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Author Topic: *Technically*, does the Avatar have to master all four elements?  (Read 10321 times)
AvatarReiko
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« on: Jan 04, 2014 06:06 am »

I was thinking. Technically, no avatar HAS to master all four elements. He or she needs to if they are to fulfil their role as avatar more effectively and have better understanding of the four nations, but there is no law stating that the avatar must master all four. If Korra did not want to learn the other elements, no one could physically force her to do it. It just means that she would never reach her full potential. Although, it would be more beneficial to her. Remember, Wan chose to learn the other elements. He needed to be more poweful so he could battle Vaatu. No one said that he had to do it. Wan could of still fused with Raava and become the Avatar with only fire bending, and he still would be recognised as the avatar. This is evidenced when Unalaq became a dark avatar, with only water bending at his disposal. After locking Vaatu away, Wan could have decided to to live the rest of his life in peace, but he made it his job to keep balance in the world. His mission and responsibility would of been passed down to the next avatar. The whole 'The avatar must master all elements' is something that has been passed down through the avatar generations and has become a part of tradition, and mandatory, for the avatar to master all four. Mastering the elements is more of a side benefit. Although, I couldn't imagine any Avatar neglecting their role and deciding not to master all the elements.
« Last Edit: Jan 04, 2014 06:07 am by AvatarReiko » Logged

danseru-kun
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« Reply #1 on: Jan 04, 2014 06:14 am »

I think mastering the four elements is more than learning how to use them, it's a spiritual thing that comes with an understanding of things. Korra's masters mentioned this in her firebending exam and Iroh used this to explain lightning redirection to Zuko. So I guess mastering the elements gives the Avatar additional wisdom on the world and this is needed for the people to respect him/her as a keeper of balance rather than a superpowered soldier.
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Akim
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« Reply #2 on: Jan 04, 2014 06:55 pm »

I think you are correct. We know from A:TLA that its possible for an avatar to master the Avatar State before mastering the 4 elements (Aang nearly mastered AS, even though he had no idea how to wield fire yet). The only reason Aang failed, was because of Katara.

So it is indeed technically possible for an avatar to master just one element, and still learn to draw power from the Avatar State and so on. That being said, while the whole "master all four elements" thing may be traditional, it is also pretty smart. Each element has its unique advantages, and by learning and mastering all four, the avatar has more options available. An avatar who can only bend water for example could be screwed if he had to fight in some dry area like a desert or somesuch. And an avatar who only knew earthbending would be screwed on a boat on the open sea. But an avatar who has mastered all 4 elements always has atleast one or two elements they can wield, no matter where they are located.
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NeeNee
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« Reply #3 on: Jan 05, 2014 11:37 pm »

I could totally imagine a story about an Avatar who never managed to bend one of the elements and eventually just went "Sc*** it, I'll just use the other three."

We've had about 150 Avatars, so I'd say there's a pretty good chance it happened at some point.
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AmonKorra
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« Reply #4 on: Jan 05, 2014 11:38 pm »

Hey, it almost happened with Korra, so it's believable to me.
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AvatarReiko
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« Reply #5 on: Jan 06, 2014 02:03 am »

The main difference with Korra and the other avatars s, despit not mastering them, she coul control 3 elements to a certain degree, which is Impressive. The only elements Aang could control were water and Air. When Roku was announced as avatar,he could only bend fire.

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« Reply #6 on: Jan 06, 2014 11:56 am »

Aang could only control air.
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HikaruIzumi
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« Reply #7 on: Jan 06, 2014 12:19 pm »

The way I understood is that in order to get the best out of avatar state (and thus effectively be almost a god) is to have knowledge of using the 4 bending styles. Otherwise, even if they gained knowledge from AS about moves, they wouldn't be able to use them because they would lack the physical experience of bending. In other words, it's questionable if the avatar could be called an avatar if he/she wouldn't bend at least one element. But this is just my understanding so I could be wrong. Anyway, if there were avatars that weren't able to bend an element, I think it was right after Wan. The experience is slightly "hereditary" among avatars since all known avatars (but Wan, arguably) were called prodigies and Korra was able to bend 3 elements at a very young age. Which means that it's unlikely future avatars wouldn't be able to bend all 4 elements (not impossible, though). I can imagine 2nd avatar having the most difficulties with bending since it was the very first avatar born a bender.
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AvatarReiko
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« Reply #8 on: Jan 06, 2014 12:32 pm »

In Book 1 episode 9 Aang showed to be very proficient at water bending, demonstrating the water wipp technique perfectly on his first try. He was also able to create a big wave with little effort, to which Katara was unable to do. This was before he leaned how to water bend.

