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Author Topic: [204] Civil Wars, Part 2  (Read 43266 times)
Ikkin
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« Reply #850 on: Nov 10, 2015 07:44 pm »

This seems utterly unsupportable.  If you're going to make a baseless claim that Korra isn't actually assessing herself negatively when she calls herself the "worst Avatar ever," there's no common ground for discussion.

You know, I can't even remember when she called herself the "worst Avatar ever"...

When Extremes Meet, after Tarrlok mocked her for not being able to airbend.


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And it isn't assessment when you simply call yourself "the worst Avatar ever" or anything. You make an assessment when you ponder about the "why" and the "what went wrong" - and after the assessment is done, you end up with some sort of conclusion. If you can point at Korra's assessment process and the conclusion... well, then you are watching another show because Korra never ever had either of these. She just sat down somewhere (or started to wander around), became really-really sad, then someone came and snapped her out of it. After that, all she had to say was something along the line "I was in a dark place before, but it doesn't matter anymore".

I thought it was pretty clear from context that that's not the sort of self-assessment I was talking about.  =P  I'll substitute "self-assessment" for "self-perception" if that helps, though... and, yes, Korra definitely had a negative self-perception at times.


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Hell, even Aang called her out on this "pretending that you want to be alone" thing.

I wouldn't call that a call out, especially since subconsciouly calling out for Aang doesn't mean she'd have been happy to see Tenzin.


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Unless you can show me on a diagram of a chicken where the egg it hatched from went, I feel like you're missing the point.  =P

Okay, I can't follow you here. I guess you are aware to the fact that the egg (sans the shell) is the chicken... uhm... wrong comparison maybe?

Well, technically speaking, the "cause" of a chicken is the fertilization of the egg rather than the egg itself, but that's just being pedantic.

Either way, the egg is not the same thing as the chicken in any meaningful sense.  The egg is a shell containing a cell with half of the DNA for a chicken and a whole bunch of food for the potential chicken embryo to use for energy.  None of that ends up existing as-is in a grown chicken -- the cell that becomes the chicken won't become a chicken without adding extra DNA into its makeup and the yolk that you see in an unfertilized egg is no more a chicken than the grain that a chicken eats.  =P


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No, the whole reason Korra opposed Kuvira was because Kuvira was threatening places that Korra cared about.  Korra repeatedly implied that she was okay with leaving Kuvira alone as long as Kuvira kept Zaofu and Republic City out of it.

I dunno, but in the end, Korra specifically called out Kuvira on being a tyrant.

Well, yeah, but that doesn't mean that Korra didn't understand where Kuvira was coming from as a result of experience.


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Amusingly enough, Korra actually did threaten to off Unalaq and slaughter his troops, and she did try to commandeer the UF.

And she backed off in both cases when she got the reminder that these things were not nice.

She backed off from the former because it wasn't going to get her what she wanted and backed off from the latter because it failed.  =P  If she'd backed off from commandeering the UF because it wasn't nice, she wouldn't have kicked Mako's desk over for ratting her out.


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Every single example you offered was of something that Korra knew to be unnecessary given her goals and her alternatives

Well, this is true, but emphasis is on 'Korra knew'. Of course she "knew" that these things were "unnecessary given her goals and alternatives" - her goals and alternatives were set up by her second pillar to not include these things in the first place.

Her goals and alternatives were designed to avoid those things, not to rule them out completely.  I mean, obviously she wouldn't want to sacrifice people if she had other viable options, but the same thing applies to Kuvira.  But if she wasn't willing to bite the bullet in that respect, she wouldn't have needed Zuko's advice before deciding to give herself up for the airbenders.


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I can't think of a single thing in canon to support the interpretation that Korra wasn't doing everything she could to get back to what she was before.

She was doing everything she could, but only if she had help for that. It was never about Korra snapping out all on her own, but Aang/Tenzin/Katara/Toph/Zaheer (speaking of which, I can see a pattern here...) pushing her through her problems.

Is this any different from the way the franchise handles other characters' problems, though?  Avatar generally pushes the idea that the best way to deal with problems is to rely on the people who care about you for support.


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How were they dropped?  Because Korra couldn't light-whammy Unalaq's dark spirits?  I don't think that's how it was meant to work.  =P

They showed us that it was supposed to work exactly like that. Where was the light and peace that could change the world? I'm asking!

It seems eminently reasonable that the ability to change dark spirits into light ones in the absence of a strong outside influence wouldn't necessarily imply the ability to change dark spirits into light ones in the presence of the most powerful dark spirit around, as far as I'm concerned.
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AtoMaki
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« Reply #851 on: Nov 11, 2015 06:33 am »

This seems utterly unsupportable.  If you're going to make a baseless claim that Korra isn't actually assessing herself negatively when she calls herself the "worst Avatar ever," there's no common ground for discussion.

You know, I can't even remember when she called herself the "worst Avatar ever"...

When Extremes Meet, after Tarrlok mocked her for not being able to airbend.

She was referring to an obvious lack of power there. She meant "I'm underpowered" and not "I'm bad" - it had nothing to do with her self-perception, it was just a statement about her obvious lack of two supposedly important abilities.

She backed off from the former because it wasn't going to get her what she wanted and backed off from the latter because it failed.  =P  If she'd backed off from commandeering the UF because it wasn't nice, she wouldn't have kicked Mako's desk over for ratting her out.

Offing Unalaq and the NWT fleet would have got her what she wanted (the civil war would have ended right there), just not in the way she wanted; and she did not fail with the fleet, she could have taken everything even with Raiko whining around her. And she sh*t all over Mako because he had just hit her third pillar with a sledgehammer  Tongue.

Her goals and alternatives were designed to avoid those things, not to rule them out completely.  I mean, obviously she wouldn't want to sacrifice people if she had other viable options, but the same thing applies to Kuvira.  But if she wasn't willing to bite the bullet in that respect, she wouldn't have needed Zuko's advice before deciding to give herself up for the airbenders.

She needed Zuko's advice because she wasn't willing to "Kuvira up". The alternative would have been a full-scale assault and putting the Air Nomads on the casualty list. It wouldn't have been pretty, but it would have been way less risky and... uhm... cost-effective (in the way that the Air Nomads are ultimately expandable... the Avatar isn't).

It seems eminently reasonable that the ability to change dark spirits into light ones in the absence of a strong outside influence wouldn't necessarily imply the ability to change dark spirits into light ones in the presence of the most powerful dark spirit around, as far as I'm concerned.

You mean, having the most powerful light spirit around is not a strong enough "outside influence"?


Also, LOL for the chicken/egg, you are taking this way too seriously Cheesy.
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Ikkin
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« Reply #852 on: Nov 11, 2015 07:01 am »

This seems utterly unsupportable.  If you're going to make a baseless claim that Korra isn't actually assessing herself negatively when she calls herself the "worst Avatar ever," there's no common ground for discussion.

You know, I can't even remember when she called herself the "worst Avatar ever"...

When Extremes Meet, after Tarrlok mocked her for not being able to airbend.

She was referring to an obvious lack of power there. She meant "I'm underpowered" and not "I'm bad" - it had nothing to do with her self-perception, it was just a statement about her obvious lack of two supposedly important abilities.

Not exactly.

Korra: How am I supposed to save the city when I can't even learn airbending? I'm the worst avatar ever!

She's talking about her ability to learn, not her lack of power.  She acts similarly earlier in the episode:

Korra: I've memorized nearly all the practice forms but I still can't produce a single measly puff of air! I'm a failure.

And later in that same conversation...

Korra: Didn't you get the memo from the White Lotus? I'm a spiritual failure too.

I don't think it could be clearer that she was perceiving herself as "the worst Avatar ever"/"a failure" due to her difficulties in learning airbending and spiritual stuff.  She's confusing abilities with inherent traits, of course, but that doesn't mean she's not talking about herself.


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She backed off from the former because it wasn't going to get her what she wanted and backed off from the latter because it failed.  =P  If she'd backed off from commandeering the UF because it wasn't nice, she wouldn't have kicked Mako's desk over for ratting her out.

Offing Unalaq and the NWT fleet would have got her what she wanted (the civil war would have ended right there), just not in the way she wanted;


But at that moment, what she wanted most was to save Tonraq, which clearly wouldn't have been served by going berserk on Unalaq and the NWT fleet.


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and she did not fail with the fleet, she could have taken everything even with Raiko whining around her. And she sh*t all over Mako because he had just hit her third pillar with a sledgehammer  Tongue.

It's strongly implied that she no longer believed that taking the fleet was possible.  (Without Iroh's support, how would she have gotten the soldiers to listen to her?)


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Her goals and alternatives were designed to avoid those things, not to rule them out completely.  I mean, obviously she wouldn't want to sacrifice people if she had other viable options, but the same thing applies to Kuvira.  But if she wasn't willing to bite the bullet in that respect, she wouldn't have needed Zuko's advice before deciding to give herself up for the airbenders.

She needed Zuko's advice because she wasn't willing to "Kuvira up". The alternative would have been a full-scale assault and putting the Air Nomads on the casualty list. It wouldn't have been pretty, but it would have been way less risky and... uhm... cost-effective (in the way that the Air Nomads are ultimately expandable... the Avatar isn't).

My point was that Korra wouldn't have needed to ask if she wasn't willing to "Kuvira up," because then risking the airbenders wouldn't have been an option in the first place.  People generally don't ask for advice about something when there's only one option they're okay with.


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It seems eminently reasonable that the ability to change dark spirits into light ones in the absence of a strong outside influence wouldn't necessarily imply the ability to change dark spirits into light ones in the presence of the most powerful dark spirit around, as far as I'm concerned.

You mean, having the most powerful light spirit around is not a strong enough "outside influence"?

Raava wasn't anywhere near as strong as Vaatu was because of what happened in Wan's time, and it was heavily implied that the light Korra used to convert the dark spirits was her own rather than Raava's anyway.  ("I have light inside.")


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Also, LOL for the chicken/egg, you are taking this way too seriously Cheesy.

So does that mean you concede that I'm right about causes generally not being part of their effects?  =P
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AtoMaki
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« Reply #853 on: Nov 11, 2015 07:43 am »

I don't think it could be clearer that she was perceiving herself as "the worst Avatar ever"/"a failure" due to her difficulties in learning airbending and spiritual stuff.  She's confusing abilities with inherent traits, of course, but that doesn't mean she's not talking about herself.

Nooo... She just perceived a lack of two supposedly important abilities. This was just simple frustration for not having certain options at hand for reasons that were beyond her.

Also, it is worth noting that in that scene, she was telling all these things to her friends and... wait for it... received positive reinforcement fom them in all cases. Then both the "worst Avatar ever" and "spiritual failure" were completely dropped, never to come up again. Ah, what a coincidence  Roll Eyes!

But at that moment, what she wanted most was to save Tonraq, which clearly wouldn't have been served by going berserk on Unalaq and the NWT fleet.

It's strongly implied that she no longer believed that taking the fleet was possible.  (Without Iroh's support, how would she have gotten the soldiers to listen to her?)

Killing Unalaq and devastating the NWT fleet would have definitely freed Tonraq one way or another. I mean, dead men and routed armies can't keep people in prisons, I can tell you that!

Also, Iroh still supported Korra at that point, and he would have followed her if not for Raiko's petty feelings. But getting Raiko off the train would have been too much for Korra, especially with the guy telling her how bad she is and how she should feel bad.

My point was that Korra wouldn't have needed to ask if she wasn't willing to "Kuvira up," because then risking the airbenders wouldn't have been an option in the first place.  People generally don't ask for advice about something when there's only one option they're okay with.

Sacrificing the airbenders was not an option for Korra. It was an option in general, but it was never even considered by her because of the second pillar.

