it just popped up out of the blue.

12/19/2011 . Edited 12/19/2011 #345
Narwhalphonse

"And since we are so big on holding people accountable - why does no one hold Zuko accountable for keeping a vital piece of information to himself. He should have told them about what his father planned to do with the comet and not just assumed anything."

Yeah, "I didn't think I had to" didn't ever seem like a good enough reason not to tell them. We aren't shown what kind of discussion was had about the comet before that episode, but it looked to me like he had reason to believe they were going to fight Ozai on that day anyway. Maybe he was just trying to spare them the gritty details - I mean, look how depressed everyone got. But he himself doesn't try very hard to justify his behavior.

"I can understand why Aang didn't go get Toph right away. She had spent most of the episode treating him like dirt and verbally abusing him. His confidence was at an all-time low."

Personally, I thought it was nice to see Aang not being coddled for once. Toph definitely didn't need to yell to the extent that she did, but considering the element she was trying to get him to work with, I understand what she was getting at.

"Why not call Toph's actions into question? Why didn't she immediately jump in and help Aang with the moose-lion? Why didn't she immediately get Sokka out of the hole in the ground rather than confronting Aang on his earth bending. Her priority wasn't Sokka either."

Because Toph had been trying to get it through his head for the entire episode that he has to face this element head on. In her eyes, if it takes Sokka being in danger for him to feel the need enough to bend, then that's what it takes. She would have to have realized by that point that her simply yelling at Aang isn't enough. Being gentler on him isn't going to work, either - not with that element.

Sokka doesn't seem to be anyone's priority, which is kind of sad. But she does care enough about him that she's not willing to risk Aang hurting him accidentally.

"This holding Aang to this ridiculously high-standard while letting others slide honestly just doesn't sit well."

So, because he has to save the world, we should hold him to a low standard? And it seems to work both ways. People who favor Aang justify his every mistake and harp on Zuko. It's hard to tell who's right and which boy deserves more blame, because they're ... well, not exactly foils, but the numerous similarities between the two definitely aren't an accident.

12/19/2011 #346
Amira Elizabeth

So, because he has to save the world, we should hold him to a low standard? And it seems to work both ways. People who favor Aang justify his every mistake and harp on Zuko. It's hard to tell who's right and which boy deserves more blame, because they're ... well, not exactly foils, but the numerous similarities between the two definitely aren't an accident.

But no one is holding Aang to a low standard. I've seen no one on here who has let Aang slide for bad decisions. The difference is people aren't singling him out solely. Personally, I think Zuko should be held to a higher standard than he is because he is the character supposedly with the growth and the arc, who was bad and misguided but became good.

I favor Aang and there have been times I wanted to shake him and go: "What the heck were you thinking?" But if you are going to make a case out of Aang not defeating the Fire Lord before the comet, then you have to make a case too for Zuko not providing them with vital information. If the reasoning is "well it would make them more depressed" or "sparing them the gritty details" than it's not a good reason. And leaves Aang a potential unfair disadvantage. Zuko had from the time of the Western Air Temple to tell the Gaang. Why didn't he? Why didn't he bring it up during their training sessions?

Because Toph had been trying to get it through his head for the entire episode that he has to face this element head on. In her eyes, if it takes Sokka being in danger for him to feel the need enough to bend, then that's what it takes. She would have to have realized by that point that her simply yelling at Aang isn't enough. Being gentler on him isn't going to work, either - not with that element.

So it is okay and excusable for Toph to let Sokka be in danger if it makes Aang buckle down. But Aang trying to work through his issue by talking to Sokka when Sokka wasn't in danger isn't okay? Yeah...that's just odd. And poor Sokka.

12/19/2011 . Edited 12/19/2011 #347
Narwhalphonse

"I favor Aang and there have been times I wanted to shake him and go: "What the heck were you thinking?" But if you are going to make a case out of Aang not defeating the Fire Lord before the comet, then you have to make a case too for Zuko not providing them with vital information. If the reasoning is "well it would make them more depressed" or "sparing them the gritty details" than it's not a good reason. And leaves Aang a potential unfair disadvantage. Zuko had from the time of the Western Air Temple to tell the Gaang. Why didn't he? Why didn't he bring it up during their training sessions?"

