Korra (The Legend of Korra)

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Avatar: The Last Airbender/The Legend of Korra character
Korra with her arms cross
First appearance "Welcome to Republic City"
Created by Michael Dante DiMartino
Bryan Konietzko
Voiced by Janet Varney
Cora Baker (child)
Full name Korra
Species Human (Bonded with Raava to form Avatar Spirit)
Gender Female
Occupation Avatar
Mediator of balance, harmony, peace, order and reconciliation
Title The Avatar
Avatar Korra
Family Tonraq (father)
Senna (mother)
Relatives Unalaq (paternal uncle; deceased)
Eska and Desna (first cousins)
Nationality Southern Water Tribe
Age Pre-series: born in 153 ASC
The Legend of Korra: 17 in 170 ASC, and 18 in 171 ASC
Bending Element Primary: Sub-styles:
Hair color Brown
Eye color Baby blue
Position Protagonist

Korra is the titular character and protagonist in Nickelodeon's animated television series The Legend of Korra, a sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender and the current incarnation of the Avatar. The character was created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko and is voiced by Janet Varney.

Character overview[edit]

Korra lives in a fantasy world where a large fraction of the human population is capable of magically manipulating any one of the four elements of nature: earth, fire, air, or water. The art of manipulating an element is called "bending" within the narrative. Korra is the current incarnation of the Avatar, a semi-divine, reincarnating individual with the unique ability to bend all four elements. Korra's duty in life is to safeguard peace in the world and maintain the balance between spirits and mortals.

Creation and conception[edit]

Janet Varney voices Korra

Korra's character was inspired by various female MMA fighters, as Bryan Konietzko is a fan of mixed martial arts. In addition, she was indirectly inspired by one of Bryan Konietzko's sisters. Korra was also designed to be an inversion of Aang, the title character of the preceding story Avatar: The Last Airbender. Instead of the young, spiritual Aang, Korra is a more physical character who has trouble grasping the spiritual side of being the Avatar, while Aang takes a while to master each of the elements, but connects with the spirit world instantaneously.[1]

Korra's name was settled long after her character was imagined. Konietzko and DiMartino couldn't agree to a name for her until they learned "Cora", the name of a hotel operator's dog. The name was kept, and only changed in spelling.[2]

Personality and characteristics[edit]

Unlike her predecessor Aang, Korra is described by her creators as "very tough, very headstrong, and not scared to get into a fight." [3] Although she is talented, her stubborn and hot-headed personality prevents her from easily learning Airbending or connecting with the Spirit World.[4] The Avatar traditionally has the greatest difficulty mastering the element diametrically opposed to the Avatar's native bending ability. For instance, Avatar Roku—a Firebender—took longer to learn Waterbending and Aang—an Airbender—took longer to learn Earthbending. The Waterbender Korra, on the other hand, had little difficulty with Firebending but had considerable trouble with Airbending, a situation noted to be psychological and not elemental.

Her best friend and animal guide is a polar bear-dog named Naga, whose strength helps Korra out of many dangerous situations. Although wild polar bear dogs were originally feared and hunted by Water Tribes, Korra is the first person to ever tame one.[5] Korra is good friends with her pro-bending teammates, the brothers Mako (her main romantic interest) and Bolin. She also develops a strong friendship with Asami Sato, a wealthy industrialist and Mako's one-time girlfriend. Korra is also on very good terms with the family of her previous incarnation: Katara and Tenzin were her teachers, Tenzin's children look to her as an older sister and Kya and Bumi regard her as a friend. Korra is on generally good terms with her mother and father, but has little contact with her uncle or cousins, whom she considers weird (and her father considers dangerous). Korra is unusual amongst her past lives in that she is technically royalty: her father Tonraq was formerly going to be the chief of the Northern Water Tribe before being banished and relocating to the South.