Raava wasn't anywhere near as strong as Vaatu was because of what happened in Wan's time, and it was heavily implied that the light Korra used to convert the dark spirits was her own rather than Raava's anyway.  ("I have light inside.")

Vaatu was also badly mauled and imprisoned in the Plot Tree, while Raava had the Avatar - and it is proven that the two are stronger together than Vaatu. And of course Korra had "light inside" - she had Raava in there all along.

So does that mean you concede that I'm right about causes generally not being part of their effects?  =P

No, I'm just telling that you should get a better example for this. Something where the cause is not transformed into the effect, automatically becoming part of it. I dunno, maybe a political party winning the elections because widespread corruption and poverty, then they announce that they are going to build a skyscraper in another country?  Though, I cannot fathom how you would apply this on Korra...
« Last Edit: Nov 11, 2015 07:50 am by AtoMaki » Logged

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Ikkin
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« Reply #854 on: Nov 11, 2015 01:27 pm »

I don't think it could be clearer that she was perceiving herself as "the worst Avatar ever"/"a failure" due to her difficulties in learning airbending and spiritual stuff.  She's confusing abilities with inherent traits, of course, but that doesn't mean she's not talking about herself.

Nooo... She just perceived a lack of two supposedly important abilities. This was just simple frustration for not having certain options at hand for reasons that were beyond her.

"Simple frustration" generally doesn't drive a person to attempt murder, but that was strongly implied to be the result of Korra's insecurities about her effectiveness at being the Avatar ("Still think I'm a half-baked Avatar?)

Korra consistently internalized perceptions regarding her lack of abilities as judgments on her as a person, both in Book 1 and Book 2 (where she tells Unalaq, " But I don't have any connection with the spirits. In fact, it seems like they hate me.") Pretty much every instance of Korra saying she's "not the Avatar" is an example of this, and the show made it very obvious that that was more than simple frustration.


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Also, it is worth noting that in that scene, she was telling all these things to her friends and... wait for it... received positive reinforcement fom them in all cases. Then both the "worst Avatar ever" and "spiritual failure" were completely dropped, never to come up again. Ah, what a coincidence  Roll Eyes!

See above with regards to it coming up again -- the same phrases might not have been used, but the idea shows up in a number of ways.

As for her being around friends when she said it... of course she was!  Korra's not the sort of person who would ever admit this kind of stuff out loud unless pressed by someone she trusted.


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But at that moment, what she wanted most was to save Tonraq, which clearly wouldn't have been served by going berserk on Unalaq and the NWT fleet.

It's strongly implied that she no longer believed that taking the fleet was possible.  (Without Iroh's support, how would she have gotten the soldiers to listen to her?)

Killing Unalaq and devastating the NWT fleet would have definitely freed Tonraq one way or another. I mean, dead men and routed armies can't keep people in prisons, I can tell you that!

Dead people are unlikely to make good jailers, true, but people who have one's family members as convenient hostages are likely to use that to their advantage if one makes oneself a threat. Not to mention, she'd be shooting her reputation in the foot to a ridiculous degree if she went through with it.

Going scorched earth on the NWT was always a bad idea. That Korra ended up recognizing that doesn't necessarily mean she wouldn't have done it under different circumstances.


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Also, Iroh still supported Korra at that point, and he would have followed her if not for Raiko's petty feelings. But getting Raiko off the train would have been too much for Korra, especially with the guy telling her how bad she is and how she should feel bad.

Iroh almost certainly would have stopped backing Korra if she outright murdered Raiko... as would anyone else sane. Asking for help from the Fire Lord was a better option in every way.


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My point was that Korra wouldn't have needed to ask if she wasn't willing to "Kuvira up," because then risking the airbenders wouldn't have been an option in the first place.  People generally don't ask for advice about something when there's only one option they're okay with.

Sacrificing the airbenders was not an option for Korra. It was an option in general, but it was never even considered by her because of the second pillar.

Then why bother even asking?  If sacrificing the airbenders isn't an option, then Korra should know exactly what she needs to do and focus on getting support for her decision instead of asking for the pros and cons of her two options. =P


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Raava wasn't anywhere near as strong as Vaatu was because of what happened in Wan's time, and it was heavily implied that the light Korra used to convert the dark spirits was her own rather than Raava's anyway.  ("I have light inside.")

Vaatu was also badly mauled and imprisoned in the Plot Tree, while Raava had the Avatar - and it is proven that the two are stronger together than Vaatu. And of course Korra had "light inside" - she had Raava in there all along.

Size was always used as a reflection of Vaatu and Raava's power, and Vaatu was way larger than Raava at the time. Being the Avatar doesn't necessarily give Korra more influence over the spirits than Raava alone had (in fact we saw no indication that that was the case).


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So does that mean you concede that I'm right about causes generally not being part of their effects?  =P

No, I'm just telling that you should get a better example for this. Something where the cause is not transformed into the effect, automatically becoming part of it. I dunno, maybe a political party winning the elections because widespread corruption and poverty, then they announce that they are going to build a skyscraper in another country?  Though, I cannot fathom how you would apply this on Korra...

I already did -- the actual "cause" of the chicken is an act rather than a physical object, and therefore cannot possibly be a component part of a chicken.

As for the point, the point is that Korra's idealized self was created because of her black and white thinking, and therefore it makes no sense to consider black and white thinking to be part of the content of that idealized self.

The content of Korra's idealized self is that she's powerful and in control. Black and white thinking switches that idealized self out with a devalued one when she lacks that power and control, and as such makes more sense as something outside of her idealized self than a component part of it.
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« Reply #855 on: Nov 11, 2015 03:05 pm »

"Simple frustration" generally doesn't drive a person to attempt murder, but that was strongly implied to be the result of Korra's insecurities about her effectiveness at being the Avatar ("Still think I'm a half-baked Avatar?)

Wait, when did Korra attempt murder? She barely roughened up Tarrlok, and while she was ready to beat the living sh*t out of him, she was as far from murder as one can get. And believe it or not, simple frustration does drive people to lash out violently towards perceived sources of their frustration. Be him an arrogant rival (Tahno) or a jerk politician (Tarrlok).

Tarrlok did play on Korra and her insecurities, but he barely scratched the surface as he attacked the deficiency Korra was well aware of.

As for her being around friends when she said it... of course she was!  Korra's not the sort of person who would ever admit this kind of stuff out loud unless pressed by someone she trusted.

Almost. Korra wouldn't say stuff like this unless there is someone who can disagree with her. Again, this is how Korra gets her positive reinforcement. The show was super consistent in this regard, I can't think a single scene where Korra said that she was bad to a person who couldn't (or was unwilling to) disagree with her immediately.

Dead people are unlikely to make good jailers, true, but people who have one's family members as convenient hostages are likely to use that to their advantage if one makes oneself a threat. Not to mention, she'd be shooting her reputation in the foot to a ridiculous degree if she went through with it.

You see, this is "hard truth" category. Killing Unalaq on he spot then chasing away his army (that would be in complete disarray at this point) would make Korra the Bad Guy. Some people would have loved her for this (the SWT) some would have hated her for this (the NWT), but it would have surely left the overall impression that Korra is not a Good Guy. And that would have been unacceptable for her - in her idealized world, she is the Good Guy.

Iroh almost certainly would have stopped backing Korra if she outright murdered Raiko... as would anyone else sane. Asking for help from the Fire Lord was a better option in every way.

I don't say that she should have killed Raiko, only remove him from power. Kyoshi+Earth King scenario. But again, this would have hurt Raiko's feelings pretty badly, and he would have considered Korra a Bad Guy (as he started to do), and that's a big no-no in Korra's book.

Then why bother even asking?  If sacrificing the airbenders isn't an option, then Korra should know exactly what she needs to do and focus on getting support for her decision instead of asking for the pros and cons of her two options. =P

The question was more along the line of how to solve the situation without sacrificing the Air Nomads. It was, like, Korra wanted to have the cookie and eat it too.

Size was always used as a reflection of Vaatu and Raava's power, and Vaatu was way larger than Raava at the time. Being the Avatar doesn't necessarily give Korra more influence over the spirits than Raava alone had (in fact we saw no indication that that was the case).

If this would have been the case, then Vaatu could have just remotely open the portal-locks or something. I mean, the Raava+Avatar combo wiped the floor with Vaatu, so it must be more powerful than him.


I already did -- the actual "cause" of the chicken is an act rather than a physical object, and therefore cannot possibly be a component part of a chicken.

Man, this chicken stole the original point  Cheesy. So, my point is that Korra's black-and-white world supports her idealized self as one of its pillar. It causes the idealized world by being a component part of it. Kinda' like a filler on a camera: it causes the camera to perceive the world in a certain way, and it is also a component part of the machine.
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« Reply #856 on: Nov 11, 2015 07:02 pm »

But I think Unalaq is way more three-dimensional and complex than people give him (and the writers) credit for. There were quite a few different motivations behind his actions. He was envious of his brother and resented him for fathering the Avatar and being so popular with the people (both in the South and the North-- I'm fairly sure that Tonraq would have been as well-liked in the NWT as he is in the SWT). He truly believed that keeping spirits and humans separate was a bad thing, and thought that opening the spirit portals would usher in a better era for the world. I think that after he met Vaatu and collaborated with him he was just corrupted so much that he basically lost sense of what was right and wrong. He became consumed by Vaatu's purpose.
I think the bolded part is really important here, because what you say kind of makes sense, but I feel like one needs to jump through a lot of hoops to reach those conclusions. For example :
  • his professed respect for spirits sounds hollow when it turns out that he sacrificed the Northern Spirit Forest for the sake of his ambition
  • his position on darkness and chaos is all over the place, often (always?) sounding like he believes that they are bad things but also apparently believing that making Vaatu (the spirit of chaos and darkness) the dominant spirit will solve whatever the problem with those is
  • his resentment of Tonraq is barely explored and plays no part in the end game, instead being "solved" in a quick fight at the tail end of an episode's B-plot
  • considering his relationship with them, one can wonder what purpose did his filiation with Eska and Desna serve
In conclusion, his pettiness and hypocrisy go so far back and he seems so insincere about everything that he comes off as that one really ambitious guy who learned of a golden opportunity to become an immortal being with awesome powers and decided to seize it.
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Ikkin
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« Reply #857 on: Nov 12, 2015 12:05 am »

"Simple frustration" generally doesn't drive a person to attempt murder, but that was strongly implied to be the result of Korra's insecurities about her effectiveness at being the Avatar ("Still think I'm a half-baked Avatar?)

Wait, when did Korra attempt murder? She barely roughened up Tarrlok, and while she was ready to beat the living sh*t out of him, she was as far from murder as one can get. And believe it or not, simple frustration does drive people to lash out violently towards perceived sources of their frustration. Be him an arrogant rival (Tahno) or a jerk politician (Tarrlok).

Tarrlok did play on Korra and her insecurities, but he barely scratched the surface as he attacked the deficiency Korra was well aware of.

She tried to burn him alive.

He was on the ground, and she came at him with flamethrowers in her hand and a crazed look in her eye.




Both the narration ("Desperate to save himself, Tarrlok revealed his ability to bloodbend [...]") and the creators (MD: "Well, this was her going to extremes. When is she going to stop, you know? Is she gonna just - ? She’s -"/BK: "Kind of the bad guy, here! I mean, he’s awful, and he takes it even further, but -"/MD: "Well, and we also had to get to a point where it’s like, why does Tarrlok reveal his ability to bloodbend? And it happens at a moment where it’s like he felt that if he didn’t, well, who knows what Korra would have done right there?") strongly suggest that Tarrlok's life was in serious jeopardy if he didn't use bloodbending.

That's not the sort of lashing out people who are frustrated usually do.  That's the result of serious psychological issues.


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As for her being around friends when she said it... of course she was!  Korra's not the sort of person who would ever admit this kind of stuff out loud unless pressed by someone she trusted.