You also have to wonder why no one let Zuko in on the decision not to fight Ozai. Seriously, he was the ONLY one in the group who didn't know that. And I didn't say it was a good enough reason, either, just that I was wondering if that's where he was coming from with that. And I can't imagine he would be thrilled at seeing pure, innocent Aang sinking into depression at the thougt of Ozai burning the Earth Kingdom to the ground. Once again, not a good enough reason, but one that might understandably delay him a little.

12/19/2011 #348
Amira Elizabeth

if anyone is on a mobile browser you might want to try a little HTML trick to quote:

In front of the paragraph you want to quote, put the following inside the opening tags (greater than/less than symbols):

p class="quoteStyle"

Then just close out the paragraph by using the lowercase p inside the greater than/less than symbols.

It's basically the same thing as making a paragraph, just slightly different text inside the opening tags.

12/19/2011 #349
Fullmetal Catalyst

People who favor Aang justify his every mistake and harp on Zuko. It's hard to tell who's right and which boy deserves more blame, because they're ... well, not exactly foils, but the numerous similarities between the two definitely aren't an accident.

The boys are parallels, even mirrors in some cases. The writers went out of their way to show this.

It's just as annoying the other way, too, even if it's rather less common here. But there's a difference between explaining mistakes and "justifying" them. Aang was clearly wrong to, say, leap in for the kiss in EIP. Yet when we learn why he did it, the response is often quite sympathetic, even if we don't condone the act itself. I'm willing to bet I could explain just about all of Zuko's mistakes, but I wouldn't dare try to justify most of them.

And then there are "mistakes" that can be justified easily enough because they aren't actually mistakes. Examples are there for almost every major player in the show (I'm not sure about Sokka, in part because of things that Marius brought up about his character).

12/19/2011 #350
Mrs Pettyfer

I also think we harp on mistakes that we personally find more or less offensive. What I find a big deal might not be something someone else finds a big deal, or vice versa. And people tend to be more forgiving of their favorite characters. I've noticed, like Donna, that those who favor Aang harp more on Zuko, while Zuko lovers harp more on Aang. I don't really understand why, since they're not REALLY arch enemies and they don't share a love interest. I wonder if this constant comparison of the two has to do with them being parallels or if it has to do with Katara. I say this only because it feels like both boys get raked over the coals like many boys involved in a love triangle are. (Obviously there is no love triangle here, but there was a shipping war)

Still amazes me how popular Zutara is, consider it's completely fanon. I've never seen such a popular fanon ship. I'm trying to think of fanon ships from books and am drawing a blank..

EDIT: Bah of course. Dramione and Harmony..totally spaced that one, haha. Just did a quick scan and there are over 31,000 Draco/Hermione stories and around 18,000 Harry/Hermione. 31,000! That's insane. So yes, that beats Zutara, haha. But Harry Potter is heavy on the fan fiction, probably the single most written fan fiction fandom of all.

12/19/2011 . Edited 12/20/2011 #351
Odekake

Dramione and Harmony (Harry/Hermione) are rather popular. I'm not sure if to the extent of Zutara, though.

Edit: Also, I find that Aang's mistakes bother me far less than Zuko's ... mostly because Aang's mistakes were that of a human twelve-year-old boy, mistakes that we've all made and most likely still make. Zuko ... what he did is considered criminal in this world, and the AtLA world. Even if I understand his motivation for doing so, it still bothers me.

12/19/2011 . Edited 12/19/2011 #352
Marius Prime

One thing I'd like to point out is that you can't be too hard on Aang or Katara or really anybody else in the series for romantic missteps. Everybody makes those. Not just kids their age - though definitely them too. I'm currently getting a, um, rather uncomfortable reminder of what it's like to be infatuated with somebody. For those of you wondering if it gets easier as you get older? No. It doesn't.

EDIT: This forum blocks the word for "not-soft"? Wow, people...

