Toph Beifong

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Toph Beifong
Avatar: The Last Airbender/The Legend of Korra character
Toph Bei Fong.png
Voiced by Jessie Flower (child),
Kate Higgins (adult)
Information
Aliases The Blind Bandit, The Runaway.
Gender Female
Relatives Lao Beifong (father)
Poppy Beifong (mother)
Unnamed husband
Lin Beifong (daughter)
Nationality Earth Kingdom
Age 12 (Avatar: The Last Airbender)
14 (Comic books)
Deceased (The Legend of Korra)
Bending Element Earth
Metal
Hair color Black with Hairbun
Eye color sea foam green (blind)
Position Protagonist

Toph Beifong (北方 拓芙) is a fictional character in Nickelodeon's animated television series Avatar: The Last Airbender, voiced by Jessie Flower.

Name[edit]

Toph is the only character of the series to express a last name, "Beifong". In "The Serpent's Pass," Toph's passport reads 土國頭等護照北方拓芙 (tǔ guó tóu děng hù zhào běi fāng tuò fú), which translates as "Earth Kingdom First Class Passport: Beifong Toph". Here, her name means "supported lotus", which matches her parents' view of their daughter as a flower in need of protection. In "Tales of Ba Sing Se", her name is written as 托 夫 (Tuō Fū), which means "entrusted man". In "The Earth King", her name is reverted to 拓芙. Her last name Beifong (北 方) is close to the Mandarin pronunciation of the word "North" (běi fāng). The word 托 (Tuō) also means "to support in one's palm" and is the word used for child care.[1] It is usually a prefix to another Fù (付), which means "pay".[2][original research?]

Character[edit]

Characteristics[edit]

Toph is the only child of the wealthy and rich Beifong family, whose symbol is a winged boar. Toph's parents view her blindness as a disability and therefore keep her concealed.[3] Despite her handicap, Toph developed special skills by keeping company with the blind 'Badgermoles' that inhabited nearby caves.[4] By imitating their movements, Toph became a master of the martial art known as 'Earthbending'; but kept her ability secret from her family. Toph fought frequently in Earth Rumble, an earthbending lei tai tournament resembling professional wrestling, under the alias "Blind Bandit". By the time Aang and his friends discover Toph at the tournament, she had become champion, holding a 42-0 win-loss record.[3] When her parents learn about this and confine her further, Toph accompanies Aang and his friends as Aang's earthbending instructor.

Toph is fiercely independent, direct, belligerent, and practiced in taunting and insulting her opponents[3] and on occasion her friends, particularly Sokka.[5] On several occasions Toph appears picking her nose, spitting, and belching loudly. She is usually covered in dirt, supplying "a healthy coating of earth".[6] Despite her uncouth habits, Toph is well-educated in the manners and bearings of high society.[7]

In The Legend of Korra, Toph is revealed to have founded Republic City's police force and taught Metalbending to her subordinates. Her daughter, Lin Bei Fong, succeeded Toph as Republic City's Chief of Police by the time of the first season. Toph is regarded by that time as a powerful bender, mentioned by Hiroshi Sato when he reveals platinum armor immune to metalbending.

Abilities[edit]

An illustration of Toph's ability to feel vibrations through the ground as seeing.

While the Earthbending style used by most Earthbenders is rooted in the Hung Gar style of Kung Fu, Toph's style is based on Chu Gar Southern Praying Mantis Kung Fu.[8] Being blind, Toph has the ability to "feel" even the most minute vibrations in the earth, be it the presence of trees and buildings or the march of ants several meters away. This sense provides a distinct advantage when facing other Earthbenders in combat, who require contact with the ground in any fight.[3] As another result of her blindness, Toph has acquired an acute sense of hearing, enabling her to recognize people by their voices, discern a person's physical appearance by sound, and overhear distant conversations.[9] Toph also has the ability to sense falsehood by feeling the individual's heartbeat, although this can be outdone by the highly trained.[10] Because she depends on vibrations in the earth, Toph is vulnerable to attacks initiated in mid-air or opponents who require less contact with the ground.[3] Terrain that impairs Toph's ability to sense vibrations also hinders her abilities; she has some difficulty with sand, which constantly lacks solidity, preventing her from accurately "feeling" her surroundings. Because Toph relies on sensation in her feet to perform Earthbending, she becomes truly "blind" if the soles of her feet are damaged, as shown when Zuko accidentally burns her feet. As further illustrations of her affinity with the earth, Toph does not know how to swim and expresses an aversion to flying[11][12] and to travelling underwater.[10]

Throughout Avatar: The Last Airbender, Toph is the only Earthbender known to bend metal. When Toph is imprisoned in iron, the sadhu Guru Pathik explains to Aang in a parallel scene that metal is refined Earth; whereupon Toph locates the iron's impurities and manipulates them to "bend" the metal portion.[13] Later, she becomes proficient in Sandbending, even making a detailed sand sculpture of Ba Sing Se.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://translate.google.com/translate_t?sl=zh-CN&tl=en Official Google translation of 托
  2. ^ http://translate.google.com/translate_t Google Translation of 付
  3. ^ a b c d e Director: Ethan Spaulding; Writer: Michael Dante DiMartino (2006-05-05). "The Blind Bandit". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 6. Nickelodeon. http://www.avatarspiritmedia.net/episode_guide.php?ep=206.
  4. ^ Synopsis of Avatar: The Last Airbender Episodes, "The Firebending Masters", Episode 13, Season 3, 2008-07-15, Nickelodeon.
  5. ^ "The Chase". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2 (Book 2). Episode 8. 2006-05-26. Nickelodeon.
  6. ^ "The Tales of Ba Sing Se". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2 (Book 2). Episode 15. 2006-09-29. Nickelodeon.
  7. ^ Director: Lauren MacMullan; Writer: Tim Hedrick (2006-09-22). "City of Walls and Secrets". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 14. Nickelodeon. http://www.avatarspiritmedia.net/episode_guide.php?ep=214.
  8. ^ San Diego Comicon 2006 panel question and answer part 2 - Avatarspirit.net
  9. ^ Director: Lauren MacMullan; Writer: Tim Hedrick (2006-06-14). "The Desert". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 11. Nickelodeon. http://www.avatarspiritmedia.net/episode_guide.php?ep=211.
  10. ^ a b Director: Giancarlo Volpe; Writer: Michael Dante DiMartino (2007-11-23). "The Day of Black Sun Part 1: The Invasion". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 10. Nickelodeon. http://www.avatarspiritmedia.net/episode_guide.php?ep=310.
  11. ^ "The Serpent's Pass". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2 (Book 2). Episode 12. 2006-09-15. Nickelodeon.
  12. ^ Director: Ethan Spaulding; Writer: John O'Bryan (2006-11-16). "The Earth King". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 18. Nickelodeon. http://www.avatarspiritmedia.net/episode_guide.php?ep=218.
  13. ^ "The Guru". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2 (Book 2). Episode 19. 2006-12-01. Nickelodeon.

External links[edit]