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army of the undead
There is a fic in A:TLA known as Embers. I have not read it, but while it's apparently well written it is filled with horrible racism, Fire Nation sympathizing (THEY ARE THE ENEMY, okay it's their dictator government BUT STILL!), and Katara bashing. Also, the authoress justifies her ideas with odd things like this:

"Pre English conquest, the gravest of all crimes in Welsh law was not murder, but theft. And while armed robbery was considered excusable under some circumstances, theft by stealth — theft absolute — could be a capital crime. Stealing from your own host, who'd taken you in and given you shelter… well. Very bad."

Granted this is something for a different fic, a one-shot called "Theft Absolute", but my question is WHY ARE YOU USING EUROPEAN LAWS AS A BASIS FOR A FIC IN A FANTASY WORLD BASED ON EASTERN CULTURES. I'm sure there was at least one or two Eastern Cultures that has laws similar to this so why not bring up an EASTERN LAW?!

Katara bashing and Fire Nation lovegasms are so common in A:TLA that I don't even blink at them anymore. However, after going through the TV Tropes page for this madness I have come across things that just make me scratch my head. In some instances they seem like actually pretty interesting ideas that would be fun to read in a fanfic and others just make me scream BULLSHIT!

So, I'm gonna go on a rant about some of the indivdual things that stand out to me in this WTFery with quotes lifted directly from TV Tropes itself.

"The creators of Avatar might have declared that The Great Divide didn't happen after realizing all the Unfortunate Implications. Vathara isn't letting them get away with it that easy. "

WHAT UNFORTUNATE IMPLICATIONS?! Sure it was filler and probably the worst episode in A:TLA, but what was so wrong about it? Especially considering that even as the worst episode in this particular series it's still better than most kids shows today. I'm actually rather fond of this episode if only for the fact that it was a twentyish minute set up for a joke. A joke that was hilarious (admitingly, I have an odd sense of humor).

People really need to get over the rare filler this show gave us. The minisode episode toward the end of season two never gets complained about, understandably so because it was amazing, but people even complain about "The Beach". WHY?! These episodes are not that bad, plus who can complain about Azula showing her dominaxtrix personality to Chan? Apparently a lot of people.

" Iroh's ability to see spirits when no one else can "
" King Kuei descends from Earth Kingdom shamans, and has the ability to do this to spirits. It's partly based on the idea of China's Emperor being able to do the same thing, partly on Earthbending's equivalent to Firebending's loyalty manipulation and Waterbending's emotional"
" Yue's 'gift' of waterbending ensures that Zuko cannot become the next Fire Lord, which would mean he has no alternative but to go his canon route and join Aang earlier, except he's intent on Refusing"

Multiple are listed here because you can only see this theme of spirits being really involved in the physical world before one has to ask WHAT'S THE POINT OF HAVING ONE SPECIAL PERSON THAT CAN CROSS BETWEEN THE PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL WORLD IF THE SPIRITS ARE SO WILLING TO MESS AROUND IN HUMAN AFFAIRS?! In fact what's the point of giving people supernatural powers at all? The Spirits have to know that not all humans would use their powers for good so what's the deal?

In the show it's implied with the monkey guy at the end of the first season that most spirits would prefer for the Spirit world and the Physical world stay seperate.

Also, making Zuko a water bender-WHY?! Honestly I would love a fic about benders switching elements, but it's only used in this one to make Zuko more special. Can people honestly not accept that fun lovin' 12-year-old Aang is the messiah (KUNG FU ACTION JESUS!) and not the hunka hunka burnin' love that is Zuko?! Zuko is a down right dick most of the time in the first season, not really showing any kindness in his soul until toward the end of the season. Of course he's hot (pun intended) so fandom has to worship the ground his whiny emo teenness walks on.

"Deconstruction - Of stories where a group of 'special' children are expected to save the world despite personal tragedies in general and Avatar in specific."

Because our heroes could never have realisticly come to grips with their lives, using their own cultural perceptions and personalities to reason with what has happened to them. Especially considering how most of them weren't blessed with being born in the Fire Nation.

Honestly, would trust your average 12-year-old to save the world? NO! Would you trust the messiah who just happened to be Aang to save the world? YOU BET YOUR ASS!