Korra's character developed and matured during episodes 11 through 12 of the first season when she was confronted with detachment from her main three bending skills, leaving her with Airbending, which she had unlocked in order to save Mako from Amon. Later, she connected to her spiritual self through Aang. Once the connection to her Avatar predecessors was established, Aang was able to bestow Energybending upon Korra (as well as her main three bending skills lost earlier). Though Korra is now able to bend all four elements while being capable of entering the Avatar State, Korra is still in the process of perfecting her Airbending skills as well as having a true connection and understanding of her spiritual self in order to complete her training as a fully realized Avatar.


Book One: Air[edit]

Korra with Aang.

It is revealed in the plot that Korra was able to easily bend both fire and earth in addition to her native element at the age of four, thus proving her early prowess and status as the current Avatar to the Order of the White Lotus. At the age of seventeen, teenage Korra has officially mastered waterbending, earthbending, and firebending and hopes to learn airbending from the only airbending master alive, Tenzin. The elders of the Order of the White Lotus believe that Korra "lacks restraint" and should first master the spiritual side of being the Avatar, but Korra's teacher and Waterbending Master Katara reasons that, if anyone can teach the young Avatar spirituality, it is Tenzin. Tenzin and his family arrive at the White Lotus compound two weeks later, but Korra soon learns that Tenzin will not be able to stay in the Southern Water Tribe to teach her, because of the unstable conditions in Republic City.

Impatient to begin airbending training, Korra instead sneaks off to Republic City, and is eventually taken in by Tenzin after a confrontation with a bending gang and Republic City's metalbending police force. She meets the Earthbender Bolin and his Firebender brother Mako, who are a part of a pro-bending team called the Fire Ferrets, after sneaking out to see a pro-bending match. When the Fire Ferrets' waterbender doesn't show up before another match, though, Korra decides to fill in the spot. When Tenzin later sees that the spiral movements required in pro-bending helps train her in airbending, he gives permission for her to participate.

Not long into their careers, Bolin is captured by the Equalists, led by the mysterious Amon. To save Bolin, Korra and Mako sneak into an Equalist rally, and witness Amon permanently remove the bending of three members of a bending gang. After Bolin is saved, the three continue to practice and play Pro-Bending until the champion games. During the champion games, Equalists raid the bending arena, strip the opposing team of their bending, and destroy the playing field. Now no longer a member of the Fire Ferrets, as all Pro-Bending has ended, Korra focuses on the battle against Amon and the Equalists. However, she wants to avoid increasing tensions with peaceful non-benders, who are already being treated as criminals by Republic City.

Amon eventually declares full scale war against Republic City, captures the city council and easily defeats the Republic City police. Outmatched, Korra is forced to wait, along with Mako, Bolin, and Asami, until the united forces can send military aid. The aid does arrive, led by General Iroh II (Dante Basco). The five team up, and battle against Amon on different fronts. Iroh, Bolin, and Asami try to find and sabotage the Equalists' airfield and other bases of operation while Korra and Mako work together to infiltrate Republic City, which is under Amon's rule, and learn that Amon is actually an incredibly skilled waterbender and bloodbender named Noatak. Korra is, thus, unable to defeat him in a straight fight, and has her bending abilities removed by him. This loss of her three bending elements finally unlocked her dormant airbending abilities, which allows her to catch Amon off guard and defeat him by revealing his true nature as a waterbender and bloodbender to the public.

The conflict against Amon now over, Korra is terribly upset over the costs of the war and the loss of her bending. At the Southern Water Tribe, she runs away when she learns that Katara is unable to restore her bending. Her bending abilities are fully restored to her by the spirit of Aang, along with the spirits of the previous Avatars before him. She is also given the ability of Energybending. Using this newly acquired ability, she is able to undo Amon's removal of people's bending.

