When you live in a world where elemental bending exists, there are a lot of things you must cope with. Avatar: The Last Airbender dove into the issues of bending wars, and that issue transformed into something bigger in The Legend of Korra. The sequel dealt with a gnarly cultural shift with bending, and the franchise's creators are opening up on a common theory fans use to tie the shows together.
The discussion came in a recent interview when Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino spoke with Polygon. The pair were asked how they feel about Aang's climactic choice during his fight with Firelord Ozai. For those who have seen the original series, they know Aang chose to take away the fire-benders powers, but that choice was complicated when a major antagonist in The Legend of Korra used the ability.
"For me, it’s more of an exploration into the ramifications of one’s choices, no matter how well-intentioned they may have been. There are no easy solutions," Konietzko said about Aang's choice in retrospect.
DiMartino chimed in, and it was there the co-created said Amon wasn't created to cloud Aang and his decision over Ozai. The choice is a dialogue, and each show uses its own language to convey how any sort of power can be used for good... or bad.
"There’s a dialogue going on between both series on many levels, especially around the ability to take someone’s bending away. Aang used his power to defeat a tyrant while staying true to his values, while Amon is using his ability to manipulate and terrorize people. It’s not that the ability is all good or bad, it depends on the context and the intention behind the action," he said.
This interview gives a more nuanced look at one of Aang and his most controversial decisions. While some fans critique Korra for being overly violent, others say Aang was too lenient in its treatment of Ozai. There is no denying how different these Avatars are and the worlds they come from. But as the franchise shows, both heroes try to help the world with only the best of intentions.
Do you think one show handled this forbidden bending better than the other? Or perhaps handled it worse? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB.