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Author Topic: 'Neutrality' in LOK?  (Read 6680 times)
Akim
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« Reply #50 on: Oct 14, 2013 06:51 pm »

I don't think Tonraq realized that Unalaq was going to back off. Otherwise, he shouldn't have let Korra think he was in so much danger.

As for using the UF to scare Unalaq off, that seems unlikely given that he was talking about winning the war. Remember, Tonraq wants the throne now. Forcing Unalaq out of the South isn't good enough anymore.

Do we know for a fact that Tonraq wants the (northern) throne for himself? Without valid evidence (and I would presume he knows he has none that would stand up to scrutiny), the best he could and would realistically hope for is total independence for the south and possibly leadership position there. Heck, even IF he could somehow gather convincing evidence that Unalaq hired those attackers, that would still not change the fact that it was Tonraq who chose to destroy the forest and anger the spirits. So odds are if the full truth were to come out, the north might well decide that neither of the two were acceptable, and maybe choose some distant relative of those two, change the chief lineage totally or just follow RC's example and go with an elected leader. Would Tonraq even want to leave the south, after living there for decades and having a wife and child there.

Ofcourse Unalaq is probably going to be eaten by some spirit or other by the time this book is over. The fact he has chosen to leave Tonraq alone, but is heavily guarding the portal, and is making visits to the spirit world strongly implies (to me atleast) that ruling the south is either secondary objective at best, or possibly even completely irrelevant to him personally and serves only as a smokescreen for his spirit shenanigans.

You know, would it really be hard for Tonraq to slip someone (say a powerfull waterbender capable of doing that watersurfing thing like Eska, *Cough*Katara*Cough*) past Unalaqs blockade to send word to Korra that
a)The situation is not as critical to the south militarily as first appeared and
b)Unalaq is running around in the spirit world doing who knows what
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Flipdark95
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« Reply #51 on: Oct 14, 2013 07:38 pm »

^ Yeah, Tonraq hasn't actually stated that he wants to become Chief again, only that Unalaq needs to be put in his place.
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Ikkin
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« Reply #52 on: Oct 14, 2013 11:31 pm »

Do we know for a fact that Tonraq wants the (northern) throne for himself? Without valid evidence (and I would presume he knows he has none that would stand up to scrutiny), the best he could and would realistically hope for is total independence for the south and possibly leadership position there. Heck, even IF he could somehow gather convincing evidence that Unalaq hired those attackers, that would still not change the fact that it was Tonraq who chose to destroy the forest and anger the spirits. So odds are if the full truth were to come out, the north might well decide that neither of the two were acceptable, and maybe choose some distant relative of those two, change the chief lineage totally or just follow RC's example and go with an elected leader. Would Tonraq even want to leave the south, after living there for decades and having a wife and child there.

Okay, so, here's the script:

Korra: So, once I knew the truth, I couldn't sit by and do nothing.

Tonraq: My own brother betrayed me... and our entire tribe.

Rebel: What's our next move?

Tonraq: I've been running from my past for too long.  It's time to put my brother in his place.

Rebel: You have our support... Chief Tonraq.

Korra: Mine too.  I'll be proud to fight alongside you, dad.

Tonraq: No, Korra.

Korra: But you said the South doesn't stand a chance against Unalaq's forces.  I can help.

Tonraq: The best way you can help is by getting the President of the United Republic on our side.  The South can give Unalaq a good fight for a while, but we'll need the United Forces in order to win this war.

Korra: Alright.  I'll get you all the help you need.  I love you dad.

Tonraq: I love you too.


It's never said explicitly, but I think we're meant to believe that Tonraq's rebellion is based on his claim to the throne of the united Water Tribes, rather than a desire for independence for the South.

For one thing, Korra's parents have never been on-board with the separatist feelings that Varrick instigated.  Tonraq believed the North was acting unfairly, but he tried to avoid outright rebellion (to such a degree that he appeared willing to submit to wrongful execution to keep a war from happening!) until Unalaq's betrayal became known.

For another, that separatist faction immediately moved to call him Chief Tonraq when his claim to the throne became known.  There is no Chief of the South.  The South had its own council of Chieftains that acted as its primary governing body until Unalaq came in and dismissed them.  It'd be very strange for the rebels to immediately begin referring to Tonraq with a royal title just because he's leading the push for independence -- they'd be much more likely to call him General Tonraq if that were the case.

And, for a third, there's Tonraq's quote about "running from [his] past for too long," which fits in with the royalty-returning-for-his-throne narrative far better than the General-pushing-for-independence narrative.  If the problem is the North's control over the South, Tonraq hasn't really been running from anything because the North just started doing stuff within the month.  It's far more likely that he's just talking about his issues with Unalaq, which have been upgraded from "minor nuisance I can ignore" to "major issues involving the fate of the Water Tribes that I must deal with."

In other words, if this is a reclaiming-the-throne narrative, the scene as written makes sense.  If it's a fight-for-independence narrative, it really, really doesn't.
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ViridianIV
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« Reply #53 on: Oct 15, 2013 12:15 am »

Do we know for a fact that Tonraq wants the (northern) throne for himself? Without valid evidence (and I would presume he knows he has none that would stand up to scrutiny), the best he could and would realistically hope for is total independence for the south and possibly leadership position there. Heck, even IF he could somehow gather convincing evidence that Unalaq hired those attackers, that would still not change the fact that it was Tonraq who chose to destroy the forest and anger the spirits. So odds are if the full truth were to come out, the north might well decide that neither of the two were acceptable, and maybe choose some distant relative of those two, change the chief lineage totally or just follow RC's example and go with an elected leader. Would Tonraq even want to leave the south, after living there for decades and having a wife and child there.