Book 1 Episode 9 'Waterbending scroll'

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AvatarReiko
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« Reply #9 on: Jan 06, 2014 12:38 pm »

The way I understood is that in order to get the best out of avatar state (and thus effectively be almost a god) is to have knowledge of using the 4 bending styles. Otherwise, even if they gained knowledge from AS about moves, they wouldn't be able to use them because they would lack the physical experience of bending. In other words, it's questionable if the avatar could be called an avatar if he/she wouldn't bend at least one element. But this is just my understanding so I Thy "hereditary" among avatars since all known avatars (but Wan, arguably) were called prodigies and Korra was able to bend 3 elements at a very young age. Which means that it's unlikely future avatars wouldn't be able to bend all 4 elements (not impossible, though). I can imagine 2nd avatar having the most difficulties with bending since it was the very first avatar born a bender.

The second Avatar would have been an Air Nomad(Air bender). Air Nomads are the most spiritually in tune and have achieved spiritual enlightenment.  The second wouldn't have had much difficulty connecting with their spiritual self(Wan/Raava) and mastering the Avatar State. Although, I would imagine him or her struggling with earth and fire. They would have also had to clear up after Wan's mess.
« Last Edit: Jan 06, 2014 12:41 pm by AvatarReiko » Logged

HikaruIzumi
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« Reply #10 on: Jan 06, 2014 12:49 pm »

^Aang was also an Air Nomad and he struggled with fire bending, earth bending and controlling AS so it's not like being an AN means automatic mastery of all bending or AS.
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AvatarReiko
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« Reply #11 on: Jan 06, 2014 12:53 pm »

Yh, I agree. The AS boosts bending. So an avatar who has not yet mastered the elements will not be able to use the AS effectively, as bending would be out of control.
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Akim
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« Reply #12 on: Jan 06, 2014 03:20 pm »

Yh, I agree. The AS boosts bending. So an avatar who has not yet mastered the elements will not be able to use the AS effectively, as bending would be out of control.

I wonder if AS gives bending knowledge once its been mastered. Aang for example was able to do things with bending in AS (such as the water pillar thing in the first episodes), that he did not yet know how to do himself. But once the avatar has mastered AS and it no longer forcefully takes control of the avatar, can the avatar still somehow tap into the skills of the previous avatars.

Heres an example. When Roku takes over during that temple episode where we learn about the comet, Aang is suppressed and Roku uses his own knowledge to firebend with expert skill. Now lets say Katara had not gotten captured in EK, and as a result Aang would have went through with unlocking the final chakra with the Guru, and gained conscious control of the avatar state. At this point, Aang had not even started learning how to bend fire yet (except for that one incident where he burned Katara). Now, If Aang went into AS after learning to control it, would the knowledge of how to bend fire somehow suddenly appear in his mind, and then disappear when he left AS. Or would the fact that he had not yet learned fire personally mean that once the AS no longer totally possessed him, he would no longer gain access to the knowledge of previous avatars and be able to firebend in AS.

If a fully mastered AS (the one where you just do the short glow thing) expected you to have mastered the elements yourself, and no longer gave access to the skills of the previous avatars the way the "emergency mode AS" does, then that would explain why avatars would normally be expected to master all four elements first.
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AvatarReiko
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« Reply #13 on: Jan 06, 2014 06:47 pm »

Yh, I agree. The AS boosts bending. So an avatar who has not yet mastered the elements will not be able to use the AS effectively, as bending would be out of control.

I wonder if AS gives bending knowledge once its been mastered.

If a fully mastered AS (the one where you just do the short glow thing) expected you to have mastered the elements yourself, and no longer gave access to the skills of the previous avatars the way the "emergency mode AS" does, then that would explain why avatars would normally be expected to master all four elements first.