Almost. Korra wouldn't say stuff like this unless there is someone who can disagree with her. Again, this is how Korra gets her positive reinforcement. The show was super consistent in this regard, I can't think a single scene where Korra said that she was bad to a person who couldn't (or was unwilling to) disagree with her immediately.

I feel like you're trying to use stuff that's basically universal to everyone who feels insecure about something (i.e. only mentioning their insecurities to people they trust) to imply specific stuff about Korra that can't be supported in any other way.  =/

People who feel insecure try to deny their insecurities to themselves and definitely do everything they can to deny their insecurities to people who they don't trust to support them.  That's just how that dynamic works.


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Dead people are unlikely to make good jailers, true, but people who have one's family members as convenient hostages are likely to use that to their advantage if one makes oneself a threat. Not to mention, she'd be shooting her reputation in the foot to a ridiculous degree if she went through with it.

You see, this is "hard truth" category. Killing Unalaq on he spot then chasing away his army (that would be in complete disarray at this point) would make Korra the Bad Guy. Some people would have loved her for this (the SWT) some would have hated her for this (the NWT), but it would have surely left the overall impression that Korra is not a Good Guy. And that would have been unacceptable for her - in her idealized world, she is the Good Guy.

I think she is okay with being the "Bad Guy" sometimes, though, just not when it's likely to get in the way of her other goals.  I mean, she stood her ground on the spirit portals thing, and lots of people were angry at her about that.  She chose to make Republic City the battlefield on which she faced Kuvira instead of making a stand somewhere less likely to cause billions of yuans in collateral damage.  She doesn't need everyone to be happy with her decisions -- she just needs to keep them from seeing her as a monster who needs to go down.


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Iroh almost certainly would have stopped backing Korra if she outright murdered Raiko... as would anyone else sane. Asking for help from the Fire Lord was a better option in every way.

I don't say that she should have killed Raiko, only remove him from power. Kyoshi+Earth King scenario. But again, this would have hurt Raiko's feelings pretty badly, and he would have considered Korra a Bad Guy (as he started to do), and that's a big no-no in Korra's book.

Korra never cares if people she doesn't respect think of her as a Bad Guy, though (otherwise she wouldn't have threatened to have Naga eat Hotah).  The real issue is that removing Raiko would have lost her the goodwill of the people of Republic City (and potentially destroyed the cause of democracy, which she seems to support), and that could cause her a lot of trouble.

(For the record, Kyoshi didn't remove the Earth King from power.  She told him to be nice to the peasants, then gave him a secret police force to keep those same peasants in check.  Way to go, Kyoshi.  =P )


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Then why bother even asking?  If sacrificing the airbenders isn't an option, then Korra should know exactly what she needs to do and focus on getting support for her decision instead of asking for the pros and cons of her two options. =P

The question was more along the line of how to solve the situation without sacrificing the Air Nomads. It was, like, Korra wanted to have the cookie and eat it too.

If that were the case, why would Korra have been satisfied with Zuko's advice, which said absolutely nothing about potential alternatives to "protect the airbenders" and "protect the Avatar?"

Her final conclusion appears to be that it was possible to protect the Avatar while sacrificing herself, so it was best for the world not to risk the airbenders.  But the show gave every indication that she thought the proper solution to her conundrum depended on whether the world needed the Avatar or the airbenders more.


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Size was always used as a reflection of Vaatu and Raava's power, and Vaatu was way larger than Raava at the time. Being the Avatar doesn't necessarily give Korra more influence over the spirits than Raava alone had (in fact we saw no indication that that was the case).

If this would have been the case, then Vaatu could have just remotely open the portal-locks or something. I mean, the Raava+Avatar combo wiped the floor with Vaatu, so it must be more powerful than him.

Not all forms of power are equal.  A bomb is way more powerful than a tiny electrical signal, but the latter can open a door that the bomb isn't powerful enough to blast its way through.  Wink

As far as I can tell, Wan's seals were unique to the Avatar due to the Avatar's human-plus-spirit nature and pure spirits could do nothing to open them (otherwise, how would one of them keep Vaatu locked up?).  There's no reason Vaatu can't have more power over other spirits than the Avatar without being able to do anything about Wan's seals.


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I already did -- the actual "cause" of the chicken is an act rather than a physical object, and therefore cannot possibly be a component part of a chicken.

Man, this chicken stole the original point  Cheesy. So, my point is that Korra's black-and-white world supports her idealized self as one of its pillar. It causes the idealized world by being a component part of it. Kinda' like a filler on a camera: it causes the camera to perceive the world in a certain way, and it is also a component part of the machine.

It certainly did.  XD;

Anyway, I'll agree that black-and-white thinking supports Korra's idealized self.  I don't agree that it's a component part, though, if only because Korra's idealized self reflects only the white part of that dynamic.  =P
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« Reply #858 on: Nov 12, 2015 06:00 am »

That's not the sort of lashing out people who are frustrated usually do.  That's the result of serious psychological issues.

Even if we say that Korra wanted to murder Tarrlok, it could be still a result of frustration rather than some sort of messed-up intent. From the looks of it, this could be manslaughter at best. Korra did not go there to kill Tarrlok, he pushed her into that situation. You can say that Korra wouldn't have killed Tarrlok for the same reason she didn't kill Unalaq when he imprisoned her father.

I feel like you're trying to use stuff that's basically universal to everyone who feels insecure about something (i.e. only mentioning their insecurities to people they trust) to imply specific stuff about Korra that can't be supported in any other way.  =/

People who feel insecure try to deny their insecurities to themselves and definitely do everything they can to deny their insecurities to people who they don't trust to support them.  That's just how that dynamic works.

She did not open up to Tenzin or her parents in Book 4, because they clearly showed their inability to support her, even though the trust were there. She pretty much ran away because she had already depleted Katara's support, and nobody else could provide her anything - even though she was surrounded by people she could trust. Instead, she opened up to Zaheer, a person she couldn't really trust.


I think she is okay with being the "Bad Guy" sometimes, though, just not when it's likely to get in the way of her other goals.  I mean, she stood her ground on the spirit portals thing, and lots of people were angry at her about that.  She chose to make Republic City the battlefield on which she faced Kuvira instead of making a stand somewhere less likely to cause billions of yuans in collateral damage.  She doesn't need everyone to be happy with her decisions -- she just needs to keep them from seeing her as a monster who needs to go down.



Korra never cares if people she doesn't respect think of her as a Bad Guy, though (otherwise she wouldn't have threatened to have Naga eat Hotah).  The real issue is that removing Raiko would have lost her the goodwill of the people of Republic City (and potentially destroyed the cause of democracy, which she seems to support), and that could cause her a lot of trouble.

You have to admit that there is quite a difference between threatening a corrupt judge and abusing the leadership and the military assets of a whole nation Tongue.

If that were the case, why would Korra have been satisfied with Zuko's advice, which said absolutely nothing about potential alternatives to "protect the airbenders" and "protect the Avatar?"

Zuko cut the knot by telling Korra that she shouldn't protect the Avatar. That's an alternative. The other was would have been sacrificing the Air Nomads, but that was a big no-no. Of course, cutting the Avatar into the soup might have been seriously counter-productive in the long run and it would have been possibly resulted in the Air Nomads getting obliterated anyway, but it was the "morally right" thing to do. Sacrificing the Air Nomads was never even considered by Korra, though it would have made more sense in terms of pragmatism.

As far as I can tell, Wan's seals were unique to the Avatar due to the Avatar's human-plus-spirit nature and pure spirits could do nothing to open them (otherwise, how would one of them keep Vaatu locked up?).  There's no reason Vaatu can't have more power over other spirits than the Avatar without being able to do anything about Wan's seals.

Nah, I'm pretty sure that the Avatar is supposed to be more powerful than Vaatu. Otherwise, Vaatu could have just overran the world with his Dark Spirits while being locked up. Or he could have turned the Dragon-Bird dark and prevent Korra from escaping. On the other hand, Iroh straight out said that the Avatar has a super-powerful influence on the Spirit World, and the Lion turtle in ATLA had already established that light beats darkness.

Really, that scene with Korra opening the portals was more in line with Iroh's warning: if you look for the dark, that is all you will ever see (Korra's breakdowns in a nutshell Roll Eyes).
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« Reply #859 on: Nov 12, 2015 11:55 pm »

That's not the sort of lashing out people who are frustrated usually do.  That's the result of serious psychological issues.

Even if we say that Korra wanted to murder Tarrlok, it could be still a result of frustration rather than some sort of messed-up intent. From the looks of it, this could be manslaughter at best. Korra did not go there to kill Tarrlok, he pushed her into that situation. You can say that Korra wouldn't have killed Tarrlok for the same reason she didn't kill Unalaq when he imprisoned her father.

People with healthy methods for dealing with frustration don't murder other people because they're frustrated with them.  =P  That's... sort of a prerequisite for having healthy methods of dealing with frustration, you know?

The legal status in terms of (second degree) murder vs. manslaughter is pretty questionable (does Korra even get to say that Tarrlok provoked her when she got into the building by what amounted to breaking and entering?  Does it matter that Korra seemed to have been looking to provoke Tarrlok to throw the first punch so she wouldn't technically be the aggressor?), but Korra herself made it pretty clear that her reason continuing to attack Tarrlok after removing his water source had more to do with him insulting her than it did with him attacking her.

As for the Unalaq situation, that was different because Korra regained a sense of perspective before acting.  The Tarrlok situation clearly featured a Korra who had completely lost sight of the consequences of her actions.


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I feel like you're trying to use stuff that's basically universal to everyone who feels insecure about something (i.e. only mentioning their insecurities to people they trust) to imply specific stuff about Korra that can't be supported in any other way.  =/

People who feel insecure try to deny their insecurities to themselves and definitely do everything they can to deny their insecurities to people who they don't trust to support them.  That's just how that dynamic works.

She did not open up to Tenzin or her parents in Book 4, because they clearly showed their inability to support her, even though the trust were there. She pretty much ran away because she had already depleted Katara's support, and nobody else could provide her anything - even though she was surrounded by people she could trust. Instead, she opened up to Zaheer, a person she couldn't really trust.

I said "trust to support them," not "trust."  Korra couldn't trust Zaheer, but she thought the support he claimed to be able to provide to be worth the risk given her lack of other options.  (The support she expected from him, of course, had far less to do with him saying nice things to make her feel better and more to do with him being able to fix what was wrong with her.)

As for Tenzin and Korra's parents, she actually did open up to them to a certain extent.  She opened up to the spirits, too (and, like Zaheer, I don't think she could have expected them to say nice things to make her feel better).  On the other hand, while Korra's primary question when answering questions about her insecurities seems to be, "Will this do me any good, or will it just cause more problems?", she never asks it if she's not directly confronted with a question -- she almost never seeks out other people to talk about her insecurities, even when she knows that they will support her.


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I think she is okay with being the "Bad Guy" sometimes, though, just not when it's likely to get in the way of her other goals.  I mean, she stood her ground on the spirit portals thing, and lots of people were angry at her about that.  She chose to make Republic City the battlefield on which she faced Kuvira instead of making a stand somewhere less likely to cause billions of yuans in collateral damage.  She doesn't need everyone to be happy with her decisions -- she just needs to keep them from seeing her as a monster who needs to go down.

Korra never cares if people she doesn't respect think of her as a Bad Guy, though (otherwise she wouldn't have threatened to have Naga eat Hotah).  The real issue is that removing Raiko would have lost her the goodwill of the people of Republic City (and potentially destroyed the cause of democracy, which she seems to support), and that could cause her a lot of trouble.

You have to admit that there is quite a difference between threatening a corrupt judge and abusing the leadership and the military assets of a whole nation Tongue.