Okay, so, here's the script:

Korra: So, once I knew the truth, I couldn't sit by and do nothing.

Tonraq: My own brother betrayed me... and our entire tribe.

Rebel: What's our next move?

Tonraq: I've been running from my past for too long.  It's time to put my brother in his place.

Rebel: You have our support... Chief Tonraq.

Korra: Mine too.  I'll be proud to fight alongside you, dad.

Tonraq: No, Korra.

Korra: But you said the South doesn't stand a chance against Unalaq's forces.  I can help.

Tonraq: The best way you can help is by getting the President of the United Republic on our side.  The South can give Unalaq a good fight for a while, but we'll need the United Forces in order to win this war.

Korra: Alright.  I'll get you all the help you need.  I love you dad.

Tonraq: I love you too.


It's never said explicitly, but I think we're meant to believe that Tonraq's rebellion is based on his claim to the throne of the united Water Tribes, rather than a desire for independence for the South.

For one thing, Korra's parents have never been on-board with the separatist feelings that Varrick instigated.  Tonraq believed the North was acting unfairly, but he tried to avoid outright rebellion (to such a degree that he appeared willing to submit to wrongful execution to keep a war from happening!) until Unalaq's betrayal became known.

For another, that separatist faction immediately moved to call him Chief Tonraq when his claim to the throne became known.  There is no Chief of the South.  The South had its own council of Chieftains that acted as its primary governing body until Unalaq came in and dismissed them.  It'd be very strange for the rebels to immediately begin referring to Tonraq with a royal title just because he's leading the push for independence -- they'd be much more likely to call him General Tonraq if that were the case.

And, for a third, there's Tonraq's quote about "running from [his] past for too long," which fits in with the royalty-returning-for-his-throne narrative far better than the General-pushing-for-independence narrative.  If the problem is the North's control over the South, Tonraq hasn't really been running from anything because the North just started doing stuff within the month.  It's far more likely that he's just talking about his issues with Unalaq, which have been upgraded from "minor nuisance I can ignore" to "major issues involving the fate of the Water Tribes that I must deal with."

In other words, if this is a reclaiming-the-throne narrative, the scene as written makes sense.  If it's a fight-for-independence narrative, it really, really doesn't.

Oh come on!  It's very clearly BOTH!  A person isn't sidelined to just one motivation.  Tonraq doesn't have to want to throw Unilaq off the throne for the good of the south OR to take his rightful place as Chief.  He can want both.  He can have more than one motivation.  He's allowed.  The thing is up until this moment he couldn't believe that his brother was doing any of this maliciously.  The revelation that Unilaq had betrayed him just to claim the throne made him realize that he actually NEEDED to step up and do something.  I mean when you really think about it, Tonraq's characterization up to this point has very much been a man attempting to keep himself and his family out of public affairs as much as possible.
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Ikkin
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« Reply #54 on: Oct 15, 2013 12:51 am »

Oh come on!  It's very clearly BOTH!  A person isn't sidelined to just one motivation.  Tonraq doesn't have to want to throw Unilaq off the throne for the good of the south OR to take his rightful place as Chief.  He can want both.  He can have more than one motivation.  He's allowed.  The thing is up until this moment he couldn't believe that his brother was doing any of this maliciously.  The revelation that Unilaq had betrayed him just to claim the throne made him realize that he actually NEEDED to step up and do something.  I mean when you really think about it, Tonraq's characterization up to this point has very much been a man attempting to keep himself and his family out of public affairs as much as possible.

I'm not saying he's not concerned for what Unalaq did to the South -- I'm saying he doesn't want the South to be independent, because he thinks he can fix the problem without the tribes being split if he takes the throne.

As soon as Tonraq and his supporters learned of his claim to the throne, the separatist faction ceased to exist.  Tonraq's motives (for better or worse) aren't going to change that, whether he cares more about the South or his throne, because he can't want to take his rightful place as Chief and help the South secede, and he definitely seems to be more concerned with the former than the latter.
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fireywaters
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« Reply #55 on: Oct 15, 2013 05:50 am »

Well Tonraq can still say to the throne "sorry but no thanks, I am going to start a tea shop and just chill out for the rest of my life".
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Ikkin
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« Reply #56 on: Oct 15, 2013 06:07 am »

Well Tonraq can still say to the throne "sorry but no thanks, I am going to start a tea shop and just chill out for the rest of my life".

He can, but him saying "I've been running from my past for too long" makes that option seem very unlikely.
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Molra
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« Reply #57 on: Oct 15, 2013 06:33 am »

I've read your discussion and wonder if there is a place in it for a simple question: what do people from North and South want? I'm pretty sure that, essentially, most people want the same everywhere: a life with healthy conditions, good jobs, security, no harms, people want... harmony. Men fight for that, men (and women, of course) are manipulated by their leaders most of time to fight for that, but essentially they just want to live in peace, that's what the majority want.