12/20/2011 . Edited 12/20/2011 #353
Mrs Pettyfer

I think it gets easier when you get older. :P At least it did for me. Gets easier when you meet someone that you're comfortable around right off the bat, too. I'm lucky to have my bf because we're such a perfect match and I never felt that usual nervousness even in the beginning. Not meant in a cheesy way--we're not cheesy at all--we're just best friends who never argue over anything larger than who is taking the dog to pee, lmao. We'd be such a boring couple in a book or movie because we have no conflict, haha.

I don't think one should be too harsh on Katara and Aang for romantic missteps either. Those weren't really my annoyances anyway. At 12 and 14, with kids with no romantic experience, you can't expect them NOT to mess up. :P I thought Aang was pretty obvious in his motives but Katara is pretty oblivious. I've noticed in many stories it's typically the guy who shows signs of falling first. Hm.

12/20/2011 . Edited 12/20/2011 #354
Narwhalphonse

FC:

"But she definitely tried, and she definitely didn't succeed, even if it wasn't all her fault. She's no pro either, backing down from her suggestion"

Well, when Aang's first response is "Us? Kissing?" in a voice that sounds bewlidered, it isn't exactly a green light for her to spill her beans about her feelings for him - whatever they were like at that point in time. So she starts backpedaling because she'd rather he not know she'd like to kiss him because he doesn't sound too interested.

"Because he thought he made his feelings clear when he really didn't."

But even if he made he made his feelings as clear as day, if they don't even talk about it, they're not magically going to be together. It doesn't really work like that.

"There's no single moment where one person breaks through. Each experience in the Earth Kingdom, every moment with Mai, "The Beach", every moment with Iroh, his encounters with Aang and Katara and Azula...they all shift something."

Yeah, that's true.

Ah. I see.

"But yes, she probably is the best. There's just so much there. What's the name of the fic?"

It's called And if Tomorrow by LittleRobbin. I read it over a year ago, but from what I remember it's amazing, and it's definitely my favorite storyline derived from Avatar. It's a bit of a downer, though.

"I don't think loyalty and obedience are the same thing. If Zuko is straying from his path, will she sit back and let him? Mai doesn't seem to be cool with Zuko's whole, "I'm going to go fight the Fire Nation". In fact, she's not. She helps him anyway because she'd also rather not seem him burn to death in boiling water."

I honestly thought she was more uspet about Zuko dumping her for the Avatar (that sounded weird) than anything. It's hard to tell - Mai's not the easiest person to read. But if she's against him joining the Avatar, then she still would have to be considered a bad person. This kid is trying to work towards peace, and her country is trying to take over the world. I don't think loyalty has to equate with mindless obedience - she ought to be able to think for herself. Especially since this is her Zuko we're talking about. She knows he's not crazy or evil, but she doesn't even try to understand why he's changing sides.

As for your "shifting her loyalty to Zuko" theory, it still doesn't necessarily work because she already was loyal to him - even over his psychotic sister. But that doesn't mean she's on his side. My point about Mai not being the best for him was because she never seemed to have morals that would back Zuko up in his quest for world peace and because she never showed any indication that she was rooting for the Avatar and his cause.

"And why would Zuko throw puppies in the ocean? :D That's not entirely a joking question. If we're going to assume Zuko's out of character, it's impossible to tell what Mai's response would be."

Actually, if we want to get technical about it, it would be a polar bear-puppy or something like that, not just... puppy :P But anyway, I meant that if Zuko makes a bad decision (lord knows he's made plenty before), Mai isn't necessarily the kind of person who's going to tell him so.

12/20/2011 #355
Fullmetal Catalyst

I wonder if this constant comparison of the two has to do with them being parallels or if it has to do with Katara.

It's the shipping war. No question in my mind. There are definitely fandoms where characters are compared due to the first reason, but in AtLA I can't imagine it being anything other than the shipping war. Besides, this forum IS the harbor. Few discussions here don't revolve around shipping, and Zuko/Aang comparisons are no exception. Disappointing, but if it were going to change it would've by now.

Still amazes me how popular Zutara is, consider it's completely fanon. I've never seen such a popular fanon ship.