Also, this show was written for kids. Kid heroes for a kid series. They did this for more than one reason, one of which is to a kid another kid is more relatable than some person in their 30s. (Okay that didn't stop "Batman The Animated Seiries", BUT IT'S BATMAN he's a classic. Kind of a douche sometimes, but a classic.)

"Vathara's method of OC creation is to not do so. Instead, she uses expies of characters from other series. Of course, most of her other fics are crossovers."

This person can't be assed to even make her original characters...ORIGINAL?! I'm not even gonna comment on how lazy that is. Yeah, it's perfectly fine to let another character influence your own creations, but "Vathara's method of OC creation is to not do so"? Saying it like that makes it sound like she's straight up stealing personalities and putting a different name on them.

"After all, it would be very attractive to blame their tendency to kill and so on on them being actual monsters instead of Kyoshi's blunder, and it would serve as an additional justification for the genocide practically the entire Fire Nation is convinced would happen following a defeat by the Avatar, between the Avatar's right for vengeance on his people's killers and the Water Tribe and Earth Kingdom's own grievances."

Apparently there's some bullshit about Fire Nation people having dragon blood. You know, to make the Fire Nation even more special and misundertood. This also mentions "Kyoshi's Blunder" which I can only imagine means her killing of the Earth Kingdom general somehow led to the war I guess. You know, it wasn't like Sozin was a power hungry dickweed who became corrupt with age, he killed all the Air Nomads because Kyoshi killed a tyranical general who had no ties to the Fire Nation what-so-ever (he was in green so I assume he was an Earth Kingdom general). Or maybe the fic offers some made up thing to make her look bad because she dared to be awesome WITHOUT BEING BORN IN THE FIRE NATION! The horror!

"Heroic Sacrifice - Zuko thought this was going to happen when he went to save Aang from Azula: he survived only due to the healing fire and Iroh's presence. What happened to Avatar Yangchen and all the yaoren, courtesy of Koh and a volcano."

Also, the Avatar is apparenlty supposed to have a team of healers and fire can heal people. This explains why Jeong Jeong went on a rant about how fire destroyed while Earth and Water didn't.

HOW THE FUCK DOES FIRE HEAL THINGS?! Heat can help relieve pain and Jackie Chan does this in "The Karate Kid" (proving once again that he should've been cast as Jeong Jeong in "The Last Airbender"), however the fire is not directly applied to the one who needs healing. Does Zuko have solar hands like in that bread anime?! Isn't the point of all the different elements is that they all serve different purpose to the circle of life?

"The fact he's the last of the Air Nomads is a big part of Aang's identity, and since he is the last, if he ceases to be an Air Nomad then his people will cease to be, and it will be all his fault twice over. However, according to Embers, the Avatar is NOT a member of the people he is born to: Roku not really being Fire Nation and therefore not feeling what everyone else around him knew instinctively is a plot point. Instead, it is the Avatar's job to try to understand all the cultures without ever really being a member of any of them. Throughout the original series and Embers, he's been holding on to his airbender identity so that his people can live on. The pacifism and other ideals Aang espouses are a fundamental part of being an air nomad. If he were a normal air nomad, they'd be the right way to be. As the Avatar, being in denial about who he is (and therefore isn't) and rejecting his responsibilities to the world is one big Idiot Ball. Trying to pry it out of his hands is a big part of the fic, and necessary to world peace, but man, you have to feel sorry for the kid"

Aang isn't the messiah because he was born with the Avatar spirit, Zuko is for attempting to make Aang deny his heritage.

BULLSHIT! BULLSHIT BULLSHIT BULLSHIT! Just...BULLSHIT! Having super powers doesn't make you not a citizen of the place you were born. This doesn't make any sense!

Avatar Roku was born and raised in the Fire Nation until he was 16. After his Avatar training he returned to the Fire Nation where he spent THE REST OF HIS LIVE! And he lived with his family not his yaoren or whatever they're called.

One could argue that Yang Chen told him to not think as an Air Nomad, but she didn't tell him that it wasn't a part of him or that he had to cast off his culture entirely. In fact, being a memeber of each nation is how the Reincarnation Rotation works.