Book Two: Spirits[edit]

In Book Two: Spirits, taking place six months after the Anti-bending Revolution, Korra is shown racing with Tenzin's three children and wins by using the mighty, powerful Avatar State which Ikki considers to be cheating. Soon after, she, Tenzin, Mako and their respective families travel to the Southern Water Tribe for the Glacial Spirits Festival. There, she greets her uncle and chief of the Northern Water Tribe, Unalaq and her first cousins, Desna and Eska, both of whom unnerve her due to their detached nature and their general dislike of her. Later during the night, Korra is attacked by a Dark Spirit, and though she, her father, Mako and Bolin try to stop it, all of them are defeated. It is only thanks to Unalaq that the spirit is bested, which he manages through use of waterbending designed to calm angry spirits. Frustrated with Tenzin and her father Tonraq for keeping her in the compound of The Order of the White Lotus when Aang wanted otherwise, she chooses Unalaq as her new spiritual teacher, saddening Tenzin greatly. After Tenzin leaves for the Southern Air Temple, Unalaq says he has much he will teach her.

In "The Southern Lights", Korra, Bolin, Mako and Unalaq, accompanied by Desna, Eska and Tonraq head for the South Pole to restore the Spirit World portal that exists there since the Portal was locked during the Hundred Year War and never restored. On the way, after battling angry spirits and much anger and persistence from Korra, Tonraq reveals he is the other reason the Spirits are angry . Twenty years before, during a battle with Barbarian Raiders, Tonraq destroyed the sacred forest in the North Pole in order to defeat the enemy hiding there, angering the spirits who dwelt there and nearly destroying the tribe when they retaliated, causing his banishment and disinheritance. Korra is furious at him for not telling her, and asks him to leave the mission. Korra then proceeds to enter the frozen forest where the Dark Spirits dwell, and after several attempts, uses the Avatar State to restore the forest and the portal to the Spirit World. As they return to the Southern Water Tribe, Korra sees Unalaq's warship fleet docking, and realizes he is going to use his military might to try to force the Southern Water Tribe to finally embrace their spiritual side. Korra's parents are later arrested for allegedly conspiring to assassinate Unalaq. Korra's mother, Senna is cleared of all charges, but decides to confront the judge and get him to release her father as well. Korra discovers that the trial was a set up by Unalaq like the barbian attack on the Northern Water Tribe to get Tonraq banished. She confronts Unalaq over his actions and rejects him as her spiritual teacher before setting off to free her imprisoned father. The Avatar and her friends then flee to Republic City for support of the south in the now-ignited civil war between the two Water Tribes.

After Korra is unable to get support from the United Forces, she uses a speedboat to travel to the Fire Nation to convince them to help the Southern Tribe (due to good relations since the end of the Hundred Year War). She is then attacked by Desna and Eska, who were assigned by their father to capture the Avatar and open the Northern spirit portal. However, Korra is attacked by a massive dark spirit and dragged beneath the waves. Desna and Eska flee, believing their cousin to be dead.

Korra is later revealed to be alive and washed up on shore somewhere in the Fire Nation where she is discovered by two Fire Sages. As she awakens, a weakened Korra reveals she doesn't remember who she is before passing out again.

