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Bloodbenders Build a Levee

by Attackfish Scales

The theme of abuse introduced in Avatar: the Last Airbender is continued in sequel series, Legend of Korra. Bloodbending in both shows is about being stripped of control, not just for the bloodbendee, but also for the bloodbender. Every single time either series shows bloodbending being learned, it's by force. The only bloodbender shown onscreen who may have learned bloodbending by his own initiative, Yakone, is never shown learning bloodbending it, only teaching it to his sons. Hama is forced to invent it in the Fire Nation prisons, and then forces Katara to learn it in turn. Then Yakone forces Noatak and Tarrlok to bloodbend each other.

Just as Avatar: the Last Airbender did both with Hama, and with the Fire Nation royal family, Legend of Korra shows abuse to be cyclical, but unlike like Avatar: the Last Airbender, where several courageous, noble victims of abuse break the cycle and set out to help others instead of abusing in their turn, neither Tarrlok or Amon are able to break free of their father's abuse and come to victimize others.

It's what you do about being made a victim, the Avatar universe says. Hama, Tarrlok, and Amon (and possibly Yakone, though we don't know if he was ever a victim) choose to make more victims. Katara chooses to help others, and not to take revenge, but to seek justice.

Bloodbenders Build a Levee

To Bloodbend is to take (back) control. Set to Natalie Merchant's "Build a Levee", as performed live in San Diego on March 30, 2002.

from Avatar: the Last Airbender and Legend of Korra (2005)
Creator: Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko
Distributor: Nickelodeon
Posted by Attackfish Scales