"Vathara treats canon as this, fitting in bits of Real Life history to fill in the gaps."

Was it mentioned how this story is so much more realistic! I mean, it still has people magically summon fire and throw it at people, but it's totally realistic!

...AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER IS A KIDS SHOW. It is a fictional story based on Eastern cultures and mythology! IT'S AN ACTION ADVENTURE WITH KUNG FU ACTION JESUS AND WONDERFUL VOICE ACTING! Why in the hell does it even need to be comepletely realistic?! IT HAS SUPERNATURAL BEINGS AND PEOPLE BORN WITH SUPERNATURAL POWERS!

Just think about that for a moment.

"Sozin's goal wasn't to wipe out the Air Nomads: it was to kill Roku's reincarnation. He arranged for thousands of people to die in a way that implied the Air Nomads had acted callously, at best, and Aang was going to repeat Kyoshi's massacre, at worst. Likely, Plan A was for the Air Nomads to produce Aang so that he could be put on (show) trail. When they couldn't do that, well, that 'proved' either the Air Nomads has been callously negligent, at best, or Aang was going to repeat Kyoshi's Massacre, at worst. Admittedly the Fire Nation's goals, and propaganda, were for destroying Air Bending so another Avatar could never call down a hurricane again."


"A person's raw ability in manipulating an element or using tecniques based on it is dependent on the degree they possess the personality traits related to that element (among other factors, such as genetics and spiritual favour). The reverse is also revealed to be true, when those who become yaoren experience personality changes related to the new element. Zuko, who is forcibly given water, becomes far more willing to let others close, and what Shirong experiences after being given fire can be summed up by an increased tendency towards fanaticism that really worries him."

...because personalities aren't determined by ones experience and upbringing, it's all spiritual. I'm a Taoist NeoPagan who believes that we do have natural inclinations toward being outgoing or being an introvert and I think this reasoning is bullshit.

"When the human part of the equation doesn't understand people all that well? Yangchen is quite willing to admit her mistakes and failures, Kuruk additionally got along well with the common people of all four nations and people weren't afraid to tell him no, acting more like a god in the 'larger than life human' sense. And then Kyoshi somehow gets (or is given?) the idea that an unfallible god is she, who cannot be defied and can't possibly be wrong, and the misconception is passed down to her successors.
Aang's belief that the Avatar intrinsically has all the answers may be what leads to his backwards approach to becoming the Avatar Spirit: most other Avatars only achieved this after attaining whatever measure of enlightenment/understanding of the world and all bending necessary to awaken as a Physical God and control vast natural forces. Aang seems to believe that he's supposed to just 'open himself' to the Avatar Spirit, which may have been why he thought giving control to the Ocean Spirit was a good idea instead of a very forbidden for very good reason one. "

Have you noticed that this authoress goes out of her way to make every nation except the Fire Nation out to be jerkasses while the Fire Nation is just the victim of circumstance?

"Plot Hole - The number and scale of those in the original series is much of what inspired the fic, it seems.
The Vathara: Canon leaves one big plothole... well, one short, somewhat rotund, awesome firebending plothole. "

A whole character as a plothole. A character who started out his adult life as a conquering general who goes through an existential crisis after the death of his son is a plothole. Why is Iroh a plothole?


" In their first encounter, Aang trusted Zuko but didn't feel obligated to be trustworthy in return. To Zuko, representing the Fire Nation, this had massive Unfortunate Implications, especially since Aang did this knowing Zuko held a high rank in the Fire Nation. He essentially said he considered all Fire Nation people non-persons, unworthy of honorable treatment. Since the Fire Nation being unable to trust the Avatar removes any chance of long-term peace, the fact that even someone who does want peace believes that is very, very scary. Trust is powerful: and this is what happens when there isn't any.
Teruko: "Sir.... He's the Avatar. We're Fire Nation. He's not going to treat us honorably. No matter what." "

The Fire Nation is the victim. Their leader didn't declare war on the rest of the world in order to TAKE OVER THE WORLD, but because the Avatar (unless it was a Fire Nation born one) is a jerkass. Which explains why Aang asked Zuko if they could be friends in the first season while Zuko was still being a jerk.