In "Beginnings", The Sages carry her to a nearby fire temple where a shaman diagnosed her that she has been affective by the negative energy of a dark spirit that's beginning to destroy her Avatar Spirit. They lower Korra into spiritual healing waters to cleanse her of the dark infection. Korra's consciousness then makes contact with her past selves: Aang, Roku, Kyoshi, and then Kuruk. They remind her she is the Avatar and must regain her connection with her Avatar Spirit. If she doesn't she will be destroyed, darkness will be engulf the world, and bring the era of the Avatar to an end. Avatar Kuruk tells in order to regain her connection, she must return to the beginning and find Raava. Korra then encounters another past Avatar named Wan who reveals to Korra that he was the very first Avatar and can help her find Raava. Wan shows Korra how he became the first Avatar. His story reveals that he lived 10,000 years ago in a time where humans lived atop the backs of lion turtles who protected from spirits who roamed the mainlands across the world. The lion turtles each used energybending to give humans a specific element while venturing in spirit territory (Spirit Wilds). After Wan stole the element of fire from his lion turtle to help improve life for him and his poor friends, he is banished to the Spirit Wilds where he befriends several spirits. After two years, Wan travels the Wilds with his cat deer Mula to find the other lion turtle cities. He encounters the all-powerful spirits Raava and Vaatu, who were dueling in the mountains. Vaatu tricks Wan into freeing him from Raava's restraints and flies off. Raava explains to Wan she is the spirit of light and peace and Vaatu is the spirit of chaos and destruction; by freeing Vaatu, Wan has unleashed darkness into the world. Korra briefly wakes up enough to mutter a few words. The Shaman overseeing her healing says she is connecting with her deepest memories, which are Wan. Back in her vision of her past, Raava sets off to track down Vaatu and warns Wan not to interfere with her again. After saving the people atop the air lion turtle from dark spirits corrupted by Vaatu, Wan convinces Raava to let him help her defeat the spirit of darkness. Together, the two set out and gain the ability of air, water, and earth from the other lion turtle cities. For the next year, the two train to defeat Vaatu on the day of Harmonic Convergence, an event that happens once every 10,000 years in which Raava and Vaatu must battle each other for the fate of the world until the next Harmonic Convergence. One cannot be completely destroyed as light and dark cannot exist without one another. Whoever is defeated will simply be reformed in the next 10,000 years. Once the day of battle arrives, Wan and Raava enter the Southern portal to the Spirit World and confront Vaatu. Raava possesses Wan so he can be able to use all four elements, but her presence in his body for too long gradually begins to give Vaatu the advantage as it begins to severely weaken Wan. Harmonic Convergence soon begins and the two portals of the North and South Pole to overlap. Using the amplified energy of the southern portal, Wan permanently merges with Raava, becoming Raava's Avatar. Using the newly-created Avatar State, Wan easily beats Vaatu and traps him in an sphere composed of all four elements and imprison Vaatu in the Tree of Time. To prevent the risk of Vaatu escaping imprisonment, Wan led (most) of the spirits in the mortal realm back to the Spirit World and closed the spirit portal. The lion turtles declare the world is entering a new age and their time protecting mankind is over and will no longer provide the power of the elements (save for those who used to live on their backs). The four nations are soon established. The newly founded Earth Kingdom, Fire Nation and Water Tribe go to war, prompting Avatar Wan to intervene and cease fighting. Many years later, an elderly Wan is dying on the battlefield of a vicious war. Wan apologizes to Raava for failing to bring peace to humanity. The light spirit reassured him that they would be together for all of his lifetimes and will never give up. Wan then peacefully passes away, and, accompanied by Raava, now the Avatar Spirit, is reincarnated, beginning the Avatar Cycle. Korra subsequently awakens with her memory restored. The Avatar, after learning the next Harmonic Convergence is a few weeks away, sets out on a sky bison gifted to her by the shaman to close the southern portal before Harmonic Convergence begins, to prevent Vaatu from escaping his prison.

Korra arrives at the Eastern Air Temple, where Tenzin and his family have stopped at on their vacation. She outlines the events of what has previously occurred, including the Water Tribe civil war. In the temple's garden, Korra explains to Tenzin how Avatar Wan imprisoned Vaatu in the Spirit World and that now, Unalaq wants to free him. Jinora guides Korra into the Spirit World where she is eventually captured by Unalaq and blackmails Korra into open the northern spirit portal, to which the young Avatar reluctantly does. Korra then returns to the physical world, but Jinora remains trapped, much to the horror of Tenzin and his family. They all return to Republic City and gain assistance from Team Avatar in stopping Unalaq before Harmonic Convergence.

