Katara (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

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Katara
Avatar: The Last Airbender / The Legend of Korra character
Katara.png
First appearance "The Boy in the Iceberg"
Created by Michael Dante DiMartino
Bryan Konietzko
Portrayed by Nicola Peltz (The Last Airbender)
Voiced by Mae Whitman (Avatar: The Last Airbender)
Eva Marie Saint (The Legend of Korra)
Information
Full name Katara
Nickname(s) Miss Know-it-All, Queen of the Twigs Sapphire Fire
Madame Fussy Britches
Sweetness
Sugar Queen (nicknamed by Toph Beifong)
Aliases Kat
The Painted Lady
Sapphire Fire
Gender Female
Family Hakoda (father)
Kya (mother; deceased)
Sokka (older brother)
Spouse(s) Aang
Children Bumi (firstborn son)
Kya (daughter)
Tenzin (second son)
Relatives Affinity:
Pema (daughter-in-law)
Grandfamily:
Kanna (paternal grandmother)
Pakku (step-grandfather)
Jinora (granddaughter)
Ikki (granddaughter)
Meelo (grandson)
Rohan (grandson)
Nationality Southern Water Tribe
Bending element Primary: Sub-styles:
  • Bloodbending (disavowed)
  • Healing abilities
Age 14 (Avatar: The Last Airbender)
15 (The Promise)
16 (The Search & The Rift)
85-86, 89 (The Legend of Korra)
Hair color Brown
White (elderly)
Eye color Blue

Katara (卡塔拉, Kǎ Tǎlā) is a fictional character in Nickelodeon's animated television series Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. The character, created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, is voiced by Mae Whitman in the original series and Eva Marie Saint in the sequel series. In addition to this, she was played by Nicola Peltz in the 2010 live action film The Last Airbender.

Katara is a fourteen-year-old waterbender (i.e., she has the ability to telekinetically control water and ice); at the beginning of the story she is the only waterbender in the Southern Water Tribe, one of two known communities (along with the Northern Water Tribe at the opposite pole) in which waterbending is practiced. She and her older brother, Sokka, discover an Airbender named Aang, the long-lost Avatar, frozen in an iceberg, and accompany him on his quest to defeat the imperialistic Fire Nation and bring peace to the war-torn world. [1] She later earns the title of Master Waterbender from Master Pakku of the Northern Water Tribe at the age of fourteen. [2]

Katara has appeared in other media, such as trading cards,[3] T-shirts, video games[4] and web comics.[5]

Creation and conception[edit]

According to the un-aired pilot episode, Katara’s name was originally 'Kya', which was later used for her deceased mother instead.[6] In "Tales of Ba Sing Se", Katara’s name was written as 卡 塔 拉. Kǎ (卡) means to check, block, or card; Tǎ (塔) means pagoda; and Lā (拉) means to pull.[7] The character 'Lā' appears in the first season's finale, while the character 'Kǎ' also appears in Sokka's name.[8]

In the commentary of the unaired pilot episode, co creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino state that Katara's "hair loopies" were intended to hang downward, but were thought too hard to animate and looped backward instead.[6]

Personality[edit]

Katara is described as "smart, capable; an anime heroine",[9] and as "kind, brave, and passionate."[10] In many situations, Katara appears as a mother to the other protagonists: a role attributed to her tribe's losses to raids and the departure of many members to war, which allegedly required her (as well as her brother Sokka) to assume responsibilities beyond her age. Katara tends to be kind and generous, but is often stubborn or confined by her morals; becomes angry if doubted, insulted, or betrayed; and carries resentment for years on end.