There is, but she was going to appropriate the military assets of a sovereign nation anyway before Raiko showed up, and she's been super disrespectful to Raiko in other ways.



She clearly cares less about her reputation-qua-reputation than she does about her effectiveness.


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If that were the case, why would Korra have been satisfied with Zuko's advice, which said absolutely nothing about potential alternatives to "protect the airbenders" and "protect the Avatar?"

Zuko cut the knot by telling Korra that she shouldn't protect the Avatar. That's an alternative. The other was would have been sacrificing the Air Nomads, but that was a big no-no. Of course, cutting the Avatar into the soup might have been seriously counter-productive in the long run and it would have been possibly resulted in the Air Nomads getting obliterated anyway, but it was the "morally right" thing to do. Sacrificing the Air Nomads was never even considered by Korra, though it would have made more sense in terms of pragmatism.

No he didn't.  He said essentially, "Aang cared about his people deeply and might have done anything to save the Air Nation, but he also knew that in times of trouble, people need their Avatar the most."  That's nothing more and nothing less than a summary of the two choices which Korra already knew she had, and which she would have found completely useless had she already ruled out the "put the Avatar first" option.

(If she were as constitutionally opposed to sacrificing the airbenders as you were saying, she'd have had a visceral response to Zuko suggesting that the world might actually need the Avatar more.  That she didn't says a lot about where her mind was at, I think.)

My own interpretation is that Korra took Zuko's advice to mean that the only losses that would matter to the world were those of the airbenders and of the Avatar in a generic sense, and therefore as long as she kept the airbenders and Raava alive, it didn't matter what happened to her.  But coming to that decision required way more than it ought to have had Korra immediately rejected the "sacrifice/risk the airbenders" option.


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As far as I can tell, Wan's seals were unique to the Avatar due to the Avatar's human-plus-spirit nature and pure spirits could do nothing to open them (otherwise, how would one of them keep Vaatu locked up?).  There's no reason Vaatu can't have more power over other spirits than the Avatar without being able to do anything about Wan's seals.

Nah, I'm pretty sure that the Avatar is supposed to be more powerful than Vaatu. Otherwise, Vaatu could have just overran the world with his Dark Spirits while being locked up. Or he could have turned the Dragon-Bird dark and prevent Korra from escaping. On the other hand, Iroh straight out said that the Avatar has a super-powerful influence on the Spirit World, and the Lion turtle in ATLA had already established that light beats darkness.

Really, that scene with Korra opening the portals was more in line with Iroh's warning: if you look for the dark, that is all you will ever see (Korra's breakdowns in a nutshell Roll Eyes).

Again, different forms of power exist, and while Wan had the power to kick Vaatu's tail and keep him locked up for ten thousand years, we've never seen the Avatar demonstrate influence over spirits to the same extent as Vaatu was able to do.  As for the Dragon-Bird, it seemed reasonable to believe that the fully-grown Dragon-Bird was uniquely resistant to corruption due to its own connection with the light (the thing practically glows).

And, for the record?  Wan's dying lines strongly implied that there was still a significant amount of dark influence in the world even with Vaatu locked up ("Even with Vaatu locked away, darkness still surrounds humanity").  The dark spirits that showed up prior to Harmonic Convergence were supposed to be Vaatu's fault, too.  I don't think the show could have made it more clear that Vaatu is still able to turn spirits dark from inside the Tree of Time.
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« Reply #860 on: Nov 13, 2015 01:27 pm »

People with healthy methods for dealing with frustration don't murder other people because they're frustrated with them.  =P  That's... sort of a prerequisite for having healthy methods of dealing with frustration, you know?

Again, Korra did not want to murder anybody. Considering her cartoonishly angry face, she wasn't even up to it even when she charged Tarrlok with her firebending.

As for the Unalaq situation, that was different because Korra regained a sense of perspective before acting.  The Tarrlok situation clearly featured a Korra who had completely lost sight of the consequences of her actions.

A sense of perspective? Like how Unalaq couldn't be trusted for a living?

I said "trust to support them," not "trust."

That's pretty much what I say too. She only opened up to people she knew to be supportive or at least possessing the ability to give support. Be it Tenzin, the Krew, Katara, Dark Korra (well, at least the attempt was there), random spirits who might know something, or Zaheer the Super-Spiritual. She wouldn't open up for people like Bolin, Varrick, Suyin, or anyone else who was unrelated to her problems or clearly stated that they were not in a supportive mood. Hell, even then she got caught in a bad spot when she opened up to Mako in Book 2 and he LOLNOPE'd out; you could see how horribly Korra reacted to that - Mako pretty much foiled her.

She clearly cares less about her reputation-qua-reputation than she does about her effectiveness.

I would say she is simply a sore loser Smiley. But again, stealing a fleet with the agreement of said fleet's commander and without confronting the commander-in-chief is hardly a "hard truth". Bypassing antagonistic authority is actually quite heroic if you think about it.

My own interpretation is that Korra took Zuko's advice to mean that the only losses that would matter to the world were those of the airbenders and of the Avatar in a generic sense, and therefore as long as she kept the airbenders and Raava alive, it didn't matter what happened to her.  But coming to that decision required way more than it ought to have had Korra immediately rejected the "sacrifice/risk the airbenders" option.

You know, I would agree if Korra had at least shown a passing interest in considering the "sacrifice" option. As it now stands, the second part of Zuko's advice seemingly never reached her... and for a reason.

As for the Dragon-Bird, it seemed reasonable to believe that the fully-grown Dragon-Bird was uniquely resistant to corruption due to its own connection with the light (the thing practically glows).

Vaatu also glows. He also fires beams of light. And I dunno, but kid!Korra could turn those spirit-dogs back to light and abolish the storm just fine. Bumi could even "lighten up" a dark spirit with a flute and some nice music.

It is also worth noting that darkness =/= Vaatu. The later gains power from the former, but from the looks of it, Vaatu has very little control over the violence and chaos he causes. These two things were pretty much the main cause of his defeat both times.
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« Reply #861 on: Nov 13, 2015 09:22 pm »

People with healthy methods for dealing with frustration don't murder other people because they're frustrated with them.  =P  That's... sort of a prerequisite for having healthy methods of dealing with frustration, you know?

Again, Korra did not want to murder anybody. Considering her cartoonishly angry face, she wasn't even up to it even when she charged Tarrlok with her firebending.

The creators of the show certainly seem to think otherwise.

I mean, okay, she probably wasn't thinking, "I really want this guy to die."  But she wanted to hurt him, and she chose a way of doing it that would horrify most reasonable people (immolation is a nasty way to go!).  She clearly wouldn't have acted that way if she didn't have some serious issues driving her to do so.


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As for the Unalaq situation, that was different because Korra regained a sense of perspective before acting.  The Tarrlok situation clearly featured a Korra who had completely lost sight of the consequences of her actions.

A sense of perspective? Like how Unalaq couldn't be trusted for a living?

What I meant was, she had a better perspective on the consequences of taking out as many NWT people as possible than she did when she tried to burn Tarrlok alive, hence her rejection the former and her lack of rejection of the latter.


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I said "trust to support them," not "trust."

That's pretty much what I say too. She only opened up to people she knew to be supportive or at least possessing the ability to give support. Be it Tenzin, the Krew, Katara, Dark Korra (well, at least the attempt was there), random spirits who might know something, or Zaheer the Super-Spiritual. She wouldn't open up for people like Bolin, Varrick, Suyin, or anyone else who was unrelated to her problems or clearly stated that they were not in a supportive mood. Hell, even then she got caught in a bad spot when she opened up to Mako in Book 2 and he LOLNOPE'd out; you could see how horribly Korra reacted to that - Mako pretty much foiled her.

Well, okay, but my point was that this doesn't really say anything useful about Korra given that nearly everyone acts this way.

Also, Korra kept looking for (and sometimes outright demanding) support from Mako in Book 2 even after she knew that it was possible for him not to give it, so that might not be the best example for you to use.  =P


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She clearly cares less about her reputation-qua-reputation than she does about her effectiveness.

I would say she is simply a sore loser Smiley. But again, stealing a fleet with the agreement of said fleet's commander and without confronting the commander-in-chief is hardly a "hard truth". Bypassing antagonistic authority is actually quite heroic if you think about it.

Not when you're intentionally keeping the truth from the sailors whose lives are going to be on the line when their ship "accidentally" runs afoul of a blockade.  >_>;  That's the cold-hearted part -- the plan essentially requires casualties among people who aren't in the know if it's to operate at all.


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My own interpretation is that Korra took Zuko's advice to mean that the only losses that would matter to the world were those of the airbenders and of the Avatar in a generic sense, and therefore as long as she kept the airbenders and Raava alive, it didn't matter what happened to her.  But coming to that decision required way more than it ought to have had Korra immediately rejected the "sacrifice/risk the airbenders" option.

You know, I would agree if Korra had at least shown a passing interest in considering the "sacrifice" option. As it now stands, the second part of Zuko's advice seemingly never reached her... and for a reason.

If she hadn't at least considered that option, Zuko's advice would have been completely useless to her.  Since she actually found Zuko's advice quite useful, she must have been torn between the two options he described rather than hoping for a third to appear.


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As for the Dragon-Bird, it seemed reasonable to believe that the fully-grown Dragon-Bird was uniquely resistant to corruption due to its own connection with the light (the thing practically glows).

Vaatu also glows. He also fires beams of light. And I dunno, but kid!Korra could turn those spirit-dogs back to light and abolish the storm just fine. Bumi could even "lighten up" a dark spirit with a flute and some nice music.

Vaatu glows purple and shoots purple beams of light, which is clearly different from the yellow glow and yellow beams of light featured by light-based spirits like Raava and the Dragon-Bird.  Suggesting that Vaatu's glow/energy beams imply anything about the Dragon-Bird is seriously disingenuous.

Kid!Korra turned the spirit dogs light and abolished the storm when Vaatu wasn't around to influence things.  The same is true for Bumi using music to turn one dark spirit light (while the others were entirely unaffected -- the implication there was that that particular spirit really liked music, not that music can light whammy spirits in general).  You'd need to show similar things happening in the immediate presence of Vaatu for it to apply to something that happened in the immediate presence of Vaatu.


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It is also worth noting that darkness =/= Vaatu. The later gains power from the former, but from the looks of it, Vaatu has very little control over the violence and chaos he causes. These two things were pretty much the main cause of his defeat both times.

This is true, but it's sort of irrelevant to the fact that Vaatu's presence tends to have a lot of influence over spirits, even in comparison to Raava and the Avatar.
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« Reply #862 on: Nov 14, 2015 06:29 am »

She clearly wouldn't have acted that way if she didn't have some serious issues driving her to do so.

Well, Tarrlok being a massive pain in the butt was indeed a serious issue for Korra, just not the kind you try to force on this situation. Also, since now even you are admitting that Korra was not in control over her own actions there,

What I meant was, she had a better perspective on the consequences of taking out as many NWT people as possible than she did when she tried to burn Tarrlok alive, hence her rejection the former and her lack of rejection of the latter.

Again, what was this perspective on the consequence? An all-out war between the NWT and the SWT? This was already happening. A great loss of lives? This was already in the game. The only thing I can think of is Unalaq telling her that going berserk on the NWT would be EVIL from the Avatar. Though, this kind of perspective was not really Korra's own. 

Well, okay, but my point was that this doesn't really say anything useful about Korra given that nearly everyone acts this way.

Th big difference is that most people open up because they are looking for comfort. Korra opens up because she is looking for affirmation.

Not when you're intentionally keeping the truth from the sailors whose lives are going to be on the line when their ship "accidentally" runs afoul of a blockade.  >_>;  That's the cold-hearted part -- the plan essentially requires casualties among people who aren't in the know if it's to operate at all.

That tells a lot more about Iroh 2 than Korra to be honest.