You question the Avatar's position, for me hers is to be aligned with that essence, which means her position should be aligned to Raiko's position: to seek for diplomatic solutions, negotiations. That is what diplomacy is for. The Avatar's power does not imply in fighting or siding with one of the sides in a war, not necessarily, unless, as in the case of Aang, there have been a clear abuse of power from one of the nations. What I saw was abuse of power of Unalaq, not of the NWT against the SWT, a familiar issue turning out to become a war affecting the whole two tribes. Not to mention what is behind Unalaq's intentions regarding gaining spiritual power - in other words, taking the position that should be of the Avatar. And added to that the fact that Tonraq is not even from the South, he just lives there, which weakens even more the reason for the North fighting against the South, the issue is so domestic (what has the south done, after all?).

Basically, the North and South water tribes are like siblings, there should be a person, or group of persons, in the role of parents to pacify them. If the Avatar can not detach herself from Korra's position of Tonraq's daughter, she won't be able to be neutral. Her amnesia is going to be a good thing, after all, for giving her a new perspective on the whole picture...

Another question is: has it always been this way, I mean, one leader for both tribes? Unless they may be connected through their portals, the two poles are simply totally apart (distant) from each other.
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Akim
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« Reply #58 on: Oct 15, 2013 06:46 am »

Rebel: You have our support... Chief Tonraq.

Was this not said by someone supporting SWT independence? A rebel who opposed the northern influence and invasion? Why would such a rebel suddenly decide that northern influence is all well and good, if its just a different guy sitting on the throne. Sure, Tonraq would be more palatable than Unalaq, but I would expect that if they are going to be fighting for their lives and risking their families, they would want full independence, rather than just replacing one ruler on the other side of the world, with another ruler on the other side of the world.

Quote
It's never said explicitly, but I think we're meant to believe that Tonraq's rebellion is based on his claim to the throne of the united Water Tribes, rather than a desire for independence for the South.

But there is obviously a strong desire for autonomy or outright independence at the south, given how quickly Unalaq bringing northern troops degenerated into civil war. I could see the rebels fully supporting Tonraq as a new chief of the south. Heck, Tonraq himself repeatedly refers to how "the south" can give a good fight for a while but needs help to win.

Quote
For one thing, Korra's parents have never been on-board with the separatist feelings that Varrick instigated.  Tonraq believed the North was acting unfairly, but he tried to avoid outright rebellion (to such a degree that he appeared willing to submit to wrongful execution to keep a war from happening!) until Unalaq's betrayal became known.

This could easily be a sign that Tonraq wanted to avoid bloodshed and believed that Unalaq would just leave eventually and things would return to normal. But once he learned that Unalaq was willing to hire people to attack and kill people of his own tribe, and also help instigate a spirit attack that killed more, Tonraq may well have realised that Unalaq could not be trusted not to initiate hostilities on his own regardless of how passive the south remained.

Quote
For another, that separatist faction immediately moved to call him Chief Tonraq when his claim to the throne became known.  There is no Chief of the South.  The South had its own council of Chieftains that acted as its primary governing body until Unalaq came in and dismissed them.  It'd be very strange for the rebels to immediately begin referring to Tonraq with a royal title just because he's leading the push for independence -- they'd be much more likely to call him General Tonraq if that were the case.

But was there not a palace of sort at the south? Calling him Chief could well be meant not as a challenge for Unalaqs rule of north, but rather as an open declaration of independence. That is to say, while there has not been a Chief of the South before, there is NOW, because the separatist faction utterly rejects all right of north to rule over them anymore. This could basically be meant to imply that the south now has their own chief in Tonraq, and they don't need the chief of the north (Unalaq) anymore.

Quote
And, for a third, there's Tonraq's quote about "running from [his] past for too long," which fits in with the royalty-returning-for-his-throne narrative far better than the General-pushing-for-independence narrative.  If the problem is the North's control over the South, Tonraq hasn't really been running from anything because the North just started doing stuff within the month.  It's far more likely that he's just talking about his issues with Unalaq, which have been upgraded from "minor nuisance I can ignore" to "major issues involving the fate of the Water Tribes that I must deal with."

Again possibly. But another view might be that Tonraq has felt guilty and shamed that his actions resulted in a spirit attack that likely caused significant destruction. Learning that he was somewhat manipulated might lessen the guilt, and motivate him to move against Unalaq. And again, learning that Unalaq would be willing to commit such acts would further motivate Tonraq to act against his brother, where before he might simply have felt that he was the inferior brother and unfit to lead due to bringing death and destruction upon his tribe.

And we ultimately again run into the obvious problem. In order for Tonraq to learn the truth of what happened, Korra must have told him what happened. Which means Tonraq and the rebels must know how she acquired the information. They might believe it, but they must also be fully aware that every single person in the north would view it as Tonraq lying, and unless Unalaq confesses publicly (pretty damn unlikely), Tonraq has absolutely NO WAY of gaining public support in the north, and he must know that. This means, that in order to take the throne of the NWT, he would actually have to conquer north through military means, and he freely admits that he desperately needs help just to fight off the invasion force Unalaq brought with him and keep hold of the south.

Given the situation, I simply find it unrealistic that Tonraq would think he would have any hope of retaking the northern throne and being able to rule over both water tribes in unity. Not with North thinking he is to blame for a major spirit attack upon them, and the south clearly having had enough of taking orders from the north and wanting independence. Forcing Unalaq out of the south by making it too costly to remain (Tonraq at this point does not know Unalaq has unknown ulterior motives with the spirit portal), and therefore claiming independence however is something that would be atleast somewhat realistic a goal, and it would align with his only allies, the rebels who want that very thing.