Haha, truly? It doesn't surprise me in the slightest. It's not often I see a canon ship more popular than one or more of its fanon counterparts, ESPECIALLY in stories geared toward a generally younger audience ( 18). Potter's a really good example, but far from the only one.

That's insane. So yes, that beats Zutara, haha. But Harry Potter is heavy on the fan fiction, probably the single most written fan fiction fandom of all.

I was going to say, I think you need to look at proportions rather than numbers, because HP has upward of 550,000 fics (somewhere in the vicinity of 15% of all FF on this site) and you usually need to go 15 or 20 pages back to find one that wasn't updated TODAY. Numerically speaking, it obliterates any other fandom except Naruto, Twilight, and maybe Inuyasha. If we assume every Zuko/Katara story is romance (a bad assumption, but a necessary one for my purposes) and that every romance!Zutara story is under the Zuko/Katara heading (again, not a great assumption), the Zutara fanfiction presence is something like 4-5 times as large as the Dramione presence.

I thought Aang was pretty obvious in his motives but Katara is pretty oblivious.

Indeed, Katara has absolutely no clue, no matter how clear it is to us. Meanwhile, Katara wasn't exactly hiding it either, but Aang was equally clueless. Neither surprises me, but the result does lead to the occasional aggravated *facepalm*.

12/20/2011 . Edited 12/20/2011 #356
Narwhalphonse

"Teenage fangirl. There's a difference. Fangirls know no logic and have frequent spaz attacks; as of late in this discussion, no one, you included, has acted that way."

I know, I just sort of felt that I had to stick up for teenage-kind. The word "teenager" seems to have a bad, disrespected connotation in general, and especially within fandoms. There's a lot more I could say, but I'll drop it.

12/20/2011 #357
Mrs Pettyfer

I was going to guess And If Tomorrow! First story that I've ever teared up on. It was a good Zutara/finding Ursa fic; I was quite surprised with the plot and route it took as well. One of my favorites as well. :D

I honestly thought she was more uspet about Zuko dumping her for the Avatar (that sounded weird) than anything. It's hard to tell - Mai's not the easiest person to read. But if she's against him joining the Avatar, then she still would have to be considered a bad person. This kid is trying to work towards peace, and her country is trying to take over the world. I don't think loyalty has to equate with mindless obedience - she ought to be able to think for herself. Especially since this is her Zuko we're talking about. She knows he's not crazy or evil, but she doesn't even try to understand why he's changing sides.

As for your "shifting her loyalty to Zuko" theory, it still doesn't necessarily work because she already was loyal to him - even over his psychotic sister. But that doesn't mean she's on his side. My point about Mai not being the best for him was because she never seemed to have morals that would back Zuko up in his quest for world peace and because she never showed any indication that she was rooting for the Avatar and his cause.

Agree. She didn't show any indication she was rooting for anything in the war. She just followed orders and I had no sense of where her loyalty really stood. She didn't seem to mind her family taking over Omashu and why not hunt the last hope for the world because she's bored? I too thought her biggest concern was being dumped. I guess it just really bothered me that she doesn't seem to care about anything but Zuko. She didn't care if he was following Ozai's orders to bring in the Avatar; she didn't care when he was struggling with the feeling of not fitting it at home; and she didn't care when he joined the Avatar. This blindless love isn't appealing to me. It makes me sad for her character.

It's not often I see a canon ship more popular than one or more of its fanon counterparts.

I think it's probably because I'm kind of new to looking at fandoms, lmao. Well, in young adult books (which I read a lot of) I've noticed that canon pairings tend to be more popular. Bella/Edward, Jace/Clary from The Mortal Instruments, Katniss/Peeta (I totally disagree on this one..), Rose/Dimitri from Vampire Academy. But you're right that Harry Potter has a lot of popular fanon ships. Snape/Lily is pretty popular, isn't it? By the way Cadmos, I strongly encourage you add Vampire Academy to your reading list. I know I've told you before but it's just that good, haha. First time I've ever truly loved both boys involved with the heroine. That never happens for me.

