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Author Topic: Extent of the Southern Water Tribe  (Read 4425 times)
Nikoagonistes
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« on: Jul 29, 2011 03:53 pm »

On the "Is Katara a Mary Sue" topic, Loopy wrote something that got my attention:
Let's face it, Southern Tribe may have been headed towards extinction-by-incest, but the Northern Water Tribe was going to sail the nepotism boat to the bottom of their ocean. [Emphasis mine]
Why did get my attention?  Because it recalled something that's been bothering me:  just how big is the Southern Water Tribe?

True, we've seen Sokka and Katara's village, which is extremely small (and much smaller than it was several decades earlier.)  But is it the only village?  Is that tiny hamlet the full extend of the SWT civilization?

I'd like to think "no."  For one thing, the sailboats the SWT uses seem much more capable of long-range voyages than the Northern Water Tribe's canoes, which obviously aren't meant to journey out longer than one day's voyage.  That, plus the fact that sailing is part of the SWT's male right of passage seems to indicate that the SWT is much more mobile and decentralized than its northern counterpart, whole basically is lumped into one large city-state.  So it seems plausible that there are more small, remote villages across the South Pole.

Supporting my thesis, or so it would seem, would be the "Water Tribe Avatar Temple" as seen in episode 103:

It's been hypothesized that this is from the NWT, but I doubt it.  For one thing, the NWT already has a "spiritual heart" - the oasis - and it seems that the Water monks/sages attending the temple would have at least deserved some mention with a giant Fire Nation fleet headed toward them/isolating them from the city (maybe a mention of having to evacuate them to the city, or inability thereof), but there is none.  Furthermore, it seems to be somewhat isolated and remote (though perhaps not entirely so), which is much more in keeping with the mobile Southern Water Tribe than the centralizing North.

So that's what I think.   (Though it may include just a bit of wishful thinking.)  What do you think?
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« Reply #1 on: Jul 29, 2011 04:53 pm »

But is it the only village?  Is that tiny hamlet the full extend of the SWT civilization?

In ye olde Avatar website on Nick.com it used to say that Hakoda traveled through all the villages in the SWT to find a waterbending master for Katara when she was little and found none. So I'm guessing there's other villages at least.
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« Reply #2 on: Jul 29, 2011 04:56 pm »

Wait...there are other villages in the South Pole? I thought it was one civilization, like the Northern Water Tribe...guess not.
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« Reply #3 on: Jul 29, 2011 04:57 pm »

The Northern Water Tribe has other cities as well, if I remember correctly.
The city we saw was the capital city.

I could be wrong, though.


Oop, maybe I was wrong. According to the old Avatar site: "Ages ago, Waterbenders built the city as a way to unite all the various Northern Tribes in one place."
« Last Edit: Jul 29, 2011 05:03 pm by pyue » Logged


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Nikoagonistes
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« Reply #4 on: Jul 29, 2011 05:30 pm »

Wait...there are other villages in the South Pole? I thought it was one civilization, like the Northern Water Tribe...
One civilization, yes.  One village, no.
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« Reply #5 on: Jul 29, 2011 11:19 pm »

I remember there being references to multiple villages in the old nick site and in Lost Scrolls: Water.  Additionally, I think there are times in the show where Sokka and Katara refer to their village and other times where they refer to their tribe, generally consistent in a manner that implies multiple villages.

If nothing else, Aang should have found it odd that the Southern Water Tribe was so small unless there had been multiple villages.

Edit: Come to think of it, Hakoda has a a lot of soldiers, way more than could have conceivably come from his home village, even back in Hama's time.  they have to had come from somewhere.
« Last Edit: Jul 29, 2011 11:23 pm by RhoughRhinoAlternate » Logged


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« Reply #6 on: Jul 29, 2011 11:46 pm »

I've long bought into the Multiple Villages theory, but I still think they were a generation or two away from contemplating Kissing Cousins. Grin
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« Reply #7 on: Jul 30, 2011 12:45 am »

In ye olde Avatar website on Nick.com it used to say that Hakoda traveled through all the villages in the SWT to find a waterbending master for Katara when she was little and found none. So I'm guessing there's other villages at least.

