Avatar: The Last Airbender

From Four Nations

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Avatar: The Last Airbender (also known as Avatar: The Legend of Aang in several countries) is an award-winning American animated TV Series that currently airs on the Nickelodeon television network. Set in an Asian-influenced world of martial arts and elemental manipulation, the series follows the adventures of the latest of a long line of Avatars, Aang, and his friends in a quest to save the world from the ruthless Fire Nation. The series is shown as a book series, with each episode serving as a "chapter" and each individual season as a "book."


Avatar: The Last Airbender takes place in a fantasy world, home to humans, fantastic animals, and supernatural spirits. Human civilization is divided into four nations—the Water Tribes, the Earth Kingdom, the Air Nomads, and the Fire Nation. Within each nation, an order of men and women called "Benders" have the ability to manipulate their native element. These Bending arts combine a certain style of martial arts and elemental magic. The Bending types are Waterbending, Earthbending, Firebending, and Airbending.

In each generation, one person is capable of Bending all four elements; this is the Avatar, the spirit of the planet manifested in human form. When the Avatar dies, he or she is reincarnated into a baby native in the next of the four nations in the Avatar Cycle, which parallels the seasons: winter for water, spring for earth, summer for fire, and autumn for air. While legend holds that the Avatar must master the elements in order, starting with their native element, this can sometimes be compromised when the situation requires it. Learning to bend the element opposite one's native element is extremely difficult because opposing Bending arts are based on opposing fighting styles and doctrines. Firebending and Waterbending are opposites, as are Earthbending and Airbending.

The Avatar possesses a unique power that resides within him or her, called the Avatar State. It is a defense mechanism that empowers the Avatar with the skills and knowledge of all the past Avatars. When the state is reached, the current Avatar will be able to wield the combined power of all past lives. When the Avatar enters this state, his or her eyes and mouth, and tattoos in the case of an Airbender, begin to glow. The glow is the representation of all the Avatar's previous incarnations focusing their energy through his or her body. However, if the Avatar is killed in the Avatar State, then the reincarnation cycle will be broken, and the Avatar will cease to exist

Through the ages, countless incarnations of the Avatar have served to keep the four nations in harmony and maintain world order The Avatar also serves as the bridge between the physical world and the Spirit World, home of the world's disembodied spirits.


A century prior to the series' opening, Aang, a 12-year-old Airbender of the Air Nomads' Southern Air Temple, learned from the elder monks that he was the Avatar. Usually, the Avatar is told of his or her true identity after turning sixteen; however, the monks feared that a war between the four nations was on the horizon and that soon the Avatar would be required to maintain balance and order in the world. Shortly thereafter, the monks decreed that Aang would be separated from his guardian, to complete his training.

Confused, frightened, and overwhelmed by these recent events and his new responsibilities as the Avatar, Aang fled from his home on his Flying Bison, Appa. While traveling over frigid southern ocean waters, a sudden storm caused Appa to plunge deep into the sea. Aang unconsciously entered the Avatar State, and used a combination of Airbending and Waterbending to protect Appa and himself. By creating an air bubble around them and then freezing it, Aang was able to ensure that he and Appa could breathe and be protected from the storm until it dissipated. However, the storm transferred the bubble very near the south pole and it could not thaw, forcing the two of them into a state of suspended animation

The series opens one hundred years later, with the Fire Nation on the brink of victory in its imperialist war. All of the Air Nomads have been destroyed. The Water Tribes are in crisis — the Southern Water Tribe's warriors have left to wage war, leaving their home defenseless, while the Northern Water Tribe, though largely intact, is continually on the defensive. The vast Earth Kingdom is now the only true barrier to the Fire Nation's conquest, but as the Fire Nation continues to encroach on its borders and conquer its territories, hopes of victory grow bleaker with each passing year.

Two teenage siblings from the Southern Water Tribe — Katara, an inexperienced Waterbender, and her brother, Sokka, a warrior and caretaker of the tribe — discover and free Aang and Appa from the iceberg. Aang soon discovers to his horror that, during his absence, a century-long war has been waged. The very year he vanished, took advantage of both the Avatar's absence and the Firebending-enhancing powers of a passing comet (named "Sozin's Comet," for Fire Lord Sozin) to launch a war on the other nations. To Aang's shock and disbelief, the Fire Nation's opening gambit had been an assault on the Air Nomads. The Air Temples were stormed and the Airbenders slaughtered in the Fire Nation's effort to break the Avatar Cycle, leaving Aang as the last known Airbender in existence.

As the Avatar, Aang's duty is to restore harmony and peace to the four nations. Along with his newly discovered friends Katara and Sokka, his flying bison Appa and his winged lemur, Momo, and later the blind Earthbender Toph, Aang travels the world to master all four elements. During his quest, he must constantly avoid being captured by the banished Prince Zuko and, later, Zuko's cleverly deceptive and fiery sister, Princess Azula.

Although normally years of disciplined training are required to master a single Bending art, Aang must be a master of all four and defeat Fire Lord Ozai by summer's end, when the return of Sozin's Comet will give the Firebenders the power to win the war. If these events come to pass, not even the Avatar will possess the ability to restore balance to the world.

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