Plot overview[edit]

Avatar: The Last Airbender[edit]

When Katara was 8 years old, her mother, Kya, sacrificed her life during a Fire Nation raid in order to protect Katara; whereafter her daughter assumed an adult's role in later life.[11] Though her interests lay in developing her Waterbending skills, she resigned herself to cooking and cleaning duties while her brother, Sokka, trained to become a warrior. Later, Katara’s father Hakoda and the other warriors journey to the Earth Kingdom to oppose the Fire Nation; leaving Katara, Sokka, and their grandmother Kanna to look after the tribe.[12]

The events of Avatar: The Last Airbender begin six years thereafter, when Katara and Sokka find Aang in suspended animation and identify him as the Avatar, a messianic figure. Bent on mastering Waterbending, Katara joins Aang to reach the Northern Water Tribe to find a Waterbending master, with Sokka alongside them.[13] Upon arrival, Master Pakku refuses her apprenticeship, because the customs of the Northern Water Tribe dictate that females cannot learn Waterbending as a martial art;[14] but upon noticing Katara's necklace, which he himself gave to Katara's grandmother, he agrees to teach her.[14] Katara having achieved her own expertise, Pakku deems her sufficient to teach Aang.[15]

Katara then accompanies Aang to the Earth Kingdom for him to learn earthbending.[16] At an Earth Kingdom stronghold, General Fong places Katara’s life in danger to induce Aang's Avatar State; but achieves only destruction. After the earthbender Toph Bei Fong joins the group to teach Aang, Katara and Toph initially quarrel; but thereafter become friends. In the Earth Kingdom's capital, Katara encounters antagonist Prince Zuko and his sister Azula; and during the battle, Aang is injured by Azula's lightning, whereupon Katara takes him to safety and eventually heals him.[17]

In a village burdened by the Fire Nation's pollution, Katara disguises herself as the river spirit 'Painted Lady' in order to help the village.[18] While staying with the semi-reclusive Hama, the protagonists learn she is a Waterbender of the Southern Tribe imprisoned by the Fire Nation. Later, she offers to teach Katara a Waterbending technique called "Bloodbending", which enables physical control of animals and humans. When Katara refuses to learn this technique, Hama uses it on Aang and Sokka, forcing Katara to use the technique herself on Hama.[19] When Prince Zuko joins the protagonists after the Invasion fails and gains everyone's trust, he fails to do so with Katara until he assists her in finding the man who was responsible for killing her mother. Though deciding not to take her revenge nor forgive, she does come to terms with Zuko and accepts him as friend.

During the four-part series finale, Katara assists Zuko in preventing Azula from becoming Fire Lord and battles her; eventually defeating her, she heals Zuko. When the war ends, she is seen in Ba Sing Se with the other protagonists and she finally shares a passionate kiss with Aang, starting a romantic relationship with him.[20][21]

The Legend of Korra[edit]

In the sequel series The Legend of Korra, Katara, now eighty-five, is one of the surviving members of the original Team Avatar (along with Zuko and Toph). She is a high-ranking member of the White Lotus and took it upon herself to train Korra in waterbending, becoming the latest in a line of masters to serve as a teacher to multiple Avatars. Katara and Aang are also revealed to have had three children: the non-bender Bumi (who later acquired the ability to airbend), the waterbender Kya, and the airbender Tenzin. She plays a rather minor role in the first season of the series, only giving Korra her blessing to leave for Republic City to train with Tenzin and attempting to unsuccessfully heal her after she lost her waterbending, firebending and earthbending abilities to Amon.

In the second season's first episode "Rebel Spirit", Katara is seen celebrating with all three of her children at the Southern Water Tribe's Glacier Spirits Festival. While together with them, Katara, holding her new grandson Rohan, watches sadly as she notices Kya and Bumi joking at Tenzin's expense. At the end of the episode, Katara implores that Tenzin take his brother and sister with him to the Southern Air Temple, saying that he will enjoy looking back on the time he had to spend with his siblings and that it might be best for the three to visit their father's home together. In "Harmonic Convergence," Katara is seen in her healing hut tending to injured Southern Water Tribe soldiers, and later used healing to keep her granddaughter Jinora's body alive while her soul was trapped in the spirit world. In Light in the Dark, she is seen listening to Avatar Korra addressing the independent Southern Water Tribe and how she decided to have spirits and human coexist by leaving the spirit portals open.