Well, thats my interpretation anyway. I see the rebels declaring independence, and using Tonraq to give themselves some legitimacy (son of the previous chief of both tribes even if banished and the father of the avatar and so obviously blessed by the spirits, a good guy to rally behind) by trying to make him the official Chief of the new independent SWT. Making Tonraq the chief makes it far more likely that the other nations might support them and acknowledge their independence, compared to some random nobody that no one has ever heard. Through Tonraq, the rebels gain a link to the royal line. They gain a link to the avatar, which has atleast some value. Tonraq might also be able to get help from the Order of the White Lotus, and he seems generally well respected fellow in the south.

Ofcourse things might change if Unalaq is killed or if he is publicly revealed as a monster (if whatever spirit shenanigans he is upto backfire upon him), but considering what they know right now, I just don't see how either Tonraq or the rebels could possibly believe for a moment that they have the slightest hope of actually having Tonraq take the NWT. That would be like, I dunno, The United States deciding that its not enough to become an independent nation, and that they want to invade and actually conquer england too (not a perfect analogy I know, but you get the idea).
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fireywaters
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« Reply #59 on: Oct 15, 2013 06:49 am »

Well Tonraq can still say to the throne "sorry but no thanks, I am going to start a tea shop and just chill out for the rest of my life".

He can, but him saying "I've been running from my past for too long" makes that option seem very unlikely.

It was a joke. I was reference how this has been done before, and how just because someone had there position stolen from them, doesn't mean they are going to get it back.
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Ikkin
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« Reply #60 on: Oct 15, 2013 07:37 am »

I've read your discussion and wonder if there is a place in it for a simple question: what do people from North and South want? I'm pretty sure that, essentially, most people want the same everywhere: a life with healthy conditions, good jobs, security, no harms, people want... harmony. Men fight for that, men (and women, of course) are manipulated by their leaders most of time to fight for that, but essentially they just want to live in peace, that's what the majority want.

You question the Avatar's position, for me hers is to be aligned with that essence, which means her position should be aligned to Raiko's position: to seek for diplomatic solutions, negotiations. That is what diplomacy is for. The Avatar's power does not imply in fighting or siding with one of the sides in a war, not necessarily, unless, as in the case of Aang, there have been a clear abuse of power from one of the nations. What I saw was abuse of power of Unalaq, not of the NWT against the SWT, a familiar issue turning out to become a war affecting the whole two tribes. Not to mention what is behind Unalaq's intentions regarding gaining spiritual power - in other words, taking the position that should be of the Avatar. And added to that the fact that Tonraq is not even from the South, he just lives there, which weakens even more the reason for the North fighting against the South, the issue is so domestic (what has the south done, after all?).

This is a good point.  The Avatar's role was never meant to be that of a defender bringing war on behalf of the righteous underdog -- it's meant to be that of a judge balancing out the interests of everyone, regardless of which side they're on.

It should be obvious that the Southern Water Tribe, in this instance, has more of its own interests at stake than anyone else, given their loss of freedom at Unalaq's hands.  But the interests of the people of the Northern Water Tribe and the interests of the world at large need to figure in, too, and bringing war on the South's behalf damages those interests.  If a peaceful resolution is possible, it is Korra's duty to seek it out, lest her actions cause massive and unnecessary loss of life from all three groups to protect the interests of only one of the three.  War is a last resort that should not be taken lightly, and avoiding unnecessary war, even in situations where one side was wronged, is one of the main reasons to have an unaffiliated authority figure around in the first place.

And, of course, in this particular instance, it's no longer possible to separate the political interests of the North and the South from the family feud between Unalaq an Tonraq anyway.  Tonraq's our "good guy" here, but "it's time to put my brother in his place" sounds more like the words of someone who's always thought himself to be superior to his brother than someone finally recognizing that his brother is dangerous.  (I mean... seriously, out of context, that line sounds like it's meant to come from a bad guy.  "Put [him] in his place" is pretty loaded language)


Quote
Another question is: has it always been this way, I mean, one leader for both tribes? Unless they may be connected through their portals, the two poles are simply totally apart (distant) from each other.

I think the Water Tribes' political situation has shifted over time -- they started out as one tribe, until a group of dissenters went South a long time ago.  It seems like they reconnected at some point afterwards, but before Kuruk was born -- he met his fiance at the New Moon Festival, which was meant to unite the tribes in one place -- but they became separate during the Hundred Year War, then almost completely reconnected in the aftermath.  It isn't difficult to imagine that pouring immigrants and aid into a country that has been nearly decimated might make allow the North to effectively colonize the South without any obvious exertion of force, so I suspect that's what was meant to have happened.
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« Reply #61 on: Oct 15, 2013 07:38 am »

I've read your discussion and wonder if there is a place in it for a simple question: what do people from North and South want? I'm pretty sure that, essentially, most people want the same everywhere: a life with healthy conditions, good jobs, security, no harms, people want... harmony. Men fight for that, men (and women, of course) are manipulated by their leaders most of time to fight for that, but essentially they just want to live in peace, that's what the majority want.