If she hadn't at least considered that option, Zuko's advice would have been completely useless to her.  Since she actually found Zuko's advice quite useful, she must have been torn between the two options he described rather than hoping for a third to appear.

She was torn between one option and the "no option". She was clueless, that's why she needed that advice so badly: Zuko told her that the one option she actually had in mind was something Aang would have totally done. Then, of course, maybe Aang would have been reluctant to do that, but hey, Korra was reluctant too, so the comparison was still on point.

Vaatu glows purple and shoots purple beams of light, which is clearly different from the yellow glow and yellow beams of light featured by light-based spirits like Raava and the Dragon-Bird.  Suggesting that Vaatu's glow/energy beams imply anything about the Dragon-Bird is seriously disingenuous.

The Dragon-Bird was originally purple. The spirit-dogs in their light form had plenty of purple on them, as well as Vaatu-orange eyes:

Also, Dark Hei Bai fired a white energy beam back in ATLA.

Vaatu's glow and energy beam do not imply anything about the Dragon-Bird of course, only that he was full of industrial-tier BS. If anything, he was more the spirit of order and balance than Raava, while Raava had quite an aptitude for destruction and chaos.

Kid!Korra turned the spirit dogs light and abolished the storm when Vaatu wasn't around to influence things.  The same is true for Bumi using music to turn one dark spirit light (while the others were entirely unaffected -- the implication there was that that particular spirit really liked music, not that music can light whammy spirits in general).  You'd need to show similar things happening in the immediate presence of Vaatu for it to apply to something that happened in the immediate presence of Vaatu.

Aye-Aye turned back to normal when Wan intervened at the start of the settler/spirit conflict.
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« Reply #863 on: Nov 14, 2015 08:44 am »

She clearly wouldn't have acted that way if she didn't have some serious issues driving her to do so.

Well, Tarrlok being a massive pain in the butt was indeed a serious issue for Korra, just not the kind you try to force on this situation. Also, since now even you are admitting that Korra was not in control over her own actions there,

I think you're missing the point of the "serious issues" thing.  A psychologically healthy person under the same conditions, including the loss of control, might have punched Tarrlok in the face out of frustration, but never would have even considered setting him on fire.  Immolation is right up there with stabbing someone fifty times with a pencil on the "dude, what is wrong with you?" scale.


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What I meant was, she had a better perspective on the consequences of taking out as many NWT people as possible than she did when she tried to burn Tarrlok alive, hence her rejection the former and her lack of rejection of the latter.

Again, what was this perspective on the consequence? An all-out war between the NWT and the SWT? This was already happening. A great loss of lives? This was already in the game. The only thing I can think of is Unalaq telling her that going berserk on the NWT would be EVIL from the Avatar. Though, this kind of perspective was not really Korra's own. 

That she would never, ever, ever be able to expect support from the other nations the next time she needed it, and that her ability to influence the world as the Avatar would be seriously diminished because of it.  =P  Unalaq wasn't really off-base when he said, effectively, "the Avatar can't do that" -- people would lose respect for the Avatar if she acted that way.


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Well, okay, but my point was that this doesn't really say anything useful about Korra given that nearly everyone acts this way.

Th big difference is that most people open up because they are looking for comfort. Korra opens up because she is looking for affirmation.

Can you provide any evidence for the distinction?  Can you even say why the distinction is important in the context of our conversation, namely, that Korra opened up under the same circumstances as anyone else would have done, regardless of whether she was looking for comfort or affirmation?  Taking affirmation out of it rather than comfort certainly doesn't imply that she intentionally went looking for affirmation when she ran off and told people to leave her alone.


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Not when you're intentionally keeping the truth from the sailors whose lives are going to be on the line when their ship "accidentally" runs afoul of a blockade.  >_>;  That's the cold-hearted part -- the plan essentially requires casualties among people who aren't in the know if it's to operate at all.

That tells a lot more about Iroh 2 than Korra to be honest.

Well, Korra was totally okay with it, so it reflects just as badly on her.  =P  And I sort of got the impression that Iroh was one of those types who never really experienced war and had very little idea what it actually entailed outside of the sorts of tales of glory he'd read in novels.  (Not entirely sure how Zuko could have let that happen, but... that's certainly the impression I got).  Korra, in contrast, seemed much more recognizant of the fact that war means people dying, at least.


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If she hadn't at least considered that option, Zuko's advice would have been completely useless to her.  Since she actually found Zuko's advice quite useful, she must have been torn between the two options he described rather than hoping for a third to appear.

She was torn between one option and the "no option". She was clueless, that's why she needed that advice so badly: Zuko told her that the one option she actually had in mind was something Aang would have totally done. Then, of course, maybe Aang would have been reluctant to do that, but hey, Korra was reluctant too, so the comparison was still on point.

That doesn't make any sense.  If you're choosing between one bad option and one unthinkable option, there's nothing to be uncertain about.  If the options are, instead, two bad options... it makes a lot more sense to need advice.


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Vaatu glows purple and shoots purple beams of light, which is clearly different from the yellow glow and yellow beams of light featured by light-based spirits like Raava and the Dragon-Bird.  Suggesting that Vaatu's glow/energy beams imply anything about the Dragon-Bird is seriously disingenuous.

The Dragon-Bird was originally purple. The spirit-dogs in their light form had plenty of purple on them, as well as Vaatu-orange eyes:
http://hdscreenshots.avatarspiritmedia.net/korra/210/1747.jpg
Also, Dark Hei Bai fired a white energy beam back in ATLA.

Purple coloring isn't what's associated with darkness -- Vaatu has no purple on him.  It's purple energy, and neither the Dragon-Bird nor the spirit-dogs' light form gave off or used purple energy.

"Dark Hei Bai" doesn't seem to have been the same thing as LoK-era dark spirits, either.  Hei Bai shapeshifted at will (see: him blasting the monkey in Siege of the North), so the monster form was probably just normal Hei Bai responding in anger.


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Vaatu's glow and energy beam do not imply anything about the Dragon-Bird of course, only that he was full of industrial-tier BS. If anything, he was more the spirit of order and balance than Raava, while Raava had quite an aptitude for destruction and chaos.

What are you talking about?  My point about the Dragon-Bird was that it was glowing with yellow light, and therefore opposed to Vaatu's alignment more than a standard spirit would have been.


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Kid!Korra turned the spirit dogs light and abolished the storm when Vaatu wasn't around to influence things.  The same is true for Bumi using music to turn one dark spirit light (while the others were entirely unaffected -- the implication there was that that particular spirit really liked music, not that music can light whammy spirits in general).  You'd need to show similar things happening in the immediate presence of Vaatu for it to apply to something that happened in the immediate presence of Vaatu.

Aye-Aye turned back to normal when Wan intervened at the start of the settler/spirit conflict.

Huh, I forgot about that.  I suppose the question there, though, is whether Vaatu had the same amount of influence, given that the sum total of his physical presence was him appearing in the clouds for a split second when lightning flashed.  =P  (Not to mention, Aye-Aye seemed to have been particularly attuned to Wan's attempts to bring him back in the same way as that one dark spirit was to Bumi's music -- the rest of the dark spirits stayed dark.)
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« Reply #864 on: Nov 14, 2015 10:04 am »

I think you're missing the point of the "serious issues" thing.  A psychologically healthy person under the same conditions, including the loss of control, might have punched Tarrlok in the face out of frustration, but never would have even considered setting him on fire.  Immolation is right up there with stabbing someone fifty times with a pencil on the "dude, what is wrong with you?" scale.

I'm pretty sure that immolation is OK after getting ice-machinegunned. One leads to the other, so to speak.

That she would never, ever, ever be able to expect support from the other nations the next time she needed it, and that her ability to influence the world as the Avatar would be seriously diminished because of it.  =P

Why would anything like this happen? The Avatar is not accountable for her actions. She does whatever she must, by whatever means she sees fit. If she ends a civil war by killing the leader of the aggressors and routing his army, then that's what she does. If she decides that spirits and humans must live together, then that's what's going to happen.

It is the same as Kuvira and her reeducation camps in relation of the Earth Empire.

Can you provide any evidence for the distinction?

I already did: Mako provided comfort but no affirmation, and Korra rebuked him quite harshly each time he did this. The same with Korra's parents and Tenzin in Book 4: they provided comfort but no affirmation, and Korra abandoned them in turn without really opening up.

I sort of got the impression that Iroh was one of those types who never really experienced war and had very little idea what it actually entailed outside of the sorts of tales of glory he'd read in novels.

Korra had even less experience with war. She was probably even less in line with reality than Iroh 2.

That doesn't make any sense.  If you're choosing between one bad option and one unthinkable option, there's nothing to be uncertain about.

A bad options doesn't cease to be bad just because the other option is out of question. In this case, people usually try to figure out a third option by asking for advice. Korra did the same, and instead of providing a third option, Zuko turned the bad option into a good one with "Aang would do this".

"Dark Hei Bai" doesn't seem to have been the same thing as LoK-era dark spirits, either.  Hei Bai shapeshifted at will (see: him blasting the monkey in Siege of the North), so the monster form was probably just normal Hei Bai responding in anger

Every Dark Spirit is just a monster form in response of anger. Hei Bai was not much different than the spirits in TLOK.

What are you talking about?  My point about the Dragon-Bird was that it was glowing with yellow light, and therefore opposed to Vaatu's alignment more than a standard spirit would have been.

My point is that even Vaatu is at odds with his own alignment. It seems that no matter what Raava and Vaatu want to think, things are not black-and-white here, and the division between light and darkness is purely superficial.
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« Reply #865 on: Nov 14, 2015 11:45 am »

I think you're missing the point of the "serious issues" thing.  A psychologically healthy person under the same conditions, including the loss of control, might have punched Tarrlok in the face out of frustration, but never would have even considered setting him on fire.  Immolation is right up there with stabbing someone fifty times with a pencil on the "dude, what is wrong with you?" scale.

I'm pretty sure that immolation is OK after getting ice-machinegunned. One leads to the other, so to speak.

If Tarrlok were still in the fight, sure, but Korra made it clear that she believed him to be helpless and attacked him anyway.


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That she would never, ever, ever be able to expect support from the other nations the next time she needed it, and that her ability to influence the world as the Avatar would be seriously diminished because of it.  =P

Why would anything like this happen? The Avatar is not accountable for her actions. She does whatever she must, by whatever means she sees fit. If she ends a civil war by killing the leader of the aggressors and routing his army, then that's what she does. If she decides that spirits and humans must live together, then that's what's going to happen.

It is the same as Kuvira and her reeducation camps in relation of the Earth Empire.

Because people don't treat the Avatar as the ultimate moral authority anymore, and in a democratizing society, the Avatar relies more and more on the power that the people of the world vest in her position.

Kuvira's actions with regards to the Earth Empire turned the whole world against her, to the point that Raiko was even looking for a way to move against her pre-emptively.


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Can you provide any evidence for the distinction?

I already did: Mako provided comfort but no affirmation, and Korra rebuked him quite harshly each time he did this. The same with Korra's parents and Tenzin in Book 4: they provided comfort but no affirmation, and Korra abandoned them in turn without really opening up.

Out of those people, only Korra's parents actually provided her with comfort, and not only did we never really get to know how much she opened up to them because they didn't get a lot of screen time, we know for a fact that the reason she left was because staying in the South didn't seem to be helping her get better.

Tenzin's attempts at comforting her did exactly the opposite and made her feel worse.  The same was true of Mako back in Book 2.

How would you respond to this, though?

Can you even say why the distinction is important in the context of our conversation, namely, that Korra opened up under the same circumstances as anyone else would have done, regardless of whether she was looking for comfort or affirmation?  Taking affirmation out of it rather than comfort certainly doesn't imply that she intentionally went looking for affirmation when she ran off and told people to leave her alone.