12/20/2011 . Edited 12/20/2011 #358
Narwhalphonse

FC:

"Does he let go of his attachment to Katara, though? I mean, he enters the State for her. But then, is that an attachment to Katara or just an attachment to other people? After all, this is his one chance to prevent the fall of Ba Sing Se. Food for thought."

I thought it was a given that he let her go, if only temporarily. What else would he have meant by "I'm sorry, Katara" followed by entering the Avatar State? Pathik told him he had to let go of her to open that chakra, and that chakra was the only one left unopened. Once they're all clear, he can enter the Avatar State of his own free will.

"I'd also like to discuss Aang's line, something like: "How could it be a bad thing that I feel an attachment to her? Three chakras ago that was a good thing!", to which the Guru responds, "You must learn to let go."

It seems like an oxymoron to me. He has to be attached enough to the world that he cares for it and wants to protect it from the likes of Ozai, but he also has to be distanced enough from it that it doesn't cloud his mind. Star Wars is coming to mind right now - Anakin dealt with nearly the exact same issue. But he chose attachment, which led him to fear, then to anger, etc.

"It seems to be a common misinterpretation that this means Aang can't ever be attached to anything. What it really means is that in order to achieve the State, he must put the State (and its cosmic energy) ahead of all his personal feelings. The world's need ahead of his own. But not permanently, because he's not always needing that power. What would the purpose be of no attachment at all? Kyoshi and even Kuruk show why it's bad to just let the world run itself -- which is what "getting rid of attachment permanently" actually means."

I think what they were getting at is that Aang needs to be concerned about the world, but not specific people in it above everything else. Again, I see a Star Wars parallel. "You could even say that we are encouraged to love." Just not in a way that bonds you to what you love, if that makes sense.

"Forcing away his attachment to Katara in Season 3 would provide nothing except personal discomfort for no gain."

Considering he couldn't enter the Avatar State again either way, I see what you mean. But after his miraculous recovery during Sozin's Comet, he doesn't have to open that chakra again (let go of his attachment to Katara) to be in control of the State. Which I find to be either a big oversight or flat out ignoring canon on the writers' part.

"Hmm...I don't know. Part of my argument was that you don't choose when you grow. Circumstances force it upon you because the experience changes you. What would you consider to have been taking full advantage of his opportunities?"

You can choose to grow. Most of the time, you don't, but you can. You always have a choice. And if Aang had eventually realized, after the sixth or seventh time that he runs away from his problems, that it does not solve the issue and at least tried to correct it, I would call that taking advantage of his opportunities.

In the Awakening, he does try to fix his mistake even though he knows he can't. Here, he's running from his inability to fix it, because he can't handle the fact that there is nothing he can do at that point in time.

"Aang did take lightning for Katara. Whether or not he intended to is irrelevant to the fact that if Katara hadn't been there, escape would've been trivial and he wouldn't have needed the State -- which says something about him."

I wouldn't say that escape would have been trivial had Katara not been there. He's the world's last hope for peace; I'd say it would be pretty freaking important that he get himself out, too.

My point was that this is the first time we see him enter the Avatar State after preparation (it's not full control, but it's getting there when he's zapped). He's unlocking the chakras in response to a terrible threat. It doesn't surprise me, then, that he was unable to enter it with the Guru. What's the catalyst? Vague knowledge isn't enough, especially given how many people he's hurt in the State (which can only cause his subconscious to recoil from the State.)"

Actually, we don't know if Aang would have gotten into the State without feeling that need. He was in the middle of trying to be a good student and attempt to open that chakra when he has a vision of Katara in trouble, which overshadows any immediate concern about entering the Avatar State.

12/20/2011 #359
Amira Elizabeth

I think what they were getting at is that Aang needs to be concerned about the world, but not specific people in it above everything else. Again, I see a Star Wars parallel. "You could even say that we are encouraged to love." Just not in a way that bonds you to what you love, if that makes sense.

To an extent. There were Avatars who married or fell in love (Roku, etc.), so it is not apparently forbidden or necessarily discouraged. But what I think of it being more like is like fire fighters and police officers.

12/20/2011 . Edited 12/20/2011 #360
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