People do want that yes, but its not uncommon for people to want somekind of right of self-determination and self-rule aswell. There is a reason why people in our world have time and again been willing to fight and die to both gain and maintain independence. The northern and the southern water tribes are quite literally on the other sides of the world. That likely means that until now, the south has basically ruled itself and had autonomy. The position of Unalaq as their chief has likely been mostly ceremonial. You might compare Unalaq to say the Royalty of modern england. To be cheered and celebrated yes, but if the Queen suddenly tried to subvert democracy and start giving orders, she would quickly find how little power she has.

If Unalaq truly had actual power in the south, he would not have needed to bring an invasion force with him (he could just have given orders to the southern troops), nor would the south have basically been ready to jump to civil war almost instantly. Its clear that the people of the south want the right to rule themselves, rather than be ruled by some foreigner who does not understand their culture or values. Now granted, there could be room for improvement in southern spirituality, but maybe thats why the Avatar was born there? Besides, I am unsure if we can truly trust Unalaqs claims that the spirits are angry just because the festival changed. His words are rather suspect in hindsight. For all we know, he is responsible for the spirit attacks somehow. He arranged a spirit attack before, to use as an excuse to gain power and it worked. He could easily have done it again, and the spirit attacks have nothing to do with any lack of spirituality from the south.

Quote
You question the Avatar's position, for me hers is to be aligned with that essence, which means her position should be aligned to Raiko's position: to seek for diplomatic solutions, negotiations. That is what diplomacy is for. The Avatar's power does not imply in fighting or siding with one of the sides in a war, not necessarily, unless, as in the case of Aang, there have been a clear abuse of power from one of the nations.

I do tend to agree that Korra did make a mistake in instantly trying to get military support. Now its understandable (she was afraid), but given what she knows, diplomacy would have been better solution to start with. As far as she knew, pressure from RC and the other nation might have been enough to force Unalaq to give in to the Souths demands of independence. Open war should come after diplomacy fails.

Now that being said, as viewers I think we can be pretty sure that diplomacy would not have worked. Unalaq is after more than the SWT. He wanted access to the spirit portal, and he is now using it to enter the spirit world and communicate with who knows what there. I seriously doubt any pressure from the other nations would have worked, simply because they don't understand his true intentions and desires.

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What I saw was abuse of power of Unalaq, not of the NWT against the SWT, a familiar issue turning out to become a war affecting the whole two tribes. Not to mention what is behind Unalaq's intentions regarding gaining spiritual power - in other words, taking the position that should be of the Avatar. And added to that the fact that Tonraq is not even from the South, he just lives there, which weakens even more the reason for the North fighting against the South, the issue is so domestic (what has the south done, after all?).

First of all, since Unalaq leads the north, and has the loyalty of the northern military, the abuse of power from Unalaq is in my view, by definition also abuse by NWT itself. This is especially true when we see troops from NWT bullying SWT children, and being ready to attack people from SWT with little hesitation. The views of NWT have not been fully clarified, but it would not surprise me if the people of NWT think that the SWT belongs to them (the current ruler of both nations lives in the north afterall), and might well view SWT's desires for autonomy/independence as something not to be tolerated. Certainly there is nothing to suggest that Unalaq does not have the full support of NWT in this invasion (and it is an invasion).

And while Tonraq may not have been born at the south, he has been living there for decades and has married and had a child there. Heck, when people were deciding what to do about Unalaq, they had a meeting at his house. I think its pretty clear that it does not really matter where Tonraq was born, he is more south than north now.

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Basically, the North and South water tribes are like siblings, there should be a person, or group of persons, in the role of parents to pacify them. If the Avatar can not detach herself from Korra's position of Tonraq's daughter, she won't be able to be neutral. Her amnesia is going to be a good thing, after all, for giving her a new perspective on the whole picture...

They are not siblings. They are nations. And one nation seems to want independence, and the other nation has decided to use military invasion to suppress that sentiment. This is in no way comparable to a family quarrel.

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Another question is: has it always been this way, I mean, one leader for both tribes? Unless they may be connected through their portals, the two poles are simply totally apart (distant) from each other.

First, I suspect Unalaqs words about the portals connecting the two was just to manipulate Korra to doing what Unalaq wanted. Or atleast, the southern portal has been clearly shown to work even with the northern still closed, and it leads to the spirit world. Why does Unalaq want the portal guarded so well anyway? If humans can use the portal to enter the spirit world, is the reverse true? Has Unalaqs manipulations of Korra left the south vulnerable to invasion by who knows what from the spirit world?

And second, I am unsure (the wiki states this, and claims nick.com as source), but I think there were originally some cultural differences that led to people from the north leaving and starting a new separate nation in the south. I think at that point there probably was two leaders. However the south was devastated during the war against the fire nation, while the north apparently hid behind their walls and let it happen. Unalaq does state that after the war, the north did help south rebuild (which we sorta knew from A:TLA, after Pakku  leaves to the south with some others to help), so that probably improved relations for a while, and it may be that at this point there may have been agreements for the south to submit to northern rule (I could see north refusing to really help otherwise for example).

However the bottom line is that as things are now, the south obviously wants to rule itself, and is no longer satisfied to be ruled from the other side of the world. NWT invaded militarily, and the result was a a civil war. It is a bit of a complex issue all in all. On one hand, north may have spent lots of resources to help the south rebuild after the war, so their desire for something in return may be valid. On the other hand, the war ended something like 70 years ago, so its been multiple generations. Its hard to blame the south for wanting to be an independent nation, rather than being ruled by a nation of different values, and a chief that lives on the other side of the world, and just occasionally visits.