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I sort of got the impression that Iroh was one of those types who never really experienced war and had very little idea what it actually entailed outside of the sorts of tales of glory he'd read in novels.

Korra had even less experience with war. She was probably even less in line with reality than Iroh 2.

Not true.  Korra was the one in Republic City when it was under siege by the Equalists, after all.  And before she got out of control, she made it very clear that she wanted to keep things from progressing to the point where her fellow tribespeople got hurt.


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That doesn't make any sense.  If you're choosing between one bad option and one unthinkable option, there's nothing to be uncertain about.

A bad options doesn't cease to be bad just because the other option is out of question. In this case, people usually try to figure out a third option by asking for advice. Korra did the same, and instead of providing a third option, Zuko turned the bad option into a good one with "Aang would do this".


Let's be honest -- Korra still didn't think it was a good option.  Not to mention, she didn't express any disappointment in the fact that there wasn't a third option (which is what one would have expected if that's what she went in looking for).

Look at the situation with Unalaq and Jinora -- opening the portals was a bad option, but she didn't hesitate to do that given that sacrificing Jinora for the mere chance that it would permanently stop Unalaq from getting the portal open because that option was unthinkable.


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"Dark Hei Bai" doesn't seem to have been the same thing as LoK-era dark spirits, either.  Hei Bai shapeshifted at will (see: him blasting the monkey in Siege of the North), so the monster form was probably just normal Hei Bai responding in anger

Every Dark Spirit is just a monster form in response of anger. Hei Bai was not much different than the spirits in TLOK.

Dark spirits aren't just "a monster form," though -- they give off dark energy too, and Hei Bai didn't.  Spirits don't seem like they can choose to turn dark/light, either, but Hei Bai clearly had that option given that he immediately turned back into a panda after blasting the monkey spirit.


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What are you talking about?  My point about the Dragon-Bird was that it was glowing with yellow light, and therefore opposed to Vaatu's alignment more than a standard spirit would have been.

My point is that even Vaatu is at odds with his own alignment. It seems that no matter what Raava and Vaatu want to think, things are not black-and-white here, and the division between light and darkness is purely superficial.

Just because light can sometimes be destructive and darkness can sometimes be necessary for balance doesn't mean that light and dark aren't opposing energies -- it just means that the "light = order, dark = destruction" assignments aren't quite accurate.  As such, Vaatu being at odds with "dark = destruction," even if it were true, would say nothing about whether the Dragon-Bird's light energies could ward off his influence.
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« Reply #866 on: Nov 14, 2015 12:42 pm »

If Tarrlok were still in the fight, sure, but Korra made it clear that she believed him to be helpless and attacked him anyway.

Korra never even implied that Tarrlok might have been helpless. We know that he was, but Korra was only aware to the fact that she was winning and it was time for the finishing blow (that's why the taunt).

Kuvira's actions with regards to the Earth Empire turned the whole world against her, to the point that Raiko was even looking for a way to move against her pre-emptively.

The Earth Empire itself was pretty okay with them though. And that's the point. Why do you think that the world would have turned against Bizarro Korra when the Earth Empire didn't turn against Kuvira?

Tenzin's attempts at comforting her did exactly the opposite and made her feel worse.  The same was true of Mako back in Book 2.

Yeah, they made her feel worse because they were attempts of comforting and not affirmation. Both of them were quite comforting, actually, they just... kinda' stuck with comforting and didn't say anything really nice to Korra.

How would you respond to this, though?

I would like to pretend that our argument actually matters Grin. I mean, we are arguing over personal preferences and not something that was actually present in the show. If you suddenly say that "your personal preference is invalid!" then obviously nothing will make sense.

Not true.  Korra was the one in Republic City when it was under siege by the Equalists, after all.

Iroh 2 was there too. And he lost a whole feet and almost his life. Really, Korra was showing his ignorance and brashness with the fleet-stealing, rather than her ability to accept morally questionable solutions.

Let's be honest -- Korra still didn't think it was a good option.  Not to mention, she didn't express any disappointment in the fact that there wasn't a third option (which is what one would have expected if that's what she went in looking for).

Why should she express disappointment when the first option turned out to be fine? The third option was a justified first option. That's as good as it gets!

Just because light can sometimes be destructive and darkness can sometimes be necessary for balance doesn't mean that light and dark aren't opposing energies -- it just means that the "light = order, dark = destruction" assignments aren't quite accurate.  As such, Vaatu being at odds with "dark = destruction," even if it were true, would say nothing about whether the Dragon-Bird's light energies could ward off his influence.

Vaatu's very essence is at odds with everything he supposedly represents. He is the Spirit of Darkness in name, but otherwise, he is just a random spirit who happens to be quite mean. He doesn't command special snowflake energies, and neither does Raava. There are no light and darkness, it is just an artificial separation so that Raava and Vaatu can justify their existence.   
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« Reply #867 on: Nov 14, 2015 09:20 pm »

If Tarrlok were still in the fight, sure, but Korra made it clear that she believed him to be helpless and attacked him anyway.

Korra never even implied that Tarrlok might have been helpless. We know that he was, but Korra was only aware to the fact that she was winning and it was time for the finishing blow (that's why the taunt).

Really?

Korra: What are you gonna do now? You're all out of water, pal!

Korra's taunt basically amounted to, "I've disarmed you and you have no way of defending yourself -- what now?"  It couldn't have been more obvious that she didn't think he had any way of protecting himself from the fire she was about to blast at him.


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Kuvira's actions with regards to the Earth Empire turned the whole world against her, to the point that Raiko was even looking for a way to move against her pre-emptively.

The Earth Empire itself was pretty okay with them though. And that's the point. Why do you think that the world would have turned against Bizarro Korra when the Earth Empire didn't turn against Kuvira?

The Earth Empire was only "pretty okay with" it because anyone who suggested that it was a problem got thrown in there themselves.  =P

Besides, we were shown a number of instances where the world seemed to think that the Avatar was irrelevant to their daily lives and felt free to ignore Korra's Avatar status, so it's not unlikely in the slightest that the same thing could happen again.


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Tenzin's attempts at comforting her did exactly the opposite and made her feel worse.  The same was true of Mako back in Book 2.

Yeah, they made her feel worse because they were attempts of comforting and not affirmation. Both of them were quite comforting, actually, they just... kinda' stuck with comforting and didn't say anything really nice to Korra.

"Comforting" isn't the sort of word that can exist in a vacuum -- whether something's legitimately comforting or not depends on the person on the receiving end, and Korra's personality was such that the things they said weren't comforting.

And, in any case, people in general tend to reject attempts at sympathy that don't convey actual empathy, so I fail to see why you're acting like Korra doing the same suggests that she handles her problems the way she does in an attempt to get people to ignore her attempts at pushing her away and provide her with affirmation.


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How would you respond to this, though?

I would like to pretend that our argument actually matters Grin. I mean, we are arguing over personal preferences and not something that was actually present in the show. If you suddenly say that "your personal preference is invalid!" then obviously nothing will make sense.

I think you've missed the point, namely that the comfort-vs.-affirmation distinction is a distraction from the real question of whether there is any evidence whatsoever that even vaguely suggests that Korra only criticized herself and said she wanted to be alone because she was looking for affirmation.

You can have whatever kind of "personal preference" that you want, but if you can't back it up with canon evidence, it's not a viable interpretation of the show.


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Not true.  Korra was the one in Republic City when it was under siege by the Equalists, after all.

Iroh 2 was there too. And he lost a whole feet and almost his life. Really, Korra was showing his ignorance and brashness with the fleet-stealing, rather than her ability to accept morally questionable solutions.

He showed up part of the way through and had a very different experience than Korra.  The whole losing-a-fleet thing should have affected him more than it did, to be fair, but he never acted like someone who knew what his blockade-taunting plan would imply.

Korra, in contrast, was only acting as brash as she was because she was convinced that the NWT would kill her family if she didn't get reinforcements, stat.  It's almost inconceivable that she'd believe the NWT capable of killing her family without also believing that they'd try to kill any soldier who she brought down there.  >_>;


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Let's be honest -- Korra still didn't think it was a good option.  Not to mention, she didn't express any disappointment in the fact that there wasn't a third option (which is what one would have expected if that's what she went in looking for).

Why should she express disappointment when the first option turned out to be fine? The third option was a justified first option. That's as good as it gets!

How is, "Aang might have taken that option, but he also might have taken another one" justification for the first option?  =P

Zuko's advice boiled down to nothing more than a verbalization of the considerations Korra already instinctively understood and a confirmation that Aang would have placed high value on both considerations.  If Korra wasn't trying to decide between those two choices already, it was utterly useless.

Not to mention, if she were looking for an option that didn't require her to sacrifice something, she would have at least asked for confirmation that there wasn't a better option.  That she didn't ask for that strongly suggests that she was looking for an answer out of the set that she was given rather than hoping to find one outside of the box.


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Just because light can sometimes be destructive and darkness can sometimes be necessary for balance doesn't mean that light and dark aren't opposing energies -- it just means that the "light = order, dark = destruction" assignments aren't quite accurate.  As such, Vaatu being at odds with "dark = destruction," even if it were true, would say nothing about whether the Dragon-Bird's light energies could ward off his influence.

Vaatu's very essence is at odds with everything he supposedly represents. He is the Spirit of Darkness in name, but otherwise, he is just a random spirit who happens to be quite mean. He doesn't command special snowflake energies, and neither does Raava. There are no light and darkness, it is just an artificial separation so that Raava and Vaatu can justify their existence.   

Even if Vaatu isn't an ideal Spirit of Darkness, that doesn't mean dark energy doesn't exist/isn't what he uses to manipulate other spirits.  The show makes it very clear that darkness and light exist outside of the context of Vaatu and Raava -- just look at the purple energy used by the spirit portal and in dark spiritbending (darkness), the gold energy used by two of the spirit portals, in normal spiritbending, when Korra was charged with Raava's energy during Harmonic Convergence, and when Jinora appeared during Harmonic Convergence (light), the blue energy used by the other spirit portal and Cosmic Korra (light), and the blue-vs.-purple motif whenever multiple Korras showed up in the center-of-the-mind-type area.

Spirits that Vaatu corrupted glowed in "dark" colors.  Light-affiliated people and spirits glowed in "light" colors.  It's entirely consistent with what we were shown to believe that a) the Dragon-Bird was affiliated with light and b) therefore was more resistant to darkness because of it.
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« Reply #868 on: Nov 15, 2015 07:28 am »

I think you've missed the point, namely that the comfort-vs.-affirmation distinction is a distraction from the real question of whether there is any evidence whatsoever that even vaguely suggests that Korra only criticized herself and said she wanted to be alone because she was looking for affirmation.

You are missing the point. This argument is nothing but a series of distractions from the original point. Chickens, dark energy, Korra's frustration, Iroh 2's war experiences, the Avatar's authority... Arguing over all these simply doesn't make any sense considering the original point.

Just to summarize the original topic and explain my original point better:
We both agree that Korra has some sort of idealized world/idealized self that is actually pretty far-off from reality. I say this idealized world/self stands on three pillars:
1. The world is as simple, black-and-white place. There are only "right" and "wrong" causes, and the "right" can't be "wrong" just as the "wrong" can't be "right".
2. Korra, as the Avatar, is the walking incarnation of everything that is "right", the ultimate Good Guy. She mustn't think about the "wrong" solutions the Bad Guys would use even if said solutions are more reasonable.
3. Korra's friends and allies are always in the "right" and thus they can't be wrong (either as truly wrong or "wrong"). This pillar is different from the first one because it is highly adaptable: maybe Korra can't ditch the world when it proves wrong, but she can ditch a wrong friend/ally.