"The Messiah - The Avatar, with much attention paid to what this implies. For instance, originally the Fire Sages, who were the priests of Agni, served the Avatar, as the voice of Agni on earth. This meant that Kyoshi's decree carried the force of a divine commandment and, given the mechanics of Fire Nation loyalty, for a Firebender to turn against the Fire Lord would require foreswearing their loyalty to them, the Avatar, and Agni, the source of firebending himself. So it is, in a sense, a very good thing for Aang that modern firebenders don't like him, much less have loyalty to him or regard him as The Messiah in the first place. It's likely that the Fire Sage who helped Aang in canon either nurtured loyalty to Agni in place of Ozai in order to survive loyalty sickness before Aang came along, since all (known) firebenders are required to swear loyalty to him, or was able to hold it off long enough to help Aang, as Zuko did, and then died offscreen."

THE AVATAR EXISTS TO HELP PEOPLE! They are born human so they understand humanity and why it's important. Which is why the canon of the show lacks spirits doing everything for people (even Aang has to be self reliant). People dying of spiritual loyalty ties or whatever is just dumb.

There's the whole page if you want to trek through it.

So this fic is a rewrite of the entire series that wants to woobify the Fire Nation.

I have no problem with fans of the Fire Nation, but SOZIN IS THE REASON THAT THE WORLD IS OUT OF WHACK! They invaded the Earth Kingdom on his orders, killed all the Air Nomands just to get to Aang, and have made peoples lives miserable. Not every person in the Fire Nation is a horrible monster, but the government was corrupted and thus the nation was corrupted.

Zuko spent most of the series being a douche canoe. Yeah, I felt for him, but I wanted our heroes to win against him, Azula, and Ozai.

Also, just because something is depressing doens't make it realistic. A:TLA to me is a condensed legend that lacked things like language barriar lulz because IT DIDN'T ADD TO THE OVER ALL STORY. The world building is awesome without bogging the story down with endless meta that kids (and I) don't care that much about.

IT'S A KIDS SHOW! It was written the way it was because the target audience was children! A:TLA just admitted to having a periphirel audience and didn't write TO kids like they didn't understand anything.

This fic makes me want to headdesk. It isn't HIBY (for those who don't know: levels of god awful, but in a way the fact that the authoress can write and tell a story almost makes it worse.

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Fire Nation sympathizers are the new Slytherfen. HULK!KATARA FREEZE!

Stupid sexy Fire Nation! I'd take a cute king with a bear (who may or may not put people in sacks) over a tyrant!

I'd take a bear who puts people in sacks over Zuko!

Or Haru over the entire Fire Nation! Some of them may be fine . . . but are they sexyfine? I think not!

PFFFFFT, it's why he's here to advertise Sexyfine shampoo.

Here's some you seem to have missed:

Blessed with Suck - The yaoren in the fic (Zuko, Shirong, and Langxue), who all have terrible luck.

Aang definitely counts, despite the Avatar having all the power of the world with no spirit wound. However, instead of being told on his sixteenth birthday, his Elders tell him when he's twelve. Shunned the by his fellow friends at the Temple, this will be nothing in comparison to what the Onmitsu and the descendants of the surviving Air peoples will do to him, should he come near them. Zuko and Shirong don't want to go near Aang despite their duty to the Avatar, and Langxue will definitely have his hope shot down once he meets the Gaang. Really, Aang really has to be the biggest Woobie in the story.
In chapter 45, Shidan informs Zuko that Zuko possesses, "The blessing - of no blessing at all." Because he has absolutely no luck, he is, in some unexplained way, invisible to spirits (which apparently gives him power to change the world that he apparently wouldn't have otherwise). Of course, the downside of this is his lack of luck.
Any yaoren in the time when spirit healing was lost got a cool new superpower to play with while they died.
Blood Oath: There is a spiritual bond, peculiar to each nation, where the The Oath Breaker suffers pain, fatigue, sickness, Angst Coma, and then (almost certainly) death (unless treated by a healing bender).