In the fourth season episode "Korra Alone", Katara aids Korra in healing her body after being poisoned by Zaheer at the end of the third season, enabling her to walk again after being wheelchair bound for over six months.

Abilities[edit]

Katara's abilities develop considerably throughout the series. At the outset, she has little control over her innate waterbending, and often loses control in moments of frustration or anger. Thanks to diligent practice, an instruction scroll, and tutelage under a Master, her skill improves until she is bestowed with the status and title of "Waterbending Yang-style Master". She was chosen by Korra as her instructor in the Southern Tribe Yang-style martial arts, bending arts and the healing arts.[22]

Waterbending[edit]

Katara is highly skilled in Waterbending which utilizes chinese martial arts techniques of "internal style" T'ai chi ch'uan and Jeet Kune Do; Katara is the only surviving Master of "Southern Tribe Yang-style" after the 100 year genocide.[23][24][25][26] Waterbending represents the element of change - a shapeshifter constantly changing forms -[27] and is categorized as the most adaptive or pliable of the "four bending arts". Waterbending emphasizes "softness and breathing" over "hard aggression"; fluid and graceful, acting in concert with the environment; creating opportunities where none exist; this "flow of energy" allows their defensive maneuvers to translate into focus on control and counter-offenses, turning their opponents' momentum against them. Despite these advantages, Waterbending is almost entirely dependent on inertia; it is essential for practitioners to not be rigid, but to be fluid and able to adapt to any situation.

"Solid, liquid, gas - Water is the element of change. Water is patient and waits. Wears down the cliff tops, the mountains. There is nothing softer and weaker than water, and yet there is nothing better for attacking hard and strong things."

— Iroh (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

Katara has demonstrated to be a formidable opponent to her enemies, able to fight on equal terms with Azula and Long Feng; she eventually outmatched the fire nation princess to demonstrate the extent of her skill. Without the aid of a full moon, Katara can use water to cut through objects; summon lashing waves and whips of varying sizes; cover herself with a sheath of water; surf on a length of ice; run and stand on the surface of water; melt and control existing ice; form ice into various shapes; freeze water and objects surrounded by water with little effort; create walls of mist and steam; transform steam into ice; evaporate large amounts of water; or derive a weapon from any moisture including her own perspiration.[28] She can control huge amounts of water at a time, forming huge waves and bubbles of water. On one instance, Katara knocked down the entire Dai Li, Zuko, and Azula while riding atop a giant wave. As with all Waterbenders, Katara's powers max under the influence of a full moon.

Katara demonstrates the ability to levitate and control water-based liquids, as well as pure water, in episode "The Southern Raiders", wherein Katara bends ink onto a map. She is also seen bending soup (which allows her to cook meals), and bends perfume while battling a smell-dependent monster. In the episode "The Painted Lady," she uses her bending to create a thick fog. Katara also demonstrates the ability to bend sweat and the ability to manipulate mud with Toph, who manipulates the dirt while Katara controls the water.

Healing abilities[edit]

Katara is one of the few waterbenders born with the sub-ability of healing injuries or wounds, first demonstrated after she is burned by Aang's first attempt at firebending;[29] She strengthens this ability under the tutelage of the Northern Water Tribe's healer Yagoda. She uses it thereafter to relieve sickness;[18] overcome brainwashing;[30] and heal seemingly mortal wounds such as burns and bleeding injuries.[31] Nevertheless, she cannot cure all sicknesses, completely mend brain damage or heal internal injuries and birth defects.[30] Using special water she obtained from the Northern Water Tribe's Spirit Shrine that she kept with her continually, she was able to heal a fatal wound Azula inflicted upon Aang, thus reviving him from death. She speculated that she would be able to use that same water from the Spirit Shrine to heal the scar on Zuko's face when they were imprisoned underground together in Old Ba Sing Se. However, they were interrupted before she could attempt it. By the time of The Legend of Korra, Lin Beifong (Toph's metalbender daughter) claims that she is the strongest healer in the world.[32]