When one or more of these pillars get damaged, Korra breaks down into depression to protect her idealized world/self. She staves away the immediate effects with the splitting you mentioned, by immediately assuming an overtly negative stance and thus avoid the evaluation that would normally lead to that stance. Korra remains in this state until someone comes to repair the damage by offering positive reinforcement in relation of the three pillars. Until then, her overtly negative stance acts as a siren so that people will actually care to offer the positive reinforcement as they take pity on her.

Then, there is this slightly separate thing, namely that Korra's problem-solving abilities are heavily rigged towards use of violence. She solves the majority of her problems with violence, and when she can't, she finds a way to do it anyway. And Koh forgives to anyone who even pumps her up for the violent end. This doesn't have much to do with her idealized world/self, as Korra being a violent person is her most basic personality trait - and oddly enough, this was the center (only) point of her character development.

Together, this all makes perfect sense. You can apply canon examples to all parts, and they will make a complete whole, and give Korra's story quite a lot of depth. However, if you go strictly with the show, then Korra's idealized world/self does not exist. The only thing the show has is Korra's violent personality. Her whole character development is built on this single trait, and the show assumes that there is nothing else. This is of course pretty shallow, but since the writing (unintentionally) offers quite an opportunity to deepen the story, there is no reason to accept the shallowness and not jump headlong into the rabbit hole. This won't make the assumption that Korra's idealized world/self exists objectively real, but you can make it real for yourself, and ultimately, that's all what counts.

Yeah, my interpretation is not perfect, but I don't think that you can make an assumption regarding Korra's idealized world/self that is totally incontestable.


And now, let's jump to the dark/light stuff:
The show makes it very clear that darkness and light exist outside of the context of Vaatu and Raava

No, it doesn't make it clear at all. The dubstep laser cannon in particular sh*t on the distinction and fired purple laser beams no matter what vines were loaded into it. The whole color-coding is purely symbolic and only serves to differentiate the uses of the same energy. There are no Raava-affiliated or Vaatu-affiliated spirits and/or energies, only spirits and their spirit-energy. If anything, the individual spirit's power (its ability to control its energies) must be the factor for influencing it.

This is, like, 'illusion of separation' tier.
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« Reply #869 on: Nov 15, 2015 09:50 am »

I think you've missed the point, namely that the comfort-vs.-affirmation distinction is a distraction from the real question of whether there is any evidence whatsoever that even vaguely suggests that Korra only criticized herself and said she wanted to be alone because she was looking for affirmation.

You are missing the point. This argument is nothing but a series of distractions from the original point. Chickens, dark energy, Korra's frustration, Iroh 2's war experiences, the Avatar's authority... Arguing over all these simply doesn't make any sense considering the original point.

Each of them came from your attempts to undercut my arguments, but, okay, fine.  Taking a step back and addressing this from a birds-eye view would probably be helpful.


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Just to summarize the original topic and explain my original point better:
We both agree that Korra has some sort of idealized world/idealized self that is actually pretty far-off from reality. I say this idealized world/self stands on three pillars:
1. The world is as simple, black-and-white place. There are only "right" and "wrong" causes, and the "right" can't be "wrong" just as the "wrong" can't be "right".
2. Korra, as the Avatar, is the walking incarnation of everything that is "right", the ultimate Good Guy. She mustn't think about the "wrong" solutions the Bad Guys would use even if said solutions are more reasonable.
3. Korra's friends and allies are always in the "right" and thus they can't be wrong (either as truly wrong or "wrong"). This pillar is different from the first one because it is highly adaptable: maybe Korra can't ditch the world when it proves wrong, but she can ditch a wrong friend/ally.

I disagree with two of those pillars.  (The first is fine, as long as it's restricted to being a foundation of Korra's ideal self rather than as a component part of it and is understood to be too stable to break while Korra's need for an idealized self remains.)

For 2), I agree with the first half -- "Korra, as the Avatar, is the walking incarnation of everything that is 'right,' the ultimate Good Guy."  However, I don't think Book 1/early Book 2 Korra had a strong external moral compass.  Instead, she believed "What I want to do is right because I am the Avatar and I want to do it."  Otherwise, she wouldn't have been nearly as willing to burn Tarrlok alive/torture Judge Hotah/start a war/steal the UF.  And, when she was finally forced to confront the fact that the things she did could, in fact, be wrong, she didn't fall into a depression -- she just grew from it and apologized, because her idealized self was no longer in play.

For 3), I'd phrase it differently -- "If someone is wrong/"wrong," they can't be a friend/ally."  Book 1/early Book 2 Korra judged friends and allies based on what she thought was right, and rarely based what she thought was right on what friends and allies said.  And, as you admitted, she'd dump a friend/ally if she didn't believe them to be "right," so this never would have caused her to fall into a depression.

You're also missing 4), which is another pillar that actually can cause Korra to devalue herself:

4) Korra, as the Avatar, is powerful and in control.  Things should come easy to her, and she shouldn't have to struggle.

That one is basically the foundation for everything that happens in Book 1, so it's an important omission.  Wink

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When one or more of these pillars get damaged, Korra breaks down into depression to protect her idealized world/self. She staves away the immediate effects with the splitting you mentioned, by immediately assuming an overtly negative stance and thus avoid the evaluation that would normally lead to that stance. Korra remains in this state until someone comes to repair the damage by offering positive reinforcement in relation of the three pillars. Until then, her overtly negative stance acts as a siren so that people will actually care to offer the positive reinforcement as they take pity on her.

The only one of the pillars that can actually get damaged in a way that could cause Korra to devalue herself (which isn't the same thing as falling into a depression!) is number 4.

1) If Korra recognizes that the world isn't black and white, her need for an idealized personality vanishes.

2) Korra's belief that she is right is circular -- what she wants to do is right because she is the Avatar and wants to do it -- and therefore isn't subject to breakdown within the context of her idealized self.

3) If a friend/ally is "wrong," they're no longer a friend and ally and therefore don't call the need for friends/allies to be "right" in question.

When 4) breaks down, of course, she doesn't really have any way of counteracting that.  I agree that she's not capable of questioning the devaluation she applies to herself because of it on her own, but she isn't looking for support when that happens, and generally believes she doesn't deserve it and the other people shouldn't waste their time.  That her highly negative self-image draws other people over to her, then, is a fortunate accident, not something that she did on purpose.


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Then, there is this slightly separate thing, namely that Korra's problem-solving abilities are heavily rigged towards use of violence. She solves the majority of her problems with violence, and when she can't, she finds a way to do it anyway. And Koh forgives to anyone who even pumps her up for the violent end. This doesn't have much to do with her idealized world/self, as Korra being a violent person is her most basic personality trait - and oddly enough, this was the center (only) point of her character development.

I'd argue that the basic character trait is aggression rather than violence, and that the show did nothing to try to alter it until Book 4 (which mistreated Korra's character in a number of ways).  Her idealized self was what augmented this from a manageable personality quirk into something potentially lethal.


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Together, this all makes perfect sense. You can apply canon examples to all parts, and they will make a complete whole, and give Korra's story quite a lot of depth. However, if you go strictly with the show, then Korra's idealized world/self does not exist. The only thing the show has is Korra's violent personality. Her whole character development is built on this single trait, and the show assumes that there is nothing else. This is of course pretty shallow, but since the writing (unintentionally) offers quite an opportunity to deepen the story, there is no reason to accept the shallowness and not jump headlong into the rabbit hole. This won't make the assumption that Korra's idealized world/self exists objectively real, but you can make it real for yourself, and ultimately, that's all what counts.

Yeah, my interpretation is not perfect, but I don't think that you can make an assumption regarding Korra's idealized world/self that is totally incontestable.

I disagree that your take on Korra's idealized self is supported by canon, as stated above.  Mine, however, doesn't really fall apart when confronted in canon, because  Korra's idealized self does exist in canon -- you can see it whenever she judges herself as a bad Avatar/not the Avatar at all.  It exists in supplementary materials, too:

Mike: [...] I think she doesn't really think about the consequences. She thinks she's tough, and thinks like, because she's the Avatar she's kind of the law of the land, so to speak, and, taking care of some bad guys on the streets seems to be right up her alley [...]

Mike: If somebody could take her bending away, she would pretty much lose her identity.

Mike: Korra got her bending taken away, even though she can still airbend, but for her, that's her identity, the fact that she got her bending taken away, that means she's not the Avatar.

Bryan: If [Aang] weren't the Avatar anymore, he'd be excited, but for Korra, like, since she was a child that's her identity.

Bryan: So again, Korra, you know, like Mike was saying in another commentary, you know, seemingly all-powerful - she’s the master of three elements, uh, very brazen - but, you know, everybody has their weaknesses, and, uh, Korra - her ego is so attached to her physical abilities, and, uh, it’s kinda like when you do yoga or something, it’s like, “Aw man, I’m not good at this!” or something, but the idea is not to be better than other people, it’s just to like, just to go on your own journey and pro (?), and she’s really like judging herself, her - what she sees as her shortcomings.


Korra's identity, then, was always intended to be based on being the Avatar and the power her bending offered her.  Wink  Only incorrect takes on her identity contradict with canon.


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And now, let's jump to the dark/light stuff:
The show makes it very clear that darkness and light exist outside of the context of Vaatu and Raava

No, it doesn't make it clear at all. The dubstep laser cannon in particular sh*t on the distinction and fired purple laser beams no matter what vines were loaded into it. The whole color-coding is purely symbolic and only serves to differentiate the uses of the same energy. There are no Raava-affiliated or Vaatu-affiliated spirits and/or energies, only spirits and their spirit-energy. If anything, the individual spirit's power (its ability to control its energies) must be the factor for influencing it.

This is, like, 'illusion of separation' tier.

Dark and light spirits exist in canon.  They both glow in different colors of energy.  Ignoring that and claiming that spirit energy is all indistinguishable is disingenuous.
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« Reply #870 on: Nov 15, 2015 11:01 am »

Each of them came from your attempts to undercut my arguments, but, okay, fine.

I actually had high doubts about why you even brought up these things (the chicken was especially confusing)  Grin.

4) Korra, as the Avatar, is powerful and in control.  Things should come easy to her, and she shouldn't have to struggle.

You see, this 4th point is already in the previous three. She must be powerful to have Pillar 2, and the overall effect of all three Pillars should be control and walk-in-the-park challenges.

That one is basically the foundation for everything that happens in Book 1, so it's an important omission.  Wink

The foundation is Korra being brash, arrogant and impatient (overall, being violent). This meets naivety and immaturity (the "fresh hero" syndrome), and *bang* you have Book 1. It... doesn't really go deeper than this in the actual show.

Also, I must point out that your Bryke quote does not exactly support the idealized self/world either: they are still taking about Korra and her violent ways: it is her identity, and by losing her bending, she also lost her ability to use violence - she lost her identity. When the hammer loses its head, it is no longer a hammer because it can't be used to hammer down all those nails. The Bryke only states the obvious there: without her bending, Korra can't go around as the Avatar and punch stuff... and she feels very bad about it. If they had really thought about the idealized world/self, then they wouldn't have solved the situation with the Deus Aang Machina.

Then, Book 4 fits into this perfectly, as Korra learns compassion (as: forsaking violence), and no longer identifies herself as the person who should punch everything into oblivion. It is like pottery  Smiley.

Dark and light spirits exist in canon.  They both glow in different colors of energy.  Ignoring that and claiming that spirit energy is all indistinguishable is disingenuous.

Spirits exist in canon. They can shapeshift into a monstrous form when they are influenced by negative emotions, but that's pretty much all. The spirit remains the same creature in its normal and monstrous form, the distinction is purely visual and behavioral.   
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« Reply #871 on: Nov 15, 2015 11:55 pm »

Each of them came from your attempts to undercut my arguments, but, okay, fine.