Well, once an Avatar becomes fully realised and has mastered all the elements and the AS, he or she will not use the AS to use the knowledge of the previous avatars, rather, they use it only to boost their bending, in short burst, is similar to how Korra was utilising it in her fit against Vaatu and Unalaq, hence the 1 second glow. This also means that an avatar does not risk being killed in the AS. To add to this, fully realised avatars also rely on their own master of the four elements and use the AS to give them extra power for example, Korra's fire breath. From my understanding, if a fully realised avatar was going to die, the as wouldn't save them.

When an Avatar masters the AS, they have control of it, instead of it controlling them, as seen when Aang created the water piller. In that's scene, Aang unconsciously enters the AS to save his own life, and his past lives fight for him hence the amazing display of bending. As shown later, Aang cannot recall what had just happend, so no, he does not retain the knowledge.
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« Reply #14 on: Jan 06, 2014 08:51 pm »

When an Avatar masters the AS, they have control of it, instead of it controlling them, as seen when Aang created the water piller. In that's scene, Aang unconsciously enters the AS to save his own life, and his past lives fight for him hence the amazing display of bending. As shown later, Aang cannot recall what had just happend, so no, he does not retain the knowledge.

Yes, but what I was wondering whether mastering AS actually prevents accessing info from past avatars. For example, Korra appears to have mastered AS now. Lets pretend that no one has taught Korra how to redirect lightning (maybe no one has). Now lets assume that Korra is facing a hostile firebender who starts creating lightning, but does it slowly enough that Korra has time to react.

Can Korra enter AS, and utilise Aangs knowledge to redirect the lightning back at her opponent, or does an avatar who has learned to control AS only get power. I mean Korra at this point would no longer be controlled by the previous avatars. And if Korra would get the knowledge, I wonder how it would manifest. Would Korra just suddenly know how to do it, or would her body move on its own (though with her going along with it) or what.
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« Reply #15 on: Jan 07, 2014 01:12 am »

^Aang was also an Air Nomad and he struggled with fire bending, earth bending and controlling AS so it's not like being an AN means automatic mastery of all bending or AS.

Aang didn't "struggle" with firebending; at least not in the same way he struggled with earth bending. It was only burning Katara that made him dislike (and struggle emotionally afterwards) fire bending.

His first time fire bending was practically just as good if not better than his first time water bending.



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Yougo
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« Reply #16 on: Jan 07, 2014 02:58 am »

so far as we've seen, everytime an Avatar would collect/gain knowledge from a past live, it was through meditation, and conversing/interacting with that past life.

Aang did it numerous times, and korra did it with help from the fire shaman lady, and by accidentally depressing herself into opening up to Aang.

the only reason Korra knows how to energybend is because Aang came and showed her.

The short eye flash is only for boosting your own bending
The uncontrolled Avatar State means you take a back seat ride in your own body and have the Avatar Spirit (which we now know to be Raava) take the wheel. no knowledge is transfered or downloaded through that event.

i do think it is possible to be a conscious spectator, or even be in control with the Avatar Spirit during the Avatar State and learn through observing. Aang didn't know what happened in season 1, but that was an uncontrolled Avatar State. During the finale, AwesomeSphere!Aang was very deliberate in his actions, and dropped the AS as soon as he had Ozai down. He also didn't act like he missed the fight.
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AvatarReiko
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« Reply #17 on: Jan 07, 2014 03:46 am »

so far as we've seen, everytime an Avatar would collect/gain knowledge from a past live, it was through meditation, and conversing/interacting with that past life.

Aang did it numerous times, and korra did it with help from the fire shaman lady, and by accidentally depressing herself into opening up to Aang.

the only reason Korra knows how to energybend is because Aang came and showed her.

The short eye flash is only for boosting your own bending
The uncontrolled Avatar State means you take a back seat ride in your own body and have the Avatar Spirit (which we now know to be Raava) take the wheel. no knowledge is transfered or downloaded through that event.

i do think it is possible to be a conscious spectator, or even be in control with the Avatar Spirit during the Avatar State and learn through observing. Aang didn't know what happened in season 1, but that was an uncontrolled Avatar State. During the finale, AwesomeSphere!Aang was very deliberate in his actions, and dropped the AS as soon as he had Ozai down. He also didn't act like he missed the fight.