They all arrive back at the Southern Water Tribe where Senna reveals the southern rebels were all defeated and Tonraq has been captured. Korra and the team head off to save him, but are captured by Unalaq's troops. Unalaq soon arrives and reveals his ultimate plan: to fuse with Harmonic Convergence and become the new Avatar; a dark Avatar. He then spouts his rage about Avatar Wan separating spirits from humans and that all his Avatar incarnations have brought nothing but chaos for continuing Wan's mission as being the bridge between the two worlds, when they all should live together as one. Team Avatar, with the help of Bumi manage to escape, but are too late to close the spirit portal as Harmonic Convergence begins, allowing Vaatu to escape from his prison. Unalaq fuses with Vaatu by touching the amplified power of the northern portal, creating the Dark Avatar Spirit. The two Avatars' battle leads into the physical world. Unalaq uses Vaatu's tendrils to rip Korra and Raava apart. Unalaq then attacks Raava with his waterbending; which each blow to Raava, each connection to a past Avatar is destroyed. With a final blow, Raava is destroyed and the connection to the last surviving Avatar spirit, Wan is destroyed, thus ending the Avatar Cycle. With Raava destroyed, Unalaq then becomes a colossal dark spirit and teleports to Republic City to destroy it. With some guidance from Tenzin, Korra energybends a giant astral projection of her spirit, which return to Earth to battle the Dark Avatar. She initially gains the upper hand, but Unalaq manages subdue her. He then begins to use corrupther spirit with his spirit purification technique. Jinora's spirit suddenly appears out of the sky and unleashes a small orb of light, breaking Unalaq's concentration on his technique. Raava's light spirit is revived and extracted from Vaatu's essence by Korra. She then uses her uncle's technique to purify the Dark Avatar, which not only destroys both Unalaq and Vaatu, but also the Dark Avatar spirit and Unalaq's connection to Vaatu. Back in the Spirit World, Team Avatar, aided by Desna and Eska, attempt to stop a horde of dark spirits from attacking Korra's spiritless body. Korra, Jinora, and Raava return and dissipate the dark spirits. Seconds before the end of Harmonic Convergence ends, Korra and Raava use the remaining energy of the southern portal and fuse back together, recreating the Avatar Spirit. Though connected with Raava once again, Korra's connection to the past Avatars remains severed. Korra decides to leave both spirit portals open, believing spirits are able to co-exist with humans. She gives a speech to all the Southerners about Unalaq's defeat and that the Northern fleet is returning home. She declares both tribes will remain allies, but both are now independent and Tonraq is now the new chief of the Southern Water Tribe. In addition, Korra renounces the Avatar's role as the bridge between two worlds, but declares that she will still use Raava's light spirit to bring peace. She concludes her speech with announcing that Harmonic Convergence has shifted the planet's energy and that the world is now entering a new age, as various spirits roam the skies above.

Book Three: Change[edit]

In Book Three: Change, which takes place two weeks after Book Two: Spirits, Korra must deal with the drastic changes caused by Harmonic Convergence and how a shift in the world's energy has affected both the spirit and physical worlds. She soon discovers that her decision in keeping the spirit portals open has unexpected consequences. When she learns that people all around the Earth Kingdom have developed airbending abilities, she is determined to help rebuild the nearly extinct nation of the Air Nomads after 170 years by recruiting these new airbenders. She later arrives in Ba Sing Se to ask for the Earth Queen's approval for finding airbenders in her city. But when the Earth Queen is stubborn and uncooperative, Korra angrily promises to find the airbenders on her own. Upon learning that the queen was merely using her, she plans a rescue mission to bust the airbenders out. She succeeds in the mission but doing so turns the Earth Queen against her. The airbenders are safely taken to the Northern Air Temple. Meanwhile, four criminals (who are later revealed to be the Red Lotus) escape from their custom made prisons and come after Korra. Korra travels with a mission to find more airbenders and in result goes to Zaofu, a city of metal led by Suyin Beifong (Toph's other daughter and Lin Beifong's half-sister), where Suyin's daughter is a new airbender. She also learns metalbending from Suyin while staying there. Suyin's trusted adviser Aiwei is revealed to be a member of the Red Lotus when helps the group invade Zaofu in an attempt to kidnap Korra. Aiwei manages to escape the city, but Team Avatar manage to track him down to the Misty Palms Oasis.

