30 Days of Avatar: Limitations

Week 8: Aang VS Korra

Day 22: Boy Hero VS Girl Hero
Day 23: Consequences
Day 24: Limitations

Day 24 is for limitations. Do Avatars even have those?

All screenshots from Avatar Spirit.

In response to the above question, well, sometimes it seems that the answer is pretty clearly, “No.”

Like when Aang angsted about not wanting to take Ozai’s life in order to end the war, and everyone told him that he needed to get over it, but then he ended up learning the power to neutralize Ozai’s threat without killing him.

Or when everyone told Korra that reasoning with Kuvira was a silly idea, but actually it ended up working.

So, when it comes to the Avatar wanting to get the job done but they want to do it their way, which they feel, in their gut and in their soul, is the right way to do it, no, they aren’t limited. And that’s pretty cool.

But they do have limitations. Here are some of the bigger ones, in no particular order:

  • Cannot force relationship to start (-1 Aang) (+1 Korra)
  • Cannot make relationship work (-1 Korra) (+1 Aang)
  • Cannot be the center of attention + center of world of friends at all times (-1 Aang)
  • Cannot make flagrant decisions about casual dating without almost ruining friendships (-1 Korra)
  • Cannot will the Air Nation back into existence (we’re not taking a mark away from Aang for that D:) (but +1 Korra)
  • Cannot restore the connection to former lives (-1 Korra)
  • Cannot bring peace with an upbeat attitude and friendliness (-1 Aang)
  • Cannot remove spirit vines from Republic City (-1 Korra) (+0.5 Aang, he seemed to have better progress with spirit conflicts overall)
  • Cannot convince villain to get over himself already (-1 Aang) (+1 Korra)

So by this and only this, we’re at -3.5 for Aang, and -1 for Korra on the Avatar Limitation Scale. This is pretty astute and significant, we’re sure, especially because The Last Airbender focused on less than one year of Aang’s life whereas Legend of Korra spanned a few years of Korra’s.

korra eye thing 2

intimidated aang

But the point is, our superheroes have limits. Most of the ones highlighted here seem to speak to that old cliché: You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink. The Avatars are, in a lot of ways, mainly influencers. Their influence is important and occasionally it does change people’s hearts and minds, but mostly, people have to be relied upon to make their own choices. No matter how badly our heroes want something (whether it’s world peace or just for some girl to decide, at age 14, that she wants to be romantically linked to her 12-year-old friend forever), they can’t just make it happen, even if they declare, “Avatar State, yip yip!”

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