Bloodbending[edit]

Katara has another waterbending technique known as "bloodbending". She is able to manipulate the fluids inside a human body (and presumably any other living creature), leaving the target unable to move or resist in any way. Once she has taken control, she can make it move in any manner she desires. She is only able to bloodbend during a full moon, when her waterbending power is at its peak. Katara was forced to learn bloodbending by Hama, an elderly Water Tribe woman who originally developed the technique and who wanted Katara to learn it in order for it to be passed on to others ("The Puppetmaster"). However, Katara abhors this technique and has only used it twice in times of great stress. In later years, she worked to make the practice a criminal offense.

Appearances in other media[edit]

Katara's character appeared in the Avatar: The Last Airbender Trading Card Game[3] and three THQ video games including the eponymous video game[33] and Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Burning Earth[34][35] and Avatar: The Last Airbender – Into the Inferno.

Like Aang, Katara also appeared in Tokyopop's films comic (sometimes referred to as cine-manga).[36]

In 2010 film adaptation of the series, The Last Airbender directed by M. Night Shyamalan, Nicola Peltz portrayed Katara.[37] The film was universally panned by critics and audiences. Many reviewers cited inconsistencies within the plot and between the screenplay and the source material, as well as the acting, writing and casting and has been considered to be one of the worst adaptations ever made.[38]

Reception[edit]