Fire Nation - Loyalty
Water Tribe - Community and Family
Earth Kingdom - Contract
What binds (or not) the Air Nomads has yet to be clarified.
The most recent chapter suggests that, interestingly, Air Nomads* are bound by truth.
Air Nomads are bound by the Teachings of their mentors.
Blue and Orange Morality - a major source of conflict in the fic, both for plot and worldbuilding purposes. It applies to Spirits and partly to dragons. Because of this it is sometimes impossible to avoid angering some spirits without the Avatar's help. It definitely explains why making the Four Nations understand each other was a full time job requiring an Avatar's powers - especially as the spiritual realm does not care about human ethics. The spirits of the Fire Nation believe that the Fire Lord has the right to do as he likes to the rest of the world in the Avatar's absence, because he has Avatar Kyoshi's mandate. That is why Aang is The Only One who can end the war - by forcibly revoking that mandate.
Disability Superpower - In order to become a yaoren, having the scar from a near-fatal spirit wound (or nearly dying from lack of your element) is necessary.

Slightly subverted in Chapter 34 by Kuei.
"Well - those are the strongest yāorén, in the tales," Kuei managed, eyes still wide. "The warriors. The ones the spirits set between us and harm. But the stories say some benders went on spirit-quests to become yāorén. Though it was risky. You could die. Even if you didn't, it didn't always work. And the ones who lived... well, they weren't who you might expect." He gave Shirong a shaky smile. "If spirit-torn yāorén are lion-dogs, questing yāorén were cricket-mice. They were healers."

Worse for the Fire Nation. Their prisons for benders are designed to starve them of their element, wounding their spirits. Every single survivor of one of those prisons, like the Earthbenders Katara rescued (and Hama) has the potential to become a yaoren. Who obviously won't have much reason to like the Fire Nation.

Heroic Sacrifice - Zuko thought this was going to happen when he went to save Aang from Azula: he survived only due to the healing fire and Iroh's presence. What happened to Avatar Yangchen and all the yaoren, courtesy of Koh and a volcano.

In Ch 57,Langxue tells Zuko that yaoren can feel where they died. Hyourin and his comrades made sure they survived until they reached a White Lotus secret vault containing the reason Koh hates humans so that their bodies could serve as markers to their reincarnations. They gave up their own right to proper burials just so the vault was never permanently lost.
Hero Secret Service - The Gaang, complete with explaining some of Aang's behavior in canon as him wanting, on whatever level, to drive them away so they'd be safe, not wanting them to die for something he considers all his fault anyway. In addition, the yaoren appear to function as this for the various Avatars - Yangchen's 'dear friends' committed a group Heroic Sacrifice alongside her, and Langxue gives their job description as holding the line against the current threat until the Avatar can get there to solve the problem.

Hot For Teacher - In Chapter 33, Toph briefly considers Aang/Katara as an example of this trope. Then in Chapter 37, she breaks Sokka's brain by mentioning it.
Humans Are Special - When spirits want to wipe out humanity, do they pick a fight with us? No, they try to trick us into destroying ourselves, slowly destroying our capability to fight them and turning the strengths of the various nations into weaknesses. The fact that humanity can and should stop relying on the Avatar to solve all its problems and regain its own strength and agency is a theme in the fic, culminating in a CMOH when Sokka tells Aang that he doesn't believe in the Avatar's ability to save the world, but that of Aang himself: the person, not the powerful spirit.
Sokka: I believe in the kid who was smart enough to trick Katara into penguin-sledding. Who was crazy enough to ride the Unagi. Who had the guts to save Zuko - man, I can't believe you saved Zuko! - instead of letting Zhao grab him. That's what's really going to save the world. Sure, we need plans and weapons and benders strong enough to stop the Fire Lord. We need to fight. And it's not going to be pretty. But after that? We need you.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished - Kuzon reborn as Zuko and how!

Kuzon trying to save the airbenders. Most of Kuzon's family die. He makes an oath that requires him to frequently desert what's left of his family to pursue what turns out to be a hopeless quest. He is betrayed by people he trusts. He is killed in revenge for some of the decisions he made at the time.