They learn that he's mediated into the Spirit World for a meeting with Zaheer at Xai Bau's Grove. Korra herself enters Xai Bau's Grove and witness Zaheer and Aiwei conversing on their failure to capture the Avatar. Zaheer notices her, but before dealing with her, he imprisons Aiwei in the Fog of Lost Souls. He returns to the Grove and agrees to answer Korra's questions. He reveals that he and his comrades are members of the Red Lotus, a secret society created sometime after the Hundred Year War by a former member of the White Lotus named Xai Bau, who believed the Order lost its true purpose and became nothing but the Avatar's bodyguards and servers of corrupt nations. The goal of the Red Lotus is to return the world to the way it was before Avatar Wan split Raava and Vaatu. Unalaq is revealed to be a former member of the society, but betrayed them when they failed in his plan to kidnap his niece 13 years prior. He instead decided to use her to free Vaatu in the Spirit World and become a Dark Avatar. Believing the true order of nature is disorder, the Red Lotus plan to bring balance by plunging the world into anarchy and do away with all nations and governments. Having returned to the physical world, Korra and Asami have been captured by the Earth Queen's troops and intended to bring them back to Ba Sing Se. They manage to escape and reunite with their allies at the Misty Palms Oasis. They overhear that the Earth Queen has been recently been murdered and now Ba Sing Se and the Earth Kingdom itself is now thrown into chaos. Korra reveals this is the work of the Red Lotus. Korra soon receives a message from Zaheer that either she surrenders to him or he will wipe the new Air Nomads. After consulting with Lord Zuko, Korra agrees to turn herself in. Su devises a plan for their forces to divide into two groups in order to safely rescue the Air Nomads at the Northern Air Temple and protect Korra at the meeting ground Laghima's Peak. Korra meets Zaheer and P'li while Lin, Su, Tonraq, and several Zaofu metalbenders hide on the side of the mountain. At the Northern Air Temple, Mako, Bolin, and Asami discover that they have been tricked by Ghazan and Ming-Hua, the airbenders having been moved to a different location. They warn Korra too late for her to free herself from cuffs, but Lin and the others surprise-attack Zaheer and P'li. In the end, Zaheer defeats Korra and escapes with his newfound ability of flight. He brings her to a Red Lotus cave hideout where the Red Lotus poisons her in order to trigger the Avatar state, when the Avatar can be permanently destroyed. They plan for Ming-Hua to sever Korra's chains so that she falls into Ghazan's lava. However, Korra's entry into the Avatar state gives her the strength to rip her chains straight off of the walls. Korra pursues Zaheer outside the cave and fiercely clashes with him, but the poison severely weakens her, allowing Zaheer to try and suffocate Korra with airbending. Jinora and the rest of the newly freed airbenders combine their powers to trigger a massive cyclone, interrupting Zaheer and allowing Korra to wrestle him to the ground with her remaining chain. Su then uses metalbending to remove the metallic poison from Korra's body, saving her life. Two weeks later, Korra, in a wheelchair due to her ordeal, is present at Air Temple Island in Republic City for Jinora's ceremony of becoming an airbending master. Tenzin and others laud her for saving the world as Tenzin announces that in the wake of the chaos caused by the Red Lotus and Korra's temporary incapacitation, the new Air Nomads will become a traveling force for peace.

Book Four: Balance[edit]

The name for the last and final book of The Legend of Korra series was released on September 6, 2014 via Nickelodeon's twitter page.[6] On September 10, 2014, an official air date of October 3, 2014 was released by the show's creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dimartino.[7]


Initially, Nickelodeon suspended production on the series because they did not like Korra being a girl. But, after seeing the completed first episode, they let the series resume development. Fan interest in Korra was high at the time of her announcement. During the series run, Emily Ashby of Common Sense Media claimed that Korra was a good role model, citing her dedication to her goals and open-mindedness towards new ideas. When the second season of the show began to air, there was a mild controversy about the character. Fans and reviewers alike were not happy with Korra's behavior and the way she was acting. Bryan Konietzko, co-creator of Legend of Korra compared this controversy to a similar one that occurred about Zuko, during the run of Avatar: The Last Airbender.


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