Did not know this...I also thought only one village was in the SWT.. Good to know.
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United Guardian
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« Reply #8 on: Jul 30, 2011 05:59 am »

The Water NATION.

I seriously doubt the southern part of an entire nation would only have a small village.
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« Reply #9 on: Jul 30, 2011 07:51 am »

I hope in the new series we see a revived SWT that is similarly on par with the NWT.  With more waterbenders there now it should be easy to create some ice structures for better houses, defenses etc.
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« Reply #10 on: Jul 30, 2011 10:00 am »

^ this.
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« Reply #11 on: Jul 30, 2011 01:16 pm »

Well, it wouldn't make much sense for the Southern Water Tribe to consist of about... 30 people, would it? That village is tiny, and they have an entire continent to explore and populate.

What they need to do to themselves look better is a huge ice city with an ice castle. Made of ice. But it has to be original and not copy the North... how do we do that?

I got it! The city is a mountain and everyone gets around on a tobaggan or a ski-lift!
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Nikoagonistes
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« Reply #12 on: Aug 05, 2011 07:46 pm »

but I still think they were a generation or two away from contemplating Kissing Cousins. Grin
That's not actually as bad as it seems (cousin marriage is accepted in many cultures, and the child of two cousins only has a 4-6% chance of birth defects), and I can definitely see pre-"Iceberg" Sokka hitting on his hot female cousins (and failing miserably.) Wink

Back on topic, could anyone confirm whether or not the dialogue ever mentioned other southern villages, or did everyone just assume village=tribe?  (And if the latter, must we accept writers' laziness for canon? Wink )

On the SWT's future, I think that some emulation of the NWT's architecture is inevitable - the two Southern Water Tribe members we've seen liked it, plus the SWT rebuilding effort will be led by Pakku, a Northerner, and his Northern students.

However, I would like to see a giant, elaborate watchtower on the site where Sokka's little one used to be. Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: Aug 06, 2011 02:50 pm »

Yeah, that's exactly what a children's cartoon needs: incest.
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« Reply #14 on: Aug 06, 2011 03:03 pm »

^ We already have 3 incest ships from both shows. Cheesy
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Nikoagonistes
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« Reply #15 on: Aug 06, 2011 05:54 pm »

Yeah, that's exactly what a children's cartoon needs: incest.
Well, whether or not "Kissing Cousins" counts as incest varies from culture to culture; I personally don't consider it to be incest.  (Also, as tophness points out, closer relations have been shipped in this fandom.)

Back to topic - the site info (is that Nick site still down?  The ATLA page on Nick.com seems to have a lot less info than the one you describe) makes me wonder if each Water Tribe is divided into smaller tribes of their own, with the Chief of each main "Water Tribe" ruling a feudal network of smaller tribes.  As I mentioned in the first post, the NWT seems centralized into one big city, but Hahn's mention of "the political complexities" of the nation lend credence to the belief that some distinctiveness of the separate Northern Tribes isn't completely gone...

(Speaking of feudal structures in ATLA, is the feudal nature of the Earth Kingdom - with "Kings" such as Bumi required to pay fealty to the Earth King in Ba Sing Se - canon, or just fan extrapolation?  I've seen it mentioned in fanfics, but is there any canonical backing to it?)
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« Reply #16 on: Aug 06, 2011 07:23 pm »

No, anything on the Earth Kingdom government is pure fanon, as we try to reconcile what we were given. There's a lot of room for fun political speculation- such as Omashu not even having a King until Ba Sing Se failed to help in the war and Omashu then declared independence and elected the crazy guy as boss- but fanon has kind of taken over.