Personality Powers - A person's raw ability in manipulating an element or using techniques based on it is dependent on the degree they possess the personality traits related to that element (among other factors, such as genetics and spiritual favour). The reverse is also revealed to be true, when those who become yaoren experience personality changes related to the new element. Zuko, who is forcibly given water, becomes far more willing to let others close, and what Shirong experiences after being given fire can be summed up as an increased tendency towards fanaticism that really worries him.
Protagonist-Centered Morality - Subverted. While the narrative often seems to favor the protagonists, it's mainly because the POVs are often characters that already follow (as with Teruko), like (Toph and Amaya), or have a good impression of them (Xiu). Dissenting point of views are narrated much later in the story, when they chip in to the momentum of the plot.
Sadly Mythtaken - One of Kyoshi's followers had become a Yaoren and died for lack of spirit-healing. Seeing an Earthbending follower die from Waterbending was a major reason for Avatar Kyoshi insisting on the rigid separation of the elements and nations. However, in the present, hundred-year-old spiritualists like Aang and Tao believe the spirits took offense to and struck down the follower for daring to tread on two elements. This was a completely wrong attribution of cause, as bending two element requires both great spirits' blessing. However, it could be quite true, for present benders, since the spirits tend to violently uphold an Avatar's Decree and it's unclear whether Kyoshi ever formally decreed this or just considered it a self-evident truth.

Name a historical hero and prepare to be disillusioned. In the latest chapter, it's revealed that a Northern Water Tribe Avatar went insane and tried to take over the world.
In chapter 46, Langxue insists that Asagitatsu didn't kill Avatar Yangchen. It killed dozens of people, one of whom was her.
Shapeshifting Lover - A common Interspecies Romance fairy tale in the Fire Nation about dragons that's true. Shidan, Kuzon's dragon companion, married Kuzon's daughter and became Ursa's father. This is likely intended, not just to be special, but as a polar opposite of the Water Tribes. Earth and Air learn from their bending spirit animals, Water learns from spirits, and Fire, in effect, joins with their bending spirit animals.
Super Prototype - Subverted. The dating of the White Lotus' (remaining?) records indicates that the yaoren came before the Avatar. Since they're the result of a spirit deciding to empower a mortal to handle something that threatens the balance, it makes sense that when they were unable to handle whatever problem and the Avatar Spirit began to be incarnated, it took that template and turned it Up to Eleven. The Avatar has all four elements instead of just two, is born with them instead of having to worry about any of those possibly-madness-and-death-inducing spiritual wounds, is incredibly powerful instead of sometimes possessing Heroic Willpower without the raw bending power to back it up (which would likely be why they got that wound in the first place), is reborn like yaoren often are instead of immortal like normal spirits (which likely helps immensely when it comes to understanding the human condition, since Aang is only slightly Genre Blind instead of utterly incapable of acting like or understanding normal people,) has the past incarnations to act as full-on advisors... It's no wonder the yaoren got demoted to Hero Secret Service.

Wendigo - Discussed as part of the Shown Their Work about why Katara is acting as a responsible adult and doing the right thing when she suspects that Zuko is driving the others crazy and needs to die under Ba Sing Se. Or rather, she would be if this were the Water Tribes. Vathara seems to enjoy breaking brains and conventional definitions of right and wrong by pointing out the scary bits of how the human psyche works.
You Are Not Alone: Since the job of the Earth King is to deal with spirits, and those who fight spirits are marked and thus seperated from normal people, Yangchen implies that Kyoshi created the Dai Li so that the Earth King would have not just help in dealing with spirits (part of what set off Chin's rebellion), but a group of people, including commoners, who could be regarded as friends and co-workers, allowing the Kings to have a source of friends and much more understanding of the people around them. The purpose of the yaoren appears to be this as well: a new avatar is understandably going to be upset at finding out their whole life was a lie, they're not like the people they love anymore (or never were), they now have a destiny to fulfill that doesn't care about what they wanted and got three more elements dropped on them. Not to mention teaching what you can pull with two elements that wouldn't occur to single element teachers. Meaning the elimination of the yaoren led to the Avatar feeling alone and isolated, as Aang does since he's 'the only one who can save the world,' and thus far less mentally stable.

And, from the fanfic itself:
"We all used to heal," Katara said, stunned herself. "Sozin hunted down fire-healers. Chin got the earth-healers. And... someone called Xiangchen was after the air-healers." She gulped. "If the Avatar has to master every element, but part of our bending is gone..."Chapter 32</a>

Edited at 2013-07-15 03:30 pm (UTC)

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