Actually, Aang was not in control when he was fighting Ozai in the AS. Did you not notice that he was in the continuous AS. Aang took control of it at the end so he wouldn't kill Ozai.
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« Reply #18 on: Jan 07, 2014 04:19 am »

there is a very clear difference between Season 1 Avatar State, and Finale Avatar State. one is uncontrolled rage, the other is deliberate and decisive action.

i'm saying he was at least consciously present, and at least in control enough to say "that's far enough" and stop the AS. i think it's quite  possible to then at least make suggestions: "go left here, throw that rock, don't hurt Ozai...too much". to what level Raava feels like listening depends on the situation and the emotions involved i suppose

if he can do that much, then he must have experienced the bending moves made: the elemental rings, the air sphere, the hovering, the rock-crush-pebble-machine-gun, etc.
he could try to figure out and repeat those moves afterwards.
« Last Edit: Jan 07, 2014 04:54 am by Yougo » Logged

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AvatarReiko
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« Reply #19 on: Jan 07, 2014 04:54 am »

i'm saying he was at least consciously present, and at least in control enough to say "that's far enough" and stop the AS. i think it's quite  possible to then at least make suggestions: "go left here, throw that rock, don't hurt Ozai...too much". to what level Raava feels like listening depends on the situation and the emotions involved i suppose

if he can do that much, then he must have experienced the bending moves made: the elemental rings, the air sphere, the hovering, the rock-crush-pebble-machine-gun, etc.
he could try to figure out and repeat those moves afterwards.

He does. In the promise part 3 he creates another sphere, this time only air, and uses earth bending to creat a trench around yu dao.

Also, it wasnt Raava controlling him, it was more his past lives.
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Yougo
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« Reply #20 on: Jan 07, 2014 05:33 am »

Vote is out on that one.

it's still quite unclear where Raava ends and the past avatars begin.
As Vaatu smacked Raava about, we saw the past lives disappear one by one. i can only speculate if those were the actual past lives, or merely the connection to them. If i take the visual literally, those were the actual past lives, meaning they were an integral part of Raava, and were destroyed as Raava was.
Raava and the past lives would be prettymuch the same thing.

(personally, if it was meant to show the severing of the connections to them, i'd have used a different visual, much more like a cloud of Raava and the past lives, attached to eachother by strings, that were snapping, and the past lives drifting off one by one, suggesting they could be recollected and reconnected again)
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« Reply #21 on: Jan 07, 2014 02:31 pm »

personally, if it was meant to show the severing of the connections to them, i'd have used a different visual, much more like a cloud of Raava and the past lives, attached to eachother by strings, that were snapping, and the past lives drifting off one by one, suggesting they could be recollected and reconnected again

They pretty much did this but with magical sparkle scattered to the wind. Also, as a side note, while Raava was beaten to death, Aang had no problem with rescuing Tenzin from the spirit fog.
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« Reply #22 on: Jan 07, 2014 04:22 pm »

personally, if it was meant to show the severing of the connections to them, i'd have used a different visual, much more like a cloud of Raava and the past lives, attached to eachother by strings, that were snapping, and the past lives drifting off one by one, suggesting they could be recollected and reconnected again

They pretty much did this but with magical sparkle scattered to the wind. Also, as a side note, while Raava was beaten to death, Aang had no problem with rescuing Tenzin from the spirit fog.
I could have sworn that happened shortly before Raava was destroyed.
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« Reply #23 on: Jan 07, 2014 04:49 pm »

Was that actually aang though, or a figment of Tenzin's mind. The aang we saw there was an old man, the way Tenzin last saw him alive, and Tenzin was standing in a fog that's supposed to mess with your mind and make you see things.

The aang we saw in the role of past Avatar was repeatedly shown much younger.
« Last Edit: Jan 07, 2014 04:51 pm by Yougo » Logged

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AvatarReiko
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« Reply #24 on: Jan 07, 2014 05:33 pm »

Yes, I agree. Aang was too busy getting the crap beaten out of him by Unalaq.
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