Back on topic, could anyone confirm whether or not the dialogue ever mentioned other southern villages, or did everyone just assume village=tribe?  (And if the latter, must we accept writers' laziness for canon? Wink )

The dialogue never mentioned other villages or tribes at all, but its use of the terms is surprisingly consistent. Nothing in the dialogue refers to Sokka and Katara's village as the whole tribe, and the village itself is referenced solely as "the village." Katara will say things like, "I'm the only Waterbender in the entire Southern Water Tribe," and then everyone later will talk about Zuko attacking "the village." So it's quite plausible that the existence of other villages was kept in mind while the episode was being written.
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« Reply #17 on: Aug 16, 2011 12:46 am »

Yea and the father searched a bunch of other villages for a waterbending teacher for Katara. Also, in the shot where they show a bunch of different places when Aang glows for the first time, they show something that might look like a Southern Watertribe village.
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mwsapphire
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« Reply #18 on: Sep 16, 2016 10:47 am »

I searched " SWT" and got this old thread. There are other SWT villages, word of God confirms it, also , the comics depict Sokka and Katara knowing other kids their age, and having some friends/fun.

Each "main" Gaang member had their own struggles/ advantages in their lives.

Toph- Extreme Isolation, as in no relationship with her parents, blindness, and nothing fun except for those tournaments
Zuko- Decent life at first, wealth, except for being  neglected by his Dad. Mom disapeared , and then his banishment happens.   

They are truly isolated, so when we first see them they are bitter and resentful, like a truls isolated person who doesn't even seem willing to build personal relationships ( Toph has no desire to Join the Gaang)

Sokka and Katara has perfect parents and lost them, and had to work a lot from a young age, and were poor, but they don't deal with as extreme isolation. ( They seem shocked to find out Toph had no friends and no fun, and that she had such a distance relationship with her parents) They also deal with wanting to be a waterbender/warrior, and not getting the proper instruction early on. ( Toph learns form badger moles, Zuko is taught by the best, but Katara learns once the series begins.)

Each character needs to have finite struggles, Isolation is a bigger theme in Zuko and Toph's lives, they're both lonely rich kids.
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« Reply #19 on: Mar 01, 2017 12:16 am »

Each character needs to have finite struggles, Isolation is a bigger theme in Zuko and Toph's lives, they're both lonely rich kids.

Is it just for those two, though? I would argue that the theme of isolation is pretty prevalent throughout the show.

Katara has no other benders (especially not waterbenders) to relate to or learn from until she meets Aang. She's not socially isolated from her people, but she is from other benders, hindering her ability to grow. When Sokka casts Aang out of the SWT after exploring the boobytrapped ship, Katara is angry because she truly believes that that had been her only shot to learn more advanced waterbending techniques.

Aang is completely cut off from the culture he was raised in. He struggles with being honest with himself and sometimes the people around him because he is afraid of what could happen because he is the Avatar.

I would also keep in mind the general age of the characters; 12-16 were some pretty confusing times as a teenager, and carries the statement "nobody understands me". Therefore, it should be expected that all characters at this age feel or are isolated to some degree.

ANYWAYS BACK ON TOPIC

I would think that there used to be more villages, but after the FN pillaging, a lot of downsizing happened. I think what I'm more intrigued about is why Gran-Gran the only elder in the village (assuming that the village = the entire SWT)?

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« Reply #20 on: Mar 01, 2017 06:50 pm »

Obviously, they ate the others.
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« Reply #21 on: Mar 01, 2017 09:49 pm »

Obviously, they ate the others.

I would suppose the elderly may have a better texture than blubbered seal jerky.
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« Reply #22 on: Mar 02, 2017 12:18 pm »

Obviously, they ate the others.

I would suppose the elderly may have a better texture than blubbered seal jerky.

 Cheesy

Hmm. Makes you wonder about the "savage" ethics of the SWT (compared to the NWT). If it came down to it, are they more likely to resort to cannibalism or incest first?

This got dark fast.
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« Reply #23 on: Mar 02, 2017 06:53 pm »

I believe this is where I'm supposed to make a Kacest joke.
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Nikkel
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« Reply #24 on: Mar 14, 2017 12:48 pm »

Rewatched The Puppetmaster last night, and realized that Hama's village is the same one as Sokka and Katara's.

This is the village that Hama grew up in:


We even see a young Kana here, as mentioned in the transcript:


Hama mentions that this was over 60 years ago. So, if we assume that Hama was present for the first raid by the Fire Nation, then this could very well be what the Southern Water Tribe looks like at max population (if we lean towards the single-village idea).
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