In some (crude) way, this could be compared to the American War of Independence, with NWT being england and SWT being United States (well, thats hardly the only war of independence in the world, and probably not the best comparison, but its probably among the most famous).


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If a peaceful resolution is possible, it is Korra's duty to seek it out, lest her actions cause massive and unnecessary loss of life from all three groups to protect the interests of only one of the three.  War is a last resort that should not be taken lightly, and avoiding unnecessary war, even in situations where one side was wronged, is one of the main reasons to have an unaffiliated authority figure around in the first place.

Diplomatic solution where no lives are lost is ofcourse always best. And I have no problem with the argument that Korra (with her knowledge) acted poorly in not trying to get the other nations to intervene diplomatically. RC could for example have tried to offer neutral place for negotations.

However, I think we as viewers know that would not have worked. Unalaq would not have agreed to give up his current control of SWT, because while Korra and RC may think he wants to dominate the SWT as a nation, its been made clear to the viewers that what he is truly interested in is the spirit portal, a portal he is using to travel to and from the spirit world. He is after something else.

Just out of curiosity Ikkin, assuming that diplomacy is not possible, what do you think the SWT should do? Should they just surrender and submit to Unalaq? Or do you believe they have the right to fight for their independence? And if peacefull solution is simply impossible due to Unalaq refusing to budge (due to the portal), who is more in the right? I tend to side more with SWT simply because they are the ones that had their land invaded.

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And, of course, in this particular instance, it's no longer possible to separate the political interests of the North and the South from the family feud between Unalaq an Tonraq anyway.

Err, Why not? The rebels acted without Tonraq when they tried to kidnap Unalaq, and actually considered him a traitor for refusing to help. Its pretty obvious that the SWT wants Unalaq out. Tonraq joining the cause has given them new avenues, but the fact the conflict started while Tonraq was still neutral makes it pretty clear this is not just some struggle between two brothers. Its a struggle between two nations.

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Tonraq's our "good guy" here, but "it's time to put my brother in his place" sounds more like the words of someone who's always thought himself to be superior to his brother than someone finally recognizing that his brother is dangerous.  (I mean... seriously, out of context, that line sounds like it's meant to come from a bad guy.  "Put [him] in his place" is pretty loaded language)

Context matters. Unalaq invaded SWT without provocation. Blockaded them and crippled their economy. He was revealed as a traitor to the NWT who collaborated with their enemies, and knowingly arranged the secular Tonraq to create a spirit invasion so he could gain power, caring little that lots of people probably died in both incidents. Quite frankly, his actions demonstrate that Unalaq DESERVES to be "put into his place".
« Last Edit: Oct 15, 2013 07:53 am by Akim » Logged
Ikkin
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« Reply #62 on: Oct 15, 2013 11:46 am »

Rebel: You have our support... Chief Tonraq.

Was this not said by someone supporting SWT independence? A rebel who opposed the northern influence and invasion? Why would such a rebel suddenly decide that northern influence is all well and good, if its just a different guy sitting on the throne. Sure, Tonraq would be more palatable than Unalaq, but I would expect that if they are going to be fighting for their lives and risking their families, they would want full independence, rather than just replacing one ruler on the other side of the world, with another ruler on the other side of the world.

I don't know, but we have that problem either way.  Putting Tonraq on a throne in the South and giving the title of Chief to him and his descendants is functionally equivalent to putting him on the throne in the North, as far as the South is concerned -- it's the same guy and his family ruling them either way. Heck, they don't even need to make him sit in the North if they don't want him there. Why not have the Chief of both tribes stay in the South? Tonraq would probably be happier that way.


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It's never said explicitly, but I think we're meant to believe that Tonraq's rebellion is based on his claim to the throne of the united Water Tribes, rather than a desire for independence for the South.

But there is obviously a strong desire for autonomy or outright independence at the south, given how quickly Unalaq bringing northern troops degenerated into civil war. I could see the rebels fully supporting Tonraq as a new chief of the south. Heck, Tonraq himself repeatedly refers to how "the south" can give a good fight for a while but needs help to win.

There's definitely separatist sentiment, but my point is that Tonraq doesn't share it.


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For one thing, Korra's parents have never been on-board with the separatist feelings that Varrick instigated.  Tonraq believed the North was acting unfairly, but he tried to avoid outright rebellion (to such a degree that he appeared willing to submit to wrongful execution to keep a war from happening!) until Unalaq's betrayal became known.

This could easily be a sign that Tonraq wanted to avoid bloodshed and believed that Unalaq would just leave eventually and things would return to normal. But once he learned that Unalaq was willing to hire people to attack and kill people of his own tribe, and also help instigate a spirit attack that killed more, Tonraq may well have realised that Unalaq could not be trusted not to initiate hostilities on his own regardless of how passive the south remained.

It could, but one would think the whole executing him for treason would give him that same idea.  =P


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For another, that separatist faction immediately moved to call him Chief Tonraq when his claim to the throne became known.  There is no Chief of the South.  The South had its own council of Chieftains that acted as its primary governing body until Unalaq came in and dismissed them.  It'd be very strange for the rebels to immediately begin referring to Tonraq with a royal title just because he's leading the push for independence -- they'd be much more likely to call him General Tonraq if that were the case.