The character has received critical acclaim for her strong, maternal personality.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Director: Dave Filoni; Writers: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko (2005-02-21). "The Avatar Returns". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 2. Avatar: The Last Airbender. Episode Tanscript. Nickelodeon. 
  2. ^ Pittarese, Frank (2006). "Nation Exploration". Nickelodeon Magazine (Winter 2006): 2. 
  3. ^ a b "Avatar Trading Card Game". Nickelodeon. Archived from the original on 2008-03-02. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  4. ^ "The Nickelodeon Shop — Avatar". Nickelodeon. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  5. ^ created by Michael Dante DiMartino & Bryan Konietzko. (2006). Avatar: The Last Airbender Cine-Manga Volume 1. Avatar: The Last Airbender Cine-Manga. Tokyopop. ISBN 1-59532-891-2. Archived from the original on 16 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-14. 
  6. ^ a b Written and Directed by: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko; Voices: Mitchel Musso as Aang and Mae Whitman as Kya (2006-09-19). Avatar: The Last Airbender — The Complete Book One Box Set (DVD). Nickelodeon. 
  7. ^ "Definitions for 卡, 塔, 拉". 
  8. ^ Director: Ethan Spaulding; Writers: Lauren MacMullan (The Tale of Sokka), Joann Estoesta and Lisa Wahlander (The Tale of Toph and Katara) (2006-09-29). "The Tales of Ba Sing Se". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 15 (Book 2). Avatar: The Last Airbender. Episode Tanscript. Nickelodeon. 
  9. ^ Robinson, Tasha (2006-03-07). "Avatar: The Last Airbender". Sci-Fi Weekly. p. 2. Archived from the original on 2008-01-17. Retrieved 2008-02-15. Smart, capable Katara is a generic heroine... 
  10. ^ Pittarese, Frank (2006). "Nation Exploration". Nickelodeon Magazine (Winter 2006): 3. The 14-year-old is kind, brave, and passionate. 
  11. ^ Director: Giancarlo Volpe; Writers: Tim Hedrick, Josh Hamilton, John O'Bryan (2008-07-18). "The Ember Island Players". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 57. Nickelodeon. 
  12. ^ Director: Dave Filoni; Writers: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko (2005-02-21). "The Boy in the Iceberg (Introduction)". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 1. 0-1 minutes in. Nickelodeon. 
  13. ^ Director: Dave Filoni; Writers: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko (2005-02-21). "The Boy in the Iceberg". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 1. Nickelodeon. 
  14. ^ a b Director: Giancarlo Volpe; Writer: Michael Dante DiMartino (2005-11-18). "The Waterbending Master". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 18. Nickelodeon. 
  15. ^ Director: Dave Filoni; Writer: Aaron Ehasz (2005-12-02). "The Siege of the North Part II". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 20. Nickelodeon. 
  16. ^ Director: Giancarlo Volpe; Writers: Aaron Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch Ehasz, Tim Hedrick, John O'Bryan (2006-03-17). "The Avatar State". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 1. Nickelodeon. 
  17. ^ Director: Michael Dante DiMartino; Writer: Aaron Ehasz (2006-12-01). "The Crossroads of Destiny". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 20. Nickelodeon. 
  18. ^ a b Director: Ethan Spaulding; Writer: Joshua Hamilton (2007-10-05). "The Painted Lady". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 3. Nickelodeon. 
  19. ^ Director: Joaquim dos Santos; Writer: Tim Hedrick (2007-10-25). "The Puppetmaster". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 8. Nickelodeon. 
  20. ^ Director: Ethan Spaulding; Writers: Elizabeth Welch Ehasz, Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko (2008-07-19). "Sozin's Comet". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 58-61. Nickelodeon. 
  21. ^ "Sozin's Comet: The series Avatar's Story Ends — Animation — Page 2 | CRAVEONLINE.COM". Craveonline.com. Archived from the original on 2009-03-18. Retrieved 2008-12-24. 
  22. ^ "'The Legend of Korra' Creators Answer Your Questions". 2012-06-22. Retrieved 2012-06-25. 
  23. ^ The Lost Scrolls: Water, page 31 of The Lost Scrolls Collection.
  24. ^ http://www.kungfumagazine.com/ezine/article.php?article=1038
  25. ^ "Nickelodeon's Official Avatar: The Last Airbender Flash Site". Nick.com. Retrieved December 2, 2006. 
  26. ^ Director: Ethan Spaulding; Writer: Elizabeth Welch Ehasz (April 7, 2006). "Return to Omashu". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 3. Nickelodeon. 
  27. ^ Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (June 2, 2006). "Bitter Work". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 9. Nickelodeon.
  28. ^ Director: Giancarlo Volpe; Writer: Joshua Hamilton (2007-10-25). "The Runaway". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 7. Nickelodeon. 
  29. ^ Director: Lauren MacMullan; Writer: Tim Hedrick (2005-10-21). "The Deserter". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 16. Nickelodeon. 
  30. ^ a b Director: Lauren MacMullan; Writer: Tim Hedrick (2006-11-03). "Lake Laogai". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 17. Nickelodeon. 
  31. ^ Director: Giancarlo Volpe; Writer: Aaron Ehasz (2007-09-21). "The Awakening". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 1. Nickelodeon. 
  32. ^ "Endgame", 'Legend of Korra', Book 1: Air
  33. ^ "Avatar: The Last Airbender Video Game". Nick.com. Nickelodeon. Retrieved 2008-03-22. 
  34. ^ "Avatar: The Last Airbender — The Burning Earth" (Flash). Nickelodeon. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  35. ^ "IGN.com: Avatar: The Burning Earth". IGN. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  36. ^ created by Michael Dante DiMartino & Bryan Konietzko. (2006). Avatar: The Last Airbender Cine-Manga Volume 1. Avatar: The Last Airbender Cine-Manga. Tokyopop. ISBN 1-59532-891-2. Archived from the original on 2011-03-15. Retrieved 2008-03-14. 
  37. ^ Nicole Sperling, "Movies," Entertainment Weekly 1026 (December 17, 2008): 15.
  38. ^ Bryan Lufkin (2011-02-27). "Razzies on-the-scene: M. Night Shyamalan 'wins' big at last night's camp-fest". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2011-02-27. 

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