I actually had high doubts about why you even brought up these things (the chicken was especially confusing)  Grin.

Every single one of them was brought up as a direct response to something you said.  There's nothing particularly confusing about any of them in context, and it's really disingenuous for you to imply that there was.


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4) Korra, as the Avatar, is powerful and in control.  Things should come easy to her, and she shouldn't have to struggle.

You see, this 4th point is already in the previous three. She must be powerful to have Pillar 2, and the overall effect of all three Pillars should be control and walk-in-the-park challenges.

No it isn't.  Being "right" doesn't imply being powerful, and neither does the combination of those three "pillars" that you mentioned.

Not to mention, a combination of three things that can't be undercut without removing Korra's need for her idealized self can't possibly be something that can be undercut in a way that causes Korra to devalue herself while retaining her need for her idealized self.  There's an insurmountable internal contradiction there.


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That one is basically the foundation for everything that happens in Book 1, so it's an important omission.  Wink

The foundation is Korra being brash, arrogant and impatient (overall, being violent). This meets naivety and immaturity (the "fresh hero" syndrome), and *bang* you have Book 1. It... doesn't really go deeper than this in the actual show.

Untrue.  Korra's need for power and control is vital to Book 1, and it shows up in far too many ways to be coincidental.  For one thing, "control" is the concept she chooses to focus on when trying to connect with Kuvira (i.e. her dark mirror) in Book 4 -- "After I was poisoned, I would've done anything to feel in control."  For another, every single time she feels like she isn't in control in Book 1, she lashes out with violence in an attempt to feel like she's in control again.


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Also, I must point out that your Bryke quote does not exactly support the idealized self/world either: they are still taking about Korra and her violent ways: it is her identity, and by losing her bending, she also lost her ability to use violence - she lost her identity. When the hammer loses its head, it is no longer a hammer because it can't be used to hammer down all those nails. The Bryke only states the obvious there: without her bending, Korra can't go around as the Avatar and punch stuff... and she feels very bad about it. If they had really thought about the idealized world/self, then they wouldn't have solved the situation with the Deus Aang Machina.

An idealized self is an identity, though, and the way they describe her conceptualization of the Avatar is very similar to the way I've defined her idealized self.  Here's another example:

Bryan: And that’s sort of - the idea is like, this attachment to ego is like where Korra, um, even though outwardly, y’know, in society, she’s very confident in her abilities and, unlike Aang, embraces her role and her responsibility, she’s actually overeager for it, um. That - Mike had this really astute observation that the idea of losing her bending would be her greatest fear. She would be like - she feels that she’s gonna lose her identity. That that is all she is. And um - and, y’know, an important lesson for everybody, all of us, it’s like, y’know, “Maybe I’m known for writing and drawing and designing and all these things, but if I couldn’t do that for some reason or lost this opportunity, is that the sum of me? You know, is that the entire sum of who I am or who I could be or what I could offer?” And, uh, so she really had to - this whole episode is just about her - the whole thing is her just admitting she has this fear, just acknowledging it - to herself, not even just to others.

Janet: And also - yeah - and also the idea that, you know, she has all the bravado and her expectations of herself are so high that she’s her own worst critic as well. And she’s so hard on herself, uh, for not being able to master airbending and for, you know, I think, for those vulnerabilities instead of being gentle with herself about having those vulnerabilities.


It's not just about violence, but about Korra's sense of self being all wrapped up in her abilities, her role, and her responsibilities as Avatar, and about her believing that there's nothing valuable about her besides that.

As for the "Deus Aang Machina," it's all about this ego/idealized self stuff -- Korra needed to let go of her need for control and her mistaken belief that she had nothing to offer if she wasn't the Avatar for her to be able to step back from the edge and call out for help.  Mike sort of implied as much in the Blu-ray commentary:

"For me, this moment was like – there was some criticism that it was like, some magic button got switched and Korra got all her powers back, but to me it was way, way more than that.  It was – she had to reach this point of, like, total despair to even be opened up to the idea of connecting to these other spirits and her spiritual side and stuff [...]"


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Then, Book 4 fits into this perfectly, as Korra learns compassion (as: forsaking violence), and no longer identifies herself as the person who should punch everything into oblivion. It is like pottery  Smiley.

Except that Korra didn't actually learn that at all, as much as the last scene with Tenzin tried to retcon that interpretation over a season that didn't support it.  We're still talking about someone whose go-to solutions post-recovery included "convince the spirits to fight for Republic City," "attack Kuvira's weapon before it gets here," "kidnap Kuvira's fiance and force him to talk" and "forget about looking for a more advantageous opportunity to deal with the mech, let's take it down now."

She spared Kuvira, but Kuvira reminded her of herself and was obviously a special case.  Outside of her desire to spare Kuvira, though, post-recovery Korra was just as aggressive in her problem solving as Book 3 Korra was (and for good reason!).


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Dark and light spirits exist in canon.  They both glow in different colors of energy.  Ignoring that and claiming that spirit energy is all indistinguishable is disingenuous.

Spirits exist in canon. They can shapeshift into a monstrous form when they are influenced by negative emotions, but that's pretty much all. The spirit remains the same creature in its normal and monstrous form, the distinction is purely visual and behavioral.   

Whether they're technically the same creature or not, spirits can take distinct dark and light energetic charges that are visually apparent when looking at them.  Dark spirits glow in "dark" colors, neutral spirits don't glow at all, and light spirits glow in "light" colors.  All of the spirits we saw Vaatu convert to dark spirits started neutral and appeared to be of the less-powerful sort (i.e. we didn't see a Dark Wan Shi Tong).  As such, it makes far more sense to believe that the Dragon-Bird, as a very powerful-looking light-charged spirit, was more resistant to Vaatu's influence than the spirit dogs than it is to believe that the show was merely being inconsistent.
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« Reply #872 on: Nov 16, 2015 12:00 pm »

Untrue.  Korra's need for power and control is vital to Book 1, and it shows up in far too many ways to be coincidental.

I dunno, but she voluntary surrenders control quite a few times in Book 1 (initially for Tenzin, the end of 105, being pushed around by Tarrlok, then going underground against Amon). Yes, she has a desire to forge her own destiny, but so does every heroic protagonist. Korra has nothing special in this regard.

The same goes with her need for power: she is powerful, just as Zaheer said, and thus her high expectations in terms of power are in fact very realistic.

For one thing, "control" is the concept she chooses to focus on when trying to connect with Kuvira (i.e. her dark mirror) in Book 4 -- "After I was poisoned, I would've done anything to feel in control."

She specifically refers to her situation after the poisoning. Trying to regain control over one's own life after a crippling trauma is perfectly normal. And Korra's focus was on the resulting grim determination and fear of failing - this is how she connected to Kuvira who had the same determination and fear from her childhood.

An idealized self is an identity, though, and the way they describe her conceptualization of the Avatar is very similar to the way I've defined her idealized self.

As I mentioned above, nothing says in the show or commentaries that Korra's identity is idealized. The show even goes out to show/tell us that it isn't. She is an extremely powerful person who can pick up things in an instant (like probending or metalbending); and she is also the Hero whose life is constant conflict and who must experience loss and despair in order to grow and become more. These are all generic tropes you can find in almost every action show.

Outside of her desire to spare Kuvira, though, post-recovery Korra was just as aggressive in her problem solving as Book 3 Korra was (and for good reason!).

Well, you must admit, loving the Colossus to ruin would have been quite silly from Korra Cheesy.
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« Reply #873 on: Nov 16, 2015 08:18 pm »

Untrue.  Korra's need for power and control is vital to Book 1, and it shows up in far too many ways to be coincidental.

I dunno, but she voluntary surrenders control quite a few times in Book 1 (initially for Tenzin, the end of 105, being pushed around by Tarrlok, then going underground against Amon). Yes, she has a desire to forge her own destiny, but so does every heroic protagonist. Korra has nothing special in this regard.

This is true, but Korra voluntarily surrendering control in Books 1/2 is universally important, just as one might expect if the point were for her to learn how to surrender control.  And since willingly surrendering control comprises the only satisfying interpretation of Book 1's ending...


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The same goes with her need for power: she is powerful, just as Zaheer said, and thus her high expectations in terms of power are in fact very realistic.

It's not about whether she thinks she is powerful, though, but that she believes she needs to be powerful in order to be worthwhile.


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For one thing, "control" is the concept she chooses to focus on when trying to connect with Kuvira (i.e. her dark mirror) in Book 4 -- "After I was poisoned, I would've done anything to feel in control."

She specifically refers to her situation after the poisoning. Trying to regain control over one's own life after a crippling trauma is perfectly normal. And Korra's focus was on the resulting grim determination and fear of failing - this is how she connected to Kuvira who had the same determination and fear from her childhood.

This may be true, but it's still telling that Korra connects to her mirror image by talking about the time she felt like she'd do literally anything to feel like she was in control again.  Kuvira was heavily implied to have control issues of her own, and was also heavily implied to have been dealing with a more potent version of Book 1/2 Korra's issues.


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An idealized self is an identity, though, and the way they describe her conceptualization of the Avatar is very similar to the way I've defined her idealized self.

As I mentioned above, nothing says in the show or commentaries that Korra's identity is idealized. The show even goes out to show/tell us that it isn't. She is an extremely powerful person who can pick up things in an instant (like probending or metalbending); and she is also the Hero whose life is constant conflict and who must experience loss and despair in order to grow and become more. These are all generic tropes you can find in almost every action show.

That's not what an idealized identity means.

The point is that Korra could not allow negative perceptions to creep into her normal conception of herself.  She either saw herself as all-good or all-bad, with no in-between.  Even if she's very powerful, very talented, and very important (she is!), her all-or-nothing perception of herself as either flawless or broken constitutes the existence of idealized and devalued selves.

And, for the record, the show goes out of its way to point out that the idealized self is perceived as being "the Avatar" rather than as an individual human being.


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Outside of her desire to spare Kuvira, though, post-recovery Korra was just as aggressive in her problem solving as Book 3 Korra was (and for good reason!).

Well, you must admit, loving the Colossus to ruin would have been quite silly from Korra Cheesy.

I can't really argue there.  XD  Of course, there's no reason she couldn't have taken a more tactical approach had she been interested in doing so.
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« Reply #874 on: Nov 17, 2015 12:22 pm »

This is true, but Korra voluntarily surrendering control in Books 1/2 is universally important, just as one might expect if the point were for her to learn how to surrender control.  And since willingly surrendering control comprises the only satisfying interpretation of Book 1's ending...

You know, I have just started to think that you mean "confrontation" with "control". Considering that by your interpretation, Korra at that cliffside was just about to commit suicide rather than live her life without her full ability to control it, I would say that she was as far away from willingly surrendering control as one can get.

It's not about whether she thinks she is powerful, though, but that she believes she needs to be powerful in order to be worthwhile

You can turn this around, but the assessment is still pretty close to reality. She absolutely needs to be power to worthwhile. An Avatar without incredible power is pretty much a dead Avatar (or not the Avatar at all, just a random self-important dude).

The point is that Korra could not allow negative perceptions to creep into her normal conception of herself.  She either saw herself as all-good or all-bad, with no in-between.

It is hard to see yourself as "something in-between" when all you ever get is overtly positive or overtly negative influences. I think Toph was maybe the only one who told Korra that she was "something in-between" and it immediately resulted in Korra seeing herself like that.

I don' think that you can have an idealized identity when your identity is the real deal. At best, you can say that she has quite a hubris attached to her otherwise realistic and healthy identity. This can actually work pretty well if you consider that when Korra was down, it wasn't her control or power that was truly jeopardized... but her confidence and pride.


Though, I still like my three pillars better. Because it takes a strong woman to deny what's right in front of her. And if the truth is undeniable, she creates her own Grin. Welcome in Republic City, gentlemen!
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