But was there not a palace of sort at the south? Calling him Chief could well be meant not as a challenge for Unalaqs rule of north, but rather as an open declaration of independence. That is to say, while there has not been a Chief of the South before, there is NOW, because the separatist faction utterly rejects all right of north to rule over them anymore. This could basically be meant to imply that the south now has their own chief in Tonraq, and they don't need the chief of the north (Unalaq) anymore.

That's far more complicated than the text can sustain. The palace, according to Varrick, was intended for the use of the South's Chieftains (as a group), which Bryan clarified to be a council of elders in a Tumblr post. If they just wanted to declare independence, setting a foreign prince over their existing representative government would be a strange thing to do, and would warrant more explanation than a rebel calling Tonraq "Chief. "


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And, for a third, there's Tonraq's quote about "running from [his] past for too long," which fits in with the royalty-returning-for-his-throne narrative far better than the General-pushing-for-independence narrative.  If the problem is the North's control over the South, Tonraq hasn't really been running from anything because the North just started doing stuff within the month.  It's far more likely that he's just talking about his issues with Unalaq, which have been upgraded from "minor nuisance I can ignore" to "major issues involving the fate of the Water Tribes that I must deal with."

Again possibly. But another view might be that Tonraq has felt guilty and shamed that his actions resulted in a spirit attack that likely caused significant destruction. Learning that he was somewhat manipulated might lessen the guilt, and motivate him to move against Unalaq. And again, learning that Unalaq would be willing to commit such acts would further motivate Tonraq to act against his brother, where before he might simply have felt that he was the inferior brother and unfit to lead due to bringing death and destruction upon his tribe.

Okay, but I don't see how that contradicts my claim that Tonraq isn't looking to separate the tribes. If he thinks Unalaq is an unfit ruler, allowing him to continue ruling the North -- which is also Tonraq's tribe -- would be irresponsible.


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And we ultimately again run into the obvious problem. In order for Tonraq to learn the truth of what happened, Korra must have told him what happened. Which means Tonraq and the rebels must know how she acquired the information.

Hahaha no. I don't believe for one second that Korra told her dad where she got that information. For one thing, the chances of her admitting what she did are quite low given how she's never told anyone about any of her extreme acts of violence previously. For another, Tonraq's reaction to that couldn't possibly be irrelevant enough to reasonably avoid showing it. "I tortured a guy into confessing everything" is a big deal! If Tonraq knew, we'd know he knew.


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They might believe it, but they must also be fully aware that every single person in the north would view it as Tonraq lying, and unless Unalaq confesses publicly (pretty damn unlikely), Tonraq has absolutely NO WAY of gaining public support in the north, and he must know that. This means, that in order to take the throne of the NWT, he would actually have to conquer north through military means, and he freely admits that he desperately needs help just to fight off the invasion force Unalaq brought with him and keep hold of the south.

Given the situation, I simply find it unrealistic that Tonraq would think he would have any hope of retaking the northern throne and being able to rule over both water tribes in unity. Not with North thinking he is to blame for a major spirit attack upon them, and the south clearly having had enough of taking orders from the north and wanting independence. Forcing Unalaq out of the south by making it too costly to remain (Tonraq at this point does not know Unalaq has unknown ulterior motives with the spirit portal), and therefore claiming independence however is something that would be atleast somewhat realistic a goal, and it would align with his only allies, the rebels who want that very thing.

Why are we treating the assumption of Tonraq's rationality as more important than the implication of his actual motives?

Tonraq's stated goal is to take responsibility and put his brother in his place. Leaving the North in Unalaq's hands would be irresponsible, given what he knows and believes about his brother.  It makes far more sense that Tonraq, like Korra, is valuing responsibility over logic than that he believes that seceding is a meaningful way of taking responsibility.

Also, given that Unalaq isn't interested in fighting him, he's now part of the "bad decisions risk cold war turning into open hostilities" group that includes Korra, Asami, and Varrick. I doubt we're meant to agree with him unreservedly in the long run.


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Well, thats my interpretation anyway. I see the rebels declaring independence, and using Tonraq to give themselves some legitimacy (son of the previous chief of both tribes even if banished and the father of the avatar and so obviously blessed by the spirits, a good guy to rally behind) by trying to make him the official Chief of the new independent SWT. Making Tonraq the chief makes it far more likely that the other nations might support them and acknowledge their independence, compared to some random nobody that no one has ever heard. Through Tonraq, the rebels gain a link to the royal line. They gain a link to the avatar, which has atleast some value. Tonraq might also be able to get help from the Order of the White Lotus, and he seems generally well respected fellow in the south.

Okay, but where in canon does it suggest any of that? At best, it's unsupported; at worst, it's a resistant reading.

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Ofcourse things might change if Unalaq is killed or if he is publicly revealed as a monster (if whatever spirit shenanigans he is upto backfire upon him), but considering what they know right now, I just don't see how either Tonraq or the rebels could possibly believe for a moment that they have the slightest hope of actually having Tonraq take the NWT. That would be like, I dunno, The United States deciding that its not enough to become an independent nation, and that they want to invade and actually conquer england too (not a perfect analogy I know, but you get the idea).

