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The innane ramblings of a fan

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Just finished watching the entirety of book 1 ATLA...
heartbeat flame
... in the span of a few days.

Feels good guys, feels good. (Do you know I've owned all three books for a while now and yet HAVEN'T done this? What a travesty. I still have the plastic coatings on book 2 and 3 right now, and before this I mostly was watching the season finale and the Blue Spirit alone as my favourite s1 episodes). I technically have an exam on Thursday, so it was mostly what I used for breaks. It isn't a particularly important test and I'm off work this week so it was mostly something to do. I already did pretty well on my assignment which was worth more- better in fact then expected so... -shrugs- Not really feeling the pressure I guess. Which is weird for me.

I plan to watch book 2 after the exam during days off from work.

There's some talk on book 1, and why Korra's own book 1 maybe failed to impress for some in retrospect?

Book 1 ATLA is pretty great overall.

I'm liking both Sokka and Katara as their own characters even more this time around for some reason and it's all great kataang in it even if there's only really two episodes where it's really focused on in some way. I really like, looking back, how subtle they sometimes were with that ship in book 1. They're important friends to each other if nothing else and anyone who denies at least that level of affection is blind.

There was also of course, great subtle foreshadowing leading up to the Storm and Zuko's backstory there. And that was the episode, with the Blue Spirit, which established to me this show could be really great when I first watched it given how Zuko and Aang were focused on.

Mostly I think book 1 gets more of a bad rap then it should have sometimes, though I can understand criticisms. The first two episodes are so friggin' slow, but I guess it's important to establish various things. I also more get why a certain episode called the Great Divide is so loathed too which for a long time I thought was kind of exaggerated by fans even after watching it the first time. It's not exactly a travesty. But man, it's more annoying then I remember it. Given the fact it's two tribes being annoying tits, it's clear why this is, but with the excellent episodes of the Winter Solstice Two parter  (I get chills after all this time when Roku is revealed to the sages), and the fact other episodes after THAT but before the Great Divide were far more fun or interesting it just looks even weaker. Also, all the other episodes established at least how much the world has been wrecked by the war or advanced the characters in some way. Aang only gets this BARELY in this episode and it could be argued outside episodes more established his Avatar duties in far better ways and thus it was meaningless to have this episode at all. But then I guess they had to get in that 'being a mediator between physical people not just the spirit world and physical world' as an Avatar role somehow. So I think I can understand why it's there.

But yeah, it sucks more than I remember somehow.

Only good thing really though in it? Aang being a liar and yelling at the annoying tits as well as a capable leader. Because we all wanted to yell at them after all.

While other episodes had their good points before it I think Winter Solstice parts 1 and 2 were what raised expectations for this series. They were the first truly great episodes in my opinion, even if there were good ones or entertaining ones before it.

Because it introduced the Spirit World properly for us.

I'm also, from this, kind of getting how Korra critique is going when it comes to the lack of spirituality being something which means it's just not as interesting yet?

I mean the premise felt smaller that ATLA's first book not just because it was focused on one city as opposed to a road trip and saving the world . It's kind of the fact this great other world we'd been to was never reached in Korra. There's an obvious reason for this: Korra isn't spiritual, but still it still was something, in addition to the fact we were in one place, which made things feel a bit less important. Obviously not the only thing: people only risk losing their bending rather than death in the beginning in addition to being in only one city but I think it could be something which added to the fact Korra and her conflict felt well, kind of unimportant in the grand scheme of things. It's something which could have been possibly (partially?) fixed if Amon had been honest in saying he gained his debending ability from the spirits and we saw evidence of such allies before the finale: but oh well. In any case: the Spirit world was great and a part of what made Avatar great and I say this as a non-spiritual atheist. It's something which gave conflict and meant high stakes for that wonderful s1 finale. And it made everything seem so much bigger.

And after all the Avatar is the bridge between the spirit world and the physical in the show. If anything, that defined the Avatar more for me then bending four elements at all. The Avatar is the spirit of the world in human flesh and to reflect the world it is born in each of the nations and can be a man or woman. Honestly for me the four elements are just a tool for the Avatar to help maintain balance (and not the ONLY tool they usually have) as well as an easy way to identify who it is. Also the fact having all four elements means the Avatar is to travel to each nation and learn their customs, their way of life and make friends and family along the way. Because the Avatar belongs to the world no matter what nation they're born to at the time. By having to travel to them and learn and meet others, he or she can't become too tied to one nation or too biased for the most part. Or at least is less likely to be in any case.

The Spirit world was actually where a lot of the best stuff came from in ATLA, at least looking back at the first book which for all it's slow beginnings is actually solid. I mean yeah the characters are number 1 in terms of why I love it but let's face it if we had the war and no spirit world, ATLA, would be very, very lacking in some way to me. It meant the most heart rendering scene in book 1- Yue's death was possible. That (one of) the most tense scenes in the book was possible too (Aang talking to Koh).

It really helped tie things together overall and it was just a fascinating, wonderful and terrifying place that I wish we'd got to explore even more. It's also the reason I came to love Aang- because while I liked him a lot, especially post Blue Spirit, him facing Koh (in combination with being the ONLY ONE who wanted to save Zuko from freezing to death) was what helped me love him.

This is also why I think book 2 Korra could be great- despite Korra's problems in book 1. I mean there were problems besides the lack of spirituality of course (and not just shipping gripes either- actual plot problems and the fact the Equalist issue isn't even really over)  but then of course that was Korra's whole point- she's the opposite of Aang in that regard.

Also I really want to see Koh again. He remains as my favourite one-shot character- my only bitterness coming from him still BEING a one-shot character.


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