Again,  "it's a terrible idea" isn't much of an argument against the characters having chosen to implement it.   My expectation is that the "King Washington claims Britain" feel is intentional -- the show just did to Tonraq what it did to Amon when it changed his motivation from equality to personal trauma and changed the eventual fallout from the conflict's resolution from political to personal. The rebels' legitimate desire for independence is subordinated to the family struggle, and people die because of the entitlement of their leaders rather than for the cause in which they initially believed. It's kind of cynical, but it makes more sense than Tonraq deciding independence was cool because his brother stole his throne.


Edit:
If a peaceful resolution is possible, it is Korra's duty to seek it out, lest her actions cause massive and unnecessary loss of life from all three groups to protect the interests of only one of the three.  War is a last resort that should not be taken lightly, and avoiding unnecessary war, even in situations where one side was wronged, is one of the main reasons to have an unaffiliated authority figure around in the first place.

Diplomatic solution where no lives are lost is ofcourse always best. And I have no problem with the argument that Korra (with her knowledge) acted poorly in not trying to get the other nations to intervene diplomatically. RC could for example have tried to offer neutral place for negotations.

However, I think we as viewers know that would not have worked. Unalaq would not have agreed to give up his current control of SWT, because while Korra and RC may think he wants to dominate the SWT as a nation, its been made clear to the viewers that what he is truly interested in is the spirit portal, a portal he is using to travel to and from the spirit world. He is after something else.

Just out of curiosity Ikkin, assuming that diplomacy is not possible, what do you think the SWT should do? Should they just surrender and submit to Unalaq? Or do you believe they have the right to fight for their independence? And if peacefull solution is simply impossible due to Unalaq refusing to budge (due to the portal), who is more in the right? I tend to side more with SWT simply because they are the ones that had their land invaded.

Well, let me make it clear to begin with that I'm far less convinced in Unalaq's intractability than you are. He's interested in that portal more than anything. It's hard to say what he'd do if given an independent fleet as allies to guard it in exchange for more freedom for the Southerners, or whether that would cause even greater imbalance if he accepted it.

As for what should happen if diplomacy is impossible, the South should obviously be allowed to fight for their independence. The problem I have is that we're no longer dealing with an uprising of the populace, but a power struggle between royals (one of whom is using the rebellious populace to fight for his claim).


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And, of course, in this particular instance, it's no longer possible to separate the political interests of the North and the South from the family feud between Unalaq an Tonraq anyway.

Err, Why not? The rebels acted without Tonraq when they tried to kidnap Unalaq, and actually considered him a traitor for refusing to help. Its pretty obvious that the SWT wants Unalaq out. Tonraq joining the cause has given them new avenues, but the fact the conflict started while Tonraq was still neutral makes it pretty clear this is not just some struggle between two brothers. Its a struggle between two nations.

Because the narrative made an obvious decision to conflate the two things and tossed the independence thing to the wayside when it started in on "Chief Tonraq."


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Tonraq's our "good guy" here, but "it's time to put my brother in his place" sounds more like the words of someone who's always thought himself to be superior to his brother than someone finally recognizing that his brother is dangerous.  (I mean... seriously, out of context, that line sounds like it's meant to come from a bad guy.  "Put [him] in his place" is pretty loaded language)

Context matters. Unalaq invaded SWT without provocation. Blockaded them and crippled their economy. He was revealed as a traitor to the NWT who collaborated with their enemies, and knowingly arranged the secular Tonraq to create a spirit invasion so he could gain power, caring little that lots of people probably died in both incidents. Quite frankly, his actions demonstrate that Unalaq DESERVES to be "put into his place".

It's still loaded language. Unalaq needs to face justice, clearly. But "put in his place" has elitist connotations of innate moral superiority that feel kind of icky regardless of context, especially when coming from royalty.
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« Reply #63 on: Oct 15, 2013 06:26 pm »

It's still loaded language. Unalaq needs to face justice, clearly. But "put in his place" has elitist connotations of innate moral superiority that feel kind of icky regardless of context, especially when coming from royalty.

Eh, I think the connotations are more that Unalaq stole Korra away from who Tonraq saw as her rightful teacher, and then he established what Tonraq saw as an unjustified tyranny.
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« Reply #64 on: Oct 15, 2013 08:20 pm »

We have a thread about the war: The Water Tribe Civil War (How long will it last? Choices to take, etc.)

Please take the conversation there and get back on topic.
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« Reply #65 on: Oct 15, 2013 11:27 pm »

To support Unalaq's tyrannical martial law or to support Varrick's corrupt War propaganda and military industry complex?

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« Reply #66 on: Oct 16, 2013 12:13 am »

^ The majority of the characters aren't actively supporting that. Only Varrick himself has actively done so. And Bolin just thinks he's making cool movies, while Asami was forced to sign over ownership of Future Industries to him to keep her business alive.

And in the end, that just means something good for the South anyway. They get a edge over the North.
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« Reply #67 on: Oct 16, 2013 12:48 am »

And in the end, that just means something good for the South anyway. They get a edge over the North.

Is it really, though?

I think the fun thing about Varrick is the fact that we actually have no idea what his goals are. Obviously, a chief one is to make money. And maybe he has a soft spot for his homeland. But, do we really know whose side he'll end up on (other than his own)? Cheesy
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« Reply #68 on: Oct 16, 2013 03:55 am »

We have a thread about the war: The Water Tribe Civil War (How long will it last? Choices to take, etc.)

Please take the conversation there and get back on topic.
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